The songs were classified into three categories: environmental, inspirational and love songs. A total of twenty-five songs with the environmental theme were screened by the jurors along with sixty-one inspirational songs and fifty love songs.
After spending at least ten hours listening to different compositions from outstanding composers, the committee was able to select the top four songs from each category. The top four environmental compositions are: Manguros Na Lang Tang Daan by Jade Castro, Asa Ta Punta by Russel Chingkoy Alegado, Kinaiyahan Matahum by Venice June Sy Corsino and Isla by Dennis Martin.
The finalists in the inspirational category are: Diha sa Pulong Mo by Bienvenido Racho, Gugma Mo by Michaen Ricaborda, Ngano Kaha by Irene Abadiez Bacus and Kinabuhi Musika by Nathan Philip Amores. And last but not the least, the finalists in the love songs category are: Sama sa Dahong Laya by Angelito Zamora Jr., Sa Gugma Magdaug by Rad Zamora, Ang Atong Gugma by Archimedes Dairocas/Luis Sebastian Rusiana Latigo Rapper and Awit Ning Gugma by Ralph Maligro.
The members of the screening committee for the 36th Cebu Popular Music Festival are: Sam Costanilla, Roger Serna, Apple Abarquez, Manolito Languido, Sanden Anadia, Eli Manlangit, Cerj Michael, Baby Condeno and Fr. Lyndon Ruiz. The Cebu Popular Music Festival was institutionalized by the Cebu Arts Foundation Inc. and has become one of the activities for the Sinulog celebrations every January. The 36th Cebu Popular Music Festival will be held on January 16.