Tag Archives: gary valenciano

Invite from music masters

By Nickie Wang

How does bonding with music masters like Ryan Cayabyab, Gary Valenciano, Joey Ayala, Noel Cabangon, and Jim Paredes sound? How about playing songs and getting pointers from contemporary music artists like Rico Blanco, Chito Miranda, and Yael Yuzon, to name a few? Continue reading

Back home with Gary V.

By Nickie Wang/ Manila Standard Today

When asked if pursuing a political career ever crossed his mind, Gary Valenciano’s answer was a big “No,” punctuated with conviction. He has his own way to selflessly touch other people’s life and that is through his talent and passion for music.

singkwentaGary V. will stage a two-night concert at the Bro. Rafael Donato Center for the Performing Arts at La Salle Green Hills on June 5 and 8. The musical treat dubbed Back Home is part of the LSGH’s year-long celebration of its golden anniversary.

The concert is the highlight and the culminating event of SING-kwenta, a series of mini concerts that started September last year. According to an LSGH official, Gary V.’s Back Home concert also marks the exact date of the school’s foundation day which is on June 8.

In a press conference held last week at LSGH’s Cesar Cruz Hall, the seasoned artist detailed some of the exciting musical numbers that will surely bring the audiences on their feet or go down memory lane. A secret no more, he said that he will also share the stage with his children, who are all members of the La Sallian community. Paolo is a graduate at the De La Salle University, Gabriel is an LSGH Batch 2005 alumnus, and Kiana is an incoming senior at La Salle Antipolo.

“The La Sallian community is very much like family. I felt like why not have my children in the concert, they are all from La Salle anyway. It’s different, the venue is small, and it’s very intimate,” Mr. Pure Energy shared.

Gary V., an LSGH Batch ’82 alumnus and recipient of the DLSU La Sallian Achievement Award in 2007, is doing the concert for free. The proceeds of the special musical show will benefit the Bahay Pag-asa and the One La Salle Scholarship Foundation, which aims to raise P1 billion. The amount will be used to fund the full scholarship of some 18,000 students out of the 90,000 population of the De La Salle schools in the country. In other words, one in every five students people meet in any La Salle campus will be a scholar. As of this year, the One La Salle Scholarship Foundation has raised about P200 million and hopes to generate at least half a million peso from the fundraising concert of Mr. Pure Energy.

The program of One La Salle Scholarship Foundation started in 2007 and the officials of the foundation are on a mission to raise the whole amount by 2011. Emmanuel Canalog, development office director at LSGH and organizer of the SING-kwenta series, noted that 2011 is the centennial of La Sallian presence in the Philippines.

“This will help us share the gift of La Sallian education to deserving students, give them a voice in our academic community and open them up to a richer dialog all over the country,” Canalog said.

“What I’m proud about is the fact that there is a drive, as to whether the target would be met this time, we don’t know. But we will continue to create certain events that will make us meet that target,” Gary stated and discussed about how members of the La Sallian community support each other most especially during events that aim to create awareness geared toward the improvement of the whole community.

“When there is a vision like this that requires people to participate, there is a guarantee that the whole community will get involved,” the energetic performer added.

Back Home concerts are the 18th and 19th showcase of the SING-kwenta concert series. The Powerplay band will provide the back-up music. The concert will be under the musical direction of another LSGH alumnus, Mon Faustino.

Held every other week for the past nine months, SING-kwenta has featured other LSGH alumni who also have remarkable musical careers. It’s good to note that all of them were members of La Salle Green Hills’ famous Kundirama musical group. Some of them are Ogie Alcasid, Rannie Raymundo, Carlo Orosa, Dingdong Avanzado, Dingdong Eduque, Juan Miguel Salvador, Louie Ocampo, Montet Acoymo, Charlie Ysmael and Von de Guzman.

Ticket prices at Gary V.’s concert are at P5,000 (VIP), P2,000 (Gold), P1,000 (Silver) and P750 (Bronze). Tickets are available at the LSGH Development Office (727-3760), Genesis (721-4406) and Studio V (726-4614).

The year that was

By Billy Bong

We posted this entry with the knowledge that 2008 is really over and that 2009 will be another year of ups and downs in the world of showbiz.

There are guaranteed facts in showbiz. People will rise, get famous and fade. Some of them might stay on top for a longer time but the cycle is irreversible. Top rating television series will become the past, box office records will be wiped out by a much better movie that will make cinematic history, stars will get married (Raymond Bagatsing married a sexagenarian), some will get pregnant (Angelika dela Cruz) but will not tie the knot (Vina Morales and Nancy Jane), more actors will undress for a magazine and for an indie flick (too many to mention), take drugs and go to the rehab (hard to mention), and some will breakthrough and glint in the limelight for a short moment.

The year 2008 was truly a cacophony of smiles and teardrops, and of victories and defeats. The ugly distortion of imitation of life in the world of entertainment however, defines what had happened in the year of hypes and intrigues.


People witnessed sad goodbyes from Rudy Fernandez and Marky Cielo, but there were more intriguing and groundbreaking news that stirred local showbiz.

Marian Rivera

Marian Rivera

Angel Locsin already had her years as the primetime queen but O-eight was definitely the year of Marian Rivera. Before the meaningful smile of Karylle, who made a controversial station loyalty shift, Marian made waves (literally) by wearing the mythical tale of Dyesebel. It’s not just the most watched series, it’s even one of the shows on TV that resonated with great audience recall, and we are giving the consolation to Dyosa.

The hype of Marian even forced GMA Network and ABS CBN to saturate their programs with fantasy series. This could probably the reason why many Filipinos are contented with just dreaming in the broad day light because they are being bombarded by fictional images that did not even mobilize them to combat mediocrity.

As 2009 is being ushered by new a bevy of programs from the country’s giant television networks, the clamor for intelligent, appealing, and quality programs rises. They should do away with fantasy series, they must also stop reviving old movies and creating serialized versions, and most of all, as we draw 2009 with a safe knowledge that Kapuso and Kapamilya networks will showcase more localized versions of foreign television dramas, they should also think that network war also means battle for excellence and not just with who-makes-a-crappy program thing.

There are more competitions outside the country just like the Asian Television Awards. Rival networks must contemplate why they don’t get more awards from foreign award giving bodies. It’s obvious and we don’t have to rub it on the faces of the head honchos of these television networks; they are more consumed with raking huge profits rather than providing their viewers with top quality programs.


If many people thought that Marian Rivera is currently the hottest item in the world of Philippine entertainment, they should also check the statistics and not just the Neilsen’s ratings. One True Love, the film that also starred E! Entertainment 3rd Sexiest Man Alive Dingdong Dantes, was not able to secure a spot in the 2008 top-grossing local films.

a_very_special_loveSarah Geronimo and John Lloyd starrers in A Very Special Love under Star Cinema and Viva Films made history by raking P180 million in the box office. It’s only some millions behind all-time top-grosser Sukob.

It is still a year for Star Cinema because it had produced three movies that broke the 100 million peso mark. Sharon Cuneta’s Caregiver earned P139 million while her daughter’s launching film with Richard Gutierrez For the First Time posted P134 million gross at the box office.

While some of the films earned big, there were some that suffered big losses and failed to run for weeks at the movie houses. The country’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film of the 81st Academy Awards Ploning, APT Films’ animated film Urduja, and Viva Film’s sexy flick Torotot, were among the big flops in 2008.

In 2007, fifty movies were exhibited in commercial theaters. Truly, gone are the days when the Philippines was the world’s fourth largest movie producer. The local industry produced almost a hundred films in 1999, but due to crisis and other factors, production has decreased over the years.

Including the eight entries in the 34th Metro Manila Film Festival, Philippine Cinema has produced more or less forty films in 2008, and that also includes digital or independent films.

The number of independent movies has risen due to the advent of easy on the pocket video cameras, and to the eagerness of some novice filmmakers to make it in the mainstream. Whether people would agree or not, indies are not the salvation of deteriorating local movie industry. A total halt of independent film production however is not a suggestion because it’s still a good training ground to other artists, but people behind indies must also consider or should welcome the fact that indies don’t have an audience except some college students and gays who crave for sleazy flicks.

balermovieposterIndependent filmmaking however is not the only source of rubbish flicks; we have seen all the film entries at the recently concluded 34th MMFF, and we will say this with conviction: Philippine movie industry is hopeless! Yes, Baler is one of the best local films we’ve seen in years, Tanging Ina Ninyong Lahat put the Escalera brothers to their proper place, and Dayo: Sa Mundo ng Elemtalia gave us a glimpse of what the future holds for Philippine animation, but the rest of the movies part of the film fest mirror how the quality of our movies has declined dramatically.


Hate us or love us but we’re going to mention Marian Rivera for the nth time. Yes she released a dance album, and mind you people, the CD went platinum. Her compilation of dance remixes can be now part of the league of 2008 multi-platinum achievers like Sarah Geronimo, KC Concepcion, Sitti, Nina, Claire dela Fuente and Sharon Cuneta.

If Dingdong Dantes released an album we’re not sure if the album would fit the line-up that includes Spongecola, Bamboo, Martin Nievera, Jed Madela and Gary Valenciano. Novelties that are created for mass consumption proved that Willie Revillame was successful in his task to glamorize poverty on his show Wowowee because his album also went platinum.

charice-mgm-grandCharice who dropped her surname Pempengco is still has to prove that she is not just an overnight YouTube sensation and a mascot during David Foster’s appearance on American shows. Her popularity must be translated to album sales first before we could adore her big voice that became her ticket to instant popularity.

When we talk about local music, Regine Velasquez must be present because she is the queen of the shouting sirens. Her album Low Key, an apt title because she can no longer belt high notes, turned gold after three days of release (current sales unknown). Her formula of doing covers still works but for the rest, we really don’t know.

As we beg music artists to stop doing revivals because they are just horrible distortion of classic music, we also ask them to produce masterpieces that could be instant classic. What contemporary song has become iconic and anthemic since the release of Pagdating ng Panahon, Noypi, and Hawak Kamay?

Since local artists failed to produce better music in 2008, we have seen foreign acts that answered why they sell better than our homegrown talents. International artists like Alicia Keys, Chris Brown, Rihanna, The Click Five, James Blunt, and Avril Lavigne among many others, proved that raw music talent is not enough to make it big, technology is also an essential part of creating music that appeals to this generation of local music aficionados.

Yes, Filipino fans favor foreign acts that don’t do covers during their concerts, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that locals are eager to watch one-hit wonder foreign musicians who became famous decades ago and found their way here in the country to earn money because nobody talks about them in their country of origin.

New Year

Year 2008 was the year of many sorts and we can’t help but think that O-nine will nothing much of a difference. Maybe, many actors will still be haunted by controversies, another name will rise into superstardom, and Manny Pacquiao will have a new show and will be extra richer.

We bet, another actor will show some flesh in an indie movie, and another actress will wear nothing but her skin on a magazine cover, and another musician will bring back the old playlist.

Our energy shows no signs of slowing down and to kickoff 2009 with optimism and a prayer that everything would just turn out right, let’s call this year as the year after the hype of Marian Rivera or “the hype continues.”

National Geographic Channel celebrates 10 years in Asia

By Nickie Wang

Contributor/Manila Standard Today

31 May 2008

This month, National Geographic Channel celebrates its decade-long success in Asia with a star-studded campaign featuring some of the region’s most celebrated artists and celebrities, co-hosting the best 30 documentaries in the last 10 years.

This high-profile campaign invites viewers in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia to vote for their favorite documentaries anchored by celebrities like Jacky Chan, Hong Kong’s Paul Wong, Thailand’s Tata Young and the Philippines’ Gary Valenciano, Donita Rose, Christian Bautista and Kim Atienza.

Being the world’s leading pure documentary channel, NGC’s initiative to draw the viewers closer to the brand is parallel with its engagement to present every possible ways viewers can appreciate, support and understand the world, and to commensurate their continuous patronage to the channel.

For 30 consecutive days in June, one documentary will be featured each night and viewers across the region will have the opportunity to vote for it through www.ngcasia.com/top30.

“We have narrowed all the documentaries [down] to 30 and each one of the documentaries will be featured everyday in June with special host and guest celebrities. We have great hosts across five to six countries and we are lucky we got Jacky Chan and other great artists all over Asia. They are keen to share their favorite documentaries,” said Hong Kong-based director Craig Leeson who was in town to launch the campaign.

Leeson, with his local crew, started the taping for the NGC’s handpicked local celebrities who will present their favorite documentaries. The taping started on May 21 at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife in Quezon City.

“The artists we specially chose here in the Philippines to present their favorite documentaries are: Donita, who is fantastic because she loves what she does; Kim, he has a passion with history and science and he can relate very closely to the documentaries the NGC shows. As a director it’s great to work with someone who understands what I need; and artists like Gary and Christian, we chose them because of their deep connection with the public,” Leeson said.

Gary V’s Seconds from Disaster: Pentagon 911

Gary’s chosen documentary is about the American Airlines flight 77 that was hijacked by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001. Less than an hour after the airplane’s takeoff, it slammed directly into the Pentagon’s West Wall at nearly 530 mph, destroying 30 structural columns and killing 184 innocent people and five terrorists. NGC’s documentary narrated second-by-second tragic event that led to the worst day of terrorist attacks on American soil.

“I would certainly recommend this [documentary] because there’s so much to learn that people would just say ‘oh I didn’t know that’,” Gary revealed. “I think if there’s one event that everyone has been affected by it, is probably this event. This is one event that all ages can look back and see and really would be interested. It would be the details of what went on not just what we saw, but the other things that we never knew about. Like personally, I didn’t know that the Pentagon was built in the 1940s unlike the way buildings were built today.”

Donita’s Amazing Moments-Close Encounter

Former MTV Asia VJ Donita Rose will front her chosen documentary Amazing Moments-Close Encounter. It is a close encounter of the amazing kind—surprising moments when predator meets prey- man meets animals and people look death in the face—in some of the most incredible scenes ever captured on film. Meet people who get up close and personal with rats—from grubs to maggots to whole new octopus. The documentary features amazing encounters between predator and prey, as crocodiles and killer whales fight to survive. It also captured incredible moments where life hangs in the balance—from passengers on a sinking ship to pilot in a mid-air collision.

“I feel privileged to be chosen for this, I had done something that honored our country some few years back, but this one is different. I’ll be hosting a documentary that talks about people and animals in a brink of death” Donita expressed on an interview during the taping.

Christian with Megamovers: Panama Canal Unlocked

Asian pop heartthrob Christian Bautista, who said that watching NGC is not nerdy at all or boring because people could learn a lot on how things work, why things work, and how we can be better part of this world, shared his excitement with chosen documentary about the Panama Canal .

“I was really amazed by this awesome project and to think that it is from the 19th century. I was amazed how people work together to accomplish this huge task. It’s actually full of traffic already in the Panama Canal because of the huge quantity of ships that pass through it. Passing through the canal saves them time, four weeks around the continent so they will be able to get the delivery done,” he narrated.

Kuya Kim’s choices

TV’s weather man Kim Atienza couldn’t believe that he has been chosen to be part of the NGC’s star-studded campaign. He will anchor two documentaries entitled Inside the Tornado and China’s Mystery Mummies.

“I love watching this channel because it sparks an interest to learn more about the world. The topics featured give much relevance to things all around us, focusing not just animals and nature, but science, technology, history, relationships, government and so much more. When my friend told me about it, I thought it was a frank. But when it became reality, I am really flattered,” the TV host said.

Inside the Tornado is about an NGC-sponsored team of storm chasers and photographers who managed to position an armored device with cameras in the direct path of a tornado near Manchester, South Dakota. The device was able to take magnificent pictures.

Being haled by director Leeson as ‘a person in-the-know,’ Matang Lawin host Kuya Kim will also front the documentaries about the mummies in China.

“This is not actually my concern. But in China, mummies are studied and treated as national treasures. But in the Philippines we don’t put importance on the mummies that we have. We have lots of mummies up north in Sagada and Banaue. But sad to say, our mummies are practically gone. We are losing these mummies because of lack of awareness, theft and pilferage. People actually steal the mummies and put them in their homes,” he ended regretfully.

Gary V. celebrates 25 years with gratitude and optimism

By Nickie Wang

Contributor/Manila Standard Today

20 May 2008

There’s a lot more to Gary Valenciano than just music as he celebrates his 25th anniversary in showbiz. It is going to be a year-long celebration of thanksgiving beginning with a concert entitled His Love at the Music Museum on May 22, 23 and 29.

“I am ending my remarkable 25 years and beginning another 25. I am moving to another chapter with His resounding Love,” Gary muses in optimism that he would still continue inspiring people with his artistry and good deeds.

Gary ’s His Love concert will be a celebration of fun and relevance, and humble prayer of thanksgiving for a milestone that exceeds the 25 years he’s stayed on top of his game. Incidentally, this year also marks the 30th year he’s successfully managed and beaten all odds to become the poster child for juvenile diabetics everywhere.

“His doctor in the States calls him a living miracle,” says wife and Genesis president Angeli Pangilinan-Valenciano. Given the exhausting and demanding nature of his tours and performances, Gary has defied odds of being a diabetic patient even after years of close calls. Often, juvenile diabetics are given five years before their eyesight shows signs of deterioration.


Fittingly, Mr. Pure Energy released his new album entitled Rebirth. It is a 15-track compilation album that consists his covers of meaningful songs like Mandy Moore’s “Only Hope,” a Michael English song originally recorded by Lea Salonga called “Mary Did You Know,” and his version of the classic “Lean on Me” and “Stand by Me” as well as some of the most emotional songs including “He Won’t Let Go,” and “When I Hear You Call.”

“I call it Rebirth because it’s time to renew ourselves. With all the things happening around us and with all the crises in our country, Filipinos have been feeling down, they need, we need something to lift our spirits,” Gary states.

Inspired by the public who continuously admires and looks up to him, Rebirth is his personal prayer of gratitude that aims to touch everyone’s life. It is his relevant gift not just to the music aficionados but for the people as well who thrive and regard music as a significant part of their lives.

In the album, Gary writes in the liner notes: “Rebirth is not about trends but rather it hopes to cater to the rhythms and beats, harmonies and melodies played out in real life, filtered by emotions nestled in the human heart.”

Gary’s legacy continues

The inclusion of his children in the concert is always a much-anticipated act. In his concert at the Music Museum, he will be joined by his two sons Gabriel and Paolo. He will perform the bracing interpretation of Gab’s arrangement of “Shout for Joy,” and Beatles medley with Paolo.

“People want to see my children performing with me. I enjoy it as much as they do. They are starting to do something else; they are creating their own names in music. I want to perform with them while they still have time,” Gary says as a proud father of his two equally talented boys.

Paolo, who had tough times getting away from the shadow of his father and being compared to younger brother Gab, being expected to venture in pop music, found his niche in rock music with his band Salamin. He is the lead vocalist of the band.

“I was very affected and insecure. I am Gary V.’s son but it is kinda peculiar not being able to sing. But now, there’s no pressure at all. I am secure with the Lord and His plans. It just makes me proud being a Valenciano so I strive for excellence in everything I do, I can’t do something mediocre,” Paolo reveals during the press conference of his father’s concert.

Gabriel who’s regularly seen in Asap resembles his father in so many ways: his being lean and tall, his passion for the beat and his flair on the dance floor. Gab is a dancer, actor, choreographer, percussionist and a music producer.

“Humility. I keep my feet on the ground. That is one of the things I have learned from my dad, from my parents. He also thought me to be hard working and how to be a perfectionist in a world of imperfection,” explains Gab when asked about the things he learned from his superstar father.

Turning point

Gary ’s success with a career that spans 25 remarkable years did not come to the singer easy. In fact, he had to hurdle challenges in all the turning points of his career before he finally attained stardom. In 1984, before his first major concert, he shocked everyone with an admission in his private life that would later decide the fate of his career as a performer and an artist.

“Before the public I had to admit that Angeli is pregnant and I am the father,” Gary remembers.

His honesty and his willingness to perform and touch other people’s lives through his music and works made his name an indelible mark not just as a singer, an actor, or a performer but an institution in the industry that command respect and admiration.

Growing old with style

There are artists who have faded and there are musicians who are in the verge of losing their luster. But amid the number of growing young audience, Gary is still able to make himself and his works appealing to them.

“I can’t be a total performer forever. I may lose the energy but not the ideas. I get ideas from the younger generation. I ask my children and get their opinion to the type of materials I am going to release. That’s why I am optimistic for the next 25 years of my career,” he states in his pure energetic style.