Another national artist, Levi Celerio, passes away
- Eric Catipon () - April 3, 2002 - 12:00am
The composer must have needed a lyricist in heaven.

Two days after National Artist Lucio San Pedro’s death, National Artist Levi Celerio also passed away. He would have turned 92 at month’s end.

Celerio died of multiple organ dysfunction at around 3:35 p.m. yesterday at the Delgado Clinic in Kamuning, Quezon City. The famous lyricist also suffered a stroke sometime ago.

Celerio and San Pedro’s most famous collaboration is"Sa Ugoy ng Duyan." The classic has remained popular through generations despite changing musical tastes. Proof of the song’s enduring quality is its being one of the carrier songs in Aiza Seguerra’s latest gold album, Pinakamamahal.

Another memorable Celerio piece is "Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon" more popularly known as "Ang Pasko ay Sumapit."

Celerio was born on April 30, 1910 in Tondo, Manila to Cornelio Cruz and Juliana Celerio. When he was 11 years old, he took violin lessons from a musician of the Philippine Constabulary Band and later became a member of the band.

He studied violin at the UP Conservatory of Music for a semester and was recommended by then director Alexander Lippay for a scholarship at the Academy of Music in Manila, thus making him the youngest member of the Manila Symphony Orchestra.

The famous lyricist is included in the Guinness Book of Records as the only man in the world able to make music with a leaf, a feat that also landed him a guest appearance in the Ed Sullivan Show.

Celerio’s talent is legendary and it is said that he can compose the lyrics to a song in 20 minutes.

Among the other famous songs whose lyrics were done by Celerio are "Saan Ka Man Naroroon" (music by Restie Umali) and "Gaano Kita Kamahal" (music, Ernani Cuenco). He also did songs for the movies, such as the theme from Dalagang Bukid which starred Rogelio de la Rosa and Carmen Rosales.

Celerio was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Film Academy of the Philippines in 1989, CCP Gawad Sining in 1991, and Gawad Urian in 1993.

Celerio’s remains lie at the Funeraria Paz on Araneta Avenue Quezon City. Interment will be announced later.

ACADEMY OF MUSIC AIZA SEGUERRA ALEXANDER LIPPAY ANG PASKO ARANETA AVENUE QUEZON CITY CELERIO CELERIO AND SAN PEDRO CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC CORNELIO CRUZ AND JULIANA CELERIO DALAGANG BUKID
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