WATCH: Cult compositions you never knew Ryan Cayabyab made
Jan Milo Severo ( - August 21, 2019 - 9:57am

MANILA, Philippines — National Artist and 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Award recipient Ryan Cayabyab recalled his journey as a composer of some of the country's most beloved songs — from educational TV show anthems to pop hits. 

In a recent interview with, Cayabyab shared that when he was in a music camp, he was worried that the youth might not know his songs as well as they know the songs of younger mentors. To make the session light, he played the theme song of “Sineskwela” to the delight of the campers. 

“I was in a music camp and in the music camp mga bata 'yan. Everytime na may jamming, all the rest of mentors will go to the piano or the guitar, they will sing their most popular songs. Kilala lahat ng mga bata kasi medyo naabutan pa nila,” Cayabyab said. 

“So I'm always worried because ang babata ng mga kasama ko sa camp, we're talking about 18 years old until about 28 years old so I don't know if they know my songs. So I decided, in that particular camp, to sing 'Sineskwela' and they all know the song so they all sang with me. And then they asked, 'How about 'Hiraya Manawari','” he added. 

With more than a hundred theme songs for movies, television, commercials and campaigns attirbuted to him, Cayabyab also shared that he did not realize he can compose pop songs like Smokey Mountain’s “Kailan” and "The Coconut Song (Da Coconut Nut)."

“I must say that significantly, I didn't realize that I could write a pop song for young people when I did 'Kailan' because it then became popular. When it became a big hit, 'Wow marunong pala akong gumawa ng gantong kanta,' something light, fluffy and easy on the ear,” he said.

Cayabyab is also behind unexpected compositions such as "Mabuhay," the opening song of the 1994 Miss Universe in Manila; the theme song of the 23rd Southeast Asian Games in Manila; the musical movie "Ang Larawan" and the theater musical "Alikabok;" and the theme songs of "Maalaala Mo Kaya," "TV Patrol" and "The World Tonight"; among others.

Apart from being a composer, Caybyab is also an arranger and has arranged the hit songs "Tuwing Umuulan at Kapiling Ka," "Kampana ng Simbahan," "Kumukutikutitap," "Sa Ugoy Ng Duyan," "Bayan Ko," and "Tanging Yaman," among many others. 

“MaestroRy: A Tribute to Ryan Cayabyab” will be held at the Theatre at Solaire on August 31. This one-night-only concert will interweave through storytelling and song, the life, the music and the legacy of arguably the most celebrated Filipino composer-artist, living legend, Maestro Ryan Cayabyab. 

Fusing together stellar performances by the best of Philippine music to honor Mr. C’s 50 years in the industry - from OPM Icons such as Kuh Ledesma, Basil Valdes, Cocoy Laurel and Celeste Legaspi with contemporary hit makers Morisette, Nicole Asensio, Thyro, Bleu Rascals, Auto Telic, Urban Dub and IV of Spades, to treat listeners to special renditions of various Mr. C classic compositions such as “Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika," “Paraiso,” and “Tuwing Umuulan.”

Related video: Mr. C shares how he finds inspiration for compositions

There will also be a premium showcase by original members of Smokey Mountain and by the children of Mr. C, Krina Cayabyab with her singing group BaiHana and Toma Cayabyab with his band Debonair District. 

"MaestroRy" will be hosted by multi-talented performer Jon Santos and directed by Paolo Valenciano, with musical direction by Mel Villena and with the special participation of Mr. C himself.

The concert is a major fundraiser for the high school Silver Jubilarians of St. Scholastica’s College (SSC) Manila. Proceeds will support SSC Manila HS 95, Inc.'s Homecoming and charitable efforts including various programs being run for and by the Benedictine sisters. 

"We are grateful for this opportunity to collaborate with the industry's finest to honor a National Artist for Music and newly-minted Ramon Magsaysay awardee," said Garlic Garcia, speaking on behalf of SSC Manila HS ’95.  

Out of kinship and friendship with Mr. C, Audie Gemora and Gina Godinez of Solaire, Twinky Lagdameo, Jay Block of Outbound Asia, Nicole Asensio and SSC High School Manila 95’s very own, Garlic Garcia, came together with the Scholastican batch to celebrate the music of the Maestro with a truly unique cast. Never before has such a diverse group of performers collaborated to celebrate the music of one.  It will truly be a night to remember as generations of music lovers come together to honor the music of the one and only, Mr. Ryan Cayabyab.

Tickets for “MaestroRy” are now available at Ticketworld outlets and are priced from P1,680 (Silver) to P11,200 (VVIP inclusive of cocktails).

MaestroRy: A Tribute to Ryan Cayabyab” is presented by Solaire and St. Scholastica’s College Manila High School 1995; and brought to you by Sta. Elena Construction and Development Corporation.

For media or sponsorship inquiries, please contact Jill Elicano-Tan, or 0917-8565455. — Videos by Erwin Cagadas Jr.

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