Art for a cause
INTROSPECTIVE - Tony Katigbak (The Philippine Star) - September 10, 2019 - 12:00am

We are a country of artists. Indeed, Filipinos are known for their singing, dancing, and acting prowess garnering global acclaim. We have several artists who continuously make us proud with the amazing work they do and continue to do in their fields. One such artist is National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab or Mr. C as he is fondly known.

In fact, Cayabyab just bagged another prestigious accolade last August as one of the latest awardees of the Ramon Magsaysay Foundation. This is just another in a long and growing list of honors given to him and one he richly deserves. It’s no wonder that there have been several tribute concerts and events honoring Mr. C and his music.

Cayabyab has certainly come a long way since Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika – a song that my wife played on repeat when we were younger. Through the years as Mr. C’s acclaim grew the most interesting thing about him was that he stayed the same. The same generous soul and just genuinely nice person whose passion for his craft just keeps growing throughout the years. He is truly an artist the Filipinos can be proud of, one that strives to give back to the country.

That is something that I can truly appreciate. Art not just for art’s sake, but as an instrument of change, as a way of giving back, and as a means of inspiring others. This September, the music of Ryan Cayabyab is going to do just that as the main centerpiece of the second edition of the SOAP concerts.

The brainchild of the singing doctor, Dr. Melfred L. Hernandez, an otohinolaryngolist-head and neck surgeon at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center, and his fellow doctors at the University of the Philippines Alumni Foundation (UPMAF) Inc. and UP Medical Alumni Society (UPMAS), the SOAP concerts is a concert fundraising series launched last year. The name is taken from the medical-related acronym meaning Subjective, Objective, Assessment Plan that Dr. Hernandez says is a vital part of every physician’s life. These concerts aim to raise funds for their medical projects while at the same time bringing quality entertainment to Philippine audiences.

The upcoming second edition of the SOAP concerts features the music of Ryan Cayabyab. The choice of artist couldn’t be more perfect as Cayabyab’s countless nights studying, dreaming, rehearsing, innovating, and pioneering is similar to a doctor investing, perfecting, and evolving his or her craft. In fact, the intricacies of both professions are similarly intertwined. 

The concert, aptly entitled “Ang SOAP Opera ng Buhay Ko 2: Musika ni Ryan, Medisina ng Bayan (Isang Pagpupugay ng Iskolar ng Bayan sa Pambansang Alagad ng Sining)”, will be on Sept. 21, at the Philippine International Convention Center Reception Hall, is a celebration of the gifted composer’s music, as it is a tribute to the National Artist for Music and the men and women of the medical profession.

The show aims to raise funds for an 11-story medical sciences building of the UP College of Medicine and showcases a veritable “Who’s Who” of the music industry, featuring many of Cayabyab’s friends and colleagues including Lea Salonga, Jed Madela, Jaya, Rachel Alejandro, Pinky Marquez, Cris Villonco, Franco Laurel, and more. The artists will be singing the Maestro’s songs with the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra and an 80-strong chorus composed of Doc Melfre’s singing group Mass Appeal and the Ateneo Chamber Singers. UPMAS Choir and UP Medicine will also be lending their voices to this concert.

“Ang SOAP Opera ng Buhay Ko 2: Musika ni Ryan, Medisina ng Bayan” is a joint project of the UPMAF, in cooperation with the UP College of Medicine Resource Generation Office, the UP Manila Chancellor’s Committee for Culture and the Arts, the UP Medical Alumni Society (UPMAS) and the UPCM Class 1994.  Tickets are available through Ticketworld or the UPMAS Office at tel. 5253852 and the UPMAF Office at tel. 5264255.

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I wonder why President Duterte still keeps Salvador Panelo as his presidential spokesperson. Does he hide secrets about the president that help keep him in position or are they just really good friends and colleagues? It doesn’t make sense to me considering that his job as spokesperson requires him to readily and easily explain what the president says and means but, more often that not, he ends up putting his foot in his mouth and making things worse.

Like his many predecessors (Faeldon and Roque), Panelo has had his work cut out for him. With the president making so many off-the-cuff remarks, Panelo often finds himself struggling to “decode” what’s a joke and what’s reality. But that is his job and despite the difficulty, he should be able to do it well. Unfortunately, Panelo has lost the trust of so many people, especially in light of the recent ex-mayor Antonio Sanchez.

While being Sanchez’s lawyer back in the sensational 1993 rape-slay case shouldn’t be counted against him, several news reports have arose claiming that Panelo allegedly endorsed Sanchez’s appeal based on the new good behavior law. This supposed support though was rapidly pulled when public outcry rose to a fever pitch. And in the end, lingering doubt remains. Should someone who may have thought that Sanchez was fit for release really be in the presidential spokesperson position?

I guess in the end that’s up to President Duterte to decide. Despite misgivings, something tells me that Panelo is not going anywhere for now.

ANTONIO SANCHEZ NICANOR FAELDON RYAN CAYABYAB
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