This year The Filipino Channel (TFC) celebrates its 20th anniversary of bringing 24-hour Filipino programming to the US, featuring the biggest and brightest stars in Philippine showbiz. TFC offers a full range of drama, comedy, reality, variety, game shows, news and public affairs programs that keep overseas Pinoys abreast with the events back home.
TFC20’s anniversary ambassador is award-winning Filipino musician Gary Valenciano, who has over the past twenty-five years, released 26 albums, including 14 certified platinum. To mark the occasion, Valenciano, along with son Gab has produced an exclusive track and video for the song “Galing ng Filipinos.”
Read on for Gary V’s reflections on being TFC20’s ambassador, and watch the official music video for “Galing ng Filipinos.”
Reflections for 2014: A Year of Meaningful Milestones
By Gary V
I looked forward to this year with much excitement. There were significant milestones in the last thirty years that I believe have led to 2014 being a very special year for me.
I began my 30th anniversary as a performer last year with projects and partnerships guaranteed to keep me busy throughout this year. I recently launched a brand new album “With You,” recorded a new version of “Ikaw Lamang” for a soap opera for ABS/CBN, and had a blast with the 2-night anniversary concert “ARISE Gary V 3.0” at the Araneta Coliseum which had my eldest son Paolo as my co-director.
In January, I marked the beginning of my 16th year as UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) Ambassador to the Philippines and I took an outreach trip to Leyte with the team. I had mini-concerts at the Rizal Plaza across the Rizal Elementary School in Tacloban and also at the Tanauan High School as part of its “Back to Learning” Campaign. We all know that Leyte was among the hardest hit by Yolanda or Haiyan, the world’s biggest tropical storm to date. That doesn’t mean that life should stop for them, especially the children of this province. So, the mini-concerts I did were to help raise awareness for the need to rebuild schools and lives so children can get back to learning. But more importantly, it was a gesture of hope that there is life after tragedy.
Also in January, the whole “ASAP 19” cast went to Dubai where we had back-to-back shows in one day. That was historic as it was the first staging of our show in the Middle East and the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) responded by coming in droves, thousands of them, cheering, singing and dancing with us. It was a very warm welcome from our kapamilya and we’re glad to have shared joy and the Filipino brand of live entertainment that they miss so much.
This year I am honored to be named TFC’s 20th anniversary Ambassador by ABS/CBN. This means a lot as The Filipino Channel has followed the journey of our OFWs and Filipino migrants all over the world. With TFC, we want to share the message of the “Galing ng Filipino” – their innate greatness, their gifts, intelligence and skills (husay, talino, and abilidad) that do not only help them survive living in foreign lands and cultures but enable them to thrive, to be recognized, to be successful. I’m overjoyed to be part of the music video, “Galing ng Filipino” which features me and my second son, Gab. Gab, who is likewise based in the USA, also arranged the song that was composed by Jonathan Manalo and Jay Santiago. I performed it at the TFC 20th anniversary gala show in the U.S. and debuted the video on ASAP a week after. I hope that as I go travel to various events of TFC in different countries like the U.K., Singapore, Canada, the USA and Australia this year, I will see our kapamilya singing and dancing to this song when I perform it for them.
Watch the music video for “Galing ng Filipino”
Speaking of traveling and performing abroad, people have asked me what challenges I encounter when I do this. Music breaks down all barriers. It goes beyond languages and cultures. More than the head, it goes straight to the heart. So, this is important to me. More than a responsibility, I see performing for different audiences as a mission in life that I still am fulfilling.
I think it helps that I’m multicultural: I’m half Filipino-Spanish and half Puerto Rican-Italian. My mother hails from Arecibo, Puerto Rico while my father is from Albay in the Bicol region of the Philippines. Being Filipino, we have so much drama in the way we think and speak, but from my mother, that’s where I got the rhythms, the musical skills and the moves. My various cultural roots have greatly influenced me and these can be seen in my performances.
Many have asked me how I handle success. I simply don’t think about it. Relax? Retire? No, not yet. Not for a long while! There are still places in the world that I haven’t been to, and there are still people that I’d like to reach. With the kind of music that I’ve been blessed to compose or record, it’s such a pleasure hearing people sing with me during concerts and no one would ever be able to understand how special it always is to see that my music could create a positive lasting impact in the lives of my audiences.
My advice to aspiring artists? Love what you do. Have faith that God has chosen you and given you special skills to shine! You may have the talent to sing, dance, compose, make people laugh or cry, but it could only be properly utilized if you perform straight from the heart. Focus only the skills that spell excellence and never compare yourself to others as you are one-of-a-kind and uniquely you. And in everything, make love your motivation. With that you can’t go wrong.