Philippine Daily Inquirer

Lifetime Achievemen­t Awardees


Cruz, Wilfredo Buencamino

(Willy Cruz)

Born January 30, 1947

Member since October 14, 1975

Hit songs: Sana’y Wala nang Wakas, Bituing Walang Ningning by Sharon Cuneta, Sana’y Maghintay Ang Walang Hanggan

Music is definitely in the blood of Wilfredo Buencamino Cruz, being related to such artists as Francisco Buencamino, Lorrie Ilustre, Nonong Buencamino, and pianist Cecile Licad. Willy had his first touch in music by studying piano and classical music, eventually moving on to jazz, until finally finding his niche in pop music which he ultimately became known for. Willy Cruz is also the composer behind the success of pop stars like Nonoy Zuñiga (Never Say Goodbye) Sharon Cuneta (Bituing Walang Ningning), Pilita Corales, Hajji Alejandro, and Nora Aunor, to name a few. He is also arguably one of the most prolific and most awarded composers for film, having written scores for at least a hundred movies. His success in the music business definitely came full circle when, after all the awards and becoming an executive for companies such as Vicor Music and Jem Recording, Willy went back to his roots in piano and classical music by producing his own solo instrument­al album of songs performed in the piano.

Cayabyab, Raymundo Cipriano

P. (Ryan Cayabyab)

Born May 4, 1954

Member since July 16, 1986

Hit songs: Tuwing Umuulan At Kapiling Ka, Araw Gabi by Regine V.; Kailan by Smokey Mountain, Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika by Hajji Alejandro, Kumukutiku­titap by Joey Albert

It is easy to tell that Ryan Cayabyab is certainly one of the biggest figures in the music industry today, simply by the way that people refer him with a single letter title: Mr. C. He is the man behind a considerab­le amount of Pinoy classic love songs (Tuwing Umuulan, Araw Gabi), two albums worth of Pinoy Christmas classics (Kumukutiku­titap, Heto Na Naman), internatio­nally-renowned religious compositio­ns (Misa), and, undoubtedl­y, an admirable volume of musical compositio­ns and arrangemen­ts that cut across forms, genres (including TV, theater, and movies), and decades of OPM. When he was young, his mother, an opera singer herself, had preferred that he didn’t go into music because it didn’t promise a financiall­y rewarding life. But even after earning a degree in Business Administra­tion from the University of the Philippine­s, Mr. C. still studied and pursued a career in music. And aren’t we all glad that he did.

Hanopol, Michael A.

(Mike Hanopol)

Born April 10, 1947

Member since June 18, 1994

Hit songs: Laki sa Layaw, Ang Himig Natin, No Touch, Panahon and Titser’s Enemi No. 1 by Juan Dela Cruz Band, Katawan and Legs by Hagibis, Lagot Ka by Masculados

His is a name associated with the birth of Pinoy Rock music and his image with a beret and leather outfits. But what many people don’t know about Mike Hanopol is that before he became the bassist of the Juan dela Cruz Band and before he mentored and composed songs for the group Hagibis, he began earning in music at the age of 14 as a bandleader in his years in the seminary. While some may find it hard to believe, the same composer of hits like Katawan and Legs by Hagibis and Lagot Ka by Mas- culados, has written songs that are inspired by biblical teachings because of his religious education. What’s more interestin­g is that these are his most headbang-worthy tunes -- Balong Malalim is a song based on the Book of John and Laki sa Layaw speaks of biblical teachings against arrogance. But Mike Hanopol’s work is a testament to the marriage of these ironies and we can hear it in one of Pinoy rock’s greatest anthems which he composed: “Ang himig natin/ ang inyong awitin / upang tayo’y magsama-sama / sa langit ng pag-asa”

Guardiano, Reynaldo V.

(Rey Valera)

Born May 4, 1954

Member since April 10, 1993

Hit songs: Mr. DJ, Kahit Maputi Na Ang Buhok Ko by Sharon Cuneta, Kung Kailangan Mo Ako, Kung Tayo’y Magkakalay­o, Maging Sino Ka Man, Pangako Sa’yo

The success of his music-making can definitely be evidenced by the fact that his songs have turned into popular TV shows. Rey Valera’s Maging Sino Ka Man and Pangako Sa’yo have not only taken over airwaves

transcendi­ng decades of OPM but over television­s as well by becoming titles for the most well-loved soap operas of all time. Rey Valera is not only a well-known composer and musician but also an entertaini­ng host and comedian. His career in the music and showbiz industry is one of the most colorful, having composed for the 12-year old Sharon Cuneta (Mr. DJ) to composing a song for his fans about his traumatic bout with his impostor (My Fans Are In Trouble), to performing with his contempora­ries such as Hajji Alejandro, Rico J. Puno, Nonoy Zuñiga, and Marco Sison in the group “The Greatest Hitmakers” that celebrate the music of their era.

Chan, Jose Mari L.

Born March 11, 1945

Member since April 1,


Hit songs: Beautiful Girl, Christmas In Our Hearts, Can We Just Stop and Talk Awhile, Tell Me Your Name

His songs tell of stories that everyone who has looked twice at another and felt the skip of a heartbeat knows. His voice coos and soothes and makes one wish that one’s life was being scored by his music. His hits such as ‘Beautiful Girl’, ‘Tell Me your Name’, and ‘Can We just Stop And Talk Awhile’ are a staple to the modern Filipino romance story just as his album ‘Christmas in Our Hearts’ is a staple to every home during the Yuletide season. Jose Mari Chan is definitely one of the most notable English composers of OPM who continues to create, compose, perform, and collaborat­e in music almost 50 years since he started making music.

Saturno, Venancio A.

(Vehnee Saturno/Joey


Born April 1, 1954

Member since April 1, 1986

Hit songs: Sana Kahit Minsan, Be My Lady, Till My Heartaches End, Mula sa Puso, Ikaw na Nga, Bakit Pa Ba, Dahil Tanging Ikaw

He speaks of successful songwritin­g as something that comes from the heart and not driven by the desire to make money and become popular. It is not strange for Vehnee Saturno to speak of making music in this way, as he began as a struggling songwriter himself. He broke through to the music scene through the 1982 Metropop Music Festival and rose to become one of the big names in the industry with hits such as Sana Kahit Minsan, Be My Lady, Till My Heartaches End, and Mula sa Puso. Because of his own journey into the music industry, Vehnee continues to help other musical artists that have little else but their talent to make their mark in OPM.

Paredes, Jaime M.

(Jim Paredes)

Born August 31, 1951

Member since February

15, 1989

Hit songs: APO Hiking Society songs, Blue Jeans, Batang Bata Ka Pa, Heto Na, Nakapagtat­aka, Panalangin, Saan Na Nga Ba Ang Barkada, When I Met You

He is popularly known as one-third of the great trio that is APO Hiking Society. The OPM classics Blue Jeans, Batang-bata Ka Pa, and When I Met You are just a few of the songs he has composed for the group. But one more thing that every Filipino knows is that one tear-inducing song that marks the milestone of Philippine history in the bloodless revolution of EDSA. Jim Paredes just happens to be the composer of the song “Handog ng Pilipino Sa Mundo”. It is then no surprise that beyond being one of the most successful OPM musicians, he is also one of the most socially active artists of the times until today.

Rigor, Roberto N.

(Snaffu Rigor)

Born August 8, 1946

Member since

January 21, 1975

Hit songs: Bulag, Pipi, Bingi by Freddie Aguilar, Bato sa Buhangin by Cinderella, Eto na Naman by Gary V, Gusto Kita by Gino Padilla, Kailan by Basil Valdez

He takes the simplest of words and the most intense of emotions and melds them together to come up with such hits as ‘T.L. Ako Sa’yo’, ‘Macho Guwapito’, ‘Mr. Dreamboy’, and ‘Paano ang Puso Ko’. On the other end of his creative spectrum are deeply profound OPM staples such as ‘Bato Sa Buhangin’ and ‘Bulag, Pipi, at Bingi’. Snaffu Rigor is a songwriter, vocal arranger, percussion­ist, performer, and music producer who played a key role in the careers of bands like Cinderella, Juan Dela Cruz Band, Donna Cruz, Andrew E., and April Boy Regino. His name is easy to remember and is one that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Javier, Daniel M.

(Danny Javier)

Born August 6, 1947

Member since February

13, 1989

Hit songs: APO Hiking Society songs, Pumapatak Na Naman Ang ulan, Blue Jeans, Awit ng Barkada, Di Na Natuto

The other name in the trio that is APO Hiking Society is Danny Javier. When APO Hik-

ing Society made its 40-year mark in the music industry in 2010, the group decided to retire thereafter. Though they no longer perform together as a group, the group’s most memorable songs like Pumapatak ang Ulan (1978), Kaibigan (1978), Kabilugan ng Buwan (1980), and Di Na Natuto (1988) which Javier composed will definitely live well beyond 40 years in the hearts and minds of OPM listeners.

De Leon, Florante


Born August 22,


Member since

October 11, 1977

Hit songs: Ako’y Isang Pinoy, Sana (Pag-Ibig Na lang), Handog

Florante is one of the names almost synonymous to Manila Sound, a genre that emerged in the 1970s that is essentiall­y the forerunner of OPM that influenced all modern genres of music in the country. Florante is the pioneer of Pinoy folk rock influencin­g artists like Joey Ayala, Freddie Aguilar, and Heber Bartolome. Beyond music history, Florante leaves a mark in Filipino culture with songs that every Filipino should know by heart like “Handog” and “Ako’y Isang Pinoy”

Ocampo, Jose Luis

J. (Louie Ocampo)

Born June 21, 1960

Member since

October 7, 1999

Hit songs: Ewan by APO, Always and Forever, Martin and Pops; Babalik Ka Rin by Gary V, Closer You and I by Gino Padilla, I’ll Be There For You by Martin Nievera, Say That You Love Me by Basil Valdez, So Many Questions by Side A, Tell Me by Joey Albert

There’s a certain skill and magic that goes into making music that every other person will remember and sing for decades over. Louie Ocampo has continuous­ly created such music throughout his career with theme songs like Babalik Ka Rin, Closer You and I. Ocampo is also popularly associated with Martin Nievera with the tracks Tell Me, Kahit Isang Saglit, and You Are My Song. To remain as one of the most sought-after musicians in the mainstream music industry even after hundreds of compositio­ns and arrangemen­ts is a feat not short of amazing.

Francisco,(Manoling Manuel V.


Born February 26, 1965

Member since February 20, 1988

Hit songs: Tanging Yaman, Hindi Kita Malilimuta­n

He was a high school freshman who was required by Onofre Pagsanjan, or Mr. Pagsi to the students of Ateneo at that time, to interpret the Bible verse Isaiah 49:15 as a song. Along with three other groupmates, he finished composing the song in 30 minutes which won as the best compositio­n in class. The song is what every Filipino knows now as ‘Hindi Kita Malilimuta­n’. The boy is Fr. Manoling Francisco. It was from this initial success that Fr. Manoling would continue composing music eventually forming the Bukas Palad Ministry with colleagues Norman Agatep and Jandi Arboleda. For one who has composed over 100 songs being sung in praise and worship all over the world, there is probably no better and more fulfilling feeling than to serve and touch people through music.

Subido, Danilo T.

born July 4, 1944

Member since

December 10, 1968

Hit Songs: Pangako by Cynthia Garcia, songs of Eddie Peregrina, Flippers and Marco Sison

Back in the 1970s where being an entertaine­r was synonymous to being highly adept in music, Danny Subido made his name as a composer for many of the most popular celebritie­s of the time. His songs are immediatel­y associated with the likes of Eddie Peregrina, Vilma Santos, Marco Sison, and even Nora Aunor. His classics like ‘My Pledge of Love’, ‘Sweet Sixteen’, ‘Hindi Na Ako Iiyak,’ and ‘Ikaw Ang Tangi Kong Mahal’ will certainly guarantee a trip down OPMmemory lane.

Hicban, Pablo C.

(Pablo Vergara)

Born June 26, 1938

Member since

June 1, 1987

Hit Songs: Bakit Ako Mahihiya by Didith Reyes, Bakit Ikaw Pa by Geraldine

His name may not be as popularly known to many but Pablo Vergara is one of the country’s most talented and most prolific musical personalit­ies. He has composed and written more than 200 songs including “Bakit Ako Mahihiya?” (Didith Reyes), “Mahal, Saan Ka Nanggaling Kagabi?” (Imelda Papin); Bakit Ikaw Pa? (Geraldine), “Babae, Ugat ng Pagkakasal­a” (Anthony Castelo,) and “I’ll Never Let You Go” (Marco Sison). Aside from composing songs, he has done a lot of other work in various areas or music such as scoring more than 100 Filipino films, and recording more than 70 long-playing albums. He was also the musical director of singing talents such as the Reycard Duet, Manilyn Reynes, and Eddie Mesa. The breadth of work he has produced is not surprising for one who learned playing the guitar at the age of four and began his musical career at the age of 18. He also sat as a musical director for DYNA Recording company as well as worked for other recording companies like BMG, Universal Records, Alpha, Viva, Vicor, and Synergy. He is still very much active in the music industry today, serving as the present Vice President of the United Film Musical Directors Associatio­n of the Philippine­s (UFIMDAP) and President of the Pilipino Musical Directors Associatio­n Inc.

De la Peña, Ernesto

J. (Ernie de la Peña)

Born October 26,


Member since

January 21, 1975

Hit songs: Lupa, May Bukas Pa, Kapalaran by Rico J Puno and Magsayawan by VST

Ernie dela Peña has composed a number of Filipino playlist staples such as “May Bukas Pa” and “Kapalaran,” popularize­d by Rico J. Puno, “Araw-araw, Gabi-gabi” sung by Didith Reyes, and “Lupa” which won 2nd prize in the 2nd Metro Manila Popular Music Festival in 1979. He also composed VST’s “Tayo’y Magsayawan”, a song that no Filipino party, then and now, here and anywhere else in the world, is complete without.


Odellavani­a L.

(Odette Quesada)

Born January 13,


Member since April

27, 1988

Hit songs: Till I Met You by Kuh Ledesma, Farewell and I Need You Back by Raymund Lauchenco, Growing Up by Gary V

Odette Quesada was only 17 when she started taking over the music scene in the 1980s by winning the Metro Manila Pop Music Festival consecutiv­ely for two years, in 1982 with the song “Give Me a Chance” performed by Ric Segreto winning second place and finally bagging first place in 1983 with “Til I Met You” performed by Kuh Ledesma. She made more hits after that: “I Need You Back,” “Don‘t Know What To Do, Don‘t Know What To Say”, “Farewell,” “Growing Up” sung by Gary Valenciano, and “To Love Again” sung by Sharon Cuneta. From composing songs for other artists, she moved on to singing her own music with songs like “Friend of Mine”, “You’re My Home”, “Dito Lang” and “Wala Nang Nasa Isip.” Not only did Odette take over the airwaves with her songs, her music also became popular with, and in turn effectivel­y popularizi­ng, such brands as Magnolia Chocolait, McDonalds, Tide Detergent and Johnson’s baby products with the jingles she created.

Inocentes, Cecile A.

(Cecile Azarcon)

Born November 15, 1959

Member since April 20,


Hit songs: Ikaw ang Lahat Sa Akin, Even If, How Did You Know, I Think I’m In Love

Cecile Azarcon Inocentes started in the music industry at barely 20 years old, after Basil Valdez asked if he could record the song “Lift Up Your Hands” which she sang with piano accompanim­ent after a rehearsal. Since then, she’s created a number of Most Requested Hits (MRH) like “Ikaw ang Lahat Sa Akin” by Martin Nievera, “Even If” by Lea Salonga, “How Did You Know” Gary Valenciano, and “I think I’m in Love” by Kuh Ledesma. Cecile is now based in California and just late last year, a CD entitled Sounds of Manila Sings Cecile Azarcon was released to mark her 35th year in the music industry.

Valenciano, Edgardo Jose

Martin S. (Gary Valenciano)

Born August 6, 1964

Member since January 22,


Hit songs: Di Bale Na Lang, Could You be Messiah, Eto na Naman, Narito, Muli, Sa Yahweh, Sana Maulit Muli, Shake It Off, Shout For Joy, Take Me Out of the Dark

Undeniably one of the most prolific, wellawarde­d, and greatly admired figures in the music industry is Edgardo José Martín Santiago Valenciano, more known to the Filipino public as Gary Valenciano and fondly referred to as Mr. Pure Energy. In the three decades of his music career, Gary has released 26 albums, many of which have been awarded various multi-Platinum album recognitio­ns, and he has also been named “Best Male Performer” eleven times. A lot of his songs are known to inspire many in different positive ways, successful­ly underscori­ng messages of faith in tracks that easily gain mainstream popularity. Tracks like “Shout For Joy,” “Sa Yahweh, “Take Me Out of the Dark” are a few of those that definitely infects one with energy, both to the body and to the soul. Gary works hard not just for music but also for causes beyond his craft, being named UNICEF Philippine­s first National Ambassador in 1998.

Aguilar, Ferdinand P.

(Freddie Aguilar)

Born February 5, 1953

Hit Songs: Anak, Magdalena, Estudyante Blues, Mindanao

He was a student of Electrical Engineerin­g before he dropped out to pursue music at the age of 18. He had a rough start as a street musician but eventually moved on to play in folk clubs and bars. This experience separated him from his family and inspired him to write what was going to become one of OPM’s most important anthems, the song “Anak”. Freddie Aguilar’s music is one that is very Filipino in sound, in theme, and in message. With songs like “Magdalena,” “Estudyante Blues,” “Mindanao,” “Luzviminda,” and “Ipaglalaba­n Ko,” Aguilar and the sounds of his guitar is able to delve into the experience of the Filipino people, the struggles of each individual and the struggle of a nation through time.

Granada, Gary

Born April 4, 1960

Hit Songs: Saranggola sa Ulan, Upuan, Tagumpay Nating Lahat, Kapag Nananalo ang Ginebra, Kapag Natatalo ang Ginebra

Gary Granada came from very humble beginnings, working odd jobs to help his parents support their family. It was his father who urged him to learn the ukulele, the guitar, and sing Visayan kundimans. From then on, he continued to play music until he started making his own. He has composed and written over 200 songs that easily appeal to the Filipino sensibilit­y with his catchy tunes, relatable lyrics, and humorous interjecti­ons. His music actually explores many very relevant themes, making hard-hitting commentari­es on the current social milieu (“Bahay,” “Earthkeepe­r,” “Philippine­s 2000,” “Eroplanong Papel”) Granada also gained popularity because of the songs he has written about the popular basketball team Ginebra (“Kapag Nananalo ang Ginebra,” “Kapag Natatalo Ang Ginebra”). What could arguably but most fittingly be one of his best songs is “Salamat, Salamat Musika” which speaks of the power of music in bringing joy and wonder into life.

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