An afternoon with Gary V.

November 09, 2019
Settling in front of Escaler Hall, multi-awarded artist and UNICEF ambassador Gary Valenciano said, “It has been an honor for me to stay here in front of you face to face.”  He was on campus October 30 to meet with students and share personal stories.
The intimate setting allowed the entertainer to reach out to students.

Students give Valenciano a warm welcome.

The idea, he explained, was to visit 35 schools to celebrate his 35 years in the entertainment industry. “It really is a desire to inspire.” 
Life, he said, is a journey and just like the students, he also goes through things in life.  He advised them to reach out: “Reaching out also means reaching in.” It is important, he added, to carry on despite the challenges. “Every family is going through something; you are not alone. I am also going through it.” 
Valenciano talked about his journey and how, despite harrowing experiences, he remains hopeful.  He cited 3 life events that turned his life upside down: the separation of his parents, getting diagnosed with diabetes at 14 years old, and their house burning down. Having their house gutted by fire, it turned out, sparked his music career.  He lived in his sister’ s house where an old piano sat. He wrote classic OPM hits like ‘Sana Maulit Mulit’ and ‘Take Me Out of the Dark’ on that piano.  “It started with an out-of-tune piano,” he said.
In 2018, Valenciano suffered a double whammy when he was diagnosed with kidney cancer right after surviving a delicate heart bypass surgery. 
In the face of a dark and heavy situation, Valenciano knew that God is in control. “No matter what lies ahead of me, God is already there. “
Today, he is free of cancer. 
Addressing the students, Valenciano said that they should always remember that they are “made in the image and likeness of God” and if they allow him to hold the paintbrush of their life, they will become “the master’s piece.”
This Biblical verse, according to Valenciano, is apt for Ateneans.

Before the program ended, students were given the opportunity to ask him questions, which he gamely answered.

“Gary V. Face to Face@Ateneo” was organized by the School of Social Sciences’ Office of the Dean.