Gary Valenciano on the National Artist controversy: "It’s not really National Artist we’re looking for... we’re looking for a National Role Model."

At the age of 49 and after 30 years in the entertainment industry, Gary Valenciano remains the only performer who can stage big two-night concerts at the Big Dome. People just can’t seem to have enough of Mr. Pure Energy that they clamor for a repeat. As it happens, the Arise Gary V 3.0 concert held last April at the Smart Araneta Coliseum will have a repeat at the MOA Arena on August, in time for his birthday.


“Surreal” ang pakiramdam ni Gary Valenciano sa kanyang kasikatan hanggang ngayon, sa kabila ng 49 years old na siya at 30 years na siyang nasa industriyang ito.

Saad niya, “It’s really surreal.

“I never planned to stay in the industry for more than ten years because nga this industry is very fickle. One day you’re here, the next day you’re gone.

"So, after ‘Di Na Natuto’ came out in 1995, hindi pa rin ako sure kung ito ba talaga ang gusto kong gawin, magtatagal ba ‘to.”

Pero heto’t tatlong dekada na ang inabot niya.

“Yes, but the three decades were not always high and mighty.

"May mga ibang moments na parang pababa na rin.

"Then, 2001, with the songs ’I Will Be Here’ and ’The Warrior is a Child,’ yun na."

Nakausap ng PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) si Gary sa presscon ng repeat ng kanyang concert na ARISE Gary V 3.0 noong July 1.

Gaganapin naman ang mismong concert sa August sa MOA Arena.



PULSE. Sa tagal ni Gary sa showbiz, maaaring nagkaroon na siya ng pulso kung sino ang susunod na sisikat o malalaos.

Pero sabi niya, “In today’s scenario kasi, it’s not easy to tell anymore.

"I’ll give you an example, si AJ Rafael, Pinoy, a songwriter, he has a concert tonight.

"Sold-out, not many people know that he’s actually here, but it’s sold-out.

“He’s got over 100 million hits in YouTube, nobody knows, but it’s a level of success na iba rin.

"So, when it comes to knowing na sino ang tatagal, it’s not easy.

"But you have to ask, what kind of artist is he, performing artist ba ‘yan or recording artist?

“You have people like Norah Jones, grabeng mag-sell ng album ‘yan, pero sa States, she’s just a recording artist.”

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May pangarap pa rin ba siya sa kanyang singing career?

Tugon ni Gary, “Meron din, but it’s not so much for me anymore, hindi na yung tipo dati.

"When I was younger, kapag may dumating na offer o pupunta ka sa States or may offer ka, sige, sige, baka sumikat pa ako dun.

"Now, while I still can, gawin ko ang kaya kong gawin if it’s good for the people.

“Basta makita ko lang na nag-e-enjoy ko ang tao, at least, for that one moment, magawa ko ang kaya kong gawin.”

NATIONAL ARTIST. Sa puntong ito ay tinanong ng PEP si Gary kung isa ba sa pangarap niya ang maging National Artist.

Mainit kasing pinag-uusapan ngayon ang pagkakatanggal sa listahan ng Superstar na si Nora Aunor sa listahan ng hihiranging National Artist.

Aniya, “Kung ako ay naisali lang sa usapang National Artist, okey na sa akin yun.

"But, I think, there’s a lot of criteria whereas before… maybe it’s just kung ano lang ang nakita ng tao, yun na, artist talaga yun.

"But now, it has a lot to do with personal life, something that you did in the past.

"And that becomes a hindrance or stumbling block for you to become a national artist.”

Naniniwala ba siyang sa pagpili ng National Artist, kailangan ikunsidera ang moralidad ng isang nominado?

Sagot ni Gary, “Well, if that’s the case, that means the politician also must be out of the political arena kung mga personal lives ang palaging pag-uusapan.

“So, for me, regardless of what people have to say about the former President [Fredinand] Marcos or the First lady Imelda Marcos, they did a lot of good pa rin.

"You can see it in CCP complex, the beautification of Manila, that was something na talagang hinding-hindi natin... you cannot erase that, the fact that they did that.

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“And then, the following political administration all contributed something.

"Yes, may mga negatives... it’s always like that naman with everybody.

"But for me, with National Artist, the word artist kasi has to do with the artistry of the person.

"Otherwise, you may call it the National blah, blah of an artist and then, you add everything on it.”



NORA AUNOR. Ano ang naging reaksiyon ni Gary sa pagkakatanggal ni Nora sa listahan ng hihiranging National Artist dahil sa pagkakasangkot nito noon sa isyu ng droga?

Saad ng singer, “It raises the questions, what’s the criteria, what qualifies you as a National Artist and to everybody else that was chosen.

"Has anybody looked into their personal lives to see kung ano ang hindi pa alam ng tao?

"I think, the problem kasi with Ate Guy, na-sensationalize kasi yung buong buhay niya but, I think, every artist...

"Everyone would be questionable because you’re almost asking people to be perfect in every way para maging National Artist ka.

“Ang naitabi nga, yung pagiging artist mo dahil sa morality issue.

“Now, sinasabi mo ba na sang-ayon ako sa lahat ng nagawa ni Ate Guy? No, alam naman ni Ate Guy yun, she’s not dumb.

"She knows her mistakes, she knows what she’s done wrong, but her artistry was always at her best, 100 percent, acknowledged by even foreign movie guild, drama guild.

"Nora Aunor is an artist that the Philippines is blessed to have, so I feel parang sayang."

Isa ba sa ultimate goal ni Gary ang mahirang na National Artist?

Tugon niya, “No, I would rather create an impact in people’s lives inside than to be known at the outside as National Artist, that’s my goal in life.

“Okay lang kung halimbawa maisali ako sa mga ganun, okey lang kahit maisali at hindi ako pinili, okey lang.”

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OPEN BOOK. Lumalabas na disadvantage sa katulad nilang artists, na bukas na aklat ang buhay nila sa publiko, ang mahirang na National Artist.

Pahayag ni Gary tungkol dito, “Well, if our intention was to become a National Artist, I would not count on that.

"I would tell an artist don’t even count on it. Your personal life should be clean, very clean.

"And then, who makes the rules if an artist is having alcohol problems, for example, is it a qualifying or disqualifying [factor] no matter how beautiful the art is?

"E, wala, e, nahirapan siya sa isang area ng buhay niya, disqualified.

“Meanwhile, you’ll get somebody na hindi masyadong nagbigay ng impact, like what Nora Aunor did, o sige, National Artist na.

"So, it’s not really National Artist we’re looking for, I think.

"We’re looking for a symbol of excellence or for a National Role Model.

“I tell you, even I don’t qualify for a National Role Model, I know where my weaknesses are.

"Maybe for a person who have tried to live like a role model, okay, I’ll raise my hand.

"But everybody else tries. Sino naman sa atin ang hindi gumagawa ng tama or para maayos ang buhay?

"But not everyone was given a talent like Nora Aunor has."

Patuloy niya, “Look at the past, in the same way when you look back where she made a mistake and look before that pa.

"Grabe na yung ginawa niya and then she went through all the dark seasons of her life, she got out of it, she continued pa.”


Noranian o Vilmanian ba siya?

“I’ve worked with both, e.

"I’ve worked with Nora on stage. I’ve never worked with her in acting.

"I’ve worked with Vilma Santos in movies.

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"I’ll say that I’m like a person who grew up during the times of Martin Nievera and Gary Valenciano, yung tipong one cannot do without the other.

“Kung si Nora lang ang nandoon, hindi siya tatagal kung walang Vilma. There has to be positive or negative.

"Walang matimbang. Nora Aunor, iba rin, then Vilma Santos.

"Philippines are blessed with actresses and actors."


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