Continuing a 120-year legacy: A musical history
MANILA, Philippines - Pioneers blaze unfamiliar paths because of an imperative: from embarking on adventures to addressing unserved markets. Such enterprising spirit laid the foundation for life insurance in the country as retold in LEGACY: The Sun Life Story.
Commemorating its history of service, Sun Life staged an original musical to show how love paved the way for Filipinos’ lasting relationship with one of the country's first and longest-standing life insurers. Written by award-winning playwright Floy Quintos, LEGACY starred Isay Alvarez and Robert Sena together with key leaders of the company as narrators.
“Our story, the Sun Life story, is not a 120-year history but a human story,” said Sun Life Philippine president and CEO Riza Mantaring, who gave the musical preamble. “It is a story that deserves to be retold and remembered.”
Beginning of a Legacy
Two Canadians eager to make a difference through life insurance, marked the early beginnings of Sun Life in the Philippines. They dreamed of the Far East, exploring countries like China and Japan, before reaching Manila in 1895.
At that time, life insurance was a product that Filipinos did not fully grasp. The concept was morbid and daunting, but the company persevered so it can be understood not as a harbinger of death but as hope for a brighter future. Still, it was the commitment of Sun Life that shine the brightest through world wars, martial rule, and the return of democracy.
During the Japanese invasion, Sun Life ran underground operations to continue serving its clients. The situation after the war did not get any easier. Post-war death claims reached $1.2 million but there was no documentation to validate its veracity. The company paid out these policies, as a relationship built on trust blossomed between this Canadian born company and the Filipinos even in the absence of any proof.
As the country rebuilt from the rubbles of war, Sun Life bore witness to the tenacity of the community it serves. New challenges like Martial Law and various financial crises did not deter the company from teaching Filipinos the value of foresight and financial planning. At present, Sun Life is known to help promote financial literacy with the vision of raising a financially-prepared generation.
Songs from the heart
The songs in LEGACY achieved the elusive balance between corporate flavor and artistic flair. The act called A Necktie Says A Lot embody the free spirit of the 70s, while I Am A Ray of Light gave honor to the Maria Clara who dared to dream and make something more of herself without sacrificing her loved ones. Director and choreographer Dexter Santos matched the wit and fluidity of the original music by Ceejay Javier.
Love is a Promise pulled at the strings of nostalgia and hope amidst the devastation of war. One can feel the call for adventure in the powerful Out There after a heartfelt opening number of A New Sun is Rising. Meanwhile, Now... What? posted the challenge of the next mountain to climb after gaining the number 1 spot in the industry. Then the whole cast ended the musical with the crescendo of Pass It On to dare not rest on one's laurels but to “renew the mission / refresh the vision.”
Passing on the Legacy
One of the themes in LEGACY was how important it is to remain steadfast and committed to the best that is yet to come. On a personal level, whether as a Sun Lifer or a spectator, one is bound to ask: what kind of legacy would I want to leave the world? And it is a question truly worth pursuing.
If you were to pass on a legacy to future generations, what would it be? What are you doing to ensure a brighter life ahead?
Inspiring and full of passion, LEGACY proved that the 120th year of Sun Life is about carrying on its partnership with Filipinos. And in the words of Mantaring, which may well be a mantra for a nation finding itself on the cusp of greatness: “This is the time to be brave. Our mission never ends. Our mission is to spread hope and pass it on”. – Rappler.com
“Legacy: A Sun Life Story” just ended its nationwide tour with stops in Manila, Pampanga, Cebu, Iloilo, Davao, and Cagayan de Oro.