Recap: ‘Voices for Visayas’ benefit concert

Wyatt Ong
Top names in music perform for free to help survivors rebuild lives in the Visayas

VOICES. Over 100 stars lent their talents in a benefit concert for victims of the recent calamities. Screengrab from Rappler's livestream

MANILA, Philippines – True to the promise of the event’s name, some very powerful voices came together on the evening of January 15 at the Newport Performing Arts Theater at Resorts World Manila. 

The common goal of the Voices for Visayas benefit concert: to raise funds for rehabilitation, and to show a united front as our country continues to face, together, the long road to recovery after the devastation wrought by typhoon Yolanda. 

No matter the genre, network, or craft, artists brought their A-game to the show, performing for free. Proceeds will go to the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation, and then allocated to projects by Habitat for Humanity and Gawad Kalinga. The evening was hosted by Iza Calzado and Jim Paredes. You can watch the concert here:

With the help of the stage background set to project various vibrant, vivid images, the event benefit concert alternately tackled the different facets of the recent tragedy. 

Soaring vocals 

Viewers watched as an idyllic rural setting turned tumultuous, with visuals simulating a thunderous storm, while snippets of grim newscasts set the scene. Later, the same stage bloomed into a kaleidoscope of cheery colors, making way for lighter numbers. The evening featured not only singers, but also dancers from groups like Douglas Nierras’ Powerdance, Bayanihan, and the Philippine National Dance Company.

Stars like Ogie Alcasid, Regine Velasquez, Erik Santos, Jed Madela, and Gary Valenciano alternately expressed feelings of hope in the face of hardship with their powerful ballads.

Watch: Ogie Alcasid’s slow, beautiful number 

Watch: singer Gary Valenciano performed straight from the heart 


In a poignant moment, megastar Sharon Cuneta serenaded a small group of typhoon survivors onstage with “Smile,” the bittersweet tune made famous by Nat King Cole. 

Through her tears, one survivor, whose husband remains missing, stood tall and strong, holding her child and saying that she still had plans of returning to Tacloban. “Yes po. There’s no place like home. Kahit po sa mga nangyari na ganoon, gusto pa rin namin umuwi, para magpanibagong-buhay,” she told Sharon. (Despite what happened, we would still like to go home, so that we can rebuild our lives.)

The Prayer 

Some of today’s most prominent performers also made their presence felt that evening. In a simple video presentation, stars like Zsa Zsa Padilla, Anne Curtis, and Yeng Constantino could be seen recording their own renditions of “The Prayer” alongside the clear-cut young voices of a children’s choir from Bohol. The video also included stars who performed live at the concert.  

There was also a tender duet from Pilita Corrales and Chad Borja, a spirited collaboration from powerhouses Mitch Valdes and Bituin Escalante, and a moving number from opera singers Rachelle Gerodias and Andrew Fernando. 

Watch opera singers Rachelle Gerodias and Andrew Fernando


Watch: Pilita Corrales and Chad Borja’s duet 


Watch: Mitch Valdes and Bituin Escalante’s fiery number


The theater world did not go unrepresented. The audience was treated to two song-and-dance performances from the jazzy, upbeat Katy (featuring Isay Alvarez Seña, Aicelle Santos, The Cayabyab Singers, and the Katy ensemble), and the epic Rama Hari (featuring Robert Seña, Karylle, and Ballet Philippines).

Watch: song and dance featuring music from jazzy, upbeat Katy  

Watch the epic Rama Hari performance 

Theater greats Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo and Audie Gemora, with singing group The Company, kept the brisk pace going with their speedy, cheery number.  

Watch: theater greats Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo and Audie Gemora, with The Company  

With male singing trio Primo, Kuh Ledesma performed her version of the West Side Story hit “Somewhere.” Martin Nievera followed with a rendition of “What a Wonderful World,” urging the crowd to “be the loudest voice for the Visayas.” Leo Valdez and the Philippine Madrigal Singers also performed. After the finale number and just before the evening closed, violinist Jay Cayuca also wowed the crowed. 

Watch: Jay Cayuca’s amazing performance


The stirring final number, “Just Believe” (music by Ryan Cayabyab, lyrics by Jose Javier Reyes) featuring the voices of over 100 passionate artists, closed the show. “Just believe it shall be over / and we shall rise again,” they sang. And so we shall. –

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