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OPM icons honor healthcare workers

Pinoy healthcare workers are rock stars! Even before the pandemic, Filipinos are known to be the best nurses in the world. 

The Outstanding Young Men’s Heroes Unmasked initiative aims to raise funds for the Philippine General Hospital’s Panatag na Kanlungan project. 
Apart from skills and hard work, they spread happiness amid all the difficulties that come with the job. Unfortunately, their beautiful smiles are now hidden under face masks for the past two years, and their inner strength forever challenged by a silent enemy. 

In support of our hardworking heroes, a group of artists has put their appreciation in words and music.    

Composed by Ryan Cayabyab and interpreted by Gary Valenciano and Lea Salonga, “Heroes” is inspired by our medical front liners who have dedicated their lives to care for the sick. 

Recently launched on YouTube, the song is the highlight of The Outstanding Young Men’s (TOYM) Heroes Unmasked project, an initiative to raise funds for the Philippine General Hospital (PGH). 

Lea Salonga, TOYM and Tony Award winner
“I wanted something like Live Aid” shared TOYM chairman Donnie Tantoco. “But when I told Mr. C (Cayabyab), he said that it would be very expensive. He said, ‘I will just produce something from scratch’. Once we had the song, we realized the only ones who can interpret it powerfully, giving it the meaning it deserves, are Gary (Valenciano) and Lea (Salonga)”. 

Heroes Unmasked directly supports the Panatag na Kanlungan project of PGH, which provides assistance for medical front liners and volunteers. 

According PGH director Dr. Gerardo “Gap” Legaspi, front liners do not want to go home after their shift for fear of putting their loved ones in danger. At first, the dormitories in PGH were utilized, but there was not enough accommodations for everyone. Under the Panatag na Kanlungan project, several colleges were transformed into comfortable lodging facilities, complete with shower areas for the hardworking staff.

“It assured our workers of a place to stay after their COVID duty. They had comfortable beds, meals, even activities that cater to their wellness. Without TOYM’s support it will not be possible,” remarked Dr. Legaspi.

Gary Valenciano, singer and TOYM Awardee
With its reputation for honoring outstanding men and women who have significantly contributed to the country’s welfare, TOYM is leading the initiative to support PGH. The project welcomes both corporate and personal donations.

TOYM is inviting everyone to stream and share the “Heroes” music video. It is easily searchable on YouTube, just key in “Heroes Unmasked” on the search bar.     

TOYM also launched the Heroes Unmasked Song Challenge. Open to anyone 15 years old and above, participants can create a video and dedicate it to a front liner-hero of their choice. Log on to  www.toymheroescampaign.org for the mechanics.  

TOYM awardee Cayabyab must have been so inspired by the project he finished the words and music to “Heroes” in no time. “The process was very fast. Usually when the lyrics are set, I can could hear it in my head. It was finished in one seating. The story and concept were there, so you can set the type of music that will fit,” he said.

With moving lyrics like “in everyone there is a hero, fighting for what he believes is good not for himself, but for you and me”, someone suggested a Filipino version of the song during the media launch. “I will ask Joey Reyes to write Filipino lyrics,” said Cayabyab. “Maybe our Visayan friends, Ilokano friends can write Visayan and Ilokano lyrics.”

Topics: Ryan Cayabyab , Gary Valenciano , Lea Salonga , Heroes Unmasked Song Challenge , The Outstanding Young Men’s
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