Once upon a time, a pubescent boy of fifteen summers from Navotas started his musical journey as a contestant in the second season of Pinoy Pop Superstar.
With his captivating voice, Gerald Santos won the competition and entered the entertainment world. He became a fixture on TV, in concerts, and released albums, facing both success and challenges. Throughout it all, his voice, charisma, talent, and humility propelled him forward.
Fast forward to the present, Santos is now considered as the Philippine National Balladeer and a world-class musical theater artist. He is one of the major performers of the 64th Anniversary Gala of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, billed Anywhere We Sing is Home. He shares the CCP stage with Reb Atadero, Arman Ferrer, Sheila Francisco, Gab Pangilinan, Aicelle Santos-Zembrano, and Joana Ampil. National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab serves as the musical director. The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra conductor is Toma Cayabyab.
The CCP 64th Anniversary Gala, is a reunion of sorts for Santos and director Floy Quintos who admits that this is the first time for them to work together. He is tickled pink with this artistic collaboration. Quintos has been a believer in his talent since his PPS days and declares that he is a fan of Gerald’s gifts as an artist and performer.
“It is heartwarming, overwhelming, and surreal even, to be part of this gala show,” says the Philippine National balladeer. The concert celebrates all Filipino artists who embody grit, perseverance, adaptability, and resilience that enabled Gerald, and the rest of the performers of the Gala, to excel on whatever stage they conquer and make their own home.
For Santos, it brings him joy and pride to be with the Philippines’s crème dela crème of musical theater artists. He shares a special story about Joana Ampil: “When the Miss Saigon touring production was in Switzerland, she watched the show. I was Thuy and Aicelle was playing Gigi. It was nerve-wracking to know that one of the original Kims watched. There were butterflies in my stomach. Iba pa rin ang pakiramdam when one of our growing up icons is in the theater to watch.”
Gerald recollects that after their curtain call, together with Aicelle, they had a night out, movie time, and bonding with the one and only Ampil.
For the CCP gala, Gerald will perform duets with Santos-Zembrano from Miss Saigon and classic original Filipino pop songs.
The international musical theater artist is living proof that dreams do come true. To the dreamers, he says: “Huwag kayong panghihinaan ng loob. What you feel right now is valid. Keep the faith and hold on to the dream. Hone your talent. Always believe that breaks and opportunities will happen, it will come with hard work, discipline, improving and growth, professionalism, listening, and trusting your mentors, and definitely pray, trust, and give thanks to God.”
Gerald recognizes that his value is tied to his recent performances, understanding the fleeting nature of fame and adulation. He stays grounded by recalling his humble beginnings and the advice of his family to remain humble and grateful. As for his future musical endeavors, he hints at exciting prospects without revealing details.
Catch Gerald and other top Filipino artists in Anywhere We Sing Is Home: The CCP 64th Anniversary Gala on September 9 (8:00 p.m.) and September 10 (3:00 p.m.) at the Samsung Performing Arts Theater in Circuit Makati. Tickets are available on Ticketworld.