(AUG. 5)—National Artist for Music Raymundo “Ryan” Cipriano P. Cayabyab is one of the five recipients of the 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Awards (RMA).
Named after the Philippine’s 7th president, the Ramon Magsaysay Awards (RMA) was established in 1957. It is considered as Asia’s premier prize and highest honor celebrating the “greatness of spirit and transformative leadership in Asia” equivalent to the Nobel Peace Prize. According to the RMA Foundation website, the award has been bestowed to over 300 “outstanding men, women and organizations whose selfless service has offered their societies, Asia and the world successful solutions to some of the most intractable problems of human development.”
RMAF Chairman Jose Cuisia Jr., former ambassador of the Philippines to the US, announced the five RMA recipients on Aug. 2 in a ceremony held at De La Salle University Rufino Campus in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
Cayabyab was recognized for “nurturing the gift and unifying power of music” and for “his compositions and performances that have defined and inspired Filipino popular music across generations; his indomitable, undeterred confidence to selflessly seek, mentor and promote young Filipino musical genius for the global stage; and his showing us all that music can indeed instill pride and joy, and unify people across the many barriers that divide them.”
Cayabyab, a musician, composer and conductor popularly known in the music industry as Maestro or Mr. C, is the only Filipino among the five RMA recipients.
He was conferred the National Artist for Music by the Office of the President of the Republic of the Philippines on Oct. 23,2018.
Cayabyab made significant contributions in the Original Pilipino Music (OPM) movement in the 1970s to promote Filipino popular music. His signature song “Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika” won the grand prize in the first Metro Pop Music Festival in 1978 and also won in the Seoul Song Festival in Korea that same year.
He formed the popular 1990s singing group Smokey Mountain and is currently the executive director of the Philpop Music Fest Foundation, Inc., a group that organizes the Philippine Popular Music Festival. In 2004, he received the Gawad Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) award for Music and was one of the recipients of the 100 awards of the CCP Centennial Honors for the Arts.
Cayabyab was a student of Business Administration at UP Diliman in 1971. He later transferred to the UP College of Music (CMu) and earned a degree in Bachelor of Music major in Theory. He served as a professor at CMu under the Department of Composition and Music Theory.
Other RMA recipients are: Ko Swe Win (Myannmar), journalist and editor-in-chief of the online news service “Myannmar Now;” Ravish Kumar (India), New Delhi Television Network’s senior executive editor and news anchor; Angkhana Neelapaijit (Thailand), human rights defender and Justice for Peace Foundation founder, and Kim Jong-ki (South Korea), businessman and Foundation for Preventing Youth Violence founder.
The awardees will be formally conferred the RMA on Sept. 9 at the CCP.
—Haidee C. Pineda