Musical Director

Kapamilya Awards 2017

It was a great privilege to be the Musical Director for this event. I witnessed hundreds of ABS CBN workers from all areas of the industry come up and receive awards for service for 5, 10, 15, 20, and 30 years.

Incidentally, my first arrangement for ABS CBN has been traced to the year 2003 by the HR department. So I’ve been doing freelance work (as arranger and keyboardist) for the network for 14 years now. Happy

The band performed an opening number sung by Erik Santos, Kyla, Daryl Ong, and Angeline.

Junjun Regalado - Drums
Simon Tan - Bass


Jay Agustin - 2nd Keyboard
Ardie de Guzman - guitar


Rene Martinez - backup vocals
Tanya Bustamante Marquez - backup vocals


We also performed Bamboo’s closing set for the night.


Two Days after Divas Live in Manila 2016. Senti Mode

2016-10-20 15.03.14
(noise-cancelling headphones.. one of the best purchases of my year)

Two days after the wonderful storm that was the Divas Live in Manila concert, I'm in a sentimental mode.

Pic above was taken in Hilton Hotel in London. This was where I finished the Divas’ Opening Medley Number 1, while still recovering from Bamboo's show in Scotland the night before, and from the flight from Scotland. Opening Medley Number 2 was started in Ireland and finished in Dubai. I only did 6 arrangements for the show (3 medleys and 3 single songs), the rest we farmed out to other arrangers, but it was probably one of the hardest things I've ever done! Because I did them while touring 5 countries for 6 smashing shows with Bamboo in 18 days, sound check, shuttling from hotel to venue and back, 12+ airport stops, 4 time zones. Jet lag, packing and unpacking hectic-ness (6 hotels), and the occasional hangover (eep), while coordinating with the other arrangers, with the artists, production team, and suppliers in Manila.

It was hard to do arrangements in the mobile workstation, away from my home studio. All the while missing my husband and daughter.

(victory pose after the gig in Dubai)

Sometimes when my comrades toured whichever city or shopped while I locked myself up in the hotel room to work, I'd question why I was doing this. But after everything, I now bask in the realization that it was all worth it. Music is my sport, the training can be gruelling, and then we go all-out during the show. Rinse, recover, repeat.

2016-10-23 13.51.11
(I made some very notable exceptions, though. Do I stay in the hotel room to work, and miss bar-hopping in Ireland? No way!)

Walking in beautiful and unfamiliar streets, removed from my usual contexts, gave me a creative energy that helped me to attack the workload relentlessly, and opened up my mind. It also helped that Spicy Lemon production/touring group put us in posh hotels in lovely areas, all 6 stops.

It helped that many of the songs in Divas were girl-power anthems that got my blood running, heheh.


After the first rehearsal

Ironing out harmonies with KZ and Yeng

A few light moments with extraordinary musicians Michael Alba and Karel Honasan before the countdown began

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I realise I haven’t had the time to organise my photos from the Bamboo Tour. I’ll just save that for the next blog post.

- Ria Happy