8 Pinoy pop culture moments defined by Ryan Cayabyab's music

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Let us take a look at just some very Pinoy moments that have been marked with the Mr. C imprint. In photo: A scene from the film "Ang Larawan." Screenshot from YOUTUBE

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — You know a person fully deserves the National Artist honor when the announcement of conferment of the order is met by praises and congratulatory messages, rather than questions and protests — just like when news broke out that Ryan Cayabyab, one of the country’s most respected musicians, is to become one of 2018’s honorees for his contributions to Filipino music.

As a composer, conductor and music educator, Cayabyab has written, performed, and taught some classical pieces, but there’s no denying his immense influence in local popular music and culture. In fact, some of his creations have become too ingrained in the Filipino culture, that sometimes, we encounter them without realizing that we are enjoying the masterpiece of a music legend.

Before we take for granted another Ryan Cayabyab experience in our lives, let us take a look at just some pop culture moments that have been marked with the Mr. C imprint. So the next time we encounter them, we can bask in the feeling that we are privileged to be exposing our senses to the work of a National Artist.

When we felt the kilig of young love in “Kailan” with Sarah Geronimo and John Lloyd Cruz.

The Cayabyab song “Kailan,” originally recorded by his own music group Smokey Mountain, plays an important role in the Laida-Miggy love story which we saw unfold in the “A Very Special Love” film trilogy.

When we lined up for a musical entry, “Ang Larawan,” at the 2017 Metro Manila FIlm Festival.

Ryan Cayabyab won Best Musical Score for the film version of the stage musical which he originally worked on with National Artist for Theater Rolando Tinio. Incidentally, “Ang Larawan” (the film) and “Larawan, The Musical” were based on a play written by another National Artist, Nick Joaquin.


When “Da Coconut Nut” amused the world with a viral YouTube clip.

In 2017, Dubai-based airline Emirates posted a clip of its passengers, members of the Baylor University Men’s Choir performing another Smokey Mountain signature hit. The upload has since been viewed more than 2.5 million times.


Every time that “Buhos na Ulan” meme resurfaces.

During monsoon or typhoon seasons, there’s always someone who’d post that meme with Regine Velasquez flooding the country by singing lines from the Cayabyab classic “Tuwing Umuulan at Kapiling Ka.” In August of this year, that someone was Regine herself.


When that rehearsal clip of Bituin Escalante singing “Minsan ang Minahal ay Ako” made us pay attention.

In 2016, while doing a sound check for a musical, theater star Bituin Escalante sang “Minsan ang Minahal ay Ako,” a song from one of Cayabyab’s stage musicals, “Katy.” A video of the impromptu performance was posted on Facebook, which quickly spread, sparking interest in the haunting song.

When a reality talent show produced an entire album of Cayabyab songs.

During the second season of ABS-CBN’s Pinoy Dream Academy, show mentors Ryan Cayabyab and Jose Javier Reyes collaborated and created songs for the show’s finalists. The result was an amazing collection of contemporary pop, with Bugoy Drilon’s “Paano Na Kaya” becoming the most successful, which was turned into a Kim Chiu-Gerald Anderson movie.

Every time we get nostalgic over old educational T.V. theme songs.

The ultra catchy themes of “Sineskwela” and “Hiraya Manawari”? Yes, composed by a National Artist.

The time of the year when we hear “Kumukutikutitap” in the malls.

Jose Mari Chan is not the only Christmas wise man of Original Pilipino Music (OPM). Another Christmas mall playlist staple, “Kumukutikutitap” is a Ryan Cayabyab masterpiece guaranteed to bring you Pinoy Christmas feels even when you’re listening during summer.