BEIJING (June 30) — Philippine pop icon Gary Valenciano wowed his audience in a two-hour long concert called “Rhythms of Love and Friendship” at the Star Live Music Hall in Beijing on June 28 as part of the celebration of the 34th anniversary of Philippines-China diplomatic relations.
The Philippines and China established diplomatic ties on 9 June 1975.
“Gary Valenciano is one of our pop icons, a UNICEF Ambassador of goodwill and a role model for our youth. It is heartening that he showcased his immense talent before our kababayans and Chinese friends at a time when people-to-people relations between our two countries are at all-time high,” Philippine Ambassador to China Sonia Cataumber Brady said.
Ambassador Brady also stressed that “as we celebrate the 34th anniversary of our bilateral relations with China, we renew our commitment to bring this partnership to a higher level for the benefit of our two countries and peoples.”
“We cherish this relationship because despite many challenges it has become even stronger, as it is based on common values and traditions, and enriched by frequent exchanges between the Filipino and Chinese peoples for centuries,” she emphasized.
Gary V. opened his musical numbers with Lean on Me, originally written and performed by Bill Withers on the 1972 album Still Bill, which speaks of the true meaning of friendship.
He then delighted the crowd with his smash hits I Will Be Here, Love in Any Language, Warrior is a Child, and Shout for Joy. OFWs in the crowd were in tears when he belted out Babalik Ka Rin, widely-acknowledged as the theme song of OFWs all over the world, as they yearn to return to the loving arms of their motherland.
He also performed a medley, featuring some of his greatest hits like Hang On, Di Na Natuto, Narito, Paano, Until Then, and Reaching Out. Known as the Michael Jackson of the Philippines, Gary V. obliged for an encore, giving a soulful rendition of Michael Jackson’s Rock with You, as a tribute to his idol.
“I am here in Beijing because of a special cause – the 34th anniversary of Philippines-China relations,” Gary V. told the jampacked crowd. “Tonight, I feel not only your friendship, but more importantly your love. Filipinos and the Chinese people are related by blood. I hope that after tonight’s show I will be able to create better relationships with the Chinese people. I hope to return to Beijing again.”
The concert was attended by more than 1,000 people, including Chinese government officials and members of the diplomatic corps and the Filipino community. Ms. Zhang Ai, a national performer of the Beijing Dance Drama and Opera, Filipino duo Chris Decena and Dominic Bautista, and Annie Luis, a Bayanihan soprano soloist who is studying Peking opera at the National Academy for Chinese Theater Arts, also performed during the concert.
“Let the rhythms of love pass the good wishes for peace,” said CPAFFC President Chen Haosu in describing the concert. “Let the communication of hearts bridge the friendship between the Philippines and China.”
The Philippine Embassy in Beijing, in coordination with the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), the Filipino Home Group of the Beijing International Christian Fellowship, and the Philippine National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCAA), organized the concert as part of the celebration of the 34th anniversary of Philippines-China diplomatic relations.