Ryan Cayabyab

SMMC SMPO Cultural Center of the Philippines

Ryan Cayabyab
Ryan Cayabyab.jpg
Ryan Cayabyab
Raymundo Cipriano Pujante Cayabyab

(1954-05-04) May 4, 1954 (age 66)
Santa Cruz, Manila, Philippines[1]
Other namesMr. C
OccupationConductor, composer, arranger, pianist, singer
Years active1971–present
AwardsOrder of National Artists of the Philippines, Ramon Magsaysay Award

Ryan Cayabyab (born Raymundo Cipriano Pujante Cayabyab; May 4, 1954), also known as Mr. C, is a Filipino musician, composer and conductor. He was the Executive and Artistic Director for several years for the defunct San Miguel Foundation for the Performing Arts. He was named as National Artist of the Philippines for Music in 2018.[2]

His works range from commissioned full-length ballets, theater musicals, choral pieces, a Mass set to unaccompanied chorus, and orchestral pieces, to commercial recordings of popular music, film scores and television specials.

Cayabyab's current project includes the Ryan Cayabyab Singers (RCS), a group of seven young adult singers comparable to his group Smokey Mountain in the early 1990s. After FreemantleMedia decided not to renew the Philippine Idol franchise, Cayabyab transferred to rival show Pinoy Dream Academy (season 2), replacing Jim Paredes as the show's headmaster. PDA 2 started on June 14, 2008. He also became the chairman of the board of judges for GMA Network's musical-reality show To The Top.

He is the executive director of the Philpop MusicFest Foundation Inc., the organization behind the Philippine Popular Music Festival. This songwriting competition for amateurs and professionals puts the spotlight on songwriters and encourages Filipinos to preserve their unique musical identity.

Early life

Born Raymundo Cayabyab in 1954 in Santa Cruz, Manila, he suffered the death of his mother, Celerina Venson Pujante (she died of cancer at the age of 43), when he was 6 years old. His father, Alberto Austria Cayabyab, who was an ordinary government employee, struggled to support him and his three siblings. An opera singer and a college professor at the UP School of Music (to whom he considered her as his first piano teacher), his mother's dying wish was that none of the children pursue a music career, as she knew how hard life it was, with often low earnings. At the age of 4, Cayabyab began his musical education with piano lessons.

Cayabyab initially took up Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in the University of the Philippines, Diliman. Looking for work to support his studies, he landed with then-Senator Salvador Laurel as accompanist for the Chorale Ensemble of the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP). Noticing Cayabyab's exceptional talent on playing the piano, Laurel offered Cayabyab a scholarship to enable him to pursue an education in music.

Cayabyab graduated from the UP College of Music earning a Bachelor of Music, Major in Theory degree. Eventually, he became a full-time professor for the Department of Composition and Music Theory in the UP Diliman for almost two decades.

At the turn of the 21st century, Cayabyab was considering a move to migrate abroad with his family. Danding Cojuangco (President of the San Miguel Corporation) offered him a position to produce and perform new music to add to the Philippine music scene; Cayabyab accepted the offer as Executive and Artistic Director of the San Miguel Foundation for the Performing Arts. He served there for several years until the sudden closure of the foundation.


As music director, conductor and accompanist, Cayabyab has performed in the United States with leading Philippine music figures, at venues including Avery Fisher Hall in the Lincoln Center in New York City; Carnegie Hall (both the Main and Recital halls) in New York; the Kennedy Center and the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.; the Shrine in Los Angeles; the Orpheum in Vancouver; and Circus Maximus of Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip.

He has traveled as music director in most of the Southeast Asian cities, in the cities of Australia as well as in (Germany), France, Spain, the Netherlands, Japan, and the United States. He has worked in the same shows with Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra, as well as conducted the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra for special performances of American jazz singer Diane Schuur and pianist Jim Chappel.

He has performed as music director in command performances for King Hasan II in Rabat, Morocco, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia of Spain in Manila, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia in Tangiers, Queen Beatrix at the Noordeinde Palace in the Netherlands, and U.S. President Bill Clinton in Boston, Massachusetts.

In Manila, he has conducted the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines for a concert of Philippine and American contemporary music; and the Manila Chamber Orchestra for a concert of his original works.


Ryan Ryan Musikahan, the television show, has won a total of fourteen awards as Best Television Musical Show and for Mr. Cayabyab, the Best Show Host in various television award-giving bodies. Likewise, as an artist, producer, arranger, and composer, he has won a total of eighteen awards from the recording industry for various commercial recordings. He has produced albums of the popular Filipino teen group Smokey Mountain, Broadway and West End's diva, Lea Salonga, and Spain's internationally acclaimed singer Julio Iglesias.

In 1987 he composed and rearranged the classical tinged version of ABS-CBN jingle, which was used in the network's Station ID from 1987-1995. He also composed the "ABS-CBN Millennium Overture", which was used in the ABS-CBN New Millennium Station ID in 2000.

Cayabyab also composed the catchy jingle for an advertisement of a softdrink brand Sarsi, entitled "Sarsi: Angat sa Iba" (Sarsi: Different from Others) in 1989. The commercial became the most creative TV ad of that year.

Cayabyab composed "Mabuhay", the opening song of Miss Universe 1994 pageant, held in Manila, Philippines.

In 2005, Cayabyab composed the official soundtrack for the 23rd edition of the Southeast Asian Games in Manila.

In 2006, Cayabyab signed on as a resident judge for the first season of Philippine Idol, offering critiques for the contestants on the reality-talent show. He was chosen by the top guns of Philippine Idol, while the other two judges, Pilita Corrales and the late Francis Magalona, had to undergo auditions. He also composed the themes of TV Patrol and The World Tonight in 1993 and it was used until 1996 for TV Patrol (The World tonight has since been using his composed theme from 1996 up to now).

In 2019, Cayabyab composed the theme song for the 30th edition of the Southeast Asian Games, "We Win as One"; with lyrics by playwright Floy Quintos, and sung by Lea Salonga.[3]



Among his many works, his theater musicals Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo have won acclaim and have been performed extensively in the cities of Japan in 1994 and 1996. They received a special NHK broadcast in November 1996, and in Kuala Lumpur in the same year. Another musicale, Magnificat, has had nearly 200 performances. To date, he has composed the music for 15 original musicals, an opera, four dance productions, and a musical teleplay.[4]

Cayabyab composed the sung-through musical “Ang Larawan,” based on National Artist Nick Joaquin’s play “Portrait of the Artist as Filipino,” with libretto and direction by Rolando Tinio, who also became National Artist. For “Ang Larawan,” Cayabyab requested to hear a reading by actors of the full libretto before he started composing. The musical proved to be very successful, spawning an equally successful and award-winning film version directed by Loy Arcenas.[5]

His other popular musicals include Katy (words by Jose Javier Reyes), Alikabok, Ilustrado and the classic pop-ballet Rama Hari (words by 2006 National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera). Katy would become Caybyab’s most famous musical in the 1980s. With a libretto by Jose Javier Reyes and directed by Nestor Torre, it is based on the life of the “Queen of Philippine Vaudevile and Jazz”, Katy de La Cruz.[6]

His latest opera, Spoliarium (libretto by Fides Cuyugan-Asensio), premiered in February 2003 at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo of the CCP, and is to be followed by another opera also with Asensio, Mariang Makiling at Ang Mga Nuno sa Punso, with music also by Ryan Cayabyab.

Cayabyab also wrote an original dance score for Ballet Philippines’ La Revolucion Filipina (choreographed by Agnes Locsin, libretto by this Dennis Marasigan) and for Ballet Manila's Ang Mahiwagang Biyulin.[7]

In 2011, he lent his genius once more by composing music for the concert Ageless Passion (libretto by Kristian Jeff Agustin), which was commissioned by the family of retired Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, and staged at the Meralco theater. In 2016, "Ageless Passion" was staged as a full musical, reuniting Cayabyab and Agustin.

LORENZO, a musical on the life of St. Lorenzo Ruiz, also showcases music composed and arranged by Cayabyab. LORENZO started its runs in September 2013.


Ryan Cayabyab is 2004's Gawad CCP para sa Sining in MUsic. On February 2, 1999, he was selected as one of the 100 awardees of the CCP Centennial Honors for the Arts . He became the first recipient of the Antonio C. Barreiro Achievement Award on May 4, 1996 for significant and lasting contributions to the growth and development of Filipino music. Likewise, on June 18, 1996, Awit Awards, the recording industry awards, awarded him a Lifetime Achievement Award for "invaluable contribution and outstanding achievements in the promotion and development of Filipino music." The University of the Philippines Alumni Association has conferred upon him the Professional Award in music for the year 1998. In 2012, Ryan won the prestigious MYX Magna Award in the Myx Music Awards 2012 for his achievements in music and in the OPM industry.

Ryan Cayabyab The Music Studio, a music school that specializes in developing outstanding performance artists is run by Emmy Cayabyab, Ryan's wife. Established in 1986, the music studio has trained a whole generation of young singer-performers who have become nationally known Filipino performing artists.


Ryan Cayabyab was also the Executive and Artistic Director of the San Miguel Foundation for the Performing Arts for several years. He was the conductor of the San Miguel Philharmonic Orchestra (SMPO) and the San Miguel Master Chorale (SMMC). Under his direction, the SMPO and the SMMC recorded seven award-winning albums to date: Great Filipino Love Songs (2004), Great Original Pilipino Music by Ryan Cayabyab (2004), The Sacred Works of Ryan Cayabyab (2004), Pasko I and Pasko II (2005), Great Original Pilipino Music from the Movies (2006), and Dancing in the Rain (2006).

But in a swift and silent move, the big bosses of the San Miguel Corporation (SMC) have already disbanded the SMMC and the SMPO. Late January 2007, instrumentalists of the SMPO and SMMC were summoned one by one by the big bosses who informed them of the non-renewal of their contracts. Insider reports say that the SMC was "more inclined" on supporting its four professional basketball teams.

Cayabyab said that he considered the experience with San Miguel as a learning one. The following are excerpts from the said interview by Rito Asilo of The Inquirer.

The experience proved that it could work – because it did in our case! I learned so much from it. I still wouldn't consider the group world-class, but we were getting there!

Five years is too short a time to build a good reputation. But, I didn't really see any malice in the management's decision to pull the plug. It might have had something to do with the viability of the company – there may have been a clamor from inside to cut the umbilical cord. And, I understand that they also have to answer to their stockholders. Perhaps this is something you need to ask them yourself.

National Artist of the Philippines

In 2018, Ryan Cayabyab was proclaimed National Artist of the Philippines for his contribution to Filipino music.[8]

Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation

In September 2019, the Ramon Magsaysay Award was presented to Cayabyab – the only Filipino among the honorees in 2019 – recognizing him for "showing us all that music can indeed instill pride and joy, and unify people across the many barriers that divide them."

Personal life

He married Emmy Punsalan. They have two children: Cristina María and Antonio María Cayabyab.


A bestseller in major record bars and a Certified Gold Record, thereby breaking records of sorts when it was released in 2004. Under Sony-BMG Pilipinas.

Track list:

Great Original Pilipino Music by Ryan Cayabyab All songs in the album composed and arranged by Ryan Cayabyab. All songs recorded in 2001, except tracks 5, 8, and 9, which are SMMC a capella tracks and were recorded in 2004. This album received three nominations in the 18th Awit Awards aside from winning Best Musical Arrangement for "Tuwing Umuulan at Kapiling Ka". Under Sony-BMG Pilipinas.

Pasko I Festive Filipino Christmas classics, all songs arranged & conducted by Ryan Cayabyab and performed by the SMPO and the SMMC. Certified Gold Record. Under Sony-BMG Pilipinas.

Pasko II Mellow Filipino Christmas classics, all songs arranged & conducted by Ryan Cayabyab and performed by the SMPO and the SMMC. Certified Gold Record. "Isang Taong Lumipas" won as 'Best Christmas Song' during the 19th Awit Awards. Under Sony-BMG Pilipinas.

Spoliarium: The Opera A neo-opera in three acts based on the life of renowned Filipino painter Juan Luna. Music by Ryan Cayabyab, libretto by Fides Cuyugan-Asensio.

Mass for Peace: Cayabyab's congregational mass setting inspired by the Second People Power Revolution in 2001. Music by Cayabyab himself, released under Star Records.

The Filipino Classics: A collection of Filipino classics from the 1920s up to the 1960s. All songs arranged & conducted by Ryan Cayabyab and performed by Basil Valdez accompanied by the SMPO. Sequel albums 2 and 3 are said to be produced if this first album performs well in the market. This album became No. 1 at Tower Records in one month's time since it was released. Certified Gold Record. Under Viva Records.

The Sacred Works of Ryan Cayabyab Religious compositions of Cayabyab. Misa was his thesis composition for his graduation at the University of the Philippines College of Music. Misa 2000 was composed for and won as Original Music Composition for Dance in the 2000 Onassis International Cultural Competition in Greece. This album won as 'Best Religious Album' in the 2004 Catholic Mass Media Awards. Under Sony-BMG Records.

Beauty and the Beast Songs from the Philippine run of the musical Beauty and the Beast, arranged and conducted by Ryan Cayabyab, performed by the musical's main cast with the SMPO and the SMMC.

Great Original Pilipino Music from the Movies Well-known and well-loved theme songs from Filipino movies. Recorded live in July 2006 and released December of that year. Mainly featuring the SMMC, accompanied by the SMPO. Choral arrangements by Ryan Cayabyab, Jesus Carlo Merino, Ed Nepomuceno and Nathanael Arnel de Pano (the latter 2 being section leaders of the SMMC Tenors and Basses, respectively), and Eudenice Palaruan (SMMC Principal Conductor). All orchestrations by Ryan Cayabyab. Under Sony-BMG Pilipinas.

Dancing in the Rain Latin jazz pieces (mostly instrumentals) written, arranged, and produced by Ryan Cayabyab. Recorded live in August 2006 and released December of that year. Under Sony-BMG Pilipinas.

One Features old Filipino classics and some of Cayabyab's earliest hits, performed a capella by Ryan Cayabyab's 16 voices.

One Christmas A collection of classic Filipino Christmas songs, including original compositions performed a cappella by Cayabyab.

One More All songs composed, arranged, and performed a capella by Cayabyab.

Roots to Routes (Pinoy Jazz II) Cayabyab's first album, featuring jazz arrangements of well-known Filipino tunes.

The Silver Album A collection of Ryan Cayabyab's hits throughout the years, performed by various well-known Filipino artists.


Ryan Cayabyab is a recipient of the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice in 2013. Pope Francis awarded him the highest papal award for Laity for his many contributions in the field of religious-themed compositions and sacred works. Among his ecclesiastical works are, "Eclesiastes" for choir and piano, his first large religious composition; "Misa" for unaccompanied choir; stage musicals like "Magnificat," “Birhen ng Caysasay" and, "Lorenzo;" and church songs such as or "I Believe in Peace," “The Prophet," “Asin ng Pamayanan," “Live Christ, Share Christ," and "Icthus" in St. John's Mass.[9]

He is also a TOYM (Ten Outstanding Young Men) awardee for contemporary Filipino music in 1978. He won the Grand Prize award at the first Metro Manila Popular Music Festival for the song "Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika".

He received in September 2019 the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award, highlighting "his compositions and performances that have defined and inspired Filipino popular music across generations...", being cited, among other achievements, "that have defined and inspired Filipino popular music across generations."

On January 19, 2020, he was awarded The KDR Icon of Musical Excellence Award on the 5th Wish 107.5 FM Music Awards cited being "...given to an industry luminary who has left an indelible mark in the music scene through his exemplary contributions."[10]

Year Award-Giving Body Category Recipient Result
1981 Gawad Urian Award Best Music (Pinakamahusay na Musika) Iduyan Mo (Aguila) Nominated
1993 Metro Manila Film Festival Best Music Kung Mawawala Ka Pa Won


  1. ^ "Philippines, Manila, Civil Registration, 1899-1984 Image Philippines, Manila, Civil Registration, 1899-1984; ark:/61903/3:1:939F-VRS2-JT — FamilySearch.org". Retrieved August 23, 2015.
  2. ^ Aguilar, Krissy. "Ryan Cayabyab is now National Artist for Music". Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  3. ^ Parungao, Regina Mae (August 8, 2019). "https://entertainment.mb.com.ph/2019/08/08/three-ph-gems-working-on-2019-sea-games-theme-song/". The Manila Bulletin. Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation. Retrieved August 8, 2019. External link in |title= (help)
  4. ^ Marasigan, Dennis "Ryan Cayabyab: Blessed with greatness of talent, yet his heart throbs with humility" https://lifestyle.inquirer.net/315725/ryan-cayabyab-blessed-with-greatness-of-talent-yet-his-heart-throbs-with-humility/ Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  5. ^ Marasigan, Dennis "Ryan Cayabyab: Blessed with greatness of talent, yet his heart throbs with humility" https://lifestyle.inquirer.net/315725/ryan-cayabyab-blessed-with-greatness-of-talent-yet-his-heart-throbs-with-humility/ Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  6. ^ Marasigan, Dennis "Ryan Cayabyab: Blessed with greatness of talent, yet his heart throbs with humility" https://lifestyle.inquirer.net/315725/ryan-cayabyab-blessed-with-greatness-of-talent-yet-his-heart-throbs-with-humility/ Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  7. ^ Marasigan, Dennis "Ryan Cayabyab: Blessed with greatness of talent, yet his heart throbs with humility" https://lifestyle.inquirer.net/315725/ryan-cayabyab-blessed-with-greatness-of-talent-yet-his-heart-throbs-with-humility/ Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  8. ^ Aguilar, Krissy. "Ryan Cayabyab is now National Artist for Music". Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  9. ^ "Papal award is a gratifying affirmation for Ryan Cayabyab". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved November 25, 2014.
  10. ^ "5th Wish 107.5 Music Awards: Complete List of Winners". Wish 107.5 FM. Retrieved January 19, 2020.</