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For Ryan Cayabyab and family, love for music runs in the blood

By Michaela Tangan Published Dec 17, 2020 8:50 am

How fun would it be to have musician parents or be part of a family with a deep love for music?

If you’ve watched the movie adaptation of the book If I Stay by Gayle Forman, you’ll get the picture: musical instruments and CDs everywhere in the house, front row seats to your parents’ events, and family reunions turning into fun mini-concerts.

Day by day, your love for music just grows, like an ensemble wonderfully coming together into a majestic orchestra.

National Artist for Music Maestro Ryan Cayabyab married fellow gifted musician, Emmy Punsalan, whom he met at the UP College of Music. They were blessed with two children, Krina and Toma.

The Cayabyab household is much like how we pictured it to be—four musically talented individuals bonding around the living room piano or spicing up the dinner table with more conversations about music.

“I see my kids and they spend a lot of time with the piano. I know what they are doing. Sometimes, I can’t help but guide and teach them how to play the piano,” Cayabyab recalls his children’s younger years.

“We talk about it during dinner. As a matter of fact, I ask a lot of questions because Krina is the researcher. She’s the one who graduated in Music, so if there’s any part of music literature or music history that I have forgotten through the years, she’s the person I ask,” he shares.

Mr. C considers himself a ‘chill’ dad, supporting the Cayabyab siblings as they follow their parents’ footsteps.

“I’m more like a barkada to them, less than a father. It’s because I enjoy their company,” Mr. C says.

“I didn’t force them to go into music. But I guess they observed me and saw me write my music. It must have rubbed off on them because we didn’t force them to go into music,” he adds.

He is happy that his kids found their voices and passion in life.

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“His constant happy nature and positivity bounce off to everyone around him and that has a great impact on other people. He can also create music and share even more happiness with whoever experiences him and his music. This is something that we all need,” Krina describes her dad.

Krina graduated summa cum laude from UP with a Bachelor of Music degree in Chorale Conducting in 2010 and finished the Musicology Graduate Program in 2018. Today, she is one-third of the all-female vocal trio Baihana. She has joined local and international shows and jazz festivals and has written full-length musicals.

She’s also working on various research about jazz history and popular music cultures in the Philippines while working as an assistant professor at the UP College of Music – Musicology Department and voice and music theory teacher at The Music School of Ryan Cayabyab.

The Cayabyab family

Toma, on the other, explored other fields before eventually giving in to his love for music. He recalls what his father would always say: “Do your best, try to be different. Try to be who you want to be. Find your sound and enjoy what you’re doing.”

He finished Communication from the Ateneo de Manila University in 2013 and is now a Conducting Major at the UP College of Music. Besides being a choral and orchestral conductor, composer, lead singer, and arranger of jazz band Debonair District, he is also a music elective teacher at the Ateneo Senior High School and Colegio de San Juan de Letran.

Staying strongly connected with PLDT Home Fibr

“He would teach us to continue to push forward with our problems no matter what gets in the way. You just have to continue and balance your perspectives on how to try to solve these problems,” Krina shares.

So, despite the community quarantine and lockdowns, the Cayabyab family continues to bring music that inspires the Filipino people.

Mr. C, more than ever, is closer to the public through virtual concerts such as Bayanihan Musikahan.

“It’s very important for us to stay connected. PLDT Home Fibr gives us the fastest internet connection so that we can conduct online teaching without lagging,” Mr. C said.

Trina, meanwhile, keeps up with her duties as an educator, thanks to a strong and reliable internet connection. For Toma, high-speed internet “PLDT Home Fibr helps us plan and manage our engagements or work from home, which is very vital to our livelihood.”

Just like any other family, the Cayabyabs are also taking this time to reconnect and bond more, watching Netflix on TV while sharing a bag of chips. Now, that is harmony.

Editor’s Note: BrandedUp is designed to provide you with insightful, inspiring and educational content created by PhilSTAR L!fe in collaboration with brands like PLDT.