Ever since he joined the internationally-known American band Journey, Arnel Pineda said he never expected to develop asthma in his adulthood. Arnel is currently a celebrity ambassador for GSK’s Winner Against Asthma campaign along with other celebrities who have asthma like Kim Chiu and ice skater Michael Martinez.
"Na-discover siguro mga five years ago kasama ko na yung Journey. Nakita siya nung nag-cancel ako nung mga anim na shows namin. They flew me to L.A para makita yung doctors na gumamot din kila Michael Jackson at Michael Bolton. Tapos dun na-discover nila na yung asthma ko galing sa matinding allergies. Pero actually hindi pa talaga ako nagpa-check for allergies. Basta ang napansin ko basta kapag may mold tapos may mga cigarette smoke tapos yung usok nung sasakyan wala na, talagang nagsisikip na yung dibdib ko at saka yung lalamunan ko,” he shared during the announcement of winners of the GSK Search for the Winners Against Asthma (SWAA) held at the Makati Shangri-la hotel last October 7.
The Journey lead vocalist even gave some advice to the youth awardees who also have the same condition as him. "It’s proper management. So sa mga asthma winners I don’t think you have to be sad na meron kayo niyan kasi these days I can say na it’s okay na kapusin na kasyo ng hininga ngayon kasi marami ng gamot, marami ng paraan. We have doctors [who] are so knowledgeable on how to treat you guys kaya there’s nothing to worry about,” he shared.
With plans to tour with his band already set for the next two years all over the world, Arnel says he has no plans to leave the group. "Hindi siguro. Unless mag-disband yung banda. Pero as of now they have no plans of disbanding. Pero any time I’m ready kasi actually nung sinali nila ako, nung ginawa nila akong permanent member nung banda, I didn’t expect na tumagal ako eh. Para sa akin, ‘Maka-one year lang ako sa kanila. Malibot ko lang ang buong Amerika touring with them okay na sa akin.’ Kahit nga isa nga lang or dalawang show na nakasama ko sila. Pero my God after 500 shows with the band I’m still here. They still keep me so it’s such a blessing,” he explained.
Another plan the GSK Winner Against Asthma ambassador has been working on is bringing his band back to the Philippines to perform for his kababayans and to put to rest rumors he was already removed from the group. The last time Journey held a concert in the country was in 2009. "I’ve been really working hard about it na sana madala ko pa ang Journey sa Pilipinas kasi I just want everybody to know that I’m alive and kicking with the band kasi maraming chismis na lumalabas na matagal na akong natanggal sa Journey pero hindi nila alam kasi hindi din nababalita. Year after year after year for the past eight years solid na kasama ko ang Journey nag-tu-tour,” he admitted.
The 48-year-old international artist shared how he manages the stress of working with a hectic schedule. "Actually sometimes pag sobrang stressed ka na, pag pagod ka na makakapagreklamo ka dun sa wife mo na parang ayoko na ata ito, sobra na yata. Kasi minsan nakakapunta ka sa magagandang lugar pero hindi mo siya talaga na-e-enjoy kasi nakita mo lang siya galing sa airport, nadaan mo lang. ‘Ay, ito pala yung Paris!’ Tapos wala na, dadaan ka lang. Pag gising mo the next day show ka na tapos alis ka na pupunta ka na sa next country, ganun. Ngayon mina-manage ko talaga kasi marami akong trabaho eh. Siyempre everybody knows I’m a father, a family man din. I’m a husband. So I have to be very careful with my health kasi may mga inaalagaan akong pamilya,” he explained.
Arnel said that he will never complain about being too busy. "Bottom line is, to sum it all [up], this is something na hindi mo tini-take for granted kasi napakalaking blessing nito sa pamilya ko tapos at the same time maraming Pilipino are so proud of kung ano yung nagawa ko with the band. Kasi siyempre kasi kahit kasama ko mga Amerikano kumbaga bandilang Pinoy pa rin yung dala dala ko every time may show kami,” he added.
With all the blessings he has received, Arnel said he could not ask for anything more. "Wala na. Except siyempre continuous na great health kasi ito yung mag-su-support sa akin to continue what I aspire more to do katulad nung solo album ko and then more time with my family kasi every time I’m gone away ako for six months. Siyempre pag-uwi ko dito I try to catch up for lost time with them,” he admitted.
Arnel said he understands his responsibility as a Filipino who has gained recognition abroad like Lea Salonga and Charice. "I’m so grateful na meron akong naimbag kahit papano sa mga Pilipino. I’d like to think na nakakapagbigay din ako ng malaking inspirasyon lalo na dun sa mga aspiring musicians. Sometimes sila yung na-le-left out, sila yung na-di-discriminate kasi katulad ko hindi naman ako matangkad, hindi din naman ako tisoy. Hindi naman ako yung ka-pogian na parang yung tinitingnan ng Pinoy na maging artista quality or singer quality. So I was able to make it dahil merong naniwala na banyaga sa akin, sa talent ko. So mas kanila ko ino-offer kung ano mang klaseng success I have right now, sa kanila talaga naka-dedicate,” he shared.