Tony-winning artist Lea Salonga raised more than 1.7 million pesos for the COVID-19 frontliners during her turn as a performer in the Bayanihan Musikahan concert series.
Salonga, who performed before thousands of viewers watching from the comforts of their own homes, raised more than 1.7 million pesos through the fundraising event which lasted for more than an hour.
The 49-year-old singer sang a wide array of songs that defined her career through the years including “Bakit Labis Kitang Mahal” and “Sana Maulit Muli” as well as songs from Once On This Island and Les Miserables.
Expressing her gratitude to those who donated since the beginning of the digital concert series, she said: “Thank you to all of the individuals who contributed to this fund. However little or however plenty you gave, thank you very, very much. Maraming salamat ho because this is going to help and protect the most vulnerable of us in Metro Manila.”
With the fundraiser having accumulated more than 24 million pesos, she said: “Taong-bayan power talaga. I think all of us should be amazed at what all of us can do when we put our pool of resources together.”
Salonga, who dedicated the song “The Human Heart” from the Broadway musical Once On This Island to all the frontliners in the medical field, shared how she found her place in the African-American-dominated show through Filipina nurses.
“When our director Michael Arden called me and asked me to be his Erzulie, and even though I said yes, I didn’t know how he was going to justify my participation in the show. How are you going to justify the presence of this Filipina actor in a cast of otherwise African or African-American descent,” she said.
She went on: “On the first day of our rehearsal process, after saying hi to a bunch of my friends in the cast and saying hello to people and putting my stuff down, I headed to where the costumes sketches were posted and plastered on one of the doors was our costume designer, Tony award-winner Clint Ramos. So I went to the costumes and I saw my costume and then I realized you guys are genius. You figured out exactly how to justify my presence in this show. My costume was a nurse — Filipino nurse.”
While Salonga noted how these circumstances perpetuate stereotypes among Filipino nurses, she also emphasized how these overseas medical workers contribute to making known the brand of care that Filipinos have to offer.
“I mean, yes, it perpetuates a stereotype, you know? But how many hundreds of thousands of Filipino nurses now in this crisis — how many of our nurses are actually in hospitals in Italy, in the United States, in the UK, in Spain — all over the world? So our brand of care and the compassion and warmth, are being shared by these particular frontliners everywhere,” she said.
She then thanked all the frontliners for doing “absolutely amazing jobs” to the patients they care for.
“So to all the frontliners who are watching or those of you who are serving, thank you truly. And I think there’s an entire world that thanks you for your service and your kindness and your compassion and for the love and the professionalism and for all of those wonderful things that you share with all of your patients and everyone that you care for,” she stated.
She added: “So you are also representing our country and our countrymen by doing the most absolute amazing jobs you can. In the eyes of your patients, you are all gods and goddesses. And so from this one-time goddess of love, allow me to do this one.”
Watch the video below:
As of this writing, the Bayanihan Musikahan fundraiser has already raised more than 24 million pesos.
Proceeds of the show will go to the Philippine International Aid — an all-volunteer organization that provides assistance to disadvantaged Filipino youth in the Philippines and the United States.
For those who wish to be part of the cause, you can still donate through the following links: pymy.co/pbsp (Mastercard, Visa, JCB, PayMaya) / donation.ph/pbsp (BPI Debit/Credit Cards Only/GCash/Grab Pay).
Other artists who will perform in the Bayanihan Musikahan concert series this week are TJ Monterde, Christian Bautista, Jason Dy, and Jamie Rivera.
See the full list of performers below: