Have you heard of the names Rene Garcia, Pepe Smith, and Rico J. Puno?
During the mid-1970's, Rene Garcia of the iconic Hotdog band pioneered the Manila Sound, a musical genre which mirrored not only the distinctive music of the era but also the sentiments of many Filipinos toward their culture and homeland.
Rene also composed songs like Annie Batungbakal, Bongga Ka Day, Beh, Buti Nga, Bitin Sa 'Yo, Ikaw Ang Miss Universe Ng Buhay Ko, Dying To Tell You, Langit Na Naman, Sana Maganda Ako and many more. Garcia died of cardiac arrest on September 2, 2018 at the age of 65.
On October 30 of the same year, "The Total Entertainer," Rico J. Puno passed away at 65 due to heart failure.
Rico J., a pop singer and a pioneer-promoter of Original Filipino Music (OPM) rose to stardom after channeling American superstars to forge a distinctive brand of local soul music in the 1970's covering American hits - including Barbra Streisand's "The Way We Were" and Marvin Gaye's "Baby I'm for Real" - in a mix of English and Tagalog, the country's dominant language. He delivered the classic line, "Namamasyal pa sa Luneta.../ Na walang pera..." in a soulful rasp that reverberated on the airwaves during the early years of the martial law era.
He also ventured into dance-friendly songs like "Macho Gwapito," but music listeners here and abroad would prefer his easy-listening croons in Filipinized versions of The Greatest Love of All, One Last Memory, and more so with his catchy, memorable ballads such as "Kapalaran," "Buhat," "Ang Tao'y Marupok" and "Lupa."
Meanwhile, earlier this year, Philippine rock icon and "Mick Jagger of the Philippines," Pepe Smith passed away at the age of 71.
Smith's status as a rock icon was paved when he joined the Juan de la Cruz Band as a vocalist and a drummer who personified Pinoy Rock and made a real music genre locally. He dared to live his life without any reservations or compromises. Their masterpieces include "Balong Malalim," "Beep Beep," and "Kagatan" but "Ang Himig Natin" trumps them all by its original claim of being the true sound of the young Filipino under the boot of the '70s martial law. Pepe's plaintive cry emphasizes the essence of rock music as a Pinoy musical genre.
Apart from being Pinoy Music Icons, their legacies and contributions to the music industry are now immortalized in stamps, according to the Philippine Postal Corporation or PHLPost as it launched the "Pinoy Music Icon Stamps" to proudly honor the iconic OPM Artists for their important role in linking the past and the present generations though their own brand of music, paving the way for the further enhancement of "Original Pilipino Music."
Aside from this, to celebrate the 252nd Anniversary of the Philippine Postal Service and the 25th year of National Stamp Collecting Month (NSCM), PHLPost also organized a special exhibit of the Icons' memorabilia was opened at the Manila Central Post Office (MCPO) lobby. The memorabilia displayed were lent by their respective families who appreciated the honor given by PHLPost to the three music icons.
The stamps serve as tiny windows of a nation. It's about time that we truly recognize the big role of OPM in the development of our Filipino Culture, PHLPost said.
The Pinoy Music Icon commemorative stamps are sold at P45 each and P135 for the strip of three souvenir sheet and are now available at the MCPO's Philatelic Counter and in other area post offices nationwide
The stamps and Official First Day covers of "Pinoy Music Icon stamps" are now available at the Philatelic Counter, Manila Central Post Office, Liwasang Bonifacio 1000, and in other area post offices nationwide. For inquiries, please call 8-527-01-08 or 8-527-01-32.
Meanwhile, PHLPost also lined up several activities for the month-long celebration of the 25th year of National Stamp Collecting Month. These include: Green and Wild Expo stamp exhibit featuring the beautiful flora and fauna of the Philippines at the SMX Convention Center Aura in Taguig on November 20-21, LIHAM Fashion Show featuring Filipino traditional courting and national costumes on November 23, Bridging Generations Philatelic Forum which aims to raise awareness about Philately to young students in partnership with the Royal Thai Embassy to be held on November 27.
The NSCM is an annual event observed every month of November under Presidential Proclamation Number 494 signed by former President Fidel V. Ramos, to celebrate Philately in the country. It aims to create, maintain, and increase postal awareness and interest through various activities that would inspire and encourage Filipinos across all ages to venture into the hobby of stamp collecting. (PIA NCR)