Ai dela Cruz

Posted at December 04, 2018

Cardo Dalisay who? Gary Valenciano has defied the odds in real life.

In May of this year, the 54-year-old OPM icon survived open-heart double-bypass surgery which required cracking his ribs and slicing his left leg open because a main valve in his heart was 95% blocked. After 2 short days, he shocked everyone by posting a video on Instagram straight from his hospital bed, assuring everyone he's okay.

Just a month later, he faced yet another great foe—kidney cancer. But once again, he defeated it after another surgery (nephrectomy) which involved cutting open his right abdomen to remove a part of his kidney. The one-two punch was the toughest challenge yet for Mr. Pure Energy who has already been dealing with type 1 diabetes every single day for 39 years.

Continuously fighting, defeating, and surviving seemingly impossible battles in life—the distinctive voice behind FPJ's Ang Probinsyano's theme song might just be "invincible" like the long-running teleserye's lead character. He's already back on stage doing what he does best—wowing audiences in his Awit at Laro concert series at the Ayala Malls.

"Even if he was in pain, he was doing rehab three days after the bypass... I watched him... walking slowly, not being able to walk," his wife Angeli Pangilinan Valenciano recalled during my MYXclusive interview after the leg in Cloverleaf which I had the privilege of hosting. Ms. Angeli (along with several people in the audience) teared up while watching her husband and Darren Espanto finally perform their supposed collaboration in the latter's "Unstoppable" concert which unfortunately did not push through due to Gary V's heart surgery last May.

Mrs. V also shared in detail how the "Di Bale Na Lang" hitmaker pushed himself to the limit just to be able to perform at the same level as before: "[Gary] said he's not gonna come back to perform unless he performs to the best of his ability and just as good... He said, 'I don't want people to pity me. I don't want them to say he's not as good anymore.' To set the record straight, Gary prepared."

"He was doing rehab three times a week, he was watching his diet, he was checking his sugars, he was doing all the scans, the tests, and everything that he needed in order to be allowed to dance again. He was biking from [ABS-CBN] to Antipolo... from St. Luke's Global doing his rehab, he would bike back to Antipolo, Antipolo to St. Luke's, just to be able to be as good as he is today again."

As if we need more reason to be in awe of him, Gary V immediately went straight back to work to record the collaboration album Awit at Laro and spearhead its concert series. The special project features big names like Lea Salonga, Ryan Cayabyab, Yeng Constantino, Bamboo, Morissette, KZ, Jona, and many more, for the benefit of countless children from the Shining Light Foundation, Inc., Museo Pambata, Tukod Foundation, Inc., and UNICEF Philippines, where he has served as national ambassador since 1998.
Check out the musically diverse and culturally significant 20-track album below!
And just like our favorite primetime police officer, Gary V is inarguably well-loved by everyone. During his time off the spotlight, various celebrities visited him to show their love and support for their dear colleague, friend, mentor, and idol.

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