Ang Misyon, Inc.

Ang Misyon Scholar Stories: Carmela Casas

“In this world that is full of rock and pop, classical music is gold. Normally, when someone finds out you are into classical music, they would be surprised because it is not popular in this era.”

Carmela Casas in a public performance with the Orchestra of the Filipino Youth (Power Plant Mall, Makati, 2018)

Carmela Casas, Orchestra of the Filipino Youth (OFY)’s flutist, shares her thoughts on the deeper meaning of classical music and her journey as a young musician.

Carmela has been an Ang Misyon scholar for six years and an active member of a local orchestra in Cardona. She grew up in a simple home in Binangonan, Rizal with her parents and two sisters. She has a stay-at-home mom who tends to their sari-sari store and a self-employed father who repairs music instruments for the band PYB9. Music has been a common interest in their family, aside from supporting Carmela’s performances. Her younger siblings both play the violin and are also part of Ang Misyon’s programs.

After over a year of being on community quarantine, Carmela is going to school online like most students. She opens up that it is hard to adapt to the new normal but somehow the normalcy of their day to day lives have continued despite the pandemic’s impact on finances. Carmela carries a sense of faith and gratitude passed on to her by her parents. She shares that among the values she has learned from them, being humble and respectful are what she applies most. Her optimism and self-trust have been ingrained at a young age, which may have helped her thrive in Ang Misyon.

Pre-performance preparations at Areté, Ateneo last 2019 with her mom and younger sisters Charmelle (in yellow) and Camille (in pink)

When asked how her orchestral training has impacted her life, she said, “Being part of Ang Misyon is a big opportunity for me. I learned and am still learning in terms of music, especially classical music. When I started in Ang Misyon, my life changed a whole lot. It has given me opportunities to make myself a better person and a better musician.

Carmela continued by sharing what Ang Misyon has taught her aside from music: “Ang Misyon has taught me to be thoughtful to the other members of the orchestra. It taught me that life is nothing without music. It taught me to be a better human, a better Filipino, and most importantly, a better version of myself.”

Carmela plays a solo during a workshop with OFY (Benpres Building, 2018)

She confessed that she had a tough time coping when she first started with OFY because she still saw herself as a beginner in a premier orchestra. But anchored with her values growing up, she learned to trust herself and her talent in playing the flute. Though she feels she still has a long way to go, she aims to do her best to truly deserve her seat. Carmela was one of the youngest scholars to join the OFY in their 2018 Qatar tour and she counts this as a big milestone in her life. She said that it makes her heart happy to have lived that dream. But what she finds valuable and unforgettable too are the Saturday rehearsals with her mentors, fellow scholars, and Ang Misyon staff.

The future is bright for Carmela as she plans to be a part of a world-famous orchestra and also sees herself learning other instruments like the cello and oboe. “This year, I am planning to improve myself more. As a musician, I want to finish solos and learn more techniques because I know I need it more. I want to make my parents proud. I want them to see me fulfilling my dreams as a musician, and I still want to learn more and explore the world of musicians.

Carmela remarked that classical music to her is how important a cellphone is for people nowadays. She cannot live without it. She indulged further on what this means to her and how it relates to everyone, whether they are musicians or not: “Classical music is not only the heritage left by geniuses like Mozart, Mahler, Tchaikovsky and a lot of virtuosos from history. Classical music is for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are three or a hundred years old. It is full of emotions and can tell stories about a person’s life experience, from tragedies to achievements.”

For her personally, it helps her relax, focus and stay motivated. It cures her stresses and makes life more meaningful. As a musician, “the more I understand it, the more I can play it better,” she said.

Learning online is a challenge but Carmela advises to adapt and use this as an opportunity

Her message to her fellow musicians as they navigate into the new platform of learning music is to adapt to this new way of life and learning. She considers this as a new experience and challenge, so they must think positively. She urges them to continue to learn and improve themselves and make this an opportunity to explore new things.

“Let’s pray this pandemic will end as soon as possible. Practice at home, enjoy every moment while making music, and enjoy your online lessons. Just go with the flow and continue to make good music!”

Ang Misyon Scholar Stories: JM Eserjose

He truly believes that if he does good, goodwill also come back to him. He quotes “Huwag mong gawin sa ibang tao ang ayaw mong gawin ng iba sa’yo,” (Don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you.), when asked what important value he has learned growing up. He has kept this as a reminder, and it has carried him through the years as he forged his journey as a young leader.

JM Eserjose with the Orchestra of the Filipino Youth at Katara Opera House, Qatar 2018

Jose Marie Eserjose, or JM as he is usually known to his peers, grew up in a family of four. His mother is a Life Plan Agent, and his father is a tricycle driver. At age 20, he is a full-time student at University of Santo Tomas where he is taking up Bachelor of Music, Major in Violin Performance. JM is Orchestra of the Filipino Youth’s Concertmaster and a Violin Mentor to the Ang Misyon Children’s Orchestra.

Learning and paying it forward

JM realized that being in an orchestra is not just about playing music and being with friends. As an Ang Misyon Scholar, the program has taught him how to be disciplined, manage his time, keep good relations and stay open to his peers. He candidly mentions the latter as “learning how to leave the ego out of the rehearsal room.” Sounding wise beyond his years is a result of going through life as a young musician who was finding his footing and started as a beginner, just like any expert in their craft.

In his early days as OFY’s Concertmaster, he admits it was hard at first especially being surrounded by more advanced players in his section. But he shares that he received guidance from his kuya (big brother) and ate (big sister) in Ang Misyon. He mentions his gratitude specially to Lui Santos, a former Associate Concertmaster in the program and how he was a good influence on him. From there he was able to apply himself as an even more effective leader to his section and OFY. JM saw himself develop his leadership skills along with his musicality and has since shared these to his fellow scholars. He wishes to pay it forward by imparting his gained wisdom to his peers and creating a wave of good change as he encourages others to do the same.

“I think the main essence of being part of Ang Misyon is accepting the mission to become an agent of change,” JM says. He recalls how he answered one of the standard questions during the admissions process. The question was, “Why do you want to be part of Ang Misyon?” He said at the time, he was much younger, and his main focus was to avail of the free lessons.

Facilitating a workshop during Ang Misyon Children’s Orchestra’s Music Camp, 2019

After a few years, he wishes to refine his answer: “I realized that being a good musician is nothing if you do not have good values in you…Ang Misyon taught me that musicians are not just players, we serve as the catalyst for social transformation. Today, I am finding ways on how I can influence others to help and to find ways on how we can do something for the benefit of others.”

Adapting to new ways of life

 Like most of Ang Misyon’s community of scholars, JM’s weekly routine involved school on the weekdays, lessons and rehearsals on Saturdays. He said it was hard to break this routine having done it for five years until the pandemic. This also meant loss of income from part-time gigs and teaching. And with the postponement of Asian Youth Orchestra (AYO) Program, a premier pre-professional orchestra that gives an opportunity for selected musicians to study and tour internationally, JM ended up working in a Call Center for three months during his summer break instead.

Though he keeps busy, he openly shares it is quite a challenge to be away from people especially his friends. He fondly misses teaching his students from Ang Misyon Children’s Orchestra as well. They did a few classes online but sadly could not sustain regular sessions because the majority of the kids were still adjusting to the new modular set-up for school. He felt it was demotivating to be cooped up in a room for long hours, a struggle he said was probably experienced by many nowadays. But he does his best to rise above this and points out that one must adapt despite the limitations. He also emphasizes the value of time, and how given the unpredictability of the situation, one must make use of it wisely and for more purposeful things. “Times are tough as a musician, but this time should be maximized to become better,” he says.

As a student, at first, he could not fully grasp how he could learn effectively using online platforms. He found ways to make it work for him and his professors, including investing in a USB microphone using the money he earned from his Call Center job. Since their classes depend a lot on sound quality and one-on-one feedback, he said it helps to keep asking questions until he understands the lessons better. Being a full-time student with this new set-up also means being in front of the computer for long hours and JM suggests that aside from time management, plotting out proper breaks is also important.

The violin lessons continue online with his teacher and classmates, despite challenges in sound and connectivity.

Though he keeps busy, he openly shares it is quite a challenge to be away from people especially his friends. He fondly misses teaching his students from Ang Misyon Children’s Orchestra as well. They did a few classes online but sadly could not sustain regular sessions because the majority of the kids were still adjusting to the new modular set-up for school. He felt it was demotivating to be cooped up in a room for long hours, a struggle he said was probably experienced by many nowadays. But he does his best to rise above this and points out that one must adapt despite the limitations. He also emphasizes the value of time, and how given the unpredictability of the situation, one must make use of it wisely and for more purposeful things. “Times are tough as a musician, but this time should be maximized to become better,” he says.

As a student, at first, he could not fully grasp how he could learn effectively using online platforms. He found ways to make it work for him and his professors, including investing in a USB microphone using the money he earned from his Call Center job. Since their classes depend a lot on sound quality and one-on-one feedback, he said it helps to keep asking questions until he understands the lessons better. Being a full-time student with this new set-up also means being in front of the computer for long hours and JM suggests that aside from time management, plotting out proper breaks is also important.

Gerard Salonga joins Ang Misyon as Music Director and Chief Conductor of Orchestras

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Ang Misyon is starting the year 2021 with great hopes and an even sharper focus on its vision. The organization, which supports the less privileged youth through orchestral music training, welcomes Gerard Salonga as its Music Director and Chief Conductor of Orchestras. In recent years, the progressive structure of Ang Misyon’s programs has enhanced the skills of its music scholars through the Beginners Program, Ang Misyon Children’s Orchestra (AMCO) and Orchestra of the Filipino Youth (OFY), with each one elevating the levels of performance respectively.
Gerard Salonga, with his experience and tenure in the field of music, will guide and strengthen the pillars of Ang Misyon’s artistic direction. Gerard is currently the Music Director of ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra (ABSPO) and the Resident Conductor of Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, both of which are established and celebrated musical institutions. Through the years, he has been an active supporter of Ang Misyon with joint concerts between ABSPO and OFY, co-creation of a Fellowship Program for the seasoned members of the youth orchestra, and intermediate workshops for the scholars. Being at the helm of ABSPO and taking over the reins of OFY forges more collaboration as both orchestras fall under the institutional wings of First Philippine Holdings Corporation, First Gen Corporation, and ABS-CBN Corporation.
Gerard is welcomed by the Ang Misyon Team and Board of Trustees, as well as Joshua Dos Santos, who has taken the role of Artistic Advisor. With Gerard’s vision and perspective, an even more accelerated quality and level of excellence in performance is in sight.


Ang Misyon Scholar Stories: Evan John Jamisola

As a musician gusto ko talaga ma-express ko ang talent ko sa mga tao lalo na sa mga mahihilig din sa musika.”

Evan with a piccolo, one of the few instruments he plays, while waiting to go on stage with the Orchestra of the Filipino Youth.

Evan John Jamisola is one of the flutists in the Orchestra of the Filipino Youth (OFY), Ang Misyon’s main performing arm. He is the second of four kids and resides in Carmona, Cavite, where he has spent the community lockdown with his family since the COVID-19 pandemic. Coming from a household that survives with just enough to fulfill their daily needs, Evan shares his struggles and small wins during these tough times.

Evan’s journey into music began when one of his friends invited him to join a local band in Carmona, Banda 46. From there he started to expand his horizons and met a lot of new people who encouraged him to pursue music after seeing his genuine talent. Aside from the flute, he also plays the piccolo and piano. Opportunities came his way including becoming an Ang Misyon music scholar, which he said really opened doors for him including traveling to different places and connecting with potential donors to support his education.

“Mas marami pang opportunity na dumating noong naging scholar ako ng Ang Misyon Inc. at member ng OFY. Nakarating ako sa iba’t ibang lugar, mas napalawak pa ang aking kaalaman sa musika, at nakapag-aral sa kolehiyo dahil sa tulong din ng Ang Misyon Inc. upang mahanapan ako ng sponsor sa tuition fee,” Evan shares.

He came at a crossroads when he thought his only choice was to defer going to school, but his Ang Misyon Mentor Ms. Crystal Milarose Concepcion encouraged him to look at other possible options. It was then that he stepped forward to seek financial help for his college education. With Evan being a diligent student and talented musician, he was able to receive a scholarship from Tanging Yaman Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization established by Fr. Manoling Francisco, SJ, one of Ang Misyon’s Board of Trustees. His education grant covered his tuition fee at Philippine Women’s University (PWU) where he is currently a second year college student, working on his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance, Major in Flute.

At 20 years old with a full academic load, Evan still manages to take some shifts at a 7-Eleven store and tutor young musicians. He continues to be a working student to earn money for both his personal and his family’s household needs. Though it seems like a lot to handle especially with additional challenges during the pandemic, he splits his time by doing the night shifts at the store, which allows him to focus on his online classes and schoolwork during the day.

Online classes have been challenging but Evan keeps his spirit up while studying his piano course.

The realities of the newly mandated online learning also affect scholars like Evan because of difficulties with internet connectivity. The area where they live is located closer to farmlands, limiting their options for a proper internet set-up. But a high-spirited student like him, he says considering the on-off connections, “ilang ways na mas natututo ako sa mga music lessons ay sa one-on-one coaching, video tutorial at mga music theory websites.(He learns better with the help of one-on-one coaching, video tutorials and music theory websites.) Specific to Evan’s modules in school, he pointed out that learning online means the sound quality is usually compromised. This makes it harder to distinguish what parts of the music he plays need improvement. He and his teachers are finding alternative, more efficient ways in exchanging audio files for their assignments.

Despite his full schedule, he makes it a point to spend quality time with his family on his days off. “Mas nagkakaroon kami ng quality time sa bahay dahil sama-sama na kami ngayon.”  Given all the restrictions, he finds joy at home even in simple ways like watching television together and catching up on each other’s lives. One of the advantages of being at home more often is that he is rekindling his bond with his family. The lockdown has made Evan reflective of his life lessons so far. His journey keeps going, guided by his mentor’s advice on prioritizing his education. He realized that his inner strength has pulled him through challenging thoughts and difficult decisions and the only way is forward as he aspires to be a professional musician.

Evan pays it forward by sharing his passion and skills to the younger generation.

When asked what he hopes for in the near future, Evan prays that the orchestra can rehearse again so that Ang Misyon can continue its mission of creating social change and inspire people through classical music. “At makatulong pa sa maraming iskolar na mabago din ang buhay nila kagaya ko, na mabigyan pa sila ng maraming oportunidad upang matuto, at maibahagi sa kanilang mga komunidad ang natututunan nila.” (And for Ang Misyon to help change the lives of more scholars like myself, to give more opportunities to learn and to share these learnings to their communities.)

Similar to the other scholars’ sentiments, he says he misses the Saturday’s with OFY at Rockwell Business Center. He also wishes they can perform again in different places, since as a musician, it is important for him to express his talents and share his music to others.

Evan’s message to his fellow scholars and young musicians during these challenging times is: “wag nilang sayangin ang oras na ito upang mas maglaan pa ng time mag-practice ng kanilang instrument. Dahil ang musika ay walang katapusang pinag-aaralan, lalalim pa ito pagtagal ng panahon. Always remember practice never ends, and don’t stop doing it.” (My advice to my fellow scholars and young musicians is to make sure they make the most out of this time to still practice playing their instruments. I believe the musical journey is never-ending and we have to keep learning because music grows  even deeper with us through time.)

Ang Misyon Scholar Stories: Rhonnel Ibañez

One of the inevitable results of the COVID-19 pandemic is job loss and limited travel from one city to another. To adhere to these regulations and prioritize the safety of the scholars, Ang Misyon’s weekly Saturday rehearsals have been suspended for the time being. For the program’s mentors, this means reduced hours and technical challenges in teaching their students from Beginners and Children’s Orchestras. As for Rhonnel Ibañez, one of Ang Misyon’s scholar-turned-mentor, he has felt this drastic change but still looks for ways to remain hopeful given the situation.

Rhonnel Ibañez before Orchestra of the Filipino Youth’s performance Katara Opera House, Qatar, October 2018

Rhonnel is 25 years old and a college graduate of Centro Escolar University with a Major in Music Education. Apart from being a member of the Orchestra of the Filipino Youth’s Percussion Section, he is a mentor of Ang Misyon Children’s Orchestra and is still active in a local band called Banda Dos Kabataan in Angono, Rizal. He has a clear direction and passion in life: music. He has been with Ang Misyon since 2013, which he shares has been a blessing because the experience has allowed him to travel to different countries to perform. Rhonnel considers himself lucky to be part of an orchestra as a percussionist and his dedication has opened opportunities such as performing with Manila Symphony Orchestra and ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra.

Through the years, he recalls the values he has learned from his parents and what he carries with him as the quarantine restrictions are still in place. First, he is grateful he had a bit of savings because he admits, it has been a tough few months for his family. Looking beyond the struggles, he knows that what is more important is to impart what one has learned to others, especially children who are willing to be taught and have dreams they wish to fulfill. “Sabi po ng tatay ko, hindi mo naman mapapakinabangan yan pag patay kana, kaya kung anong natutunan mo ugaliin i-share sa mga batang gustong matuto at nangangarap,” Rhonnel shares.

[My father said, one cannot take material things when they pass away, so why not make it a good habit to share your learnings to kids who wish to learn and have big dreams.]

While on lockdown, Rhonnel takes shifts in looking after his family’s sari-sari store

He comes full circle as he teaches the younger scholars of Ang Misyon and sees how they, too, are from lower income brackets, which means making ends meet at home is a continuous feat. Having been an academic scholar while in school, he relates to the pressure of keeping up with studies, band practice, orchestra rehearsals and events. However, he has seen the fruits of hard work and wholeheartedly sharing his talent to others. “Bigay lang po ng bigay, hanggat kaya. Kung ano yung na-experience mo, bigay mo sa mga estudyante mo. Tapos kung ano man yung napulot mo na aral sa orchestra, ibigay mo din doon sa mga bata na gustong matuto para makamit din nila yung pangarap nila.”

[It is important to keep on giving as long as you can. Share what you’ve experienced with your students. What you learn from the orchestra, share it with the younger kids who wish to learn so they too can achieve their dreams.]

He has come to realize that teaching is his way of giving back, not only to the program he has grown with but also to the community he belongs to. Rhonnel said he trusts that as long as he gives it his best and his students hopefully do the same, they are well on their way to reaching their goals.

When asked what he can impart to the next generation of scholars, he pointed out valuable wisdom, which reflects what we at Ang Misyon feel are tasked to do as part of our service to society— to teach our scholars good manners, values of respect and discipline. He equates being an overall well-rounded individual to being a good musician, that the values go hand in hand with being a respectable performer especially in an orchestra.

Despite the uncertainties, Rhonnel is one of many in Ang Misyon’s community of young musicians who prays that the COVID-19 virus will be contained soon so that the orchestra can finally come back to rehearse and have public performances. He also hopes that his peers and students will keep practicing to become even better musicians and to keep their big dreams alive.

Ang Misyon Scholar Stories: Lance and Lara Pacifico

The transition to the new normal brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic was unprecedented but as any adversity, we rise together as a community. With the quarantine restrictions, group rehearsals and music lessons have been suspended. After a few months on lockdown, Ang Misyon checked in with its music scholars to see how they have been doing.

We reached out to the Pacifico Family, with Lance of the Orchestra of the Filipino Youth (OFY) and Lara of Ang Misyon Children’s Orchestra (AMCO) and their mother, Mrs. Naomi Pacifico to get a more in-depth scope of their journey with Ang Misyon and how life has been since the quarantine.

Lance plays the cello with the Orchestra of the Filipino Youth, Ang Misyon’s main performing arm.
Lara, 11 years old, was a guest Oboist at OFY’s Anniversary Concert last October 2019

Lance, at 19 years old, is a scholar at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, majoring in Cello Performance. Apart from being in the OFY, he is also a member of the Angono National Symphonic Band and plays the tuba. Before the pandemic, Lance and Lara would travel from Rizal Province to Rockwell Business Center Ortigas every Saturday for their lessons and rehearsals, but because of the lockdown restrictions, activities with the Ang Misyon Orchestras had to be conducted remotely.

Both siblings have had to manage schoolwork, music lessons and practice time while at home. Mrs. Pacifico shared that it was not easy at first, with Mr. Pacifico being away for work and their family unit of three left at home during these trying times. She had to create a schedule for Lara to follow, including time limit with gadget use and a strict bedtime, while Lance maintained his own schedule for the day and helped with housework in between.

Lance and Lara have expressed what they miss the most about being their pre-quarantine activities, which included the personal interactions at school, individual time with friends and music lessons with mentors and fellow musicians. Mrs. Pacifico also pointed out that her kids were finally adjusting to the situation and taking advantage of the time together. Lance used to live at the university dorms, but as a plus, he is now able to help Lara with her music practice.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lance, Lara and their mom Naomi have had to adjust their schedules and activities at home

In what ways has COVID-19 affected your schoolwork and music practice?

Lance: COVID-19 has affected my schoolwork and practicing because I’m not used to [studying and practicing] at home; I really prefer doing stuff at school or at our dorm away from our house because it’s cramped and really distracting, and I can’t focus.

Lara: Schoolwork was affected by COVID-19 because school was cut early, and I missed the most exciting event I waited for the whole school year…the Recognition Day. And opening of classes was moved to August. It is a big challenge for me. My music practice [was] affected, because I can’t attend our sectional, orchestra rehearsal and music theory class.

What is your biggest challenge during this period of quarantine?

Lance: For me my biggest challenge during this period is to study, I can’t find will to practice and study at home because I’m not yet used to this, but I’m doing my best to do so because I don’t have any choice.

Lara: My biggest challenge during this period of quarantine is to study music pieces by myself especially that I’m learning a solo piece in preparation for audition for high school at [an] art school.

What have you learned about yourself (as a person or as musician) while on lockdown?

Lance: I have learned to appreciate things more because not all things are present all the time. Such as in this situation (quarantine), it is very different from the previous everyday life that I am used to compare to this quarantine lifestyle. I tend to give not much attention on some performances, but now I really miss them, every single performance is important to me.

Lara: I learned that I need to do somethings without the help of others and I learned to value my talent during lockdown.

For the organization’s programs to be continuously successful, the partnership with the children’s parents is important. Mrs. Pacifico is one of the many constant faces seen in events and performances, her way of fully supporting her kids and the community. Through the years with Ang Misyon, she has noticed how both have continued to excel in their studies and have gained valuable qualities such as patience, punctuality, respect and collaboration with others. As a parent, she hopes that they can continue to do what they love while staying humble and thankful for their blessings.

Mrs. Naomi Pacifico showed her support for Lance and Lara during Ang Misyon’s 7th Anniversary Concert in Areté, Ateneo de Manila.

Reflecting on the years that they have been with the program, Lance and Lara also shared some of their experiences in being scholars and how this has impacted their lives. When asked, Lance shared that “Playing music changed my view on my life, it taught me more self-discipline and appreciation of different skills of others, also it changed my view on music, before I started to learn how to play, I only prefer pop songs, I [thought] pieces with no lyrics are boring but I was wrong.”

As for Lara, she is now dreaming of being a professional Oboist performing in different places. And what is she doing to achieve this dream? “I must study hard, learn more about music and more practice,” she said. She also expressed that someday, when she is in the position to teach, she wishes to impart her talent to children who wish to learn music and she will remain grateful for being one of Ang Misyon’s many scholars.

Lara diligently follows her practice time at home and continues to strive towards her dreams.

As an older brother and already a senior member of the OFY, Lance advised “to become more patient and hardworking when studying music, and my advice to my fellow scholars and young musicians is to never lose hope in this time of need and never give up on your dreams, we will survive these hardships as long as we work together just like what we do in an orchestra.”

Music for a better Philippines

In 2012, Ang Misyon, a non-profit organization, organized the Orchestra for the Filipino Youth (OFY). It believed that social change can be sparked through the learning of orchestral music.

Knowing that there are a lot of talented Filipino youth who want to learn to play orchestral music but do not have the resources to undergo formal training, Ang Misyon through OFY opened the door to make their dreams come true.

Today, OFY has helped over a thousand scholars and continues to provide programs which focus on orchestral training and instrument support. Scholars are also given opportunities to play in local and international performances that help boost their confidence and enhance their skills.

As a form of giving back for the good things they have received as OFY scholars, they now serve as mentors to younger members. This way, they are able to share the values and skills that they have learned from their teachers and peers.

The musicians of the OFY and Ang Misyon


Ang Misyon offers music programs that aim to develop musical skills as early as six years old. At a young age, children are introduced to the world of music and its possibilities, preparing them to eventually progress to professional levels.

The values of commitment, discipline and community are ingrained in their orchestral training, which empowers them to become responsible members of society.

Its programs include the Beginners Program, Ang Misyon Children’s Orchestra and Orchestra of the Filipino Youth (OFY), all of which are evaluated based on various factors such as musical skill and performance improvement.

After seven years, the vision to reach excellence in music for a better Philippines has remained clear.

Ang Misyon president Federico Lopez


To showcase how its scholars have grown in its music programs, the OFY, Ang Misyon’s main performing arm, played classical pieces including Richard Wagner’s Rienzi Overture, Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No.1 “Titan” IV Stürmisch bewegt and original Pilipino music including Ryan Cayabyab’s Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika, Constancio de Guzman’s Maalaala Mo Kaya and Songs for the Youth, a medley of timeless local compositions arranged by Ria Villena-Osorio.

“In Ang Misyon, our scholars hold the key to unlocking the full potential of this movement, and the tangible results we’ve seen so far only inspire us to do more,” shared Federico Lopez, Ang Misyon’s president, as he welcomed the audience to the anniversary concert held recently at Hyundai Hall, Areté in Ateneo de Manila University.

“When we first thought of forming a youth orchestra way back in 2012, there was always one thought that motivated our actions: the power of music to inspire and change lives for the better. For many of us that journey has been a fascinating one but made so much more fulfilling when we see doors of opportunity open in the lives of our young talented musicians,” he said.

“For me, it’s been quite rewarding to see them discover their individual superpowers but then in turn subsuming those powers to build a unified and stronger community by way of an orchestra. Hours of practice on their own and then together are the only ways to accomplish that because you can’t get to excellence without both,” he added.

But Ang Misyon has done more than develop talented young musicians; it has given these young people – as well as their families and communities – a new view of life and of what they can do.

“What they’re also learning at a very young age is that these elements to success apply to every aspect of their lives and it’s a lesson that sends ripples out to their parents, families and less-privileged communities as well. It’s a powerful message of hope and self-determination that’s so needed in today’s world,” Lopez shared.

Part of OFY’s mission is to spread the gift of music  throughout the archipelago. “We’ve always wanted to make orchestral music more accessible to every Filipino, and in the last few years, we‘ve made efforts to reach out to various communities in many cities, towns, and provinces in the hope of fostering the love of music. In so doing, we’ve come across many talented youth, some as young as 10 years old, who now make up the core of the OFY. Their passion and discipline has borne fruit, as their music is now embraced and lauded in both the local and international stage,” he explained.

Conducted by Joshua Dos Santos, OFY’s music director, a few surprise pieces energized the crowd as he engaged them during the show and closed with a standing ovation.

The concert had an attendance of nearly 600, with audiences from music groups such as the UP Symphonic Band, Far Eastern University’s Bamboo Wand, Drum and Bugle Corps, faculty and students of St. Scholastica’s College and Philippine Women’s University.

Fellow members of the music and arts community including Marlon Chen of Manila Symphony Orchestra and Noel Martin of Valenzuela Youth Orchestra showed their support as well.

The OFY at 7 Concert was made possible by the Washington Sycip Family Foundation, Rockwell Land Corporation and BDO.

Its institutional donors First Philippine Holdings Corporation, First Gen Corporation and ABS-CBN are also acknowledged for their support through the years.

For more information, follow @weareofy and on social media.


Originally published: Jennifer Rivera (The Philippine Star) – November 24, 2019 – 12:00am

Youth in treble: Orchestral music nurtures and saves lives


Youth in treble: Orchestral music nurtures and saves lives

First Gen chair and CEO Federico “Piki” Lopez practices with the Ang Misyon scholars. 

Seeing the potential of Filipinos in music, there was an opportunity to raise the level of awareness especially with the youth. Specifically, orchestral music has quite a low traction despite the numerous music groups that exist around the country.

“When we started Ang Misyon in 2012, it was with greater vision that social change would take place through the transformative power of orchestral music,” said Federico “Piki” Lopez, Ang Misyon Inc. president and cofounder.

The First Gen chair and CEO, who also has a personal affinity to classical music, together with Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez, known for his tenure in business at ABS-CBN, and renowned concert pianist Jovianney Cruz, founded Ang Misyon, a nonprofit organization institutionally supported by ABS-CBN, First Gen and First Philippine Holdings. It offers free professional music lessons, instrument support and values formation to the less privileged youth.

Seven years into changing the lives of the musically talented, Ang Misyon already counts 900 scholars. It nurtures the musical skills of children as young as six years old and from there, gradually honing them to be part of the Orchestra of the Filipino Youth (OFY).

Scholars go through a specific evaluation and learning process, working closely with mentors and a music director. They are not only taught methods in music but also values such as discipline, commitment, responsibility and community.

Better performance in school

With the mission to make orchestral music accessible, Ang Misyon reaches out to local communities and children residing as far as Zambales, Bulacan, Batangas, Mindoro and Rizal. The young musicians make their way to weekly music lessons, sectional and orchestra rehearsals with a strong dedication. They are growing a sense of camaraderie and teamwork as a result of their shared passion for playing their instruments. The children are required to be in school, many of them with scholarships through music or band, academics or government grants.

A number of studies have shown a clear correlation when it comes to kids who play an instrument and getting good grades in school. These results connect the improved academic performance to the gained focus and discipline from playing a musical instrument. Incidentally, these scholarships require maintaining a highly satisfactory grade point average, which so far has served as another motivation for the kids to do well.

Pursuing the passion for music

As the scholars progress from Children’s Orchestra to the OFY, it is inherent that they are inspired to pursue a course and eventually a career in music. Part of the vision is to redevelop the local arts and culture scene while giving them alternative career paths. A number of mentors are products of the program and existing OFY members, giving them a source of livelihood as they work their way through school.

Some who are moving on to college level have shown their determination in studying in schools with a conservatory of music and taking on jobs that keep them close to their passion. With their experience in the OFY, they gain exposure in different venues and audiences both local and international. This helps prepare them for industry standards and work ethics, should they decide to become professional musicians.

OFY performs at Katara Opera House in Qatar.

Uplifting lives

Continuing the mission of creating social change through orchestral music, Ang Misyon is focused on working more closely with their existing scholars and potential partner communities. Since majority come from households with low income, access to lessons and opportunities to perform becomes a challenge. Ang Misyon Children’s Orchestra and OFY serve as platforms wherein the musical talent and skills of the less privileged youth are showcased.

“More than a cultural pursuit, Ang Misyon is a powerful social movement to bring about change in the Filipino youth,” Joshua Dos Santos, music director and conductor, said.

To celebrate Ang Misyon’s seventh year, the OFY will have an anniversary concert at Hyundai Hall, Areté, Ateneo de Manila University on Oct. 27 at 2:00 p.m. Admission is free, as a gesture of gratitude from Ang Misyon to its supporters through the years and to reach out to those who may not have easy access to orchestral performances.

Stay updated by following social media accounts @angmisyonph and @weareofy. For more information, you may contact the organization at

Originally published  / 05:03 AM August 18, 2019 By: [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Youth in treble: Orchestral music nurtures and saves lives

Musika at Misyon: A Pre-Valentine’s Concert

The Orchestra of the Filipino Youth (OFY) held their first concert of 2019 last February 9 at the Sun Life Amphitheater in BGC Arts Center, Taguig. A Pre-Valentine’s performance, the repertoire included classic pieces by Wagner, Handel and Schumann and local songs such as Rey Valera’s Kahit Maputi Na Ang Buhok Ko, which is one of the OFY’s crowd favorite. The concert began with the sunset as backdrop – a perfect setting for an early evening serenade for families, couples and children.

Ang Misyon, Inc. (AMI) is a nonprofit organization that supports the underprivileged children and youth who have passion and talent in music. AMI marked a few milestones that evening. Ang Misyon’s Children Orchestra (AMCO) was officially introduced to the public. This was also the first time the young musicians performed with the OFY. AMCO was conducted by Paolo Imperial, a scholar himself, and the joint performance was conducted by Joshua Dos Santos, the Orchestra’s Music Director. A couple of music pieces were also conducted by OFY scholar Carl Piñon, which concluded the show.

Paolo Imperial, a scholar of the organization’s music program conducts Ang Misyon’s Children Orchestra

Federico “Piki” Lopez of Ang Misyon with his wife, Monina, Benedicto Sison and Alex Narciso of Sun Life Foundation enjoying the Orchestra of the Filipino Youth’s concert at Sun Life Amphitheater

The concert “Musika at Misyon” brings to life the many aspirations of the organization, including the vision of excellence in music for a better Philippines. As a Pre-Valentine’s treat, it combined pieces that expressed the message of love in various ways, breaking the limit that this celebration is only for the romantic and that music indeed brings people together. In the audience were AMI’s key supporters Federico Lopez, President and Co-Founder, the event’s major sponsors Sun Life Foundation represented by Benedicto Sison, Trustee and CEO and Country Head of SLOCPI (Sun Life of Canada Philippines, Inc.), Alex Narciso, President, Sun Life Foundation and SLOCPI (Sun Life of Canada Philippines, Inc.) and Tin Millete, Executive Director of Sun Life Foundation, and Joaquina S. Jamias of WS Family Foundation. Also supporting the event were BGC Arts Center, BPI, BDO, Bonifacio Global City, Bonifacio High Street and San Miguel Corporation.

The Orchestra of the Filipino Youth and Ang Misyon’s Children Orchestra at their joint performance conducted by Joshua Dos Santos

Ang Misyon’s young percussionists having fun while playing their instruments

(Left to right) Carl Piñon, Joshua Dos Santos, Piki Lopez, Paolo Imperial and Benedicto Sison

A Remarkable Holiday Recital at San Jose de Buenavista, Antique

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Ang Misyon, Inc together with Consuelo Foundation kicked off the Christmas Holiday on December 20, 2018 with the San Jose de Buenavista Community Orchestra’s very first recital. The orchestra initially began with 22 students and gradually increased to 38, all of which played during their first performance at Delegate Angel Salazar Jr. Memorial School in San Jose, Antique. With the guidance of mentor Federico Frayna, the young orchestra was able to perform six musical pieces which included Christmas songs and a few classical ones.

The audience was filled with the children’s biggest supporters, which include Ang Misyon, Inc, Consuelo Foundation, Department of Education and their parents. Certificates of Recognition were given to the Community Orchestra members, Federico Frayna, John Dumadangon of Consuelo Foundation and Ms. Ma Elena Rivero, Parent Representative, to acknowledge their dedication and efforts.

In order to continue the mission in Antique, Mayor Elmer Untaran has signified his commitment to support the Community Orchestra, as he sees the potential and progress of the children in their music. In addition to those inspired by the youth and their passion, Honorable Dante Beriong, from San Jose’s Office Of The Sangguniang Bayan, a known Filipino composer and music lover himself sparked interest and immediately acknowledged Ang Misyon, Consuelo Foundation and the Orchestra’s young officers. The group was introduced to the Vice Mayor and other members of the local government.

With the warm reception at San Jose de Buenavista, we remain positive that the Community Orchestra will receive the sustainable support it needs in 2019 and beyond, thanks to Ang Misyon’s partners Consuelo Foundation, the parents and local government.

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