My father gave me the wings to
pursue my passion - Chan
Singer, composer and businessman Jose Mari Chan said he is proud and honored to have been named the adopted son of Bacolod City and is accepting it in behalf of his father who is the one who truly deserves it.
Chan told the DAILY STAR everything that he has achieved is because of his father, the late Tony Chan, so he gives the honor to him.
Aside from being named adopted son of Bacolod, Chan will be honorary mayor of Bacolod for a day on Friday as part of the 13th Bacolaodiat Festival of Bacolod City, which ushers in the Chinese new year.
“We chose to honor Chan, a long time Chinoy Bacolod resident, for his stellar contribution to the Philippine music industry and his continuing support for the sugar industry in Negros,” Jennifer Ong, Bacolaodiat Inc. chairperson, said.
Chan will be conferred the title of Adopted Son of Bacolod City at a Sangguniang Panlungsod special session and as Honorary Mayor for a Day at the City Mayor's Office at the Bacolod Government Center on Friday, Ong said.
He is currently chairman and chief executive officer of the Binalbagan Isabela Sugar Company Inc. and A. Chan Sugar Corp., and chairman and president of Signature Music Inc.
Chan, the eldest of five children, said he is accepting the honors bestowed on him in behalf of his father because he was the one who started their businesses and made them big.
“I just inherited from him. He taught me about business and life, I learned all my work values from him,” Chan said.
“I admire my father for his vision and determination to succeed, and for his hard work in achieving his goals in life. Yet his heart was always with the poor,” Chan said.
He said that without his father, he would not have been able to attain what he has achieved.
Chan said his father and mother, Florence, now 93, are from Iloilo. His father expanded their business to Negros in the 1960s by going into sugar milling and trading.
BISCOM is the only sugar central that gives 3 percent of its production to labor, he said.
The singer-composer said that although he grew up in Iloilo he is in Bacolod often because of BISCOM.
Chan is also the chairman of the Negros Museum and has held numerous concerts in Bacolod to raise funds for orphanages, churches, seminaries, among others.
He is also involved with Habitat for Humanity and Children's Hour.
“I have helped a lot of people because of my music, not because of my sugar business,” he said.
“I want to be remembered mainly for my body of musical works... for my optimism and artistic passion in pursuing my God-given gift of music,” Chan said.
Chan said he has been a recording artist for 51 years and he thanks God his father allowed him to pursue his passion in music.
“I am very, very happy and grateful to papa because he gave me the wings to pursue my passion,” he said.
“Music makes people happy so there is a purpose for that,” he said.
Chan said he is turning 73 in March, and has been married for almost 48 years to Mary Ann Ansaldo.
Their children, Liza, Joe, Mike, Franco and Angelica are all talented in music. The three boys compose their own songs and play the piano and guitar, he said.
Chan's two albums "Christmas In Our Hearts" and "Constant Change"remain the two biggest selling albums in Philippine recording history.
The "Constant Change" album was the first ever to be given The Diamond Record Award.“Christmas In Our Hearts” is a Double Diamond Record Awardee with over 850,000 copies sold, he said.
He holds the record as the biggest selling recording artist in the history of Philippine pop music.
Chan said he did not expect “Christmas in our Hearts” that he recorded 28 years ago, to still be a hit today.
He believes the secret to its success is the melody that is very simple and because it speaks of the real message of Christmas, which is the birth of Christ.
The multi-awarded Chan was one of the 1974 Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines for the Arts, a Lifetime Achievement and DangalngMusikang Pilipino Awardee of the Philippine Association of the Recording Industry, the Metro Pop Foundation's Antonio C. Barreiro Lifetime Achievement Awardee, and OrganisasyonngPilipinongMang-aawit'sDangalng OPM, among many others.
His songs have also been recorded by the biggest names in Philippine music.
Chan will be the fourth Honorary Mayor and Adopted Son of Bacolod in the history of the Bacolaodiat Festival with Lucio Tan in 2006, John Gokongwei in 2013 and Henry Sy Sr. in 2017, Ong said.
Business tycoon Eduardo Cojuangcowas also named Adopted Son of Bacolod at a special Chinoy event in 2007, she said.
“I feel humbled by those who preceded me,” Chan said.
“What a prestigious group, I can never be as big as they are,” he said, noting that they all have contributed to creating jobs for many in Negros.
“I may not be as be as big as they are, but what they lack is they don't know how to compose and sing,” he quipped.
As adopted son of Bacolod, he said he feels he has a responsibility of setting an example to the young on the need for hard work to achieve ones goals.
He also wants to continue to help make a difference in the lives of people in Bacolod and Negros.*
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