Rare are the lucky souls who find the perfect balance between their chosen professions and their artistic passions.
Many innately talented individuals have often been forced to sacrifice their creativepursuits in favor of 'doing the right thing'—usually pressured by family, societal expectations, or other reasons economic.
Such 'shadow artists' often face the bane of silencing their artistic muse throughout their lifetimes. However rich or successful they may turn out, they are forever haunted by the ghosts of their better selves.
For Dr. Minguita Padilla, rediscovering her artistic muse has been an inspiring journey of self-discovery and purpose.
Does her name ring a bell? Despite having gained renown as an opthalmologist, she also wears many hats—as a health advocate, author, academician, Eye Bank founder and incumbent ambassador-at-large, and more recently, as a senatorial candidate.
She may have lost her senate bid, but in hindsight, hers is a far sweeter victory for having fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming a full-fledged OPM recording artist.
The good doctor recently released her debut single, 'Aalagaan Ka' under the Vehnee Saturno Music label.
It's easy to assume that the song merely echoes her lifelong oath to heal, serve and protect, but apparently, there's an even deeper, multi-layered subtext beneath the surface.
Partly inspired by her campaign slogan, ‘Aalagaan Ko Kayo,’ the song came to fruition as her collaboration with award-winning OPM composer Vehnee Saturno, who wrote the music after soaking up her lyrics by osmosis.
Believe it or not, it only took her five minutes to write down the song's lyrics in semi-prose.
But 'Aalagaan Ka' isn't just about a doctor's healing oath or love for country. As she explains, "It's a love song that can mean many things to many people. It can be a song for an aging or sick parent, or from new parents to a youngborn child. It can also be a song for young people who are so easily discouraged by failure. And I speak from experience when I say that our world is full of wounded and broken-hearted people."
Dr. Padilla continues, "When Vehnee saw the lyrics, he said he was inspired. It took him a week to come back with the basic melody and the tweaked lyrics. Vehnee was a bit surprised since it took only an hour or so to complete the recording. He's now challenging me to do more so that we can put out an album. It's truly a great honor to work with such a great songwriter, and an even greater person."
Surprisingly, 'Aalagaan Ka' has all the makings of a timeless OPM classic. With her straightforward, effortless delivery, Dr. Padilla's message of love and devotion rings loud and clear, tugs at the heart and even coaxes you to sing along.
Perhaps a sheer testament to Vehnee Saturno's songwriting magic, 'Aalagaan Ka' has all the trappings of a megahit—the dreamy opening piano hook, the lilting build-up, the catchy refrain and its half-step-up finale, and the picturesque lyrics that could very well be the storyline of a top-rating teleserye.
Dr. Padilla's even-tempered style and flawless delivery makes one realize that this is someone who's paid her dues.
True enough, she started singing in church when she was 14, was part of her grade school and high school glee clubs, sang for the award-wining UP Medicine choir, and performed briefly with the Retromaniacs band (together with fellow senatorial aspirants Carl Balita and Larry Gadon).
She also started piano lessons as a five-year old, and took voice lessons under Mila Zulueta and Manny Gregorio.
Some of her musical idols include Julie Andrews (who she used to mimic in grade school), Barbra Streisand, Linda Ronstadt, Ella Fitzgerald, Michael Buble, Frank Sinatra, and on the local front, Kuh Ledesma and Sarah Geronomio.
Looking back, Dr. Padilla confesses that she had always aspired to be a stage actress. She shares, "I still have a dream of seeing one of my compositions as a theme song of a movie or teleserye. Who knows, it may still come true? It's never too late to fulfill your dreams."
With the song's lyric video already uploaded on YouTube and Spotify, the songwriting duo is now working on her performance video, and perhaps even a full-blown MTV soon.
Despite her song's digital format, Dr. Padilla plans to mount her promo blitz through TV and radio guestings, as well as exposure on mainstream and online media.
For an accomplished medical practitioner and multi-faceted artist, how does she juggle all her priorities?
She muses, "Because of my parents, I learned that to whom much is given, much is expected in return. And so, I try to use whatever talent I have for good. And we don't even have to look for opportunities. We can simply pray and ask for guidance."
With her musical reawakening, Dr. Padilla has come full circle—perhaps a much-deserved reward for sharing the gift of sight, and for all her other charitable and humanitarian advocacies.
In hindsight, it’s also a timely reminder of the sheer power of creative visualization—of purposely living life in accordance with what we see in our mind’s eye. (Contributed by Tinnie Esguerra)