Home OPINION COLUMNY The inimitable Rommel Ynion

The inimitable Rommel Ynion

The inimitable Rommel Ynion

By Limuel S. Celebria


The inimitable Rommel Ynion has again done the inconceivable – he has come up with a music album with no less than himself on the vocals.

Indeed, though he only took up singing at age 50, and only because his daughter asked him to sing for her. Ynion not only obliged his Kirsten with a song, he found a voice coach and took up singing lessons, assembled a band of professional musicians, enlisted one of the best songwriters in the business and now has a 6-song album with the prospect of more to come. All in the span of just a year.

To top it off, Sagwan, the album’s cover title composed by certified OPM hitmaker Vehnee Saturno, is topping the music charts as it continues to get more play and requests in various radio networks nationwide more than a month after its release. This has also resulted to Ynion being included in the list of nominees for Best New Artist in this year’s Aliw Awards – the prestigious annual recognition given to outstanding artists in the Philippine entertainment industry. For purposes of comparison, the Aliw Awards is akin to the US Grammy (for music) and even Tony (for theater) Awards.

But while Rommel’s accomplishment may reside in the realm of the unimaginable for many, keen observers of this multi-faceted man would not be surprised at all. As the cliché goes, Rommel Ynion is larger than life. He exists outside the normal human mold, he engages life – its challenges and opportunities – in the superlative mode.

Imagine this kind of person all rolled into one humongous package: a speed-reader, a boxer, a farmer, a journalist, an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, and now a singer training to run a full marathon late in life. Jaw-dropping, right? Indeed, but probably only par far for the course for Ynion who is also a golfer and is eyeing to be a champion in the Philippine senior circuit by 2021.

Ynion himself is aghast at his own achievements. He wonders: “How could a musical beginner unleash this avalanche of achievements all in one year? I don’t know. Your guess is as good as mine. Frankly, I don’t think I deserve any of this at all. To my knowledge, there is no “beginner” who has ever achieved this feat. This is a miracle! Methinks God has a lot to do with this. In His time, we will know what this is all about. After all, I am doing all this primarily for Him to Whom will always be the glory!”


OPM Tribute

Rommel and Vehnee are already deep into producing a second album, with one song, Uuwi Din Ako – a song dedicated to Filipino Overseas Workers, already on record.

But let us take a brief look at Sagwan, the album which, to my mind, represents Ynion offering and laying bare his soul to a particular audience in his mind while at the same time coming off as a mini-tribute to everything that is OPM.

The Sagwan album has six cuts – Sagwan, Hanggang Walang Hanggan, Buong Puso, Isang Awit, Para sa Inyo ang Puso Ko,  Nagiisa Ka. It’s an offering of sappy songs typically pandering to the Pinoy’s romantic feels.

Sagwan, Hanggang Walang Hanggan, and Buong Puso are in the mold of classic Filipino love songs pining after lost, unrequited loves while expressing assurances of constancy and that forever feel – hope. The lyrics are a kind of throwback to the Harana Days of Ruben Tagalog (The Prince of Filipino love songs) set in a more contemporary tune. Basil Valdez, Marco Sison, April Boy? Take your pick.

The other three cuts make provide some variety to the album. Nagiisa ka and Isang Awit  are more into the folk rock genre. Should Ynion produce some more of this kind of songs, this will thrust him into the company of rock stars.

The melody of Nagiisa Ka stirs memories of kilabot ng mga kolehiyala Rico J. Puno and Hajji Alejandro as well as the Apolinario Mabini Hiking Society (Apo) in their heydays, especially Apo’s Panalangin. On the other hand, Isang Awit is an inspiring, uplifting folk ditty that may eventually elevate its way to the level Florante’s Handog or Asin’s Masdan Mo ang Kapaligiran.

Kaya ang tanging handog ko ay isang awit. Mula sa lupa at ito ay hanggang langit.” (All I offer is a song, emanating from earth but reaching heaven.)

The song Para sa Inyo ang Puso Ko indicates that this album is undoubtedly a collaboration between the composer and the singer.  While the title somehow reminds me of a Manny Pacquiao song, Para sa Inyo ang Puso Ko is purely Rommel Ynion dedicating his life and riches to his fellow Ilonggos.

Aanhin ang kayamanan kung ang kapwa mo’y naghihirap at nagdurusa… Ang yaman ay di madadala…. Para sa inyo ang puso ko. Kahit sino ka man ay kaibigan ko … Palaging bukas ang pintuan ko.”(Of what good are riches if your fellowmen are suffering. You cant bring your wealth to your grave. My heart is yours. You are my friend whoever you are. My door is always open.)

When Ynion sang of opening his doors and his treasures to his fellow Ilonggos, it is neither a boast nor a promise. It is a fact that he has already dug deep into his pockets and extended a helping hand to numerous Ilonggos. He continues to do so.

As this pandemic year comes to a close, we wonder what surprises Rommel Salva Ynion has in store for the coming one.