SIDE BY SIDE with the best singers in the country, Ateneo de Iloilo-SMCS Batch 2007 scholar-turned-theater-actor Victor Robinson III wowed the crowd with his rendition of Journey’s “Faithfully” during David Foster’s Manila concert Tuesday, August 18, at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.
Victor, who started showing signs of artistic excellence as a singer-actor during his high school days in the Iloilo Jesuit school, was specially picked by the “Hitman” himself to jam with him in front of the deafening crowd. Right after the first notes, the Canadian musician Foster pulled Robinson from isle to the top of the stage to complete the first refrain of the chorus-less power ballad.
“Wow…that was really good. Wow, nice voice,” the multi-awarded Asia’s Got Talent judge said after the Ilonggo singer serenaded the audience in his casual jeans, tennis shoes, and striped tee.
“The experience was absolutely surreal! It was like a sequence from a dream except that my heart pounded in double time and my body had involuntary jitters brought about by a mixture of being overwhelmed and nervous at the same time,” Robinson said.
“I had a total memory blackout on the songs written by David Foster when I was put under the spotlight with him and just stuck to my go-to songs to be able to give a good, clean performance for him and the audience. Good thing the band knew ‘Faithfully’ by Journey and Mr. Foster, though he didn’t write it, allowed me to have the time of my life in front of thousands of people inside the Big Dome.”
Foster did the same thing with The Voice Season 2 winner Jason Dy (I Have Nothing of Whitney Houston) and singer-songwriter Yumi Lacsamana (“All By Myself of Celine Dion). The concert also featured international singers Charise Pempengco, Ruben Studdard, Natalie Cole, and Boyz II Men. David also performed with Asia’s Got Talent finalist Gerphil Flores, and X Factor Philippines finalist Mark Mabasa.
Victor added: “When I hit the first few notes and established ‘rapport’ with the band, I simply let go and let God. I just sang my heart out with a simple motivation that that moment was my chance to show David Foster, Araneta and all the audience my God-given talent. Kung sa Filipino pa, ‘O ayan na ang chance na ipakita sa mundo ang talent mo, ibuhos mon a lahat.”
“The nerves went away as Mr. Foster grabbed me by the arm to go on stage…and the next thing I knew, I was having the time of my life on that stage, not conscious anymore of how I sound or look, but simply having fun listening to the crowd cheer in appreciation and glancing at Mr. Foster opening his arms outward presenting me before his audience. That moment was just priceless. The mere memory of that performance still gives me the chills and makes me so grateful to the Lord for putting me in that very memorable moment,” he further said.
Robinson is a true-blue Atenista, finishing his primary, secondary, and tertiary education in full scholarship. He was the Editor-in-Chief of Ripples Publication and a consistent top student his batch in Ateneo de Iloilo-SMCS. In fact, he was valedictorian in both Ateneo Grade School and High School.
During his stint in ADI-SMCS High School, Victor was the President of the Regional Editors' Guild, Vice President of the National Editors' Guild and Vice President of the Interact Club of Iloilo City. Included in his high school achievements are: First runner-up in News Writing in English in the National Quintin Yuyitung Awards for Campus Journalism in 2006, Most Outstanding Student in Region 6 in the PRISSAAP, Most Outstanding Campus Journalist of the DepEd in Region 6, and champion in the Regional Broadcasting Confab Group Competition sponsored by the DepEd. He was also one of the Top 15 Batang Lider for 2007 by the Haligi Foundation.
Victor, who topped the Regional Iwag Awards 2007 of the Philippine Information Agency, has showed his singing and acting talents first in his Ateneo de Iloilo years. It was capped with his musical play presentations when he was a sophomore in the school’s Teatro Ateneo, specifically with the dramatic piece “Sa Kaharian ng Araw.” He continued to hone his passion by joining the Blue Repertory and Ateneo Entablado in Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) where he finished his AB Communications course.
As a professional stage actor, he already took prime roles for PETA (Philippine Educational Theater Association) in "Si Juan Tamad, Ang Diyablo at Ang Limang Milyong Boto" play (2009-2010), "Sa Wakas” (A Pinoy rock musical featuring the songs of Sugarfree, 2013), and "Batang Rizal" (2012-present).
When asked for an advice for his young co-Ateneans in ADI, Robinson said, “Practice. Take risks. Believe.”
“It is not enough that you just know how to sing, write, act, or what not. You have to do magis—be great if not the best in your chosen skill or interest. And that can be achieved through hard work and practice. Oftentimes, it is in uncertainty that you get to discover your strengths and weaknesses. Throw yourself out there and find out. Don’t be a spoiled chick inside an egg,” he said.
He further added: “When you know in yourself that you can do it, things automatically fall into place. All you need is a boost of self-confidence (not overconfidence) to kickoff that journey to excellence.
“And of course, more than believing in yourself, is believing in someone up there. That is what you call faith. Trust me, it’s essential. It’s what makes us Ateneans.” (Herman Lagon/Magis)