WANDERLUST| Orlando (Sol) blooms

NOT so many people know that Emanwell Canales, or more popularly known as Orlando Sol in the entertainment industry, hails from an Agusan del Norte town named after the mother of former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos – Remedios T. Romualdez or RTR.

“My parents were farmers. When I was in Grade 4, my father already taught me how to plow the field,” reminisced the 28 year old artist. RTR is one of the leading rice producers in Agusan del Norte.

But life wasn’t easy then for the young Canales. “There were times that we had problems with our crops. Sometimes we don’t know where to get seedlings every time we ran out of supply. It was only during harvest time when life would get better since we were able to sell our produce,” Orlando said in Cebuano.


MINDANAWON actor and singer Orlando Sol

He studied grade school at Balangbalang Elementary School and later moved to Cabadbaran City, a 30-minute jeepney ride from RTR, where he enrolled at the Northern Mindanao College of Arts Science and Technology.

In 2003, in search for better opportunities, he tried his luck in Manila where he auspiciously met veteran film director Maryo J. de los Reyes, who discovered him in a stage play. To hone his acting skill, de los Reyes made Orlando undergo several workshops. Orlando finally got his first big break when he was included in the revamped edition of the all-male song-and-dance group, Masculados.

The band, composed of 5 abled-body men, became famous for their naughty and sexy numbers with double entendre lyrics, such as the hits “Lagot Ka”, “Jumbo Hot Dog”, “Sana Mama” and “Sasakyan Kita”.

Soon after, Orlando got acting gigs in TV shows as well as in independently produced films, including “Bamboo Flowers”, “Id’Nal”, “Halik sa Tubig”, “Pilapil” and “The Sister”, which won the Best Cinematography at the 11th Harlem International Film Festival in New York in 2016, and was included in the 2016 Guam International Film Festival and the Dhaka Film Festival in January 2017.

But it was in his Masculados experience that got him back to his first love: singing. Last year, StarMusic released a 5-track all original album entitled “Orlando Sol: Emosyon”

 “My first single ‘Ingatan mo ang Salitang Mahal Kita’ was used as theme song for the GMA teleserye ‘My Faithful Husband’ that starred Dennis Trillo and Jennylyn Mercado,” he said.

Just recently. Orlando launched the music video of his latest single, a ballad entitled “Kailan Darating ang Ayoko Na”, directed by no less than his discoverer and manager, on YouTube and MYX music channel.  For the first time in Philippine music history, a single is promoted via a five-part series music video.

His album is available online on Spotify, iTunes, and Apple Music, as well as in record bars nationwide. Later this month until July, Orlando will embark on a radio tour to promote his latest single in Visayas and Mindanao, including a visit to radio stations in Davao City.

So how does he see himself in the future? “I may have started to reach my dreams in Manila but I always long to return home in RTR. I can see myself as a farmer, perhaps, planting corn and rice in the fields, when I grow older. Farming helped me and my family then. I don’t mind going back to where I came from,” he shared to this writer.

Additional photos from Orlando’s Facebook page.

Posted in Lifestyle