By Boy Villasanta | Published: November 23, 2020
Do you still remember the lines of this song and its title?
“Minahal kita hindi lang dahil maganda ka, minahal kita hindi lang dahil maporma ka…minahal kita sa taglay mong pambihira (I loved you not because you’re beautiful, I loved you not because you’re flashy…I loved you because you’re extraordinary)…”
The song which had a bouncy beat and produced, recorded and distributed by Alpha Records went up the music charts in the early 1990s.
The title of the song is “Minahal Kita (I Loved You)” which was popularized by balladeer Michael Laygo.
Oldies But Goodies
Until now, the song has been playing on radio stations (AM and FM) especially on weekends when oldies but goodies are being aired. It is also currently available in videoke.
Yes, Batangueños and Batangueñas, you must be reminded that the song of Michael was one of your favorite singles especially among romantics.
And you must be extra proud that the singer of the song is the famous Michael Laygo from Lipa City in Batangas.
Roots From Quezon
‘Michael has also roots from Tiaong, Quezon — a few kilometers away from Lipa.
“I always tell people I am a Lipeño but I am also a Quezonian from Tiaong where my father hailed from,” said Laygo, who started his singing career as a church choir member.
It was movie reporter Jobert Sucaldito who discovered Mike —pet name of Michael —and brought him to the still missing entertainment writer, talent manager and TV host Boy C. de Guia when the latter was hosting “CinemaScoop” in ABS-CBN in 1989.
Jobert was impressed by the singing voice and style of Michael he easily believed he’d make it big in the local Tin Pan Alley so he recommended him to Boy C. who was the Boy Abunda in popularity during that time.
Boy C. took care of Laygo very well and even produced a TV show for him, “StarBrighters” in People’s Television (PTV) Channel 4 with little and grown-up StarBrighters (a group of wannabes and talented newcomers) so-called such as Gladys Reyes, Shirley Fuentes, Jun King Austria, Francine Prieto, Fredmore de los Santos, Ruth Tuazon, Alfred Lapina, Ilonah Jean, Neil Sevilla, Daisy Reyes, Byron Lozano etc. They were the competitors of German Moreno’s “That’s Entertainment” mainstays in GMA Network.
Because of Michael’s musical talents and de Guia’s clout in the entertainment industry, his singing career zoomed to the top.
A Sought-After Entertainer In Las Vegas
At the moment, Michael Laygo is now a performer to reckon with in Las Vegas, the entertainment capital of the world.
Mike was easily recruited by Society of Seven, one of the most requested singing groups in the US, when it needed a replacement for one of its members who opted to retire from the music scene.
The septet started out in Honolulu in Hawaii which was formed by Fil-Am singer-friends which eventually produced the late iconic balladeer Bert Nievera, the father of Martin Nievera.
Society of Seven became a byword in Hawaii and because of its musical appeal on multiracial audience it was later transported to the Mainland.
A Prized Possession
Singers Gary Bautista and Jun Polistico also used to be part of the group in its various generations.
Michael, the youngest member of the group, is its prized possession.
Lani In The Group
When Lani Misalucha was discovered by a foreign recording label for a contract, one of her personal appearances was Las Vegas.
It was also here that Society of Seven spotted Lani and convinced her to join them for a while which she didn’t refuse.
Lani and Michael knew each other in Manila as they were most of the time singers in various TV shows and concerts in the country.
Jasmine Trias, Too
“American Idol” graduate Fil-Am Jasmine Trias also had a stint with the SoS.
“I was proud Society of Seven got Lani although it was a short stint because she had other commitments.
“I was also lucky I got to sing with her with the group,” said Michael.
Life In The US
Life in the US isn’t at all a bed of roses because Mike’s wife Joy contracted a rare disease which caused her life just a couple of years ago.
Life, too, has to go on.
Being a hardworking person, Michael, aside from singing regularly with Society of Seven in a club in Las Vegas, maintains another job, a valet parking man in the entertainment city.
A noteworthy and honorable job a Fil-Am can also hold on to.
Michael’s Bro Makes A Name At Home
Mark Laygo, Michael’s younger brother, and also a part of “StarBrighters”, is making a name for himself in the homefront.
Mark started out with his professional singing career —aside from being a regular StarBrighter— with a famous band, Passage.
He was one of its organizers with the pop star Ira Cruz, one of Introvoys dependable members. When he left the group, Ira joined Passage.
Ira is the late Mila del Sol’s grandson and son of Jeanne Young’s sister.
He was award-winning actress Mylene Dizon’s boyfriend.
Mark and Ira
Anyway, Mark and Ira went along together until they could be independently associated with other bands.
“Ganyan po talaga sa banda. Puwede kaming kunin ng kahit sinong grupo basta walang problema sa iskedyul. Kami ni Ira, puwede kaming mag-member kahit saan (That’s the way bands are. We could be accommodated by any group as long as there’s no problem in the schedule. Ira and I are willing to be members of any band),” explained this proud Batangueño who considers his elder brother Mike as his idol.