Behind the Music: 'Nandito Ako' by Ogie Alcasid

Leah C. Salterio

Posted at Jan 23 2021 01:53 PM | Updated as of Jan 23 2021 02:29 PM

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MANILA -- If there is one hit song that singer-songwriter Ogie Alcasid is best remembered for, it is the romantic ballad, “Nandito Ako.” 

Penned by Aaron Paul del Rosario and released in 1989 as one of the tracks of Alcasid’s self-titled debut album, the song undoubtedly gave recognition to Alcasid and entrenched him in the local music industry.

“Nandito Ako” was named Song of the Year in Magic 89.9’s countdown in 1990. “It beat so many foreign songs at that time,” Alcasid told ABS-CBN News. “I am quite convinced that it was the song that got me slowly recognized by the music industry.”

Alcasid’s debut album contained songs not only by del Rosario, but by such songwriters like Ito Rapadas and arrangers like Jimmy Antiporda. “My producer, Bob Guzman, really had great foresight,” Alcasid recalled. “I believe that the album contained songs by songwriters who are now legends in the local music industry.”

Alcasid also wrote songs for his debut album, like “Ako’y Iyong Iyo,” “Dito sa Puso Ko,” “Peksman” and “Please Don’t Go Away.” The album carried other tracks like Rapadas’ “Sa Kanya.”

“The first album was with OctoArts, but ‘Peksman’ was with Viva Records,” Alcasid clarified. “The song was later on included in my OctoArts album.”

Alcasid remains thankful that three decades after he recorded “Nandito Ako,” the song remains to be a favorite of many fans from all over the world. “Even the younger generations sing it,” he said of his hit ballad. “I am really grateful for that.”

To date, “Nandito Ako” has been recorded by both local and foreign artists. From Lea Salonga, who charted her own recording in 1993, the ballad had re-imagined versions by “American Idol” finalist David Archuleta (2012) and Mexican singer-actress Thalia (1997).

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Local singers like Jeffrey Hidaldo (2000), Sharon Cuneta (2006), Noel Cabangon (2014) and Kris Lawrence (2018) also recorded their respective versions of “Nandito Ako.”

“I am honored that so many artists have done their own covers of the song,” Alcasid maintained.

A film starring Phillip Salvador and Kris Aquino used “Nandito Ako” as its theme and title in 1994, with Jose “Kaka” Balagtas as the helm.

Although “Nandito Ako” is his first big hit, Alcasid considers another ballad he wrote, “Kailangan Kita,” as one of his favorite compositions. 

“Kailangan Kita is a song that is very personal to me,” Alcasid said. “It is also one of the melodies I wrote that I truly love.”

Last December, Alcasid held a pay-per-view concert, “Ogie and the Hurados,” at the Newport Performing Arts Theater at Resorts World Manila. It was actually a repeat of the sold-out concert he first did back in 2019, although the first time he staged a virtual concert.

While this pandemic is truly limiting the live performances of all artists, Alcasid remains hopeful for the silver lining. This 2021, he is open to doing anything productive, as far as his singing career is concerned.

“I just want to welcome whatever comes my way,” Alcasid said. “Projects that inspire people and make their lives just a little livelier.”

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