In a rare moment, Lea Salonga turned emotional during an hour-long stream that marked her first live performance during the coronavirus quarantine, as she opened up about how the crisis has taken a toll on her mental health.

Salonga was among the artists lined up on Thursday as part of the “Bayanihan, Musikahan” online concert series, which aims to raise funds for healthcare workers and vulnerable sectors.


In between numbers — which ranged from OPM classics to her Broadway repertoire — Salonga spoke with her audience about her participation in the program spearheaded by National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab.

Aside from bringing aid to frontliners and those worst hit by the pandemic, “Bayanihan, Musikahan” is also helping artists on a personal level, Salonga said.


The one thing that kind of happened once the quarantine was called — and that’s a lot of us performers, most especially those freelancers who live from talent fee to talent fee — all of a sudden, means of livelihood are gone. For me, personally, I find that being able to sing for an audience of one, or a hundred, or a thousand, it’s somehow integral to my mental health,” she explained.

The first quarter of the year has seen successive cancellations of shows for Salonga. Before the pandemic, they were due to the Taal eruption in January.


It just felt out of tune or off-key to have a celebration while a lot of people were suffering, and I tended to agree,” she said.

However, if I go through an extended period of time without me doing what this is that I love the most — doing theater or a live gig — it messes with my head. When I don’t have an outlet — a creative, artistic outlet — it kind of drives me nuts,” Salonga said.