Tricia Canilao’s Metamorphosis from Theater Actress to Businesswoman
Daughter to a legal practitioner, Tricia Canilao was once a student thriving to follow the steps of her root. She took up BA in Economics at Ateneo de Manila University with pre-law in mind. But even then, she already knew what her heart truly desires—to showcase her talent and perform in front of thousands of people.
She’s always had the passion for singing, but it wasn’t until in high school when she landed a role for a school musical play version of West Side Story that she realized she also got the heart for theater arts. Not so long after, auditions for Miss Saigon Holland happened, and with God’s grace, she was one of the chosen talents from the country.
OPENING UP TO OPPORTUNITIES
It was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up that she had to file a leave of absence from school. But seeing how much she’s grown as an artist with the experience she acquired at the time, it is safe to assume that it was all well worth it.
She stayed in the UK for three years before she came back to the Philippines. She was supposed to go back to her normal life but then, Miss Saigon Manila happened and the Asian tour kicked off. However, in Tricia’s mind, she knew that no matter how successful she becomes as an artist, she still had to finish school and get a degree.
“[In spite of] being a performer, I have to have a very good educational background in case I wanted to do other things,” said Tricia.
After finishing her studies, Tricia paved the way back to her true love. She flew to Hongkong to become one of the musical theater performers in Disneyland, with the mindset that she’d stay only for a year. But as playful as fate is, she ended up staying for 10 long years.
And true enough, she came back just last year to the Philippines to face a new chapter of her life. This time, she’s taking the challenge to the next level as she recently founded a company to work not just a businessperson but also as a producer.
Tricia believes that the Filipinos hold so much talent. And that’s what provoked her to come back to the country and open up a business here—a business that will flourish the hidden gift of aspiring Filipinos in the field of musical theater.
“Having lived abroad, I’ve seen the potential of what we can do as a country,” she explained. “I see we are not just artists that are meant to perform here in the Philippines.”
Last September 15, the theater actress already introduced her first show as a producer—the “Off Broadway in Manila” at the Intramuros Ballroom of the Manila House Net Park Building in Bonifacio Global City—featuring herself and the people she worked with for Miss Saigon.
“We’re ranging from some classical sounds to musical theatre, and it was so nice to do because there’s really a crowd that appreciates you,” noted Tricia.
TAKING TIME FOR THE KIDS
Tricia has three small kids. As a mom, she always prioritizes their welfare even when she’s caught up with her career life.
“Having three small kids, you need to have a lot of energy,” said Tricia. “My morning routine, no matter what time I go to bed at night, I wake up at 5:30 with them [to prepare them for school].”
Just like Tricia, her three kids are also gifted with theater skills. In fact, they also engage in musical plays and enjoy it a lot. Tricia said she doesn’t have to push them to do it because they’re naturally born with a heating passion for musical theater.
But of course, as a mom, Tricia still makes sure that they get the balance they need for school and recreation, that’s why she’s picky about what they choose to partake in. She also ensures that the people her kids work with are trustworthy enough since she can’t keep an eye on them the whole time.
Consequent to her first show, Tricia looks forward to producing more. In fact, she has already come up with a whole year calendar.
“Definitely, there will be something happening every month, different variations,” promised Tricia. “So there are like going to be bigger shows, smaller shows, shows with dinner, and shows with bigger scale. But definitely, there is a magnifique event happening once every month.”
Tricia also promises that her clients will enjoy the shows dearly as she plans to present plays that are well-known by people. She wants to make sure that the music sounds familiar to the audience or is something that they may not have heard before but might suit their taste.
However, what really matters most for Tricia is to establish a company that will reflect the genuine talent of the Filipinos, not just in the country but the whole Asia and the world alike.
“The long-term outlook is to establish arts and cultural educational exchanges with different countries,” she explained. “For us Filipinos, let’s be honest, not a lot can actually afford to go through proper schooling for music, so why can’t we have a school that really caters to artists with a proper education?”
Her company may still be work-in-progress, but she’s not the one to back down. Rather, she’s ready to face anything that comes her way and be the empowered woman she was born to be.
She also wants to remind everyone to always bring their passion with them everywhere they go, no matter what the odds are.
“I hope you do what you love. There will be a way to do it. It may not be bread and butter. But do it because it will keep you alive no matter how old you are,” she adviced.
Aside from her role in Miss Saigon, Tricia was also featured in various shows including “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “West Side Story,” Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” and the musical revue, “The Golden Mickeys.”