Rodel Naval

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Rodel Naval
Born (1953-02-16)February 16, 1953
Origin Philippines
Died June 11, 1995(1995-06-11) (aged 42)
Occupations Actor, singer, songwriter
Years active 1975–1995

Rodel Naval (February 16, 1953 – June 11, 1995) was a Filipino singer, songwriter and actor. He is best remembered for such songs as "Lumayo Ka Man" and "Muli".


Naval began his showbiz career in 1975 as an actor in the Philippines, but left in 1979 when he felt his career wasn't going anywhere and joined his immigrant family in Canada. Naval was the last in the family of seven kids to arrive in Toronto. After a year in Toronto, Naval decided to try his luck in Los Angeles, California. He had three live major concert performances at the Ebell Theatre, the Scottish Rite Temple and at the Ambassador Hotel. It was during one of these concerts that a talent scout discovered him and made an offer for him to perform in Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe. After Naval had performed several times at Imperial Hotel in Las Vegas, his talent scout offered him to sign a contract as regular feature of the club. A few days before his new stint began, the stage of the club collapsed and several days later, the talent scout died of a heart attack. Depressed, he went back to Los Angeles.[citation needed]

After a long absence from the Philippine entertainment industry for about 10 years, Naval returned to the Philippines in 1990 and had success in his first song, "Lumayo Ka Man" (English: "Even If You Go Away"), a Tagalog adaptation of the song "Single Again" (1989, EastWest Japan), written, composed and sung by Mariya Takeuchi. Within two months, the song turned triple platinum. Then in late 1992, he produced an album titled Once Again with songs both in English and Tagalog. The latest album gave forth three great hits. In the midst of his success, Naval remained an enigma in the local music industry. Wary of the gossip and intrigue that pervaded showbusiness, Naval guarded his privacy zealously, to the point of becoming almost reclusive. He was conspicuously missing in places where celebrities like him would normally be seen. Whenever he did go out, it was only to perform or to promote his songs.[citation needed]

At one time, Naval began to feel sick. He underwent a series of checkups and was even hospitalized but couldn't be diagnosed with an illness. Also during this time, one of his sisters made a few long distance calls to him from Canada. She tried to persuade him to come back there because there was someone who was interested in managing his singing career in North America. She also tried to persuade him to join the production of Miss Saigon in Toronto. Due to his popularity in the Philippines at the time, he was hesitant to come. Nevertheless, because of his illness which was still undiagnosed and he had already lost a lot of weight, in 1993 he decided to go back to Canada for a medical checkup and to audition for the musical production, Miss Saigon.[citation needed]

After a few days in Toronto, though very sick and weak, Naval still went for an audition, accompanied by one of his brothers. Naval could hardly move and was very weak when they were on their way to the audition place. Surprisingly, he passed the first stage of the audition where contestants performed under the scrutiny of about 12 judges. They were asked to come back for the second audition in which the producer himself would decide who would get the major roles.[citation needed]

Prior to second audition, Naval found out the result of his medical test that he was seriously ill. He phoned the casting director, Stephanie Gorin, to tell her that he was no longer interested to attend the second audition because of his illness. Gorin had replied that Naval was still at the top of her list and that he was still welcome to join Miss Saigon even without the second audition.[citation needed]

Because of medication, he regained the pounds he had lost and became healthy again. He then decided to join Miss Saigon. He was given the role of the Assistant Commissar and Understudy for the Commissar (Thuy). He joined the cast for one year.[citation needed]

Amidst his illness, he still managed to do two concerts in April 1994, one in Toronto and the other one in Los Angeles.[citation needed]


Naval died on June 11, 1995 of AIDS at the age of 42, barely three months after his father died.[1] The public had little knowledge what he had been going through; his hit love song "Lumayo Ka Man" was his cry to heaven for his mother who was taken too soon.

Naval left behind not only beautiful memories for his family and his fans but also several songs which he did not have time to popularize because of his illness.


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