Jose Mari Chan

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Jose Mari Chan
Birth nameJosé Marí Chan y Lim
Also known asJoe Mari Chan, Mr. Music Man
Born (1945-03-11) March 11, 1945 (age 76)
Iloilo City, Philippine Commonwealth
GenresAdult contemporary, easy listening, pop
Occupation(s)Singer, composer, businessman
InstrumentsVocals, piano, guitar
Years active1966–present
Associated actsGary Valenciano, Martin Nievera, Sarah Geronimo, Lea Salonga, Regine Velasquez, Janet Basco, Lani Misalucha, Jaya, Christian Bautista, Sharon Cuneta, Ogie Alcasid, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Manilyn Reynes, Jolina Magdangal, Heart Evangelista, Parokya Ni Edgar, Ramon Jacinto, Ben&Ben

Jose "Joe" Mari Lim Chan (born March 11, 1945) is a Philippine singer, TV host, endorser, songwriter and businessman in the sugar industry. He is currently chairman and CEO of Binalbagan Isabela Sugar Company, Inc. (BISCOM) and A. Chan Sugar Corporation. He is also the chairman and president of Signature Music, Inc. Awarded in 1974 as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines. He received a Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Philippine Association of the Recording Industry and The Metro Pop Foundation. Recipient of the first ever ABS-CBN "ELITE Platinum Award" in 2005 and a recipient of the 2006 Dr. Jose P Rizal Award For Excellence.

Early life[edit]

Chan was born on March 11, 1945 in Iloilo City[2] and was the first-born child of Antonio Chan and Florencia Lim.[3] His father was an immigrant from Fujian, China who came to the Philippines at age 13[4] and started a sugar trading company in Bacolod.[5] Chan's mother was the only child of a Chinese-Filipino couple.[4]

Chan was exposed to music in his childhood with his maternal grandmother from Cebu often playing music at their house and his mother being a pianist. He was also accompanied by the family's house helper to participate in the radio program Children's Hour on DYRI where children performed the piano, sang, and recited poetry.[4] At school he was often selected to perform in school programs. Paul Anka and Neil Sedaka are among the songwriters which served as his inspiration in his childhood. Chan wrote his first song at age 13.[4] Chan's father was supportive of his involvement in Children's Hour but was reluctant of supporting his music career by the time he was age 14 or 15 when he began composing songs. His father was concerned their Chinese background would put Chan at a disadvantage in the music industry and encouraged him to relegate his music pursuits as a hobby and to pursue a business career instead. When Chan reminded the older gentleman that he did have a flair for composing, he was told that that particular field "would not be enough to support a family." It was then he realized the wisdom and concern voiced by his parent.[6]

Chan attended the Ateneo de Manila University where he met fellow musician Ramon Jacinto of RJ & the Riots. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics in 1967.[7]

Musical career[edit]

Chan first appeared on the local scene as a guest on Pilita Corrales's program An Evening with Pilita in 1965.[8] The next year, he became the host and singer of a television show called 9 Teeners of ABS-CBN 3 (now ABS-CBN 2) which aired on weekdays and Saturday in 1966. Since he was a junior student at that time at Ateneo and he was being encouraged to become a businessman, his father only consented his involvement if he was not paid salary for the stint.[6] His first single "Afterglow" was released in 1967. He would release his first album two years later.[9] after he was approached by an independent record producer.[6]

His first long playing album Deep in My Heart was issued in 1969. In 1973, he represented the Philippines in the World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo where his song "Can We Just Stop And Talk Awhile" went into the final entries. For more or less than four years from 1970 to 1974, Jose Mari Chan was able to compose more than 20 songs for movies and earned him different recognitions and nominations at the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences Awards (FAMAS Awards). He also wrote several well-loved commercial jingles among which is the Philippine Airlines' "Love at Thirty Thousand Feet" and the Alaska Milk jingle. Between 1974 and 1975 he was the Star of a series of Television Network Specials spotlighting his words and music.[10]

In 1975, he moved to the United States to run a branch office of their family's sugar business and remained there for 11 years, continuously composing songs as well. Some of which were recorded by foreign artists. In 1986, he returned to the Philippines[11] and made a comeback to the music industry with the release of his album A Golden Collection, a compilation of his hits along with a brand new composition "Tell Me Your Name" which re-introduced him to a younger audience. The album was released by Universal Records.[12]

On February 14, 1988, Chan performed at the Maynila restaurant within the Manila Hotel as a guest act for Joey Albert's Valentine's Day dinner concert "Here's to Love", his first live performance in years.[13]

In 1989, he released his album Constant Change.[9] It was named Album of the Year by the Awit Awards, the local equivalent of the American Grammy Awards and reached the Diamond Record in terms of sales. The Diamond Award is given to albums or singles selling ten million units or more. It was also sold in other Asian countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

In 1990, his Christmas album, Christmas in Our Hearts was released.[9] It reached triple platinum status that same year, eventually earning the Double Diamond Record Award in 1995, for selling over 20 million units. The significant popularity of his iconic Christmas songs and the album during the holiday season annually earned him the title "Father of Philippine Christmas Music".[14][15]

In 1994, he released his eighth album, Thank You Love, where he has another song "Is She Thinking About Me" with Christine Bersola-Babao and another Christmas song, "Christmas Past".[16] His 2001 album A Heart's Journey won Album of the year in the Awit Awards. In 2005, he composed "We're All Just One" as the theme song of the 2005 Southeast Asian Games.[11] In 2007, he released his 12th album Love Letters and Other Souvenirs.[17]

In 2009, Chan was inducted to the Philippines Eastwood City Walk Of Fame.[18]

In 2011, he released his 13th full-length album, The Manhattan Connection: The Songs of Jose Mari Chan. The album, which was produced by Janis Siegel of The Manhattan Transfer. The songs were reimagined by music producer Yaron Gershovsky.[19]

In 2012, he released his 14th over-all album Going Home to Christmas. It was his second Christmas album after 22 years since Christmas In Our Hearts was released in 1990.[20]

Business career[edit]

He is the chairman and chief executive officer of Binalbagan-Isabela Sugar Company Inc. (BISCOM) and A. Chan Sugar Corporation as of 2018.[5] Upon encouragement of his father, Chan became involved in the family business in 1967 right after he graduated from Ateneo. He later inherited the business from his father. Chan has described his business career as his second priority behind his family affairs and ahead of his music career.[6] In 1975, he had to move to the United States in relation to his family's sugar business and returned to the Philippines in 1986.[11]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Mary Ann Ansaldo and has five children, who have inherited their musical talent from him. His daughter, Liza, has been featured in several duets with him. His sons Joe & Mike Chan formed a musical duo and released their debut album in 2019 under Star Music.[21][22] Although currently based in and residing primarily in Metro Manila with his family, Chan maintains his homes in Iloilo and Cebu.

Chan is a devout Roman Catholic.[16]


Award Award Giving Body Date
Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines for the Arts[23] Ten Outstanding Young Men Awards 1974
Lifetime Achievement Award[24] Philippine Association of the Recording Industry --
Dangal ng Musikang Pilipino Award[25] Philippine Association of the Recording Industry --
Antonio C. Barreiro Lifetime Achievement Award[25] Metro Pop Foundation --
Elite Platinum Award[26] ABS-CBN 2005
Dangal ng OPM[27] Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit 2011
Puso ng Saya Award[28] GMA Network Sunday Pinasaya 2019

The Bacolod City Government in 2018 named him as their adopted son by the Bacolod City Council, and as their honorary mayor during the administration of Mayor Evelio Leonardia for his role in the growth of the Bacolod's sugar industry.[5]

Year Award Giving Body Category Nominated Work Results
2008 Awit Awards Best Performance by a Male Recording Artist (Performance Award) "Windmills of Your Mind" Nominated
Best Performance by a Male Recording Artist (People's Choice Award) "Windmills of Your Mind" Nominated
2009 Eastwood City Walk Of Fame Celebrity Inductee N/A Won
2010 MYX Music Awards MYX Magna Award N/A Won
2019 PMPC Star Awards for Music Levi Celerio Lifetime Achievement Award N/A Won[29]



  • Deep In My Heart (1969)
  • Can We Just Stop And Talk Awhile (1973) - Tokyo World Popular Song Festival
  • Afterthoughts (1974)
  • Here and Now (1975)
  • A Golden Collection (1985)
  • Constant Change (1989) - 2× Diamond
  • Christmas in Our Hearts (1990) - 2× Diamond
  • Thank You, Love (1994)
  • Strictly Commercial: The Jingles Collection (1997)
  • Souvenirs (1998)
  • A Heart's Journey (2001) - Awit Awards, Album of the Year
  • Love Letters And Other Souvenirs (2007)
  • The Manhattan Connection (2011)
  • Going Home to Christmas (2012)
  • Christmas in Our Hearts: 25th Anniversary Edition (2015)



  • Gold Ito! (Dyna Music, 1988)
  • Ginintuang Diwa ng Pasko (Universal Records/WEA Records, 1989)
  • Maayong Pasko (Universal Records/WEA Records, 1989)
  • Presence (Universal Records 2002)
  • Only Selfless Love 2 (Universal Records, 2003)
  • Something More (JesCom Music, 2004)
  • Best of OPM Love Songs (Universal Records, 2005)
  • Best of OPM Acoustic Hits (Universal Records, 2005)
  • OPM Gold Christmas (Universal Records, 2006)
  • OPM Superstars Christmas (Universal Records, 2006)
  • Sail On...His Most Holy Face (Universal Records, 2006)
  • OPM Platinum Christmas (Universal Records, 2007)
  • Isang Kinabukasan: A GMA Kapuso Foundation Benefit Album (GMA Music, 2007)
  • HOPE... Healing of Pain and Enlightenment (Star Music, 2007)
  • No. 1 Signature Hits OPM's Best (Vicor Music Corp., 2008)
  • Senti 18 Pinoy Love Hits (Vicor Music Corp., 2008)
  • Bongga! (The Biggest Retro OPM Hits) (Universal Records, 2008)
  • Bongga! 2 (The Biggest Retro OPM Hits) (Universal Records, 2009)
  • Paalam, Maraming Salamat Pres. Aquino (A Memorial Tribute Soundtrack) (Star Music, 2009)
  • RJ Duets (MCA Music, 2012)
  • A Love to Last (The Official Soundtrack) (Star Music, 2017)

Music Videos[edit]

  • Beautiful Girl (Original released in 1989, music video released in 1991)
  • Tell Me Your Name (Original released in 1985, music video released in 1991)
  • Constantly (2012, featuring his best friend guitarman RJ Jacinto)

Commercial Endorsements[edit]

  • Company B
  • Mc Jim Wallets & Belts
  • Nescafe
  • Philippine Airlines
  • Shakeys Pizza
  • Shopee

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "International Talent Directory" (PDF). Billboard. The Billboard Publishing Company. December 28, 1968. p. 164. Retrieved April 14, 2021.
  2. ^ "Jose Mari Chan: King of Christmas Carols". 96.3 Easy Rock. 5 December 2017. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  3. ^ Logarta, Margie (28 February 2018). "Sugar in his hearts". Manila Times. Archived from the original on 23 August 2019. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d Ortiga, Kari (19 December 2016). "Jose Mari Chan". Esquire. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Guadalquiver, Nanette (16 February 2018). "Jose Mari Chan offers accolade to Chinese immigrant father". Philippine News Agency. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d Gutierrez, Angelica (24 November 2017). "Jose Mari Chan, (Not) The Father of Philippine Christmas Carols". Esquire. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
  7. ^ Godinez, Bong (7 April 2008). "Filipino song composers of all time (Part 2)". Philippine Entertainment Portal. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013.
  8. ^ Mendoza, Meg (October 23, 1988). "Gary's heart and soul". Manila Standard. Manila Standard News, Inc. p. 25. Retrieved May 24, 2021.
  9. ^ a b c Valisno, Jeffrey O (21 July 2011). "Local Support". Business World Online. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015.
  10. ^ Billboard Vol. 85, No. 44. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 1973.
  11. ^ a b c Yalong, Bobby (November 21, 2014). "Jose Mari Chan juggles between his music and business enterprise". Asian Journal. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  12. ^ Suryadinata, Leo (2012). Southeast Asian Personalities of Chinese Descent: A Biographical Dictionary, Volume I & II. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. p. 72. ISBN 978-981-4345-21-7. Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  13. ^ Flores, Monette (February 1, 1988). "Love according to Joey". Manila Standard. Standard Publications, Inc. p. 10. Retrieved June 5, 2021.
  14. ^ Red, Isah V. (6 December 2018). "Christmas is Jose Mari Chan's season". Manila Standard. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  15. ^ Malasig, Jeline (1 September 2020). "'Bringing our hearts close to Christmas': Jose Mari Chan's classic hit gets revamped in wake of COVID-19". Interaksyon. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  16. ^ a b Flores, Wilson Lee (25 November 2018). "The story behind Jose Mari Chan's inspiring 'Christmas in Our Hearts'". Philstar Global Corp. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  17. ^ Lo, Ricky (21 July 2007). "Love Letters is vintage Jose Mari Chan". Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  18. ^ Calderon, Ricky L. (4 December 2009). "KC gets own star in pinoy walk of fame". Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  19. ^ Smith, Chuck (19 April 2011). "Jose Mari Chan reimagined on 'The Manhattan Connection'". Yahoo! OMG! Philippines. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  20. ^ Policarpio, Allan (26 May 2018). "Jose Mari Chan hints 'Going Home' may well be his last Christmas album". Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  21. ^ "Joe and Mike Chan launch first album | ABS-CBN Corporate". ABS-CBN. 30 March 2019. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  22. ^ "Brothers Joe and Mike Continue Dad Jose Mari Chan's Musical Legacy". Orange Magazine. 1 April 2019. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  23. ^ "1971 – 1980 | TOYM Awardees". Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  24. ^ "Diether Ocampo's the salt in Margarita!". Manila Bulletin. 2 August 2007. Archived from the original on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  25. ^ a b Lo, Ricardo F. (14 December 2002). "JOSE MARI CHAN IN OUR HEARTS". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  26. ^ "Jose Mari Chan: Returns to Cebu for Holiday Medley". PhilSTAR. 8 November 2006. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  27. ^ "Dangal ng OPM Awardees bared". Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
  28. ^ Severo, Jan Milo (2 September 2019). "Jose Marie Chan officially opens Christmas season". Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  29. ^ "And the winners of the 11th Star Awards for Music 2020 are..." Retrieved 2020-04-24.

External links[edit]