MANILA -- Gary Valenciano was concerned for his life when he was diagnosed with cancer after undergoing a cardiac bypass surgery two years ago. Fortunately for him, this episode gave him a chance to have a second lease on life.

After an anniversary performance on ASAP on April 22 with his son Gabriel, he suffered chest pains, which he said might have been caused by fatigue. After doing an angiogram on May 4, it was discovered that 95 percent of his left artery was blocked. Two days later, he underwent an emergency open heart surgery. As if his condition wasn't already bad enough, doctors also diagnosed him with kidney cancer two weeks later.

"I went through five procedures. The angiogram, the bypass, a laryngoscopy because I suddenly had breathing issues called laryngospasm, then another procedure because I got pleural effusion (water in the lungs), and then the partial nephrectomy (cutting off of malignant tumor and 1/3 of the kidney) all within 6 weeks. Add on my diabetes so it was quite a challenge!"

Gary was able to successfully undergo these procedures recalling how his recovery phase was a difficult yet fulfilling journey. "I had to shoot myself with a lot of painkillers. I had to walk despite the fact that the wounds were still very fresh. I also dealt with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Thankfully, I had friends who helped me get over it by prayers and even taking me to the beach."

Though painful, the unforgettable and humbling experience has allowed him to appreciate his life more. "It's been amazing because you kind of get sensitive again to what others may be going through. The experience of being able to do these things God knows I love the most has made me grateful and I just want to enjoy this time I have," he shares.

Gary recalls how fortunate he was to be surrounded by a very strong support group who helped him navigate through such a difficult time. "My wife reminded me we also did prepare financially by buying insurance. Of course, anytime, anybody goes to the hospital, that's money out of the pocket, and although I know it's to keep people safe and healthy and all, what I went through was not an ordinary thing."

With his pre-existing condition and a health scare, Gary was aware of the financial preparations he needed to make. "Many people might not understand the importance of insurance but for me, insurance rhymes with the word assurance. When health challenges come, and you know that they will at some point in time in your life, it would be good to know that you have a partner that will help you. And that's what insurance does, it assures you like what happened to me, that teaming up with a partner with my health will help me fulfill my obligations and my duties financially to those who have helped me."

AIA Philam Life recently signed Gary Valenciano as its newest brand ambassador, to inspire Filipinos from all walks of life to protect themselves so they will have peace of mind that they can enjoy a Healthier, Longer, and Better Life no matter what uncertainties may come.

"Now that AIA Philam Life invited me to be their ambassador, I was so touched. People have entrusted their lives into the hands of AIA Philam Life because they have a track record of making sure to provide the services that people need ever so badly, especially now."

Be protected from medical emergencies

AIA Philam Life develops relevant protection products for Filipinos as the brand understands that while everyone needs these, they are unable to be as financially prepared as Gary. The Company recently launched AIA Med-Assist, an affordable variable life insurance plan with medical benefit rider designed to address medical expenses due to hospitalization. "I believe until you go through the experience yourself, that's the only time you will really understand the importance of protecting yourself and your family," Gary says.

AIA Med-Assist is available for 18 to 55-year olds and comes in four different packages ranging from PHP500,000 to PHP4 million yearly hospitalization coverage to match your budget with a long-term payment scheme for more manageable premium payments. It comes with Daily Hospitalization Income for every day you're confined to give your family peace of mind that there's no income loss even if you're confined in the hospital, as well as a lump sum cash benefit for beneficiaries in case of loss of life. On top of this, the product is powered by Philam Vitality, AIA Philam Life's science-backed wellness program which incentivizes members with rewards for knowing and improving their health.

A healthier chapter of his life

For this "new" chapter of his life, Gary hopes to continue living healthy. "I think of my family, my wife and my children, and what else is out there for me to do. Everything has to be balanced and every priority must first be listed down and then put them in different plateaus. I believe if these priorities are all balanced all together, that's what's going to continue to inspire me to continue living a healthier, longer, and better life."

Know more about AIA Med-Assist by visiting the AIA Philam Life website at, Facebook page at, emailing or calling (02)8528-2000. (Sponsored Content)