As thousands of Filipino-Canadians flocked to the Plaza of Nations in Vancouver to see Jaya perform at the third Vancouver OPM Festival, two special guests drove 13 hours from Edmonton, Alberta just to see the Kapuso Soul Diva.
They were Rey Kagahastian, Jaya’s father whom she had not seen in almost 20 years, and Joshua Kagahastian, her half-brother whom she met for the first time.
“My father left when I was three years old, I think,” Jaya recalls. “But I can remember seeing him again in 1980 when he met up with me in Fiesta Carnival in Cubao.”
“That was also the day he bought me my first pair of eyeglasses,” Jaya fondly remembers of that meeting.
Rey, who now resides in Canada, last saw his daughter in 1997 when she was on tour with Asia’s Queen of Songs Pilita Corrales.
The opportunity for their long-awaited reunion came when the Kapuso singer, who is currently a main host of GMA’s variety program, Sunday All-Stars, headlined the Vancouver OPM Festival last July, which was organized by GMA Pinoy TV in partnership with the Filipino Canadian Marketing Group, Inc.
“My father and I talked about everything,” she shares. “From how he met my mother, to the time I was conceived and why he left. We talked about our future together.”
Meeting her half-brother was also a special moment for Jaya and she was grateful for the opportunity to visit Canada, through the efforts of GMA Pinoy TV, which led to this significant milestone. “I felt so happy and blessed to have had a chance to get to know him even for a short time,” she says. “I can’t wait to spend more time with him so I can get to know him further.”
Going beyond giving her kababayans abroad a taste of home through a night of original Pilipino music, Jaya’s trip to Vancouver proved to be a memorable one as she herself was able to find a sense of home in reuniting with her family.