Sanilyn Gianan never expected that writing a song while washing the dishes at the age of 10 would lead her to performing her own song and waving the banner of Palaweño musicians on the international stage through the renowned Wish Bus of radio station Wish 107.5’s worldwide reach.

As a member of various performing groups during her elementary days at Puerto Princesa Pilot Elementary School, young Sanilyn was in awe of discovering that she could actually turn words into a song.

“I wrote my first song at the age of 10 while I was washing the dishes. Akala ko kasi marunong lang ako kumanta at sumayaw, nagulat ako Nakagawa ako ng kanta. And dahil dun, ginusto ko matuto mag gitara. I never imagined na ung unang song na nasulat ko ay madadala ako sa Baguio para magcompete ng first kong national songwriting contest,” she shared to Palawan News.

This experience snowballed into writing more songs and joining local and national songwriting competitions.

Fifteen years later, she won her first songwriting championship through the Awitan sa Baragatan songwriting competition organized by the Pilipinas Shell Foundation with the song “Pampang”, which is about protecting Palawan’s environment.

Sanilyn said that it opened the door to turning her hobby into something more serious.

“15 years later I got my first champion! And then nag open ng doors for me to produce my own song, organized my own band, joined an organization whose advocacy is for the creative development of young Palawenyo musicians. I got a chance to experience real recording and ibang feeling when you hear your song being played on the radio,” she expressed.

Behind Prinsesani
Aside from the big names in the local music scene, Sanilyn drew inspiration from her family.

Her real name, Sanilyn, is a portmanteau of her parents’ names, the late Paciano (known to many as Sonny), who was the former head of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in the province, and her now retired public school teacher mother, Erlinda, or Linda. Being the oldest and only girl among her siblings, she is considered the princess of her family, which consists of four children.

It is from this family background that she acquired her moniker “Prinsesani,” which also pays homage to her hometown, Puerto Princesa.

The Songs of the Princess
For the singer and songwriter Sanilyn, it is God’s gift that she can transform the words from her heart into music. In addition to drawing inspiration from her personal experiences, she also writes about the beauty of nature and its protection, which is an advocacy she shares with her father.

In 2019, her song “Selos” was discovered by artist and music producer Rannie Raymundo. Raymundo provided opportunities for her to break into the indie world of the music industry.

During the pandemic, she tirelessly participated in online songwriting challenges, resulting in the creation of her song “Irog.”

This paved the way for her songs to be heard by a larger audience, as they made it to Ogie Alcasid’s online show, being recognized as one of the top 10 songs. Her music reached platforms such as RJTV, It’s Showtime, Net 25, and even resonated with audiences in different parts of the globe through other online shows.

Along the way, she also had the opportunity to be mentored by prominent figures in the music industry, including Joey Ayala, Jim Paredes, Tito Cayamanda, Doc Mon del Rosario, and Butch Monserrat.

Journey to the Wish Bus
Sanilyn attributed it to God’s providence when the Songwriters United organization approached her and requested her song “I Believe” to be considered for inclusion in their praise album.

The song is a 10-year-old composition that she wrote during her time as a struggling law student in Manila, when she felt at rock bottom.

“It was during my prayer time when I was in tears. These lines just came to me, and I wrote the song. “I Believe” is truly a personal prayer—a response to my struggles and pain during that period. It serves as God’s assurance that everything will be fine; I just need to believe,” she shared.

“I Believe” was chosen as one of the top 5 songs for the album where Mon del Rosario supervised the production, arranged by Oliver Coderes and John Varney, vocal editing by Obet Rivera and Chuck Abello and was mixed and mastered by Dante Toledo.

This opportunity led her to promote the song at the Wish Bus Roadshow.

“I was one of the selected few na nakasama sa We Praise album under KDR Music House. And one of the perks ng promotion ng album ay mag guest sa Wish Bus, though sabi ng management di pa sure kung kelan. Kaya I was thrilled when Wish Bus emailed me na confirming nga the guesting,” she recalled.

Wish Bus experience
Sanilyn expressed her initial nerves setting foot at the Wish Bus. But the friendly atmosphere and warm reception helped calm her jitters, transforming the nerves into excitement for her performance.

“I was really nervous at that time, but since the staff of Wish Bus was accommodating, I gradually relaxed and engaged in small talk with DJ Alice” she said.

As she awaited her turn, she discovered she was not alone. Dr. Nhanie Bontoyan, a fellow Palaweña, had visited the bus and provided her company and support.

The real magic, however, unfolded when Prinsesani stepped onto the Wish Bus stage. The enthusiastic crowd outside showered her with appreciation, a heartwarming sight that filled her with joy. Even familiar faces, such as indie artist Blister, had gathered to support Sanilyn’s momentous performance.

Sanilyn engaged in a spontaneous interview with DJ Alice. The conversation flowed naturally, and DJ Alice’s insightful questions allowed her to share the heartfelt stories behind her music, including her popular song “I Believe.”

The nerves resurfaced momentarily as she prepared to perform, unsure if her voice would cooperate due to a lack of sleep the night before. However, her worries were unfounded, as she delivered a captivating rendition of “I Believe” that touched the hearts of everyone present.

The Princess’ advice
There is nothing that can stop Sanilynin achieving her goals both in her career as a professional and as an artist. To this day, she continues to hone her talents and selflessly inspire dreamers to dream big following her suit while remaining humble with both her feet on the ground.

“Una, sumulat kayo. Huwag tumigil sumulat. Isulat niyo lahat. Kahit ano pa. Huwag tumigil matuto. Kung gusto mag-improve, invest on your talent! Give quality time on your passion. Huwag susuko. Kung ano man ang natuklasan mong talent, Huwag itago. Linangin. Huwag mahihiya ishare sa mundo. Hindi pupwede na ang makakarinig lang ng obra ay ang apat na sulok ng kwarto. Malaki ang mundo, hayaan mong mapakinggan ka at ang galing mo,” she shared.

The Wish Bus experience marked an important milestone in Sanilyn’s flourishing songwriting journey.

From washing the dishes, wishing and praying and stepping into the Wish Bus, Sanilyn has emerged as a respected artist in Palawan ready and set to conquer the world.

*** Show your support to Sanilyn or Prinsesani by listening to her song “I Believe” featured on KDR Music House’s “We Praise” Album now available on all digital music streaming platforms. Princesani encourages the use of her song on Facebook Reels, Instagram Stories and Tiktok. You may also catch her on @princesani on Instagram, Youtube and Spotify, @princesani16 on Tiktok and princesatalulot16 on Facebook.