Categorized | Editorial

A Community Was Born

A Community Was Born

charicemania community 75x75 A Community Was BornI thought I was ready to start writing about my own life. But wait, the chapters in my life had not even begun. The culmination of my journey is still in the making. I must be in harmony with nature. I can not rush this precious life. I must take things one day at a time. I am getting too far ahead. Let me enjoy my young life and stop to smell the roses.

For several months now, I have experienced something so wonderful and wholesome. It is so remarkable that no book could ever deliver the events that I have delved into. It is a hands-on experience. It is all because of my accidental meeting with this young girl from the Philippines. Her name is Charice. That is all that’s needed. Please remember that name. Charice is the embodiment of a young child who survived the adversity of life itself but somehow was able to turned it around and come out on top. All these negative events from her home country and from her own violent father were washed away and became a thing of the past, never to haunt her again.

Without any doubt, Charice was gifted by the Almighty Lord with a voice that could reach the sky. The floodgates of heaven opened up and showered her with immeasurable blessings and good fortune. Everyone was caught in awe. Her rapid rise to stardom was unbelievable.

We were all spellbound. We became loyal followers. Even the powerful U.S. entertainment moguls did not escape the charisma and magnetism of Charice. She is so sweet, humble, unassuming, and a sometimes playful child whose only briefcase contains her childhood dreams. Dreams to be accepted and loved as a singer. To meet and sing with her own idols, like Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli. She had brought her full game, and Americans like Oprah, Ellen, and David were the first three “angels” so to speak, to believe in her god-given talent. They were convinced that this child from the Philippines was special, and deserved to be given all the chances to make her childhood dream come true.

My personal adulation for Charice is like having a younger sister whom I need to protect at all times. I am a year older than her. Although, we were not from the same country but I feel that our lives are forever intertwined. I only have her best interest in mind.

Charice performances as shown on YouTube spread like wildfire. It is unstoppable. This is when a sense of community was born. A throng of ever-loving fans from across the globe sprouted like mushrooms, in every continent, from the U.S. to Canada, from Asia to the Middle East, from down under Australia and New Zealand, and of course from her home country, the Philippines.

The love and support of the fans, a commingling of diverse nationalities from Filipinos to Koreans and to other Asians, Caucasians and Blacks, the likes of Muhammad Ali and Latinos had become a community bonded together in one common ideal.

This month of May 2009, Las Vegas, Nevada, had never witnessed throngs of fanatics to see, and support their Filipino idols.

Thousands came on May 2 to see their fighter, Mr. Manny Pacman Pacquiao. Then the following weekend of May 9, a second set of thousands of enthusiastic Filipinos came from all parts of the world to see their girl Charice. These great events only happen when people come into a sense of community in adoration of their idol. It is like a repeat of Woodstock. It is a pilgrimage.

My on-hand experience with the group called “Chasters” or “ChariceManiacs” is so amazing that I can not begin to tell what really “hit” me. I am a quiet, calm, composed young student. I do have a lot of varied interest but never in my young life did I exhibit such adulation for an artist, much more coming from a faraway country where I never been to before.

But to me, all of those things don’t matter. When I saw her perform in Mandalay Bay Resort in May 23, 2008, I am drawn to believe that Charice is the best one for me. No more, no less. She had come into my life when I least expected it. I was hurting, and all my pain deep inside had slowly vanished. From the moment I watched her performance on YT of the songs, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “Try it On My Own,” I knew right there, and then that I will have to follow this exceptional child with a BIG VOICE.

In my involvement with ChariceMania fan site, I have discovered the ultimate in fellowship, respect, camaraderie, and, most of all, love. I found a Filipino woman friend currently residing in Japan. During the time that I was grieving the loss of my beloved grandmother, the Chasters were there to offer their shoulder and heartfelt condolences. I was never alone. I found loving brothers and sisters, like justcharrie, charice4ever, munzt, Pete Easy, muskrat, lololando, charade, tush_fetish, Henri_V, and a dozen more “Knights in shining armor,” and others, I don’t mean to leave you out.

One more remarkable event that I have witnessed was during the upcoming David Foster and Friends Concert #2. Although due to school commitment, I was not able to participate but I heard that the fan site was able to organize and pulled through a monumental task of giving a birthday party to Charice on May 10, 2009. I was able to communicate with the brain child (leader) named GM Maria Manalo whose leadership, dedication, and untiring efforts was pivotal to the success of the events.

In her email to me, she was apologetic that she was not able to do much posting on the site because she was so busy putting the event together. She even mentioned that the birthday cake was so expensive. She said, “I feel like I bought a wedding cake for 250 people.” But she sighed relief and said that she was done shopping for Charice birthday gift and also for Mommy Raquel’s Mother’s Day present. Then, she said now is just a matter of two days before we all fly to Vegas.

This is so remarkable, taking into account that these people are all unpaid volunteers doing what they believe is right for their idol Charice. Now, how do you thank these bands of “angels”?

It does not end here, I even read that on May 8, they saw GM Maria at the airport checking through security, and carrying the heavy Karaoke machine which will be the grand prize for the birthday party drawings. Everyone knows how difficult it is to pass through TSA Security in any airport. You tell me, I traveled frequently attending medical student’s conferences. I do not enjoy airport security checks at all. Much more when you are loaded with a bunch of stuff to be screened. Several times they confiscated my bottled water which is my only choice of drink.

It is so uncanny what people are driven to do good for another human being. There is so much love and generosity. I firmly believe that the innate goodness in humankind is alive and well as demonstrated by Ms. GM Maria. My hat’s off to you Ms. GM Maria. May God reward you abundantly and your loved ones, too.

It is all done for the love of Charice Pempengco. A ChariceMania community was born. Like what my justcharrie friend had stated, “Come join the bandwagon!” That’s my friend.

charicemania community1 A Community Was Born

As long as you have a genuine love for Charice, you are a member, no fee, no credit check. Please visit charicemania.com and experience a whole new world of ChariCity. Once you become a member, I won’t be responsible if you become a Charice “addict.” But don’t you worry, you will be given the freedom to “Speak your Mind.” But be careful not to step on other peoples toes. It is a twenty-four hour fun. So practice calm and restraint.

by LovelySoul

posted by cha_rade

..

Compilation Video

Compilation courtesy of EBJohns
Photos courtesy of CLR4Lfe

I would like to personally thank GM, our tireless leader, for all the hard work and sleepless efforts she has poured in making this event not only a success, but also one that is truly remarkable and unforgettable. I also would like to thank those who have contributed help to the event, big or small, as well as to everyone who came to the gathering even from far away just to see our princess. Lastly, I’d like to thank Charice for gracing us with her presence, despite her incredibly hectic schedule.

The laughter and moments we shared with Charice and with each other may already have come and gone, but those wonderful memories will remain with us for a lifetime.
–cha_rade

20090510crazycmanians A Community Was Born

20090510chamixing A Community Was Born

Until we meet again, dear friends!

69 Responses to “A Community Was Born”

  1. haynakuubosnanamanorasko says:

    Same article posted by JustCharrie with English translation
    (for you LovelySoul-by the way, you do have away with words)

    “LOSING IN SINGING CONTESTS MADE HER CRY, BUT MOTIVATED HER TO BOUNCE BACK, SING HER HEART OUT, AND WIN THE WORLD.”
    Charice Pempengco still pinches herself sometimes, if only to make sure that she isn’t just dreaming. “Feeling ko po parang panaginip siya,” (I feel like it’s only a dream.)she tells StarStudio. “Ang bilis po ng mga pangyayari.” (It all happened so fast.)
    In barely two years, this little slip of a girl-Charice doesn’t even stand five feet tall-has evolved from YouTube hit to international sensation. Who will not embrace a success story like hers? Who will not take to the tale of an underdog, a singing search runner-up who ended up rubbing elbows with the big-leaguers in the world of music, something that even more established local divas can only dream of?
    Charice’s case is one of pure, unadulterated talent sprinkled with generous amounts of patience, perseverance, humility and drive.
    MUSICAL BEGINNINGS
    This singing prodigy’s journey to worlwide acclaim began at age four, when her mom Raquel went home from palengkewith an older sister to find her panganay (eldest child) and only daughter Charice singing My Heart Will Go On, the team from the Hollywood shipwreck romance Titanic,ala- Celine Dion. recalls mommy Raquel: “Sabi ko dun sa ate ko, ‘Iniwan mo bang bukas yung radyo?’Sinilip ko sa bintana kung sino yung kumakanta, anak ko pala. Niyakap ko siya. Sabi ko, ‘Anak, hindi ko alam na ang galing mo palang kumanta.’” (I told my older sister that I left the radio on. I peeped through the window to check who was singing, and it was my daughter. I hugged my daughter and told her, “Child, I didn’t know you sing so well.)
    Early on, it was evident that Charice had inherited the singing talents from her mom’s side of the family. “Lahat kaming magkakapatid,” says Mommy Raquel, “mahihilig kumanta. Ang bonding nga namin, pagkanta. Yung isa ko ngang kapatid, sumali pa sa Student Canteen dati eh. Ako lang yung walang lakas ng loob na sumali sa contest.” (All of us siblings enjoy singing. When we feel like bonding together, we sing. One of my siblings even joined Student Canteen [a noontime variety show from before akin to the current Wowowe]. It is only I who didn’t have the confidence to join a contest.)
    Raquel’s shyness is reminiscent of Charice’s quiet nature before her Little Big Star stint and the global accolades. “Mahiyain siya nung bata,”says Raquel of Charice. “Sa sayaw siya mahilig dati. Mahilig siyang makinig kay Dindin Llarena (a child singing discovery of the noontime show Eat Bulaga) dati sasabihin ko sa kanya, ‘Nas magaling ka pa diyan eh. dapat hindi ka nahihiya.’” (Charice is really shy when she was younger. Before she just wanted to dance. She also was fond of Dindin Llarena. I used to tell Charice that she was even better than Dindin so she shouldn’t feel shy.)
    The would-be belter took her mom’s words to her heart when at age seven, Charice joined her first amateur singing competition, Star Quest,at the Pavillion Mall in Binan, Laguna. This was when Charice’s mom and younger brother (full name is Carl Zeiven, nicknamed Coycoy), now 14, moved to Sta Rosa, Laguna where Charice’s maternal grandmother is based. “Kabadong-kabado ako nung sumali na si Charice sa una niyang contest. Yung parang malalaglag ang puso mo. Pagkakita ko sa mga kalaban nya, sabi ko kay Charice, uwi na lang kami. Pero sagot nya, ‘Mommy andito na po tayo. Kung gusto nyo,kayo ang umuwi.’” (I was so nervous the first time Charice entered a contest. It felt like the heart would just stop beating (?). When I saw who the other contestants were, I told Charice, “Let’s just go home.” But Charice said, “Mommy, we’re already here. If you want, you can go home.”)
    She would try her luck in other small time contests, hoping to bring home the cash prize to help the family get by, which was Charice’s lola’s (grandmother) major concern. Raquel had found a job in a factory where she slaved for 16 hours a day (including overtime) to raise her two kids.
    FIRST HEARTBREAK
    What would qualify as perhaps Charice’s first taste of heartbreak was losing the Little Big Star search in 2005. Almost 13 then, Charice was eliminated in an earlier round and was invited to come back as a wild card contender. “Pinanghinaan sya ng loob,”recalls Raquel. “Ayaw na niyang bumalik. Sabi ko sa kanya, ‘Anak, ang mahalaga, tapusin natin yung contest.’” (Charice was really discouraged. She didn’t want to come back. I told her, “Child, what is important is, we should continue and finish the contest.)
    Charice bounced back with the boundless energy and ferocious will which would later become hallmarks of her singing style. But to no avail, charice had to settle for third prize, with the theater trained Sam Concepcion emerging as champion. Many quarters feel that Charice’s defeat wasn’t because she was short on talent. “Hindi kasi siya masyadong gifted, physically,” (this is, I guess, the politically correct way of saying she is not pretty enough) opines a singing search buff. “Umiyak talaga sya sa backstage pagkatapos nung finals,” (She really cried backstage after the finals) shares Raquel.
    Months of waiting for a chance to show how prodigiously-skilled she was followed. “Nakagawa sila ng compilation CD ng lahat ng contestants sa Little Big Star at saka isang commercial, pero after ng ilang months , wala ng guesting.” (They made a compilation CD of all the contestants in Little Big Star and one advertising commercial. After a few months, they were no more guesting stints.)
    It was at this point that Mommy Raquel felt like giving up. “Sabi ko kay Charice, ‘Anak, nahihirapan na rin ako sa pagbalik-balik, ang dami na rin nating nauubos na pera sa pamasahe, sa lahat. mag-aral ka na lang, kayong dalawa ng kapatid mo tapos mag-a-abroad ako.’” (I told Charice that I am finding it difficult to go back and forth; that we have already spent a small fortune with our fare and all. Maybe it’s best that you and your brother should just concentrate on studying while I try to go abroad.)
    Little did they guess that fate had better plans in store. Raquel would learn from neighbors and friend that an avid fan of Charice who uses FalseVoice as web pseudonym has been posting clips of Charice’s jaw dropping performances, particularly her rendition of the Whitney Houston revival of I Will Always Love You. I Will Always Love You was Charice’s piece during the wild card phase of Little Big Star. “Pero kapi-kapiraso lang ang pino-post nya. Nagpatulong kaming ma-trace si FalseVoice.” (But he was posting it piecemeal. We asked for help in tracking down who FalseVoice is.) FalseVoice turned out to be a 22 year old male from cavite who has such strong faith in the potential diva’s singing prowess.
    “Sabi ko kay FalseVoice,”remembers Raquel, “pakakantahin ko si Charice tapos ipapa-video ko, yun ang i-post nya.” (I told FalseVoice that I will have Charice sing while he captures it on video and have it posted.) The song was And I Am Telling You (I’m Not Going),a powerhouse song lifted from the Hollywood musical Dreamgirls
    INTERNATIONAL ATTENTION
    Suddenly, a force of nature named Charice Pempengco was gathering strength on cyberspace. The response was overwhelming, racking up several million views. One of the most impressed was the Swedish production outfit Ten Songs Productions which asked Charice to come to Sweden in June 2007 and record seven songs for them.
    Charice was on her way to conquering international heights. After viewing FalseVoice’s videos, the producers of Star King, a South Korean talent show, invited her to their stage on October 13, 2007.
    Amazing is one of the adjectives admirers often use to describe Charice’s and her exceptional gifts. No less than two of America’s most celebrated talk show hosts, Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey, legendary music producer David Foster, immigration lawyer Michael Gurfinkel and his wife Millie (who later become Charice’s assistant manager), Charice’s manager Mark Johnston (who also handles the careers of Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban and David Foster), entertainment lawyer Ed Shapiro and Charice’s childhood hero Celine Dion would take notice and go to lengths to make the whole world stand up and lend their ears to the diminutive, unassuming, but positively explosive, singer from the Philippines.
    On December 19, 2007, Ellen DeGeneres introduced Charice to live American audiences this way: “You are going to be blown away. This is the most incredible gift of all the stuff we’re giving you today.”
    Oprah was similarly mesmerized by Charice’s blow-the-roof-off performance on her May 12, 2008 show that she personally met with Charice and Mommy Raquel after Charice’s first stint on the show to pledge her support for Charice’s career. “Nasa eroplano na kami pabalik ng Pilipinas nang biglang pinahinto yung eroplano, pinahahanap yung pangalan ko. Akala ko meron na naman akong nagawa,”recalls Mommy Raquel, smiling at the memory. “Kasi mahilig akong mag-collect nung mga lotion, shampoo sa hotel para remembrance. Ang lakas ng kaba ko. “Are you Mrs.Pempengco?’ sabi nung isang pulis. Sasabihin ko sana hindi. ‘Please come down.’ Kinabahan kami ni Charice. Yun pala gusto kaming makausap ni Oprah.” (We were already on the plane on our way back to the Philippines when they had to delay the flight and they were calling out my name. I thought I did something wrong and that I was in trouble. See, I am fond of collecting stuff from the hotel rooms like shampos and lotions, sort of a remembrance and token. I was really nervous. “Are you Mrs. Pempengo?, “ said one of the police officers. I was tempted to say no. “Please disembark.” Me and Charice were really troubled and nervous. It turned out that Oprah wanted to talk to us.”)
    The wildly popular and well-loved queen of talk in America wanted them to stay for another day in Chicago where Oprah’s eponymously titled show holds quarters. “Sinundo kami ng limousine,” says Raquel of the royal treatment. “Sabi nya kay Charice, ‘I miss you, baby. I’ve been thinking about you.’ Sabi pa niya, paano daw niya matatanggal sa isip niya si Charice eh and staff niya, driver niya, kanta ni Charice ang kinakanta. Hindi raw sya mangangako pero tutulungan niya kami. ‘Something big will happen.’” (“We were fetched by a limousine,” says Raquel of the royal treatment. Oprah told Charice that she couldn’t take Charice off her mind. How could she, she said, when her staff and driver were all singing Charice’s song. She said that she can’t promise us anything only that she would try to help. “Something big will happen.”)
    And true enough, a spate of big things have been coming Charice’s way one after the other, the most famous of which was her duet with Celine Dion on September 15, 2008 at Celine’s Madison Square Garden concert.
    SAME SIMPLE, HUMBLE SELF
    Such major feats could make less perceptive souls grow swell heads in no time. But not Charice, all of 17 now but still basically a shy, unassuming girl who transforms into a human dynamo once she is onstage. The Pempengcos remain frugal and simple to this day. “Kapag nasa ibang bansa kami, hindi kami kumakain ng mahal,” says Mommy raquel. “May budget kami na binibigay nila para sa pagkain sa hotel pero nagbabaon kami ni Charice ng tuna, sardinas.”
    She continues, the past reduced to a pantheon of sweet memories: “Siguro kung sumuko rin kami dati at natuloy yung plano ko na iwan sila at mag-abroad, hindi ito nangyari. Kaya nagtiis kami, kahit na noodles lang sa umaga, tanghali at gabi. Yung noodles na may sabaw sinasabaw namin sa kanin, minsan pancit canton naman para maiba.” She remebers a TVC that Charice and her Little Big Star batchmates did a few summers ago. “Naiyak kami ni Charice nung ginagawa niya yon (the commercial). Sabi ko sa kanya, ‘Natatandaan mo ba anak, na ito yung kinakain natin dati?’” (When we’re abroad, we don’t eat expensively. Although they give us a budget for hotel food, we still bring our own food consisting of tuna and sardines. I guess if we had given up before and pursued my plan of leaving the children to work abroad, this wouldn’t have happened. We persevered. We just ate noodles [probably instant noodles] throughout the day. We mixed rice with noodles. Sometimes we eat Pancit Canton [a different preparation of the same instant noodles] . She remembers a TV commercial that Charice and her Little Big Star batchmates did a few summers ago. Charice and I cried while she was making that TV commercial. I told Charice, “Do you remember the times when that was all we could afford to eat?”
    Raquel gathers herself together, wiping the tears threatening to fall with her bare hands. We dutifully hand her a tissue and steal a glance at Charice, tired from the recording sessions for her soon-to-be-released international album but nary a complaint in her voice nor a trace of discomfort on her face. “Gusto ko lang po kasing kumanta, gawin yung best ko,” (I just really want to sing and do my best) Charice told us earlier. “Kung magustuhan ng mga tao, salamat. Kung hindi naman, okay lang.” (If the fans like it, I am thankful. If not, it’s ok.)
    Be it failure or triumph, Charice’s heart, to paraphrase one of her signature pieces, will go on.

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  2. yoly says:

    The Compilation you made were all beautiful and enjoyable. Can I have a copy. By the way, where are you from? Maybe we’re neighbors.

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  3. GM says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    I would like to take this time to thank everyone and especially Lovelysoul for your heartfelt love and prayer for my family and myself for the loss of my dear grandmother. I appreciate all the love, prayer and warmth condolences that you all bestowed upon me during this difficult time. Because of your love and prayers I am stronger and feel the serenity that my grandmother is in the arms of God giving her the love and care that she will always need. A love where there is no more sickness and pain, but a life full of peace and joy!

    My grandmother lived a beautiful life of 98 years short of one day before her birthday, she is now 99 years old. I will always cherish the stories that my grandmother shared about her life during both World War I & II. Through her stories and experiences, I’ve learned of her love, strength, determination, and perseverance of protecting her family from harm and cruelty of what had happened during the war, through that I’ve learned that family (and friends) unity is so important during difficult times and at all times… It is a time to love and share every special moments that we all have for our family and friends… I said all that to express or share my own memories with all of you and cherish the wonderful and fun times I have had with everyone here at Charicemania and at Las Vegas. You all are a part of me as a family of Chasters and new friends that I will always love and cherish as well…. and together WE ARE CHARICE’S LOYAL FAMILY OF CHASTERS FOREVER!!

    With all my love and appreciation to all… God bless everyone!

    Maria aka GM

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  4. charicema4ever says:

    Another well-written article from a prolific writer! I love reading your compositions – they always inspire me. Your thoughts, emanating from your soul, are reflections of your character. I think, that “when the floodgates of heaven open up”, Charice was not the only one who received “immeasurable blessings”. You, too, Lovely Soul, received a special gift – writing! Share and impart your gift to us!

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  5. charicema4ever says:

    To: GM (Maria)

    I am sorry to learn about the passing of your Grandma. Please, accept my sincere and heartfelt condolences. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this time of sorrow. I know that the lost of a loved one is heartbreaking to those left behind, but may you find solace in the knowledge that she has now joined her Creator. May God bless her soul.

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  6. Lovely Soul says:

    Justcharrie, my dear friend, I was reading your good article but come
    into minor setback. I can not comprehend Philippines Language. Please kindly TRANSLATE, POR FAVOR. I was reading between the lines but no
    luck, I run out of “gas”. Tomorrow, if I have time from my Oncology Class, I will borrow books on the Philippines lingo.

    Take care, darling.

    To Ms. Joy Co,

    Thanks!

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  7. justcharrie says:

    GM,

    I’ve been posting the article accompanied with the images of Charice from Star Studio magazine but unfortunately it wouldn’t shows. I think it continues to go to the spam section coz it’s quite a long article. But it’s a great article. I hope you can put it in a proper thread.

    Thanks!

    ___________________________________________

    Thanks! I’m working on it…

    –Admin

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  8. justcharrie says:

    GM, it is quite a long article but this is nice. Feel free to delete when it is posted in a proper thread. It is the article from Star Studio magazine. No link for the original article coz I just type-copied it.

    “LOSING IN SINGING CONTESTS MADE HER CRY, BUT MOTIVATED HER TO BOUNCE BACK, SING HER HEART OUT, AND WIN THE WORLD.”

    Charice Pempengco still pinches herself sometimes, if only to make sure that she isn’t just dreaming. “Feeling ko po parang panaginip siya,”she tells StarStudio. “Ang bilis po ng mga pangyayari.”
    In barely two years, this little slip of a girl-Charice doesn’t even satnd five feet tall-has evolved from YouTube hit to international sensation. Who will not embrace a success story like hers? Who will not take to the tale of an underdog, a singing search runner-up who ended up rubbing elbows with the big-leaguers in the world of music, something that even more established local divas can only dream of?
    Charice’s case is one of pure, unadulterated talent sprinkled with generous amounts of patience, perseverance, humility and drive.

    MUSICAL BEGINNINGS
    This singing prodigy’s journey to worlwide acclaim began at age four, when her mom Raquel went home from palengkewith an older sister to find her panganayand only daughter Charice singing My Heart Will Go On, the team from the Hollywood shipwreck romance Titanic,ala- Celine Dion. recalls mommy Raquel: “Sabi ko dun sa ate ko, ‘Iniwan mo bang bukas yung radyo?’Sinilip ko sa bintana kung sino yung kumakanta, anak ko pala. Niyakap ko siya. Sabi ko, ‘Anak, hindi ko alam na ang galing mo palang kumanta.’”
    Early on, it was evident that Charice had inherited the singing talents from her mom’s side of the family. “Lahat kaming magkakapatid,” says Mommy Raquel, “mahihilig kumanta. Ang bonding nga namin, pagkanta. Yung isa ko ngang kapatid, sumali pa sa Student Canteen dati eh. Ako lang yung walang lakas ng loob na sumali sa contest.”
    Raquel’s shyness is reminiscent of Charice’s quiet nature before her Little Big Star stint and the global accolades. “Mahiyain siya nung bata,”says Raquel of Charice. “Sa sayaw siya mahilig dati. Mahilig siyang makinig kay Dindin Llarena (a child singing discovery of the noontime show Eat Bulaga) dati sasabihin ko sa kanya, ‘Nas magaling ka pa diyan eh. dapat hindi ka nahihiya.’”
    The would-be belter took her mom’s words to her heart when at age seven, Charice joined her first amateur singing competition, Star Quest,at the Pavillion Mall in Binan, Laguna. This was when Charice’s mom and younger brother (full name is Carl Zeiven, nicknamed Coycoy), now 14, moved to Sta Rosa, Laguna where Charice’s maternal grandmother is based. “Kabadong-kabado ako nung sumali na si Charice sa una niyang contest. Yung parang malalaglag ang puso mo. Pagkakita ko sa mga kalaban nya, sabi ko kay Charice, uwi na lang kami. Pero sagot nya, ‘Mommy andito na po tayo. Kung gusto nyo,kayo ang umuwi.’”
    She would try her luck in other small time contests, hoping to bring home the cash prize to help the family get by, which was Charice’s lola’s major concern. Raquel had found a job in a factory where she slaved for 16 hours a day (including overtime) to raise her two kids.

    FIRST HEARTBREAK
    What would qualify as perhaps Charice’s first taste of heartbreak was losing the Little Big Star search in 2005. Almost 13 then, Charice was eliminated in an earlier round and was invited to come back as a wild card contender. “Pinanghinaan sya ng loob,”recalls Raquel. “Ayaw na niyang bumalik. Sabi ko sa kanya, ‘Anak, ang mahalaga, tapusin natin yung contest.’”
    Charice bounced back with the boundless energy and ferocious will which would later become hallmarks of her singing style. But to no avail, charice had to settle for third prize, with the theater trained Sam Concepcion emerging as champion. Many quarters feel that Charice’s defeat wasn’t because she was short on talent. “Hindi kasi siya masyadong gifted, physically,” opines a singing search buff. “Umiyak talaga sya sa backstage pagkatapos nung finals,” shares Raquel.
    Months of waiting for a chance to show how prodigiously-skilled she was followed. “Nakagawa sila ng compilation CD ng lahat ng contestants sa Little Big Star at saka isang commercial, pero after ng ilang months , wala ng guesting.”
    It was at this point that Mommy Raquel felt like giving up. “Sabi ko kay Charice, ‘Anak, nahihirapan na rin ako sa pagbalik-balik, ang dami na rin nating nauubos na pera sa pamasahe, sa lahat. mag-aral ka na lang, kayong dalawa ng kapatid mo tapos mag-a-abroad ako.’”
    Little did they guess that fate had better plans in store. Raquel would learn from neighbors and friend that an avid fan of Charice who uses FalseVoice as web pseudonym has been posting clips of Charice’s jaw dropping performances, particularly her rendition of the Whitney Houston reviavl of I Will Always Love You. I Will Always Love You was Charice’s piece during the wild card phase of Little Big Star. “Pero kapi-kapiraso lang ang pino-post nya. Nagpatulong kaming ma-trace si FalseVoice.” FalseVoice turned out to be a 22 year old male from cavite who has such strong faith in the potential diva’s singing prowess.
    “Sabi ko kay FalseVoice,”remembers Raquel, “pakakantahin ko si Charice tapos ipapa-video ko, yun ang i-post nya.” The song was And I Am Telling You (I’m Not Going),a powerhouse song lifted from the Hollywood musical Dreamgirls

    INTERNATIONAL ATTENTION
    Suddenly, a force of nature named Charice Pempengco was gathering strength on cyberspace. The response was overwhelming, racking up several million views. One of the most impressed was the Swedish production outfit Ten Songs Productions which asked Charice to come to Sweden in June 2007 and record seven songs for them.
    Charice was on her way to congquering international heights. After viewing FalseVoice’s videos, the producers of Star King, a South Korean talent show, invited her to their stage on October 13, 2007.
    Amazing is one of the adjectives admirers often use to describe Charice’s and her exceptional gifts. No les than two of America’s most celebrated talk show hosts, Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey, legendary music producer David Foster, immgration lawyer Michael Gurfinkel and his wife Millie (who later become Charice’s assistant manager), Charice’s manager Mark Johnston (who also handles the careers of Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban and David Foster), entertainmnet lawyer Ed Shapiro and Charice’s childhood hero Celine Dion would take notice and go to lengths to make the whole world stand up and lend their ears to the dimunitive, unassuming but positively explosive singer from the Philippines.
    On December 19, 2007, Ellen DeGeneres introduced Charice to live American audiences this way: “You are going to be blown away. This is the most incredible gift of all the stuff we’re giving you today.”
    Oprah was similarly mesmerized by Charice’s blow-the-roof-off performance on her May 12, 2008 show that she personally met with Charice and Mommy raquel after Charice’s first stint ont he show to pledge her support for Charice’s career. “Nasa eroplano na kami pabalik ng Pilipinas nang biglang pinahinto yung eroplano, pinahahanap yung pangalan ko. Akala ko meron na naman akong nagawa,”recalls Mommy Raquel, smiling at the memory. “Kasi mahilig akong mag-collect nung mga lotion, shampoo sa hotel para remembrance. Ang lakas ng kaba ko. “Are you Mrs.Pempengco?’ sabi nung isang pulis. Sasabihin ko sana hindi. ‘Please come down.’ Kinabahan kami ni Charice. Yun pala gusto kaming makausap ni Oprah.”
    The wildly popular and well-loved queen of talk in America wanted them to stay for another day in Chicago where Oprah’s eponymously titled show holds quarters. “Sinundo kami ng limousine,” says Raquel of the royal treatment. “Sabi nya kay Charice, ‘I miss you, baby. I’ve been thinking about you.’ Sabi pa niya, paano daw niya matatanggal sa isip niya si Charice eh and staff niya, driver niya, kanta ni Charice ang kinakanta. Hindi raw sya mangangako pero tutulungan niya kami. ‘Something big will happen.’”
    And true enough, a spate of big things have been coming Charice’s way one after the other, the most famous of which was her duet with Celine Dion on September 15, 2008 at Celine’s Madison Square Garden concert.

    SAME SIMPLE, HUMBLE SELF
    Such major feats could make less perceptive souls grow swell heads in no time. But not Charice, all of 17 now but still basically a shy, unassuming girl who transforms into a human dynamo once she is onstage. The Pempengcos remain frugal and simple to this day. “Kapag nasa ibang bansa kami, hindi kami kumakain ng mahal,” says Mommy raquel. “May budget kami na binibigay nila para sa pagkain sa hotel pero nagbabaon kami ni Charice ng tuna, sardinas.”
    She continues, the past reduced to a pantheon of sweet memories: “Siguro kung sumuko rin kami dati at natuloy yung plano ko na iwan sila at mag-abroad, hindi ito nangyari. Kaya nagtiis kami, kahit na noodles lang sa umaga, tanghali at gabi. Yung noodles na may sabaw sinasabaw namin sa kanin, minsan pancit canton naman para maiba.” She remebers a TVC that Charice and her Little Big Star batchmates did a few summers ago. “Naiyak kami ni Charice nung ginagawa niya yon (the commercial). Sabi ko sa kanya, ‘Natatandaan mo ba anak, na ito yung kinakain natin dati?’”
    Raquel gathers herself together, wiping the tears threatening to fall with her bare hands. We dutifully hand her a tissue and steal a glance at Charice, tired from the recording sessions for her soon-to-be-released international album but nary a complaint in her voice nor a trace of discomfort on her face. “Gusto ko lang po kasing kumanta, gawin yung best ko,” Charice told us earlier. “Kung magustuhan ng mga tao, salamat. Kung hindi naman, okay lang.”
    Be it failure or triump, Charice’s heart, to paraphrase one of her signature pieces, will go on.

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  9. justcharrie says:

    Charice’s images on Star Studio magazine

    http://s614.photobucket.com/albums/tt227/abilidades/

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