Yes! Looking Back…. Part 2

Yes! Looking Back…. Part 2


Part 2 Troubled Beginnings…

The Pempengcos are originally from Laguna. Charice was born Charmaine Clarice Relucio Pempengco in the town of San Pedro. Her father, the youngest child and only son in the family, was jobless when he met Raquel Relucio, then a working student. Raquel, now 38, says she never really fancied him, but he was persistent, and her family encouraged the relationship.

[click the magazine cover page to start turning the pages]

charice YES magazine cover Yes! Looking Back.... Part 2

It was to be a troubled relationship. Apart from the fact that her husband was jobless and totally dependent on his parents and on a sibling who worked in Japan, he also had a drug problem and would physically abuse his wife.

When Charice was two years old, Raquel packed her bags and went back to her parents’ home in Santa Rosa, Laguna. Her husband followed her there, begging to be given a second chance, but Raquel wouldn’t budge. One day when Raquel wasn’t home, he showed up at the Relucio doorstep, and took Charice away with him. Raquel says with a calmness that belies what she went through,

“My  father couldn’t stop him because as he said, that was her (Charice’s) dad, that’s why he  gave her to him.”

Charice was kept from her mother for three weeks. Raquel reported the incident to the police, posted pictures of her husband in their neighborhood, and had him banned from their village. Still, the couple got back together, and Charice was reunited with her mother.

“Charice was so skinny then.” Raquel says, remembering how her daughter looked after Charice was brought back to her. “What she was eating were those plastic fruit decorations. ‘I thought they were real, Mommy, that’s why I was eating them.’ She had stories like that.  She said, ‘Daddy was always gone.  He would leave me with his sibling.’”

Raquel stuck it out with her husband for six years, and gave birth to another child, Carl Ceiven, two years after Charice was born. In those six years, Raquel gave her husband several chances to straighten up. But the last straw, the incident that made her pack up and leave with Charice and Carl, was when he threatened to kill her.

“He was holding a hammer, and he was choking me.” Raquel recalls. “I was bleeding profusely.”

Since her husband was a member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo, and Raquel herself had converted to the INC when she got married, she brought up the problem with their town’s INC minister. The two parties subsequently signed an agreement, witnessed by Raquel’s mother-in-law, that he would never touch his wife and kids again. Soon after, Raquel decided to abandon her Iglesia Ni Cristo membership and went back to being a Catholic.

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Click picture to make it larger and read the captions!

They never heard from Charice’s father after that.

But the daughter made herself heard, loud and clear.

Charice was four years old when Raquel discovered she had a singer-in-the making in her daughter.  At home, Raquel would play the songs of Whitney Houston and Celine Dion constantly, and Charice would sing along. While Raquel herself a singer – she used to be the vocalist of a band that performs in small bars in Laguna – she says the real singers in the family are her mom, who used to teach Charice to sing the kundiman, [traditional Filipino love songs] and a sister.

“They used to join singing contests.  I actually didn’t because I get nervous, not like Charice who is very gutsy.”

At the age of seven, Charice began joining singing contests. By this time, the family had settled in Cabuyao, Laguna, in an apartment close to Gulod Elementary School, where Charice was enrolled. Raquel was then employed in a garment factory as quality-control supervisor, but when the garments trade began to take a downturn, she took that as a sign that she needed to invest more time in her daughter.

She was actually the one who kept on insisting to let her join those contests,” Raquel recalls. “We used to watch some kids sing, I tell her, ‘Wow, Ming, you’re better than them.’ I was giving her some encouragement.”

The first contest Charice joined was at the Pavilion Mall in Binan, Laguna. There were 80 contestants that day. When mother and daughter arrived at the mall and saw the people Charice would be up against, Raquel almost backed out. But the seven-year-old girl stopped her.

Charice told her. “Mommy, we’re already here,” Charice told her. “If you want, you can go home, but I’ll stay.”

Charice was proven right. Though this was her very first time to compete, she won second place, and brought home P7,500 (Philippine Pesos) in cash, P10,000 worth of groceries, a trophy and a JVC cassette player. That cassette player is still with Raquel.

“That one I couldn’t really let go of,” she says. “Even if I don’t have any money, I couldn’t get the courage to pawn it.”

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Click picture to make it larger and read the captions!

The prizes and the exhilaration of this first win fueled the kid’s eagerness to join more singing competitions, and not just in her home province.

“To tell you honestly,” Charice says, “I already made the rounds in all the singing contests in Batangas –Calaca, Lemery, Taal, Talisay, Sta. Rita. We’ve gone to all of them!”

Next week, Part 3: BATO, BUHANGIN [ROCK, SAND]

Note: the captions in English were added in the photos!

Mouseover to read Part 1: Yes! Looking Back…

Much thanks and gratitude to:
CTV Crew – translated by JaYrOx, edited by Appin, photos scanned by Bbelj
Posted by Ladies´Team CM: AF, Capofret, DrTP, Eve, Schoen

8 Responses to “Yes! Looking Back…. Part 2”

  1. Edita Scholten says:

    Thanks for the article on Charice. Her story is very inspiring, to aim for her goal with all the odds she encountered and not waver….wow!!!Is it still possible to get a copy of the magazine in the Philippines? I live in Melbourne.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  2. bld9696 says:
    Sadly, Charice and Carl are only two of millions of children around the world who have had to endure a harsh and tragic childhood. Thank God that Raquel had the guts and determination to fight through these hardships and raise two amazing children. The fact that they have turned out so well-adjusted and level-headed is a true testament to a wonderful mother. Charice has been blessed with her talent for a reason. Her life story is a script straight out of Hollywood, with triumph winning out despite so many extreme adversities. The inspiration that she can provide for so many people worldwide is enormous. It takes a very special person to shoulder this task. Charice may be small in stature, but she has the strength of Atlas when it comes to living her life in a way that will inspire so many to persevere no matter what roadblocks life throws in their way. God has very special plans for Charice. I am excited to watch these plans unfold as she continues on her path to superstardom.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  3. noysmaykr says:

    Thank you for all your effort in sharing with us this issue. Looking forward to reading the next.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  4. globalsuperstar says:
    thanks for this story, i cried when i read the part about Charice eating plastic fruit as a child, to think that she could have been lost. i know there is Divine intervention in this girl`s life to preserve her for something big and beautiful and inspirational. Charice is touching so many lives today. moral of a story is, love each child as you do not know what the future holds for each one. thank you, i am inspired again to be a better person because of hearing stories like this, it is so special.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 2

  5. Los Angeles says:
    Where I can buy this Yes Mags Nov 09 issue?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  6. CBToronto says:
    Wow!! CM Team…great job!!! Please continue what you are doing. It entertain us Chasters, who always wanted to know what’s the latest news about our dear Charice. I love reading this story!! When will be next continuation..hehehe. It made me eager to read more..really!!!

    We appreciate your time and effort. More power to you all at CM team!!!You are all amazing. Charice is lucky to have you people!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2

  7. jn says:
    Oh….this is nice, loved the pics….Thank you for putting this here….nice to reminisce….and so new readers will understand where’s the root of Charice passion……

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  8. Schoen says:
    Whew! I love those pictures w/ captions! We intentionally edited the Tagalog parts out (if you notice the difference in your copies!) Thanks to our smart ladies: Anonymous Fanatic and Capofret! We apologize for the delay in posting of Part 2 due to some technical problems and while Charice is such a busy girl that we have to post other important news first.

    But here it is and again thank you ladies!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 0


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