For a second time in a row, The Filipino Channel (TFC) provides the stage for overseas Filipinos who could be the next generation of stars to shine, as it draws the curtain for the 2013 TFCkat winners from around the world as they make their rounds in ABS-CBN and TFC shows.
TFCkat, the premier Filipino network in the world’s first global talent search, aims to showcase the Filipino talent and affirm our pride and honor through music. According to ABS-CBN Asia Pacific Managing Director Ailene Averion, “TFCKat runs parallel with TFC’s theme for its 20th anniversary this year which ‘forges ahead with the Greatness of the Filipino’ or ‘Galing ng Filipino.’” She adds,” when we were searching the world for great Filipino talents, we did not only find the best in each region but also a range of voices that are as varied as the cultures of their second homes.”
From theater to pop, and from Original Pilipino Music (OPM) to Western music, the TFCkat winners shine. North America winner, 21 year-old Katherine dela Cruz can belt out OPM hits as much as she can perform Broadway hits from her favorites such as Lea Salonga and Mariah Carey. Dela Cruz may be the youngest in the bunch but what she lacks in age, she makes up for her vocal prowess. The British Columbia native says she wants to inspire people with her music. Another winner from North America is 25 year-old Jenessa Escabarte, also from British Columbia. Escabarte started singing since age 10 and her vocal depth proves this. Like dela Cruz, she names Salonga as one of her influences which also include Beyonce.
Half-Filipino, half-French Vanessa Monot can easily catch attention with her towering height and European features. In her finals performance at the momentous “2014 London Barrio Fiesta,” Monot proved she is more than a pretty face as she wowed the judges with her raspy voice reminiscent of female alternative artists.
Nearby in the Middle East, 26 year-old Ana Blaza from the United Arab Emirates dabbles in the same type of genre. Blaza may just stand at five feet something but this singer has a towering voice that stands out in any crowd, including the “ASAP Live in Dubai” where she earned the champion notch. She calls herself simple but this adjective far describes how she performs on stage.
From the top of the world to the Land Down Under, the Filipino talents abound. Giselle Hernandez, TFCkat winner from Australia has been singing professionally before she entered TFCKat. When she holds the microphone, this is made clear as she performs on stage which she has called home. She says when she sings, she tries to perform a song like it is her own. Hernandez says: “That’s what I like to do. And if I were to make it more egotistical, I would say I am a good singer-story teller. I make my audience feel that they are watching a theatrical play of some sort.”
On the other hand, Charlie Catbagan, started late in high school and if not for the prodding of a friend. But when this 21 year-old performs covers of his favorite artists like Brian Mc Knight, it seems as if he has been singing all his life. Catbagan is thankful for the opportunity given to him by TFCkat. He says: “It really just opens a lot of doors. Being here in the Philippines, it’s already an international platform so it will be a good exposure when I get back home.”
In their homecoming to the Philippines, the TFCkat winners similarly wowed not just the hosts of widely followed programs in the motherland but also performers themselves, including TFC’s 20th anniversary Ambassador Gary Valenciano.
During their first stop at “Ready Get MOR,” the six winners engaged in a gab and song fest with hosts DJs Toni, Bea and Pappi Charlz. Moving on to DZMM, the winners performed OPM and pop hits at “Sakto” hosted by Marc Logan and Amy “Tiyang Amy” Perez. The group also became part of the celebration of Tiyang Amy birthday as they were asked to perform a birthday song for the celebrator.
Later in the visit, some of the TFCkat winners performed on TFC’s first online chat program “Kapamilya Love Chat” hosted by DJ Cha Cha. As a highlight of their tour of the ABS-CBN studios, the TFCkat winners performed ‘samples’ or a showcase of their talent, a term made popular by the variety hit “It’s Showtime.” In one of the segments of the show hosted by Anne Curtis, Vhong Navarro, and Billy Crawford, the winners were challenged to copy the performance of one of the group contestants who performed the song “Somewhere,” recently revived by Angeline Quinto to accompany the teleserye hit “Ikaw Lamang.”
As the highlight of the tour, Gary V visited the TFCkat winners during their recording of the anniversary theme “Galing ng Filipino.” During the visit, the Total Performer shared his precious time, mentoring the winners to increase their chances of making it big in the industry. To complete their experience, the TFCkat winners were also given the chance to give back when they visited the Children’s Village in Calamba, Laguna (Luzon Island) on September 9.
Across regions and across avenues, TFC continues to put the spotlight on great Filipino talents through platforms such as TFCkat.