Thursday, December 31, 2009

My merry little Christmas with a Philippine Idol

Mau Marcelo, the first-ever Philippine Idol, was my date on Christmas Eve. I'm exaggerating. I was at a Christmas Eve party in Singapore hosted by my good friend Joey, we were about 15 people in the room (all Singapore-based Pinoys except gatecrashing me and a colleague of theirs from Brunei), and Mau was there because she's become one of Joey's closest friends and, in the absence of family, Christmas with good friends is, of course, the next best thing.

After winning the ABC-5 talent show, Mau went on to compete in Asian Idol, held in Singapore. Hometown contestant Hady Mirza eventually won, but Mau, who led in the online voting right up the show's last week, was his closest competitor. In the Philippines, the two guys she bested, Gian Magdangal and Jan Nieto, got regular gigs on GMA-7's SOP. Mau, on the other hand, has relocated to Singapore where she now teaches voice and pop singing and performs regularly with a band.

She came to the party with two of her students, a cutie Fil-Singaporean named Marc (that's him beside Mau on the video) and a Singaporean girl, both of whom were goaded to regale us, their increasingly drunk audience, with songs that never got finished--so rowdy was the drinking. Mau's warbling, though, was received with rapt attention. She sang Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and Whitney Houston's On My Own (which she turned into a radio hit after her Philippine Idol win), and listening to that voice live was a big highlight of my first Christmas spent abroad.

That she turned out to be an unaffected, spunky woman with no airs and a friendly hug for everyone was an extra-delight. Two days after that party, Mau and Joey would be in the audience of the Singapore Idol finals, where a kababayan, Charice Pempengco, was the star performer. (As usual, she brought the house down with her Whitney medley.) It turned out Mau and Charice are good friends. They go a long way back to their struggling days in the province when the two would often find themselves competing in the same singing tilt.

“Sometimes ako ang nananalo, sometimes si Charice,” recalled Mau. Whatever the outcome, they became friends and would go home together from the town or barrio they had rocked with their knockout voices. At one point, said Mau, they even hitched a ride on a garbage truck because no transportation was available at that late hour. At the Asian Idol show, so Joey told me, Mau, Charice and Charice's mom had a fond huddle backstage, while Joey himself was giddy after a photo-op with the pint-sized dynamo. Philip, his housemate, had had his full at the Christmas Eve party posing endlessly with Mau, whom he had rooted for to bits during the Philippine Idol run. And who could blame him?

Here's Mau wishing you a merry little Christmas as well (taken with my celfone videocam--sorry for the low light):

[Thank you, Joey, Philip and Emman--I had a blast!]

PLUS: The “Soul Idol” in action, tearing into Diamonds are Forever.


Mga Epal said...

Happy You Year! Manigong "sana kumpleto pa ang mga daliri nyo" sa inyong lahat!

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year, Gibbs. All the best to you.

homer said...

Galing naman ni Mau. lamig ng boses.

Nice blog po.

Nimrod said...

Happy 2010 Sir! Sarap magbasa ng blogs mo. Un lang. Bow. LOL.

Janette Toral said...

Happy New Year Gibbs! Interesting story there about how Mau and Charice go a long way back. Galing nila talaga.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Asian Idol in 2007 was held in Indonesia, not in Singapore.

Karla said...

Off topic, but whatever happened to Gian Magdangal? I loved him on West Side, and I'm wondering what he's up to. (Sorry, I haven't been watching TV, much less the Kapuso channel, so I have no idea.) Fatherhood bang kinabi-busyhan?

gibbs cadiz said...

KARLA, gian is starring in a new production of 'rent' this february. :)

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