Category Archives: Celebrities

Charisse Pempengco’s International Stardom, RIP

Memo to the Dying 04

To: Charisse International Stardom
Estimated Death: On Charisse’s 20th Birthday

Suggested Final Act: Go back to school

All these rants from Charisse’s camp against anyone who “threatens” her status (first against Jessica Sanchez as not Filipina enough; and now against that Random Girl as not good enough) are pathetic but hardly unexpected.

These are signs of insecurity that stems from mistaken notions: that Filipino’s can only be loyal to ONLY ONE international talent; that Charisse is THE best Filipino singer to hit the international scene, and; more importantly, that her worth depends on how much the crowd adores her.

The first one is simply ridiculous. We love them ALL. Yes, we may have our own favorites. Yes, there are others who deserve more recognition. But, we are decades beyond the last rivalry of Nor and Vilma – a post-modern fan embraces every one worth the name. To say that Filipinos ought not be proud of Jessica Sanchez because she is only half-Filipino and was not born here in the country is not just pathetic, it is stupid. Or to use a more colorful language: Bobo!

For Charisse’s camp to assume that she is the greatest Pinoy talent ever and no one can equal her success is both arrogant and delusional. There are better singers with more beautiful faces in my neighborhood  Videoke Bar than Charisse; but they were not given the opportunities granted to her.

But essentially, that insecurity comes from a mistaken notion that Charisse’s worth is attached to her stardom. That is the kind of mentality that destroy’s a daughter’s life. Charisse is a wonderful, hardworking, and talented child. We love her. She is one of our best singers, but that is just one of the many beautiful things about her.

So, Charisse, listen to me. You are not a child anymore, You have to speak for yourself, and make your own decisions.

Oprah, acting as your champion, defined your magnitude and your limitation in one sweeping entitlement:  Most Talented Girl in the World,.

You were. And we will always be proud of you. But the problem with childhood sensations is that they grow up and they grow old. You are not a girl anymore; and nobody in his right mind, Oprah included, would dare to call you the Most Talented Woman in the World. You are not!

To be a girl and to have such an amazing vocal range and calisthenics is a rarity. But now that you are a grown up, you migrate to a new firmament where stars of longer and bigger magnitude occupy. You now have to compete with Beyonce, Rihanna, Adele, etc. Besides, other Filipina talents rose to the ranks of global recognition with talents more amazing than yours. They have sex appeal (an important factor) which you don’t have because you look like a midget.

Frankly, the duet of Jessica Sanchez and Jennifer Holiday revealed your Youtube rendition of ” And I Am Telling” You as what it really is – girlish and pitchy. Stop singing that song in public or you will be ridiculed.

Being edgy requires more than a short blond hair and tattoo. Yes, you look mature (and maybe hot for some who have a thing for hobbits) but you also look trying hard. And trying-hard is what you project as an X-factor judge. You don’t have it – X-factor I mean.

But the other bitchy thing about growing up is that people won’t be nice to you anymore. And so the hecklers and critics start to tear your reputation apart. My apologies. Let me join them. My dear, you don’t know anything. You sound like a “bobo” in the quartet that includes Pilita, Gary, and Martin. Your vocabulary is very limited to clichés and exclamatory sentences. Your analysis is,to put it kindly, shallow. How many times can one say “Naka-identify ako sa iyo, naranasan ko rin iyan” and really sound sincere? Once. Do it again to the next contestant, you sound pretentious. Say it for the next ten rounds and you sound as if you have nothing else to say.

You don’t lack talent, you lack proper education. So before that talent fizzles, go back to school. Study. Learn. Reflect. (Put that as a tattoo in your hand so you won’t forget.)


Lea Salonga’s Filipina Identity

Memo to the Dying 06:
To: Lea Salonga’s Filipina Identity
Estimated Day of Death: The Broadway Premiere of Allegiance

Suggested Final Act: Give Us a Voice Lesson

Lea, we love you. We will always be proud of you. We are grateful that you claim that you are a Filipina.

But really, you are not. Not anymore. You have crossed-over from being world-class to a world citizen. You belong to the world now, the world population consider you as “theirs”.

Edith Piaf was a world-class talent but remained defiantly French. Kate Winslet is a world-class actress but is still decidedly British. Michelle Yeow has international recognition but looks and acts Malaysian Chinese.  But you – and Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and a handful of artists – have crossed international boundaries and become, well, global citizens.

Your body of work runs the gamut of archetypal polarities:

Waif (Eponine) and Princess(Jasmine);
Whore (Fantine) and Innocent Virgin (Cinderella);
Young Wonder (Annie) and Old Hag (Grizzabella);
Martyr (Kim) and Warrior (Mulan).

You can play any female archetype now and still be believable.

Saying that you are a Filipina is like saying Manny Pacquiao is a politician. It is a fact; but it is not true.

Continue reading

Vice Ganda’s Reign

Memo to the Dying 10
To: Vice Ganda’s Reign
Estimated Death: When Marcelito Pomoy Comes Out of the Closet
Final Act: Marry Jong Hilario

Because he is intelligent, Vice-Ganda knows his reign as Comedy Queen (King?) is peaking, will flatten, and will go downhill from there.  With his brand of humor: observational comedy, irony and sarcasm with a flash of self-deprecating wit, Vice Ganda will not run of funny things to say; what he will run out of is something more mundane: motivation.

Creative comedians like Vice follow the patterns of Seinfeld, they want to take it to the next level where nobody gets their joke. Then someone’s comedic potential gets discovered and will be hosting Gandang Gabi Marcelito.

Frankly, I don’t like Vice. He is funny and intelligent. His quick humor and sarcasm are seamless. But his popular jokes destroy the foundations of Filipino cultural values: respect and discernment. Continue reading

Our Love Affair with Pacquaio

Memo to the Dying 09
To: Manny Pacquiao’s Love Affair with Pinoys
Day of Death: On the Fourth Pacquaio-Marques Bout

Suggested Final Act: Be a Full-time Family Man

We all love Manny Pacquiao, right? Even our criminals take a day-off during his matches – the petty kind, I mean, because the big ones are with him ringside.

But as a human interest story, Pacquiao is one word stretched into an entire dictionary.

When a boxing champ becomes a singer, we call it versatility. When a boxer/singer becomes a politician. We call it character stretch. But when a boxer/singer/politician becomes a TV host, a ramp model, a Bible preacher, a commercial endorser, then it is time to cut the crap and call it what it really is: social climbing.

When you are not educated, and fame gets into your head, two things can happen: you suffer a major breakdown like Mommy Dionesia, or suffer from illusions of grandeur like her son.

When the nation was bereft of heroes and good news, Manny was a relief. But now that there is so much good news going on and real heroes are given the opportunity to shine, Manny is becoming tiresome and useless.

He had fought his matches, he had served this country well. It is time for him to go back to what pushed him to fight in the first place – his family. Be a fulltime family man, Congressman Pacquiao. That is the best way to preserve your legacy. Now, which family is that?