PH celebrates as Rose Fostanes wins Israel’s X Factor

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In this Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 photo, Rose Fostanes, a 47-year-old Filipino caregiver, sings during the X-Factor Israel in Tel Aviv, Israel. Fostanes emerged as the newest star of Israeli reality television, putting a human face on the thousands of foreign workers who toil away in menial, back-breaking jobs in this country. AP

MANILA, Philippines—Celebrations broke out in the Philippines Wednesday after a Filipina who has spent nearly half her life as a caregiver overseas won Israel’s first “X Factor” competition.

Rose Fostanes, one of millions of Filipinos working abroad, won the television talent show late Tuesday with a rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” that delighted fans in both countries.

Local television, news websites, social media and even President Benigno Aquino lavished praise on the unmarried, openly gay 47-year-old, who has worked abroad for more than two decades — including six years in Israel — to support her family.

“We know the situation she was in and we are very proud that she has again given the Philippines pride in the showcase of her talent,” Aquino’s spokesman Edwin Lacierda told reporters Wednesday.

“The Filipino has an innate advantage when it comes to the arts,” Lacierda said. “It clearly shows that the excellence of the Filipino can be expressed anywhere, everywhere, when they are given the opportunity to show their talent.”

Fostanes has been likened by fans to Susan Boyle, the middle-aged Scottish singer whose humble looks and shy demeanor belied a scintillating voice that captivated millions on the television talent show “Britain’s Got Talent” in 2009.

Fostanes’ day job had been to care for an elderly employer in Tel Aviv. She is one of some 10 million Filipinos, about a tenth of the population, who have gone to work abroad to escape poverty and joblessness back home.

Israel’s media said her victory had put the spotlight on the country’s low-paid migrant workers, among them tens of thousands of Filipinos, who work as carers or in menial jobs.

And her victory comes as tens of thousands of African immigrants and asylum seekers pressed a major protest against the Israeli government’s tough immigration policies.

Prohibited from singing professionally

But ironically, her runaway success is unlikely to improve her earning prospects in the Jewish state, with officials saying she would not be allowed to put her talent to professional use.

“She can only work as a carer, according to the law,” a spokeswoman for Israel’s population and immigration authority told Agence Frane-Presse.

“Of course she can sing – anyone can do that – but not as a professional.”

Fostanes, the only foreign contestant, lives in a crowded apartment in an area inhabited mostly by foreign workers in Tel Aviv.

“Not all workers and cleaners from the Philippines are in a position like this: It’s like Cinderella, you know,” she told the show in an earlier interview uploaded on YouTube.

But she fretted whether the Israeli audience, who had made her an early favorite, would tire of her plain looks and vote her out in favor of younger, slimmer rivals.

“This is what I’m afraid of, because I don’t have the whole package,” she said.

But the fans were won over.

In a live performance watched on television by many of her impoverished countrymen before dawn Wednesday, Fostanes’ powerful, soulful singing voice won the judges’ nod.

Her ecstatic younger sister, Rose, told a local television in Manila: “This is my sister’s life dream turning into reality. Who would have thought it would happen abroad?”

Fostanes had blitzed through the earlier rounds with impressive renditions of songs by Tina Turner, Lady Gaga, Prince and Christina Aguilera among others.

Clips of her performances have been drawing tens of thousands of hits since they were uploaded on YouTube this month.

Fostanes’ girlfriend Mel Adel said last weekend she feared her partner’s disclosure at the show of their lesbian relationship would harm her chances of winning.

“But I was elated that she did not disown me,” Adel said.

Lani Cayetano, mayor of the Manila suburb of Taguig where the singer’s siblings live, said: “She is indeed an epitome of hope, her powerful voice touching hearts not only of Israelis, but of all of us.”

Related Stories:

‘X-Factor Israel’ winner Fostanes suffered humiliation in her country

Rose Fostanes X-Factor win is ‘victory of Filipino people’ – Palace

Philippines’ Rose Fostanes wins ‘X-Factor Israel’

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • kentohtan

    Magagaling talaga ang mga nasa third sex..Pati sa sex,sila ay mga champion.
    Mabuhay ang mga bakla at tomboy!!!!

    • B3ntong

      Kase nga…what they’re lacking down there sa bibig na lang pinadadaan.

  • bugoybanggers

    Ang mga Pilipino aminado na sa kantahan at sayawan na lang dinadaan ang lahat. Kaya nga nabubully ng buong kalapit bansa. Napag iwanan sa technologiya at industrialisasyon! Kawawang lahi… naaagawan na nga ng teritoryo idadaan pa rin sa good time parin ang iniisip?

    • kapitang inggo

      eh ano pang gagawin/ alangan naman makipag patigasan ng bayag sa China. mauna ka na.

    • Velpuz

      Can you sing better than Osang?…if you can’t how about shutting your pie hole….Ano ang ginagawa mo para bumuti ang Pilipinas?…Are you a sayang tist, engineer, mathematician, physicist or just plain kubetero…

      • mindforce

        Gagang ‘to. huwag mo personalin ang isyu. ang isyu rito ay ang misplaced priorities ng ating bansa. may punto si bugoybanngers. ang pilipinas dyan kilala sa pag-awit at pagkanta. but these endeavours are lightweight compared to having advanced technology, high standard of education, a productive workforce, efficient government, etc. hindi isyu rito kung ano ang nagawa ni bugoybanngers para sa ating bansa. i am sure meron, at di na nya kailangan ipangalandakan. nyeta ka!

      • Velpuz

        talagang gung gung ka pala, wala ka namang maitutulong panay pa ang ngas-ngas mo…puro pintas wala namang ibubuga…tangna mo rin!!

    • pecky

      Wala ka nabang masasasabing tama kon di galit at pintas sa kapwa Pilipino?
      You are such a jerk. People like you should go to h…l..

  • Johnny

    Good on you Rose Fostanes also thanks to Israelis and other residents for being fair.

    Now back to real and present problem – bad politicians in the Philippines.

  • kino

    There is more excitement about this than having a new cardinal. By nature, Filipinos celebrate hope than affirm their faith. Filipinos like a parade than a procession.

    • ranzchic

      Eh, faith cannot put food on your family’s table.

  • valsore

    Dang, watching the videos make me feel like I’m part of Osang’s journey to stardom. Thank you for being courageous, Osang, thank you for showing sincerity and being yourself on stage.

  • pecky

    Watching her singing “This is my life” is enough to break my heart of the sorrows that our overseas foreign worker had to go through just to get through each day away from all their loved ones.

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