Sarah Geronimo: A Decade InBy Joseph R. Atilano
This piece is not meant to give a chronological listing of achievements by and recognitions given to Sarah Geronimo. But I’m writing from the perspective of an 18 year old teenager–which I was then–who saw a contestant by chance on a talent show on TV while changing channels. I thought she showed so much talent, had that elusive ”IT” factor, and had such an enchanting appeal about her that was hard not to notice. That was in 2003. I recall sitting in my room watching TV and seeing a young teenage girl delivering an astounding performance and a thought crossed my mind: “If she wins, she will become a big star someday. If she survives all the politicking in showbiz, then she will certainly become one of the best ever.” That performance of hers got me excited again about the probabilities of having new artists under the OPM banner. Here was a young girl named Sarah Geronimo, a name that I hoped we would all know one day.
Changing of the Guard
When I saw “Asia’s Songbird” congratulate and hug Sarah Geronimo who won the competition, that right there for me, felt as if time stood momentarily still. It was like I was witnessing the “passing of the torch” to Sarah Geronimo. And in my eyes, I felt this was that very moment that signalled things were about to change in the landscape of OPM. And more importantly, it started the introduction of “new blood” into our selection of available mainstream singers in OPM. That was the time to make things happen and to bring about much change that I believed was needed for OPM to flourish once more. Looking back at that eventful moment, it brought a whole new meaning to me. I wonder just how many other Filipinos felt also how significant that moment was?
A sign of things to come
One of the things I notice now when I watch game shows, reality talent shows, and noontime shows is that when the host asks the participants who they look up to or idolize as a singer, most of the participants include Sarah Geronimo’s name in their list. That is a change for the better in the right direction because it is no longer the same names that we usually heard. The first time I had heard Sarah Geronimo’s name mentioned by a participant in a singing competition as an influence and inspiration, it was refreshing to hear and it was a welcome surprise. It meant that Sarah Geronimo had finally broken through the proverbial “glass ceiling” and entered the consciousness of young Filipinos aspiring to be singers one day! By her own example, she showed them to dream big, too.
Making the switch
I had always felt that Sarah Geronimo was treated like a “frozen delight” in the first network she was in. I was so, so dissapointed. Why weren’t they utilizing her more then? Why wasn’t she appearing or guesting in more shows? Why wasn’t she a regular mainstay in their Sunday noon show? These questions were racing in my mind. Even as an observer, these ”none” developments frustrated me. Why were these happening to her? It was as if all the anticipation and excitement to see her perform on a more regular basis on television was starting to fizzle away. It made me think if all above were being done, in fact, to make people forget about Sarah Geronimo? Was it because some people were intimidated by her presence? After a year in limbo on that network, I’m just happy that she finally found a network that wouldn’t waste her talents but nurtured them–not only singing, but acting and hosting, as well. You can’t put a good person down and there will always be people who would look after you and allow you to grow. Sarah Geronimo blossomed and excelled in the network she has been a part of for 9 years now. The path has been cleared for her and we have seen how Sarah Geronimo has blossomed from that young girl to now earning the title “Pop Princess” which she rightfully deserves.
Sarah Geronimo, to me, represents a “modern take” on the traditional Filipina lass–truly, “isang tunay na dalagang Filipina sa panahon ngayon.” Her reputation has remained unsullied despite her being an established and respected name in OPM. Her coy, yet charming mannerisms, and her almost modest comportment in her beautifully crafted costumes even as she performs on stage, bespeak of her well-grounded Filipino values. In my opinion, she is someone that the youth can also look up to and is a perfect female role model for other young aspiring singers.
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