Mitoy returns home to Pangasinan
LINGAYEN, Pangasinan—Mitoy, the first winner of the ABS-CBN reality talent show “The Voice of the Philippines,” returned home to Pangasinan province on Monday.
He was cheered by admiring province mates at the provincial capitol here.
Michael Yonting in real life, Mitoy, 44, thanked Gov. Amado Espino Jr. and provincial government officials and employees for supporting him so he could win the top prize in the show.
“Don’t worry, you will continue to see me in this province,” Mitoy assured Pangasinenses during the flag-raising ceremony.
“I’m so happy to have given honor to this province. It’s a rare opportunity for an individual to give honor to his home province,” he said.
Mitoy has made Pangasinan his home since he married Merlita Maningding Runas of Calasiao town in 1996.
“I live here and I love it here,” Mitoy said.
Merlita, also a singer, said she and Mitoy met abroad while working with separate bands.
She said, after they got married, Mitoy joined the local band circuit and sang with a group called Outer Limits at Silverio’s restaurant in Dagupan and Baguio cities.
“He was really good. And I knew he would go places,” said Tess Coquia, manager of Silverio’s.
Mitoy’s group was renamed Old Trippers and later became The Draybers. The band now plays regularly at Resorts World Manila.
After addressing the crowd, Mitoy motored to Calasiao, where Mayor Mark Roy Macanlalay prepared a hero’s welcome.
“I asked [my manager] a week ago to give me this day … so I can come home and thank all the people of Pangasinan for the love and support,” Mitoy said.