Age 20, Charice, Sunshine from "Glee," looks destined to become the best-known Philippine-born musical star.
Charice singing an acoustic version of Billboard hit "Pyramid."
Is there another country where popular music and entertainment are considered such mainstream current events, ice-breaker topics cutting across lines of class and region? In the Philippines, conferences, reunions and celebrations are occasions for participants to break into song or break out an instrument. Filipinos keep up with popular music in the Philippines, United States, the greater Hispanic world and to some extent Southeast Asia.
Movies are another popular topic. When I was in the Philippines in 2011 during the Oscar awards, of course everyone knew that the little girl in "True Grit" had a Filipina grandmother. I'm glad I read the newspapers sufficiently to know that Filipino-Americans involved behind the camera were also Oscar contenders.
I don't know if Charice Pempengco, age 20, can yet claim to be the Philippine musician best known outside of her home country. (Although, with her tomboyish new look, she can claim to be the best known Filipino gay musician now.)