To celebrate Filipino workers all over the world and in light of the Women’s Month, I Feel U featured Donna Avellana Kunzler, author of “Overseas Fabulous Pinay,” a book dedicated to Filipina OFWs.
Now based in Switzerland, Donna is happily married to her foreign husband and is blessed with a baby daughter turning 18 months old. She was born and raised in Bacoor, Cavite. At first, Donna had no plans of working overseas, content with her life back home. Besides, she thought living abroad makes up a sad story like how it’s mostly depicted in movies.
But, in 2001, then-23-year-old Donna tried to apply for a job in Singapore out of curiosity. “When I got the offer, it’s four times my salary. Imagine mo, four times! Parang hindi ka mag-iisip, you’d jump at the opportunity,” she said of how her OFW story started.
From Singapore, she transferred to California and London until she stayed and got married in Switzerland. She now works as a Global Process Leader.
As an advocate of women empowerment and education, Donna came up with a book titled “Overseas Fabulous Pinay” which is like a manual for OFWs, especially the women. She said she was struck with the statistics that at least a million Filipinos work abroad ever year and more than half of them are women. She also considered that Filipinos work overseas out of necessity, so most of them don’t know what to expect and overcome homesickness. That’s when Donna decided to help by sharing tips from her own journey.
Still as part of its advocacy to help small enterprises thrive amid the pandemic, I Feel U featured JC Ruby and Rancy Buenafe, former ABS-CBN employees, now business partners, in its episode aired on March 7.
Rancy had her media expertise shared in reality and talent shows like The Voice of the Philippines while JC was part of the creative think tank of talk shows such as The Buzz, Kris TV, and Magandang Buhay. Since the lockdown and ABS-CBN shutdown, they would make do with online catch-up sessions. The usual Friday ‘e-numan’ turned into business meetings.
Rancy and JC, just like most of us, were on the same boat during the pandemic. They were both bothered by the uncertainties, leading in a long list of ‘Bakit.’ Combined with resilience and creativity sharpened through the years, the tandem turned all the ‘whys’ into an answer – a line of disinfecting lotion branded as “Y.”
Looking back at the unexpected journey to entrepreneurship, Rancy and JC learned to extract opportunities out of the challenges life throws at them. He said, “Hahanapan mo talaga ng chance lahat ng nangyayari sa’yo – a chance to learn. Wala namang makapagsasabi kung hanggang kailan kami tatagal as business owners but we are hopeful na makakayanan namin hanggang dulo.”
Rancy and JC’s story reminds us that there are risks worth a shot. And at the end of the day, it’s the hopeful attitude that helps us surpass trials.
YFSF Season 3
For Kapamilya celebrities CJ Navato, Vivoree Esclito and Lie Reposposa, joining Your Face Sounds Familiar Season 3 is a way to overcome their fears, explore their artistry, and transform into bolder individuals.
In an episode of “I Feel U” titled Now or Never, the trio shared how they bravely took on the challenge of impersonating local and international icons for Your Face Sounds Familiar Season 3. Vivoree feels nervous every time she performs in front of the beloved panel comprised of Sharon Cuneta, Ogie Alcasid, and Gary Valenciano. But the most fun part is bonding with her co-celebrity contenders.
She doesn’t report onstage unprepared. In fact, apart from the rehearsals and mentoring sessions with Nyoy Volante and Jed Madela, she rented a studio to practice her performance.
Vivoree looked back at her audition as a fresh start, considering YFSF as an entirely different journey. She still battles self-doubt but the show helps her realize her worth as an artist. She said she appreciates everyone’s faith in her talent.
From being a ‘bulilit’ comedian, CJ grew up playing adult roles at a young age, thus he was nothing but excited when he got in the Your Face Sounds Familiar Season 3 audition. This marks another dream come true for him.
He took this project as part of the ‘now or never’ season of his career. CJ said he was so inspired and enthusiastic when asked to send his audition video. He was also getting more serious with singing, so he thought it was the perfect time to keep on moving for his passions despite the on-going pandemic.
A product of Tawag ng Tanghalan and Pinoy Big Brother, Lie isn’t a stranger to competitions. Although she battled self-doubt as well, typical for a teenager, she now learned to embrace her uniqueness. Lie used to watch inspirational videos during the lockdown, thus she was motivated to improve on herself and embrace her flaws. And the result is a stronger sense of self-love.
Lie added that they found a new family in their co-artists. They would cheer on each other and push one another to believe in themselves. Through her Your Face Sounds Familiar Season 3 experience, she realized that things only look impossible until they’re done.
The camaraderie is so fluid they already moved past the ‘competition’ phase. CJ said his batchmates managed to break his being an introvert and they now work as a batch than just individual performers. Vivoree added that their co-artists are always there to help. She’s happy to be working with such a happy bunch.
Asked who’s most likely to be on top of the competition, the trio mentioned that everyone has their unique strengths. But they are impressed with Jhong Hilario, Klarisse De Guzman, and Christian Bables.
For Vivoree, the YFSF experience is something she will always be grateful for. It doesn’t only give her a platform to showcase her talent but also helps her gather more confidence and pushes her to excel. For CJ, YFSF gives him a chance to prove his talent to himself and the world. “I feel like may voice ako na hindi ko pa nailalabas. Dito, tinutulungn akong ilabas siya and I’m so happy,” he said. According to Lie, the show helped her learn how to take a leap of faith. She also realized how fun performing is.
Catch more exciting transformations in Your Face Sounds Familiar Season 3 every Saturday at 8:00 PM and Sunday at 7:30 PM on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z.
In this episode of I Feel U, Himig 11th Edition songwriter Dan Tanedo and interpreters KZ Tandingan, Juris Fernandez, and Agsunta tell more about their entries and their styles of creating music.
Six months since tying the knot with fellow musician TJ Monterde, KZ describes the stage as a time of discovery. They’re getting to know each other better as husband and wife. The married life also deepened her artistry, “Nagkaroon ng additional layer the way I tell a story through the songs I write. Nagkaroon ng ibang depth. Nagkaroon ng panibagong perspective na pinanggagalingan ng pagsulat ko.”
For KZ, who won the competition in 2014 with her rendition of “Mahal Ko o Mahal Ako,” the pressure is not to win again but to give justice to her songwriter’s beautiful piece. She said Himig Handog puts the spotlight on Pinoy composers than the interpreters. The Asia’s Soul Supreme interprets the song “Marupok” by Danielle Balagtas. Here’s a piece for all the ‘marupok’ and ‘paasa.’
One of the constant voices in Himig Handog, Juris describes the festival as always a fun experience. It is also one of her little ways to show her support for OPM and Pinoy songwriters. She believes she wouldn’t be able to share her voice if it weren’t for the composers who make beautiful songs for her, so this is her way of honoring them. Juris renders the love song “Ika’y Babalik pa Ba?” written by Jabez Orara. It’s an anthem for those who are stuck in limbo, confused about moving on or waiting for a love to come back.
Agsunta is grateful to be part of this year’s music festival, considering that they are given the chance to perform amidst the pandemic. It was easy for the band to fall in love with David Mercado’s “Kahit Kunwari Man Lang.” They love the combination of lyrics and melody and they know listeners can relate to the feelings of getting friend-zoned. This piece weaved all the ‘hugots’ that come from regrets of not being honest about what you really feel.
Asked about the process of song-writing, Dan mentioned that inspiration pops up in the most unexpected moments and as a composer, it’s his duty to share these ’feels’ to the listeners. “Parang out of the world ang experience ‘pag nagsusulat ka ng kanta. May inspirasyon na bigla na lang papasok sa isip mo at mare-realize mo na kailangan dalhin mo siya sa mundong ‘to, like sa reality na ‘to. Ikaw, as a person, responsibility mo na lagyan ng sariling artistry ang idea na ‘yun hanggang mapanganak siya.” For Dan, composers must be sensitive and open to their environment and other people’s experiences. Dan wrote the piece “Ibang Planeta” which will be interpreted by Zild.
Listen to Himig 11th Edition songs on Spotify, Apple Music, and other digital music streaming platforms. Don’t miss its grand finals on March 21.