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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Mar 22, 2019


philip jose galit as SHADOW ACE

eleana gabunada

HK sisters hannah korin and harrah kae

ASIA’S GOT TALENT is now on its 3rd season. In its 1st season, the Philippines’ shadow play group El Gamma Penumbra was the grand winner and soprano singer Gerphil Flores was 3rd placer. In Season 2, beatboxer Neil Llanes was 3rd placer and the dance group DMX Comvalenos was runnerup, both are from the Philippines.

Now, in “Asia Got Talent Season 3”, five Pinoy acts stood out. We’ll give you here an account of the first three acts. First is Shadow Ace, a hand shadow artist whose real name is Philip Jose Galit from Calatagan, Batangas. He uses his hands with impressive dexterity to create shadows that tell imaginative stories. One time, he told comical stories concerning the three judges of the show. David Foster is shown break dancing, Anggun is seen having water problems in the shower and Jay Park is shown dancing to ‘Oppa Gangnam Style’. He received the Golden Buzzer and automatically became a finalist. The irony of it is that he joined “Pilipinas Got Talent” before and only became a semi-finalist.

“Sabi ko nga, hindi pala pang-Pilipinas lang ang talent ko, pang-Asia pala,” says Shadow Ace who is sure to compete in the grand finals on April 4 to be held at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands with a chance of winning USD100,000.

He never thought he’d make it because when he joined the show, he was the last to perform. “E, nakita ko yung ibang contestants, wow, ang gagaling, like the Chinese acrobats. And meron ding sumaling ibang shadow artist at hindi siya nagustuhan. So kabadong-kabado ako. Wala akong masyadong confidence kasi growing up, wala akong kalaro and I was bullied. Yung shadow images lang ang naging imaginary friends ko and I didn’t know dadalhin nila ako sa finals ng ‘Asia’s Got Talent’.”

Eleana Gabunada is a 10-year old grade 5 student at Colegio de San Agustin who has previously joined “The Voice Kids”. The youngest semi-finalist this season, she impressed judge David Foster who hit the Golden Buzzer after her rendition of Barbra Streisand’s “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from the Broadway musical “Hello Dolly”. Judge Anggun said: “You’re like a baby Streisand. It’s such a difficult song.”

In the semi-finals, she sang “Defying Gravity” from “Wicked” and David proclaimed: “You’re gonna be a Broadway star! I am telling you right now!”

A Pinoy act that got a uniform yes votes from all the judges are the HK Sisters, a soprano and alto duet specializing on opera. No, they’re not from Hongkong. The initials of their names are both HK: Hannah Korin, 17 years old, and Harrah Kay, 16. Their family name is Castillo and their dad is a seaman who they seldom see. They’ve previously won awards at WCOPA (World Championships of the Performing Arts). At AGT, they won singing “Think of Me” from “Phantom of the Opera”. Why did they choose to sing operatic songs?

“For a change, we don’t want to be ordinary, although we can also sing pop,” they say.

They come from a musical family and grew up in Manila. They started singing as part of their church choir and school choir. They’re now both majoring in music at the Philippine Women’s University and they’re now doing a balancing act with their school studies and their being part of “Asia’s Got Talent”.

Next time, we’ll write about the last two Pinoy acts: the hiphop dance crew Junior Good Vibes, the contemporary acrobatic dancers Power Duo, and