LIFESTYLE | ENTERTAINMENT

The Filipino Channel brings talent to Aus

Michelle Baltazar

Filipino actor Jake Cuenca and award-winning recording artist Jed Madela are in Australia this week to perform at the TFC Live Down Under shows. The Australian Filipina gets the lowdown on their latest projects and how they define the modern-day Filipina.

The devoted audience of popular TV network for Filipinos, aptly called The Filipino Channel (TFC), are in for a treat.

This week, the faces that they normally only see on their TV screens are in Sydney to perform at the Hills Centre tonight and again at the Gateway Centre, Mckenzie in Queensland tomorrow.

While singer-comedian Kaye Brosas will just be arriving in Sydney today, Cuenca and Madela spent some time with local press members last night for an extended Q&A, mostly about how they made it in showbiz.

Talking about their next projects, Cuenca, dubbed the ‘Heartthrob Hunk’ in the Philippines, said he will be working with actress Shaina Magdayao in a TV drama series about overseas workers.

“I’m actually doing a new soap opera – it’s a tribute to all the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), kasama na rin ang mga TFC subscribers diyan,” he said.

Without giving too many details away, Cuenca said the soap opera would take him and Shaina overseas for a few months and that his character is an OFW.

He felt that doing the new TV series is a way to give back to the OFW community.

“At the same time, mapakita ko din ang buhay ng pagiging OFW sa mga tao sa Pilipinas.” [At the same time I can show what it’s like to be an OFW to those back in the Philippines.]

As for Madela, dubbed 'The Voice', this year is the year his long-time wish came true.

“I just finished recording my seventh album with Universal Records and it’s going to be released when I get back,” he said.

“Iyong mga past albums ko kasi puro mga revivals po iyon but this seventh album is mostly originals so finally I get to sing original songs this time.”

Endearing both to all their Filipina fans worldwide are their answers to the question, ‘how would you describe the modern-day Filipina?’.

“A modern-day Filipina is someone who can stand on her own two feet without depending on other people for her success. Someone who still possesses the Filipino values but still, she stands out despite being traditionally ‘mahinhin’ [shy] and ‘tahimik’ [quiet],” said Madela.

“My ideal girl would be that modern Filipina,” he added.

Cuenca believes that a modern-day Filipina, wherever she lives in the world, is still a Filipino ‘by heart’.

“Her family is always her number one priority. No matter what, no matter how much we evolve, lahat tayo pinoy pa rin pagdating sa puso natin,” he said.

Stating that he is happily single right now, Cuenca said his dream girl is someone who is laidback and possesses a great sense of humour.

“Someone simple but someone exciting – maybe Australian,” he said, charming the socks off the ladies in the audience.

“Someone who is very funny … you know, someone who can laugh very easily,” he added.

Revealing more about themselves, Madela also fielded questions on who he thinks are the bright stars in the industry. He singled out Angeline Quinto, the first grand winner of a talent search in the Philippines.

To Madela, Quinto has that X Factor, someone who doesn’t just go on stage and sing for the audience but “engages” the audience with her all-round performance.

Quinto is certainly one to watch but tonight, all eyes will be on Madela, Cuenca and Brosas.

With their show’s likely mix of comedy, song and dance, you can’t help but be inspired by the Philippines’ never-ending pool of impressive and outstanding talent. 

TFC Live Down Under is on tonight from 8pm at the Hills Centre in Castle Hill and at the Gateway Centre in Brisbane tomorrow. Tickets are $50 or $65 at the door. For more info, call 1800 ABS CBN (1800 227 226).

Photography courtesy of Ramil Balingit.

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