Pinay 'X Factor' winner almost abandoned singing dreams

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 17 2014 12:37 AM | Updated as of Jan 17 2014 08:37 AM

MANILA – Pinay caregiver and "X Factor Israel" grand winner Rose "Osang" Fostanes is still on cloud 9 after her unexpected win.

Fostanes said she still couldn't believe that a foreigner like her, who has been working as a caregiver in Israel for six years, won the contest.

"Hindi ko talaga ine-expect dahil, isa pa, hindi ako taga-rito sa Israel. Dayuhan lang ako. Ang visa ko is only for working as a caregiver kaya di rin ako masyadong makapaniwala," Fostanes said in an interview on "Iba-Balita" on Thursday.

Fostanes said she had been joining amateur singing contests in the Philippines since she was a kid. But because of her appearance, she often ended up losing the contests.

She also recalled the many times she was booed going up the stage, before even sing a few lines for her performance.

"Pag-akyat ko pa lang ng stage, di pa nga ako kumakanta. Di naman lahat. Siyempre nagugulat sila dahil bata pa 'ko mataba na 'ko e. Minsan sisigawan ka ng 'boo!', 'bumaba ka sa stage', 'uulan!'" Fostanes shared. "Kadalasan din akong talunan dahil siyempre nga… Di na sila nakikinig, kundi nanunukso na lang. Kaya di na nila napapakinggan ang boses ko eh."

Osang added that she would have abandoned her dreams of becoming a singer had she failed to make it during the "X Factor Israel" auditions.

"Bali last ko na ano po talaga ito. Sabi ko, kung di ako matatanggap dito, kung di ako makakapasa sa audition, di na ako talaga sasali. Kakalimutan ko na talagang kumanta," she said.

Fostanes also shared her life as a caregiver in Israel.

There are about 20,000 Filipinos working legally in Israel, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics, with most working as cleaners and caretakers for the elderly and disabled.

So much so in fact, that in Israel the word "Filipino" is often considered synonymous with "caregiver".

Fostanes said that often the basic salary is not enough for a living, especially if one is supporting a big family back in the Philippines.

To earn extra income, she said caregivers like her resort to different jobs or "rakets" even if it is against the law.

"Pag bagong dating lang po bali ang pinipirmahan po naming sahod is umaabot sa $1,000. Ngayon depende na po sa inyo yan kung gusto niyong madagdagan. Kagaya ng mga raket-raket 'yung iba 'yung mga nagtitinda, 'yung iba mga naglilinis ng bahay. Kahit bawal po 'yun sa 'min, ginagawa po ng mga kapwa natin caregivers dahil gusto natin kumita ng extra income."

The life story of the 47-year-old singing caregiver has drawn comparisons to Scottish singer Susan Boyle, 52, who shot to fame in 2009 after appearing on the TV show "Britain's Got Talent" and performing a flawless rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" from the musical "Les Miserables."

While Fostanes believe that Boyle still has an edge over her, she said she would still be ready to face the Scottish singer in a singing showdown for the Filipino people.

"Unang-una si Susan Boyle ay mas magaling sa akin kumanta. Tyaka may mukha naman siya, di kumpara sa akin na talagang wala talaga—pandak na, mataba pa. Pero siguro pagdating naman sa pakikibagsabayan e ipaglalaban ko pa rin ang Pilipinas," she said.

Fostanes admitted that not all Israelis welcomed her big win, especially because she came from another country.

But she said at least about half of the Israelis who watch "X Factor" were happy and inspired with her win.

"Yung iba po kasi, di naman natin sila ma-please dahil siyempere, di nga ako taga-rito. Tiyajka kumbaga sa ano e naangatan natin sila nang konti. Kaya yung iba di rin sila masaya. Pero yung iba naman po, halos kalahati, masaya naman sila sa akin."

Amid her newfound success, Fostanes never forgot to thank all her kababayans who supported her until the end.

"Sa lahat po ng mga nasa Pilipinas, mga kababayan po natin na sumopotra sa akin, huwag po tayong mawawalan ng pag-asa. Ilabas po natin 'yung talent natin kung meron man tayong talent. Sa lahat ng mga Pilipino sa buong mundo, maraming maraming salamat po sa pagboto ninyo dahil di ko rin po mararating 'tong kinalalagyan natin ngayon kung di rin po sa suporta ninyo," she said.