ZAANDAM - Filipino-Dutch Katrina Manaog is the youngest finalist in The Voice Kids Netherlands. At 12 years old, Manaog has displayed a singing talent that impressed the judges who all praised her rendition of Whitney Houston’s "I Have Nothing" during the blind auditions.
Manaog, born to Filipino parents Jessie and Cathy, is already an amateur performer in small gatherings and church events in the Filipino community in the Netherlands.
Her father fondly recalls a three-year-old Katrina singing a videoke piece even before she could read the lyrics.
Manaog attributed his daughter’s talents to her exposure to the singing culture of Filipinos even here in the Netherlands.
“Even when she was still young, we already noticed how she can easily memorize songs, especially whenever she sees those singing in the karaoke. There are always singing performances, jamming with the guitar, karaoke in the church and gatherings and she always hears this,” her father said. Manaog himself plays the guitar and regularly sings in the church.
Meanwhile, her mother thinks that Katrina might have inherited her singing talent from her great grandmother Barbara Belo, who used to sing opera alongside the mother of Filipino musician Ryan Cayabyab.
Biology and music
Despite gaining popularity in the Netherlands because of the reality show, Manaog only sets her sights on two things at the moment: biology and music.
She sits in Group 8 (or elementary) and studying diligently, particularly her science subjects. She constantly gets high grades in her biology class. Manaog wants to be a doctor because she wants to help people.
When not in school, she is attending piano and voice lessons in Jozien van Dorst Vocal Academy. At home, her father teaches her to play the guitar. Although she is adept at playing both instruments, she would still rather sing.
Manaog counts UK singer Jessie Jones and Fil-American singer Bruno Mars as her idols, and hopes to meet them someday. She also idolizes Philippine pop princess Sarah Geronimo.
At the moment, she is juggling her studies, rehearsing and doing tours for The Voice Kids. Sometimes she is not able to come with her family on weekend trips because of voice lessons and classes that she needs to attend.
“Studying is very important if you want to be a doctor so school is always my priority. Sometimes I have to skip classes but I just repeat those classes. It can be difficult sometimes but it’s going to be ok,” said Manaog in an interview with ABS-CBN Europe.
Win or lose
Initially, seeing their daughter perform on stage was enough for her parents. But after the blind auditions, their hopes went up.
“But of course, we don’t want to underestimate the other talents. This is a contest, but Katrina’s talent being recognized, that should be enough,” said her father.
During the battle rounds, where Katrina competed with two other Dutch girls, her coaches and the judges Marco Borsato and Angela Groothuizen, once again lauded her performance. She was chosen to advance to the finals after the sing-off with other teammates.
Manaog’s grandfather passed away two weeks ago and during their time mourning, her father said she became their source of strength. For Katrina however, she hopes that she has made her grandfather proud.
Win or lose, her father hopes that her success becomes an inspiration to many.
Manaog will be competing with six other Dutch kids in the grand finals of The Voice on Friday, February 21. Winners will be chosen via text voting. Her parents are counting on the support of the Filipino community in the Netherlands to vote for her.