NOTTINGHAM -Filipinos in Nottingham are ready to cheer on Arisxandra "Xaxa" Libantino when their hometown hero takes to the stage for the grand finals of Britain's Got Talent this weekend.
Members of the Nottingham Filipino Community (NFC) gathered at a hall in the area of Hucknall recently to prepare materials in support of the 11-year-old singing sensation, who is the first person of Pinoy descent to make it this far in the annual competition.
Kids and adults created colorful banners, posters and tarpaulins with stickers, pictures and messages urging the British public to get behind Arisxandra.
Also present were cameramen from Britain's Got Talent as well as the local press, who wanted to capture the moment.
Hanah Dacumos, a schoolmate of Xaxa, designed a poster with the words "little girl with a big voice."
"I think she's a great person and an amazing singer. I think she'll really go far," she said.
"I'm so proud of her because there's not been any Filipinos that have made it through, so everyone's really happy," Dacumos added.
"I'm happy and proud for her. Definitely inspiring," said another friend, Corina Ward, who was holding up a poster saying 'Vote Arisxandra. We love you!'
"It really strengthens the Filipino community. What more for the whole of the UK?" NFC secretary Rhoda Mina said.
"It's a simple event actually and I didn't think it would turn out this big. We're just really proud that she made it to the finals, and she's from Nottingham," she added.
"It's an encouragement to the Filipino people, and thanks as well to the British people for giving us the opportunity to show our extra talent," NFC chair Nolan Alonzo said.
The NFC will be among 500 supporters at Xaxa's school this Saturday - Trinity School - which will serve as a BGT live point in Nottingham during the final.
When Xaxa and her family arrived at the hall they were greeted by a chorus of cheers and chants of Arisxandra.
Xaxa's mother, Elma Libantino, was touched by the support.
"I feel very happy because the Filipino community here in Nottingham support my daughter. I can see they love my daughter," Elma said.
"It feels really amazing. All of the Filipinos supporting me, even back in the Philippines they're supporting me. It feels really, really amazing," Xaxa said.
Although only days away from a defining moment in her life, Arixsandra appeared carefree, displaying no hint of anxiety.
"I'm actually quite excited for Saturday and I can't wait," she told ABS-CBN Europe.
"I'm just not that nervous, I'm just very excited to see the judges again."
Asked what would happen if she were to win the competition, Xaxa replied: "It means really much to me and if I win we would go back to the Philippines to be with all my family and cousins."
She also issued one more rally for support.
"I would like to say thank you very much for all of the people supporting me back in the Philippines, and here in the UK. Please keep voting because it means really much to me."
Arisxandra impressed in the semi-final round with her rendition of Whitney Houston's song 'I Have Nothing'.
In the grand finals she will be up against 10 other acts including singers, dancers and comedians.
The winner of the competition will bag £250,000 as well as the chance to perform in this year's Royal Variety Performance.