MANILA – Filipina overseas worker Rose Fostanes have come a long way from being a hardworking caregiver to becoming a singing sensation and a household name both here and in Israel.
For Fostanes, the unexpected events in her life still seemed surreal. "Parang di pa rin ako makapaniwala," she said.
But she assured that she is still the same "Osang" that her family and friends know.
"Kung ano ako dati, ganun pa din ako ngayon. Di ako kailangang mag bago. Kung saan ako nagsimula yun pa rin," she said.
Fostanes said she is the breadwinner of her family. This responsibility prompted her to seek greener pastures abroad. She admits that for someone like her who did not even finish school, a good paying job in the Philippines seems impossible.
"I started going abroad when I was 23 years old. First, I went to Egypt for four years then, I went to Lebanon for 10 years, and 7 years in Israel," she said.
Her singing prowess was honed from the many competitions she entered here in the Philippines. While in Israel, Fostanes also used her day off at work to sing at a small club in Tel Aviv.
One of her friends encouraged her to audition for the X Factor Israel.
"Sabi ko nun parang ayoko na kasi lagi naman akong natatalo kasi I don't have the look. I don't have the whole package. Parang nawalan ako ng gana," she said.
She eventually tried it out and luckily passed the audition, got into the live shows, and bagged the title.
"When I was young, I was always in a singing competition pero I didn't have the chance na palaging manalo. Di ko akalain na sa edad kong ito humabol pa ako binigyan ako ng chance na ipakita talent ko," said Fostanes.
Although she is no longer working as a caregiver, Fostanes also humbly credited her success to her employer.
"Kailangan ko pa din minsan dalaw-dalawin employer ko. Kung di dahil sa kanya di naman din ako makaka-audition sa X-Factor," she said.
When she asked for permission to audition, her employer allowed her thinking that she was only kidding.
"Sabi niya ok, masaya daw siya. Akala niya niloloko ko lang siya kasi di nya alam kung ano yung X Factor," she said.
It turned out that her employer became her number one fan who always wanted to be there during the live shows.
"Nung mag start na kaming mag audition for TV, may sakit pa nga siya nun, talagang di niya akalain na ganun ang mangyayari, standing ovation sila. Tinanong pa niya sa sarili niya, 'Kilala ba lahat ito ni Rose?' Nung nanalo na, bigla siyang lumakas kasi galing siya ng ospital nun. Tapos every time na may live show ako gusto niya lagi siyang nandoon," she said.
She added, "From day 1 of the live show talagang sinuportahan niya ako".
Fostanes conveyed her gratitude to her employer and said "You know that I love you so much. I'm still here and I still love you."
She also revealed that her employer is now apprehensive about accepting another Filipino to replace her.
"She's scared now because akala niya makakakuha siya ng kagaya ko kumakanta din. Mawawala na naman sa kanya," she said.