MANILA, Philippines - International singing sensation Charice and her idol, Lea Salonga, now have one award in common.
The 18-year-old, who was dubbed by Oprah Winfrey as the Most Talented Girl in the World, is one of the 2 recipients of the BPInoy award this year.
Initiated by Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) in 2005, the award aims to recognize Filipinos who have given the country pride and honor by excelling in their chosen fields at the international level.
Charice was unable to attend the BPInoy awarding ceremony held at the Makati Shangri-La on Friday due to prior commitments abroad.
The pint-sized singer, however, sent a short video thanking BPI for giving her the award.
"Sa bawat kanta na inaawit at aawitin ko, ang Pilipino ang nasa isip ko (The Filipino is always on my mind in every song I sing and will be singing)," she said in the video.
Her manager, Grace Mendoza, accepted the award on her behalf.
"She (Charice) considers this award as an inspiration to sing more and to do better," Mendoza said, adding that Charice continues to suffer from dehydration following a food poisoning incident in Singapore late last month. (Read story here.)
Salonga, who received the BPInoy award in 2006 for her highly successful international singing career, congratulated Charice on being recognized as a source of Filipino pride.
"She is a Filipino doing amazingly well in the entertainment industry, bringing focus to her country. Here's hoping the country does right by her," the Tony award-winning performer, best known for her musical role Kim in Miss Saigon, said in a statement.
Doc gets award, too
The other BPInoy awardee for this year is Dr. Manuel Cacdac, founder and chairman of the board of the Hydrocephalus Foundation of the Philippines.
He has been performing free hydrocephalus operations in poor local communities across the globe, including the Philippines, for years.
Cacdac, who was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2008, said he was "honored, privileged and humbled" to receive the award.
"I've been blessed to be able to do this for the Philippines, for the poor people. Hopefully, I'll be blessed with several more years to fulfill this dream," the doctor said.
For her part, BPI executive vice president and head of overseas banking and channels services group Teresita Tan said, "Here are 2 outstanding Filipinos -- true Pinoy prides and testaments of our nation's competitiveness. As we bestow the BPInoy awards to Charice and Dr. Manny, we hope to touch and empower not only them but all Filipino families from all over the globe."
Aside from Charice and Cacdac, other honorees of the BPInoy Awards include White House executive chef Cristeta Pasia-Comerford, international fashion designers Monique Lhullier and Josie Natori, US-based technology entrepreneur Diosdado Banatao, heart surgeon Dr. George Garcia, first Filipino BBC anchor Rico Hizon, chief representative for the Asia and the Pacific of the Bank for International Settlements Dr. Eli Remolona, and renowned painter Anita Magsaysay-Ho.
E-mail the author at karen_flores[@]abs-cbn.com.