Victory four times over
- Jerry Donato () - September 15, 2006 - 12:00am
What made the Cercado Sisters’ win extra sweeter in the recently-concluded World Championships of the Performing Arts (WCOPA) was the crystal star trophy that bears the title "2006 Junior Grand Champions of the World." They were the only Pinoy delegates awarded such a citation, aside from the medals and plaques the other delegates brought home.

In a way, the Cercado Sisters are the bigger winners of the tilt.

How did their journey to the "Talent Olympics" begin?

The sisters, composed of Almira, 18, Irene, 16, Mylene, 14 and Celina, 10, hail from Cagayan Valley, were not born with a silver spoon. Early on in life, their parents raised them to be hardworking and patient. To augment their family’s meager earnings, the sisters shuttled from Isabela to Tuguegarao and back to perform in town fiestas and special occasions like weddings. From these outings, the sisters developed their individual musicality and passion for their craft.

Barely a year ago, the Cercado girls tried their luck in a bigger family singing contest, KB (Kitchie Benedicto) Entertainment Unlimited, Inc.’s Fam Jam on QTV 11. They went to Manila, passed the audition and finished third in the grand finals. Ida Henares, national director of WCOPA in the Philippines, guested in the show and was impressed with the sisters’ performance. Right there and then, she invited them to participate in the worldwide talent contest.

Benedicto, who manages the sisters, grabbed the opportunity and proved she was right all along when she foresaw that the Cercados had the makings of a winner.

The sisters recall they were about 4,000 participants in the annual WCOPA. They performed a mix of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean and Beat It as contest piece. The winning song was specially-arranged to run for a good 60 seconds and showcase the Cercados’ singing prowess and dancing skills. Before going to L.A., they were trained by Amy Quintos of The CompanY and Montet Acoymo.

The sisters joined the Vocal Group section (Junior Division) and won gold medals in the Broadway, Gospel, Original Works and Pop/R ’n B categories. Most of the Black Americans present were amazed at their performances.

After their victory, the Cercado sisters received invitations for go-sees or sound checks. The producer of Lani Misalucha and The Society of Seven even asked them to perform for possible projects.

What the Cercados enjoyed most were the trips to Disneyland and Universal Studios. That’s why they returned to the Philippines a few weeks behind everybody. KB Entertainment Unlimited, Inc. hopes that the Cercado Sisters will get the chance to show their singing talent.

Another Pinoy group who made a splash in the talent search was the Siblings, also talents of Kitchie Benedicto and top winners of Fam Jam. In WCOPA, they won three silver medals in Vocal Group section (Senior Division). Paolo, Beverly and Jem Marquez performed Man in the Mirror, Till My Heart Aches End and Anak.

If there’s one thing we should never forget about the victory of the Cercado Sisters and the Siblings, it is the fact that Filipino talent is world-class.

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