Regine: From hitmaker to homemaker

JP Mitog - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Regine Velasquez-Alcasid was only 14 when she clobbered rivals to win amateur singing contest Ang Bagong Kampeon. She placed for eight straight weeks — belting her signature high notes for the first time on TV — before finally winning grand champion in 1984.

Regine doesn’t stray far from her roots. In 2002, she hosted Star for a Night, a singing competition that catapulted contest winner Sarah Geronimo to superstardom. The year after, she emceed Search for a Star, a contest that launched the career of Rachelle Ann Go. In 2004, she was instrumental in the discovery of Jonalyn Viray, Aicelle Santos and Maricris Garcia (now known as vocal trio La Diva) through Pinoy Pop Superstar. Five years later, she hosted Are You the Next Big Star, Frencheska Farr’s claim to fame.

Aside from hosting, she also starred in such Kapuso shows as Totoy Bato, Darna and I Heart You, Pare. Meanwhile, her latest film credit came in 2012: — GMA Films’ Of All The Things opposite three-time leading man Aga Muhlach. It was the movie in which she won a Golden Screen Best Actress award.

But far from public scrutiny, Regine is happy to leave honorifics at the doorstep. She’s not Asia’s Songbird off-duty. At home, she’s simply mommy. 

She spends her downtime as a regular homemaker — cooking meals for husband Ogie Alcasid and raising their two-year-old son Nathaniel “Nate” James. “Every day magkasama lang kami ni Nate,” she smiles.

Their mother-son bonding revolves around playtime with toys, a bit of TV, a round with the iPad, and lately walking. She narrates, “He’ll tell me, ‘Walk tayo, Mom!’ He’ll pick flowers for me, or ‘Selfie tayo, Mom!’— and you all know I love to do Instagram,” she chuckles. Her Instagram @reginevalcasid is laden with selfies and photos of her first-born.

“Plus I bring him to school if I don’t have anything to do. If Ogie’s there, minsan kaming dalawa pa nga,” she says. “We try to be there because these are Nate’s formative years, and we want to be there also because you can’t bring this back.”

Her Saturday morning cooking show Sarap Diva on GMA bears witness to her penchant for all things gustatory — a quality willingly shared by her boys. “My husband is a foodie, but he loves whatever I prepare for him,” she shares. “I don’t really cook every day — if he’s not at home then I don’t have to cook. When he’s there, I make an effort to prepare food for him.”

She adds that Ogie loves healthy meals. “That’s what I do, I grill fish, I steam, I poach. Same goes for chicken. He likes baked chicken.”

Mealtimes with Nate are a wee a bit different. “His favorite food is sinigang forever,” she relates fondly. “We have sinigang every day. If that’s not our dish for that meal, his yaya will still cook sinigang for him, maski anong sinigang.” Regine condones her son’s dining whims, as long as he gets his daily dose of protein and vegetables. But once in a while, he’ll eat chicken “kasi mahilig siya sa crunchy.”

This year, Regine seems to have her hands full juggling home and career as she revisits the contest field via GMA’s newest talent search Bet ng Bayan. “It’s a big show,” she tells her key reason for embarking on the project. “It’s never been done before — a nationwide search wherein we ourselves (the hosts) go to the regions. Plus, it’s a singing contest, and I came from that.”

“I thought it’s a good show to be a part of,” she adds.  “Every week, I open the show with the contenders. It’s pretty exciting, because we have our own production number.” Bet ng Bayan, airing Sundays after Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho, has three categories: Bet na Singer/s, Bet na Dancer/s and Bet na Kakaibang Talento.

Alden Richards joins Regine in her newest enterprise. He hosts the show’s daily updates airing from 10:05 p.m. to 10:20 p.m. “I was actually wondering because he seems to be so comfortable hosting,” she says of her co-host. “Apparently, he did some hosting stints in school.” She also lauds the 22-year-old actor’s sincerity and charisma, “which comes very naturally.”

Bet ng Bayan brings a more personal touch to home viewing. The hosts travel to provinces and visit the homes of contestants. “What’s different about the show is that we bring the competition to the people,” she says. “We make it more accessible to the talents to join the contest. That’s why we discovered a lot of great talents never before seen on TV — raw talents, specifically because of that reason.”

For aspiring singers, Regine shares her winning strategy: Welcome the nerves. “Yung kaba, you can’t avoid that. Until now, I still feel nervous,” she admits. “As you perform and get all these experiences, you learn to control it and use it in a positive way. We use that for adrenaline, for excitement. Don’t let it bring you down.”

She also encourages talents to have faith in themselves. “Insecurities are within yourself. If you believe that God gave you this wonderful talent, you’re supposed to share it,” she says.

“If you believe that that’s your purpose, then why feel insecure about it? A Higher Being gave you this talent — and you have that evidence because you can use it. I think it’s a personality thing and at the same time, it’s a question of faith. If you have a God, you know that He gave you this. Why not use it? Put it to good use. Share it with everybody. Encourage. Inspire people.”

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