The songbird is also a cook
KITCHEN SPY - KITCHEN SPY By Heidi Ng () - November 10, 2005 - 12:00am
For someone who has reached the stature of a diva, the real person behind Regine Velazquez is surprisingly amiable and cordial. She juggles many things at the same time, and her schedule is a killer. Yet, she was very focused during our interview. Next year is Regine’s 20th year in show business. Everyone knows her as the barrio lass from Bulacan endowed with an incredible voice, trained by her father who to this day, is almost always with her wherever she goes.

And she plans to stay in the Philippines for good.

"I tried working in the States, but I can’t give up what I have here in the Philippines. My family and friends are here. If I go there, I will have to start all over again. I like the luxury of being who I am now. Pag nandoon ka, lahat lulunukin mo. (When you are there, you have to be ready for anything.) I have to be honest with myself," she shares.

The truth is, she is a star here. She has the power to produce her own albums, direct her own concerts, like the ongoing Reflections at the Aliw Theater, and is lucky to be accepted as an actress.

This box-office queen chooses her movies well. She says, "I want my movies to be feel-good, to have a happy ending. I know it is not the pang-award type, but I am happy acting in those. I am a sucker for happy endings."

She has starred opposite the country’s leading actors, from Robin Padilla in Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw, and Richard Gomez in Ikaw Lang Hanggang Ngayon, to Aga Muhlach, Bong Revilla, and Christopher de Leon. She is now shooting a movie with Piolo Pascual.

She also travels the world to perform. "I love my job! I get paid doing what I love to do, and I get to travel," she adds.

Just this year, she traveled to the States with concert queen Pops Fernandez, performing in San Francisco and Los Angeles, California.

It was in 1984 when the young Regine won the grand prize in Bagong Kampeon. She was already a professional singer when she was sent in 1989 to be the country’s bet in the Asia-Pacific Singing Contest.

She remembers, "That was in Hong Kong, and I was a contestant. It was really a singing contest, not a festival. It was before Christmas, so ang saya ng Christmas namin that year after I won."

Starting the first weekend of November, Regine is singing classic songs to commemorate her 20 years in the industry in a concert entitled Reflections at the Aliw Theater. You will hear her sing tunes that have influenced her, as well as songs she used to sing when she was just starting. She will sing songs that have meant so much to her personal and professional life. Expect the songbird to belt out tunes from Barbra Streisand to Sheena Easton, Angela Bofill, Whitney Houston, and Mariah Carey, as well as local artists Kuh Ledesma and Sharon Cuneta. As someone once said, "To hear her sing is to listen to an entertainer who has weathered the storms of life with grit and grace. To watch her perform is to see an artist in full bloom – one who is in full control of her vocal instrument, ready to tackle any song she chooses."

She was already a fan of Kuh Ledesma even before she launched her singing career. She also likes Whitney Houston for her style because of her R&B influence. When Regine first heard Mariah Carey sing, she was blown away, and she likes the fact that Mariah can write her own songs.

But the artist who has influenced Regine the most is Barbra Streisand, who directs and stars in her own movies. The first time Regine saw Barbra perform was on TV in one of her musical specials. She sang Evergreen, which would later become Regine’s favorite Streisand song.

"Natatandaan ko pa, sa TV pa ng kapitbahay ko pinanood ’yon, kasi nga wala kaming TV noong araw (I can still remember that time. I watched it from our neighbor’s TV set, because we didn’t have one then)," she laughs.

But that is not the case anymore. She has come a long away, but counts the fact that she was able to support her siblings in completing their education as her greatest achievement. Aside from her house in Bulacan, she was also able to buy a place nearer the TV stations where she works.

It was also here at her new home where she learned how to cook.

"It was a necessity," she says. "We had a househelp, but she didn’t know how to cook. So, I would experiment with cooking. That’s how I discovered I could cook pala."

The recipe for tuna she shares today is her diet dish. "I guess ang mga mahilig magluto ay mga taong mahilig kumain. Basta marunong kang maggisa, you can learn how to cook. Nag-uumpisa naman sa gisa lahat eh. (I guess people who love to cook also love to eat. As long as you know how to sauté, you can learn how to cook. Everything starts with just a little sautéing.)"

Someone gave her a cookbook and she followed the recipes there. She feels very proud to have been able to bake lasagna the first time she followed the recipe. She also makes delicious French toast.

Her sister Dianne adds, "Masipag si Ate magluto. When we were single pa, we had dates, like we would go malling, and we would ask Ate to cook, and mag-aagawan kami sa mga niluto niya (we would make a grab for her cooking)."

However, Regine normally does not follow recipes and cooks by taste, so she just gave us the ingredients and procedures, giving Philippine STAR readers leeway on how to personalize the recipes according to their individual tastes.

Happy cooking!
Regine’s Tuna Puttanesca
garlic

onion

olive oil

tuna

black olives

capers

anchovies

fresh tomatoes

angelhair pasta, cooked according to package directions


Sauté the garlic and onion in olive oil. Add the tuna, black olives, capers and anchovies. Add the fresh tomatoes and crush into the mixture. Finally, add the cooked pasta.
Spicy Tuyo Pasta
garlic

spicy tuyo, bottled

spaghetti, cooked according to package directions

olive oil


Sauté the garlic in olive oil. Add the tuyo. When done, add the cooked spaghetti.
Tuna With Crabstick Salad
lettuce

tuna

whole kernel corn

crabsticks

eggplant

balsamic vinegar

olive oil

fish sauce (patis)


Shred the lettuce. Place in a bowl. Add the drained tuna, drained corn and shredded crabsticks. Boil the eggplant and slice into half. Add to the greens. Mix the balsamic vinegar with olive oil. Add patis or pepper to taste. Pour over the salad greens.
* * *
Feedback is welcome. Send e-mail to starkitchenspy@yahoo.com.

ADD AGA MUHLACH ALIW THEATER ANGELA BOFILL BARBRA STREISAND CENTER MARIAH CAREY REGINE WHITNEY HOUSTON
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