An essay on Charice Pempengco published on GMA News Online made it to Da Capo's Best Music Writing 2011, a prestigious citation of outstanding music reviews, profiles, and essays published mostly in the English-speaking world.Source
Written by Katrina Stuart Santiago, "The Charice Challenge" excoriated Filipino fans for the shabby treatment the global superstar has gotten in her own country. It was widely shared and discussed on social media.
An elated Santiago said she was alerted to the recognition by someone who noticed her name in the blog of Matthew Perpetua, a well-known US music writer and an associate editor of Rolling Stone magazine who also made the list.
The list was co-edited this year by Alex Ross, a writer with The New Yorker. Presented alphabetically, Santiago was listed on the same page as writers from Vanity Fair, the New York Times, BBC, and the LA Times, among other prominent publications. She was the only Philippines-based writer who made the list.
Da Capo's Best Music Writing has been described by the New York-based cultural magazine Village Voice as "close as rock scribes get to the Oscars." The latest compilation honored music writing published in 2010, which was when Santiago's piece came out, before Charice made her debut on “Glee.” ...
Of Charice, she wrote in 2010:
"That Charice is now an international popular culture image, one that can only get bigger when we see her on ‘Glee’ this season, reminds us of how messed up we are as a nation that searches for identity, and yet is quick to point a finger at who we are not. Of course we could cringe at the way in which she’s been introduced to America as living breathing proof of the impoverished conditions of the Philippines. We could talk about how this tiny Filipina with a big voice is a dime a dozen where we come from. We could say that she’s in fact suffering the exoticization of the Filipina by America, where she is celebrated for her talent yes, but also as a specimen: look at her, small as she is, look at what she can do, let’s try and make her bigger than that!
If anything we should be learning from the way they’ve managed and planned Charice’s international career, a far cry from the way it happens here. First, they let her be the little girl with a big voice, who might have been singing mature songs for her age, but was actually always singing to her mom (even changing lyrics)."
Santiago was mostly addressing her Filipino audience. But her audacious voice was heard by the music cognoscenti in New York. - Howie Severino, GMA News