|Charice with her dog Chakoy|
Charice, when the lights go downSource
VERONICA PULUMBARIT, GMA News
Who is the "real" Charice Pempengco?
Having achieved phenomenal success at a young age, many people are trying to figure out who Charice truly is, the one behind the camera, the real Charice when the lights go down.
For her friend and GMA News TV reporter Nelson Canlas, Charice is far more than an international singing sensation.
"Charice behind the camera is really bata. She’s really child-like. Yun ang endearing trait sa kanya. Tuwing makikita mo siya parang little sister mo. I’ve never seen her na nag-po at opo only because reporter ako," Nelson told GMA News Online on Monday.
The start of a good friendship
Asked when he and Charice started to become friends, Nelson says he does not really know.
"I don’t know how we started to have this sort of relationship kasi I never really knew Charice before the PNoy inauguration (in 2010)," Nelson recounts.
Nelson says he got to know the real Charice after doing several exclusive stories about her.
"She really has a big heart. She tries to be as ordinary as possible," Nelson points out.
"She tries to make it a point that her life would be as regular as possible, would be as ordinary as possible. She’s a real good singer, she’s a really good performer and she knows that," Nelson says.
"Alam nya kung paano i-separate yung buhay niya as an ordinary person from the performer. Di siya mayabang. Wala akong nakikitang yabang sa kanya. When she’s with her family, talagang kitang kita mo ordinaryong pamilya lang sila. The way they talk to each other, the way they deal kung ano mang pinagdadaanan nila, be it happy or sad, kung anong dumating sa buhay nila," he adds.
On-cam, off-cam Charice
Nelson says the Charice on-cam and off-cam are "different."
"Pag tinapatan mo siya ng camera, she evolves into an 'I know what to say' person. Parang 'I’m in control of this interview.' Off cam wala na, tawanan lang kayo ng tawanan. I made a video ng mga outtakes na kinunan ko lang sa phone; nasa patio siya kumakanta, she was dancing, nakikipag-arm wrestling siya sa kapatid nya," Nelson relates.
If Charice takes on a different person on cam, so does Nelson. He says he never takes advantage of his friendship with Charice.
He goes through the proper protocols when he needs to interview Charice.
"Anything about Charice, pag may pumutok na balita sa kanya, good or bad, I just call her manager. If it’s related to her work, I go through the proper protocol. They kind of notice that I have respect for that," Nelson says.
"If it’s chikahan, chismis, I text them up. Alam nila I will not cross the boundaries. That’s why they trust me so much and I don’t intend to break that," he adds.
Nelson said he also admires Charice for being very professional and never being late for interviews.
"She always comes on time. When she says three o'clock, she comes exactly at three," Nelson says.
No 'diva' attitude
Nelson says Charice sometimes forgets that she's an international celebrity.
Once, before her meeting with Nelson, Charice thought of buying a cellphone casing at Greenhills.
As expected, Charice did not make it to stores selling cellphone accessories because she was mobbed by surprised fans.
"Nakalimutan niya na siya si Charice, kaya di na sila nakabili ng casing ng cellphone. Pinagkaguluhan siya, bumalik na lang sila sa van. She’s like that," Nelson says.
A low point in Charice's life
Nelson says the media was not allowed to cover the wake of Charice's estranged father Ricky Pempengco who passed away on October 31, but he managed to pay his respects as a friend of the family.
"She was really really sad. What happened to her dad really, really hit her," Nelson says. "She was really devastated."
A few days later, when his team finally managed to interview Charice about her father's death, Nelson took outtakes and posted them on YouTube because he wanted people to know who the real Charice is.
"It was nice that people would see this side of her. Kasi she’s really tough onstage. Kung bumirit siya parang bakal. Yung human side niya, yun ang mahirap makita," Nelson says.
On her website, Charice posted this message: "I want to thank my fans from around the world for their support and love at this very difficult time for my family and I. We are all very sad about this terrible tragedy."
A grounded person
Nelson said he counts Charice as one of five celebrities whom he considers to be real and down-to-earth persons.
"Grounded talaga siya," Nelson says. "I have so much respect for her talent and I have so much respect for her as a person. Kasi she knows the difference, kung kailan maging celebrity at kung kailan hindi."
An international recording artist who rose to fame via YouTube, Charice released her first international self-titled album in 2010. The album ranked eighth in the Billboard 200, making Charice the first Asian recording artist to land in the Top 10 of prestiigious chart.
Recently, she released her second international album, "Infinity," which includes the current hit single "Before It Explodes" by Bruno Mars, a world-famous Filipino-American singer and composer.
Infinity. There does seem to be no limit to the number of possibilities for someone of Charice's caliber. A Filipino with world-class talent, she makes Filipinos everywhere proud to be her kababayan. - YA, GMA News