Asia’s undisputed Songbird, Regine Velasquez-Alcasid is living a fulfilled life – both in her personal and professional life as a performer.
“What I have become has surpassed even my expectations,” she shared. “I’ve never expected that I would last this long, that I would continue singing up to this day. I’ve no regrets at all. My career has been running smoothly. And If I decide to retire, my songs will always be there – my legacy to my fans and supporters. But I’m not ready to slow down. Not yet. I’ll continue to test the waters.”
Since she transferred to ABS-CBN, Regine is regularly seen as one of the mainstays in ASAP and one of the judges in Idol Philippines. She shared how difficult it is to judge contestants. She focuses more on the technical side when judging a contestant hopeful. “We all have different opinions. But whatever happens in the Idol table, stays in the Idol table,” she said from a previous interview. “I wanted to be honest, not to hurt their feelings or destroy their dreams. I cannot say it’s ‘just okay’ when it’s not.”
Having established a name for herself in the business, Regine has been consistently credited for inspiring a generation of Filipino singers. She is admired for her vocal range, agility, and use of the belting technique.
Her climb to stardom
Regine – then known as Chona Velasquez – started singing at Bernardo Bernardo’s BB Music Lounge along West Avenue in Quezon City; the stint earned her Php300 a night.
Her climb to the top started when she auditioned for Ronnie Henares, then scouting for new talents for Penthouse Live. The same night she was heard for an audition. Ronnie offered her a management contract that had lasted for 11 years.
Believing in her rare talent, she was guided through the steps to becoming a celebrity, first by transforming the provincial, old-fashioned Chona into a more avant-garde Regine. The name Regine was from her real name, Regina Encarnacion. Her late father, Mang Gerry named her after his mother. Then Ronnie talked to Fanny Serrano and then Gina Rodriguez of Kirei into lending Regine clothes as part of an ex-deal. The next stop was dentist Dr. Modesto Tatlonghari, the ex-husband of Zsa-Zsa Padilla (whom Ronnie was managing at that time) to get her teeth fixed.
Regine and her late father went along with Ronnie’s every plan, except one: They refused to move from Bulacan. The Velasquez family then lived in a small apartment in Bulacan with a sari-sari store in front of it. They have since moved to a bigger house.
From then on, Regine has become a talent to contend with, in the local showbiz circle. What made her successful was her insatiable thirst for improvement and dedication to her craft. She was a good student, she watched other singers, and learned from them. She took workshops under Freddie Santos, who would become her first director.
She gained recognition by winning both the 1984 Ang Bagong Kampeon and the 1989 Asia-Pacific Song Contest, representing the Philippines in the latter. Regine rose to fame with the release of “Kung Maibabalik Ko Lang” from her self-titled debut album in 1987.
She was given full conceptual and creative control as the executive producer of R2K (1999). The album became the best-selling album by a female artist in the Philippines and the best-selling album by a local artist in 1999 and 2000.
Plain and simple
How would you describe Regine, the person?
“Plain and simple. At home, I only wear slippers and duster. It’s just that I’m in the business that makes Regine different. But I’m still the same Regine from Bulacan,” she replied.
Regine appears amenable to receiving a piece of advice or two regarding clothes but as far as makeup is concerned she does it all by herself. She does her own makeup and maintains a traditional ritual in keeping her skin smooth and flawless. She applies lana (an oil extract from a young coconut) during weekends. And if you think she frequents the salon to maintain her look, you’re in for a surprise, because she does all her beauty regimen at home. “I prefer doing it at home so I can feel comfortable and not be obligated to dress up.” This way, she said she’s free from the prying eyes of the people.
Interestingly, Regine has three things she couldn’t do without. First, she couldn’t leave the house without a bottle of cologne inside her bag. “I feel uneasy ‘pag hindi ako mabango. Basta gusto ko lang mabango ako palagi. Next, hindi ako lumalabas ng walang kilay,” she laughed. “Ever since kasi wala akong eyebrows. So, baka mapagkamalan akong alien ‘pag lumabas akong walang kilay. Third, lahat ng trip ko, hindi ako uuwi sa Pilipinas nang hindi ako nakabili ng sapatos. Para akong SM. Fetish ko kasi ‘yong pagkakaroon ng bagong sapatos.”
“When I’m performing, I don’t have a regimen. When I go up on stage, I make it a point to give my best,” she shared.
She intends to be in the entertainment industry “as long as there are people who still buy my album, and want to see me and hear my songs. But I’m ready to accept everything when that time comes. Because there’s no such thing as forever,” Regine ended.
Based on the articles published in the old Mirror Weekly magazine by the same author
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