Feb 01
ANTHEM BY CHINA by Alex J. Socorro  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Fri, Feb 1, 2013

When Manny Pacquiao started to gain fame worldwide, boxing regained its popularity among the Filipinos. And singing the Philippine national anthem for big boxing fights became big deal.

Charice Pempengco can be considered the biggest name to grace the boxing ring. NHI (National Historical Institute) was pleased with Charice’s rendition of our national anthem during the Pacquiao-Mosley fight in May 2011.

Another big name was Maria Aragon, the Fil-Canadian youtube sensation. She was the Philippine anthem singer in the November 2011 fight – the third encounter between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez.

International boxer of the year Nonito Donaire has his share of anthem singers. Chelsea Emata sang the Philippine national anthem in Mandalay Bay on February 2011 when Donaire knocked out the gritty Mexican named Fernando Montiel.

Chelsea Emata was also the anthem singer for Pacquiao’s December 2012 fight versus Juan Manuel Marquez. That fateful fourth encounter ended in a knockout win for Marquez that left Pacquiao unconscious for more than a minute.

Pinoy Pop Superstar finalist Sheila Ferrari had her turn for the anthem at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California where Donaire finished Toshiaki Nishioka in 9 rounds. That was October of 2012.

However, Ferrari’s pop version of the anthem earned brickbats from the Filipinos in the social networking sites. According to some negative reactions, Ferrari did not follow the guideline of NHI in singing the Philippine national anthem.

When Donaire flattened Jorge Arce in 3 rounds in December 2012, China Gerona Quilet had the chance to show her vocal prowess. Fortunately there was no negative reaction to China’s version of our national anthem.

A souvenir photo of China Quilet with WBO Super Bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire

Working as a bartender and server in a Japanese restaurant, China is no stranger to entertainment. She had tried her hand in American Idol and X-Factor although she was not lucky enough.

Being music-minded, China writes her own songs and records them. She’s also getting in touch with several record producers for a possible commercial release of her album. Aside from pop, China relishes ballad and rock ballad.

Having lived in Texas for most of her adult life, China had learned to love country music. “I’ve been listening to more break beats and dance music lately but I also love listening to soulful music such as Beyonce, Alicia Key though I also love pop music.”

Not only music is in her blood but also acting. She was a constant participant in their school’s theater arts. She’s proud to say that she had won the best actress award for one of her school performances.

“I’ve hosted a small event before of my cousin’s debut but that’s about it,” China confessed. But she is not closing her door in hosting. In fact, she would welcome any hosting job that would come her way.

China with Rachel, the wife of Nonito Donaire

China got to hone her musical talents in church events. She tries to give time for social affairs like that because it’s a good practice especially in getting used to performing before large crowds.

For the Donaire-Arce fight, China was commissioned by Jeff Nasalga, a cousin of Nonito Donaire. A long time friend Shine Baterina helped China in getting the chance to sing the anthem. And China did not disappoint the budding fans in her circle.

For her mantra before that big day, “To always stay focused and, of course, don’t forget the lyrics. I also learned to trust in myself some more. Success all depends on me.”

China and sister Le-mair

China Gerona Quilet went to America when she was 11 years old. She is the daughter of Vic Quilet more popularly known as Vincent Dafalong, the voice behind the song Mahiwagang Nunal.

As regards her father, China said, “Nothing’s changed with my relationship with my father. I am still daddy’s little girl though I miss him so much every single day.” But thru the social media (facebook), China is in constant communication with her father.

Vincent Dafalong with screen partner Sofie during the shooting of the movie Yakman

After 12 years in the US, China will be visiting her country this year (2013). “I’m so excited and I have heard a few offers about staying in the Philippines to get well known,” particularly in the entertainment scene.

China’s excitement with the prospect of vacationing is evident, “But I definitely promised my dad to come back and sing the song he composed for me as a little girl. I’m sure it will make a big hit over there in the Philippines.”

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