Diehard fans were moved to tears in a rare meeting with Philippine megastar Sharon Cuneta in Sydney.
For the generation of Filipinos who spent their teens in the 80s and 90s, Philippine actress and singer Sharon Cuneta needs no introduction. Her string of box-office movies, awards and hit songs catapulted her to the kind of star status unmatched by other celebrities in Philippine music and entertainment.
Think Beyonce without the hip thrusts or Celine Dion with Oscars. She is the nation’s It Girl and pambansang sweetheart in the same way that Meg Ryan is to Americans or Cate Blanchett is to Australians.
So when “the Megastar”, as she is known, finally walked onto the podium for her pre-concert press conference and cocktail reception at the Novotel Hotel, the room lit up with excitement. The positive vibes spilled over from the audience – a full house of VIP ticket holders (most, if not all, are her diehard fans) for her one-night-only concert in Sydney this Friday (October 28). (Buy tickets here.)
The first hour was spent fielding questions from the local media. The Q&A was only meant to go for 45 minutes but went overtime because of yet another endearing characteristic of the one they call ‘Shawie’ (or ‘Shawty’ according to her young fans who have called themselves ‘Generation S’): she loves to talk.
The words 'kalog' and 'joker' even came to mind as she made the audience laugh chatting about her obsession with K-Pop (I'm just a 'big kid' at heart), her weight loss ("it took years"), a possible reunion movie with Gabby Concepcion ("We're just waiting for the script") and the coincidence of her husband and her ex-husband being in Sydney at the same time.
She goes on several tangents and made the room laugh even more when she stops mid-sentence and asks, "Saan na nga ba tayo?" ("Where are we again?).
She spoke about her career, her views about today’s crop of actresses and performers and the rise of social media bullying. She joked that she could talk all day long and can respond to one question with 32 pages of answers – much to the delight of everyone in the room.
Asked if there's anything else she wants to do in her career given her many accomplishments, she pointed to her upcoming debut in Hollywood. "I will be in the film adaptation next year of the Palanca award winning book, The Mango Bride, in the lead role and as co-producer.
"That's what I want to do ... show the world our heritage," she said.
Besides the Q&A, the night was also memorable for a handful of fans who managed to talk in front of the mic to tell her how much they love her. One fan was brought to tears after she asked if Sharon would sing ‘Dear Heart’ at the concert and instead of answering, she gave an impromptu rendition for her. Another fan talked about naming her daughter after her. Sharon also shared the stage with Sophie Dalisay, a Sydney-based artist who made it to Team Sharon in The Voice Teens.
But after holding themselves back and trying to stay in their seats, pandemonium ensued after the presscon when Sharon finally approached an old family friend in the audience to give her a reunion hug. This encouraged everyone to leave their seats to get a selfie, which she graciously indulged.
When asked earlier in the night how she wants to be remembered, her answer was surprisingly brief: “I just want to be known as someone who loved and was loved. That’s how I want to be remembered.”
Love, Sharon: Sharon Cuneta Live in Sydney
Friday, October 28 7.30pm
Sydney Coliseum Theatre, West HQ, Rooty Hill
Book tickets here
Photo and video credit: Renan Legaspi, Lenzmen Photography & MENM Productions