News / Asia

Philippine Caregiver Wins Israel's X-Factor

In this Jan. 14, 2014 photo, Rose Fostanes, a 47-year-old Filipino caregiver, sings during the X-Factor Israel in Tel Aviv, Israel.
In this Jan. 14, 2014 photo, Rose Fostanes, a 47-year-old Filipino caregiver, sings during the X-Factor Israel in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Rose Fostanes, a Philippine caregiver who has worked in Israel for several years, is the first season winner of a popular Israeli television singing contest called The X-Factor Israel.
 
She beat a series of Israeli performers during a dramatic rise to fame with her soulful renditions of classic tunes.
 
Her vocal talents captured the votes and admiration of Israelis and also sparked an outpouring of pride from Filipinos who flooded social media sites with messages of congratulations.
 
First place finish
 
The X-Factor Israel host and Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli declared Fostanes the winner in the show's live, televised finale at Tel Aviv's Nokia Arena late Tuesday.
 
The victory made her the first Philippine domestic worker to triumph in a reality TV show in the Jewish state.
 
The 47-year-old drew loud cheers from the audience, which included Filipinos as well as Israelis.
 
"Thank you so much to those people who voted for me and who believe in me," she told the arena. "Thank you so much to all the Israelis who like my voice and who like my songs, and to all the Filipinos that support me. Thank you so much to [the Philippine] ambassador who came here to witness [the event] and to my sister and to my partner [for being here]," Fostanes continued.
 
Earlier in the finale, Fostanes serenaded the audience with her interpretation of Frank Sinatra's 1969 hit "My Way", with an Israeli orchestra backing her up.
 
It was one of several commanding performances of classic songs that helped her to win enough text-message votes from Israeli TV viewers to surpass her Israeli X-Factor rivals.
 
Israel's Philippine migrants
 
Before she auditioned for the show in October, Fostanes was just one of more than 30,000 Philippine migrants in Israel, holding unglamorous jobs like cleaners and caregivers for the elderly and disabled.
 
Their role in Israeli society has become so deeply rooted that for many Israelis, the Hebrew word for "Filipino" is synonymous with "caregiver."
 
Fostanes, who covered British band Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody in a previous round of the contest, has been an overseas caregiver for about 20 years.
 
After stints in Egypt and Lebanon, she moved to Israel several years ago, sending money back to the Philippines to support her family.
 
Fostanes had been leading a relatively uneventful life in south Tel Aviv, sharing a small apartment in a low-income migrant neighbourhood, until a friend persuaded her to compete in The X-Factor to try to fulfill her dream of becoming a professional singer.
 
Caregiver's fateful choice
 
In a recent interview with Reuters, she described how that decision changed her life.
 
"Before, I had a very low self-esteem. And now I got a good confidence for myself and I got friends and people love me on the street and I got many compliments from them, good compliments," said Fostanes.
 
Fostanes also expressed hope that some of the millions of other Filipinos who perform domestic work abroad will draw inspiration from her success.
 
"Being in this competition, I think that I… will be a leader for them because of what I did," she said. "So I think also they will be proud of me, and… everybody in the world will know that Filipinos, even [those] working as a cleaner... can also share their talents and they can also be a part of a big event like this," she said.
 
New career opportunity?
 
Fostanes' mentor in the competition was Shiri Maimon, an X-Factor judge and Israeli singer who also became a reality TV star years earlier.
 
Speaking to Reuters, the 32-year old Maimon predicted that her elder protégé has a bright future.
 
"I think she made an amazing journey here in Israel and I think the Israeli people gave her so much strength, and now she believes in herself," she said. "She knows that she can be a singer, she needs to stand on a stage, to perform, that's what she needs to do and hopefully she is going to be one of the best singers in Israel.''
 
Stardom also could await Fostanes in the Philippines, where many Filipinos expressed pride in her achievement and sent her messages of encouragement.

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

US Gives Malaysia Questionable Upgrade in Human Trafficking Ranks

Malaysia’s upgrade seen as removing barrier to country’s participation in the US-led 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership More

Turkey, US Try to Establish Buffer Despite Differences

Coalition airstrikes in proposed zone would aim to drive out Islamic extremists, allowing targeted area to come under sway of anti-Assad rebels More

Video US: Millions Exploited by Vast Fortunes of Human Trafficking

State Department's annual report calls exploitation 'modern slavery,' brutalizing girls, women into prostitution and forcing men, women and children into low-wage jobs across the globe More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: kamakawi from: USA
January 17, 2014 3:35 PM
Oh God I hope to live to see the day when an Israeli of Filipino heritage will command the Israeli Army... oh God how we will dance and cry and thank the Lord... for we have arrived into the Promised Land
In Response

by: Ali from: Iran
January 23, 2014 6:05 PM
you know K, they had Iranian Military commander... that is why they are the best in the world!!!
I hate to say it, but in our heart of hearts, we all acknowledge their sublime superiority - but we still don't believe they belong in the Middle East.

by: Pantagal from: Saudi Arabia
January 16, 2014 10:22 PM
the news overwhelmed all ofw here where news from Israel is so restricted and biased and full of hate (envy and jealousy) but it was so wonderful so proud it made us all and from Israel no less... we were so proud - someone here mentioned that Israel is our home - these is so true. god bless you Rose - thank you thank you thank you... made it all a little more tolerable for us here in Saudi - a place of such grim cruel benighted filthy people full of envy and jealousy and malice.

one day, in Jerusalem, we hope to see you Rose - we will sing together - i promise

by: ginafe papasin from: Saudi
January 16, 2014 4:33 PM
wow very amazing voice.....we are very proud of you rose ......congratulation and you deserve that title....godbless

by: Alvaro from: Philippine
January 15, 2014 2:05 PM
Rose!!!!!! we love you so much. God bless Israel... God bless His beautiful children - angels of mercy, justice and retribution in Jesus name - Rose you made us so proud - thank you, thank you

God bless Israel

by: Irene Pillangco from: Cyprus
January 15, 2014 9:27 AM
Bravo!Rose,may your success will serve as an inspiration to all the ofw working in different part of the world.

by: Pinoy from: USA/Philippine
January 15, 2014 7:29 AM
I cried so much. People don't understand what Israel mean to us, but she does. Israel is our home too

with all our Love

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs