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

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid