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

    Syrian Rebel Realignment Likely as al-Qaida Leader Blesses Split

    Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra splits from al-Qaida in what observers dub a ‘deception and denial’ exercise

    New India Child Labor Law Could Make Children More Vulnerable

    Concerns that allowing children to work in family enterprises will push more to work

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    From fast-food restaurants to pizza delivery, the history of take-out food explains a lot about the changes taking place in society

    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.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora