Ardent fans of the one and only Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez-Alcasid indeed rejoiced as she hit 50 on her birthday last April 22. And the celebration continues and won’t even be hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic as she’s about to treat us to a night filled with music and camaraderie through her upcoming online birthday concert, “One Night With Regine,” which happened last Saturday, April 25 streamed live on ABS-CBN’s Facebook page and YouTube Channel.
Regine’s milestone benefit gig raised a total of Php4,259,839 by the show’s end for the Bantay Bata Children’s Village, as the current situation has depleted its resources and has compelled it to temporarily cease all of its initiatives. Donations can still be made through the Bantay Bata website, https://bantaybata.abs-cbn.com
It was a reincarnation of her fund-raising concert exactly 18 years ago that bore the same title and was held outside the National Museum of the Philippines on April 26, 2002. It was also for the benefit of the Bantay Bata Foundation.
We were left breathless with her timeless hits and well-loved covers that truly touched our hearts and souls through the years. To celebrate this milestone digital gig, let’s first take a trip down memory lane as we revisit her magnificent, notable, and rousing journey into becoming one of the country’s formidable and most influential personalities.
As a best-selling and multi-awarded singer
Just like many of the performers we adore and look up to at present, Regine, whose real full name is Regina Encarnacion Ansong Velasquez, ticket to the local entertainment scene were her victories in the singing contests she participated in – in Ang Bagong Kampeon in 1984 and in the Asia-Pacific Song Contest held in Hong Kong in 1989. Initially credited as Chona Velasquez, she had her first-ever single under record label OctoArts International in 1986 titled “Love Me Again”, which was eventually succeeded by the release of her eponymous debut album in 1987 that spawned three singles, namely “Kung Maibabalik Ko Lang”, “Urong Sulong”, at “Isang Lahi”. Its commercial success established her as viable pop artist.
She then signed a contract with Vicor Music in 1990 and released her second studio album, Nineteen 90, in which “Narito Ako” was the lead single. On that same year, she headlined her first major concert as a solo artist at the Folk Arts Theater in support of the album and became the first Asian artist to ever perform at the Carnegie Hall in New York City after holding her North American concert debut there. Besides, Miss Saigon producer Cameron Mackintosh actually even invited her to audition for the West End production of the classic musical, but declined as she cited “inadequate theatrical experience as one of the several reasons”.
Regine had the chance to work with National Artist for Music recipients Ryan Cayabyab, Lucio San Pedro, and Levi Celerio in her third record Tagala Talaga. She would later on gear for her commercial debut in the Southeast and East Asian region with the help of Polygram Records, which released her fourth studio album Reason Enough that spawned singles “It’s Hard To Say Goodbye” and “Sana Maulit Muli”.
Polygram Records was also the one to produce her best-selling record of her career – Listen Without Prejudice – that marked her debut as an up-and-coming artist in the Southeast and East Asian region. It carried the track “In Love With You”, which was a collaboration with Hong Kong artist Jacky Cheung, of which its music video was hailed the “Video of the Decade” by MTV Asia.
She was able to work on two more albums with the record label – My Love Emotion (1995) and Retro (1996) – before parting ways with them and joining VIVA Records in 1997. Under the latter, her ninth album Drawn was released and she was also given the opportunity to be the executive producer of her 10th record R2K, which emerged as the best-selling album by a solo female artist.
Her 11th studio album Reigne in 2001, which reached triple-platinum, spawned her unforgettable “Dadalhin.”
The brilliant and sought-after singer rang in the new millennium by releasing the soundtrack album Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw and her first live album Regine Live: Songbird Sings the Classics that comprised of 15-piece setlist performed at the Westin Philippine Plaza. Her succeeding records – Covers Vol. 1 (2004), Covers Vol. 2 (2006), Low Key (2008), and Fantasy (2010) – were all cover albums.
Following her marriage with husband Ogie Alcasid and giving birth to their unico hijo Nate, Regine took a three-year hiatus to record new material and introduced a gospel-inspired album Hulog Ka Ng Langit in 2013, which was succeeded by the release of her 17th studio album R3.0 in 2017, which carried her version of Ryan Cayabyab’s classic “Araw Gabi.”
Moreover, she also has more than 20 concerts under her belts, 12 of which was headlined by hers while the others were collaborations with other local and foreign artists and were concert series.
In her 33 years in the industry, the Asia’s Songbird has raked in a whopping number of recognitions from various award-giving bodies for music, such as Aliw Awards, Asian Television Awards, Awit Awards, MTV Awards, GMMSF Box Office Entertainment Awards, and PMPC Star Awards for Music.
Apart from that, Philippine Association of the Record Industry (PARI) also hailed her as the best-selling Filipino artist of all-time after selling approximately seven million albums in the Philippines and 1.5 million in Southeast and East Asia and being the first and only Filipino artist to have eight albums to exceed sales of 200,000 copies.
As an exceptional actress
Along with her successful musical career, Regine was also able to shine and cement her reputation as a versatile and brilliant thespian both in the big and small screen.
She has appeared in more than 20 films since her acting debut in 1988, starting off with supporting roles in The Untouchable Family (1988), Pik Pak Boom (1988), and Elvis and James 2 (1990). Her breakthrough came in 1996 when she was tapped to portray the title role of the music teacher in the flick Wanted Perfect Mother. On that same year, she starred in the musical comedy Do Re Mi alongside Donna Cruz and Mikee Cojuangco .
She sang the theme song of the movie with Ogie, Nate, and stepdaughter Leila Alcasid,
Among the other films she starred in were Honey Nasa Langit Na Ba Ako (1998), Dahil May Isang Ikaw (1999), Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw (2000), Pangako Ikaw Lang (2001), Ikaw Lamang Hanggang Ngayon (2002), Pangarap Ko Ang Ibigin Ka (2003), Mars Ravelo’s Captain Barbell (2003), Till I Met You (2006), Paano Kita Iibigin (2007), Urduja (2008), Of All The Things (2013), Mrs. Recto (2016), and the CinemaOne Originals entry Yours Truly, Shirley (2019).
Meanwhile, Regine had her television drama debut in 2000 by playing the lead role in an episode of the IBC-13 series Habang May Buhay. The following year, she had her first-ever Maalaala Mo Kaya stint through the remarkable episode “Lobo”, from which she earned her Star Award for Best Actress trophy after her compelling portrayal of a mentally-challenged woman who develops a romantic relationship with a younger man (Piolo Pascual). She starred in another MMK episode titled “Dalandan” six years after.
She then went on to appear in a number of teleseryes under GMA Network before her move to ABS-CBN in 2018. Aside from a slew of TV guestings, we were also able to see her in the iWant Original series My Single Lady with Jodi Sta. Maria, wherein she lent her voice as the narrator as she played the special role of Mama Reg, a gay impersonator of her.
As a sought-after and ebullient TV Personality
Aside from being a legendary singer and an award-winning actress, the Asia’s Songbird has been known as an in-demand TV personality as well. Her first take on hosting was the 2002 reality singing contest Star For A Night wherein Popstar Royalty Sarah Geronimo emerged as the grand winner.
It was followed by a slew of hosting gigs in GMA that were mostly singing competitions, too. As she switched to ABS-CBN two years ago, she has guested in a number of Kapamilya programs and instantly became an ASAP Natin ‘To mainstay. She was also tapped to be one of the judges of Idol Philippines alongside Vice Ganda, Moira Dela Torre, and James Reid.
With the tremendous achievements she has reaped and attained and the unsurpassable influence she emanated in the past three decades, complemented by her admirable personality, there’s definitely no doubt why Regine Velasquez-Alcasid is indeed a legend and continues to shine like gold!