Earlier today, June 11, 17-year-old Charice Pempengco had an intimate press conference for her upcoming concert, Charice: The Journey Begins. It will be held at the SMX Convention Center on June 27.
It will also serve as a reunion for the batchmates of Charice in Little Big Star, which was aired on ABS-CBN a few years ago.
After the press conference, PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) asked Mommy Raquel why this venue was chosen, not the Araneta Coliseum.
"Ang original talaga Araneta 'yan, pero kulang ang preparation. Kaya hindi ako pumayag na mag-Araneta muna. Una sa lahat, maraming araw ang ipa-practice mo sa Araneta, hindi namin kakayanin, dahil sa schedule ni Charice sa America," she explained.
Two days after the concert, they will be leaving for the United States to work on the international album of Charice being supervised and produced by David Foster. The Filipina singer stay there for two months to record her songs.
With all her dreams fast coming true, does Charice still have any thing more to ask? "Sana maka-duet ko si Justin Timberlake," she smiled.
Just last May, Charice told the press that among her idols, she had yet to perform a duet with Regine Velasquez. Little did Charice know that a few weeks later, she would be performing in an upcoming concert with Asia's Songbird.
IS SHE REALLY 22 YEARS OLD? There have been rumors going around that Charice is 22 years old, not 17.
A day before the press conference, PEP verified the birth date of Charmaine Clarice Relucio Pempengco (Charice's real name) with the local civil registrar of San Pedro, Laguna. Records indicate that Charice was born on May 10, 1992, thereby debunking the rumors.
When PEP sat down with Charice earlier today, we asked her to react to these malicious rumors.
"Hindi ko pa naririnig 'yon," she said. "Pero siguro ina-ano nila na masyadong akong mature kumilos. Hindi n'yo lang alam, isip-bata ako sa bahay. Seventeen po ako! Kung gusto n'yo, ipakita ko pa yung birth certificate ko.
"Gumagawa lang ng issue 'yan siguro kasi sa makeup ko," she smiled."Minsan, pag ini-interview ako, tinatanong nila kung bakit ganun yung mga sagot ko, pang-mature na talaga.
She declared with a laugh: "Hindi ako 22. At hindi man lang ginawang 20 ha!"
Does she get offended when people question her actual age?
"Naku! Sanay na po ako sa ganyan kasi sa singing contest pa lang dati... Nung twelve years ako, sabi nila 16 naman daw ako. Tapos nung nine years old ako, twelve na raw ako. Ina-adjust nila."
If people ask for evidence, Charice says she can give a photocopy.
MOMMY RAQUEL OFFERS PROOF. In the same press conference, PEP talked with Mommy Raquel regarding the age rumor. She's not bothered either.
"Noon pa 'yan. Little Big Star pa 'yan kasi sinasabi nila na over-age na daw si Charice. Fifteen years old na daw siya, samantalang twelve pa lang siya noon," Mommy Raquel recalled.
"Noon, napapaiyak ako kasi ang contest [Little Big Star] para sa hanggang 12 years old lang. May maximum age talaga. Napapaiyak ako dahil gusto nila na matanggal na si Charise kasi over-age na raw. Ngayon, hindi ko na papansinin yun kasi sanay na ako."
She even said with a laugh: "Ay, naku, kung 22 siya [her daughter Charice], ano ako, singkwenta na ako! Hindi totoo yun, 17 siya."
Does she feel bothered by such attempts to destroy the image of her daughter?
"Alam mo naman, hindi mo naman maku-control 'yan, e. Hindi naman puwede pigilan na may magko-comment talaga na ganyan. E, ang sabi ko na lang, kung 22 na si Charice, e, di ako'y singkwenta na."
Mommy Raquel even offered to show the passport of Charice to prove that her only daughter was actually born in 1992.
ON FATHER'S DAY. Since Father's Day will be held on June 21, PEP asked Charice if she ever felt lonely in the past because she is estranged from her father Ricky.
"Sa ngayon po, hindi ko iniisip 'yan kasi fino-focus ko po ang sarili ko sa aming tatlo lang saka sa career ko at kung paano ko pala sila mapapasaya. Hindi ko naiisip na nalulungkot ako kasi pag naiisip ko yung tatay ko, nagfa-flashback lang ang mga nangyari dati," she says in a serious tone.
Charice was three years old when her father left them and she has not been in touch with him since then. Her younger brother Carl was also present during the press conference.