Maris Racal: "Singing Sunshine" from Davao

by Nikko Tuazon
May 10, 2021
Maris Racal
Mariestella Cañedo Racal, known in showbiz as Maris Racal, is a 23-year-old actress, singer, songwriter, host, vlogger, and endorser from Tagum City, Davao del Norte.
PHOTO/S: @mariesteller on Instagram

Mariestella Cañedo Racal, known in showbiz as Maris Racal, is a 23-year-old actress, singer, songwriter, host, vlogger, and endorser from Tagum City, Davao del Norte.

Maris is currently signed with Star Magic, the talent management arm of ABS-CBN.

As of April 23, 2021, her followers number more than 5.3 million on Instagram, 3.9 million on TikTok, and 3.2 million on Twitter. Currently, her eponymous YouTube channel has 758,000 subscribers and her official Facebook Page has 14,415 likes and 15,835 followers.

Maris Racal

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FAMILY and education

Maris was born on September 22, 1997, in Davao del Norte. She is the fifth of six children of Henry and Leony Racal.

She finished high school at the Mary's College in Tagum City, with dreams of becoming a doctor.

She had already entered showbiz when she enrolled for a bachelor's degree in Medical Technology as her pre-med course at the Trinity University of Asia.

But when her acting career took off, Maris decided to take a break from her studies.

In her interview with Tonight With Boy Abunda in November 2018, Maris expressed her desire to go back to school. She told Boy Abunda, "Yes, of course, hindi po yun mawawala sa akin."

Maris Racal

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JOINING PBB

Maris entered showbiz at the age of 16 via the fifth season of ABS-CBN's Pinoy Big Brother.

She was dubbed the Singing Sunshine ng Davao in this PBB edition called Pinoy Big Brother: All In, from which she emerged the second winner and the Brazilian model-turned-actor Daniel Matsunaga the Big Winner at the end of the season.

In the same interview with Boy Abunda, Maris said she learned an aspect of herself she never knew before she joined PBB.

That realization would cement her future in showbiz.

Maris recalled, "The moment na pinili ko yung PBB na sumali talaga, e, wala naman po akong idea sa showbiz, sa reality shows.

"And then, simpleng tao lang po ako, e. So yun, the moment na nag-yes po ako, the moment na sumali po ako, nako-consider ko yung sarili ko as a risk-taker."

Maris said she never really thought that she would be able to finish the whole season.

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"To be honest, Tito Boy, nag-light pack lang talaga ako kasi feeling ko after three weeks, mae-evict na ako.

"Hindi ko po alam, that was just me before na parang tingin ko sa PBB dati, na parang if ako nandun, feeling ko hindi ko kakayanin, ganyan-ganyan.

"So parang nag-light pack lang ako kasi... hindi ko po talaga tinodo yung expectations ko na, 'Ay, big winner ako,' ganyan-ganyan.

"So the whole time po, the whole duration, very ano lang ako, hindi ako nag-e-expect. [Chill] lang ako."

Maris Racal as PBB housemate

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SHOWBIZ CAREER

In 2014, right after her stint in Pinoy Big Brother, Racal signed a management deal with Star Magic.

At that time, Maris had several appearances in Kapamilya talk and game shows, including Gandang Gabi, Vice!, Kris TV, and The Singing Bee, among many others.

It was only during the latter part of the year that she was able to showcase her acting skills.

Maris bagged the role of Wendy, a support character in the prime-time series Hawak Kamay topbilled by Piolo Pascual, Iza Calzado, Nikki Gil, Xyriel Manabat, Andrea Brillantes, Zaijian Jaranilla, and Yesha Camile.

She also starred in several episodes of Maalaala Mo Kaya and Ipaglaban Mo! from 2014 to 2015.

During this time, Maris became a regular on the Kapamilya Sunday variety show ASAP.

She also starred in several movies, including Halik sa Hangin, Stars Versus Me, Just The Way You Are, and The Breakup Playlist.

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In July 2015, Maris was tapped to play the role of Niña Buenaflor in the Kapamilya daytime drama series titled Ningning.

After the show ended, in February 2016, Maris was introduced as one of the members of the all-girl dance group called GirlTrends on It's Showtime.

The other GirlTrends members were Miho Nishida, Kamille Filoteo, Dawn Chang, Devon Seron, Karen Reyes, Loisa Andalio, Barbie Imperial, Nikki Gonzales, Jane de Leon, Leyana Magat, Erin Ocampo, Joana Hipolito, Chienna Filomeno, Riva Quenery, Krissha Viaje, Maika Rivera, Kelley Day, Mica Javier, Jessica Marasigan, and Mikee Agustin.

Maris Racal in GirlTrends

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In the same year, Maris was cast in Star Cinema movies The Third Party and Vince and Kath and James.

Maris's stint on GirlTrends didn't last long. On January 22, 2017, she and fellow GirlTrends member Loisa were launched as members of BFF5 on ASAP along with Elisse Joson, Kira Balinger, and Andrea Brillantes.

Andrea was later replaced by Elisse Joson.

Maris Racal in BFF5

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(L-R) ASAP's BFF5 members Loisa Andalio, Ylona Garcia, Kira Balinger, Maris Racal, and Andrea Brillantes

Later in the year, Maris starred in two horror movies—Bloody Crayons and Haunted Forest.

In 2018, less busy with TV projects, she decided to focus on her music career.

In 2019, she made her prime-time comeback via the drama series Pamilya Ko with Sylvia Sanchez, JM de Guzman, Arci Muñoz, and Joey Marquez.

That was also the year she finally had her big break. She played the titular role in the movie I'm Ellenya L. alongside Iñigo Pascual.

In 2020, Maris's movie career perked up even more despite the pandemic.

She starred in three movies—Block Z, Boyette: Not a Girl Yet, and the 2020 Metro Manila Film Festival entry Isa Pang Bahaghari.

In mid-2020, with the Kapamilya network bereft of broadcast franchise, Maris was tapped by TV5 to become a regular performer in its weekend variety show Sunday Noontime Live! She stayed in the show until January 2021.

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She was also paired with Kokoy de Santos in the Kapatid network's romantic comedy series Stay-in Love.

On March 14, 2021, she had a special appearance on PBB: Connect The Big Night. Maris also returned to ABS-CBN's ASAP as a performer.

Maris Racal in ASAP Natin To

MUSIC CAREER

In April 2015, Maris released her debut single, "Tanong Mo Sa Bituin," which also became the official soundtrack of her movie Stars Versus Me.

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In July 2018, she released her debut album titled Stellar. Some of the songs in the album are "Hi Crush," "Tala," "Tayo Na Di Tayo," "Ikaw Lang Sapat Na," and her lead single "Love Is Easy."

In 2019, she released a single titled "Abot Langit," a song she collaborated with Rico Blanco. This was followed by the song "Not For Me," which was released in September 2020.

Maris Racal

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In her interview with MYX last October 2020, Maris revealed that her family is musically inclined.

She said, "I guess I just grew up with it, yung music. And yung parents ko, they're both singers. Yung mom ko very active sa church and then kumakanta siya.

"Si Papa like he would have small gigs sa city namin. Kumakanta din siya. Like passion niya, aside from his day job, yung business niya. Nagme-make time siya for music.

"Even my brothers, my band din, my sisters mahilig din sa music. So hilig ko na talaga siya like ever since I was a kid. And then yeah, parang I just grew up with it.

"Even sa school, sa church, everywhere I go, small lang kasi yung mundo ko dati. Super small like, church, school, and then house.

"Yun lang, nagre-revolve na yung life ko around doon. Like everywhere meron akong activity na involved yung music."

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Her favorite artists include Regina Spektor, Lily Allen, Aqualung, and The Beatles.

In the same interview, Maris said, "Sila yung mga nate-take over ng playlist ko dati."

CELEBRITY LINKS

Maris has had several love-team partners through the years. During her Pinoy Big Brother stint, Maris was paired with her fellow housemate Manolo Pedrosa.

After the reality show ended, she was then paired with Marco Gumabao in the daytime drama series Ningning.

Maris was also briefly paired with McCoy de Leon in 2016 for the pre-prime-time drama series We Will Survive. However, their tandem was cut short when McCoy joined Pinoy Big Brother: Lucky 7 in July 2016. McCoy was then paired with Elisse Joson.

Maris Racal and McCoy de Leon

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In 2017, she was paired with former Pinoy Big Brother housemate Yves Flores in the series Hanggang Saan.

In the same year, Maris was linked with Piolo Pascual's son Iñigo. According to Iñigo, they are "exclusively talking" at that time, and have decided not to rush things.

Maris Racal and Inigo Pascual

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In an interview in May 2018, Maris was asked about the status of their relationship and said, ”Paano ba? Paano ko ba sasabihin? Obviously, mahal namin ang isa't isa. Okay lang... Kung kami na? Mej."

In mid-2019, rumors circulated on social media that Maris's team-up with Iñigo has ended after the actress appeared in an episode of Maalala Mo Kaya with McCoy.

Iñigo addressed the rumors in an interview and said, "Honestly, like what I've said before na pag na-pair kami sa ibang tao, you know, it's her job to deliver.

"I'm proud of Maris. Alam kong they are both handling it professionally.

"Saka, di ba, naging love team na sila dati?

"We're friends in the industry, we are all working. Di ba, lahat naman tayo nagtatrabaho?

"Sana resputuhin natin yun, siyempre kaibigan ko rin si McCoy at siyempre si Maris."

In February 2020, Iñigo was again asked about Maris's closeness to McCoy. Heis reply was: “Wala akong alam. Kung sila, e, di I'm happy for them."

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In March 17, 2021, an exchange between Maris and Rico Blanco on Instagram fueled the rumors linking them to each other.

The rumors started when Maris uploaded a video of their duet of "Brighter Than Sunshine" on Instagram as a birthday greeting to Rico. The former Rivermaya member responded with, "love you." Maris Racal and Rico Blanco

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In her interview on RX 93.1 FM radio on March 31, 2021, Maris was asked about her experience working with Rico for her 2019 single "Abot Langit" and her latest song "Not For Me."

Maris said, "Whenever I’m in the studio with him, siguro if I type everything na sinasabi niya, I would get three books out of every studio session.

"Kasi gano’n kadami yung words of wisdom niya in terms of music.

"You know, amazing is an understatement kapag nagko-collab ka with Rico kasi… siya kasi nag-produce ng song ko.

"So, yung goal niya talaga is artist-centric. Kung ano’ng gusto ng artist, yun din yung gusto niyang sundin.

"But ipapaganda lang niya ng one hundred times more. So, yeah, ‘yon galing, super."

FILMOGRAPHY

Here are the film and television projects of Maris through the years.

FILMS

  • Halik sa Hangin (2015) as Tetay
  • Stars Versus Me (2015) as Elena
  • Just The Way You Are (2015) as Amy
  • The Breakup Playlist (2015) as Janine
  • The Third Party (2016) as Joan
  • Vince and Kath and James (2016) as Maxine
  • Bloody Crayons (2017) as Richalaine Alcantara
  • Haunted Forest (2017) Mich
  • I'm Ellenya L. (2019) as Ellenya
  • Block Z (2020) as Erika 2020
  • Boyette: Not a Girl Yet (2020) as Nancy
  • Isa Pang Bahaghari (2020) as Young Lumen
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TELEVISION

  • Pinoy Big Brother: All In (2014) as Herself/Housemate 2nd Big Placer
  • Gandang Gabi, Vice! (2014) as Herself/Guest
  • Kris TV (2014) as Herself/Guest
  • The Singing Bee (2014) Herself/Player
  • Hawak Kamay (2014) as Wendy
  • Maalaala Mo Kaya: Lobo (2014) as Maila
  • Oh My G! (2015) as Junalyn Barel
  • Ipaglaban Mo!: Inabusong Karapatan (2015) as Nina
  • Ipaglaban Mo!: Pinekeng Anyo (2015) as Minnie
  • Maalaala Mo Kaya: Bottled Water (2015) as Zyra
  • Ipaglaban Mo!: Maging Akin Ka Lang (2015) as Jenny
  • Kapamilya, Deal or No Deal (2015) as Herself/Player
  • ASAP (2015) as Herself/Performer
  • Ningning (2015) as Niña Buenaflor
  • It's Showtime (2016) as Herself/GirlTrends member
  • We Will Survive (2016) as Jenny Bonanza / Jennilyn
  • Maalaala Mo Kaya: Droga (2016) as young Emily / Emilia Rodrigo
  • Maalaala Mo Kaya: Toga (2016) as Analyn Telmo
  • Magandang Buhay (2016) as Herself/Guest
  • Minute to Win It: Last Man Standing (2016) as Herself/Player
  • Home Sweetie Home: Something New (2016) as Letlet
  • Family Feud (2016) as Herself/Player
  • Maalaala Mo Kaya: Luneta Park (2016) as Maymay
  • Minute to Win It: Last Teen Standing (2017) as Herself/Player
  • Magandang Buhay (2017) as Herself/Guest
  • FPJ's Ang Probinsyano (2017) as Rona
  • Ipaglaban Mo!: Katotohanan (2017) as Jessa
  • Family Feud (2017) as Herself/Player
  • Wansapanataym: Annika PINTAsera (2017) as Fairy Sylvia
  • Gandang Gabi, Vice! (2017) as Herself/Guest
  • Maalaala Mo Kaya: Tape Recorder (2017) as Lou Ann
  • Myx (2017) as MYX Celebrity VJ
  • Gandang Gabi, Vice!: GGVKiligSiAko (2017) as Herself/Guest
  • Maalaala Mo Kaya: Casa (2017) as Young Hazel
  • Hanggang Saan (2017) as
  • Maalaala Mo Kaya: Ukelele (2018) as Tin Amistoso
  • Umagang Kay Ganda (2018) as Herself
  • Magandang Buhay (2018) as Herself
  • It's Showtime (2018) as Herself
  • Ipaglaban Mo: Kakampi (2018) as Maya Hermosa
  • Tonight with Boy Abunda (2018) as Herself
  • Magandang Buhay (2019) as Herself/Guest
  • Maalaala Mo Kaya: Stationery (2019) as Carol Main Role
  • TV Patrol (2019) as Herself / Guest Star Patrol anchor
  • Maalaala Mo Kaya: Contest (2019) as Zephanie Dimaranan
  • Pamilya Ko (2019–2020) as Peachy Ann Mabunga
  • Beauty Queens (2020) as Tarsila Zamora Rodriguez
  • Sunday Noontime Live! (2020-2021) as Herself/Performer
  • Stay-In Love (2020) as Diding
  • PBB Connect The Big Night (2021) as Herself/Guest
  • ASAP Natin 'To (2021) as Herself/Performer
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DISCOGRAPHY

Here are the songs Maris has released through the years:

2015

  • "Tanong Mo Sa Bituin" (from the album OPM Fresh)

2018

  • "Tala" (from the album Stellar)
  • "Ikaw Lang Sapat Na" (from the album Stellar)
  • "Love Is Easy" (from the album Stellar)
  • "Tayo Na 'Di Tayo" with Inigo Pascual (from the album Stellar)
  • "Hi Crush" (from the album Stellar)
  • "Tayo Na 'Di Tayo" with Inigo Pascual (Alternative Version) (from the album Stellar)
  • "Sugarol" (from Himig Handog 2018)

2019

  • Abot Langit

2020

  • Not For Me
  • Kahit Na Anong Sablay

ACCOLADES

Here are the awards Maris won through the years.

2014

  • 1st Star Cinema Awards
    • Most Promising Actress

2015

  • 2nd Star Cinema Awards
    • Breakthrough Artist

2016

  • Wish 107.5 Music Awards 2016
    • Wishers’ Choice for Wish Young Artist of the Year
    • Wishers’ Choice for Best WISHclusive Performance
  • 29th Global Excellence Awards
    • People's Choice for Female Dance Group (GirlTrends)
  • 3rd Star Cinema Awards
    • #BestInLevelUp Breakthrough Star
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2017

  • 4th Star Cinema Awards
    • Ultimate Scene Stealer (for Vince and Kath and James and Bloody Crayons)
    • Ultimate Breakthrough Loveteam (with Inigo Pascual)

2018

  • 20th Gawad Pasado Awards
    • PinakaPASADOng Dangal ng Kabataan with Inigo Pascual
  • MOR Pinoy Music Awards 2018
    • Best New Artist of the Year
  • Himig Handog 2018
    • MOR Philippines Choice Award for the song "Sugarol"
    • TFC's Global Choice for Favorite Song for the song "Sugarol"
    • MYX Choice for Best Music Video for the song "Sugarol"

2019

  • MYX Music Awards 2019
    • Music Video Guest Appearance of the Year for the song "Lumang Tugtugin" by Inigo Pascual
  • 32nd Awit Awards
    • PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD for Favorite New Female Artist
    • PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD for Favorite Music Video for the song "Sugarol"

2020

  • GMMSF 51st Box Office Choice Awards
    • Promising Female Recording Artist of the Year
  • Laguna Excellence Award
    • Outstanding New Female Recording Artist of the Year for the song "Hi Crush

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Mariestella Cañedo Racal, known in showbiz as Maris Racal, is a 23-year-old actress, singer, songwriter, host, vlogger, and endorser from Tagum City, Davao del Norte.
PHOTO/S: @mariesteller on Instagram
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