24 August 2012 - The Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur reported that a former overseas Filipino worker based in Penang emerged as the winner of "Pinoy Idol Malaysia 2012" during its Grand Finals held at the Embassy gazebo on August 19.
Twenty-nine-year-old Day Grace Salunga bested 11 other singers with her dramatic rendition of the Filipino classic "Nandito Ako", and won 5,000 ringgit and a trophy for her performance.
Second place honors went to Lady Gem D. Francis while Milagros T. de la Pena placed third. Ms. Francis and Ms. De la Pena won 3,000 ringgit and a trophy, and 500 ringgit, a trophy and a camera, respectively.
The other nine singers who qualified for the grand finals include Maricel Urbi Tolosa and Aileen Dupa from Johor; Jerwin Velasquez from Penang, and; Danica Airish Bacera Kanapathy, Randy F. Fruelda, Anne Palma, Michael Martin Reyes, Janice P. Bulactin and Ellemor Silorio from Kuala Lumpur.
A three-man panel judged the contestants based on voice quality and interpretation, clarity of diction, stage presence, originality and overall impact.
The panel was headed by Anon Avila, a prominent and well-respected Filipino singer, song writer and musical director in Malaysia. The other two judges were Gladys Gulapa and Lipaxedes M. Jumawan.
Mr. Avila said that all the contestants were talented and amazing, and he admitted that the judges had a hard time selecting the winner.
The singing competition was organized by the Embassy's Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), in celebration of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration's (OWWA) 30th anniversary.
In her message prior to the start of the competition, Labor Attache Dr. Alicia D. Santos highlighted the importance of the event to showcase the singing talent of the Filipinos in Malaysia.
"Anywhere in the world we go, the singing talent of a Filipino is admirable, and this kind of activity is the reason we're having all these 12 Filipino finalists here to show their talent in this occasion," she said.
Also present during the event was Third Secretary and Vice Consul John Francis Herrera.
Before she went back to Penang after the program, Ms. Salunga declared that a part of her cash prize would be donated to the flood victims in the Philippines and to her Filipino association in Penang.