Thursday, July 5, 2012

DID YOU KNOW: Kirby Asunto is a niece of Manny Pacquiao's cousin who hails from Inopacan, Leyte

Kirby Asunto with the sons of Sarangani Rep. and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao.
From the official Twitter account of Kirby Asunto

Before Pacquiao fights, his protegé Kirby Asunto will sing

(This article is a reprint from GMA News online)
GMA News
June 9, 2012 11:00pm

As the Pacquiao-Bradley bout nears, netizens have been abuzz not only about the fight itself but about the featured personalities who will be singing during the event: Jessica Sanchez for the American anthem and Kirby Asunto for the Philippine anthem.

While Sanchez has become a household name after becoming the first runner-up in "American Idol," many Filipinos have been wondering who Asunto is.

A Filipino-American, Asunto was personally selected by Manny Pacquiao to sing the Philippine national anthem during his match against undefeated American boxer Timothy Bradley Jr.

Filipino-American-Mexican Sanchez, 16, will first sing the American national anthem during the opening ceremonies of the Pacquiao-Bradley fight. Asunto, 14, will follow, singing the Philippine national anthem “Lupang Hinirang.”

In an email to GMA News Online, Asunto's publicist Elton Lugay, also a stringer for GMA News in New York, explained that the young singer was a "niece of Manny's cousin, his mother's side."

Lugay said Pacquiao's cousin hails from Inopacan in Leyte, hometown of the congressman's mother Dionisia.

Asunto's grandmother "is also from Inopacan, Leyte," Lugay explained.

On Asunto's Twitter account, her fan Lira wished her luck on her performance during the boxing megafight this Saturday (Sunday morning in the Philippines): “When you sing tomorrow, May the Odds be ever in your Favor @kirbyasunto :) God bless yah.”

Asunto was introduced by the eight-division world champion during a press preview last February when Pacquiao and his wife Jinkee said they had big plans for Asunto who signed a contract under Pacquiao’s talent management company.

“We are committed to help Kirby reach greater heights in her career. We don’t expect much in return. Happy kami that we have the opportunity to help her,” Jinkee said.

Pacquiao first heard Asunto’s voice during the celebration of the Holy Mass before his most recent match against Mexican boxer Juan Manuel Marquez last year which Pacquiao won.

Asunto also performed during Pacman's victory concert after the Pacquiao-Marquez bout.

On May 20 in Manhattan, New York, Asunto performed with Arnel Pineda, the Filipino front man of the legendary American band Journey.

Some of Asunto's other notable achievements include being a:
  • Winner – Child Access Broadway, regional and national levels
  • Grand Champion – Philippine Fiesta Idol, Seacaucus, NJ, junior level
  • Final three – NY Knicks Kidzbop Sports Talent Jam at MSG
According to a report of the entertainment site on June 4, Asunto ("Child Access Broadway") and other Broadway stars such as Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, and "GMA Pinoy TV talents Dingdong Dantes and Aljur Abrenica headlined the Philippine Independence Day Council’s (PIDCI) well attended 114th Philippine Independence Parade and cultural show held on Madison Avenue Sunday afternoon."

The event, attended by around 100,000 people, was the “biggest celebration of Philippine independence outside of the Philippines,” said.

Asunto was born in the Philippines but her family migrated to the US in 2006.
According to her official Facebook page, she has shown great interest in music since the age of two.

Her parents had no clue that their daughter could already compete in a singing contest.

Asunto has since joined several contests and taken voice classes to pursue her dream of becoming a professional singer.

Apart from this, she has been giving back to the Fil-Am community by singing in different fundraisers in the United States.

You can view Kirby’s performances of the American national anthem “Star Spangled Banner” on her official YouTube channel. - VVP/HS, GMA News




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Author of Philippine Food, Cooking, and Dining Dictionary - the first and only published Pinoy food and dining dictionary. The book won the national category as Philippine's finalist to the Gourmand Awards international food writing contest in Yantai, Shandong, China to be held in May 2017. A lexicographer who began to compile and wrote his first vernacular dictionaries at the age of 14. A collector of contemporary and vintage dictionaries, both local and foreign.  A linguist studying the many dialects you can find in the Philippines. A blogger maintaining at least 11 blog sites. A researcher of food culture, Pinoy pop culture, interesting places and structures in the country, local transportations, Philippine churches and other places of worship of any religion and beliefs, local anthropology, socio-cultural issues, and whatever interesting about the Philippines and the Filipinos. A visual artist who uses pencil, watercolor, pen, and fingers as medium of expression - once an editorial cartoonist of local broadsheet and campus publications. Created his first hand-made comics magazine and participated the Marian watercolor exhibits in his hometown parish while in high school. A photographer taking at least 2K photos a week in the field while on travel for almost two decades now.  A poet hiding most of the time. A low-profile historian studying continually the origins, history, and progression of many places in the country. A computer programmer who wrote the codes and designed the software application of his digital Cebuano-English dictionary and distributed it for free around the country and over the internet. A traveler who had been to all four corners of the Philippine archipelago, and still setting more footprints anywhere in the country.  A holder of professional driver's license once took the wheels for UBER. A home cook who loves to enhance, modify, elaborate, experiment if not invent more of  Pinoy dishes and delicacies.

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