by: Donne Prynne (@English_don)

…after she made a name on a foreign land, brazenly forgot her origins, changed not only her looks (hair and all) but also her accent (phony!)? A girl who embraces her “Filipino-ness” even if she was raised American or a girl who has virtually renounced her “Filipino-ness” and obviously assumed a glaringly fake American identity? –Ricky Lo

The aforementioned line from a known Filipino journalist clearly resonates how haters embrace bigotry at Charice’s expense.

Let me delve into this, and may I challenge anyone to counter so.

Mr. Lo, how do you know if someone “brazenly has forgotten her origins”? By what clear evidences? Seriously, you owe us a good elaboration.

If the change of image made you think so. Sit back. May I ask. How many times have you attempted to improve your physical attributes? Isn’t it what basic Psychology teaches that man is insatiable in nature? That doesn’t exclude Charice or you. Haven’t our teachers told us that human beings mature and develop? Haven’t our mothers reminded us to be more understanding of our younger siblings because they still need to learn? Going back to “origin” . I once dyed my hair, but I don’t think I lost my origin (of whatever you may perceive it to be). When you made some changes about yourself, did you lose your origin? How lame. Shoud we hate our neighbors with blond hair? Should we condemn those who have undergone any form of surgery? How demanding does that sound.

X Factor Philippines via @ice3353
Yes Charice is a celebrity, and she has to bear criticisms along the way. But to tell you, this culture of crab mentality, cyber bullying, shallow grasp of beauty, etc. is going epidemic. And I could only wish for some people with the power to influence minds to be more sensible. When people read you, you owe them careful choice of words and ideas. You have your opinions, we have ours. But hay, I won’t charge you of anything. It’s not playing safe. It’s sensibility and respect!

About the “phony” accent. Wow! I have watched a few of your clips. We both know you have the very thick accent. But this doesn’t mean that everybody should sound like you, to say the least. Call center agents try to sound American because it’s one way of gaining equal treatment on the floor. Many customers despise the Filipino accent. Agents may lose job for not sounding American. Some social climbers try to fake their accent because it’s one way of gaining recognition. It makes them happy, and it doesn’t harm others. Well, it may harm someone’s prejudicial auditory. But it definitely won’t hurt feelings. Irresponsible opinions do!. Note: everybody tends to act like a social climber. It’s a common observation. There’s nothing we can really do about that. So, let’s leave them at peace with their own preference.

For the record, Charice is 20. She is still on the stage of accommodating English linguistically. She has been in America for several years now. Jessica Sanchez has been in America ever since. But it doesn’t give her the exclusive privilege to sound American. Many ESL teachers and students try to neutralize or better yet “Americanize” their accent simply because the world is full of biases and inequalities. You can’t tell them to get away with it because it’s how they earn for a living – and yes, a way of life! Noble profession, isn’t it? Does it make them less of a Filipino? No! It’s obviously because they are not violating any sort of rule. The ones who hate to hear this kind of spoken English are those who can’t do the same or those who have tried but aren’t capable or don’t have the guts. But the understanding souls don’t hate. They understand because they know the entire thing. So, leave the language novices alone.

How many of our local stars try to sound American and constantly speak English? English is our second official language, I can remember. You know that, as your columns are in English. So it’s okay to write in English but to speak? Absurd. How do you know if someone is pretending? Are you with her 24/7? It If we discuss, the influence of the West, pop culture, emperialism, and the like, it may take a long while. The point this time is that it’s common sense! There’s always a single reason to every action. Whatever reason it is, you don’t have to know. As long as it doesn’t offend, let it flow. Even Martin Nievera is capable of committing grammatical slips on national TV. Even the character of Gretchen Baretto in “Magkaribal” uttered ‘mediocrisy’ instead of ‘mediocrity’. Well, I didn’t blame her. It wasn’t entirely her fault when the script writer or editor overlooked such slip. If there’s any Filipino celebrity who has the need to sound American, it could very well be Charice. Her market is in America. She is an international star. How simple is that. If she sounds different now, it’s because she has worked hard to improve. The process is not easy, and there’s always a way to sound off. It’s the only way to improve. You may ask Koreans or Japanese about that.

Your last charge about renouncing her Filipino-ness and assuming a glaringly fake American identity is serious, but I still would give you the benefit of the doubt and cynicism. Lay down all your bases. A good journalist supports his big opinions with evidences and valid analyses. Cite some instances when Charice did so. You know what, even if I lose my comprehension and believe in this line, accusing someone is way more sinful. Who knows what Filipino-ness is? Should it be a sole burden of any Filipino celebrity? Why not teach anyone the concept of nationalism or patriotism? Why don’t we start at doing our job well and aim at inspiring others. Phony? Yes, some truths are phony.

I am not judging you, but I’m eagerly asking you questions.


Lately, in social media like Twitter, there have been hate tweets against this fragile little girl. How on Earth could anybody curse a poor little girl who only knows how to move souls and inspire zestless spirits? It seems like everyone’s dirty backyard has made an extension in the virtual world.

First, no one has the right to pick on her physical appearance. She may be short or doesn’t have the face most physically insecure persons disturbingly have been dreaming of. But come on, she’s not ugly, is she? Even if we go down to the lowest point of assumption, she still doesn’t deserve to be bullied. Do you know why? It’s because no one is really beautiful until they believe so (corny but true). Seriously, let’s put it this way, think of yourself, your family, your relatives, former lovers or even future children. Do you think it’s 100% sure that you don’t see any ugliness (that you foolishly condemn) sooner or later? Another option is look at yourself (in any way you want). What have you done lately? What are you supposed to do? I know some are too defensive. But hay, I also know that you heart is vulnerable. Hence, Charice is an artist, and she should either be embraced or ignored based on her craft. Her artistry calls for an endless thread of discussions anyway. So, let’s skip that for now.

Second, many (if not all) haters bash her obviously because she was once a ‘probinsyana’ on TV. In retrospect, she didn’t have good clothes with poor fashion style. But you know what, I didn’t mind, because the last time I checked, she’s a darn singer! Okay, even if she’s a celebrity this time, it’s still baseless to shove down her throat some standard – be it in dressing up, projecting an image, or even speaking English. The way she speaks English is absolutely fine! She’s on the process of mastering the language. She’s living in America, and there’s a natural urge to accommodate linguistically. She has international fans, and she needs to think of them in return. The way she carries herself is definitely not a problem. Hasn’t she mentioned already? It’s how she really is. You’ve gotta move on from that. There’s really no need to dictate her on how to live her life. She is like you – HUMAN!

Question: how many do you know who have married a foreigner? How many of your favorite “glamorous” stars have a Pinay mother and a foreigner father? Anne Curtis? Iya Villania? The list goes on. The bottomline is that, like Charice, their moms had to deal with so many adjustments. They are even far from sounding native until now. But of course, they are not less admirable as a mother, wife and Pinay. Bieng an immigrant, it’s always a challenge to meet at a compromise level. We cannot just simply compare Charice to anyone born in America or London for that mattter. She started a career in the US at 15. What sort of language can you expect from her? Do you want to claim that Jessica Sanchez has a tongue of diamond and Charice a tongue of iron just because she doesn’t sound American? Come on, your intellect can go beyond that myopic assessment. Here’s the deal: try to do 1 % of what Charice has done, and you will see.

Another thing to realize is that countless rich and famous (especially the relatively honorably rich and famous) scrubbed their way through success! Ask Bill Gates. Or ask your immediate neighbor who had to work abroad in order to send some dough back for their loved ones. Who are really rich and supposed to enjoy all our praises and admiration? The scions of corrupt individuals and families? The successors of shady businesses? The ones who have traded dignity just to accumulate wealth and power? It sounds cheesy, yes? But it’s truthful, too. So tell me. Shouldn’t Charice be an inspiration that you, yourself can still get out of any undesirable situation you and your family have been dealing with? Couldn’t she be an inspiration that despite unequal footing, with hard work, determination and dedication, we can still improve ourselves? You have to trust me on this. I know how it feels down there. I know how it is to be in the minority. And I know you know the same. If you don’t lift your own self, then who would? Now if, you think it’s awkward that a native Filipina is rubbing elbows with the ones you call ‘elites’ and enjoying the fruit of her hard labor, then might as well tell everyone who has dreams to stop chasing them. What is wrong with trying hard? Isn’t it human nature to push harder to get more? Now if you don’t have the courage, it doesn’t mean that you have to bring others down.

Finally, how were you when you were a teenager or in the early 20’s? Why are we so quick at judging young people? Didn’t we wish for some understanding and some time to grow up and prove our worth? Why don’t we try to be more understanding? Let’s give Charice a break! She owes us nothing, and she deserves RESPECT.

I don’t personally know Charice, neither do you. So, please hold back a bit.


  1. Korean POP has already surpassed OPM in terms of worldwide acceptance. J-POP is going there. Why? We focus on other things other than marketable talent that crosses national boundaries. The likes of Ricky Lo hate the kind of success Charice enjoys. It makes them feel insignificant in the entertainment industry. They had nothing to do with her success. They hate it so they hate Charice and her followers.

  2. I’m a white American girl so maybe I just don’t understand the culture or values of the Philippines, but it sounds like to me a lot of people don’t like Charice anymore because she cut/colored her hair and can speak English well. I don’t get it . . .

    A lot of people in America (of different races and ethnic backgrounds) cut and color their hair all the time for fun, not because their not proud of their heritage. Coloring your hair doesn’t make you any less filipino in my opinion.

    As for speaking English really well, you would think people would be proud of her for that. English is my first language, but even I understand that it is very difficult to learn. If I was trying to learn Tagalog, I would want to diminish my American accent when speaking it so I could communicate more effectively. That doesn’t mean I’m turning my back on my country.

    Anyway, like I said, I’m not filipino, but I just don’t understand all this controversy surrounding one of your most successful music artists . . .

  3. Very well said.
    Aren’t Ricky Lo’s statements libelous?
    His bashing is over the top. Seems he wanted attention, and intends to get it at Charice’s expense.

  4. Oh God, who cares?! She is one of the greatest female vocalists to ever walk the face of this Earth. Why would you care what she look likes or how she speaks? Appreciate her for her talent!

  5. I love your article! It is so spot on. I am a Filipina living in the US. There is a lot of “inverted snobbery” among the Filipino masses. You have discussed it very well in this article. I admire Charice so much for her bravery and talent. She has lots of good core values and dedication to her craft. She is so young and has the means to experiment with her looks like any young person would do. There is nothing wrong with that. Ricky Lo does not practice responsible journalism and should not be writing uncalled for personal opinions. Unfortunately, he is one of Charice’s godfathers and should have been praising Charice instead of belittling her efforts.

  6. Thanks for your article, it tells everything we all wanted to tell Ricky Lo . Poor thing , he wanted to make a buzz in the expense of Charice .

  7. You articulated so superbly what I have been wanting to say to Ricky Lo. His bullying of charice is unforgivable and has to stop. I can relate to everything you said because I went to the US on a scholarship when I was 16 for one year, and when I went back home to the Philippines, I spoke with an American accent. I know how fast one can absorb the same accent that is spoken by your peers in such a short time….but with Mr. Lo, I wonder what his beef is with Charice…what is his motivation in singling Charice in many of his articles?

  8. until now still thinking” what CHARICE did to them? isn’t his the grandfather of CHA? but please leave her alone….

  9. that was a beautiful article…SPOT ON…THANK YOU….I remember at Lea Salonga’s height of fame, not one of these showbiz columnists ever make a harsh or critical rebuke of how she (Lea), would speak the Queen’s English and then switch to American English depending on who was interviewing her…and yet no one faulted her for that…Double standard, Mr.Lo…DOUBLE STANDARD…

  10. very beautiful article. I am a filipino and working abroad. we speak a lot of english but it does not necessarily mean that we have forgotten our roots (filipino-ness). it does not make you a lesser man if you speak english as it is the universal language. haters and Mr. Lo should stop bashing at Charice. she did not do anything to you but bring PRIDE to our country. You can see in all her shows and interviews that she is proud to be a Filipino. she always mentioned that she is from the Philippines. so instead of putting her down, we should be PROUD of her.

    All the way the top Baby.

  11. Yeah, right Ricky Lo has a lot of explanations to do… why on earth being the godfather that he is, with which supposedly he’d be the first one to explain Charice’s side, would take Charice’s actions negatively. As a godfather, he is like Charice’s second dad then why all the bashing? If Ricky Lo find it wrong for her to cut her chair & color it like other kids do and her using of the English language with an accent… why then he didn’t tell her that directly. Why need for a write-up? I just don’t understand that changing one’s preference to “hair and all” could cause someone to bash her that much. A sad truth that people could really be mean just because it differ from their perspective.

  12. I wish I have an American accent, I hate my Filipino accent, I get embarrassed when some people tells me that they couldn’t understand what I was saying. And I have to repay myself twice or more.

    Having an American accent would be an improvement to myself, in school, work. Etc. wherever I go.

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