Sarah Geronimo

Sarah Geronimo, one of the Philippines’ most recognized names in music, has rightfully earned her title as “Pop Princess” with eight studio albums, nine movies, and 18 years’ worth of television appearances.

Sarah Geronimo began her career at 14 by winning Star For A Night and consequently releasing her first album, “Popstar: A Dream Come True,” which went on to become the best-selling debut album in all of OPM. Some of the songs in the album were composed by her idol, Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez, and Ogie Alcasid, according to Pilipino Star Ngayon.

Aside from “Popstar: A Dream Come True,” she has recorded six other albums: “Sweet Sixteen” in 2004, “Becoming” in 2006, “Taking Flight” in 2007, “Just Me” in 2008, and “Music and Me” and “Christmas Girl” in 2009. Her latest work, “One Heart,” is set to be released in May, according to several online forums.

Aside from this, she has enthralled audiences both in the Philippines and abroad, filling concert halls and stadiums to capacity. She has filled such prestigious venues as the Araneta Coliseum and the Music Museum, with tickets selling out almost as soon as they began selling, and fans demanding encore performances. Pilipino Star Ngayon reported that she even garnered the distinction of being the first Filipino performer to grace Chicago’s Harris Theater.

Although Sarah Geronimo’s career is rooted in music, she has also starred in several films. This includes her appearance as the lead female character in “You Changed My Life,” a Star Cinema production that is so far the highest grossing Filipino movie of all time. Aside from this, she also took on the lead role in “A Very Special Love,” the prequel to “You Changed My Life.”

Sarah Geronimo’s first on-screen role was Kathleen in the 2003 Film “Filipinas,” followed by Captain Barbell that same year. In 2004, she appeared in “Masikip sa Dibdib,” “Annie B.,” and “Lastikman: Unang Banat.” She didn’t appear onscreen until four years later with “A Very Special Love,” followed by “You Changed My Life” the next year, “Hating Kapatid” in 2010, and “Catch Me, I’m in Love” in March of this year.

Sarah Geronimo is also a prominent television personality. Her first gig was a mall show at the young age of two years old, according to IMDB. At four years old she was already appearing on “Pen Pen de Sarapen.” When she was seven she appeared on “Ang TV,” and when she was eight she got a role in “NEXT.” She was even among those who performed when Pope John Paul II visited Manila in 1995, according to IMDB.

Currently, she is a mainstay of ASAP, ABS-CBN’s Sunday noon variety show. She has also appeared in such notable shows as “Bituing Walang Ningning,” “Your Song,” “Maalaala Mo Kaya,” and “1DOL.” Although she first appeared on TV as a contestant on Star For A Night on GMA, she didn’t have an exclusive contract with the network. In 2004, she signed with the bigger network ABS-CBN.

With all the success she has garnered, it’s hard to believe she comes from humble roots. When she got her big break in Star For A Night, Pilipino Star Ngayon quoted her as saying, “Hindi ko po ma-explain kung ano ang nararamdaman ko ngayon. Overwhelmed ako. Yung pera, malaking tulong sa mga magulang ko. (I can’t explain what I’m feeling right now. I’m overwhelmed. The money is a big piece of help to my parents.)”

Kung dati ay inuutang pa nila ang pambayad ng tuition namin, this year, nairaos ang pag-aaral namin nang di sila nangungutang (When they used to borrow the money they used to pay our tuition, this year we were able to study without them having to take out loans),” she added.

She has three siblings, and at the time she won Star For A Night her parents were running a beauty parlor out of their home, according to Pilipino Star Ngayon.

As one of the Philippines’ biggest names, she has unavoidably had her fair share of controversy. In December of last year, Cristine Reyes fumed over remarks made by Sarah Geronimo during an ASAP rehearsal. News of the remarks apparently reached Reyes through her boyfriend, Rayver Cruz, who was previously linked with Sarah Geronimo, according to a report that appeared on Philippine Entertainment Portal. The controversy reached such a point that “Geronimo” made it to the top trending topics list, the report added.

Sarah Geronimo and Rayver Cruz were involved at one point in time. Philippine Entertainment Portal reported that Rayver Cruz himself admitted in an interview with Boy Abunda on The Buzz that, “Totoo pong minahal ko si Sarah (It’s true that I loved Sarah),” but backed off because Sarah’s parents did not want her to become romantically involved yet.

The Philippine Entertainment Portal quotes Rayver as enthusing, “Pero napakasuwerte ng taong mamahalin niya at magmamahal kay Sarah pagdating ng panahon. Kasi napakabuting tao po talaga ni Sarah (But the person she will love and who will love Sarah when the time comes is very lucky. Because Sarah is such a good person).”

But Rayver is far from the only person gushing about her. A quick Google search for “Sarah Geronimo Fans Club” turns up a potpourri of online groups idolizing the singer-actress in forums and websites all across the Internet. On Facebook alone, the query turns up more than 600,000 results; more such groups are active on other social networking sites such as Multiply, Friendster and online forums.

“[ Sarah Geronimo ] may not be as beautiful as Angel or Anne, but Sarah has her own brand of beauty…something that is lasting, the longer you stare at her face the more she becomes beautiful. She not only looks good in physical appearance but much more [on] the inside, and it radiates onto her face. She’s fortunate [because] she [has] both. That’s why many adore her,” gushes a recent post on one such Sarah Geronimo Fan Club.

Even the celebrity columns ooze with praise for her. In a column entitled “Sarah Geronimo, superstar?” that appeared on the Manila Standard Today, Isah Red said Nora Aunor “can now live in peace and quiet and relish her glory days as the Philippines first real superstar,” with Sarah Geronimo taking her place.

“Surprisingly, Sarah Geronimo had John Lloyd Cruz in her palms and the poor guy had no choice but keep himself in acting cadence with the singer-turned-actor in both the comedic and dramatic sequences,” Red said, referring to her performance in “A Very Special Love.”

Ricky Lo of the Philippine Star said as much in a 2003 column entitled “Sarah: Regine’s Heiress Apparent.”

Recounting his experience when he watched her in Star For A Night, Lo said, “What I told myself as we applauded the tear-drenched Sarah proved to be prophetic: ‘She’ll go far; she’ll go places.’ I should have told Regine then but I did not: ‘Your heiress apparent has come!’” referring to Regine Velasquez, Asia’s Queen of Pop.

But even Regine Velasquez herself told Sarah Geronimo, “You are no longer a princess but a Pop Queen,” during her phenomenal Big Dome concert in 2005. It must have been a big thing for Sarah Geronimo to hear one of her favorite singers say this to her. Ricky Lo quoted her as saying, “Ate Regine is my idol; she’s my favorite. My big dream is to be like her, to follow in her footsteps.”

After all of the success she has achieved, and throughout the turmoil and turbulence her time in the limelight has brought, she remains humble.

“Every time I open my eyes every morning, I always thank Him for giving me another day to fill up the hearts of those na nagtitiwala sa akin (who trust me),” she said in a post on her official website.

Sabi nga po ni mommy (Mommy said), ‘Hold on to my dreams for it will soon come true through perseverance and dedication’,” she also said. “Sa pitong taon ko sa industriya, masasabi ko na I am very blessed, mapa-pagsubok or blessing. (In my seven years in the industry, I can say that I am very blessed, be it in trials or blessings).”

The future looks bright for Sarah Geronimo, that girl from Santa Cruz whose schooling was paid for by debt before the limelight found her. For a woman who has made her way to the top through hard work and sheer dedication, she certainly deserves it.

Just having starred in a movie and with an album soon to drop, she has no plans of stopping yet. Be she the Pop Princess or the Pop Queen, her reign doesn’t show signs of ending any time soon.