LONG BEACH, CA — It’s called the Olympics of talent shows — and when it comes to the World Championships of Performing Arts, Team Philippines continues to shine and to make their country proud.
Coached by Jed Madela, 109 Filipinos took part in the 9-day event against 50 other countries.
“It’s always very fulfilling to see these kids develop their own talents,” he said.
The Philippines was the biggest team at WCOPA, and on finals night, the biggest team also took home the biggest prizes.
For the first time in WCOPA’s 21-year history, the Philippines took home both the junior and senior grand championships.
Negros Cadiz City’s Cristani Rebada, who was part of the Philippine Opera company, overcame a sore throat to take home senior vocalist and the grand championship.
“Si Lord talaga binigay sa akin yung 1000 percent grabe grabe talaga,” he shared.
8-year old kapamilya talent Nhikzi Calma shed tears of joy, as he bagged best junior solo dancer and the junior grand championship — after showing off his Michael Jackson routine.
“Sobrang sobrang saya ko po! Kasi po na gawa ko sa coach maraming salamat sa papa god kun po na labas ng loob ko kay papa god at kay papa and mama kay queen zoe kay mommy ko at tsaka mga Pilipino!!” he said.
Hannah Castillo took home the top junior vocalist title.
“Sobra po overwhelming naka laking bagay to kasi po, its my first time competing… ng maniwala po kami lagi po yung mama ko may talent po kami kayo po eto ilabas and ishare ko sa mundo.”
As they savor this moment on stage, these newly-crowned champions have one more goal: to get home and celebrate with their families whom they’ve been away from.