- Marinel Santos was a finalist in singing competition Star in a Million in 2003
- She went viral recently after being spotted belting a song in a videoke in a mall
- Find out what she's doing now after leaving show business in 2009
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Marinel Santos came back to the spotlight recently after a video of her singing Bukas na Lang Kita Mamahalin in a mall went viral on Facebook.
The video was posted by Marinel herself on her Facebook account on January 24.
As of writing, it now has more than 691,000 views, 10,000 reactions, 3,105 shares, and 778 comments.
Marinel wrote: "Mall staff requested me to jam at the karaoke"
Netizens praised Marinel's talent. Some even commented that she should have gotten more famous because she's very talented.
It can be remembered that Bukas na Lang Kita Mamahalin was the same song that earned Marinel a spot in the grand finals of Star in a Million in 2003.
She placed third in the competition. Her batchmates were second-placer Sheryn Regis, and grand champion Erik Santos.
Marinel joined showbiz after the competition, but she eventually left in 2009 to work abroad.
After the video went viral, PEP talked to Marinel to get the story and to ask how she's doing now.
According to PEP, Marinel was on vacation in her hometown in Laguna. She was just on a casual stroll in a mall when she was asked to sing.
"It's my hometown, so relax lang, gala-gala as usual. Everytime pumupunta kami and mapapadaan sa area ng mga videoke and gadgets, yung mga staff ng karaoke, ilang beses na sila nagrequest sa akin na kumanta ako sa videoke nila, hindi ko sila mapagbigyan kasi nahihiya ako.
"Pero bago kami umuwi, tumingin ng camera si Mama sa area nila, so nagkaroon ng chance magchikahan with the staff, and then before bayaran ni Mama yung binili niya, one of the staff requested me to sing.
"They recognized me and they requested for my signature song in Star in a Million, which is Bukas na Lang Kita Mamahalin.
Marinel eventually agreed to sing. It was her mother who took the video and uploaded it on her Facebook account.
The singer said she's very happy that she was able to bring happiness through her viral video. She also expressed joy that people still recognized her and appreciated her talents.
"Siyempre, masaya ako na until now, may mga nakakakilala pa rin sa akin, pero nahihiya ako pag nakikilala nila ako.
"Every country na napuntahan ko for work, may nakakakilala sa akin. Those are the people na ka-age ko or nakapanood ng Star in a Million."
Marinel still works as a singer, but is now based in Macau, China. She is scheduled to return there this February.
In her interview with PEP, Marinel shared that she's still friends with her batchmates in the singing competition.
Her batchmates include Sheryn, Erik, Christian Bautista, Gayle Dizon, Czarina Rosales, DK Tijam, Michell San Miguel, Teresa Garcia, and Johann Escanan.
"That's what I love about us, we still connect kahit matagal na kami hindi nagkita-kita pero pag nagkasama-sama kami, parang walang nagbago."
Marinel left Philippine showbiz in 2009 because she wanted to pursue a singing career abroad.
She told PEP that it was stiff competition that prompted her to move overseas.
"Siyempre, maraming lumabas na bagong singers and hindi na ganon kaganda yung takbo ng singing career ko so I decided to stop and just work abroad as a singer."
Marinel said she learned a lot working with Filipinos and foreigners abroad.
"I think nag-grow ako as a singer sa pag-aabroad ko. Nalaman ko kung paano makisama sa iba't ibang klaseng tao and katrabaho, lalo na ibang lahi yung katrabaho ko for the past four years.
"The lessons and experiences of working overseas as a singer and singing on TV are very different."
Before leaving the Philippines, Marinel released albums under Star Records.
She also sang the theme song of TV drama series It Might Be You (2003) and Krystala (2004).
Her voice is also behind the theme song of Star Circle Quest (2004).
Learn about the inspiring story of Cheneleng Pili, who was able to reach her dreams through hard work and determination..
Road to success: I cried a hundred times - makeup artist and business owner Cheneleng Pili - on KAMI YouTube Channel