Jennifer Holliday has advice for Jessica Sanchez

Posted at 06/13/2012 3:23 PM | Updated as of 06/13/2012 6:37 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Tony- and Grammy-award winning singer Jennifer Holliday said she hopes Jessica Sanchez will have a “balanced life” following her successful stint on “American Idol.”

Tony- and Grammy-award winning singer Jennifer Holliday hugs "American Idol" finalist Jessica Sanchez after their "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" duet during the show's season finale.

ABS-CBN News was able to interview Holliday during the Independence Day celebration in Georgia, where she was the special guest.

Holliday said Sanchez “has an exceptional instrument and I think she knows instinctively exactly what to do.”

She, however, has a piece of advice for the 16-year-old singer, who’s truly enjoying her newfound fame after her runner-up finish on “Idol.”

"The main thing I told Jessica I didn't want her to be like me in my young life. It happened so fast. I just was not ready. It was an overwhelming responsibility to be a young person in an adult world, carrying adults," she said.

Holliday said she “felt connected with Jessica early on, especially when she was in the bottom 3 and got eliminated."

Holliday also took the opportunity to thank her Filipino fans.

Many Filipinos became fans when Holliday started supporting Jessica Sanchez on “American Idol.”

Their duet of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” during the latest “Idol” finale is one of the highlights of the season.

“Hello to my dear Filipino family, fans and friends. This is Jennifer Holliday. I am so happy to greet you finally and thank you for your love and support during the time when Jessica and I were together on ‘American Idol.’ We felt your love, we felt your support, and most importantly your prayers," she said.

‘Philippine Day’ in Georgia

Meanwhile, the governor of the state of Gerogia declared June 12 as "Philippine Day” for enriching America's culture and economy.

"It's a very active community, it's a very business-oriented community, it's a very professional community. i'm very, very impressed. sets a great example," said Sheriff Richard Lankford.

"It is an awesome feeling that the governor gave a proclamation. That is really nice," said Filipino community leader Venus Soriano.

The award was presented during the Philippine Independence Day celebration.

Various Filipino organizations in Georgia attended the event. Most of the Filipino-Americans are professional doctors, nurses and business owners.

Many of them give back to the community and to kababayans in need back home.

They recently held medical missions in Siquijor and Puerto Princesa. Each member spent about $3,000 to undertake the project.

"May mga kababayan tayo sa Pilipinas na kung hindi namin pupuntahan, hindi mabibigyan ng kailangan nila, whether operasyon, gamot o diagnosis kasi walang-wala eh," said Dr. Lemuel Villanueva.

Other Fil-Am organizations in Georgia support Bantay Bata and Sagip-Kapamilya relief efforts.

Athough they're far away from the country, the Filipinos in Georgia said the Philippines is always in their hearts. – Report by Yong Chavez, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau