MANILA – Caregiver Rose Fostanes added another feather to her cap after the Philippine embassy awarded her a plaque of recognition as an outstanding Filipino in the country for bringing honor to the Philippines by being the first winner of X Factor Israel.
"Itong certificate of recognition, sinasabi namin na siya ay nag-excel. The fact that she emerged as the winner promoted a positive image of the Philippines and the Filipino people in the sake of Israel and the entire world. She is an inspiration for artists in all countries regardless of race, creed, color or national origin," said Philippine Ambassador to Israel, Generoso Calonge.
The awarding was held during a press conference at the embassy attended by both local and international media.
"Tuwang-tuwa ako kasi nakikita na ng buong mundo ngayon ang ating mga workers. OFWs ay meron din ibang dimension ang kanilang buhay, na very very positive not only for the Philippines, but also for the host country," Calonge said.
Fostanes admitted she did not think she will win because she is a foreign worker. Nevertheless, she still feels grateful for receiving a lot of love from the public.
"Siyempre masaya ako dahil hindi ko rin ine-expect dahil nga hindi nga ako taga-rito kung baga working permit lang ang meron ako," she said.
Aside from thanking Israelis, Fostanes did not forget to acknowledge the efforts of Filipinos all over the world.
"To all the Filipinos who supported me around the world, especially in the Philippines, thank you so much. Maraming, maraming salamat po sa inyo. At talaga pong hindi ko malaman kung paano ko po kayo pasasalamatan. Para po sa ating lahat ito. I'm proud to be Filipino," she said.
Fostanes' younger sister, Nancy, as well as her long-time partner, Mel Adel, came to Tel Aviv to provide her additional support.
"I'm very happy that they came here to visit me and makita din nila na kung ano yung mga nangyayari. Kasi kung baga dun sa lahat ng mga contestant ako lang ang walang pamilya. Lahat sila andun so parang nakakaiyak di ba?" said Fostanes.
The caregiver has a message to fellow overseas workers like herself: "Wag tayong mawawalan ng pag-asa. Una po, lagi po tayong magdasal at wag po tayong mahiya. Kung may talent po tayong pwedeng ipakita, ipakita po natin. Makipag-sabayan po tayo sa kanila at alam po nating kaya po natin yan". Report from Arnold Eligado