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Jessica Sanchez in Manila: No culture shock

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from FUNFARE by Ricky Lo
Philippine Star, Sept. 28, 2012

When Jessica Sanchez was presented as Bench endorser last Tuesday [Sept. 25], the unmitigated Philippine media was cut short when they started asking “forbidden” questions such as those about her parents (according to reports, her biological father and mother are pure Filipino and her adoptive father is Mexican-American) and the issue against her raised by a certain Courtney Blooding (said to be Charice’s manager).

“I was born in America,” Jessica told Funfare in a one-on-one the other day before she was introduced in a presscon as the newest Jollibee endorser (after Sarah Geronimo who people said is her lookalike), “but I consider myself a Filipino” — through and through, that is, even if she doesn’t speak Filipino.

Anyway, whatever her ancestry is, Jessica is well-loved by her fellow Filipinos because of her simplicity, humility, unpretentiousness and utter lack of airs.

Before the series of one-on-ones, questions of the journalists were carefully screened and “objectionable” ones were crossed out, something that personally I haven’t experienced during Hollywood junkets — not that strict anyway.

Here are the “innocent” questions okayed by Jessica’s alleged “handlers”:

Didn’t you experience some kind of culture shock?

“Hmmmm, somewhat…but in a good way. I love it here even if for a couple of days I had a terrible jetlag. But everything is so lovely and I feel so at home. So nothing too drastic.”

What was the first meal that you took?

“Oh, I definitely took Filipino food when I got here. But we did jog around and we got Jollibee a couple of times. I had the Chicken Joy, my favorite, and it was amazing. It’s so crispy and I can finish a lot. I may be little but I eat a lot! I’ve been eating a bunch of Filipino food since I arrived.”

What have been your memorable experiences so far?

“I think the most memorable part is just driving around and seeing how things are different from the States. They are beautiful and amazing. As I said, I love it here, it feels like my second home and I would love to come back again.”

How soon?

“Next year!”

What for…for a visit or for another concert (after the American Idol show at the Big Dome)?

“For a visit, for a concert…or just to learn more about Filipino culture.”

There’s a Filipino custom called pasalubong, a gift to friends and family back home. What pasalubong are you giving your siblings?

“I have two siblings, one is nine and one is 12, and they are two little monsters, hahahaha! Lovable monsters, definitely! I miss them so much. There’s a stuff to buy in the Philippines and I’m giving them jeans and clothing. I want to bring them over here so we can explore the Philippines together. I haven’t had much time to go around but I went shopping once. I’ve been spending my time working, eating and sleeping. But my experience here has been amazing so far and I can hardly wait to come back and learn more.”

I guess your mom (who said she understands but doesn’t speak Filipino; but Jessica’s lola from Bataan naturally speaks the language fluently) cooks Filipino food…

“…all the time…!”

…do you yourself cook Filipino food?

“I try.”

I guess you know how to fry scrambled Filipino eggs (joke!).

“I try to help my mom make lumpia. One of my specialties is making lumpia. My mom makes a lot of sinigang, pansit and adobo.”

Anything you want to say to your kababayan who welcomed you with open arms and open hearts?

“Thank you, guys, so much for everything. You’ve been so good and you’re making my whole journey memorable. I’m so happy to be here in Manila and I can’t wait to come back and see all of you again. I wanna thank Jollibee for being so welcoming and making me part of the family.”

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