Filipina Bella Santiago a step closer to representing Romania in Eurovision

Jackie De Vega, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 30 2019 11:26 PM | Updated as of Jan 31 2019 02:37 PM

Bella Santiago became one of six finalists in Selecția Națională, a song contest that determines who will represent Romania in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. Eurovision Romania

Bella Santiago became one of six finalists in Selecția Națională, a song contest that determines who will represent Romania in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. Eurovision Romania

Bella Santiago became one of six finalists in Selecția Națională, a song contest that determines who will represent Romania in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. Eurovision Romania

Bella Santiago became one of six finalists in Selecția Națională, a song contest that determines who will represent Romania in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. Eurovision Romania

Filipina singer Bella Santiago continues to win the hearts of Romanians.

Santiago, who won "The X Factor Romania" last year, became one of six finalists in Selecția Națională, a song contest that determines who will represent Romania in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019.

The 29-year-old singer competed among 11 contestants in the first semifinal round last Sunday while 13 other contestants will face off on February 10 for the second semifinals.

Among the 126 song entries, 24 were initially selected for the Selecția Națională semi-finals. Santiago's song, “Army of Love,” was chosen by the jury as one of the 2 wildcard songs after two singers withdrew from the contest.

Santiago penned “Army of Love” with Alexandru Luft.

“Army of Love is a story about fighting for what you love,” she said of the song.

Santiago also participated in Eurovision Romania 2018 with Romanian band Jukebox and finished fourth in the finals.

After receiving supportive messages from Eurovision fans in Romania, Santiago decided to join again in this year's Selecția Națională as a solo act.

“I joined again because last year I was with a band and we did not have a song like what I have now where in I can dance and do rap in Philippine language,” she said.

Eurovision is an international singing competition held primarily among the member countries of the European Broadcasting Union.

This year's competition, scheduled to take place in Israel, sees 42 countries competing for the championship.