Considered the country's preeminent pop star, Sarah Geronimo is marking her 15 years in show business with another major concert at the Big Dome in April, creatively titled "THIS I5 ME."
It was in 2003 when Geronimo, now 29, made her grand showbiz debut when she was declared champion of "Star for a Night." In that singing contest, the aspiring teen star from Sta. Cruz, Manila made no secret of her family's struggles to make ends meet.
Geronimo has recollections of showing up to school several times with a promissory note, so she'd be allowed to take tests. Commuting to school was another problem; she remembers scouring corners of their house for 25-centavo coins to gather enough for a jeepney ride.
Her family, at one point, was slapped with the harsh reality of not even having enough money for food. "Nagka-ulcer na ako. Alam niyo 'yung wala na talagang makain?" Geronimo recalled in a 2012 interview.
The dire situation of her family when she was a child, Geronimo has said, was her primary motivation to continue joining singing contests despite numerous, disheartening rejections. With "Star for a Night," Geronimo finally made an unstoppable stride, and on March 1, 2003, she won the TV competition.
Nowadays, Geronimo remains undisputed the top music talent of her generation, and that's aside from a successful film career that's been tried and tested at the box office.
Geronimo is not the only singing champion who continues to reap the fruits of a once-in-a-lifetime winning moment. In photos, here are nine other contest victors who remain visible in showbiz, and what they looked like then and now.
Star in a Million (2003)
ERIK SANTOS (Now)
RACHELLE ANN GO
Search for a Star (2004)
RACHELLE ANN GO (Now)
Little Big Star (2005)
Photo credit: SamConcepcion.net
SAM CONCEPCION (Now)
Pinoy Pop Superstar (2005)
Search for the Star in a Million (2006)
KRIS LAWRENCE (Now)
Pinoy Dream Academy (2006)
YENG CONSTANTINO (Now)
Star Power (2011)
ANGELINE QUINTO (Now)
The X Factor Philippines (2012)
KZ TANDINGAN (Now)
The Voice Kids (2015)
ELHA NYMPHA (Now)