De Leon wins Martin sing-alike contest

By Marconi Calindas

Martin Nievera sing-alike contest winner Froilan Deleon sings with his idol, Martin Nievera during the Milestone concert held at the American Memorial Park Sunday night. (Jacqueline Hernandez) Hotel Nikko Saipan’s Froilan de Leon bagged the Martin Nievera Sing-Alike Contest and took home the $1,000 cash prize Saturday night.

De Leon’s luck was all over the place as the Concert King himself, Martin Nievera, presented him his prize.

Nievera, together with Philippine composer Louie Ocampo and Wanda Tsukiyama, was one of the judges during the finals night held at the Saipan Grand Hotel Club V.

Nievera said he was really impressed with the final three contestants as all dressed, acted and sang like him. In a separate interview with Nievera yesterday, he said he was really impressed with de Leon. He said de Leon really committed to the contest in terms of copying his singing styles.

“During the rehearsals before the concert, I told him that he didn’t have to practice anymore,” he said.

Pablo Quimen won second place while Ronnie de Belen took the third place. The top ten finalists also serenaded Nievera with the Tan Holdings 35th Anniversary Theme Song We Believe.

Tan Holdings president Jerry Tan did not let the evening pass without asking Nievera to render a song number for the audience. Over 250 people packed the contest venue that time.

Nievera called on Ocampo to play for him. Nievera sang his most popular ballad, Be My Lady. He also sang I’ll Be There for You.

Eventologist Oscar Yema said at least 50,000 text votes were cast during the entire competition. Quimen reigned supreme in this category.

Yema thanked PTI and SaipanCell for their support during the competition. Both companies were major sponsors for the contest among the numerous sponsors for the 35th Anniversary Concert Milestones.

Brad Ruszala hosted the finals night while Hapi Gabriel and this reporter served as emcees during the preliminaries and the semi-finals nights.

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Tan gives $1.86M to education

Jerry Tan, Raymond Tan, Dr. Tan Siu Lin and Willie Tan pose in front of the Tan Siu Lin Building which houses the library at the University of Guam. (Contributed Photo) As part of a celebration of his 35th year of doing business in Micronesia, educational institutions in the region are receiving $ 1.86 million in donations from entrepreneur and philanthropist Dr. Tan Siu Lin, chairman of Tan Holdings, a group of companies he founded in 1972.

“One of the causes that has always been most dear to my heart is education,” said Tan. “Education is one of the most worthwhile investments a person can make for their future. Therefore, on this milestone anniversary, it gives me great pleasure to give something back to the communities where we do business. I hope these educational donations will be invested wisely and will have a lasting value in benefiting the young people of this region.”

The University of Guam received $1 million at a building dedication ceremony at the UOG Library on Nov. 15. UOG is the largest regional university and the alma mater of five of Dr. Tan Siu Lin’s six children, namely Henry, Willie, Lily, Raymond and Jerry.

In consideration of the gift, the University’s board of regents re-named the building that houses the library as the “Tan Siu Lin Building.” During the ceremony, new signage and a bust of Dr. Tan was unveiled in the presence of university officials, members of the Tan family and approximately 60 guests of the university, including Guam first lady Joanne Camacho.

Also on Nov. 15, Tan presented the College of Micronesia, College of the Marshall Islands and Palau Community College each with $50,000 gifts. The College of Micronesia serves more than 2,200 students in state-run campuses on five islands: Pohnpei, Chuuk, Palikir, Yap, and Kosrae. The school also includes the Fisheries and Maritime Institute on Yap. The College of the Marshall Islands in Majuro is a regionally accredited autonomous community college and the national postsecondary institution for the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

“The College of Micronesia deeply appreciates the gesture made by Dr. Tan in deciding to donate to the college’s endowment fund,” said Charles Musana, president of the College of Micronesia. “This is an investment whose returns will be manifested in the quality of the future workforce of the nation.”

Dr. Patrick Tellei, president of Palau Community College, represented his school in receiving the gift from Tan. PCC has 650 students in fields including Tourism, Pre-Nursing, Accounting and Finance, Criminal Justice, and Natural Resources and General Conservation. The money donated to PCC by Tan will be used to begin the construction of a new library for the school, to be named in his honor upon completion. Tan also pledged an additional $150,000 to be paid out over the course of the library construction project.

On Nov. 13, Tan donated $100,000 to form a scholarship endowment fund at Northern Marianas College. He also presented to Public School System officials a donation of $250,000 for the benefit of each of the public schools of the CNMI, and donated $200,000 to Saipan International School to help fund construction of the new high school building. Giving back to two other schools he helped establish to help promote cultural exchange, he also donated $5,000 each to the Chinese schools of Saipan and Guam.

“As we celebrate 35 years of doing business in Micronesia, we want to thank our public and private partners as well as the communities throughout the region that have helped us build our company into what is today,” said Tan Holdings president Jerry Tan. “Giving back to the communities is a philosophy my father has always stressed and we will continue to follow his commitment to making a positive difference and being part of the economic progress of these islands as we move forward beyond this anniversary.”

Originally from Quanzhou, China, Tan Siu Lin began a shipping and trading business in Hong Kong in 1965. In 1972, he moved to Guam to explore business opportunities and he and his family became U.S. citizens. Founded in 1972, the company now headquartered in the Western Pacific is known as Tan Holdings, a diverse holding company which today operates in more than a dozen industries in the Western Pacific. For more information, visit the company’s website at (Tan Holdings)

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Tan donates $8K worth of supplies to CHC

By Jacqueline Dela Cruz
Junior Reporter

Tan Holdings president Jerry Tan and Department of Public Health Secretary Joseph Kevin Villagomez look at the industrial cleaning supplies, scales, trash cans and other items generously donated by Tan Holdings for the Commonwealth Health Center yesterday morning. Other picture shows Tan Holdings executives posing with members of the CHC Volunteers Association, which received the donations. (Jacqueline Hernandez) Tan Holdings president Jerry Tan donated yesterday $8,000 worth of cleaning supplies to the Commonwealth Health Center to benefit the CHC Volunteers Association.

“Tan Holdings is always looking to give back to the community. This donation is a way of making the most out of unused company inventories to benefit our island’s only hospital,” said Ed Arriola, Tan Holdings Corporate Affairs Office.

Tan Holdings vice president for Corporate Affairs Lynn Knight initiated the project while Arriola coordinated it.

The donated items, consisting of many pallets of cargo, were part of Cosmos Distributors’ inventory. CTSI transported and unloaded the items at the hospital.

Public Health Secretary Kevin Villagomez was also present at the occasion.

The items donated consisted of counter brushes, dust mops, dust mop frames, super hi-dusters, hi-dusters, flexi-dusters, broom handles, floor squeegees, ash/trash containers, marshal container, Spin Kleans, street brooms, truck washes, utility brushes, hand scrubs, counter brushes, Brute containers, Brute dollies, recycling boxes, caddies, containers, a closet organizer, dust pans, waste baskets, street brooms, floor sweeps, anti slip, and 58 weighing scales.

CHC Volunteers Association president Rita Tenorio said, “The CHC volunteers would really want to express our gratitude to Jerry Tan for all his support, and we hope to have more from you.”

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Students seen to benefit from $100K donation

Northern Marianas College officials led by NMC president Carmen Fernandez accept the $100,000 check donated by Tan Holdings Corp. chair Dr. Tan Siu Lin on Nov. 13, 2007, as part of celebrations for the 35th anniversary of the Tan Holdings Corp. at the Hibiscus Hall of the Fiesta Resort and Spa Saipan. (Contributed photo) Calling the recent $100,000 donation from Dr. Tan Siu Lin a gift with a vision that recognizes the importance of education in shaping a prosperous CNMI, Northern Marianas College president Dr. Carmen Fernandez expressed the institution’s gratitude and commitment to fulfill the intent of the donation.

“I have absolutely no doubt that the generous donation made by Dr. Tan Siu Lin will open many doors from CNMI students,” Fernandez said. “The funds will contribute significantly in our efforts to develop a highly-educated and highly-trained local work force.”

Tan, chairman of the Tan Holdings Corp., made the $100,000 donation to the Northern Marianas College Foundation to commemorate his company’s 25-year presence in the CNMI. At about the same time, he had also made considerable donations to other local educational institutions, including the Public School System and the Saipan International School.

“The Tan family has always been great supporters of the college,” Fernandez added. “Mr. Jerry Tan, Dr. Tan Siu Lin’s son, spends countless hours as a Foundation board member garnering additional funding for the vollege. We are very grateful to the Tan family members for their continued support and look forward to strengthening a partnership that will help advance the educational opportunities for our students.”

Dr. Tan’s donation is by far the largest single sum cash amount given to the NMC Foundation.

According to Dr. Fernandez, the donation will be used to establish a scholarship endowment fund in Dr. Tan’s name and will provide financial assistance to qualified students at the college. (NMC)

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Martin Nievera: Living out loud

By Marconi Calindas

Philippine Concert King Martin Nievera celebrates his 25th year in the music business with the people of Saipan. (Jacqueline Hernandez) Philippine Concert King Martin Nievera is celebrating his 25th year in the music business and he couldn’t think of a more perfect way to celebrate this milestone than to share it with the people of Saipan.

When offered to become part of the Tan Holdings Corp. anniversary celebrations, Nievera said he realized that it would also be a better way to celebrate his 25th year in show business.

“It was really an honor to be invited once more to perform for Saipan,” said the singer, who sat down with Saipan Tribune for an exclusive one-on-one interview on Monday.

Clad in light denims and sneakers, Nievera emerged from his room still high from last Sunday’s concert at the American Memorial Park. Who wouldn’t, with over 10,000 people cramming themselves into the park’s ground-the largest number of people ever in a concert in the CNMI. He said he was equally stunned at the turnout, saying it was the biggest audience he has had in so many years.

“Last night was awesome. I couldn’t believe it,” he said, adding that he was impressed with the audience, “Saipan probably is the most well behaved people I’ve ever met. They sit down. Listen. They love music here just because they probably love singing. They really appreciate you.”

Nievera first performed on Saipan in 2005. This year, he added some local touches, including featuring the Martin Nievera Sing-Alike Contest winners to the show.

Nievera still remembers what happened in 2005. He said the magical element during that concert was the rain. “Two years ago it rained, I was electrocuted in the last two songs,” he quipped. Despite the rain, nobody left. “Not one person moved so I went on with the show,” he said.

This year, Nievera said, the magical element was that people didn’t mind too much the technical difficulties. All the elements that one fears happening actually happened. “But it didn’t even matter. We were able to overcome all the details. The people didn’t even care,” he said.

Nievera also commended the Department of Public Safety police officers for helping out with the traffic at the park. He said the traffic was so smooth that, if it had been in other places, it would’ve been chaotic. “The show [Sunday] night should be a role model all over the world, because it’s usually is not in any part of the world,” he said.


Nievera brought with him his latest album, Milestones, which he said is a celebration of his 25 years in the business. He said there are 25 songs in the album, every song representing a hit song from 1982 to the present.

Nievera said what kept him going was a constant reinvention of himself and his music. “Show business is very unpredictable. You thought you’d achieve everything already but there are so much more out there that you can be doing,” he said.

He thought he knew everything and had done it all but he has since learned that he could still learn new stuff from new singers and producers in the Philippines and abroad.

“A singer of my age will last a long, long time if you listen. I had to learn that the hard way. I thought I knew it all but in show business there are good days and bad days that when it’s a bad day, it’s never ending. You never really expect the good day to come soon. You want the good days to last but they don’t.”

Major concert

There is stopping the Concert King yet. Nievera had just come from Las Vegas where he had just finished a contract.

Nievera will celebrate his 25th anniversary with a major concert on Feb. 1, 2008 to be held at the Araneta Coliseum in Manila. He said this would be his first major and biggest concert in his home country after a very long time. A plan on taking the concert on the road is also in the works.

He said he really is happy to be back on Saipan because he considers the island a second home. He said that he had a chance to walk in Garapan and was waving at everybody, his popularity on the island surprising even himself. “Maybe because it has something to do with TFC [The Filipino Channel]. I only appear on ASAP once a month,” he said, but the people here on Saipan had been very warm to him.

“People make us larger than life. We just happen to sing better than anyone else. TV and movies somehow helped. But the number one common denominator is that [Filipinos] are so homesick. Away from bagoong or whatever,” Nievera said.

Young vs. old singers

As a veteran artist, Nievera said he does not feel threatened by budding singers. “Young singers keep me going. I have to continually outdo myself. This is why we have new singers. You know why we have an Eric Santos [and] Christian’s because of us,” he said.

It’s been that way for him when he started his career. He said singers before him like Basil Valdez and other recording artists paved the way for him.

“That’s why you have me. I’m going to make that clear in the concert in February. I am not threatened by the younger singers where, in fact, someone has to continue my legacy. He or she has to be an awesome balladeer or I have not done my job,” he added.

Back to Vegas

This holiday season, Nievera will hold two shows in Nevada. He said he would be having a benefit show in Las Vegas next month. Proceeds of the concert will go to Filipino-Americans in San Diego, California who were displaced by the recent wildfires.

He said San Diego is very close to his heart because every show he did there was always fully supported by the Filipino community.

On Dec. 22 Nievera will also have another show in Reno, Nevada.

Nievera said he would want to be remembered by many as one Filipino who is proud to be one. “Every effort to be an international star is for them. Filipinos are not as loud as I am. I want to be the loudest Filipino, that’s why I consider myself ‘Martin Nievera living it out loud.”

Nievera said he is tremendously grateful for what the CNMI had shown him. “I am grateful they supported me for the last two years. To THC for using me as a gift. I was unwrapped last night,” he laughed.

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