Two musical queens—Regine Velasquez-Alcasid and Sarah Geronimo—sit down and have a conversation about life, love, music and makeup.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall, listening to two musical divas talk candidly about their craft and joke (!) about the darndest things. That’s exactly what happened one chilly, but bright Monday morning. Ensconced in a little room at the back of Shutterspace Studios,

On Sarah, seafoam gown by MARK BUMGARNER; On Regine, pastel blue corseted sheer dress by ANTHONY RAMIREZ

Sarah Geronimo, the teen dream turned pop star and the iconic Regine Velasquez Alcasid—Asia’s Songbird—swapped stories like old friends, laughing over inside jokes and sharing hard-won life lessons as easily as they slip out those high Cs. The duo are set to perform as co-headliners for the first time ever in their Valentine’s Weekend concert entitled #Unified and the show is sure to be treat for musical lovers, rabid fans of both singing superstars or even the casual fan. Imagine the songs they’ll be singing—from their iconic hits to the classics across the decades. Both are undoubtedly at the top of their game and their chemistry is evident: Regine is ebullient, sassy and wise while Sarah is a lissome, soft-spoken but whip smart and quick-witted. During the interview, Regine’s outré personality has everyone in stitches, but Sarah takes up her own space and cracks blink-and-you’ll-miss-it zingers that reduces the set into giggles.

The duo cover many topics during the course of their conversation, as their mutual respect and interest in one another often leads the discussion to other things. Apart from their similar paths in showbiz—both started out singing and branched out to successful acting and hosting careers—they also share similar brand new business ventures: makeup. Sarah launched POP Studio, a complete makeup line that covers the essentials (from nudes to neutrals to glitter and shine), while Regine is in the midst of creating hers—Reigne—a collaboration with BYS Cosmetics. The songstress is known for doing her own makeup, a skill that she wants to encourage in other people, starting with her easy-to-use line.

Often, at photo shoots, the conversations that spring behind the scenes never make it to the magazine’s pages. But here it is now, a slice of the very long and very entertaining discussion between two of the most interesting women in the Philippines.

On Sarah, Fully beaded pleated gown by RAJO LAUREL; On Regine, Fully beaded pleated gown by RAJO LAUREL
SARAH GERONIMO: When you started out in showbiz, did you ever dream you would be where you are right now? 

REGINE VELASQUEZ ALCASID: When I started out, I never thought that I’d be able to do fil\m or do TV. My dream was to become a recording artist and a concert artist. Doing the other things, parang those are wonderful surprises for me.

SG: Ako kasinoong bata ako, dream ko po talaga maging sikat na concert performer. Pero noong naging teenager na ako, naging mahiyain, sobrang awkward, walang nangyayari doon sa pag-a-artista ko, I gave up on my dream. When I joined Star For A Night, I joined for the prize lang po—the cash prize. 

RVA: Ah, ganoon ba yun?!

SG: Opo! Pera lang talaga Miss Regine! [Laughs]

RVA: Teka, so before the contest nag-au-audition ka nang mag-artista? Ganoon ba?

SG:Yes, po.

RVA: ’Di nga?!

SG: Matagal na Miss Regine. Mga five years old pa lang ako. 

RVA: Talaga? Pero hindi ka pa kumakanta or kumakanta ka na?

SG: Kumakanta-kanta na rin po. Parang sabay siya, pero mas-love ko yung singing then acting. So noong nag Star For A Night ako, akala ko, matatapos lang yun pag nakuha ko na yung prize, may pambayad na kami sa mga needs namin. That’s it. Yun na. Hindi ko in-e-expect na mag-te-ten years po pala yung contract ko with Viva. Pero sobrang thankful naman ako sa naging journey ko.

White top with pleated overlay by ANDREA TETANGCO
RVA: You’ve added beauty mogul to your list of accomplishments Where do you want to take your brand this year? Ikaw may brand ka na?

SG: Opo! POP Studio.

RVA: Ako, pa-brand pa lang. [Laughs] It’s called Reigne. This is in collaboration with BYS Cosmetics. Kasi yungmakeup na ginagawa natin syempre, pang-TV. So gusto ko mag-create ng line na pwede kang mukhang pang-TV but madali lang gawin. Maraming na nag-o-office, they get very insecure to use makeup. They get intimidated. So we created a line that’s very easy to use and yet kung ano gusto nila i-cover, they will be able to do that.

But let me also just say that, although yung makeup na ito ay nakakatulong sa pag-pa-taas ng self-esteem, it’s not going to cover up everything. It’s there to enhance whatever it is that we have.

The important thing is your heart. You guard your heart. Kasi yan, kung ano yung personality mo, kung ano yung nasa puso mo, no amount of makeup can cover that.

SG: Yung sa akin po, yung POP Studio, complete makeup line siya. May eyeshadow, may blush, even makeup brushes. We are now in the process of expanding our product line. Yung maganda po sa mga product namin is yung duality niya.May palette na for daytime use, may pang-glam, night-time. Isang palette lang siya, nandoon na lahat, kumpleto na. We want to continue inspiring more women to feel and be beautiful all the time. Without spending too much, kasi good quality and yet affordable yung mga products.

RVA: There are so many talented and ambitious singers now. How do you remain at the top of your game?

SG: A lot of times parang gusto ko na din mag-stop. Parang this is not for me, parang masyadong put-on yung pagiging artista, pagiging celebrity—pagiging kilalang public figure. Pero… you have to continue loving what you do, pursuing your passion and keep yourself inspired—all the time. Kasi pag na-burn out ka…

RVA: Inspired ka ba? 

SG: Opo! Naging inspired ako lalo Miss Regine noong naintindihan ko na yung purpose ko. It’s beyond kita and popularity, being relevant. It’s using this platform to glorify God and to inspire other people.

RVA: May tanong ka ba sa akin? 

SG: Yun din po. [Laughs]

RVA: I like your answer! We both like what we do and the reason we’re still here is because, more than the fame that it gives us, I like the feeling of being able to inspire other singers. That’s what we do. When they see us on TV, the kids now, they don’t really see us—Sarah or Regine—they see their dream. For me, that’s wonderful. Of course, ang sarap ng feeling na relevant ka pa, na sikat ka pa, but more than that it’s really the inspiration that you give to other people and to other artists. Like you said, it’s a good platform to use para mapalabas mo yung message na gusto ko ipamahagi sa mundo.Alam mo, isa pang bagay na natutunan ko being in this business for 100 years—155 years old na kasi ako pero hindi halata noh—being in the business for this long, you’ve experienced a lot of things. Everyday, when I sing, I try to be so aware because I know na may matutunan ako sa ginagawa kong pag-kanta. Kapag may bago akong kantang aaralin, alam ko na may matutununan ako. What do you do with the experiences you’ve gathered? What do you do? Mamamatay na lang ba yun with you? Na-realize ko na you’re supposed to share it. You’re supposed to share your experience with the other kids. That’s why when I talk to you guys, I try my best talaga to share what I’ve experienced and I’m actually happy that you guys ask me questions about performing and even about life. That’s what we do. There’s a purpose why you’re given that kind of knowledge—you’re supposed to share it.

SG: Miss Regine, yung na-i-share ninyo po sa amin—yung mga finalists ng Star For A Night—may na-i-impart ka po na message, na naging inspiration sa amin. Kasi nanggaling din po kayo sa singing competition. Tinandaan po namin lahat yun.

RVA: Oo nga. Natutuwa nga ako na natatandaan ninyo ako. Kasi dadating yung time niyo na kayo naman yung mag-sha-share ng mga natutunan ninyo sa life. Wag natin ipagdamot. 

SG: And Miss Regine, you always support the upcoming artists na nagsisimula pa lang. 

RVA: Kasi noong nag-sta-start din ako, sina Martin (Nievera), Pops (Fernandez), sina Zsazsa (Padilla), they all supported me. They were so supportive of me. So when it was my time to do the same, I promised myself na kahit anong klaseng supporta gagawin ko. Kasi noong nag-uumpisa ako, maraming tumulong sa akin. ‘di ba masarap yung ganoon—na ikaw naman yung tutulong ngayon?

Pastel blue corseted sheer dress by ANTHONY RAMIREZ
Pastel tulle layered gown by CANDICE ARBOLEDA 

Embellished neoprene gown by ROSENTHAL TEE
SG: What is the most important lesson you learned from being married?

RVA: Hala! Nagtatanong ka ha! [Both laugh]

You know, it’s wonderful to be married. It really is. I highly recommend it! Five stars! Yes! But, providing you’re married to the right person. So how would you know if it’s the right person? That’s why we pray and we ask God for guidance. He will give you discernment. Kasi, kung ikaw lang, hindi mo naman malalaman. Syempre ikaw, na-i-in-love ka eh. So paano mo malalaman ngayon na baka biglang magbago?

Sa akin, prayer talaga is the key to knowing really if it’s the right person. One tip that I can give you is to be friends. Kasi pag magkaibigan kayo, hindi ka natatakot na ipakita yung totoong ikaw, hindi siya mag-pre-pretend na ganito ako—kasi magkaibigan kayo eh. Kami ng asawa ko, we started out as friends. Hindi ko naisip kasi ang tingin ko sa kanya parang kapatid ko siya.

Mag te-ten years na kami next year! Masarap din pala, lalo na pag matagal na kayong mag-asawa, na nag-re-reconnect kayo every now and then. Through the years, you become different people. May sarili kang growth, may sarili din siyang growth and you have to let each other grow and then you have to grow together. Ang hirap ‘di ba? So paano ninyo gagawin yun? You have to talk, you have to reconnect, you have to re-discover each other. You have to keep doing that every single time.

Noong may asawa na ako, na-realize ko na love pala talaga is a choice. Kaya pala tinatanong ka. Kapag mag-pro-propose sa’yo, tatanungin ka, ‘will you marry me?’ tapos iisipin mo—pakakasalan ko ba talaga? Yes or no? Pagdating sa simbahan, tatanuning ka ulit ‘will you take this man?’ Now I understand why. Because when you’re there, it’s really a choice. When you fall in love, parang hindi choice eh. Parang you just feel it—emotions. When you’re in a relationship and when you’re already married and you’re married for a long time na, tapos kilalang-kilala mo na asawa mo, those little things will add up na pwede maging negative. The simplest things—bakit ganyan siya kumain—eww! But you look pass that—above and beyond that. By the way, yung mag-jowa iba yun sa mag-asawa. Kahit ten years kayo mag-jowa, it doesn’t mean na kilalang-kilala mo na siya. Hangga’t hindi kayo tumitira sa isang bahay, hindi mo totally makikilala kung sino talaga siya. Having said that, pag nakilala mo na talaga siya, marami kang ma-di-discover na hindi mo magugustuhan.

Pag nandiyan ka na, meron kang makikita na hindi ka gaano sang-ayon kahit sa ugali or the way he would make decisions. Pero, hindi mo na titingnan yun kasi mahal na mahal mo. And that’s why, I saw, it really is a choice. While you’re there in the marriage, especially pag matagal na—it’s a choice. I have to say in fairness to our marriage, wala akong pinagsisisihan. I think I have married the perfect person for me. 

RVA: Sarah, how do you know when you’ve made the right choice? Who or what guides you? 

SG: Ako naman Miss Reg, I grew up very much dependent on my parents. Pagdating sa decision making, ultimo sa pagkain, sa damit, sa lahat, sa trabaho until dumating sa point na—siguro dahil adult ka na rin—ikaw na rin yung nag-decide na, ‘Mama, wait lang.’ May way naman, may tamang paraan to tell your parents and even your family na you want to be able to make your own decisions. Of course, having said that, very dependent ako sa mga magulang ko when it comes to decision-making. Ang tagal-tagal ko mag-decide. Nakikita mo nga ako sa The Voice, hirap na hirap ako mag-decision kung sino i-re-retain ko na artist.

So ayun po, bago ko palang siya na-e-exercise yung decision making. Ultimate guide talaga, lalo na sa mga big decisions sa adulting stage—syempre si Lord. It’s between you and God talagaSabi nila, sa decision, may dalawang paths diyan: punta ka sa isa, letter A, parang mali. Sa B, parang mali din! So saan ka pupunta? Magdasal ka na lang and hold on to your faith. Lord, Ikaw na lang po ang bahala kung tama ito or mali—saluhin niyo na lang po ako.

RVA: What resolution do you most want to stick?

SG: A healthy lifestyle talaga. Mag-wo-workout ako, talagang healthy eating na. Gusto ko talaga na maging lifestyle ko siya.

RVA: Ako consistent ako na hindi nag-wo-workout. I vowed never to work out. Nakakapagod! [Laughs]

SG: Pero you have the stamina, the figure!

Perfect talaga Miss Reg.

RVA: I know right!

On Sarah, Fully beaded pleated gown by RAJO LAUREL; On Regine, Fully beaded pleated gown by RAJO LAUREL

RVA: What can they expect from #Unified?

SG: Wala naman. [Laughs]

RVA: Wag na kayo mag-expect! Bakit ang  hilig ninyo mag-expect?!

SG: Mahirap yung nag-e-expect!

RVA: This is the first time that you and I are working together. I mean, we’ve worked together before, but guest lang ako sa concert mo or guest ka sa concert ko or sa ASAP. But we’ve never worked in a concert together before. It’s pretty exciting kasi ang laki, ang lawak ng music range na nararating natin dalawa. From ‘80s to ‘90s to now—syempre doon ako sa mga bago kasi bago talaga—aminin mo!

SG: Yes po. 

RVA: Maka-oo naman ito! [Laughs] Pero ang lawak ng music range na alam natin dalawa. Tapos ang daming pwedeng pag-eksperimentuhan. Of course we’ll be singing our songs, but to make them different, a lot of them magiging duet. Noong last time na nag-meet tayo, ang dami na natin naisip. Pero, ang maganda meron talagang cohesive na concept itong show, which is women empowerment. What does it mean to you Sarah?

SG: Celebrating women’s strength, beauty, talents…

RVA: Sexuality!

SG: Since it’s a Valentine’s show, celebration of love din po. Music, life and celebration of this once in a lifetime opportunity to work with the one and only Asia’s Songbird.
RVA: It’s going to be amazing.