If you ask around or search the Web for a list of famous Cebuanos, the name Pilita Corrales would always be present.
The “Asia’s Queen of Songs” was born on August 22, 1939 in Cebu City to a Filipino mother and a Spanish father. After completing her studies at Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion, she enrolled in a finishing school in music in Spain. She then decided to go to Australia and began her recording career in 1958. She became the first woman to ever make the Australian pop charts with her song entitled “Come Closer to Me.” She became a star of the Victoria Television circuit and her first hit was part of a collection where she’s named as one of the “Grand Dames of Victorian Radio and Television.”
When she was personally invited by Sammy Davis Jr. in the late ‘70s, Corrales was the first Filipino to sing in Caesars Palace, where she sang Spanish, English, Tagalog, and Cebuano songs that were all arranged and conducted by Ryan Cayabyab.
In her celebrated career, Corrales received prestigious awards such as the Philippine Citizen’s Award for TV as Best TV Female Performer in 1965, Merit Award from FAMAS Awards in 1990, Lifetime Achievement Award by the Philippine Association of the Record Industry (PARI) in 1991 and other awards from Aliw, Cecil, Tinig, Awit and other Philippine award-giving bodies. She was also the first Filipino to receive an international award by winning the Best Performer Award in the 1st Tokyo Music Festival in 1972, where she beat other international artists that include renowned singer Olivia-Newton John.
Pilita Corrales is one of the country’s most celebrated singers with over 135 albums to her credit, as well as an international profile, where she was able to awe the people of Asia, Australia and North America. Corrales’ luster has never dimmed with age. In fact, she busies herself with hosting and acting stints, while operating her restaurant-bar in Greenhills called Pilita’s.