June 25, 1998

Lea in Sana Maulit Muli

Lea from the movie SANA MAULIT MULI courtesy of ABS-CBN Broadcsting Corp.

PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE (PHNO) staffers, Lee Quesada and Rey Carolino, chatted with actress, LEA SALONGA, last June 25, 1998 at the PHNO's Chat Room. Ms. Salonga provided the singing voice for the lead character in the animation movie, MULAN, which will premiere in Manila on July 4, 1998. Tina Carolino (Rey's wife) assisted in the interview which was coordinated by Lea's webmaster, Joyce Torres. PHNO also fielded some questions that were sent through e-mail by Lea's fans on the Net. Due to time restrictions, PHNO was unable to field all of those questions. However, as mentioned at the end of the transcript, Lea has agreed to do another public chat session with her fans at the TalkCity Auditorium on a date and time that will be announced later at the PHNO website (

Here is the transcript of the chat session:

Session Start: Thu Jun 25 21:52:25 1998

<Leeq> Helloo, Lea!!!!!!!

<Rey> Hello, Lea!

<Tina> Hi, Lea!

<Lea> Dear God, it was hard getting through.

<Joyce> Hey Lea!

<Lea> Hi everyone! Sorry I'm a little late.

<Tina> No problem, we would have waited wait for you forever..

<Lea> I'm off to LA tomorrow! whoopee! whoohoo!

<Leeq> What is there in LA? or who is in LA :-)

<Lea> A mini-break. Gerard, my brother, is in LA. He just moved there. He's currently interning at MediaVentures. I'm just visiting him for a few days before flying to Manila. Too long and tiring a trip to go straight through from New York.

<Leeq> Where are you Lea?

<Lea> Still in New York.

<Tina> I thought you were in Boston, Lea?

<Lea> Oh no, I've just moved back to New York. Last May pa. So, what did I miss?

<Tina> Nothing much. Rey is having problems with his connection.

<Joyce> Oops

<Tina> He will come back. He told me to start asking questions about Mulan.. Are you ready Lea?

<Lea> Yep, I'm ready.

<Tina> We saw the movie Mulan last week and Michelle Kwan's TV special last night and we were really touched by your rendition of "Reflections". I read somewhere that your recording of that song had moved the composer (Matthew Wilder) on the verge of tears. Is that true?

<Lea> I was in the isolation booth away from anyone's view, which means that I can't see anyone else either. If I moved Matthew to tears, I didn't know.

<Tina> How is the movie doing right now?

<Lea> Well, last I heard it wasn't that far behind the X-files.

<Tina> My 6-year-old son Ryan wants me to ask you if Mulan is a real person?

<Lea> Mulan is a 2,000 Chinese legend... No one knows for sure if she was a real person or the figment of someone's active imagination. It would have been great if the legend was based on a real person... then again, many legends are based in fact.

<Tina> Donny Osmond and the other voices behind Mulan have been busy promoting the movie in the States and Canada. You don't seem to be very much involved in it. Why?

<Lea> Disney is sending me to Manila for the premiere of the film over there (July 4), as well on a tight promo schedule in the city. One reason why I wasn't so active in promoting is that I've been traveling quite a bit... I was in London performing in a concert when the film premiered, so that could be one reason.

<Tina> Did you audition for your part in Mulan?

<Lea> Yes, I did. I was in Manila doing "Grease" when my agent told me about another Disney film being produced. He sent me an early demo of music for the film for me to learn, record, and send back to him. I learned, sang, sent back, and got the job.

<Tina> Are there any other Mulan characters who will be promoting the movie with you in Manila?

<Lea> I think I'm the only character voice traveling that far... but a lot of the animators, the directors and producer (as well as the composer and lyricist) might be going around the world to promote the film.

<Rey> Lea, who else auditioned for the Mulan singing voice?

<Lea> I have no idea... no one gave me a list.

<Tina> How long will you be staying in Manila?

<Lea> I don't know yet... my promo responsibilities last only a few days, but I'll be staying longer for other things at home.

<Tina> Have you got a chance to work with Donny Osmond in Mulan? How did you find him?

<Lea> I was a big fan of his when I was a kid... I never met him, nor did I get to work with him directly for the film. It would have been nice to though.

<Rey> Do you still have a house in Manila, Lea?

<Lea> Yes, I do.

<Tina> When did you first get the chance to see Mulan in its finished format?

<Lea> I saw it a few weeks before it opened. I was with a theater filled with cast members of Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, my boyfriend, a cousin, my brother, another friend and my mom.

<Tina> How many times have you watched Mulan? Did you like it?

<Lea> I've seen it twice, and enjoyed it a lot!

<Leeq> Are you set for the Manila premiere, Lea?

<Lea> Am I all set? Oh yeah! I think a lot of people back home will enjoy it.

<Rey> The movie is very enjoyable... My 6-year-old son Ryan was jumping up and down his seat all throughout the show.

<Tina> That's true... He even danced at the end when they played the Stevie Wonder's song.

<Lea> A lot of kids usually do, I think. It's a lot of fun to watch.

<Tina> We were just disappointed that it was too short... your Reflections song, I mean...

<Leeq> Mulan is all over here...on TV, movies, etc

<Joyce> Do you guys think a 1-year old will sit still for it?

<Lea> I don't know about a one-year-old...

<Joyce> He-he, too young

<Rey> We brought our 2-year-old and he was into it too in the beginning but he slept near the end.

<Tina> What does the word Mulan means?

<Lea> I have no idea what "Mulan" means.

<Leeq> Lea, when you were doing the movie, were you with the cartoon cast?

<Lea> I worked alone... never with any other cast member. The creative and production staff was always around though.

<Tina> Are there any other Filipino nationals who were involved in the production of Mulan?

<Lea> Ruben Aquino, who is half-Japanese and half-Filipino, was the supervising animator of Shang.

<Leeq> They are doing MULAN in figure skating this week here on TV

<Lea> They showed that special a week or so ago.

<Leeq> Lea, a question from you and Ariel doing music together?

<Lea> The last duet we did was "Suddenly Love" which was from a Filipino musical called "Miong" based on the life of Emilio Aguinaldo.

<Leeq> Can he really sing?

<Lea> Ariel? Yeah, in my opinion he can sing. He performs better with some songs than with others.

<Rey> Rommel Palma Feria <> is sending his regards and wants to know how he can send you a message and whether he can have your e-mail address again.

<Lea> Send Rommel my regards too, but that I've limited my email communication to close friends and family.

<Leeq> You now have a boyfriend, too bad! I thought now that Aga is alone again...

<Lea> I'm not interested in Aga... Sorry about that.

<Leeq> Oh, okay! That's cool. Sorry, Aga!

<Rey> From Rommel Palma Feria <>: Just a short question to Lea -- will she be performing in another musicale here in London in the near future? And a related question from Michelle D. <>: Lea, are there any plans in the future of you reappearing on Broadway or in any theatrical musicals?

<Lea> No plans of appearing in a new musical or theater play. Hopefully soon...

<Rey> From Paul Smircich <>: Is there anybody in particular that you would like to work with that you haven't already?

<Lea> BARBRA!!! I can dream, can't I?

<Joyce> make like rosie ;)

<Rey> From Lea, we heard so much from you about your brother's accomplishments. I'm just wondering why you haven't talked about your sister's accomplishment? How old is she anyway?

<Tina> You mean you have a sister, Lea?

<Lea> Her name is Sheilla, and we adopted her when she was three weeks old. She's in her first year of high school. Good declaimer! Got into the finals of her school's public speaking contest.

<Tina> Is she in Manila?

<Lea> She's in Manila.

<Leeq> Are you still busy with commercials, Lea?

<Lea> Not right now. I'm still contracted to Avon though.

<Rey> From Lou Quero <>: Hello Ms. Leah Salonga. You are a great person whom we admire so much here in Malaysia. We were there when you had your concert in Putra World Center last 1995 (if I'm not mistaken of the date). You really did a wonderful performance. A lot of people were thrilled (including me). When are you coming back for another concert?. I'm sure the number 1 newspaper here "The Star" will feature you again in their column.

<Lea> Firstly, I wish people would start spelling my name right (like, without the H)... secondly, there aren't plans right now to travel to Malaysia.

<Tina> he-he-he... Rey, is that your typo or Lou's typo?

<Rey> It's Lou's typo!

<Lea> Sorry, Lou!

<Rey> I was just cutting and pasting stuff here.

<Lea> Sorry... no excuses!

<Tina> No excuses!

<Rey> Okay, no more excuses.

<Leeq> haha! <lol> :-D that's Pampanga's Leah...ooops.

<Rey> From Ron Michael Adea of Toronto, Ontario, Canada: There was a news item earlier this year that you will be hosting "Living Asia", a travel series in the Discovery Channel. Did that push through?

<Lea> It pushed through, but it will only be seen (actually, it's currently being aired) in the Asian region.

<Rey> What kind of a show is that, Lea?

<Lea> It's a documentary magazine type show, where different cultural aspects of Asia are highlighted.

<Tina> Oh, so you are into that type of show now? cool!

<Rey> So what keeps you busy these days, Manang?

<Lea> Right now, just living in New York again! Seeing my friends, seeing movies, going out... Just having a life.

<Leeq> You know Manila is so excited with your arrival for the Mulan gala premiere.

<Tina> I'm sure they are! We'd love to be home for that.

<Leeq> Yah, that's straight Newsflash from PHNO editor Sol Jose Vanzi.

<Tina> How's Rich, Lea?

<Leeq> Yes, how is he?

<Lea> He's just fine! He's now a fixed income trader.

<Tina> Good for him..

<Leeq> Was he your first kiss?

<Lea> No, he wasn't my first kiss. I'm keeping that detail to myself, thank you!

<Tina> Do you see him often now that you're back in New York?

<Lea> Yeah, we're able to see each other more often now. It's good that we're able to spend a lot of time together now.

<Rey> Has Rich proposed to you yet?

<Lea> Nope, he hasn't.

<Rey> Oh well, he better hurry up!

<Lea> I'm not in a rush... I'm still young!

<Joyce> Darn right!

<Rey> How old?

<Lea> I'm 27.

<Rey> I think that's a perfect time for marriage, Lea.

<Lea> A couple more years...

<Leeq> I don't think so, not for Lea Salonga!

<Tina> Don't you think it's better to get married early and enjoy your kids while they are at your same interest level?

<Lea> My mom had me when she was in her 30s, and her patience level was much higher. I don't have the patience for children right now...

<Leeq> Yeah, you are too young right now, Lea

<Rey> Would you prefer to be married in the Philippines or in Manila?

<Lea> Isn't Manila in the Philippines?

<Joyce> lol

<Rey> oops, sorry <blush>

<Rey> Or in the US, is what I mean. <still blushing>

<Lea> Gotcha! I'd love to get married in the Philippines... It's still home for me.

<Leeq> That's nice of you, Lea.

<Rey> Do you have any plans of visiting Canada?

<Lea> No plans for Canada yet.

<Leeq> What do you think of our new President, Lea?

<Lea> He just might be THE one... you never know. I'm optimistic about whoever sits in office.

<Leeq> Yah, he seems pretty careful and broadminded.

<Rey> From Gil Garrovillo of Rexdale, Ontario, Canada: Do you read entries in your Guestbook and do you reply to them?

<Lea> I do read the entries, and even delete doubles (and triples!) I do read everything that gets on there.

<Rey> From Chenee Clemente C. in Paranaque: Do you still read and post in the soc.culture.filipino and the newsgroups?

<Lea> I do post, but anonymously.

<Rey> Some of your fans are disappointed that your homepage is not being updated regularly. Any comments?

<Lea> Joyce, any comments?

<Tina> Joyce must be very busy...

<Joyce> Oh, me? :)

<Lea> The schedule gets updated when I know what I'll be doing... Joyce taught me how to update the book.

<Joyce> Actually, Lea has been kind and patient enough to do all of the updating since I haven't been able to. That's because work is killing me - I may have to get additional help soon to be fair to page visitors. I do have some new material - they just haven't made it on there yet

<Tina> Maybe you should activate the Lea's Corner.

<Joyce> activate?

<Tina> You know, the section there where Lea used to post her thoughts? Maybe Lea should resume doing it.

<Joyce> Oh she adds to the "corner" now and then when she gets a chance.

<Rey> Please share us your thoughts on the following "hot" topics in the Philippines right now: (1) On President-elect Estrada's decision to bury Ferdinand Marcos at the LNMB and (2) On Imelda's recent decision to postpone the burial for the sake of national interest.

<Lea> Sorry... had friends just arrive. Teka muna!

<Rey> No problem...

<Joyce> hehe

<Tina> Joyce, are you married?

<Joyce> Tina no, and this is Lea's interview :)

<Leeq> hehehe!

<Tina> Well, it's intermission time

<Rey> Yeah.. let's interview Joyce for now.

<Joyce> I plead the 5th 6th and 7th

<Rey> Who is your boyfriend, Joyce?

<Leeq> and how many?

<Joyce> He's gone *sniff*

<Joyce> Ok, tama na 'yan

<Leeq> You mean dead?

<Rey> Killed by Joyce! <g>

<Tina> What's the weather like there today? It was super hooooooottt here.....

<Joyce> It's hot everywhere

<Leeq> Lea, who are the friends that came, Rich?

<Lea> Yvette (she works at Bloomberg television), and Victor, an actor and soon-to-be theater producer.

<Rey> Were your travel plans to Manila affected by the Philippine Air Lines strike situation?

<Lea> Nope, I wasn't booked on PAL.

<Rey> Now that Windows 98 has arrived, are you joining Bill Gates camp now or are you still sticking with the Mac?

<Lea> I'm still sticking with the MAC!!!

<Leeq> Good for you, Lea. There is the new iMac coming this August.

<Rey> I am amazed by your loyalty to Mac. Tell me, what do you find so good about it?

<Joyce> The Mac is really more robust than Windows.

<Lea> If you own one, I need not even explain. If you don't yet, you don't know what you're missing. Windows is a poor facsimile.

<Rey> In terms of stability? Robustness?

<Lea> Everything, from the outside in. In simple terms, IT'S BETTER!!!

<Rey> But Lea, don't you think the Mac days are numbered?

<Lea> I certainly hope not!

<Rey> I mean, who can beat Bill Gates and Microsoft?

<Joyce> Taxes and death.

<Leeq> The US justice Dept will beat Bill Gates!

<Leeq> The new iMac is like the Volks' beetle in computers

<Tina> Now you are talking Greek to me, folks!

<Leeq> They say the iMac is APPLE's return to glory!

<Lea> I'm not too hot on the iMac... looks kinda like a floating pool toy.

<Joyce> floating pool toy? lol

<Lea> I can't stay much longer... I have a full house and I should be a gracious host.

<Joyce> Me too - back to work!

<Rey> One last question..

<Lea> okay...

<Rey> TalkCity is interested in hosting you once more in their Auditorium. Would you be willing to do it?

<Lea> When and for how long? Do we have to pay a fee or anything?

<Rey> No fee.. Diane really loves you to come back there. An hour session will be fine.

<Lea> Okay... just let me know when.

<Leeq> Thank you so much, Lea! Good luck and enjoy LA and Manila!

<Joyce> I'm leaving, y'all - goodnight!

<Rey> Bye Joyce..

<Leeq> Bye Joyce

<Lea> O sige, gotta go na. Good night everyone!

<Leeq> Bye

<Tina> Bye lea..

<Rey> Thanks for the time..

Session Close: Thu Jun 25 23:19:17 1998

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