Another Filipina has demonstrated her singing prowess on “Star King”, a popular reality television program in South Korea that features talented individuals both locally and internationally. It is the same show that jump-started Charice Pempengco’s international singing career. The Filipina who recently performed on the show is Mary Viena Tolentino Park, a native of Bulacan who came to work in Korea in 2009. She met a Korean named Park Jong Woong in 2010, and soon after, they got married.
The first time I heard of Mary Viena was when she became the first foreigner to win the grand prize in the 2011 KBS 1TV National Singing Contest finals. I also read an article about her success in Korea on Manila Bulletin. I can’t find the original article, but here is a copy of it on Korea Observer.
In an interview, Mary Viena said that she started joining singing contests in her native province as early as six years old. Her passion for singing did not stop her from joining singing contests in Korea even when she had to sing in a different language. She learned Korean by reading language books, enrolling in Korean language class and watching Korean dramas and films.
Mary Viena performed on “Star King” on October 25th. She sang the Korean trot song “Love Battery” with its original singer Hong Jin Young who stars on another reality television show called “We Got Married” where she plays the wife of actor Namgoong Min. Mary Viena also sang “Maria”, the original soundtrack of the movie “200 Pounds of Beauty” which became a hit in the Philippines. She also sang another Korean song in a game that prompted other guests to dance around the stage.
Congratulations, Mary Viena! We hope to see more of you on TV. ^^