Filipino singing painter Tom Alvarado has revealed that he found his purpose through art. He believes that art is not just a thing, it is a way of life.
Tom is one of the icons in the Filipino community in the UAE. He has been actively involved in the Filipino community since he was discovered eight years ago.
He shot to fame in the region after singing at the 2012 Philippine Independence Day celebration in Dubai while painting a woman’s face on the canvas.
But behind the success is a shadowy past. He once sold popsicles on the streets in the Philippines and sold charcoals in pushcarts as a young man. Although life had been hard for him growing up, his parents tried to raise him well.
Now, he’s been recognized by big newspapers in the UAE and calling him ‘the singing painter in Dubai’. He was also awarded ‘Kabayan of the Year’ by a Filipino newspaper a few years ago. Tom was also the first Filipino to showcase his Obras in the Philippine Embassy in UAE with the presence of Manny Pacquiao.
The Global Filipino Show catches up with Tom lately to ask him more about his life as an artist.
How would you describe yourself?
Tom always wants to do his best especially in the field of art and I am that person who exerts extra effort to make everything possible. I was once a security guard in the Philippines and during night shifts, I always made myself busy by singing songs. No one was there to listen to me. From there, I started everything.
Can you still recall the big break that PID 2012 has given you?
I have this friend who asked me to perform for the Philippine Independence in 2012. I was asked to do something different so we thought of singing while painting. While I was singing Freddie Aguilar’s Bulag Pipi at Bingi, I was unconsciously drawing a woman’s face with a very sad face. From there, I was already recognized as the Filipino singing painter and acknowledged by the Philippine Embassy in the UAE. From that time, it started my career. I have already been invited to different exhibits to showcase my pieces.
What is the highlight of your stay here abroad?
I have met my new family here, new friends that I will be forever keeping. One of the highlights of my stay here was when sheiks recognized my art and were very interested in buying my pieces.
What advice can you share to OFWs?
My advice would be to never give up on something you really want to achieve. It’s difficult to wait but it’s more difficult to regret.
This story has been featured on the first issue of The Global Filipino Magazine. To get a copy, you may contact +971503196856. If you have an inspiring story or know someone with one, please send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.