Educating Kat Alano
As millions of Filipinos prep up for a new school year, Kat Alano
shares the story of how being exposed to - and growing up in - different cultures taught her
valuable life lessons she'll never forget. Her
mother is British, her
father Filipino.She was born in England, near Birmingham.
was in her
teens, the family moved to Hong Kong, where she
grew up.In Hong Kong, she attended an International School where she got the best education ever.
just didn't read about other cultures; she
experienced them through her
classmates."It was great, because it really helped me understand people," says TV Host Katherine Anne Brown-Alano, better known as Kat Alano of Wowowee.
Having been exposed to different cultures and being able to relate to different types of people gave Kat
an understanding of human nature that she
could never have gained from books of lectures.She
owes this to the kind of upbringing she
had courtesy of her
parents."I'm very culturally diverse.Because of my upbringing, I understand both sides.I got used to both cultures.It's like I'm a walking contradiction," she
Claim to fame
Another thing Kat's
gained from her
parents' mixed-race marriage is her
looks.Tall and fair-skinned because of her
British genes, but with the bright, fiery eyes and personality of the Batangueño, it was these looks that got Kat
noticed when her
family moved here.
In 2004, she
won the title of Binibining Lungsod ng Batangas.In January, she joined the Studio 23 VJ hunt, after which she started VJ-ing.She
also began appearing in television commercials, most notably for Globe.Kat
also had a stint as a model for the local clothing line Bayo,which served as her
first major exposure.She
was the image model for Bayo's "A Girl Like You" campaign, the point of which was that she
was real and not some unattainable ideal.The campaign was a huge success.Kat
also made waves with her
photo in the Metro Body Calendar.After all that, she
was tagged one of 2005's faces to watch.One fan website dedicated to her
on the Internet carries the tagline, "Kat
is cool, she's
All this attention is funny, she
says, because when she
was a child, she
never thought she'd get into anything like modeling or hosting."I really looked different then.I was chubbier!"she
exclaims."I even had curly hair."
Kat's parents met in Hong Kong, where her
father was working as a business consultant and her
mother, as an English lecturer at a school there.They were married in England in 1985, and that's where Kat
has a younger brother who is 15 years old.There were just two of them, so they were pretty close.Then when they were older, her
father moved the family to Hong Kong, where Kat
grew up.That, she
says, was one of the best times of her
"I love Hong Kong, it's one of the best places to grow up in," she
says."It's a small, and really safe.It's clean, and everything is so well-connected.I really enjoyed living there, especially since I was exposed to so many different cultures in school."She
actually got a cultural education every day of her
life, courtesy of her
got the best of both worlds from them.From her
Batangueño father, she
got the Filipino value of being very family-oriented.And yes, she's
also very Batangueños in other ways.All the tales you've heard about Batangueños ring true as far as Kat
is concerned."There's a lot of Batangueño in me," she
admits."I have a lot of pride, and I'm also very matapang."She
remembers spending Christmas vacations in Batangas when she
loved the holiday season here, enjoyed being with her
extended Filipino family and seeing the bright lights and parols (Christmas lanterns).Most of all, she
enjoyed being spending time with her
father's side of the family, which is quite big.Kat shares that her
paternal grandfather is one of 17 children!
"I loved spending the holidays in Batangas," recalls Kat
."I hated Manila, because every time we went to Manila, it meant leaving Batangas, and eventually, leaving the Philippines."
It's different on her
mother's side, where the family is small by comparison.As far as personality traits go, Kat
inherited from her
British mother her
considers herself more liberal than the typical Filipina.
Showbiz genes or not, Kat
here to stay.Of course, while she
finds showbiz can be fun sometimes, it also has its downside.One downside that she
-and the other Wowowee
hosts, like good friend Iya Villania -felt very clearly was the ULTRA tragedy in which 71 people were crushed to death during the stampede.In fact, there was talk that the program would be pulled off the air, never to return again.But it eventually did, and Kat
is back hosting, doing the thing she
loves and enjoys the most.
The ULTRA tragedy is one episode that Kat
wishes to put behind her
.In fact, she'd rather not talk about it.Instead, she
chooses to focus on what is ahead -a very wise decision indeed.
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