March 18, 1950
Cavite City, Philippines
Celeste Legaspi (born March 18, 1950) is a Filipino singer and actress. Her singles and albums reached gold or platinum status during the 1970s and 1980s. She is the daughter of National Artist for Visual Arts Cesar Legaspi. She spearheaded the Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM), a group which aimed to promote and propagate Original Pilipino music. She is married to Nonoy Gallardo, one of the premier OPM composers.
Life and career
Celeste Legaspi (nicknamed Maricelle) is third of the five children of National Artist Cesar Legaspi and his wife who once classified as coloratura. Celeste started singing during her kindergarten years. Fast forward to 1969, she started singing professionally with The Ambivalent Crowd, earning P25 per performance.
While in college, she appeared in Showboat as Magnolia followed by her performance as Nancy in the Philippine presentation of Oliver!. But she later confessed that her performance in Showboat scared her. "There I was, cracking every night, unable to be heard from the musical accompaniment, with Mama holding on to my sister Diana's hand. As a result I was disillusioned with my singing and with my course then--nursing," Legaspi told in an interview.
But the then 16-year-old Celeste Legaspi didn't give up her singing. Her singing career flourished upon shifting her course to Communication Arts at Maryknoll College (now Miriam College). She joined The Ambivalent Crowd, became a college graduate in 1971, and eventually married to Dominador 'Nonoy' Gallardo in March, 1972, who was then an advertising man.
In 1972, she left The Ambivalent Crowd and joined the Up from Down Under Band as a soloist for a three-month stint at Wells Fargo. Then she became part of the Time Machine which at the time had a songstress named Didith Reyes and Anthony Castelo who would both conquer the OPM charts in the years ahead.
Legaspi's career started to reach stratospheric heights upon joining the ASEAN Tour in 1975 followed by a solo concert at the Cultural Center of the Philippines' (CCP) Little Theater where Rolando Tinio, one of the Philippines' literary geniuses, featured her in Filipino translations of popular songs at that time, most of the songs appeared in her Celeste...Popular Songs Vol. 1 album. The album featured Celeste's heartwarming Filipino renditions of Mini Ripperton's Loving You, Diana Ross' Theme from Mahogany, and The Lady Is A Tramp.
The impressive feat was followed by successful dinner-theater presentations in 1977 of Manila, Manila which won her an Aliw Award for Best Dinner Theater performance for that year. She also starred in Doon Po Sa Amin and Jesus Christ Superstar in 1978, each garnering Best Dinner Theater awards.
Celeste Legaspi claims she is greatly influenced by Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, Lena Horne, and Ella Fitzgerald. During one of her interviews she said that her type of music rests on elements of blues and those which intend to break the monotony of pop music.
Her theater career began when she starred in two college productions. She sang the part of the first woman in the play "Tales of the Manuvu" (1977), where she shared the stage with Hajji Alejandro. Her other stage works include an appearance in the hit musical "Katy!" (1988) for the Cultural Center of the Philippines' Tanghalang Pilipino, and the portrayals of Babae in "North Diversion Road" (1988), Caridad in the zarzuela "Paglipas ng Dilim" (1991), and Candida in "Larawan" (1992).
With talent manager Girlie Rodis, she was co-founder of Musical Theatre Philippines (Musicat), which produced seven musicals: "Katy!" (1988), "Kenkoy Loves Rosing" (1992), "Alikabok" (1995), "Sino Ka Ba, Jose Rizal?" (1996), "Larawan, The Musical" (1997), "Fire Water Woman" (1999), and "Saranggola ni Pepe" (2008) 
Along with theater icon Zenaida Amador, she was awarded as the first recipient of "Natatanging Gawad Buhay!" Award given by the Philippine Legitimate Stage Artists Group, Inc. (Philstage). The award embodies her lifetime contribution and marvelous efforts for the production of original Filipino musicals which flourished for over two decades since the 1980s. Legaspi, being the founding president of the Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit and Philstage, was a key in establishing the Philippines' sole alliance of professional performing arts companies and organizations.
Legaspi appeared in films such as Lino Brocka's Santiago (1970), Stardoom (1971) and Sa Kabila Ng Lahat (1991), Mamang Sorbetero (1979), Tatlong Ina, Isang Anak (1987), and Ishmael Bernal's Wating (1994). She also sang the main theme song on Kahit Ang Mundo'y Magunaw (1975), a Manuel Cinco film starring Pilar Pilapil and Christopher De Leon.
Legaspi is also a TV actress. One of her earliest TV exposures is when she was eight years old appearing in a Vicks commercial. In 1975-1976 she received the Sinag Awards from the Pambansang Akademya ng Telebisyon sa Agham at Sining (PATAS) for her performance in the TV special "At Long Last Celeste," and for the TV weekly musical "Iba't-ibang Celeste". She also guested in a drama series, Cebu in 1991. In 2014, she portrayed Maricel Soriano's protective and aristocratic mom in GMA-7's in the successful teleserye,"Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real".
Legaspi is a successful recording artist, having produced albums and singles that reached gold and platinum status during the '70s and '80s. Her album Ako si Celeste under Blackgold Records was awarded gold, and produced hit singles "Saranggola ni Pepe", "Tuliro", and "Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal?". The Celeste album spawned the famous "Mamang Sorbetero". Her albums Bagong Plaka, Lumang Kanta Vols. 1 and 2 albums under Wea Records both reached the double platinum mark.
She won several awards including Outstanding Performance award from the Song Festival in Tokyo, Japan, where she sang "Puso Mong Nagmamahal" (1976), Tinig Awards for live entertainment (1977, 1979, and 1990), and the Aliw Award for Entertainer of the Year (1978).
- Basta't Mahal Kita
- Bingwit ng Pag-ibig
- Binibiro Lamang Kita
- Dahil Sa Iyo
- Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal?
- Halina't Magsaya
- Ikaw Kasi
- Lab Na Lab
- Larawan Ng Buhay
- Mamang Sorbetero/Kubling Hardin
- Minsan Ang Minahal Ay Ako
- Movie Fan
- Nasaan Ang Palakpakan
- No Money, No Honey
- Only Selfless Love
- Pagdating Mo
- Sapagka't Mahal Kayo
- Saranggola ni Pepe
- Sarung Banggi
- Ako At Si Celeste (Vicor Music Corp., 1977)
- Celeste...PopSongs Volume 1 (Pioneer Records, 1976)
- Celeste...Celeste (Universal Records, 1979)
- Bagong Plaka, Lumang Kanta (Universal Records, 1980)
- Bagong Plaka, Lumang Kanta Vol. 2 (Universal Records, 1982)
- This Is My Song (Universal Records, 1982)
- Koleksyon (Universal Records, 1984)
- Plakang Pamasko (Universal Records, 1984)
- Si Celeste Naman Ngayon...Sapagkat Mahal Kayo: Tribute To Sylvia Latorre (Universal Records, 1986)
- Bagong Plaka, Lumang Kanta Vol. 3 (Universal Records, 1990)
- 40th Anniversary Celeste Legaspi Collection (2005)
- Pamasko Ng Mga Bituin (Universal Records, 1981)
- Parangal Kay Constancio C. De Guzman (Universal Records, 1982)
- Salubungin Ang Pasko (Universal Records, 1986)
- Ginintuang Diwa ng Pasko (Universal Records, 1989)
- Ryan Cayabyab Silver Album (Sony BMG Music, 1996)
- Bongga! (The Biggest Retro OPM Hits) (Universal Records, 2008)
- Bongga 2 (The Biggest Retro OPM Hits) (Universal Records, 2009)
- Champoy (ETC 9)
- Eat Bulaga (ETC 9; ABS-CBN 2 & GMA 7)
- Cebu (ETC 9)
- Concert At The Park (PTV 4)
- Vilma! (GMA 7)
- The Sharon Cuneta Show (ABS-CBN 2)
- A Little Night Of Music (GMA 7)
- Ryan Ryan Musikahan (ABS-CBN 2)
- Easy Dancing (TV5)
- Keep On Dancing (ABS-CBN 2)
- Shall We Dance: The Next Celebrity Challenge (TV5)
- Talentadong Pinoy (TV5)
- Glamorosa (TV5)
- The Ryzza Mae Show (GMA 7)
- Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real (GMA 7)
- Concert at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Little Theater (November 8, 1975)
- Between Friends (with Maya 'Mitch' Valdez)(Light & Sound Theater Lounge, 1986)
- Celeste Komiks Konsyerto (Cultural Center of the Philippines, 1985)
- Celeste Sine! Sine! (Folk Arts Theater, 1986)
- Celeste Tunog PPO (Cultural Center of the Philippines Main Theater, 1987)
- Isang Daang Himig, Isang Daang Tinig: A Musical (with Ogie Alcasid, Janno Gibbs, Randy Santiago, Rachel Alejandro, etc.) (Folk Arts Theater, 2000)
- SINAG Awards (PATAS): At Long Last Celeste (1975); Iba't-Ibang Celeste (1976)
- ALIW AWARDS: Best Dinner Theater Performance: Manila, Manila (1977); Doon Po Sa Amin (1978); Jesus Christ Superstar (1978). Entertainer of the Year (1978).
- World Popular Song Festival (Tokyo, Japan): Outstanding Performance for Puso Mong Nagmamahal (1976)
- TINIG AWARDS for Live Entertainment (1977, 1979 and 1990)
- Metro Manila Popular Music Festival. Second Prize (Pagdating Mo, 1978); Finalist (Nasaan Ang Palakpakan, 1980) (as interpreter) (Music and Lyrics by Nonoy Gallardo)
- World Song Festival in Seoul (1981) Silver Award (Never Ever Say Goodbye) (Willy Cruz, composer)
- The Outstanding Women in the Nation's Service (TOWNS) Awards (1989)
- Natatanging Gawad Buhay! Award. Philstage Lifetime Achievement Award (2010)
- OPM ICON AWARD. Third Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC) Star Awards for Music (2011)
- Celebrity Inductee, 2011 Eastwood City Walk Of Fame
Alice H. Reyes. Entertainer Par Excellence. Expressweek, January 25, 1979, pp. 28–30