Pinay from Chicago going to Aussie with Oprah

Balitang America TV
September 30, 2010

By Ted Regencia

CHICAGO — After twenty five years, Oprah is leaving her show in Chicago.

Last Sept. 13, she kicked off her farewell season with an announcement heard around the world.

She told her ultimate fans, she’s taking them to Australia.

One very lucky guest was Filipino American Marlita Salvador from Chicago.

During an interview, Salvador was still visibly excited recalling her experience at the show.

“I was already honored just to be there. And then I was already honored, when we found out that we’re gonna be in the first show of her season and that was good enough for me,” said Salvador.

The show turned out to be a special episode for the ultimate Oprah fans like Salvador.

“Finally, by the time she said ‘I want to take you around the world’, that’s all craziness [started],” she recalled with a big smile. “We’re all jumping and screaming and standing up.”

“I heard Australia and then at that moment, I had my mouth open. I was looking around, and there were women crying and screaming, and I couldn’t believe it. I was in shock.”

Salvador won two tickets by writing a letter, describing how Oprah’s coverage of the 1992 race riots in Los Angeles, changed her.

Growing up, she distanced herself from her Filipino identity and embraced an all-American image, Salvador confessed. Watching the show made her aware of her own identity. Salvador’s mother is from Leyte, and her father is from Pampanga.

“Since that episode, I’ve always caught myself, I’ve always been really aware of what I do, and how I act,” she said. “You know I never, well, I try not to judge people just by the way they look, especially because I am Filipino.”

Salvador also sent a picture of her posing with a wooden kangaroo during one of her out-of-town trips, never realizing she would see a real one in Australia.

Salvador was a teenager when she first saw Oprah with her mom. At that time, Oprah was not yet a household name.

On her recent visit, she again brought along her mom, a big fan of John Travolta, who coincidentally was Oprah’s guest.

Salvador admits she is still star-struck, every time she meets Oprah. But she said Oprah is no diva.

“Even if you are in the show, even if you’re sitting in the audience and you see her, and you’re so star-struck, there’s something so familiar about her, and so comfortable that you feel like you’ve known her for years,” she said.

Between the Sept. 9 taping and the actual show, Salvador was in hiding determined not to reveal to friends what she just experienced.

With an estimated net worth over $2 billion, Oprah is a one-woman media machine. She has launched many careers, movies and books. She was credited for helping Barack Obama become the first African American president.

Of course, who could forget her endorsement of Charice Pempengco, now a certified world-renowed singer. The life of Filipino American Arnel Pineda, lead vocalist of Journey, was also featured in her show.

A few years ago, Oprah also surprised her audience by giving away cars.

All 300 winners of the Australian trip will have an all-expenses paid vacation for 10 days, and it will be filmed for the show.

For Salvador, the Australian trip with the ‘Queen of Talk’ is a dream come true.

“I never thought that I would ever be in Australia. I thought maybe when i’m 70 and retired, that would be my only opportunity to go. I never thought in a million years that I would be able to go now,” Salvador said. “So that’s just exciting.”

Salvador, who is a 3-D animator, also said that her recent experience at the show has inspired her to consider producing a 3-D stop motion short film about her Filipino identity. (Photo credit Marlita Salvador)

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