Gretchen Espina

Gretchen Stephanie Mendiola Espina (born January 8, 1988 in Quezon City, Philippines) is a Filipino singer and actress who rose to notability after winning Pinoy Idol, an interactive reality-based singing competition. Although she is credited as the first Pinoy Idol, Espina is technically the second winner of a Philippine Idol franchise, after Mau Marcelo of Philippine Idol in 2006.[2] She came from the political family of Espinas of Biliran. Her father Rogelio Espina, is a former governor and the current representative of the lone district of Biliran, while her grandfather Gerardo Espina, Sr. is a former representative and mayor of Naval, Biliran and her uncle Gerardo Espina, Jr is a former representative and current governor of Biliran.

Gretchen Espina
Birth nameGretchen Stephanie Mendiola Espina
Born (1988-01-08) January 8, 1988 (age 32)
OriginQuezon City and Biliran, Philippines[1]
GenresSoul, OPM, pop
Years active2008–present
LabelsSony Music Philippines/ 19 Recordings


Early lifeEdit

Espina came from a musically-inclined family who is also the prominent political family in Biliran, with her father, Congressman Dr. Rogelio "Roger" J. Espina, Representative of the Lone District of Biliran, described as a "good piano player and singer."[3] Her mother, Cecil, works as a pediatrician; while her grandfather, Gerry, was a Mayor of Kawayan, Biliran.[4] Her uncle, Gerry (Gerryboy) Espina Jr. is the present Governor of Biliran.

Espina was born in Quezon City, Metro Manila, where she spent her early years studying in School of the Holy Spirit before transferring to Naval Central School where she finished elementary level with honors. She had her secondary education in Cathedral School of La Naval, where she graduated as a salutatorian.[1]

Espina pursued college in University of the Philippines Diliman campus in Quezon City, with a major in European Languages. She is a member of The University of the Philippines Singing Ambassadors and represented UP in the Inter-Collegiate Singing Contest held in Shantou University, Guangdong, China, where she won the first prize as a solo performer.[1][5]

2006: Philippine IdolEdit

She was in Philippine Idol's top 40, but was cut from getting into the top 24.

2008: Pinoy IdolEdit

Espina auditioned in SM Mall of Asia.[6] This was despite her parents' disapproval of her auditioning because they wanted her to finish college first.[7] News about Espina included was among 179 aspirants who passed the auditions was passed around in Biliran through SMS.[3] She was never among the finalists with the lowest number of votes, also known as "The Bottom Group", during the competition.[8] The finale was described as a competition among the Philippines' three major island groups, with Espina representing Visayas while runners-up Jayann Bautista of Pampanga representing Luzon and Ram Chaves of Cagayan de Oro City representing Mindanao.[8] After her win, she revealed that she would give P100,000 (roughly US$2,000) to each of her two runners-up as part of their agreement.[5] She was slated to record her first single under Sony-BMG Philippines with "To You", the Pinoy Idol coronation song.

Pinoy Idol performancesEdit

Week Theme Song Choice Original Artist Result
Semi-finals 1 Contestant's Choice "Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)" Gladys Knight & The Pips Safe
Semi-finals 2 Hit Songs From Year of Birth "The Way You Make Me Feel" Michael Jackson Safe
Semi-finals 3 Greatest Musical Influences "Wala Na Bang Pag-Ibig" Jaya Safe
Semi-finals 4 Songs For Fathers "Try It on My Own" Whitney Houston Safe
Top 12 Songs From Their Greatest Pre-Idol Performances "Respect" Aretha Franklin Safe
Top 11 Song Dedications "A House Is Not a Home" Dionne Warwick Safe
Top 10 Songs of Their Lives "Follow Your Road" Pauline Wilson Safe
Top 9 Regine Velasquez "Kung Maibabalik Ko Lang" Regine Velasquez Safe
Top 8 Jaya "You Lift Me Up" Jaya Safe
Top 7 OPM Bands' Songs "Ikaw Lang Ang Aking Mahal" Brownman Revival Safe
Top 6 Basil Valdez "Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan" Basil Valdez Safe
Top 5 Greatest Idol Performances "I'm Here" Fantasia Barrino Safe
Top 3 Judges' Choice "For Your Eyes Only" Sheena Easton Safe
Jaya's Choice "Stand Up for Love" Destiny's Child
Contestant's Choice "Ngayon" Basil Valdez
Top 2 Idol's Single "To You" Gretchen Espina Winner

2009: Shining ThroughEdit

On June 19, 2009, she was re-introduced after months of being away from the limelight due to a throat ailment she had gotten during her stint in Pinoy Idol last year, in the 59th Anniversary Celebration of GMA Network held at the Araneta Coliseum singing medley of songs. On July 5, 2009 she was welcomed as a new regular performer and co-host of the musical variety show SOP Rules.

Espina's debut album entitled Shining Through was released on August 4, 2009 by Sony Music Philippines and 19 Recordings with the carrier single entitled "Kasalanan Nga Ba?", originally sung and owned by Thor which is the theme song of the drama series Sine Novela: Tinik Sa Dibdib. The album also includes "To You", her "victory song" of Pinoy Idol.

In 2010, Espina made her first acting debut in Diva as Debbie Romasanta, Tiffany's (Glaiza de Castro) best friend and personal assistant who helps her to make Sam/Melody's (Regine Velasquez) life miserable.



  • 2008: Ogie Sings with the Idols



2015 Yexien(Musical play) Houma TreeHouse Theatre company
2014 Apat Na Dalaga (Musical Play) Jasmine Laxamana Stairs Theater Company
2014 Russian Princess: Anastasia Anastasia Treehouse Company
2013–present Doctor's On TV Host UNTV
2013 Son's of Egypt (Musical Play) Hatchepsut Treehouse Company
2013 ASOP Grand Finalist
2012 Robinhood (Musical Play) Skarlet Treehouse Company
2012 Pahiram ng Sandali Lindsay GMA Network
2012 My Beloved Joy's friend GMA Network
2011 Sinner or Saint Sarah GMA Network
2011 I Heart You, Pare! Mimay GMA Network
2011–2013 Party Pilipinas Herself/Performer GMA Network
2010 Take Me Out Herself GMA Network
2010 Diva Debbie Romasanta GMA Network
2009 SOP Herself GMA Network
2008 Pinoy Idol Herself (Winner) GMA Network

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Result
2010 Awit Awards[9] Best Performance by a New Female Recording Artist for Kasalanan Nga Ba? Won
Best R&B for Kasalanan Nga Ba? (R&B Version) Nominated
PMPC Star Awards for Music New Female Recording Artist of the Year Nominated


  1. ^ a b c Gadaingan, Jack (December 16, 2006). "Visayan singer wins China inter-collegiate songfest". Manila Bulletin. Archived from the original on September 25, 2008. Retrieved August 20, 2008.
  2. ^ Cruz, Marinel (August 18, 2008). "Biliran lass named 'Pinoy Idol'". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on September 17, 2008. Retrieved August 20, 2008.
  3. ^ a b "Biliran lass is first 'Pinoy idol'". Philippine Information Agency. August 19, 2008. Archived from the original on September 16, 2008. Retrieved August 20, 2008.
  4. ^ "Espinas back at the helm". May 11, 2010. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  5. ^ a b Calderon, Nora (August 18, 2008). "Pinoy Idol" winner Gretchen Espina: "Sisikapin ko pong maging karapat-dapat" (in Tagalog). Philippine Entertainment Portal.
  6. ^ "Gretchen Espina profile on Pinoy Idol".
  7. ^ Cruz, Marinel (August 18, 2008). "Pinoy Idol: Talent, not connections, got me here". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on August 22, 2008. Retrieved August 20, 2008.
  8. ^ a b Erece, Dinno (August 17, 2008). "FIRST READ ON PEP: Gretchen Espina proclaimed as the first "Pinoy Idol"" (in Tagalog). Philippine Entertainment Portal.
  9. ^