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28 Filipino celebrities now living in the U.S.

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Celebrities are schooled in the art of reinvention, and many are choosing to reinvent themselves in real life by pursuing other opportunities away from the limelight.

For these 23 celebrities, those opportunities lay in the United States, the so-called Land of Opportunity.

Some have built new careers in various industries, while others found themselves still doing what they’ve always loved the most.

PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) checks in with these Filipino celebrities who are now based in the United States of America.

Read: 8 Filipino celebrities now living in Canada

AMANDA PAGE

Amanda Page was a sexy star and a mainstay of the longest-running gag show Bubble Gang in the ’90s.

She left showbiz in 2000, and is now based in Ventura, California, with Dr. Lee Mendiola, her husband of 13 years, and their son Mason.

She is helping Lee manage their healthcare business.

Read: Amanda Page’s son Mason qualifies to join high-IQ society Mensa

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ANJANETTE ABAYARI

The actress who played Darna in the 1994 film Mars Ravelo’s Darna! Ang Pagbabalik is now a wife to Gary Pangan, a pastor, and a mom to two sons Aiden and Ashton.

She is based in Los Angeles, California.

A trip to Guam in October 1999 changed the course of Anjanette’s life.

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At the Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport, she was apprehended with drug paraphernalia, leading then-President Joseph Estrada to declare her persona non grata.

An article published by Esquire Philippines in 2017 recounted what happened.

She maintains, as she did then, that the Bic ballpen the airport officials found in her makeup kit belonged to her sister. She didn’t even realize what they were doing when they scraped it to find traces of shabu. “I was just as shocked as everybody else,” she says. “But I’ve learned to accept it. For a while I was angry, not at God, but at everyone else. I didn’t want to look inside and see what part I played in it.”

Read: Anjanette Abayari recalls dark past in showbiz, wrong choice of boyfriends

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BB GANDANGHARI

BB Gandanghari made headlines in December 2022, when she returned to the Philippines after seven years of living in the U.S.

Read: BB Gandanghari returns to PH after 7 years; reunites with mom Eva Cariño, brother Robin Padilla

Speaking to the entertainment press on December 28, 2022, BB said she would entertain offers for projects that could pave the way for a showbiz comeback.

BB is back to her home in Los Angeles, California, which she shares with her dog Bogart.

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BETH TAMAYO

Beth Tamayo may have left abruptly for the U.S. back in 2008, but the actress eventually adjusted to a simple life there, far from the many controversies that hounded her in Manila.

Beth has become an active runner since 2018, joining races, like the Chicago Marathon in 2019 and the Tokyo Marathon in 2023.

Read: Beth Tamayo breaks silence on why she left the country in 2008; reveals she and husband Johnny Wong have separated

She is married to Adam Hutchinson, and has a daughter named Sloane Isabelle, who turned two on August 29, 2023.

The family is based in San Francisco, California.

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BOJO MOLINA

The Gimik star left Manila in 2001, and moved to Guam, where he married his wife Jen Kwe Punongbayan in 2002. They have two kids.

He has been working with Red Dragon Agency for Sorensen Media Group, a media company with headquarters in Guam and Saipan, since 2015.

In his email to PEP.ph in 2017, he described how his job is related to media.

“RED DRAGON AGENCY is composed of Red Dragon Production that produces local TV programs & specials and Red Dragon Creative that handles the advertising side of the company and also is in-charge of events and promotion.”

Bojo Molina and his family

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CARLOS MORALES

Although Carlos Morales enjoyed a thriving showbiz career in the early 2000s, he knew that his time in the limelight wouldn’t last forever.

It was for this reason that he juggled showbiz and studies, graduating with a Nursing degree from Olivarez College.

Carlos decided to put this degree to use at the height of the pandemic.

He left for the U.S. in 2021 and took the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), which was required for nursing graduates to practice in the U.S. and Canada.

He had to postpone taking the test when his mother passed away in 2022, but Carlos finally passed the NCLEX on March 27, 2023.

carlos morales licensed nurse

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Read: Carlos Morales passes NCLEX at 47, fulfills dream of becoming a licensed nurse in U.S.

CAROL BANAWA

Best known for hit songs “Iingatan Ka” and “Tanging Yaman,” singer Carol Banawa also pursued many acting projects as part of ABS-CBN’s Star Magic Batch 4, before leaving showbiz in 2003.

She went to the U.S. to study, but ended up building a new life there as wife to Ryan Crisostomo and mother to their kids, Chelsea and River.

In 2018, she took up Nursing at Northern Virginia Community College, Washington D.C., and graduated summa cum laude.

Read: Singer Carol Banawa now a frontliner in the U.S.

But even after becoming Nurse Carol, she continues to sing in concerts mounted by the Fil-Am communities.

She was recently a featured performer in Sheryn Regis’ 20th anniversary concert, and shared the stage with Ariel Rivera in A Smile in Your Heart concert last October.

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Carol Banawa

DESSA

Dessa is now based in Las Vegas with her husband of five years, American engineer PJ Accurso.

The diva also continues to perform with fellow Filipino artists in the U.S.

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DONITA ROSE

In 2020, Donita Rose decided to move back to the U.S. after staying in the Philippines for the past five years.

At the time, she planned to settle in San Francisco as a single mom to son JP Villarama.

Read: Donita Rose finding life difficult here; migrating back to the U.S. amid pandemic

She has since found love in Felson Palad, a U.S.-based gospel recording artist. They tied the knot on September 24, 2022.

Donita currently works as a corporate chef in a Filipino supermarket chain.

Donita Rose

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G TONGI

G Tongi was one of the hottest teen actresses in the late ‘90s, and was best known for her role as Gina in the teen-oriented series Gimik.

However, she left showbiz in the early 2000s and moved to the U.S. to try her luck in Hollywood.

In an Instagram post uploaded on May 8, 2020, G revealed one of the reasons she stayed away from the limelight was because she felt she was becoming “narcissistic.”

In her caption, she wrote (published as is), “I’ve since worked as try so hard to prove that there’s more to me than just the way I look.”

G remains active in the entertainment industry as a producer and community/cultural liaison officer for Fil-Am Arts, an organization that promotes and supports Fil-Am artists.

G Tongi

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Read: G Tongi reacts to being namedropped in Lea Salonga controversy

JAYA

Jaya shocked fans with her decision to move to the U.S. in July 2021, but for the singer, family comes first.

Read: Jaya tuluyan nang nilisan ang Philippine showbiz

She and husband Gary Gotidoc first settled with their kids in Washington.

The family recently moved to Texas and are “so ready for the next chapter,” as the singer said in her Instagram post.

Jaya, husband Gary Gotidoc, and their kids Dylan, Sabriya, and Gavin just moved to Texas.

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Jaya continues to perform in shows across the U.S.

JEWEL MISCHE

Since marrying her husband Alex Kurzer in 2015, Jewel Mische has been living a fairytale life in Michigan.

She and Alex live with their daughters Aislah Rose, Emerald Jade, and Yzbel Quinn in a home they’ve dubbed “Rosewood Castle.”

Read: Jewel Mische chooses not to get pregnant for the 4th time “just to try for a boy”

Jewel has been on a social media detox since December 2021, as she said at the time that she wanted to “savor these days with my newborn and be as hands-free as I can be for my family and soak up moments with them.”

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JOYCE JIMENEZ

Joyce Jimenez married her husband Paul Eli Egbalic in 2008.

The two had been in a long-distance relationship until the sexy actress finally decided to join her husband in the U.S. permanently.

Read: WHERE ARE THEY NOW: Pinoy sexy stars of the ’90s to early 2000s

Joyce is now based in California as a full-time mommy blogger, fitness enthusiast, and mom of three children: daughters Jorja Ely and Jaysen Elise, and son Julian Elysson.

Joyce Jimenez

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JULIANA PALERMO

As an American citizen, it was easy for Juliana Palermo to return to the U.S. after pursuing a showbiz career in the Philippines back in the early 2000s.

The former actress got engaged and married on the same day, August 26, 2021, to her partner, Joel Crabtree in an intimate beach ceremony in Mexico.

Read: Surprise! Juliana Palermo is now Mrs. Joel Crabtree!

Juliana updates her Instagram account with posts about her life as a stay-at-home mom to her two sons, Ace Christian and Jack Alexander.

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KIM DELOS SANTOS

The reel-to-real romance of ‘90s love team Kim delos Santos and Dino Guevarra was closely followed by their fans, so their separation made headlines.

Shortly after, in 2004, Kim left for the U.S., where she encountered some initial struggles and worked odd jobs.

She is now working as a dialysis nurse in Houston, Texas.

Read: Kim delos Santos reveals doing odd jobs in the U.S. before becoming a nurse

Kim has also been hosting gigs of Pinoy bands and artists—among them, Ely Buendia and The Itchyworms as well as Kyla, KZ Tandingan, and Yeng Constantino, who held a show titled Vocal Champs held last July 22, 2023, at the Stafford Centre in Stafford, Texas.

KRISTA RANILLO

Shortly after moving to the U.S. in 2010, Krista Ranillo married businessman Niño Jefferson Lim in an intimate Jewish-interfaith ceremony.

Twelve years and five kids later, the couple held their Catholic church wedding on July 9, 2022.

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Read: Krista Ranillo, Nino Lim remarry in Catholic church rites 12 years after Jewish wedding

Jeff is the CEO of Island Pacific Supermarket, while Krista is a hands-on mom to their five children. The family is based in California.

Krista Ranillo and Jeff Lim with their five kids.

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LEANDRO AND CARLO MUÑOZ

At the height of their showbiz careers, brothers Leandro and Carlo Munoz decided to leave for the U.S.

While Leandro detailed many reasons in his 2020 interview with PEP.ph, it was his father’s death that pushed them to move to the U.S.

He said, “Masyado kami nalungkot ni Carlo. Para sa amin, if we stayed in the Philippines, it will always remind us that Papa has gone.”

Read: Leandro Muñoz on why he gave up showbiz 17 years ago: “Ang daming hindi totoong tao.”

For his part, Leandro’s Instagram account reveals that the former actor is now an entrepreneur affiliated with Primerica, a financial service company.

Both brothers are happily married with kids and living in California.

Leandro Munoz with his wife Sheryl and sons Frankie and Mason

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Carlo Munoz

LJ MORENO AND JIMMY ALAPAG

In a YouTube vlog uploaded on September 19, 2020, LJ Moreno and Jimmy Alapag announced their decision to say goodbye to Manila and hello to California.

Read: Bye for now! LJ Moreno, Jimmy Alapag begin new life in U.S.

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But Jimmy didn’t say goodbye to basketball, as the six-time PBA champion recently joined the coaching staff of the Sacramento Kings as a player development coach.

For her part, LJ is busy being a hands-on mom to their four kids, and creating short videos for their family’s YouTube channel, Alapag Family Fun.

LJ Moreno and Jimmy Alapag with their four children.]

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LJ REYES

LJ Reyes left for New York in September 2021 to be with her mom and sister and to nurse a broken heart.

The actress was determined to rebuild a new life for herself—also for her kids Aki and Summer—following her painful breakup with Paolo Contis.

Read: LJ Reyes focuses on her recovery: “Back to regular programming.”

LJ has found another reason to stay in New York.

In May 2023, she announced her engagement to Philip Evangelista.

In August 2023, they tied the knot.

LJ Reyes

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MICHELLE MADRIGAL

What was initially a “culinary journey” for Michelle Madrigal became a life-changing move for her.

She flew to the U.S. in January 2016 to train at JW Marriott Austin in Texas, where she met Troy Woolfold, whom she married in April 2019 and divorced in August 2021.

He is the dad of her six-year-old daughter Anika.

At present, she is busy with her projects as a digital creator and realtor.

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PRINCESS PUNZALAN

When Princess Punzalan married her husband Jayson Field in 2005 and moved to the U.S., she left her showbiz career behind and decided to focus on family life.

There, she traded the spotlight for scrubs as a licensed nurse.

But acting made its way back to her life, as Princess found herself starring in the internationally acclaimed film Yellow Rose in 2018.

She also landed a role in the FOX series The Cleaning Lady in 2022.

Read: Princess Punzalan lands role in American TV series The Cleaning Lady

As she continues to work as a nurse, Princess shares top billing in the short film Pandemic Bread, which is currently making the rounds in film festivals.

Princess Punzalan

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RUBY RODRIGUEZ

Despite being a permanent resident of the U.S. for ten years and having all of her family based there, Ruby Rodriguez had been going back and forth to the Philippines in order to fulfill her showbiz commitments.

The former Eat Bulaga! host has decided to stay in the U.S. permanently mainly for her son Don AJ, who needs treatment for his rare autoimmune condition.

Read: Ruby Rodriguez reveals son’s rare condition made her decide to live in the U.S.

Ruby now works for the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles, California.

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SERENA DALRYMPLE

After finishing her undergraduate studies in 2011, Serena Dalrymple flew to London to pursue graduate studies in International Business.

The former child actress then moved to the U.S., where she met her husband Thomas Bredillet in 2018.

The two tied the knot on October 2, 2022.

Read: Just married: Former child actress Serena Dalrymple and fiancé Thomas Bredillet

Serena and Thomas are based in New Hampshire with their two dogs.

She works as a technical program manager in a financial software company.

Serena Dalrymple

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STELLA RUIZ

Stella is now known as Estella White, a realtor in San Mateo, California.

She left showbiz in 2006, and has no plans of coming back.

She told PEP.ph in an exclusive interview in January 2024, “I’m not sure if I still want to act again. But I still do some auditions and commercials dito once in awhile.

“Mas focused na tayo ngayon sa trabaho dito, and I thank God that I am doing good. I’m working in real estate for fours years na. Okay siya at enjoy ako. It really keeps me busy.”

From time to time, she also holds fund-raising shows for charity.

Read: Former actress Stella Ruiz now happy as realtor in the U.S.

Stella Ruiz life in the U.S.

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TOOTSIE GUEVARA

Best known for ‘90s hit song “Kaba,” Tootsie Guevara left her showbiz career when she moved to the U.S. in 2004.

She did not say goodbye to singing completely, as her Instagram account shows that she continues to perform across the U.S.

Most recently, she shared the stage with other Filipino artists in Sheryn Regis’ 20th Anniversary All-Out Concert Series.

Off stage, Tootsie is Emma Monaco, wife of Italian-American Mike Monaco and a mother to two sons.

She works as a healthcare executive at Garden Grove and Huntington Beach Hospital.

The family is based in California.

Tootsie (2nd from L) with (L-R) Dessa, Ima Castro, and Sheryn Regis

Tootsie Guevarra with Dessa, Ima Castro, and Sheryn Regis.

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YAM CONCEPCION

Yam Concepcion endured a long-distance relationship with Miguel CuUnjieng before finally moving to New York in May 2021 to be with him.

The couple tied the knot on July 25, 2021, in an intimate ceremony held on a sunset cruise with the Statue of Liberty in the background.

Read: Yam Concepcion marries longtime boyfriend in New York

Today, Yam posts her arts and crafts projects on Instagram and YouTube, and also actively posts her home decor ideas, furniture recommendations, and interior design tips.

Yam Concepcion

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YLONA GARCIA

Many people decided to return to their hometown during the pandemic, and Ylona Garcia was not an exception. The young star left for Australia in July 2020 to be with her parents, and even worked in McDonald’s while she continued to pursue her studies.

Read: Ylona Garcia’s life away from the limelight in Australia

Ylona has since moved to Los Angeles, California, and is actively making music.

An Instagram post back in July teased that she would be releasing a new single soon.

She recently showed off her pipes by singing the Philippine national anthem at a Dodgers game.

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Lotis Key, Marian dela Riva, Ima Castro, Raven Villanueva, and numerous other stars have established their base in the U.S.

If we miss out any name on the list, feel free to reach out through Facebook and Instagram.

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