One such “angel-voice” is Daisy Royo Tumulak, 27, who says she fell in love with Phuket when she moved here nine years ago.
The island reminds her of her home country, though is more colourful here, she says, especially around her workplace in the area of Patong.
“Three months before I came here, I was working with another band based at the Baiyoke tower in Bangkok, but after vacationing in Phuket, I found a better job opportunity.
“I prefer Phuket rather than Bangkok. There is less traffic, a better salary and Phuket is like my home of Boracay island,” she said.
The people, food and lifestyle are particularly attractive.
“I felt really comfortable here from the start. Thai people are really friendly and sincere. When they want to say something to you like you are getting fat, they just say, ‘Hey, Daisy, you are getting fat. You need to reduce your weight,” she laughed.
“When I was in Bangkok, I never went out to explore the city. My life there was boring but when I moved to Phuket I made so many friends. My life here is fantastic. I love the beaches.”
“And I love Thai food so much. Even when I traveled in Hong Kong, I looked for Thai food to eat.”
Also, as a singer, Ms Daisy said she loves Thai music though she found learning Thai language very hard and appreciates the way Thai people preserve their own language.
“Thai music for me is really good and original. In the Philippines, we compose English songs and it does not really represent the Filipinos. What I love about Thai people is they write song in their own language so, I appreciate Thai music.”
Unlike many expats that love to be quiet in other areas in Phuket, Ms Daisy said she prefers Patong lifestyle, which has the perfect mix of everything.
“Patong Beach has everything in the same place. There are places to have a quiet time, a romantic dinner, or you can have a crazy party, like on Bangla Rd, which you can’t find at other beach areas. Or you can just sit, have a burger and enjoy people watching.”
As a singer in Patong, Daisy doesn’t have “normal” working hours.
“We [the band mates] work Mondays to Saturdays. Our breakfast is often at 5pm,” she smiled.
“After getting ready, the band begins performing around 9.30-10pm, [and play] until 1am, which is followed by our dinner. Sundays, which is our only day off, is always a shopping day for us. If you see us on Sunday, you will also see plenty of shopping bags packed in the cars.”
Asked how she can sing so well, the singer told The Phuket News her story.
“Since I was young, I loved to sing and started singing in a church with the choir then when I was in grade school I also represented my school to compete in singing competitions with other schools. I’ve been a singer since I was young,” she recalled.
“I think it is a gift from God … It feels good when someone compliments.”
In the blood
Daisy noted that musically inclined Spanish explorers who first came to the islands many centuries ago had some influence on her people.
“If you go to the Philippines, you will see that 80 per cent of Filipinos can sing very well. Many of them, including me never practiced to sing in any school, we just love to sing from the atmosphere we grew up in. My mother is in a choir in a church and my father is a karaoke king, while my brother is also working in the same band as me.”
Of her singing experience in Phuket, Daisy said she has met a lot of great people but also a lot of strange and bad customers.
“Once, there was a black man sitting in the pub and he thought I was a hooker. He asked me to go to him and sit down with him and I was so angry.”
“I told the band and they spoke through the microphone that he cannot be rude to me like that. He told us that his friend told him, he can do whatever he wants with Thai ladies and we told him that no matter what his friends say, he has to respect woman no matter if they are Thai, Filipino or any nationality. ‘Even if someone told you that, you still need to have respect for woman, like your sister and mother. You should understand.’”
But there are also plenty of great people who frequent the pub.
“There are a lot of good memories when customers return to the bar. Some of them even bring me gifts. It is a special feeling I get from this job.”
Apart from singing as a career, Ms Daisy and her band, which includes her boyfriend, brother, sister and close friends, also use their talent for the benefit of charity on occasion.
“There was a concert for charity after the big Typhoon in the Philippines last year. We had a concert in Molly Malone’s and all the Filipino bands helped each other. We raised B160,000 for the donation and my boyfriend brought the money back to the country to buy some food, medicine and basic appliances for victims.”
The Filipino community in Phuket is close-knit, she noted. Every year, they have a basketball tournament that also lets Thai people and foreigners join in. Not just for fun, the tournament provides another opportunity to raise funds for the needy.
“This year, we will hold a charity concert for Thai children that need shelter. The income from the concert will be donated to build shelter for them.”
Though Daisy loves her life in Phuket, in the future she has plans to go back to her hometown to follow her dream and open an Irish pub.
“I want to have my own Irish pub in Boracay just the same as Molly Malone’s. I am going to hire another band as I am getting old. I do not want to sing forever. I will just have a jump-in for a few nights at my own bar.”
“However, if the day when I have to move back to my hometown comes, what I will miss the most in Phuket is Molly Malone’s, and all the customers that would miss us, and not to mention my Thai friends, Thai food and the atmosphere here.”