Building an Art and Music Business as a Filipina In China and Vietnam with Mirasol Aguila

Michael MicheliniBusiness, Lifestyle, Podcast, Travel0 Comments

Today’s show is featuring an old friend, Mirasol whom I met in Shenzhen back in 2010 era. She is a talented artist and musician and has been pursuing her passion and dreams of music and art for as long as I’ve known her.

Today, we have her on the show to talk about the journey – being a Filipina who gets to China, then Vietnam and building up her career in Asia.

Also would love to hear about her art business now and pursuing that.

Topics Covered in this Episode

  • Intro Mirasol

    (her name means Sunflower Eagle in Tagalog!) How did you get started in your music career?

  • How did you first get to China?

    What is your China story?

  • The Ins and Outs of China

    I know over the years you were between Philippines and China. How was that journey and experience?

  • Getting to Vietnam

    You’ve been in Vietnam and Cambodia for quite some time now. How did that journey begin.

  • And how is it now?

    How’s the career? Obviously we have all been challenged with COVID.

  • Your art passion

    Love the art you share on Facebook. How is that going?

  • Your goals

    What are the goals for the future Mirasol? Hope Global From Asia can help!

  • Some of the craziest memories stories from your travels in Asia

  • Moving to Online Business

    Mirasol, we hope GFA can help you with moving your art and talent online. We believe the future is a world with online art and music and that is with something called NFTs. Let’s work together to get yours represented there.

  • People Finding Out More

    How can people connect with your music and art and work with you? Blogs, social media?

People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Mirasol’s VIP Page
The Singing Painter
Mirasol’s Blog
√ Visit our GFA partner Mercury for US banking solutions for your ecommerce business

Episode Length 30:55

Thank you Mirasol for coming on the show and sharing your passion for art and music with us. Thanks everybody for tuning in!

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Show Transcript


[00:00:00] Episode 356 of Global from Asia. Adventures of a Filipino artist and singer from Asia and China with some exciting stories. Let’s tune in today. Welcome to the Global from Asia podcast, where the daunting process of running an international business is broken down, into straight up actionable advice.

[00:00:24] And now your host, Michael Michelini. Hi everybody! It’s little, old me on the microphone today. 356 shows. Can you believe it? It is deep into the summer in Shenyang. But I’m going to start seeing Shenzhen soon, going back to the base, coming back to where a lot of this began, where this show started. Shenzhen, China, mid August, 2021. Kind of full circle here, you know, a couple of years ago I was there and went to Thailand for school stuff.

[00:01:03] Kids school stuff. Couple years then came back here before COVID for a Chinese new year. I went down to the Philippines for a supposed-to-be, temporary business trip that turned into a volcano eruption and a COVID outbreak with an evacuation back to China. I’ve been here in Shenyang for a year and a half, I would say.

[00:01:25] Maybe a little bit less than that, but close enough to a year and a half. And I joke to people it’s like the longest Chinese new year at the in-laws probably, for the record. Hey, I’m blessed. I’m lucky I’m together with my family. I just had a good catch up with a long time friend who’s been separated from his family.

[00:01:46] He’s in the US they’re in China for over the same time. I’ve been here for a year and a half. So I need to count my blessings, but taking them, taking a family night down to Shenzhen where we will be working. You know, again, this broker stuff we’re doing with all these Amazon seller roll ups. Cause we’ll have some podcasts about that in our cross-border matchmaker sessions about that.

[00:02:09] So that’s happening and also factory work. I think we’ve talked about a router I’m working on. I’ll do a whole show about that. So, you know, plus, just get to see some, some friends and business colleagues and not feel so isolated. Although there are millions and millions and millions of people here. I don’t really have friends here or business here, so it will be nice back in Futian district.

[00:02:37] And I’m working on already for an event for October, stay tuned for cross border matchmaker. It’d be like online and offline mix. Okay. So this week’s show, we are talking about Mirasol. I learned a bit about her even in the interview. I didn’t know. And Jan’s with us too. So two amazing people from the Philippines and I and we are discussing about Marisol’s journey.

[00:03:06] I mean, she’s an artist, a singer and she’s originally from the Philippines. She’s in Cambodia now. I met her in China in 2008. Can you believe that? And, uh, You know, I’ve followed her journey. You know, mostly her updates on Facebook, Instagram. She has been to like Vietnam back to China, back to, into Vietnam, to Cambodia, back to Philippines.

[00:03:28] So we just, you know, she’s, she’s doing, she’s always traveling on her own, I mean, such an amazing person. And we want to get these kinds of things on the show. She’s never been on anybody’s podcast. Can you believe that? And it’s a really fun discussion, not exactly business, but it’s about travel adventure, finding your own way.

[00:03:46] And I’m really happy. We got her on the show list. And of course thank you for our sponsor, our ongoing sponsor, Basically the solution for a US bank account. When you are in luck and do US business, I mean, it’s one of our top blog posts.  People always ask, and how do I get a bank account. How can I get a US bank account?

[00:04:08] This is the solution I’m using this for multiple different joint ventures I’m doing with non-Americans. You don’t need to go to a bank in person. You get a real US dollar bank account, and it’s totally free. If you want to use it, it’s free to apply. And if you use our link, you can get a bonus and we can get a bonus.

[00:04:24] So thank you in advance, Good luck on your business venture. Okay, thank you everybody for listening to another global from Asia podcast, Marisol has been on my guest list for a while. She’s, we’ve known each other many, many years through, you know, Asia travel and, and business.

[00:04:45] And it’s, it’s a real pleasure to have Marisol Aguila, correct? Yes. Correct. It means Eagle. I just learned it means Eagle in Tagalog. That’s awesome. And so your first name is.

[00:05:02]Sunflower? Yeah. Sunflower. Wow. That’s amazing. So, so your art, I would call you an artist, a musician, an artist, and a traveler of the world, right. You’re in Vietnam now. You’ve been there. In Cambodia. Cambodia. Yeah. See, you’re everywhere. So you’re, you’re from the Philippines. And then I, we met in China like awhile, you know, along a while back.

[00:05:34] It’s amazing. Yeah, 2008, 2009. Yeah, it’s crazy. It’s been a while. Anyway,

[00:05:53] Lot’s of things change. So yeah, here we are. So we’re here and, and it’s great to have Jan with Jen here helping interview, from, from the team and. I think let’s just jump into it. So how did you get started with your career, your music, your arts, you know, from a young age from, yeah, I started singing and. Art when I, when I’m nine years old.

[00:06:24] I think. I have my uncle. He is very supportive, doing art with our family. So we live in Manila. I’m born in Manila, in Malabon. And then, moved to the province of Aurora. And since then, my uncle who is also a singer often asks us to go to the, you know, seashore at the beach with my playmates, my childhood friends and my uncle asked us

[00:06:56] To draw in the sand, you know, and the water washes the sand. And then he asked us to get the stick and then draw a mermaid. So he said to me, to us, make a draw, a perfect mermaid, and I will give you one peso.  So, that’s how it started.  Yeah, and he also sings.

[00:07:21] He’s the one who taught me how to sing all the songs. Yeah. He saw me singing, holding a spoon on my head, and then he grabbed me and put me on the table. Ok sing, Marisol.

[00:07:39] Yeah. Yeah. I have learned of things, especially in art, from my uncle. His name is uncle Pepe.  Was that your passion from

[00:07:54] your childhood or he really just pushed you into pursuing the art and the singing, I guess. Sorry. Was that your passion, singing and art? Yes. Yeah. Singing and art i, I think my life. At a young age I used to do that. I used to sing in the church, I used to join competition. I used to, you know, join in competitions in school.

[00:08:26] They always forced me, my teacher like, Mirasol, go and join in this kind of art competition. And then that helps me a lot when I’m in elementary in high school, because since I do the art, I enjoyed competition. It also, when you have that, your tuition fee will get lower. How’d you say, scholarships.

[00:08:50] Yeah. So since then it helped my parents a lot, the arts. That’s why I love arts. I think I will do that. I, you know,

[00:09:08] So that’s amazing. So, you know, How’d you get to China? Is it, was it right out of school or what, where did you start? Was that your first country outside of the Philippines? No, the first country I’ve been is in Thailand. And then, it’s not really successful, but it’s a good experience with the band. And then after that, I went back to the Philippines and I have my friend, he was working in Sardinia before, and then he invited me.

[00:09:38] Wife is pregnant and they need the substitute singer. And then they said, Mirasol I think you’re perfect for this position. Then I said, I love China. That’s where my family came from. My ancestor is Chinese. So why not?

[00:09:57] Yeah, no. And I starting at that point. I then go abroad. Yeah, you’ve always been traveling. I’ve noticed I’ve followed you, I think until now I’m in abroad. So I go, if I go back to Philippines, back and forth to visit my family, my son.

[00:10:19] and Marisol, have you been traveling during the pandemic as well? So how has it affected your travel big time?  I was supposed to go back

[00:10:34] last July. And now it’s supposed to go by, uh, yeah, it’s just kind of hard at the moment, but the hopefully this Christmas I’ll be in the Philippines and that’s awesome. So I was thinking you spent quite a bit of time in China, and then I remember, I think after China, you went to, if I remember right Vietnam, Is that correct?

[00:11:03] And then Cambodia. Yes. So I’ve been in Vietnam for almost seven years. Like I really loved there because it also helped my, it helped me to go back in painting again, doing a lot of painting as a goal because I stopped doing artwork when I, you know, am being in a band like different bands. And I forget how to draw.

[00:11:29] I set that aside for a long time. And then I saw a lot of art materials in art shops in Vietnam. It’s it’s beautiful there. There’s a lady in front of our house had been kind of like, and she’s, she stopped different types of oil paints, different types of brushes, and just actually carried in her walking and like saying it in Vietnam, like yeah, by these art materials, like, you know, it’s, that’s beautiful in Vietnam because everywhere you go, you see, you see people selling art materials.

[00:12:04] So it inspires me to go back to draw again. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. It’s it goes right to the next question, is your passion for arts. I didn’t know about that one. When we, like you were mostly, like you said, busy with the band, it must be a lot of work with the band. So you were very busy with the music. So you’re for the arts.

[00:12:30] Are you, are you doing that? Like it’s for your passion and business, is it both. I’m doing it altogether. If someone wants to find me, some of them wants to invite me to do a collaborative exhibition, something like that. I joined every opportunity I can get.

[00:12:55] Nice. So I’m sorry. Go ahead. Go ahead. So at the moment I’m doing an artwork, so it’s a lot, but the exhibit, it’s going to be in August. The exhibit is going to be in August, so I’m working on it. Nice. One is about wildlife protecting animals and the other one is about music. Yeah, the musician is done here in Cambodia about the pandemics, like working harder than them.

[00:13:35] Okay, so question for you. What are the future goals of Mirasol? What is my future thoughts? Yeah, your future goals. Oh, my future goal is kind of like, I want to have my own art school for children like I always think about like, you know, there’s a person in the U S that I really adore and her name is Fascia.

[00:14:02] Tudor she’s, she’s an artist she’d do like, kind of an illustration of really, it looks like fantasy, but it is like, Nature. She’s surrounded with beautiful flowers, animals, and her family also. And, uh, like simple thing like that inspires me a lot is nature already. So I like, I like to, I I’m inspired by nature.

[00:14:37] I think that’s my, my goal in life to have a school teaching little children how to draw.

[00:14:47] Yeah, that’s great.  I got it from my uncle Yeah. That’s a great, that’s a great goal. I mean, we try to do similar things. We had, we just tried to GFA kids, Global From Asia kids. Jan was a great, I was a teacher and Jan was a teacher. Yeah. We were a few of us online, online. It was the first one, just this June. It was more e-commerce online business, but it was eight to 12 year old kids.

[00:15:14] So maybe, you know, we, we would always love to help support you and others in our community. So let us, let us know if we can help you. No, go ahead. Go ahead. Yeah. At a young age, if you show them things like that, they will remember that until they, you know, reach their age, like, oh yeah, I think I know how to draw a flower.

[00:15:37] And they got that feeling. You know, why don’t I, you know, develop this kind of things like that. I learned that from my, like, it taught me how to draw, like, you know, I prompt this more and then elaborate this in more kind of beautiful way. It inspires little kids to do things like that in the future.

[00:16:01] They remember that. Yeah, it’s true. I mean, there’s so much we can do for the kids there there’s there even, even like one small thing might change there. Their whole life. Yeah. Yeah. I dunno if you wanna share some fun. I thought maybe we add some fun stories, you know, maybe there’s some memories or stories about, of course, China, but even, you know, Thailand, you know, you got me curious about your Thailand and any kind of fun stuff you want to share.

[00:16:35] Like for a little bit. We all have some stories. That’s the first time I‘ve been abroad with the band that I, I just, you know, just met them with, with a friend of mine that just, you know, I will give her this, give her this, know this person. And then they introduce us to the band. And then we don’t know each other much.

[00:17:00] They are all like older people, but they’re like good in music. But when we got in Thailand, we cannot find work.

[00:17:12] It’s kind of sad, but it’s kind of funny in some ways. It’s like, oh, I like the two of my sisters, the singer, but the band needs to change. But we don’t want, I don’t want them to, we don’t want to lose them because that’s the first time I’ve been in like the real full band in abroad that if you don’t get them or we will not get the place.

[00:17:33] So he didn’t find them. So we’ve been there for six months tried to find a new job, but that didn’t make it. Yeah. But we love our bandmates. They’re really cool people. One is like a former basketball player. Like he’s really big, but he loves music. He’s really tall. And when he plays,

[00:18:00] may his soul rest in peace. But I love that first band I’ve been with. His name is Kuya Tok. Oh, my that’s funny. So even how hard we experienced Thailand, we had a good time. That’s my first band in abroad.

[00:18:18] That’s interesting experience. And then, yeah, you mentioned your, you have Chinese ancestry. I, a lot of people in the Philippines have Chinese ancestors. Yeah. My, my, my mother’s father is Chinese. His name, his last name Chin Sai. Is she inside? Something like that, but we changed it because we have, you know, coverup in the Philippines before, and he’s kind of like, A rebel.

[00:18:46] So he’s against the Japanese.

[00:18:58] Yeah. And my, my grandmother told me about their wedding. Oh my God. It’s really funny and memorable. That time, the war started and they, they held their wedding under the panels, something like that, something. And then after the ceremony, they found a place like a church that is really kind of like a bit safe, but later on, someone found out that there’s a wedding going on and so they need to stop that.

[00:19:28] So they hurried to the tunnel. And my grandfather carried my grandmother with her, you know, gown. You know what happened, she lost her shoe, like Cinderella.  My grandmother was like, where is my shoe,

[00:19:45] I only have one, but it’s really funny. My grandmother always tells that story. So, yeah. And even to our young nieces and nephews. Yeah. And also may she, may her soul rest in peace. My grandmother also changed our family name when she left Russia. I’m a Russia, French, Canadian and Italian. Italian is my name. Yeah, my grandfather’s blood.

[00:20:20] Yeah. My grandmother is Russian, so she, I never knew anybody from my mother. I never, I only knew she, she passed away when I was a few years old and there was not much Russian. They like escaped Russia. I don’t even know much, but they escaped through China and then to Korea, and then they took a boat to the U S they had to change their name to get out or something.

[00:20:48] I wish I knew more about

[00:20:53] Probably say, it’s good to know that, you know, you have the grandmother that is from Russia.

[00:21:01] How many kids do you have now? Wow. Oh my God.

[00:21:10] Yeah, there was one issue though. Like I talked on Instagram yesterday, there there’s all local Chinese here, so they’re mixed kids. So my son is getting, you know, the kids are picking on them or something. It’s hard to,they’re not, you know, he’s. Yeah, it’s a little bit difficult, especially with the pandemic.

[00:21:29] They get bored inside the house. I like an understanding that that with my students. So I always need to make the class, the lesson funny and full of energy. If I don’t do that. The kids is like, mommy.

[00:21:50] We even wear a wig, wear a funny sunglasses. But I need to do that.

[00:21:59] What’s your favorite country? You’ve been to all these places all over Asia. Which one would you? I think I love all the places I’ve been. Most, most of my, one of my favorite is Vietnam, because it is really near here. I can go bak anytime, even with the pandemic. but I’m always going to go back to China because China.

[00:22:27] Art is serious. They don’t mess around with you. Then that work a bar they have is really serious because I like the goal in every museum in China, in some museums. I’m always longing. Yeah. But it’s great. I’ve always been, honestly, I’ve always been pro you know, you’re like a, it must be hard to travel often.

[00:22:54] I notice you travel alone. You know that there must be, as you know, I don’t want to say it, but obviously a female and you know, an Asian and all foreign countries. It’s, I’m always amazed their independence is great. Yeah, I think it’s kind of like, it makes me grow stronger also being in abroad. But at the same time, it makes me feel sad because I’m often away from my family, especially my son.

[00:23:22] That’s why I try my best, I often go home, because there’s a, in, when I was in China. I been there for almost five years without going back home. And I regret that a lot because when I went, when I’m there, the contract is like, because that’s the time, you know? Chinese, China economy is growing and then we got a lot of offers there.

[00:23:46] I think I earned a lot in China and then I, you know, I’m proud to say that I helped my family a lot too, from that earnings when I was in China. But at the same time, it’s kind of sad because I’d been away from my family for a long time. So that’s why now. You know, the, the gap. So every time I have the one opportunity I need to go back.

[00:24:13] It’s common, I think in the Philippines, right. It’s one of more, a lot of overs. What’s that? OJT? Oh, overseas w yeah. OFW. Overseas Filipino workers.

[00:24:32] I’m one of them is great, though. You do great for your family and your country. It’s great. And you’re a very talented singer. So I, I think,yeah, I actually watched a lot of your videos on Facebook. I don’t know if you are aware equipped friend now, or if you were ready, if you are able to share some of your music with our listeners.

[00:25:01] Wow. Cool.

[00:25:05] Okay. Okay. Do you also compose original music. Yes, last year we did the project check and kind of like, really happy for that because I’ve been planning that for a long time. Yes, we made thirteen songs. Original songs. Yeah. Wow. Both that, the Tagalog and English. Awesome. Okay. And then where can people.

[00:25:39] people find more about your work, your music. How could they buy something from you? Could we help sell somethings of your work or, yes. Sure. I have a page in Facebook where I’m working on to make a website because my website’s not working at the moment. Now I need to make another one and put all the new artworks and project we made.

[00:26:06] So people can see the artworks we, we can link to that. And if there’s ways, you know, our team has all our websites, you know, I think, you know, I’ve, that’s what I’ve been doing for, like, since we met, I’ve been always doing websites and more so if there’s ways. I think I’ve tried to help maybe a quick site for you to help, but maybe we can do some more, but yeah, I mean, I’m always openmaybe also you could talk with Jan on others, we could do more.

[00:26:35] Okay. And then we’ll link that into the show notes, your Facebook, or if you have a website we could get, when the show goes online, it’s a couple of weeks from now. So maybe we can get that.

[00:26:47] Great. Okay. I guess that’s all I have. Nice seeing you again. Yeah. Yeah. I go by the name Jan here. I don’t know. Sometimes I think she’s got like a.

[00:27:19] I think we tried last time, but it didn’t work out, but we’re going to try to do another, I know we want to in-person events, we’re working on another online events, so maybe we’ll have more time here and have, have you, have you share some of your amazing art and music with us, the community. We can talk about that more, but that’d be.

[00:27:39] Thank you for, including me in this kind of like a podcast. It’s my first time actually. Thank you. And

[00:27:53] I think it would be really good. Absolutely nervous. It doesn’t look like it.Right?  Thank you Mirasol and Jan, for sure. For sharing with us there. Hope you enjoyed it. I’m audio only because I prefer audio only. The video is just makes the video files so humongous and I’m having internet issues here and it’s the blah-blah-blah session.

[00:28:20] So I don’t want to think about being on video during, and you can just skip the interview is over, but if you want to hear some, my, my story is also, I got to know Mirasol. It was really, really cool. I mean, she’s a very talented person. And I mean, I can’t believe honestly how she is up and traveling basically on her, on her own.

[00:28:40] I mean, thinking about, so, you know, artists and singers, I mean, they usually have bands, but what I’ve learned at least with her is a lot of times they kind of join the singers and the band players together during or later, you know, ongoing, like they look for another singer and then maybe they’re already in China.

[00:29:02] And then I guess they put a post on the maybe Facebook or social media or asking around and then people like Marisol see the post and then go to like Thailand. She actually was in Thailand too. So it’s, it’s amazing. You know, I don’t want to like, you know, make men and women different, but I think as a female traveling alone, especially Asia or foreign countries.

[00:29:22] I mean, it must be a must be intimidating is the word I’m thinking of. So I’m happy that it has happening and I’ve always been happy. So I’m, It’s just great. It’s just another check on the list of the global commission show mirror. So on here, I didn’t know. Sunflower Eagle pretty cool. What else? Well, yeah.

[00:29:43] It was Macaulay’s bar. A lot of people know in Shenzhen she was singing there and also a Terrace. And I, man, I can’t believe that was 2008. Can you believe that? That was like thirteen is that seriously 13 years ago? And that bar is closed due to COVID can’t believe I just heard that they closed that bar because of COVID man.

[00:30:03] That was a, that was an icon in Shenzhen all three of them, three branches here COVID is really going to be changing. The world wants people get to like travel around and look again, I guess it’s not going to be the same. Hmm. I think that’s maybe enough for today, but thanks again for listening to episode 356 of Global from Asia.

[00:30:29] And I didn’t think of a URL. I will think of one later, but thanks for listening. Have a great day. To get more involved in running an international business. Please visit our website at That’s Also be sure to subscribe to our iTunes feed. Thanks for tuning in.

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