Posts by AgentP

Nimbus Cloud. Kpop bitch. Chronic nitpicker. Travel addict. Foodie. Photography hobbyist. Former bandstalker (hence, the domain name of this blog).

JK is not a joke.

So there I was in our now-yearly tradition of attending the annual GMMSF, Inc. Boxoffice Entertainment Awards even if Alden Richards is not among the awardees. I was just expecting to see a lot of famous artists mingle with mostly Bulakenyos dressed in our Sunday bests, intending to just take a lot of photos if I get bored. I never expected that I will experience one of the most utterly satisfying moments of my life as a fangirl and music lover.

Juan Karlos ‘JK’ Labajo was awarded the Most Promising Recording Artist of 2018 for his super-trending single Buwan. As one of the music awardees, he is expected to do a spot number. Now remember, this is a strictly formal event with nearly half of the attendees belonging to the middle-aged to senior citizens category. Knowing his style, I’m not sure if JK can pull it off without ‘offending’ the audience.

JK and his band started off with an intro that’s unfamiliar to the general public, thus, it didn’t elicit a favorable reaction. That is, until he finally started with, “Ako’y sayo, ikaw ay akin… It went smoothly from then on.

Then he reached the part before the final chorus that everyone has been waiting for. The band paused, and production people thought it’s over. :hihihi: Two of the emcees, Elisse Joson and Enchong Dee, were already called onstage. But JK and the band continued to sustain their guitar riffs, indicating that they’re not done yet. For a moment there I was afraid that things will get awkward, the band will be asked to stop playing and get off the stage, and JK might pull an undesirable stunt. Can’t blame me for thinking that way with all the issues hounding JK lately.

Then he launched into that viral sensation of a climactic chorus. I got goosebumps all over. I heard screams of adulation from everywhere in the venue. I looked around, and was shocked at the sheer number of cellphones raised up to film his onstage antics, raised hands and fists rockin’ along with him. We’re talking people wearing formal clothes, some of whom are senior citizens. Everyone’s smiling, howling, clapping. At the end of the song, JK was met with a rousing applause.

Omigad, Juan Karlos, what have you done. You wrecked the Boxoffice Entertainment Awards. In a damn good way. :clap: :arrow:

You know what? JK has been criticized for being too frank, too rough and un-mannered. I’m used to his kind of personality, having spent five years of my life being around bands in the Pinoy rock scene. JK is tamed compared to some of them. Also, no offense, but I’ve read and heard some of his statements and I actually don’t find anything wrong with it. Most of the time, he’s perfectly on point. JK is a lot of things, but among those things is that he is one charismatic performer. You can’t teach that kind of thing. It’s inherent. I’ve seen a lot of band frontmen in my lifetime and only a few has that kind of raw stage presence. One of them is his The Voice Kids coach, Bamboo. I’m glad that JK was able to imbibe that quality from his coach.

I just hope that JK Labajo will be able to maintain that path to artistry without losing his way, so to speak. Don’t leave that talent to waste.

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Hello, So Ji Sub.

Aftermath: So Ji Sub in Manila “Hello”
March 16, 2019 – New Frontier Theater

True confession: I’m not a fan of So Ji Sub. The last drama of his that I’ve watched was Master’s Sun – in my defense, I have been amiss with my K-drama viewing since 2015 – but I have seen his 2017 movie Battleship Island. However, So Ji Sub is an original Hallyu oppa, back when they were still labeled as “Heavenly Kings”. He belongs to the 2nd batch that includes Kwon Sang Woo and (if I remember correctly) Jung Woo Sung. One of the first Korean dramas that became popular in the Philippines was Memories in Bali (aka. What Happened in Bali?), but the first So Ji Sub drama that I saw was I’m Sorry, I Love You (aka MISA = Mianhada, Saranghanda). Therefore, as a certified Tita of K-Drama (est. 2005), attendance to So Ji Sub’s Manila fanmeet is a MUST.

In a nutshell, So Ji Sub in Manila “Hello” is the most sulit fanmeet of a Korean artist that I’ve ever attended. :thumbup: First of all, the artist is a legitimate top brass entertainer in his home country; it’s not often that a Korean A-lister visits the Philippines for a public appearance. Secondly, SJS is also a recording artist, so I know that he will do more than just sing a song or two, do a short interview, play a few games and dish out some fan service. What I didn’t expect is that his fanmeet doubles as a mini-concert, as well. I know that his music is hiphop, though, so I got disoriented that he opened the show with a rendition of Barry Manilow’s Can’t Smile Without You. :P

As with nearly all Korean entertainers that I’ve had the pleasure of attending their fanmeets (concerts are a different matter), So Ji Sub looked reserved and rather shy at first. But once he got the hang of it, he turned out to be a wonderfully charming individual who knows which buttons to press to make the audience swoon. I think – and I got to give mad props to her for this – the event host Ms Kring Elenzano-Kim was a big factor to it. Her jokes and antics were a big hit for SJS. :thumbup: So Ji Sub is already a senior artist (by senior I mean he’s been in the industry for so long and not senior as in senior citizen) and he’s his own agency, so I’m guessing they’re more lenient with the do’s and don’ts of Korean fanmeets. Kring can pull off the naughtier jokes and SJS accordingly responded. He was so game with everything that’s happening. Pulp Live got a good Kor-Eng translator, too, and that’s also one of the factors why the event was so much fun. There was camaraderie among all three of them onstage that there weren’t any dead spots nor awkward moments. They looked like they’ve been doing this together all along.


It’s just too bad that we were ordered to put away our cameras at around the 20-minute mark. Only cellphones were allowed from then on. I didn’t want my camera to get confiscated so, law-abiding citizen that I am, I stuffed my monster of a point-and-shoot in my bag and just tried to make do with my cellphone’s cam. My seat was too far away from the stage, though, so I wasn’t able to properly capture the cutesy stuff during the fun games.


The only time I had the guts to break the rules was during the last number of the mini-concert. I figured, they probably won’t be as strict anymore since the show is about to end. Still, I just tried to take photos by stealth. I didn’t know until I sorted my photos at home that my ninja-moves were able to produce some decent shots during the mini-concert, after all. So YAY! for me. :hihihi:

Other random observations:

1. One of my fears whenever there’s a fanmeet of a Korean artist in Manila is what I call the ‘praying mantis’ moment. For those who are new to this blog: ‘praying mantis moment’ refers to incidents of overly-enthusiastic fans who blatantly invade the artist’s personal space in the guise of being “passionate”. :rolleyes: This often results to the artist getting too uncomfortable, thus, ruining the moment. Extreme cases result to the incident being reported in K-entertainment sites like AllKpop, etc. For examples, see my Aftermath Reports on Kim Hyun Joong (where I first used the term) and Lee Min Ho’s Manila fanmeets.

For So Ji Sub’s fanmeet, I am very happy to report that no such incident occurred. :clap: The lady who won the much-coveted grand prize of a limited-edition necklace and exclusive polaroids was very respectful of SJS’s personal space. She only asked for a handshake, which she got. And then, SJS asked her if he could give her a hug. *cue screams of extreme jealousy from the rest of the fandom* See there, “passionate” fangirls? If you respect the artist, you will get more than what you wanted. I hope we learned something from this.

2. This is one of the few fanmeets of a non-English speaking Korean artist where the star talked a lot and I mean A LOT. :hihihi: I couldn’t stop raving about this. So Ji Sub’s interaction with the host and the audience was so spontaneous and flowed smoothly, you wouldn’t think that there’s a language barrier. He obviously knew that he was being taken for a ride at times (‘mahal kita’ now bears a totally new meaning beginning that night), but he willingly took that ride to entertain the fans. I totally love him for that.

3. I’d put this comment here after re-reading the aforementioned praying-mantis links: It’s so refreshing that I attended an event of a non-Pinoy artist where he was not asked about what he thinks about Filipino women. :razz:

4. Most of the attendees belong to the category ‘Titas of K-Drama’. Which is fine, because it means that a good percentage of the audience are those who knew So Ji Sub even before Oh My Venus, or Terius, or even Master’s Sun. I was one of those who raised her hand when Kring asked if there’s anyone in the audience who first knew SJS from Memories of Bali. Tita of K-Drama, and proud of it! :thumbup:

5. And since most of the audience are older, I was afraid that the mini-concert won’t get a good reception as it’s going to be hip hop. Surprise! Loud screams erupted when we heard the opening strains of iKON’s Love Scenario. Of course, the energy isn’t as loud and lasting as in a Kpop concert with kids in the audience, but it’s good enough for So Ji Sub. The event ended on a high note.

All in all, it was a great night. It certainly is worth the ticket price. Thank you so much, Pulp Live World, for bringing So Ji Sub to Manila.

I was able to take some (“some” :grin: ) photos before we were asked to put our cameras away. I uploaded them all on my Facebook gallery. Please do check them out. :smile:

For more of my Aftermath Reports on K-pop/K-Drama events, please visit my K-pop Events Aftermath page.

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Train to Hanyang.

Mini-Review: Kingdom

I have been amiss with my K-drama viewing for more than a year. I simply don’t have the time, energy and attention span for it lately. However, Netflix released its first original Korean series called Kingdom, which is often described as a “medieval Korean zombie movie” or as some put it, “Train to Busan meets Game of Thrones“.

I’ve never seen Game of Thrones – yup, surprise! I’m one of the few – but I have seen Train to Busan and I’m a veteran of K-dramas. The plot seems interesting. And most of all, this series only has six episodes. It should be easy to binge watch on a weekend. I added it to my watchlist right away.

Guess what: it’s not the weekend, and I had planned on popping in just a couple of episodes last night until I fall asleep. I ended up marathoning the entire thing and slept at 2:30 in the morning. :sleep:

Kingdom has all the elements of a classic sageuk (Korean historical drama): the political intrigue, the lies and conspiracies, the power grabbing, the prejudice among classes, the violent resolution to anything. Throw in a horde of zombies in there and literally, all hell breaks loose. It’s brilliant how the screenwriter and director were able to fuse these two plots seamlessly. I even find it hilarious that there’s discrimination among classes even among the undead. Only on sageuk, folks! :lmao: This isn’t just blood and gore and mayhem – don’t worry if you’re watching this for that, though, there’s a lot of that in there, too – it also has a story. A very familiar story to those who have even the slightest knowledge of Korea’s history and culture. I won’t go into too much details so as not to spoil it for others.

Acting wise, the entire cast delivered. Joo Jihoon is simply perfect as the Crown Prince Lee Chan. He’s no stranger to royal characters; remember his breakthrough role of Shin Goon in Goong? But I think Joo Jihoon has improved by leaps and bounds in terms of acting here. Every scene he’s in is believable. Even his moments of PTSD looked painful to me as a viewer, but in a good way.

I think I’ve only seen Ryu Seung Ryeong in movies where he played an evil palace official, and I’m not surprised. He has mastered the art of playing one.

I’m kinda disoriented seeing Bae Doona in a role where she wore a lot of clothes. :hihihi: She has always portrayed strong female characters, but her role here required her to be strong, but with a timid quality of a peasant during the Joseon era. I think she nailed it.

But the best part of Kingdom for me is its production values. The cinematography is just gorgeous. :arrow: Joseon-period Korea looked so beautiful here. The royal costumes looked elegant. I even saw some Tweets noting the hats that the characters wore. You know, fighting zombies in fabulous hats and all that. :lol: There’s authenticity in the costume design. It’s not like in other productions where we see stuff like the clothes still looking immaculate after a fight scene in the mud.

Most of all, I was fascinated at how the director choreographed, framed and shot all the zombie swarm scenes. The exciting chase scenes gave the adrenaline rush, but nothing beats those quiet attacks that are both eerie and haunting at the same time. You’ll find yourself staring at the screen no matter how squeamish you are at all that blood and gore.

As for the story and screenplay: viewers who are not so familiar with Korean period dramas might find the slow-burning presentation of the plot and characters a bit too lengthy. I mean, we won’t see actual zombies until the end of episode 1. But as I’ve said, the story is essential to this zombie series and it wouldn’t hurt to learn more about how things became what they are. What I love about Kingdom is, it knew exactly how to make its audience thirst for more. It will leave you wishing that it had 20 more episodes. Or at least, a Season 2 that’s just right around the corner.

(Image credits: Netflix)

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In memoriam.

Quite a number of well-known personalities have passed on since the beginning of 2019. Three of them have etched a mark to my life as a fangirl.

In a shocking development, Razorback drummer Brian Velasco took his own life on January 16, 2019. I have fond memories of Brian way back my bandstalker days from 2001 to 2005. As a regular of gigs during that era, I’ve rubbed elbows with Brian and the rest of Razorback practically on a regular basis. I’ve shared beers with some of their members until the wee hours of the morning. Looking back, it was Razorback who first believed in my skills as a photographer. I was just a beginner back then, taking photos of not just The Dawn but any band that took the stage in the gigs and events I went to. Kevin of Razorback loved the idea of having someone documenting their gigs the way I did for The Dawn. It came to a point when he would text me their gig schedule just so I could come and document it for them through my photos. This is why I was able to amass a number of pics of Razorback and their side bands – and naturally, Brian – throughout my stint as a band stalker, some of which I immortalized on the internet through this post that I made in February 2006 specifically about Brian Velasco.

Brian and I were not particularly close, but that memory of him greeting me first at a party even if we were never formally introduced to each other is one of those things that will be etched in my mind and heart forever.

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A couple of days ago, another legend of OPM passed on: the one and only, Joey “Pepe” Smith.

Being in the Pinoy rock scene for almost five years, you can say that I’ve had several up-close moments with Mr. Rakenrol, himself. I didn’t get to meet him personally – you can pretty much guess why – but being a Pinoy rock fan within close proximity of a legend several times is certainly one for the books. Just witnessing him perform in the flesh is more than enough.

I now regret not seeing that gig Pepe Smith had with The Dawn in late 2017 at a bar in Bulacan.

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Today, we receive news that one of the best vocalists in the world, Mr. James Ingram, has succumbed to brain cancer. :sad:

I had a close encounter with Mr. Ingram way back in 1997 (if I remember correctly). I was assigned to a special audit engagement at one of the government offices in Mandaluyong area. To get home, I passed by SM Megamall every day. In one of those days, James Ingram had an autograph signing session at Megamall. I’m not exactly an avid fan but James Ingram is James Ingram, so I quickly bought a copy of his album The Power of Great Music (in cassette at the time) and lined up to get it signed. I did have it signed, but not before witnessing what happened to the person before me. The woman had the guts to extend her hand to Mr. Ingram for a handshake, but his security people were quick to grab her arm and wave her off. I heard them saying something along the likes of, “oh hell no, you can’t do that” and they were talking with James about these fans trying to one up them as if they can get away with it. In my mind I was thinking, “dude, we can understand English around here.” :neutral: Needless to say, when my turn came, I just handed him the tape to sign and walked out of there as fast as I could.

Yup, not a very good memory. But as I said, James Ingram is James Ingram. Not many people get that kind of up-close experience with an internationally renowned celebrity.

(Oh look at Agent P, not bitching and, instead, justifying an experience with a rude celebrity. What the heck just happened? :lol: I guess I’m just giving him a break, since he’s already passed on.)

Side note: Someone on Twitter said that at some point, all of us had an, “I did my best, but I guess my best wasn’t good enough” moment. For me and some of my Rain friends, it’s an “I did my VEST” moment. :hihihi: It’s quite funny reminiscing that at one point in our lives, we would listen to Just Once and think that it was James Ingram who was singing it all wrong. :lmao:

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Rest in Peace, Brian, Sir Pepe and Mr. Ingram. Thank you for the music.

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Alden at 27 – Sunday Pinasaya.

Here’s another #latepost. :oops:

If the Eat…Bulaga! gig was last minute, this one was VERY last minute. :hihihi: Without a confirmed slot, we decided to take our chances at Sunday Pinasaya the night before. I got there at the studio around 11:00am (the show is at 12:00nn). My friend did not arrive until 12:30. Thankfully, we were let in even if we’re late and didn’t have any tickets nor reservations. We almost missed the opening number, though.
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