Aftermath: Alden Richards ‘Wish I May’ Album Tour
06 December 2015 – SM City Marilao, Bulacan
I thought it would be easy to write about this. Apparently not, hence, the late posting.
Alden Richards’ ‘Wish I May’ Album Tour only had four stops. Three of those are in the south (ok, to be more accurate: one at southeast and two at southwest). Only one was north of Metro Manila, where I live. And it had to be at that place where I live. You can imagine how I nearly cried when I was told that SM City Marilao will be the last leg of this tour. Finally! A mall show where I can literally walk from my house to the venue! (Wait… I also walked to Philippine Arena. But that’s an entirely different story altogether.)
This particular stop of the ‘Wish I May’ album tour was different from the others. This was the only stop where charity was involved. In order to get VIP passes for the show, SM Marilao required only one purchase: a CD bundle worth Php500.00 that includes the following:
1. A ‘Wish I May’ CD;
2. An SM Cares Bears of Joy for the benefit of SM’s Housing Project for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda;
3. A VIP pass for Alden’s “Wish I May” album tour;
4. Photo op with Alden Richards;
5. An SM Supermalls Eco Bag
Full mechanics to avail of this promo can be seen here. Note that there was no mention of it being an open-to-the-public event, and it was clearly stated that there will be no autograph signing and that it will be Standing Room Only. Therefore, you cannot blame me if I seriously wanted to strangle all those people at SM Marilao’s Facebook page who complained about things that they would have understood if they only read the mechanics, and if they had common sense.
I personally found the SM Marilao mechanics eons better. First, it’s wayyyy cheaper than SM Rosario’s php1500 minimum purchase that still did not include the CD (and that’s per person/ticket). Second, the proceeds are for charity. Several people asked me to buy CD bundles for them even if they won’t be able to make it to the event simply because they like the thought that aside from being able to support Alden, they would also be supporting a worthy cause. Therefore, I find it extremely laughable when some guy remarked that ‘gusto lang ng SM Marilao kumita ng pera’ when in fact, the proceeds are for charity. He even compared it to another event which mechanics were purely for income-generating purposes. Funny how uninformed people tend to generate the most hilarious remarks. Anyway…
Despite my house being near the venue, I went to SM Marilao at 9:00am. Well, I went there that early mainly because I decided to attend Sunday Mass there. Around Holy Communion, I saw a few attendees surreptitiously leaving the Mass area after receiving the Host. I was tempted to follow them, but I thought, there’s no way I’m not finishing Mass just to go to Event Center. Baka parusahan ako ni Lord, hindi ko makita si Alden. I left as soon as the priest gave the final blessing, and this is what I found:
I thought I was early. Apparently not. I also immediately noticed the plywood walls (or as one complainant repeatedly said: ‘FLYWOOD’ ) – well, because who wouldn’t notice those??? – and to be quite honest? I got sad. It means lesser people will get to see Alden. However, I had been monitoring this event ever since the date was confirmed and I knew about the apprehensions of SM Marilao management as regards crowd control and safety. You see, Alden has had two mall shows in Bulacan after AlDub became super-popular: one at Starmall in the City of San Jose Del Monte, and one at Robinson’s Place, Malolos. In both those shows, there was considerable damage to property and reports of people getting hurt. The Starmall one, in particular, was a security nightmare. SM Marilao’s Event Center is a lot smaller than those two malls. Can you blame SM Marilao’s management if they wanted to instill adequate security measures for everyone’s safety?
At first, I was actually laughing at SM Marilao’s apparent paranoia because the event center of The District in Imus, Cavite is smaller than SM Marilao’s Event Center. Then I remembered how we were packed like sardines at The District and the lola on a wheelchair was trampled by hordes of excited fans. Also, contrary to claims that SM Marilao was the only tour stop that was not open to the public, those who didn’t buy CDs at The District did not get to see Alden. Thinking about that, I understood, and I was glad for the over-cautiousness of SM Marilao’s management. Especially after what I witnessed with the SM Marilao crowd. More on that later.
As for the often-compared SM Rosario show… it might have the bigger crowd in terms of numbers, but it’s not necessarily the better event. I’ll just leave it at that.
(See? I can say these things because I was at all the legs of the tour and I know the situation. Can these complaining people who didn’t even spend a single centavo on Alden yet they scream ‘unfair!’ like there’s no tomorrow legitimately claim the same thing?)
The SM Marilao leg of the tour had its flaws, but then, all of them do. I just decided not to dwell on the negative parts in my other blog entries because there simply was no point in doing so. Yes, Agent P has been broken by Alden Richards because in the past, you would be reading practically nothing but strongly-worded rants on this blog.
Anyway, going back to the Aftermath report. We didn’t have to be inside the Event Center that early yet as we have both VIP passes and tour IDs, so me and my Alden Nation friends just hung around the nearby Food Court to wait things out. SM has taken the reins of CD selling so we basically didn’t have anything to do before the show. While waiting, we noticed that there was a growing line at Beer Station and that’s when we found out that a purchase of a special event bundle would entitle the buyer access to the second floor area where they could watch Alden’s show. It’s considerably cheaper than the CD bundle, but there will be no photo op. I guess some people didn’t mind, seeing how packed the second floor was. Better than not seeing Alden at all, right?
My only complaint about this entire thing was the heat. I don’t know why SM Marilao opted not to turn the air-conditioning on and with that horde of people, the heat and humidity were just TERRIBLE. We’re one seething mass of sweaty, sticky people in there.
Let’s cut through the unimportant parts and jump to the actual show. I think I was already getting woozy from the heat at that point that I was still leisurely sitting at the sidelines when Papa Obet of 97.1 Barangay LS suddenly introduced Alden Richards. I was like, “ow shit, I’m not ready yet!” and hurriedly walkathoned towards the small, barricaded space in between the stage and the crowd. What amazed me was that (1) one of the other accredited photographers even motioned me to follow him; and (2) none of the Orange Rogelios nor SM security tried to stop me. I can understand why the Orange Rogelios gave me a leeway; aside from my GMA Records ID, we’ve been together through this whole tour that they’ve probably already memorized my face and know that I only take photos and nothing else. As for SM security, they were even smiling at me every time they see me. I guess being at SM Marilao nearly every day, especially during pre-selling when I came back several times to buy CD bundles for colleagues and relatives, had its perks. And I think they saw me chit-chatting with the mall manager, whom I know personally. Didn’t I mention that Marilao is my hometown? Thus, I managed to make it to my prime spot as one of the accredited photographers just in time for Alden’s stage entrance:
Before I knew it, I found myself at the center of the stage, totally unobstructed and super-close to my subject.
And I didn’t have to sit on the floor, because it’s SRO so I have no worries about blocking the people behind me. No #SalampakPaMore this time!
It’s one of those moments when I just found myself asking what great thing did I do in my past life to deserve this. After the initial shock came the realization that Alden looked totally gorgeous with his newly-trimmed hair and super-blooming aura. He even looked so fresh despite the heat and humidity. Asan ang hustisya???
But then, he’s only human. He succumbed to the heat. Just as I was a few steps in front of him, he complained about the heat and stripped off his jacket.
This moment is, by far, my most surreal mall show experience. EVER.
Suddenly, and unintentionally, Alden’s arms became my prime subject. My friends at PEx know this: when we ‘divided’ Alden’s body parts among ourselves (it sounded very The Walking Dead, but it’s really more of a #TeamAlembong thing ), I claimed ownership of one of his biceps. I don’t know how I survived seeing them up close and in person.
Alden was still recovering from his illness so his voice still sounded a bit hoarse. He apologized for it even if it’s totally unnecessary. Do you think anyone cared?
Then came the part where Alden will reach out to his audience, as he always does with his mall shows. The crowd went wild – well, wilder – which led to several people being squished at the barriers.
I saw crying children being plucked out from the crowd and into that small space between the stage and the barricade. The Orange Boys started jumping off the stage to assist SM security with crowd control. We had to give them space, so me and the other photographer (who happened to be Mr. Rene Salta, GMA Records’ Managing Director) climbed up the extended platform. And I suddenly found myself face-to-face with, and literally a couple of steps away, from Alden Richards.
Alden moved towards center stage, and this is him with no zoom.
I was super-duper close to him that when I zoomed in, I got scared. My zoom lens was not even half-extended when I took this photo.
At that point, I wondered if I should go down the platform. But things were really getting busy down there with security trying to instill crowd control. I noticed that Sir Rene was still there and the other photographers have climbed up the platform, as well. So I just stayed there until Alden went backstage to prepare for the photo op. To all the people whose fancams got blocked by my (sexy) body… do you have copy of it uploaded somewhere? I need it for documentation purposes. Although I have a hunch that I might be starring in Alden’s next tour video to be posted at GMA Records’ YouTube channel.
When Alden came back onstage, I still was able to take a few shots of the Meet and Greet even if I’m not supposed to. Nobody’s stopping me, so I just clicked away.
Now comes the exciting part. You see, I was supposed to hand over a new photobook to Alden at SM Rosario. I called it ‘Alden Richards Photobook Part 1.5’, because it’s smaller than the first one. However, I personally decided against it (you already know why). I had initially envisioned that I will be able to give it to him at SM Marilao, anyway, since it’s my territory. However, things changed drastically at SM Marilao. We were informed by the mall admins that only a limited number of people will be allowed backstage based on the short list given to them and we were not on that list (but the rule was not enforced, anyway, so WTH was that??? Ooops, didn’t I promise not to rant anymore? ). I don’t know what’s up with the sudden strictness, but Alden Nation people are such sticklers for following the rules, so we just formulated a Plan B.
Since we all bought the CD bundle, we were basically entitled to join the Meet and Greet (and I have, like, four extra ones so I’m entitled to four more photo ops, hahaha!). We just decided to do that, and I decided to just hand over the book to Alden during the photo op. I won’t be able to have my copy signed, but who knows? I might get a better opportunity in the future. What’s really important to me at that point was to be able to personally hand it over to Alden. If I won’t be able to, I’ll just wait for another time. Baka hindi pa Tamang Panahon.
In the other tour stops, we usually leave early because the venue was too far (or in Market! Market!’s case, we had an early day the following day; that ‘following day’ was Tamang Panahon). Since SM Marilao is relatively near (or in my case, super-duper near), we decided to wait it out until everyone else got their photo ops before we had our turn. We just assisted them with the queue. Believe me, they needed the assistance. So many people were just plain pasaway. Aren’t we all glad that SM Marilao got too strict with security? We didn’t know how it was in other tour stops, but many of the SM Marilao attendees got a lil’ bit too carried away that personally, I got scared that they might decide to halt the proceedings before our turn comes. Nothing too extreme, though, and Alden was able to handle things professionally. He’s too used to it by now, I guess.
So our turn came, and I am personally thankful that they allowed us to take a group picture with just the five of us from Alden Nation + Sir Rene instead of the required 10 pax per photo. While waiting for our turn, I told my co-Alden Nation admins that in the spirit of #SalampakPaMore, I will be taking the floor during the photo op. When we approached Alden, Rachell crouched down on his right side so I transferred to the other side, knelt down on one knee, presented the photobook to Alden and said, “for you” to him. (Did that sound like a wedding proposal or what? ) He delightedly accepted it and said, “ikaw yung sa ano… sa District!” He remembered the Epic Encounter. This guy has good memory, huh! Just as he was saying his thank-yous, it was time for the photo op so he put his arm around me and I felt him pulling me closer towards him. It was such a lingering memory that I still felt his arm around me long after we had left the place. I had hugged a lot of celebrities before, but it’s the first time that I’ve had that feeling.
Now here’s the thing, and I swear I’m not making this up: As I was recalling the day’s events later that night, I had wondered about one thing. I don’t have very strong knees, so they were kinda buckling during the photo op. I remembered holding onto something to steady myself while our photo was being taken, but I don’t remember what exactly did I hold on to.
When I woke up next day and checked my messages, I found the answer.
Ooooh..! So THAT’s what I held on to steady myself. I totally swear that it was unintentional.
Here’s a small gallery of photos I took from SM Marilao. More are posted at Alden Nation’s official Facebook page.
This concludes Agent P’s coverage of Alden Richards “Wish I May” Album Tour.
I would like to sincerely express my gratitude to GMA Records for allowing Alden Nation to become part of Alden’s “Wish I May” album tour. Here’s to more partnerships in the future.
Lastly, thank you so much, Alden Nation, for trusting me with this “job”. AlDub you all, ladies! We still have a long way to go! Pordalab of Alden!