A lil’ night of Original Pilipino Music.

Aftermath: ‘San Juan Para sa Marawi’ Benefit Concert
September 20, 2017 – FilOil Flying V Centre

A couple of days ago, I had the opportunity to witness the best and the brightest in Philippine Music perform in one stage for a good cause.

Ms. Celeste Legaspi. Mr. Basil Valdez. The CompanY. Esang De Torres. Under the helm of Maestro Ryan Cayabyab. All for the benefit of the survivors of the Marawi Siege.

It was truly one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen.

Save for Edith Piaf’s La Vie En Rose which was sung in three languages (Filipino, French and English), it was an all-Original Pilipino Music repertoire. It was lovely listening to these classic Filipino songs and realizing the beauty our music then. The lyrics were pure poetry, and the melody was exquisite. We don’t get that much often these days. :sad:

The show kicked off with a rendition of Vehnee Saturno’s Awit Sa Marawi, sung by Esang De Torres and The CompanY. The CompanY was wonderful, as expected. But I was pleasantly surprised at Esang. The girl has raw talent which has improved by leaps and bounds, thanks to her theater training and constant guidance by her The Voice Kids coach, Ms. Lea Salonga.

I have always loved Ms Celeste Legaspi’s voice. She has such a hauntingly pure tone that’s pleasant to the ears, and she still possesses solid, powerful vocals despite her age. Also, she’s such a delight to photograph. Her facial expressions and her body language are so camera-friendly. :hihihi:

The whole show was eargasm personified, but my most favorite number of the night has to be Basil Valdez’ version of George Canseco and Louie Ocampo’s Ikaw. I’ve known that song to be originally sung by Sharon Cuneta, then revived by Regine Velasquez. It was only now that I learned that the real original version was by Basil Valdez, and his version was simply the BEST of the lot. It was… BEAUTIFUL. Just beautiful.

Concerts nowadays usually showcase special effects, complicated staging and choreography, and/or vocal acrobatics. Sometimes, it’s wonderful to take a break from all that and see something that focuses more on just the music. I’m very thankful that I was able to still experience something like this, and for good cause at that.



Aftermath: “Trenta” The Dawn’s 30th Anniversary Concert
17 September 2016 – Craft Bar and Grill, The Fort

Agent P’s note: This is more than a week late, but I feel that I still have to write about it. :smile:

On bandstalker mode tonight. 🀘🎀🎸🎹🎢 #TheDawn #OPM #PinoyRock #Legends @thedawnph

A photo posted by Paulette Agent P (@agent_pau) on

It’s been more than eleven years since I last saw The Dawn. For five years, I was their No. 1 Stalker. I carry that title with pride. :hihihi: Heck, they’re the reason why this blog’s domain name is ‘bandstalker.com’ (most probably to the consternation of real band stalkers whom I literally snatched this domain name from under their noses). For those who admire my photography skills (if you could call that ‘skills’), you have this band to thank for. I learned the ropes from five years of my close proximity to them.

This is why when they announced their 30th Anniversary gig, I immediately decided that I *must* be there. For old times’ sake. Fortunately, my brother-slash-bandstalking-partner is still up for it.

(c) Agent P

What can I say? It’s like 11 years did not pass. It’s still the same The Dawn that rocks our socks. Jett Pangan still has the best voice among band vocalists in this country. He’s like wine that gets better with age. :razz: I hate bringing out the word “age” because it also reminds me of my own, but can I just say that this band seems to have defied it?

It’s my first time to see them with Sancho on guitars and he certainly jelled well with the group. During my bandstalker days, Sancho was playing for Cynthia Alexander and Loquy, and his main axe was an acoustic guitar. I’ve always been in awe at how he would shred that acoustic as if he’s playing electric. Watching him play electric now is both a new experience and a reminder of how great a musician he is.

(c) Agent P

I had wondered how they were going to do the two-bass-players thing because, I know I sound incredibly ignorant right now, but has there ever been a rock band in the world that has two bass players? The thing that got me hooked on The Dawn way back in the 80s was their bass lines. No, the fact that their bass player was cute has nothing to do with it, although it certainly helped. :blink: Admittedly, one of the reasons why I was hell-bent on attending the 30th anniversary gig was because they brought back Carlos Balcells. And then they also brought back Mon Legaspi, who was my other close buddy in the band when I was still stalking them. That’s two really good reasons not to miss this show.

Because I love 'em bass players. #TheDawnPH #CarlosBalcells #MonLegaspi #PinoyRock #Legends #OPM @thedawnph

A photo posted by Paulette Agent P (@agent_pau) on

I thought they were just going to ‘share’ the set. First up was Carlos; then after a few songs, Mon took over the bass duties while Francis Brew took a break and let Carlos play acoustic guitar for Talaga Naman (Carlos was the original acoustic guitar player on that song).

(c) Agent P

Mon then played bass on the next few songs, until Iisang Bangka came… with both Mon and Carlos on bass. :whoa:

It was sensory overload for me. I was stunned and in awe over the double-bass-player set up that I failed to record the first verse of Bangka. :slaphead: Fortunately, the set up stayed until the end of the show so I was able to record Enveloped Ideas in its entirety.

Their setlist was a mix of classics and new songs; admittedly, it was my first time to hear their songs post-Harapin. :oops: But I enjoyed them, nonetheless. I just wish they had lesser covers and more of their hit songs. Noticeably missing on the list were Love Will Set Us Free (it would’ve been great hearing them play this live with Leni Llapitan on keyboards), Alam Ko, Alam N’yo, Salimpusa (I’d probably die if they played these two songs with two bass players), Beyond The Bend and I Stand With You. I even missed Little Paradise, but for entirely different reasons. :hihihi: I was ecstatic, though, that they opened the set with I Saw You Coming In as it’s one of my biggest faves. It was also nice to hear them play Behind Shadows, which, according to Jett, was only possible because Carlos was with them.

All in all, it was a great night. It certainly brought out the nostalgia; at the same time it felt good that, as I’ve previously said, it seemed that my eleven-year absence was not felt with this band. Me and my bro were still queueing outside the venue when Mon spotted us from a distance and immediately called us out (and then looked for our other band buddy; dude, I really have no idea where he was that night). And then, the even bigger surprise: we were right there in front, with my brother directly across Jett. But the first one to notice us among the guys onstage was Carlos, whom we haven’t spent that much time with during our years of stalking The Dawn. :shock: It was a total shock that he still remembered us. Of course, Jett acknowledged our presence, too. He always did, and he always does. Nice to see you again, guys. :smile:

Trenta will have a repeat at the Music Museum in November. Catch them if you can. :thumbup: :rakenrol:


Postscript: I guess all that photography training that stemmed from my bandstalking stint has paid off. One of my photos from this gig was used as the accompanying photo for Lea Salonga’s article on Trenta for The Philippine Daily Inquirer. :thumbup:

Super-psyched to see my photo on today's issue of Inquirer. On @msleasalonga 's column, no less! #TheDawn @thedawnph

A photo posted by Paulette Agent P (@agent_pau) on

Salamat at tayo'y nagkasamang muli. 🀘 #TheDawn #trenta #OPM #PinoyRock #Legends @thedawnph @jettjp

A photo posted by Paulette Agent P (@agent_pau) on


Rak of Aegis rocks!

[Agent P’s Note: I should be blogging about Big Bang MADE in Manila first, but I decided to post this one instead because (1) I still need to sort, choose, resize and tag the photos from BB concert; (2) PH VIPs are still on #NaBigbangKa mode (check Twitter to know what it’s all about) and I don’t think they’re ready to reminisce about last Thursday’s concert just yet. Assuming anyone will bother to read it, that is. :P I’ll try to squeeze it in tonight, that is, if I still have time and energy to do things as I also have lots of stuff to do that has nothing to do with blogging.]

I have always wanted to watch Rak of Aegis since its first run. No, actually, it was my father who really, REALLY wanted to see Rak of Aegis since he first saw Aicelle Santos and Isay Alvarez promoting the play at a noontime show. However, we never really had the opportunity to check it out for whatever reason.

My friend Charity saw it last year when her company sponsored a show and she saw it a few times more after that. She highly recommended it to us. Unfortunately again, the shows got sold out pretty fast. So when production has announced that Rak of Aegis will have one last run, I had to make sure that I will see at least one show.

It was by stroke of luck that I saw Aegis – the band itself – mentioning on TV that they will be at the August 1 show, and Charity was able to score tickets for the already almost-sold out date. :rakenrol:

Unfortunately (this is turning out to be a fortunately/unfortunately type of blog entry :boinkself: ), Lou and I got stuck in super-horrible traffic yesterday. It took us almost three hours from her home in Mandaluyong to PETA Theater in New Manila. No, it’s actually more than three hours from Mandaluyong to Betty Go-Belmonte Ave. in Quezon City which still 1.3 kilometers away from PETA Theater. As we were stuck on the same spot near the corner of Balete Drive and E.Rodriguez Sr. Avenue for nearly 40 minutes and Charity, who was already at the venue, texted that the show has already started, we just decided to walk the rest of the way. Long story short, we missed the first 30 minutes of the play.

Fortunately (see? :glee: ), Charity said that we walked in just as the main highlight of the story is unfolding and we only basically missed the character introductions. We still thoroughly enjoyed the show even if we missed a chunk of it.

My random comments:

1. Pansin ko lang, parang bawal ang hindi mahusay kumanta sa show na ito? Everyone in the cast are excellent singers. As in you can’t even rank them, they’re all really good. Whenever I watch musicals or concerts I am very particular about singing in tune. None of them missed a note. :thumbup:

2. I have always loved Aicelle Santos, even way back her Pinoy Pop Superstar days. I love the rich tone of her voice and the fact that she’s always on key even while dancing, running around, climbing stairs, etc. This was actually what impressed a lot of people when she participated (and won) Eat Bulaga’s #AegisPaMore contest. Seeing her in Rak of Aegis cemented my admiration of her. She’s one of those female singers who can ‘birit’ without making me grit my teeth in annoyance.

3. I’ve been hearing a lot about Jerald Napoles as Tolits (mainly from Charity who’s been #TeamTolits from the beginning), particularly how he manages to steal every show he’s in. I first saw him in Magsimula Ka! and re-reading that blog entry now made me realize that I had the same comment about him: he stands out in every show he’s in. He’s quite a nice guy, too. People were crowding all over him at the Meet and Greet after the show and he tries his best to give everyone a chance to take pics with him. Even if Cha had to literally grab his arm and pull him over so that we can take a photo. :hihihi:

4. The actress who played Mary Jane – Stella Mendoza, if I’m not mistaken – nailed the Barangay Captain role with precise accuracy. I work with Kapitanas on a regular basis; she looked and talked exactly like them.

5. The story itself and the in-jokes are very Pinoy, which might explain why it’s so popular. I love that they manage to update snippets the dialog to match with what’s ‘in’ these days (eg., the mention of ‘Pabebe’). Also, mad props to that PA announcer who also brings in the laughs. I won’t go into detail in case anyone who hasn’t seen the show will read this. I don’t want to spoil the fun for you. :smile:

The show ends, and then came the post-show with Aegis band that made the night a million times more awesome.


Seryoso. Saan kumukuha ng taas ng boses ang mga babaeng ito???? And they’re not grating to the ears, huh! :whoa:

Special mention must be made about that ‘isa pa!’ (one more!) segment of Sinta where Aegis’ Juliet Sunot challenged cast member Phi Palmos (who fabulously played Jewel in the musical) to sing the chorus one step higher at every repeat. He tried it out four times IIRC, which means Phi sang it at least four octaves higher. If you know the song, you’re probably like this right now: :stretcher: .

Side note: It was such a delight to watch an audience that is composed mainly of people from the alta-sociedad, about a quarter of which are senior citizens, that unanimously headbanged and sang along with Aegis. :rakenrol: This band’s demographics are to die for.

All in all, I really regret not seeing Rak of Aegis sooner. I highly recommend it to anyone, that is, anyone who can still manage to score tickets for its last few play dates.