Aftermath: “Thank You For 30” Cebuana Lhuillier 30th Anniversary Concert
01 September 2017 – Mall of Asia Arena
This is one of those beautiful accidents that I didn’t plan on happening, but it did.
Around 2:00pm, 1st of September. I was busy twiddling my thumbs at home when I received a message from a certain someone, asking me if I’m watching the Cebuana Lhuillier concert happening that very same day. I said no, I don’t have a ticket. She said she has some, and she’s giving it to me and my fellow ‘no-group’ friends. Her only reason: she wants me to be there. Ok, then. Who am I to say, ‘no’ to that? I’ve been really wanting to see this show because, hello. Alden Richards and Sarah Geronimo. And then JaDine was announced as surprise guests just the night before. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to score tickets #longstory but I guess the universe – or certain, uhm, *someones* – really wants me to witness this.
So I took a quick shower, grabbed my super-zoom cameras which were, thankfully, fully-charged, and hurried towards Mall of Asia Arena for the Thank You For 30 concert.
I think I shouldn’t be attending events when I’m sorely lacking in sleep. I went to bed at around 5:00am Sunday morning because of a K-drama marathon – something I haven’t done for the longest time – and I got up less than three hours later because I have to be at Wilcon Depot Quezon Avenue as early as possible for Alden’s Meet and Greet for Yale Locks. (Take note, I never said “slept” and “woke up” because while my eyes were closed, my brain was wide awake. ) I have to be early because I haven’t bought the required purchase yet, and it’s first come, first served. I just downed a huge mug of coffee and off I went to the event.
So this is what happens when Agent P is running purely on caffeine:
While on the queue, a Yale staff laid down the ground rules for the Meet and Greet. To quote:
“Bawal po mag-selfie, bawal ang autograph. Bawal po kumandong kay Alden, bawal kumiss! May tanong po ba?”
(No selfies, no autographs, no sitting on Alden’s lap, don’t kiss him. Any questions?)
I raised my hand – in front of everyone in the queue, if I may add, which may or may not include people who hate me with a passion – and said, “kuya, paano pag si Alden ang kumiss sa amin? Tatanggi na lang ba kami? Choosy pa kami, ganon?” (what if it’s Alden who kissed us? Should we say, ‘no’? Are we going to be choosy?)
The look on the staff’s face was priceless as he struggled to find answers to my questions.
So we’re finally allowed to go up the 3rd floor, where the Meet and Greet shall be. Senior citizens and PWDs were already let in ahead of the rest of us and were given seats in front of the mini-stage. Meanwhile, the rest of us were lined up way beyond the cordoned off area (pretty much like the Yale event at Robinson’s Manila the week prior) and have this wonderful view of the mini-stage:
Uh… care to tell us what’s going on? The stage was completely blocked from this vantage point.
When we moved to a spot where we can see the stage, the view was still blocked by the people inside the cordoned-off area which included super-tall security people and Yale/Wilcon staff.
You bet there were lots of complaints about this. I mean, we all followed the required purchase, so why should the rest of us be deprived of seeing Alden a bit longer just because we’re neither seniors nor PWDs? Fortunately for them, I was not in the mood to argue; I was more in the mood to calm the irate customer down. Yep, me, Agent P, was the calm one. What happened?
Ok, so Alden has arrived and it’s time for the Meet and Greet. Did you think that everyone became good citizens of this country and abode by the rules set forth by Yale? Na-ah. Everyone was trying to out-ninja the others, so I figured, what the hell. If I insist on being obsessed with following the rules, I’ll be a total loser. AGAIN.
When my batch’s turn came, I took out my phone, set it to video, and filmed our entire meet and greet by stealth. When I approached Alden, we gave each other a beso. Hey, that’s basically how we’ve been greeting each other since last year, and he initiated it. I didn’t break the rules, right? And since one of the people in my group got an autograph and a selfie, I was like, no way I’m leaving this place without a video greet for my friends. I aimed my camera towards Alden and asked him to say ‘hi’ to them, which he did, nevermind that security was already dragging me by the arm.
This is a screengrab from that video greet. Said video greet is not for public consumption, though.
After our turn, I stayed within the cordoned off area because I’ve noticed that the people who were supposed to be done with their M&G didn’t leave the premises, anyway, so why should I? I haven’t taken any decent photos of Alden yet! Naturally, the guards were shooing me from that spot. I told them pointblank, “paalisin n’yo muna sila dito. Pag napaalis n’yo sila, aalis rin ako.” (Tell the others to leave first. If you can do that, I’ll leave, as well.) Of course, they weren’t able to (geez, I wonder why) but they left me alone after that so I’m cool. Hence, I was able to take more decent photos of Alden despite the bad set-up and the even worse lighting.
Alden Richards - Yale Meet and Greet at Wilcon Depot, QC
I didn’t check my cellphone camera’s settings prior to the event, so I didn’t realize until later that it was taking 2-second video clips every time I take photos using my phone. I was able to collect a few adorable snippets from the Meet and Greet, which I compiled in a single video.
All in all, I had a great time even if I was (technically) alone at this event. Would this be a start of a new Agent P – The Pasaway Version? We’ll see.
The December trip having been a make-up trip of the things I missed in July, I purposely added an extra day to allow me to explore more of Singapore. The fact that I suddenly had to do this on my own made it all the more challenging. (Interestingly enough, the succeeding Hong Kong trip was the one that was supposed to be a solo flight but the universe switched it up at the last minute.) I did not have a planned itinerary, so it’s simply wandering off to where my feet will take me. In most cases, too literally.
Armed with a loaded EZ Link card and a few suggestions from friends who have previously visited Singapore, I decided to spend the day with this itinerary in mind:
– Sentosa (mainly because I had intended to visit the Vivo City branch of Irvin’s Salted Egg Snacks );
– Arab St. and Hajji Lane again to catch the late afternoon scene which was said to be more interesting;
– Back to Esplanade/Jubilee Bridge/Merlion to take photos of the Marina Bay Sands skyline at sunset and at night;
– Last minute shopping at Bugis before turning in early to prepare for my morning flight the following day.
What really happened was this: I’ve just boarded the MRT at Esplanade station towards Sentosa when I got word that per real-time socmed updates, Alden and Co. were at Esplanade. At the Merlion, to be exact. My friends were egging me to go back and check them out but I was like, nah. I had intended this last day in Singapore to have some much-needed “me” time; I’ve had enough fangirling for two days and I’m still being bashed on socmed for being at the ATA (what the hell was that, really), so thank you very much.
It kinda affected my concentration, though. As I result, I ended up losing my focus quite a few times and got lost a number of times in the process. To be exact: the Singapore MRT app has been useful to me in terms of getting familiarized with the subway system. It’s quite simple to use. However, because of the unnecessary distraction, I ended up failing to take note of little details such which COLOR of the train route should I take. Therefore, what was supposed to be a 15-minute travel time from Esplanade to Harbour City became 50 minutes, with side-trips to residential areas on the side. Fortunately, I was not pressed for time so a little side-trip didn’t hurt that much.
Sentosa: Like I mentioned earlier, I went here basically because of Irvin’s Salted Egg Snacks. Also, to take some rudimentary “I have been to Sentosa” photos since I wasn’t able to explore this place in July. Verdict: I’m not sure if it’s because I’m from the Philippines where beautiful beaches abound, or because I’m not a beach person in general, but I got bored. I only stayed here for less than an hour and quickly returned to Vivo City, where I got majorly disappointed to find this sign:
As for Arab St. and Hajji Lane, it definitely did not disappoint. The place really had so much more character in the late afternoon when the crowds are in.
This is also the place where I walked the most, no thanks to my inability to read maps.
I didn’t spend a lot of time there as I had wanted to catch the sunset at Esplanade. The thing is, I totally miscalculated everything. I went there at around 5pm, only to learn the hard way that sunsets do not occur in Singapore until around 7:30pm. Well, it gave my feet some much needed rest after all that walking, so it’s all good.
Looking back, I consider this trip as one of the best, if not the very best travel experiences I’ve had. It allowed me to see and experience things not as a tourist but as a legit traveler. I’ve learned to depend solely on myself and I came out of it in one piece. I really wish I could travel some more while I still can. Maybe I’ll make that as my bucket list from hereon.