I woke up at 4:30AM, cursing the prospect of another 6am-2pm shift at Chong Hua Hospital. But then again, I was giddy because today was concert day! Thankfully, my schedule request for the day had been granted which would allow me to finally see Cha perform live in Cebu for the first time! Thankfully, the shift passed by without any "incident". I was handling two critical patients along with 5 other patients. One of the two had an unstable heartbeat, a ticking time bomb which could go off at any time so this required hourly monitoring. Ceejoy sent me a text that she was with Kuya Loel. Sadly, I had missed the Chasters' pre-concert gathering earlier in the day because of my schedule. I got off work around 3PM so all I could do was go home, eat, and get to the venue by 5PM.
I got to the venue at the planned time and I met up with Kuya Loel and Ceejoy, who were both looking no worse for the wear. We chatted a while and the whole time I was amazed at the fact that there were also Chasters from Manila and Iloilo who managed to make the journey here just to watch our Princess perform :) Hell, if I weren't from Cebu, I'd scramble to find a way to make it here too! At a bit past 6pm, the line still hadn't started filing into the ballroom. By then, my stomach was growling in rebellion. My metabolism unfortunately requires me to eat every 2-3 hours so I excused myself from Kuya Loel and Ceejoy to have dinner. I chowed down on a nice juicy steak that sank to the pit of my gut just right :)) Nomnom! :P
I hurriedly checked the time and was about to go into my section of the venue. I had the good fortune of being able to purchase a Platinum ticket which put me right around the 4th row from the stage. If Charice was gonna perform here, I'd make sure to get my money's worth of the view and experience! So, there went half of my monthly salary but I didn't give the slightest damn! :twisted: Just then, I suddenly remembered to fetch my Infinity CD in the car and my bag of munchies (an orange, some cheese and nuts). Somehow, my intuition told me I'd deeply regret not having my CD with me as I watched the concert and not wanting to pass anything up, regardless of how my far-fetched my chances looked, I brought it with me anyway along with my camera.
An hour or so of waiting and by then, I had memorized the New Zealand Creamery jingle that played on the video screen over and over again :cheers: I was alone for the event, my cousin had wanted to tag along and watch but I had heard the tickets were sold out and sadly, she couldn't make it. She's not really into Charice but she says that her voice is unlike anything she has ever come across before and it made my happy to see that her Ipod also had some of Charice's songs in it :)
A deafening intro later, the first strings of "Turn off the Lights" played and the event started off with a bang! Charice, as usual, didn't disappoint. Sporting her new haircut and wearing an edgy rocker-type costume, she performed better than I'd ever seen! And that was 2 years ago at her Journey Begins concert in SMX! How time flies and how her skills and vocals have been so meticulously polished! I checked my camera and saw that I had 3 bars worth of battery power so I figured I should save my shots..just in case, juuuusssstttt iiinnnnnn caaasseeee this would be the night I could finally meet her in person!
As "One Day" started playing, I thought back to how the lyrics meant so much to me. A nurse currently by profession, my life-long passion has always been to be a marine biologist and to study sharks in the wild. It reminded me also that despite her humble beginnings, Charice never let anyone tell her she couldn't make it, that she could never do what she loved doing the most and if ever they did, that never stopped her. If Charice made it, why can't I do that too, right? I'll definitely do "somethin' original, be unforgettable.." and "they're gonna know my name"! As Charice started to sing "Tears in Heaven," there was without a doubt a sting of buried emotional pain in her voice. Having lost her dad, this was finally her way of honoring his memory and as she put it, "My dad has never heard me sing so I think this tour is the right time and place for me to sing for him." I too remembered the loved ones I've lost in the past as the song played.
Charice also displayed great charisma (as usual) with the audience, even greeting us a good evening in Bisaya. She joked that she'd worked hard at the line for a good hour! There was never a boring moment at the concert. And the climax started as Iyaz came on stage to perform "Pyramid" with Cha. Iyaz got the party started and it all just snowballed from there. People from the other rows came flocking to the stage! Cameras, hands and video recorders raised everywhere from as far as my eye could see! The whole place was in pandemonium and the noise never dialed down from that point on! On "Before It Explodes", one lucky Chaster got to go on stage and sing with Cha! I thought, "Damn! I wish that would've been me!" I couldn't stand being glued to my seat any longer and miss out on the action so I got up and joined the fray! I got some real good shots there and seeing Charice do her thing up close just made me feel like time stopped. Only the great ones can truly capture you and put you right in the moment, whether you're in the front row or in the balcony. It's not folly at all to see that Charice undoubtedly has that very same quality.
When the concert finally ended, people started piling out of the venue. I was left near the stage wondering where I would go from here. I just happened to look to my left and see that the producer guy was gesturing to some of the Chasters seated near the stage. One of them started to signal to her groupmates to follow her and they started filing to the left of the stage like a parade of ants. Sensing the moment, I also followed along. I didn't care if I ever got suspicious looks from others in the group who may not have any idea if I was part of the line. I felt that this was the moment I've waited for and there was no way I'd let this go without doing anything about it! We were standing at the leftmost portion of the venue in front of a door that undoubtedly led backstage! The adrenaline was starting to run and I was tingling with excitement. I suddenly jumped back to reality and realized that there was also a chance that I couldn't even get in at all! This dampened my spirits a little but I kept praying to the fates not to conspire against me. A few seconds later, I overheard someone saying, "Hi Kuya Eja!" and this set off a light bulb in my head! I remembered that Kuya Eja was the Chaster Tita Dada had told me to contact prior to the concert for the pre-gathering! I hurriedly made my way over to him and introduced myself and I was glad to see that he recognized my name. I apologized for not having been able to make to the gathering because of my work schedule. He said it was okay and then he handed me my own little Chaster namepin! I asked if this was indeed a line for a possible meeting with Charice and he gave me an affirmative. I hurriedly called Ceejoy and Kuya Loel. They were one of the first Chasters I had ever met personally and I had already formed a good bond with them. They didn't deserve to miss this moment! Luckily, they were able to make it in time. Just then, the producer guy came out and said only a certain number of people would be allowed in. Luckily, I was able to make it and I hurriedly reminded the girl calling out the names to call out Ceejoy's name too. I heard her do so. The producer guy then said that would be all and threatened to call security if others would try to barge in so the group outside slowly dispersed. As we made our way backstage, we were told we'd only have time for an autograph and some photos since Charice could only make a little time with us. I looked back and saw that Kuya Loel was also in line but I caught no sight of Ceejoy so I assumed that she was somewhere in the front of the line. Kuya Loel then told me that Ceejoy had not been able to get in, she was just one person short before the producer had barred the others from entering. But Kuya Loel said he would Charice to give Ceejoy a little video message on his video cam. Thank God for Kuya Loel and his generosity! At least Ceejoy would still have a little memento from Charice. Charice then came out and said hello, dressed in a jacket and with headphones draped around her neck. One by one, we got out photos and autographs. I felt the tension building. When my turn finally came, it seemed like the moment would take forever. I shyly made my way over and introduced myself to Cha as we both shook hands. I gave her my CD and ticket to sign and told her what a great concert she put up. I wanted to ask if she could remember my name from the calendar I had printed and given to her at the SMX concert in Manila 2 years ago but somehow, I forgot. I didn't care. The only thing that mattered to me was that the moment was right here and this was something I'll play over and over in my head for the rest of my Earth-bound life! This something no one could ever take from me and I'd make sure to preserve this momentous event for posterity. I asked Cha for a photo-op and requested we pose doing the Pyramid sign. Kuya Eja generously took the photo with my camera, just right before it went dead minutes later! I had made it by a hairline! I gladly thanked Charice for her time and told her I hoped I could meet her again in the future and then, I made my way outside grinning like a giddy schoolgirl! I managed to see that our picture together was blurry but strangely, I didn't fuss over it because if I had asked Kuya Eja to take one more shot, the camera would've probably died by then. Luckily, i found other pics of the moment in another Charice account on Facebook that night at home. My God! I had finally seen my idol up close, in the flesh and shook hands with her! This was a day to top all days! :) I felt like I could take on the world! I saw Ceejoy outside and said that I should've just grabbed her when her name was called earlier. She said that maybe she'd have her moment next time, maybe her moment would be even better than it would've been now. Kuya Loel came out and said that he had gotten Cha to record a message for Ceejoy and this made Ceejoy very happy :) Many thanks to you Kuya Loel for sharing this moment with us and for your generosity. The three of us then went out to eat and relax for a while as we were still riding the post-concert high. Kuya Loel treated us to a delciious meal at Pier One. Thanky ou again Kuya! :) As the night came to an end, we had to part ways. But I know in the back of my mind that our paths would once again cross someday, when our Princess would hopefully return again to perform on our shores :) Hopefully, we can still get to meet her and share another Ming moment! :D My Chaddiction had been rekindled once again and now, it's time to add fuel to the fire! :twisted: