The last time I was this hung-over was the last Owl City concert and that is saying a lot. A little backgrounder about me, I have been leading Owl City Philippines for over 8 years now and my loyalty and obsession is prescribed at a certain level so for me to profess how badly hit I am with a post-show depression at this stage is a tough feat on my own calibre.
I am blabbering. I have been all over the internet, looking for fellow fans who share the same sentiments. I’ve had several sleepless nights replaying the performances I have witnessed. I have two words and a million feelings, all for Drum Tao.
The first encounter with the Tao Group
It was 2012 and I was absolutely clueless who they were but they were holding a run of shows at Resorts World. The first time I heard about the coined word “Drum Tao” and it being associated to a performance, I was apprehensive. But sometimes apprehension tickles the curiosity and when you ask the right questions you are lead to intriguing answers. I searched about the group and was surprised to read about their fan-following all over the world, doing sold-out performances.
Coming into Resorts world and me being not 21 yet that time, I had to take the long and scenic route to avoid the Casino at all costs. The detour lead me to a Japanese restaurant at the ground floor of the mall. During that time, I clearly remember a group of Japanese men happily conversing and enjoying their dinner. I was carefully studying them, curiosity peaking in me until I was ushered to proceed to the Resorts World theatre as the show is about to start. Who would have thought that that incident was actually my first up-close and semi-personal encounter with the Tao Group. I immediately recognized them as soon as we entered the theatre and saw their faces on stage.
It was destined from 6 years ago that I would watch their first show for the first time in the Philippines. And like a child seeing something for the first time, I was filled with so much awe and admiration. I vividly remember the wonder and amazement I felt during their first show – me and my cousin were seated at the second row and we were bedazzled by a visual and auditory feast. I have literally never seen quite something like it ever before – not even in YouTube or online videos. Their performance took me to a whole new level of appreciation for the art, the artists and the artistry behind. The moment they finished their show I knew that what they do is a by-product of passion and perseverance — perfected over years of practice and hard work. I was an instant fan.
During their 2012 show, I remember two artists who captivated me with their fluid movements and grace on stage – Takuya Era and Hiraoki Kishino. Together with them is Arisa Nishi, a woman drummer who delivered with so much prowess and stage presence.
Arisa Nishi and Takuya Era during theri 2012 promo
Hiraoki Kishino (Middle) during their 2012 promo
To give a little context on where I am coming from and why I am on this level of appreciation for the group, take a look at the video below where Drum Tao did a performance for the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
6 years have passed and the Tao group have been all over the world. Dubbing their website, the Tao group has now performed to almost 8 million spectators garnering praises from acclaimed media bodies. The Tao group is also recognized by the Japanese tourism agency as an “Outstanding cultural contribution from Oita prefecture” in the 6th Tourism Agency Commissioner’s awards. Source here.
6 years after.
Fast forward to early 2018, I saw a promo ad on Facebook for the much-awaited return of Drum Tao in the Philippines. This year, they are running 5 shows at the Kia Theater. Given the events and timing of my personal life, I had to strategically plot out my calendar so I make it back to Manila for the show weekend. Some things, you really have to make work and all for the love of what you love!
I had to bring my cousin to the show as we both shared the experience from 6 years ago. We watched the opening show on April 19 and we were seated at the first few rows. In all fairness, it was a very good vantage point, save for the few bobbing heads in front of us. I was obviously super excited because I insisted that we go to the Kia Theater at 7:00pm and was wondering why there was not much crowd at the time, only to find out that gates open at 07:00pm and the show starts at 08:00pm.
30 minutes to the show and I was already sweating in anticipation. The buzz around me was evident as everyone was excited for the first look of this new special performance after the long wait.
The show opened with a visual spectacle coupled with an unparalleled performance -again – like I have never witnessed before. What immediately stood out for me this year was the fact that their stage design really improved. It looked grand and the set was easily manipulated to become visually appealing in conjunction with the rhythm of their drum beats number after number. My admiration for the group grew by the hundred.
Like any other musical or show, we were not allowed to take photos and video during the show. I was only able to take a few good shots when the live credits were rolling and the group took its final bow.
Much has been added to this year’s show – more colour, a number of funny scenes, breaking the 4th wall and actually engaging the audience, going down the stage with high fives included and a lot of extra flair in their showmanship. So much has changed and I am proud to witness how they have levelled up how they do their shows.
These are artists who transform and continuously perform. They stay true to their art, rooted in Japanese culture and at the same time unafraid to look at it from a fresh perspective.
The level of respect and amazement that I have for this group is beyond me and I wish that every one would have the chance to watch them perform for at least once in their lives. I wish I can express how stellar their performance is but my words will never do them justice. Simply put, it is unforgettable, remarkable and truly outstanding.
Otherwise I would not dig up my blog and actually write again after a two-year hiatus!
As the media say it, the company really deserves a long standing ovation. I could not stop from clapping, cheering and shouting whoo-hoos from time to time. If I can gather all of my stars for the shows I’ve watched since my existence, I would pick all of them and hand it to every Tao member. What they do is breath-taking, literally and figuratively and it’s something that is almost inhuman but they’re real and they actually live up to what they do.
The fan-girl in me
And of course as part of my thematic blog, I am very excited to share that I had an amazing experience in actually fulfilling my role as a fan for the Tao group. To share, here are some remarkable highlights.
I watched the show twice this 2018 – the opening and the gala show. The first and last – both extra special as I would like to believe.
After the first and the last show, I met Takuya Era (finally, after 6 long years) and Daisuke Kumoto respectively. It really warms my heart that they actually go out and spend some time to do signing and picture-taking with EVERY FAN in line! They are very charismatic on-stage, full of power and really fierce but off -stage, they are very charming, approachable and warm. I have swooned a million times and managed to live.
To my surprise, the producers were very friendly and encouraging to all fans to line-up, meet the artists and take a picture. My fan-girl heart is extra happy.
Prior to the second show I attended, I also had the chance to hand them out some gifts via the producers. I am secretly hoping it added a little extra happiness to their visit here in Manila.
After the gala show, we were invited to go to the after-party at Cove Manila just by signing up to Tao club. The venue was at Okada and it is definitely super far from my house and an un-Grabbable zone but the heart wants what it wants. I went to the after party with my colleague, Jomar, whom I influenced to watch the gala show with me. I was extra happy to know that he loved every bit of the show and the after-party, drinks and amazement for the venue included.
Can I just say that Okada is really grand and beautiful? We toured Okada like tourists and were enthralled by its lavish architecture.
Then we settled at the Sunset lounge of Cove Manila where we had some drinks before Takuya Era, Arisa Nishi and Hiraoki Kishino a.k.a the Big 3 and pioneering members, arrived. They were welcomed with cheers and champagnes for a successful run and during that time I had to compose myself and stay calm (I did by the way.) I also met some of the people behind the show who were really extra nice and warm to us!
During that time, people in the Sunset lounge were taking turns to approach the Tao members to take photos and congratulate them. I had the chance to meet all three and I could not believe it – the memories of 6 years were flashing back into me and actually seeing them here, now up-close and personal and actually getting the chance to shake their hands and speak to them was an achievement I never saw coming.
One of the most unforgettable moments was when I had the chance to talk to Takuya-san for quite some time! I approached him at their table and told him that I had the chance to watch them last 2012 and twice again this 2018. I mentioned about the gifts and while we were talking, we had a hard time understanding each other so I brought out my Microsoft translator app (staying loyal! haha!) and I asked him – translated in Japanese- if he got the gifts I gave him. He tried to reply by answering me and ended up getting his own phone to open his own translator app! That moment was just SUPER CUTE. I also asked him to please come back and he said “I don’t know, I hope so!” and kept on smiling. I can really feel the language barrier between us but that did not stop him from actually being cool and friendly. He is extra nice and down-to-earth that I would probably have a hard time getting over this moment for some time. This moment is forever etched in my heart.
Also, I had to take a video selfie with him. I was super stuttering and extra-excited I could not remember my words and my comprehension was beyond me, thus the video below. HAHAHAHA SORRY in advance!
What an incredible experience. I have blogged a number of times about my amazing fan encounters and this one is really up there. It is surreal and probably why I am all over the internet, sometimes uneasy and always anticipating when Tao will return to Manila. More than the fanfare, it’s the fact that these are big stars who fill out theatres all over the world, do coveted shows in the biggest stages and here they are gracing our country. Add the fact that despite their stardom, they are so humble, warm and friendly. They are absolutely human and I am absolutely smitten as an admirer, as a fan-girl.
And so, I proclaim that there is truly quite nothing like Drum Tao. I hope that the world will see more of them and bask in the talent of these artists. I know that every audience who gets a chance to witness a Tao performance is bound to be a fan.
The Tao group truly amazes me with their human spirit. They are driven and fuelled by their unparalleled passion, resilience and hard-work. This group tells us that it’s a winning formula and it only proves that if we choose to embrace what we want to be good at – then the world is our stage.
I drum a million beats, waiting for your return. Arigato and see you soon!
Forever your fan in the Philippines,
Huge Congratulations to the producers and promoters who brought them here. Thank you so much!! Arigato!
Today is a rare occurrence because it’s one of the few weekends where I actually get to lounge all day in my room. Honestly, days like this give me the chance to pause and think about life in general.
I try to look at my life- what am I doing with it. Are the things I’m engaged in relevant to the society, to the world?
Then I look at my relationships with the people around me – am I colleague worthy of my colleagues at work?
With the time I spend at work, am I being really a friend to my friends? Is it okay for me to let my family miss me because I’m miles away from them all for the love of work?
Then I recount and recall all that has been happening. Like a typical lazy Saturday, I spent the day immersed in my tablet – trying to decide whether to read a book, watch a series or just binge-stalk people on Facebook. I was on my 3rd hour in my tablet today when I saw one note I wrote a few months back when I accompanied a group of our Education Ambassadors for a 3-day training in Baguio. This is exactly what I wrote:
Last week, I sat down in one of our trainings. We were asked to rank our life aspects. For example from 1 to 10, rate how are you with your family, friends, love life and work. I surprised myself when I gave my worka 10/10. It was probably the only aspect where I was confident to rate myself a solid 10. A friend asked me – questioned me why I gave it a 10. I thought about it and asked myself – have I been so workaholic lately? How come I don’t feel any “stress” from it? My parents usually ask me if I am okay with all that have I been doing and I in turn wonder where their worry comes from (and I truly appreciate it because I know how much they love and care for me) when I am perfectly okay with all that has been happening.
So now – I look at myself and I assess what I am feeling and I realize that most of the positive energy radiating from me comes from work. When you choose to be happy at work, all things just fall into place — you get to be more proud about yourself, you get to be more positive when you come home and share your stories to your family, you get to be more confident, you get to be more in sync when you are with your friends , in short you get to be happy as you are.
The people, the stories, the fulfillment – wow, honestly 10 is not enough. I find myself smiling when I know that I get to work with such amazing people. I can never really say it enough, the teachers that I get to work with, you are the reason why I feel like a 10 at work. Maraming salamat po 🙂 I hope that I get to work for this industry for a long time and help others achieve their 10 through what we do.
I am also very thankful to NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) so here’s a shoutout to our amazing trainers from Trainstation!! Thank you for always reminding me that we have a choice on what we want to feel and who we want to be. So today – I am very excited to go back to work and I know what when I ask myself, do I choose to be a 10? ABSOLUTELY YES, today I choose to be 100% 😊 I hope you choose to do the same.
Sometimes happiness costs a few bumps along the road – some friends get lost, a little tampo here from your dad and mom, a 2-day flu and bedrest and on some days, a little heartache but I guess no matter where you are, who you are and what you become – the choices you make are what you choose them to become.
I know I am thankful for this lazy Saturday – I wasn’t really productive and I know I wasted too many calories on that large milktea I drank earlier but heck I am one happy 25 year old who has once again posted in her blog (after a year!)
Diving deep, in-heads firstWalk the Moon – I could go on and on talking about how much I love this band, I could sing you their songs and add my own choreography too, in fact I could come up with a mini-thesis on how much this band has affected me. If you know me, my blogs usually talk about the artists I love and he concerts I go to – and this is not an exception, in fact they’re actually one of the big reasons why I am encouraged to blog. When I dive in deep for an artist, I usually come up with a concert review mixed with my own personal inputs (which is a melting pot of my feelings and tears) and I am so excited to share what happened when Walk the Moon stopped by my country for a concert tour. !!! Warning !!! This is an incredibly long post so if you’re sticking around until the last word then down it with a good drink and a Spotify playlist. I’ve known the band since Anna Sun and from that first song and first music video I knew that I fell in love with this guy leading a synchronized dance number with a group of normal people turned dancers. From there, I knew I was in deep for this band. I have followed them for 3 years – trying to make disciples out of indie music lovers and at the same time trying to converse with the band in different social media sites. Extra Thank You to ate Charm for introducing this band to me. I will forever be grateful.
Since then, I have been tweeting Nic Petricca. Something clicked in me and I tweeted him about being the BAWS and apparently that became our code in Twitter. I am humbled and still see myself in shock whenever I get a reply from him because amongst all of the artists I follow, he’s the one who always surprises me with a reply when I least expect it. The tweets went way back from 2012 to the present and he has never changed despite his following increasing from 13k to 37k.
Sometime around those birth years, I also found my way to this global group where fans all over the world – stretching from Portugal, Brazil, Japan, USA and Germany – shared their love for the band. What’s so nice about being part of the group is the interaction that happens amongs the people – everybody feels like family. The global community of fans is tightly knitted, where even the moms of the boys closely interact with us fans. It’s really a big deal for fans to feel appreciated and somewhat closer to the artist that they love and the fact that we see these ultra-cool #WalktheMoms do their best to reach out and talk to the fans is a huge leap in the whole fandom. Hearing everyone’s stories always made me wonder what would a real Walk the Moon show feel like, it made me anticipate sharing my own story someday. I was captured heart and soul. But during those years, the band was only touring the US so it was all but a “one day soon” thought.
Then here comes the new album with the hit single, Shut up and Dance. I felt it in my heart (and in my hips) that this is it. This is the start of a bigger Walk the Moon. Easily, SUAD broke the music scene. I was really excited to see so many people talk about it, stream it on Spotify and break into booty shakes whenever the song goes on air. The single was followed by a phenomenal second-album, Talking is hard. Check out my album blog post about Talking is hard.
And to clear the air, I’m not judging you if you loved them during Shut up and dance. I know most people are annoyed when they know that people only know SUAD and pretend to fan girl like crazy but I fairly think it’s also annoying to claim greater love for the band just because you liked Anna Sun or The Liftaway first. I guess when you’re a fan – it doesn’t matter what era you took part in supporting the band, it’s a matter of sharing and being one in your goal of highlighting the success of the band. Back to where I was – It’s so heart-warming to see Walk the Moon now gracing different shows in the US, getting a VMA nomination (Let’s pray they win it because what could top the SUAD music video, really?), getting on stage with Taylor Swift, doing a fantastic sold-out gig at RedRocks and so many more (I am claiming it) in the future. All these success grow with their hearts and remaining as sincere, as spirited and as humble as they are. So what’s not to love?
Early on this year, I remember seeing a tweet from ms RP (the head chief of MMI Live) about Shut Up and Dance and so I immediately pounced on with a reply saying how I wish to see the band Live soon and was greeted (shocked, fell on the floor, flailing) with a reply that I will see them soon. How do you cope after seeing that tweet? A couple of months after, MMI announced that they will be bringing Walk the Moon in Manila for a free show — not just for one show but for 5 shows.
The Ayala Malls announced the series of shows for August 19-20 covering UP Town center, Trinoma, Market Market and Glorietta and a week after announced an additional show for the Alabang Town Center for August 18. I am really thankful to Ayala for always bringing in quality artists and listening to their customers. I will always be a loyal Ayala mall goer, plus huge brownie points to me for being an Amore card holder because it gives me access to VIP concert tickets and thanks to this, I was able to score me and my friends some good spots (BARICCADE HAHA) at both Trinoma and Glorietta.
How do you prepare a heart ready to burst into pieces?
For Walk the Moon, I filed a 3-day leave at work. To make it clear, I love my work and what I do at work. In fact, I was a little sad that I missed 1 big event for that week but I had to choose Walk the Moon because this was what I have been waiting for 3 years. Come August 17, the day before, I was already restless. Working in Makati and knowing that the band would probably stay in the same area, I was extra panicky whilst working. Picture that I’m seated at the window where I can see the possible hotels the band would stay. I later on learned that the boys arrived late night August 17 and dined at a Filipino restaurant across their hotel where Nic fancied Adobo and Kevin fancied Sinigang. Also, let’s not forget that fact the Eli may or may not have devoured a crispy pata with San Miguel Super Dry.
I’m feeling extra lucky.. make it super-kaduper very lucky.
August 18, our team was invited by the PR of the whole tour to attend the Press conference. I honestly did not expect to get invited. I am so thankful to Ayala malls and to the PR team of WTM Live in Manila for inviting and valuing us as fans, as a street-team and for giving us the chance to join and attend the media conference. I will always have a special place in my heart for the persona of a Niche.
An hour before the press conference, we were challenged to tweet our questions for the band and also post a picture of ourselves on how excited we were for Walk the Moon. Being the eager attendee that I am, I tweeted the above picture of myself over Twitter and won myself a P1,000 EGC from Ayala (yeyyy!) I mean look – I got exclusive invites, I get to see my favorite band and I win myself some GC? Do I really deserve this, universe? Thank you! When the press conference started, I was bleeding inside – my heart was swelling with so much happiness upon seeing Eli, Kevin, Nic and Sean live and in here, my country, my homeland – breathing the same air as I. As usual, I was too dumbfounded to take any pictures so I left all the photo taking to my friend, LG.
The PR team asked us for Q’s and unexpectedly I heard my name being called as my question was read on stage. Aside from reading it loud, they also flashed a screen-cap of my tweet and flashed it on the screen. Now, all 4 boys turned their back – Nic immediately recognized my twitter handle and said out loud (in front of everyone) “Oh I know her, she’s my friend on Twitter.. She’s the Baws” and that’s when I blacked out (inside!) Click on the 10:48 mark on the presscon video to check it out. My question went “What is your signature @Walkthemoonband dance move?” and there the magic happened. I gave my question a lot of thought before tweeting it because I’d like to deter from the usual Q’s asked by the press and I wanted to make something out of it. Alas, I made Eli, Kevin and Nic do a dance demo that were all priceless
Kevin did a sample of the Stanky Leg.
Eli did a show stopping Dad Dance.
Nic did a demo of his “Subtle dance” move as seen on the bridge of the Shut up and dance music video.
And Sean was saved from the demo! *whew!*
Walk the moon was so animated in answering questions from the press, exchanging quick witted answers with the host of the day that you honestly don’t think they are stars in themselves. They were simple human beings – grounded and true to what they say and that’s what make them stand out. Thank you so much to Ayala Malls for the invite to attend this one-of-a kind experience!
But wait, Nic just called me his friend? How do you move on from that? Watch the whole Presscon video here. Dance is at the 12:00 mark. Or you can watch it below:
I thought that it would end there but because the universe was extra good to me that day (maybe it was trying to counsel me for taking a 3 day leave) we were invited to join the round table interview. I was too stunned when I was invited so basically I was unprepared to ask a question. When it was my turn, all I could do was stare at Nic’s eyes and ask him “Do you have a pre-show ritual?” of course, I knew the answer to this but if it cost me an eye contact then it was worth it. I don’t think he recognized me from there so I knew I had to make a move. When we were dismissed, all those with me in the roundtable went to Nic and Kevin and I to Eli. I talked to Eli about his killer smile and we took a selfie! (Sorry, LG, this is for you) and when everybody went out I had to rush to Nic and it happened akin to this:
Grace: *taps Nic on the shoulder* Hi I’m Grace from..
Nic: OHMYGOD, GRACEY-OH!
Grace: YES!! It’s me but.. *Nic hugs me and I cried so many tears inside of me*
Grace: *while still hugging* Nic…it’s Graceyco, CO is my surname
Nic: Oh, wow! It’s so nice to finally meet you.
Then enter Kevin who hears my username and approaches me (probably blaming me for his need to demo his signature dance move) and hugs me and talks about “Wow, Graceyco in the flesh..”. I was like, Kevin I love you, I really do but this is my first meeting with Nic and so off I go back to Nic to do a little more chit-chat and had to say goodbye because they were rushing off to go to the Alabang Town Center show.
We were also about to leave the hotel and were waiting at the elevator lobby when all 4 boys also were about to leave. TY UNIVERSE, you are so good to me once more. They were surrounded by their bouncers so I had to lay it low and act all sophisticated. I said goodbye and good luck to all of them and just as when the elevator door was about to close, Nic asked me “Are you going to the show later?” I wanted to say yes but that would be lying hahaha so I answered him no and promised that tomorrow and the next day, I promise. And then it came clear to me that wow, he actually asked me if I was going to their show later. *internal dying* Later on that night, I tweeted all three boys who did the dance demo and easily fell off my chair when a reply from Nic came in. Wow, he really called me his friend!
August 19 was scheduled for the UP town center and Trinoma show and I attended the latter. Thank you again to Ayala malls for my VIP pass because I’m an Amore card holder (yey!) I opted to go early to prepare some things and meet up with the local fan group. Me, Lg and Roselle took our queue in first so we could secure our barricade spots and then later on took turns to facilitate the face painting amongst fans. It was so fun to see us Filipino fans bring in the tradition of Walk the Moon from the United states to here in Manila. Most people in line were game to have their faces painted by fellow fans. The energy was just electric (Says this tweet from Ayala Malls starring my big face) and I knew then that every heart, mind and soul was ready for the show.
At exactly 7:30pm, the show started with an intro from Lion King- Circle of Life. One by one all 4 of them came out and opened the show with Anna Sun. Hearing your favorite band for the first time, live, in front of you singing out their songs unravels a whole new unexplainable emotion in you. Nothing can ever topple seeing your favorite band live the first time — comparing Youtube videos, fancams and stories from people to what you actually see and hear in real life? Magical. You know how spontaneous, funny, real and honest the band is in social media? That’s reflects what they are on stage. They possess a raw energy so all-consuming that you find yourself immersed and dancing your heart out to every beat. You feel their sincerity in belting out every track, giving all that they are, letting you live their music in real life, tete-a-tete.
Now can I talk about all 4 of them while on stage?
Sean, where do I start? Is it with his mad cymbal skills or his precision and accuracy he hits a note? Maybe both because Sean is a true class in himself. I often wonder where he gets all his energy to rock out every show and at the same time take time to film a performance. All his ninja moves, we will never know. Mysterious and downright showered with pure talent.
Can I just say Eli is the most enthusiastic member I have ever encountered? The way he digests every song with his awesome guitar skills matched by his killer smile adds a whole layer of texture to the show. He rocks out ever strum paired with the movement of his lips that only he can carry. Plus he’s that one member who makes sure to make eye contact to every fan in the crowd.
Kevin, the darling of the crowd, sizzles with his tantalizing bass and sultry dance moves that aims to woo at all the lovers (or those who are in love with him) in the crowd. From what I have observed, 80% of the fan signs were directed to Kevin – some are hate messages which is actually a love message because the whole fandom is at a mission to fight Kevin and its beautiful, trust me.
And of course I am so biased over Nic and I could go on and on and write a 5-page description about how spectacular he is on stage but let’s keep it short and simple. Nick is the perfect epitome of an 80s rock and roll icon reborn and perfected for the new kids. Sexy dance moves? Check. Soulful voice? Check. All that perfection rolled into one sexy human being. He is PERFECSHAWN. And I know I’m speaking in behalf of everyone who saw him.
Right before Aquaman, Nick gave out the usual intro for Walk the Moon – explaining that they are from Ohio, America and he said something about before they were only talking to people on the internet and he pointed at me (thank you, barricade!!) Also during the latter part of the show, I made my own fan sign with the words “U DA BAWS” written because this has become our official nicknames as internet friends and I was really surprised to hear Nic say it loud, in front of the whole Trinoma audience. And another 10 points to Graceyco!
The Trinoma show ended with Shut up and Dance and leaving the fans clamoring for more.
Exhilarating, Beautiful and so full of spirit.
Setlist for Trinoma:
After the show, I met my very first Walk the Moon friend in the Philippines from 2012! Back then, the global community only had roughly 100 members and she was one of the first few people who were nice and chatty with me!
I also got the chance to meet the band after their Trinoma show wherein we were also able to give the band our gifts as a fanbase. I feel like a bad person for skipping Sean and Eli during the meet and greet to secure my precious 5 seconds with Nic. I was able to hug Kevin briefly though but as soon as I saw Nic, we immediately hugged and I handed him my gift (which I assumed he really liked because he was like AARGGGHHHHH!!!! *keeps the gift hurriedly in his pocket.*) And of course the photo turned out this way:
Your heart races as you anticipate the sweet culmination of everything ending with a goodbye.
August 20. The culmination of everything and the day where we all celebrate the wonderful Talking is Hard – Philippine stop tour. That day, me and Lg also went early to Glorietta just because I wanted to secure another spot at the barricade. We lined up early (around 2pm) and then took turns again later on to do the face paints of the people in line. We met so many new friends that day including a Filipino-American fan who was lucky enough to catch Walk the Moon during their Houston show. She did our extra-unique face-paints that day.
The set for Glorietta was extra electric and the energy from the band was too overwhelming. I could not believe that they actually came from another show from another mall an hour before. The show opened once again with Anna Sun and I could literally feel my heart vibrate as the show progressed with every song, telling me that yes this is it – this is what you have been waiting for so many years and here they are belting out your emotions, thumping their way to your heart, creeping in to your soul and making you live their music. I will never forget this. Really, hearing Walk the Moon through your earphones is one thing but actually seeing them perform up there makes you think on how Walk the Moon is the real deal.
Walk the Moon performed a total of 45 songs here in the Philippines with 102 pictures for the Meet and Greet. I am so giddy at the thought that they were able to share so much and give so much to this Philippine stop. Scurrying from one mall to another within an hour to do a set after set, how could you not love their enthusiastic souls willing to stretch their selves to accommodate all 5 shows for their Filipino fans?
Walk the Moon has a long journey ahead of them and I’m glad to be able to share in their joy as they continuously work their way up to success.
Looking back, re-watching and recollecting the story of Walk the Moon – like many of the artists we see – they started out playing at their own basements then got booked at small-town gigs, was given the opportunity to perform for school dances, were eventually asked to open for artists, then were invited to perform during half time on game performances then onwards to slaying American talk shows and now successfully headlining their own tour with sold-out shows.
Dreams grew bigger and stages grew wider. But what you saw from 2010 is still very much what you see in 2015. You see a Nicholas brimming with a smile so big it engulfs the world because you feel that he’s in love with what they do. You see a Sean emanating with so much raw passion in what he does as he belts out every show. You see a Kevin who is so intoxicating as he delivers and showcases his talent every time the world is watching and you see an Eli with his unmatched energy as he gives back to the people who believe in them- You see a band who truly enjoys what they do and the way they are is a testimony that this is a band who is capable of sharing a music so real that it will affect you and shake you up for years and years and years knowing that one day you’ll look back at that feeling of falling in love with them for the first time is capable of lasting a lifetime.
Walk the Moon is that band that validates the feeling of t despite meeting different artists, working with artists, working for the artist – being a fan and an admirer will always be the greatest thing that could ever happen to someone when shared with people who matter. The euphoric state of happiness is just immeasurable. Across miles, colors and cultures – Walk the Moon will always have an enthusiastic fan in me. The whole experience, the celebration of being a fan is already beyond me and I will always be grateful.
Dearest, walk the Moon, Once upon a time in Philippines, you captured our hearts and the memories will always live on. Until we see each other again – Sean, Eli, Kevin and Nic!
Hold up, a little piece of my heart is set aside for this person..
A shout-out to the Baws, the friend (??) and the sensational – Nicholas Petricca. I’ve never met an artist who is sincere and so transparent in showing his love for his fans. You are the reason why I will always look back and think that I’ve made the right decision to name my blog as it is. Thank you for appreciating your fans and what we do. It means the world for us, for me to see the artists we love put into heart what we are. It was so surreal to see you in real life.
Bonus content or something akin to that…
Fun Fact #1 — I won myself an extra ticket and meet and greet for the Glorietta show because I joined a contest from MMI. If you want to see my winning entry and try not to judge me too much.
Fun Fact #2 — Also days before the show, we had a group chat going on at WalktheMoonPH where we assigned people to bring this and that. I was assigned to lead the facepaints while another group was assigned to bring wet wipes – to wash off the paint. From that day on, we were officially called the #WalktheTitas (Tita in modern lingo and interpretations refers to an aunt — who possess a quality of an older lady who looks at the small mommy stuff for people.) I was so happy to have finally met my fellow Tita, Henri and rock the concert with her. I was also quite amused at how every friend from the group calls me Tita Grace in real life. Hootowls from Owl City call me the Mother Owl and Spirit animals in Walk the Moon call me Tita. Wow, I couldn’t get any younger than this, Can I?
Fun Fact # 3 — We were patiently waiting for the boys to finish the Meet&Greet session at Glorietta at the barricade area and when they were finished, we tried calling them out to say our goodbye’s. LG was able to call Eli by shouting that Eli is his favorite member thus resulting to this series of selfies!
And I was able to call on Nic who was able to recognize me from the sea of faces and went out of his way to give me a hug. I simply have no words, none at all.
Fun Fact # 4 — When the Glorietta show was done, a guitar pick fell off near our spot. One of the bouncers, kuya Lorenzo, know me from 2012 during my internship at MCA and I was surprised to feel a quick tap on my arm and the next thing I know, the pick was in my hand.
And a couple of extra Thank you’s to the wonderful people blessed to be with me:
Niche – You are it bhe, there was a point when I had to contemplate, who do I love more – Nic or Niche? Thank you for being so kind and for believing in us and in what we do! Thank you to you and Ayala malls!
LG — Well this is not really new but I’d also like to share my love to my forever concert buddy since 2011 and the person who was with me with WTMPH – making Facebook content, tweeting like crazy, shopping gifts, taking in all my stress when I was extra panicky during the line at Glorietta, saving me when I was too shy to speak-up to the tour people, painting my face at the Trinoma show and for being the most awesome Spirit animal ever! ~with love always, graceyco
Whenever I talk about Owl City or write about him, I always end up delaying everything because the moment I think about him – the music – the band and the people – a wave of memories haunt me and begs me to be written. So two weeks after May 8, my thoughts are finally ready to be shared.
I remember my last Owl City concert last August 2013 – me and my friend Reine went all the way to Hong Kong just to watch Owl City live. I vividly recall the energy of the band that night and how every song reverberated through my deepest emotions. Every time I watch Owl City live, I always end up overwhelmed and awestruck at how amazing the band delivers on stage. It was truly magical and memorable. However, as much as I had a good time, I knew it would never be the same without my fellow Filipino fans. No offense to my friends in Hong Kong because the people were really ecstatic that night but it’s just that it feels different when I’m not with my fellow Pinoy fans.
After that 2013 concert and the last album, The Midsummer Station – Owl City has become quiet. Adam himself confirmed that he has been busy making music. Late 2014, Owl City released an EP entitled Ultraviolet headlined by the single, Beautiful Times. The whole fandom was in a frenzy and I loved how everything became so alive again. I admit that I was one of those people who truly felt devastated when Owl City missed to tour the Philippines last 2012 for the Midsummer Station tour. I know, I am such a bad example but as much as I want to be that exemplary leader of a fan base, I felt bad not being included in the tour. But we had to look at the brighter side of things, we had to work our way harder, resounding that noise that will bring Owl City back in Manila.
This 2015, Owl City Philippines (OCPH) celebrates its 5th anniversary as the first and only Owl City community in the Philippines. Through the years, I’ve seen how the community has grown and is home to the fans of Owl City in the Philippines. I always stress out how unique I think the fandom is. From what I see, the defining character of an Owl City fan is dedicated, patient and resilient.
Last February 2015 – I was on my way to Cagayan de Oro waiting at NAIA 3 – 7:00am that day, checking out my Facebook feed and reading this uncanny post from fellow Owl City fan turned friend, Minell “OWL CITY IS COMING BACK TO MANILA.” I could not bring myself to believe that it was legit – it was not everyday that you see such news about a concert when no tour was currently present for the band. I double checked- triple checked and quadruple checked Owl City’s Facebook page and to my shocked surprise, it was real. After 4 long years, Owl City is coming back to Manila and it’s for Free!
I panicked and called each of my friends to deliver and herald the good news. I called Colwin – no answer, still sleeping I guess. I called up Lg- no answer, probably asleep too. I called Dowe – was at work and can’t take calls. I called up Mommy Rae – just got out of the shower (oops) so there was no outlet but a Facebook post and a chat to Minell that basically consisted of “OMG OMG OMG? OMG LIKE OMG?!!” I remember meeting my manager at my current work in the airport that day and fan-girling to her. In that moment, I had to run her through my alternate life as an Owl City fan for her to understand why I was acting hysterical and hyper. I even asked her on that day if I can file a personal leave on May 8 for the show. (She said YES by the way!)
It was really exciting to see the whole fan community up and about. It was very heartwarming to see the Filipino concert/music/hootowl community all giddy with excitement for May 8. Everyone was anticipating the show, inviting everyone to go. Articles were up early, just after the week the announcement was made.
As OCPH, we held usual Sunday meetings where we would talk and plan about our gimmicks for the concert. Originally we planned to do a beach ball party during Good Time but due to venue set-up it was understandable that we weren’t allowed to do so. We opted to do our traditional light sticks giveaway. We had to raise enough money to fund 250 lightsticks for the concert-goers and at the same time distribute fan signs for the band to see. It was really rewarding to see the people happy whenever we approached them and gave out these little tokens because in mind, our goal was really to make this 2015 concert a truly memorable one for the band and for the fans.
Aside from that – the community exhausted several efforts in different media. Our most successful campaign was the one we did over at Twitter spearheaded by Colwin. We were able to acquire an organic reach of 1.1k retweets and almost 3k favorites (keyword is ORGANIC.) Not bad for something not paid and an account with only 4k followers, right? We also did several campaigns at Facebook headed by Trish and Jhon. Overall, it was really amazing to see the whole staff team work harmoniously towards one goal. The staff team for the year is a blend of old and new and it just proves that no matter what era of an Owl City fan you belong to, as long as you love Owl City, you will always end up as good friends.
Prior to the concert, me and Colwin spent late nights preparing the light sticks and other miscellaneous sneaky things. What I love most about meeting with the OCPH Staff is how efficient we are in dividing our time- our planning usually go on for 20 minutes but our random discussion/gushing about Owl City go on for about 2 hours. As much as we try to be truly professional working staff people, we always go back to our roots of being the crazy fans that we are.
Concert day and we arrived early at the venue. I was with Hana, Colwin and Lg that day and as soon as the car hit the Bonifacio Global City road, I felt my chest expanding. I told myself to be perfectly calm because this is my 4th time to catch Owl City in concert – at least that’s what I thought I would feel. A barrage of emotions hit me hard in the face when I finally realized that I will never feel used to this band. Every time and every chance I get to spend with Owl City will always be an enchanting experience – it will always feel magical and surreal. I was a mess, a good mess melting inside composed of a very happy and giddy face greeting the familiar faces at Bonifacio High Street.
One thing I sort of owe to Owl City is the mini success and (fame HAHAHAHAHAHA) I’ve experienced for being known as Ms. Owl City to the professionals and mother owl to the community. I feel like a politician running for candidacy waving left and right – or I may be exaggerating. HAHAHA But seriously, only the community treats me like this and it honestly it does feel a little awesome to be acknowledged for what you do.
Hours before the concert, we were given the chance to meet Adam as Owl City Ph. I will forever be thankful for the very appreciative, supportive and trusting Owl City Management for their great love for the whole community. My heart is overflowing with so much gratefulness and admiration. I’m not going to elaborately explain how we met Adam but I just call us very lucky and I guess, well well appreciated. It truly makes me happy.
To give a little insider on what happened during the time we met Adam – I told everyone to stay quiet, composed and calm. Let’s all act like professionals, I said. We were ushered to a small room and caught off guard when Adam came out to meet us in less than 10 seconds after we entered. No prelude or anything – he just came out and adorned that charming smile we all longed to see in real life. Since we were instructed (by myself) to not squeal or anything, all of us just went “Hiiiii” and I am telling you that was the most awkward Hi in the history of Hi’s ever. Basically, the whole session with Adam was short notice so we did not prepare anything.
When the tour coordinator introduced us to Adam, there was dead air. We were all too starstrucked to say anything so being the mother owl that I am, I had to talk and deliver an impromptu 1 minute- straight English – no uhm’s and likes-speech. I too myself was surprised that I was able to say such message without any practice or anything. Everything I told Adam came from the random thoughts of my mind and heart and I was pretty sure he was listening intently.
I thanked him for being the inspiration behind our hard work and I also mentioned the recent 5th year anniversary of the whole community. I also mentioned how thankful we all are for him going back to the Philippines. I also gave a brief rundown on what are our collective efforts as a fan community. Adam in return gave out his message to the community and to the whole Filipino fan community. He was very happy to finally return and he is greatly thankful for what the Filpino fans are doing. He even asked us who handles our Twitter account! Grabe, nakakataba ng puso.
We had to say good bye because Adam had to prepare for sound-check and the show. We walked off the area with silly faces and kilig na kilig smiles. It was truly what you call “achieve na achieve!”
What I noticed about this 2015 meet and greet from the 2011 and 2013 meet and greet was the fact that Adam now is more serious and keen but all the while retaining that shy and soft-spoken attitude that we have all come to love since day 1. I once read this article from GMA News that says:
When I met Young, he was soft-spoken and meek; I got the impression of someone who’s still very much appreciative, maybe even disbelieving, of all the successes he’s notched over the last few years. Here’s hoping he never loses that charm, sense of wonder, and yeah, whimsy, in the years to come. — BM, GMA News
I could not agree more. This 2015 Adam Young version is definitely still that humble 2010 version and definitely better! (*I was so touched by this precious moment of Adam leaving the amphitheater – bringing his own bag, shoes and water bottles. So so so so humble!)
After that meet and greet session -we saw the band busy preparing during sound-checked and tried to call their attention but I blame the heat, the noise and the crazy energy because they did not notice us then. It was okay though, it was enough to see Breanne, Jasper, Gabe and Rob excited for the show.
OCPH funded and distributed free lightsticks for the first 250 people whom we saw while waiting. We also gave out fan sign that say “MANILA <3’s you.” Along with that, OCPH also gave out instructions to concert-goers how to rock it out when Good time is played. Everyone was all smiles and thankful for these little freebies and it warms our heart to see our fellow fans happy and appreciative.
Hours before they let the audience in the ticketed area, I was able to catch up and meet old and new faces from the community. Meeting up all the amazing people that day made me realize that this community is my anchor. The happiness that I feel whenever surrounded by them clearly makes me feel aflutter and really thankful.
We were seated at the front and were patiently waiting for the concert to start. I was like a giddy little kid- internally screaming-when I saw how huge the crowd was for that night. I know, the concert is for FREE but the special seats which required a 2k purchase at any BHS store also sold-out fast. According to Bonifacio High Street and their awesome aerial shot of the concert, there was an estimated number of 5,000 attendees. That crowd is as big as the capacity of an 80% filled Smart Araneta Coliseum!
The show was opened by a local DJ who dropped some beats. While raving to the Dj, Krispy Kreme and Jamba Juice also gave out complimentary donuts and drinks for all the ticket holders. Hooray to Bonifacio High Street and MMI Live, Awesome show and awesome sponsors!
And then the show started with the band members coming out one by one. When Adam finally came out, the amphitheater was filled with howls, cheers and an excited noise of anticipation.
With 22 tracks on the set paired with the infectious energy of the band, everybody was all screams and lyric shouting. As much as the crowd was very loud, the collective singing was also very harmonious. It’s so breathtaking to hear your fellow Pinoy fans sing that non-single-mainstream Owl City track by heart. Gets me and tears me up every time.
The year is 2015, Owl City is so back. Wake me if you’re out there!
Some highlights of the night during the set were:
The way the band opened the show with this song called Panoramic from the movie Book of Eli, masterfully remixed by Adam Young.
The way Adam formally started the set with a heart seizure inducing “WAKE ME IF YOU’RE OUT THERE.” Ahh what a classic opener!
The way Breanne was all smiles and giddy by looking at how awesome the crowd was that night. Breanne is such a darling – I can’t imagine watching an Owl City concert without her graceful presence.
Jasper killing those guitar leads with his snazzy style. I swear, Jasper is a legend! I’ve observed that he is really careful, precise and perfect on stage!
Of course there’s Gabe Hagen (whom I was able to meet last 2013) still rocking the drums
There’s Rob Morgan, the new touring band member whom everybody loved! (And also v.v.v cute!)
Adam sang Kamikaze – which was a personal “rak na itu” favorite of me and LG
When Adam sang Beautiful times and during the second verse of the song, not so many were familiar with the lyrics but I was so I had to scream and mouth it out loud and I think Adam noticed me so he pointed is mic at me and asked me to sing. Yes, I am so claiming it because I stood up and sang the part “A dead fire rose and rose higher, like a vampire, up from the graveyard!” Check the video cut here.
When Adam and I had like 10x eye contact during that night? Thank you first-row powers!
When most of the audience sang “Take me above your light” too early during the Heallo Seattle bridge. This already happened last 2011 and once more this 2015. You are a very sneaky crowd, Manila!
When everybody danced off in their seats, waved and flailed and were all literally at the edge of our seats because we were not allowed to stand.
When Sky Diver was being sung and I did not know the exact lyrics of the song but Adam was looking at me — I had to pretend cough and look down just to save myself HAHAHAHA
When everybody just fell silent during Adam’s solo cover of the mash up of 99 red balloons.
And of course when finally we were allowed to stand, rave and party to the closing song Good Time.
So that is sort of a summary of what happened during the show. Words are not enough to describe how amazing the set was but we were all left literally and metaphorically breathless. The show wrapped up with a resonating noise of cheers and a reassurance to Owl City that he is really well loved and received in our country, by his “craziest fans” as he once said. It was what I would a call a great come back.
Minutes after the concert, Owl City did a meet and greet session with some lucky fans who won through an Instagram contest hosted by BGC and BHS. My friend and fellow staff member Denn Levy is evidently and ridiculously happy.
One big group hug for the group and the night was perfect. Indeed, good job not to us but to the whole community of fans who flocked and supported the show. As what they often say, the best surprises always come unexpected.
The next morning, I woke up with a very strong case of PCD, sore-throat and a bad punch of body bruises. It was all still worth it – especially waking up to the news that Owl City #finally tweeted @owlcityph. I only had 4 hours of sleep that night but I have never been so awake in forever. My heart was pounding fast and my head was spinning. THIS IS TOO MUCH. My heart and soul was not ready for this but alas, maybe we deserved this -okay take out the maybe and modesty aside please- we deserve this.
But of course, the unexpected surprises did not end there. There were also a couple of appreciation tweets and posts from Owl City and the touring band about the show.
And some of those appreciation tweets, replies and comments were also personally directed to me. I could not believe how everything went into full throttle domino effect. I was so so so so lucky and so so so quotang-quota!
When I read my post entitled Beautiful from the 2011 concert and my other post for the 2013 concert at Hong Kong, I have come to realize also some changes in the way I looked at things back then and now. I’d like to compare this parallel to how Owl City also transformed from 2010 all the way to the present- when you ask the fans and spectators, you usually receive a mixed feedback on how they receive the gradual changes in Adam’s music. But my personal opinion on this is always – to keep up, we must move forward. If we hear the same things all over again, if we experience the same events all over again – where’s the sense of growth in that? From being that fan who stalked Owl City at New World Hotel in his first concert in Manila in 2010 to being that fan who respectfully sat down the whole concert for the love of being a responsible fan leader- indeed I can say that wisdom and maturity are players of the game. Sometimes, you have to sacrifice other opportunities to make way for greater things. I don’t think I would be where I am right now if I pursued that attitude of a fan who stalked and stalked and just waited for a miracle. However choosing to be that fan to actually work hard for something gave me so many wonderful things and little did I know that it was just the beginning (this isn’t the end *ba dum tss*)
There’s just so much to be thankful for. I feel fortunate to be able to form friendships and good relationships with the OC community in and out of the country. Through this, I have met so many people along the way who are personally influential and inspiring to my growth as a person. My love for Owl City is always parallel for my love for OCPH. Years from now, I can imagine myself telling my kids (wow mommy na mommy owl) about how wonderful life was because of Owl City. Think it’s too much? I think it’s not because when I look back and assess what has happened over the past 5 years – I smile with a big heart knowing that so many good things has already been shared to us and our community. We’ve had our fair share of bad times too – some even very crazy but we got through it knowing that greater things are coming ahead. Amazing how this whole Owl City life of mine has become a mantra for my own life.
I will also like to add this portion where I’d like to thank the wonderful people who has been so instrumental in my life as an Owl City fan – Colwin, for always being the number 1 go to person of OwlCityPH. He is the brainchild of all things marketing and he is also the bestest and most supportive Owl City friend you’ll ever have. LG also for being my most favorite person in forever, period. And then our awesome staff team who has been working so hard – Hana, Trish, Jhon, Ajay, Minell, David, Roselle, Denn, Maria and Dowe. These people are seriously the most fun and humble people in forever.
Also you never forget the people who bridged you in your success story – from the people of MCA (old and new) and the very generous team of MMI.
My sincerest appreciation goes out to the most wonderful management of Owl City. MY LOVE FOR YOU GUYS IS THIS BIG.
Then to the resounding cheers of all Owl City fans in the Philippines. Many say thank you to Owl City PH for being the nest but really where would OCPH be without you? Your messages and great support is really appreciated. Rest-assured that our team is constantly working and coming up with awesome activities for everyone to enjoy. We hope that you continue supporting Owl City as an artist in and out of the country’s success.
And lastly of course to my number 1 inspiration, motivation and love of my life- Adam Young. I may not say this often –wait I actually do– THANK YOU SO MUCH. All that I have written in this seemingly long post is all about how you inspired me to be my best self. From the 2010 stalker fan to the 2015 very responsible-non-stalker-I-swear-fan self, I LOVE YOU.
Oh, these are beautiful times indeed. Looking forward to our next adventure!
P.s. LG also caught Good Time using my camera and there’s a surprise at 0:26. Bless your soul!
Whenever I went to church on Sundays, the mass would always end with The national prayer for the Papal visit and as soon as the final blessing is given, the song We are all God’s children plays alongside a choreographed music video. If you asked me weeks before the scheduled visit of the pope that if I were to attend any of the planned events in Metro Manila, I would have been very very very elusive and skeptical. I had my reasons, the flock of people who would probably suffocate me, the number of safety risks I would have to take would probably make me panic and the slight chance of choosing the right spot on where you would wait long hours just to see the pope pass by in 3 seconds would make me feel very frutsrated. It required devotion, dedication and a huge leap of faith — which will never be an easy decision for me. I am a devoted practicing roman Catholic but I never went with all the big fuss, I was content with my support in our church and at the comfort of my home.
Weeks before, I even planned to go out of the city and spend a nice vacation or get a couple of get-togethers with friends. It was the perfect time to go out and about considering that traffic was very spacious given that all scheduled activities were to happen strictly in the Manila area only. So weeks before, my mind was made up.
Then my planned vacation was cancelled due to some “paalam” issues and weirdly most of my friends were not available to go out with me (I have to rethink and recalculate my friendship with those people, please remind me haha) and so I ended up staying at home, watching TV and patiently waiting for the Pope’s arrival.
I don’t know what it was, I can’t put the feeling into words, but there really was something about the anticipation that made my heart constrict with overflowing emotions. Watching the television coverage – seeing the number of people clustering along the road, witnessing the infectious energy of the children ready to perform and building up the anticipation of waiting for his plane to land at the Villamor air base tugged my heart and broke it into a million pieces (in a very overwhelming way.)
As soon as we saw the visibility of the plane flying over Philippine territory and safely parking in the runway, there were already unshed tears at the back of my eyes. And when the pope donned his infamous golden smile, his skullcap flew off and his cape (?) from his outfit covered his face – I was a goner. I knew that I would be stuck all weekend glued to my TV, following the Pope’s itinerary. I know, I sound a little superficial from this point and my reasoning sounds very shallow but I believe that my love and admiration for the pope is very progressive.
I cancelled all of my plans from then on. Everything was contagious – from the energy of the people down to the very human gestures of the Pope. You just can’t help but be drawn in. Seeing him inspire and touch millions of lives is an experience worth sharing. I could go on and on, repeating what most people share. I just want to preserve this wonderful experience by listing my top 5 reasons why, after a week, I am still on Pope #Sepanx (Separation Anxiety)
1.The Pope is INDEED for everyone
Articles and testimonials all say that the Pope is friends with almost everyone. It’s like he holds a bubble that exudes charisma and a glowing aura. He’s like a friend reaching out and not really directly preaching but just being a friend who invites to bring out the good in you.
My household is a perfect example of this statement. I’m living with my aunt who is a practicing Protestant, my cousin who is a practicing Christian, my uncle and another aunt who are both Bhuddists and our household helps who are Catholic like me. I guess you could call us an inter-religious home. Despite the distinguished difference there was one thing we had in common – we all raved about Pope Francis.
We were all keeping each other updated about the latest news, from where he was headed down to what his quotable quotes were. We all fervently watched the TV coverage and wiping our tears altogether. For the first time in many years, we were all decided on a singular topic and that is one of the greatest gifts Pope Francis imparts to our people and our families. He is like a glue (sorry for the analogy, any other suggestions? haha) that keeps us all together in one place, working harmoniously for a singular goal.
This is also very evident in the amount of news we see the Pope meeting and being a friend to the different religious leaders all over the world. Amazing how he ignites the kind of relationship with these that is so simple yet profound.
Miao lauded and thanked the Pope for “bringing people together, especially with different backgrounds, religions, cultures, traditions.”
“We see how the world is moving into the future, and we always see hope, especially for people with faith.”
Can you just imagine how peace would be at hand anytime soon?
2. Pope Francis is a living example of Jesus (and we should all take part of this wonderful celebration and follow him)
I am sure the world can come up with a number of reasons but here’s the top of my list:
Pope Francis packs a punch in the way he draws a crowd. I have never in my life seen Roxas Blvd like that. People from all over Manila (and some even from the provinces) flocked and patiently waited for the Pope to pass by. A 6-hr wait for a 3-second glimpse. Amazing.
The way Pope Francis receives children. No questions asked, he loves children. It’s so heart wrenching whenever he stops his pope mobile upon seeing the faces of children just to bless them. (High five also to his security personnel who picks up the kids!)
Pope Francis has his way of gathering all of us and making us feel like children – innocent and on full-throttled in our faith, open to receive God without hesitation. Pope Francis has this evangelical zeal that provokes you to walk blindly without feeling scared, in fact you feel more excited than ever – oh, just like children.
3. Pope Francis is a lot like us
From the number of testimonies about his life as Jorge Bergolio up to how he sold of his Harley off an auction. He is definitely one cool Pope. I love how holy he is yet how human he can be. He makes us feel AGAIN that Jesus is a lot like us.
His simplicity really took me by surprise- his choice of vehicle for example wherein he prefers riding a simple closed vehicle like the Ford Focus (here in the Ph, he rode a Volks) instead of a bulletproof car. It makes him feel ordinary, like he is one and living with all of us
And of course he has his cute gestures and bloopers. I can’t help laughing whenever his cape flies off during his formal ceremonies or how his skullcap is always missing from his head.
4. Pope Francis radiate happiness- like a sun peeking through an after-storm
His trip to Tacloban was my undoing. Despite the heavy rains and risk of storms up in the air, he pushed through his flight and embraced Tacloban with a heart full of sympathy, hope and love. How can you not risk the crowds for a pope who risked his flight in an awful weather?
Quoting Archbishop Villegas from Pope Francis’ last mass at Luneta
5. Pope Francis strengthens our faith as a church
In here, faith does not stand out – instead it resonates.
The pope is a shining example of a beacon and herald of peace. His positivity and openness makes me believe and hope that the world can very much be a better place.
Real love is about loving and letting yourself be loved. It’s harder to let yourself be loved than to love. That is why it is so difficult to come to the perfect love of God. We can love Him but we must let ourselves be loved by Him. Real love is being open to the love that comes to you. The love that surprises us. If you only have information you are not surprised. Love surprises because it opens a dialogue of loving and being loved. God is a God of surprise because He loved us first. God awaits us to surprise us. Let us allow ourselves to be surprised by God. Let us not have a computer psychology that makes us think we know it all. All answers on computers – but no surprises. The challenge of love. God reveals himself through surprises.
Message of Pope Francis to the youth at UST. From Yahoo.
So there are no words for me to say but Thank You. Thank you for awakening our hearts and for always reminding us that the Lord is truly with us, every step of the way. A lot of us may have forgotten but knowing that we have a very persistent shepherd who leads us is a very good start. Most of us are off the beaten track, including me but most of may have received that little push. We’re going there, together. Thank you Papa Francisco, Mabuhay po kayo!
Bonus: Okay, majority will probably agree with me when I say that Pope Francis is adorably cute! Here are some of my favorite moments during his visit in Manila.
In here, the Pope describes how he prays to the families who listened to him at the MOA Arena. To quote him
I would like to tell you something very personal. I like St Joseph very much. He is a strong man of silence. On my desk I have a statue of St Joseph sleeping. While sleeping he looks after the Church. Yes, he can do it! We know that. When I have a problem or a difficulty, I write on a piece of paper and I put it under his statue so he can dream about it. This means please pray to St Joseph for this problem.
The pope also did a rock and roll sign with Bishop Tagle (but this actually means I love you in sign language)
During his visit at the University of Santo Tomas, my school (haha!), the Pope was given gifts which included his own ID and lanyard. Instead of having it kept by one his security people, he wore it all throughout his visit. I wonder if he tried entering the Engineering building?
One of my favorite moment from his Tacloban visit was when he expressed his message for the victims of the typhoon Yolanda.
P.S. Me and my cousin were able to see Pope during his motorcade after the Luneta mass. Our story could go on and on, on how we waited for several hours, stood in the drizzling rain but it will all come down on how amazing it felt to see his infectious smile bless us. What a great experience!
Note: All thoughts and opinions are mine. Most of the pictures are taken from various websites and credited through link sharing upon clicking the photo.
I chanced upon Walk the Moon upon the recommendation of a friend from the music industry. I remember watching the Anna Sun music video for the first time. I instantly fell in love with the energy and happiness radiating from the feel of the whole video. Tribal face paints, hip shaking, synchronized choreography – all that and I knew that they would be my favorite band. 2 years have passed since that music video and their title still reigns over my heart.
So you can just imagine my excitement when the band announced their second album with the teaser single Shut up and Dance. I could not contain my grin and most importantly, I can’t control my hips (as Nick Petricca always says it) when I first heard the song. This was it – this is what made me fall in love with the band in the first place. Their unique flavor – combining indie rock with themes of retro and pop always conjures an LSS worthy song. I’m not surprised that the single is visibly present in most Spotify Top charts – including the Philippines. (Proud Pinoy here!)
For the past two weeks since its release, I have been listening to the album almost every time I open my Spotify (and that’s almost all day, every single day of the week.) What I love most about the new album is how it delivered a new set of zesty, feisty songs with the same familiar Walk the Moon vibe that we all know, bearing hints of resemblance from their hit single Anna Sun. The upbeat songs – Sidekick, Avalanche, Shut up and Dance, Spend your $$$, Work this body (which I could easily turn into a Zumba dance routine) made me feel it in my heart and had me head-dancing way too much while at work -sorry, I couldn’t help it! The soulful songs – Different colors, Portugal, Aquaman were very head-sway worthy, like a bullet straight to the heart.
I know – it takes a lot of heart, patience and time to listen to new band or a new album so if you’re not really in the mood to scrobble through the whole album, let me suggest the top 3 songs that you should check out! I have good feeling you’d give the whole album a good listen when you hear these three:
1. Shut up and Dance – this song is in multiple Spotify charts, has been very consistent for weeks since its release. A definite, absolute, on-point LSS worthy track! You can also check out the very fun music video below.
2. Avalanche – Retro, Indie Pop, Walk the moon vibe – you can not fall in love with this track. The quirkiness of the beat sedates the artistry of the lyrics.
3. Portugal – Honestly, this is my personal favorite. This reminds me so much of why I loved this band in the first place – pure soul, spirit and a pouring passion for music.
Full Track listing of Talking is Hard:
1. DIFFERENT COLORS
3. SHUT UP AND DANCE
4. UP 2 U…
7. DOWN IN THE DUMPS
8. WORK THIS BODY
9. SPEND YOUR $$$
10. WE ARE THE KIDS
11. COME UNDER THE COVERS
We all know that everything is going digital nowadays so I had to accept that our local label won’t release a physical copy of the album. I am a very sentimental person and you have no idea how much it pains me to not hold in my actual literal hands this new Walk the moon record. So thank goodness for iTunes and Spotify for working with me through these tough times. So with that said, I will be giving away one digital copy of Talking is Hard (iTunes) to one reader of my blog – open to any fan, non-fan, Walk the moon virgin, Walk the moon non-virgin or any music aficionado who has taken an interest to listen to this band. Just comment and say hi below! [UPDATE: Congrats Michelle for winning the DigiCopy!]
I will always love this band and I really hope that they get bigger with this new record. They are honestly one of the most humble, sincere and free spirited bands present in the industry. Go to their Twitter and personal band member pages and you can see how much they go the extra mile to reach out to their fans and make us feel really appreciated. There’s no other feeling quite like it if you ask me. So I guess that explains why I also go the extra mile just to tell the world that you need to go check out this band because really there’s no one quite like them.
Remember the day when you finally tendered that ‘long-overdue’ resignation letter? You have always hated your boss but you have always loved him. In fact, the feeling is so insatiable you can’t decide what to feel because all seems moot now – you have finally reached the final point of no return. You are about to say goodbye to your heavy no-weekend workloads, to the drama of it all and you’re finally free. If you’re emotional like me, you probably cried a bucket-load of tears – you grieved over the sense of separation and you recalled all the memories – no matter how silly or sad they have been.
You feel the pain sting in your heart because you’re finally leaving and a few weeks from now, you’re going to have the best-last-lunch session with the best officemates in the history of officemates.
And finally, at the end of it all – you feel like a 12 year old kid (not too old to tread on the world and not to young to be left crawling) who is being separated from that parent who taught you during your formative years. It’s like leaving home for the bigger city. That’s what I always thought about my first job – don’t we all? It’s a training ground where we learn everyday and we get to be thankful for the patience of these people who took time to teach us and not really blame us for not knowing everything at the first try. And this is why it’s gut-wrenching to say goodbye – and why it’s okay to cry (you can always do it at home or the bus ride after your last day.) But despite all of the sadness, we have to let go. Because seriously, this struggle is a prologue of what is to come next. You’ve a got a bigger problem up ahead – you’ve got a new job.
So getting a new job means we get to be a little celebratory about it right? Congratulations, you’re hired and you’re on your way to greener pastures. You start sketching a very beautiful picture of you in your own condo unit in the ‘it-city’ of your country, sipping sangria with your bff’s on a Friday night. It’s time for you to get in the game and seek bigger opportunities in this new environment, with these new people. It’s what you’ve always needed, it’s the reason why you left your previous job – it’s a fresh start. Looks like everything is bundled up as a nice perfect package. But everything does come with a price and at this point you need to step back a little and take a long look through the bigger picture, it’s time to start plotting out a battle plan. You may or may not agree with me but starting a new job is a lot easier said than done. It is one big struggle that takes time, patience and whole lot of heart. If you’re someone like me then you have probably also experienced the stages of being that girl who just got a new job.
The stages (or phases or levels or call them whatever you like, really) of starting a new job:
1. Orientation Day
This stage is like a prequel to the real thing- literally speaking, it is a prequel (hahahahaha). Imagine this as the ‘Kill order’ of the series ‘The Maze Runner’ (sorry if you’re not a fan, you can always google it but just understand that it’s a prequel of the whole big series) – don’t worry, it is a less gory prequel. This stage gives you an overview of the days to come. It’s like a 50/50 position because you’re not yet officially part of your new company but technically, you’re already hired.
It’s the nerve-wracking stage where you feel proud that you got the job and you’re here ready to face the world with a new title. You feel extremely happy about this whole new you and you’re excited to get on with it.
Since you’re in the office (if your orientation does not happen in your office then it’s probably a scam, so run) you get to scan the surroundings. You gauge the feel and criticize the interior design of your new workplace. You cringe as the HR associate introduces you to the people in the office, trying to act cool without being too overly friendly because you want to give off a good impression – not too shy, not too proud.
You never really make friends during this day. The most hopeful conversation from the day are words of encouragement from the HR associate – who is officially the first ‘friend’ you made in this new job. But don’t get too attached – don’t go home thinking that tomorrow, when I officially start, I might probably get invited to lunch by this HR associate. Unfortunately, HR friendships don’t really work out – not because HR people are snobby after Orientation day, it’s because they have their own teams to get lunch with. So get over yourself and get over orientation day. Tomorrow is the day that we really start. BRING IT ON.
2. First Day
“Ohdearlord. This is AWKWARD. HEHE. I feel so awkward I just want to go to the bathroom but I’ve been there three times already today so my resources are running low. It’s time to panic but god I can’t do that infront of everybody. I have to act cool and collected. That’s right, I’ll pretend e-mail just to save my self from this embarrassment.”
Yep. You’re officially part of the crew! And guess what? You’re the newest one in the group so sit back, relax and be awkward. ALL DAY. This is a day wherein you have to accept defeat. You have no choice, you’re the newest of the new. You will always be the new one on this day until tomorrow – that is, if a new team member joins the company. This is the part where you literally sit in your desk all day, moving right and left – trying not to get too squeaky with your chair and you set up your whole life starting from your email account.
The first two hours would be bearable. Sine it’s your first day, you probably came to work early – meaning, the whole office is practically deserted. You relax and you get to fumble with your laptop – you fix the wifi connection, upload your picture to your Skype account and finish off your pink-font signature. Then the office starts filling up and it gets all too noisy. Now is the time to feel super duper awkward and you just have to hold on because dear the worst is yet to come – you have lunch hour next.
If you are lucky – you get to spend your first-day-lunch-hour with your team mates but if you’re not then it’s inevitably an emergency me time at the nearest McDonalds. Sorry, this is all part of growing up. You and your McChicken burger alone on Monday noon? Tough love.
After lunch should be better. It’s just a matter of acting nonchalant and praying that time should speed up because dang, I am already done with my e-mail and I have practically installed everything that I need to install. Then the angels came down, announcing that it’s already 6pm – HALLELUJAH!
3. The first week
Okay, greenie (that’s what they call newbies at the Maze Runner, sorry for my references) – if you want to build a life out of this new job then it’s time for you to work it out. One step at a time but you have no choice but to do it. Remember what you left- remember all the good friends of your previous work – don’t let all the sacrifice of leaving them go to waste!
During this week – you test all the waters. You walk up to people within your vicinity, strike them a question and see who answers best:
Question: Hey, I’m Grace – the new girl from the block from this department! *reaches hand out*
a. Hehe, I’m ___. You’re okay but sorry I have previous engagement and I’m really late for my meeting. Bye.
b. Ohmygod!!! I feel the same way about this small talk! *friend from other table calls her attention* *you go drift back to your own world* *music out*
c. Nope, I’m the resident bitch and you talking to me? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
d. So you wanna go out for lunch?
Pick letter d and your soul is redeemed. At least at this point you have someone to make lunch bearable. You and McChicken will definitely welcome your new lunch buddy with open arms and large fries shared has never tasted better.
The first week is the time to fish for all the information you can get from the company – no, I’m not talking about secrets and liabilities cause you’ll only earn that privilege when you’re a manager, which would probably take years from now- here, you ask about your co-workers, what do people wear, learn about employee satisfaction and ask the burning question at the back of your mind – ‘how do you get this vending machine to work again?’
NOTE: The first week will be bloody hard for you – emotionally speaking. You’ll miss everything from your old work because you can’t help keep compare your comfort back to now. You are probably questioning your decision about leaving your old job and you start being emotional about your accomplishments back there. Those were some of the greatest moments of your life.
But you have to toughen it up and start standing up for your decision. Next thing you know it’s already Friday and there you have it. The first week is all done. You have a new friend, you know your company background and you have successfully vended out fresh brewed coffee.
4. The first month.
Now that you’re nearing your 30th day, isn’t everything awesome? Nope. It is not. Admittedly, things still feel new but you’re getting the hang of it. It is the stage where we take the familiarization to a deeper level. You need to learn about everything – just like a cover to cover quiz and you know how annoying that can be right? You need to befriend the right people at this point of time because you need to build a good support system, you can’t stay and be all alone because come on no man is an island – you’d need the help of the jolly messengers to get your documents safely to your clients. You need to learn how to work the photocopying machine without looking like a dork.
I call it the hard training because eventually you will mess up (hopefully not much) but it is perfectly okay. You don’t need to sweat it if you accidentally deleted the Masterfile of names from your team leader’s database. You’ve got the newbie ammunition right up your sleeve! This is your grace period and you have to use it wisely otherwise you’ll end up a mess in the days to come. The next few months after will be a battle of you – your newness- and how you would learn to keep up with the stability of your new workplace -eventually, without the defense of being exactly new ’cause turns out there is the new kid who just started out the other day and is acing excel with his pivot table and concatenating powers (which actually took you three weeks to learn.) You’re not the type who gets easily left behind right? It’s time to take things seriously.
5. The next months to come
I have to be honest, this blog post is really inspired with what I have been feeling the past few weeks. I can only hope you feel the same way otherwise I’m wasting my blogging powers. Truth is, I just passed my first month in this new job and I can’t really say much for this stage since I can only tell from my first job – which might be a little biased since being it as my first job after college – the newbie ammunition was valid for 6months or so.
I guess you can help me out in the comments section after but I think these months are the formative stages of your new work life. Think Promil and their advertisements where babies grew up to be toddlers and then as kids. In this stage- you’ll probably get scolded for doing something wrong and the choice of blame is up to your judgment- blame it for not knowing well enough or just blame it to experience. You’ll probably get a praise for a job well done and that would really feel glorious. You will meet people who might piss the hell out of you and eventually you’ll meet your best officemates ever here too. Life will be great again and it will require you to vent out your worries, fear, anger and happy times – next thing you know it, you’re already celebrating your first year anniversary.
6. (Epilogue) 1st year at work
You recollect all the memories, awkward and non-awkward, and then you realize that it was not so bad after all.
So you see the next time you walk in to your office pantry and see the new kid quizzically looking at the coffee vending machine, you walk up to him, flash him a kindly smile (one that does not scare!) and you help him get his espresso because a year from now you’d want him to feel the same way as you do right now.