Britney Live In Manila: The Experience

JUNE 15, 2017, THURSDAY, AT THE MOA ARENA, MARKED A HISTORICAL EVENT IN THE PHILIPPINES, ESPECIALLY FOR THE BRITNEY FANS, AS ONE OF THE MOST ICONIC AND LEGENDARY POP ARTISTS IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY HAS PERFORMED LIVE IN FRONT OF THE FILIPINO CROWD!

ONE WORD: UNFORGETTABLE!

IMG_6306It was one of the best days in my life, the most magical for 2017! It was unbelievable, I have never thought in my entire life, that one day, it will be possible for me to see Britney live in Manila! Being a fan since 1998, I knew she has never been in the Philippines, maybe because, first, the Filipinos can’t afford her nor the organizers, and second, the concert venues in our country were relatively small compared to her large production in all of her concerts. She has rain, bungee jumping, moving platforms, raising bars and cages, huge wings and trees, large props in her concert that I imagine would never fit even in Araneta Colisuem, which was the biggest here back in the day.

But this year, everything has changed! Stars have lined up for us, the Filipino army, to see our one and only Pop Princess, Britney Spears!

My day started when I woke up early in the morning for class, I was excited, really, and never thought of anything but to just finish the day so I can go and start preparing for the concert. At school, I can’t focus, I was just too excited and I can’t even share it to anybody (I am an irregular student, so sadly no friends! Haha).

IMG_6257When my classes ended, I hurriedly went back home to change and prepare. I plugged my phone to our surround system to give me more hype! “My Prerogative” started playing and I’m super energized! I even took a video of me taking my “Britney Concert Ticket” out from a vault! Haha! I Wore a “somehow” Britney-inspired outfit, it was her dancer’s look from her music video “Till The World Ends”. I was wearing a leather jacket, sadly we are in a tropical country so I had to face the struggles of climate change in my country.

I arrived early for the concert, and of course, I’ve met my Britney Army friends, we took pictures and some of them were given a chance to be interviewed for the news. I was justIMG_6231 ecstatic and can’t belive in just a few hours the concert will start. The lobby of MOA Arena played “Slumber Party” over and over and added over my excitement! There were also a lot of fun activities before the concert. Bench had photobooths, where you have to stand in-line and wait for your turn to be shot at some Britney-inspired backdrops like “…Baby One More Time”‘s school hallway and “Oops!… I Did It Again”‘s Mars landing. Smart Communications also gave away some Britney posters to some concert-goers who were Smart subscribers. Luckily I got one ;).

wowIMG_6276Around 8am, people were already allowed to go inside the stadium. AND I WAS FREAKING OUT AS I SAW HER STAGE! IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL AND HUGE! There were also a lot of people. I saw a lot of celebrities and had the opportunity to take pictures with Bailey May. I also saw Sarah Lahabti, Richard and Raymond Gutierrez, Tim Yap, Phil Younghusband and Lovi Poe. Some of my friends saw Vice Ganda, KC Concepcion, Kisses Delavin and Dominic Roque. The house wasn’t full by 8am, but coming close to 8:30pm, as the concert started, we were jam-packed!

newIMG_6368Lights went out all of a sudden, and music started, it was a remixed intro of “Work B**ch”. Of course I know! AND EVERYONE, INCLUDING ME, STARTED FREAKING OUT! THE DANCERS CAME OUT AND STARTED THEIR ROUTINE, IT WAS INTENSE! THEN THEY STOPPED AND LOOKED TO THEIR LEFT, LIGHTS WENT OUT AGAIN, AND HOLY SGRAFSJAS!!!! BRITNEY SPEARS SHOWED UP IN THE SPOTLIGHT! I WAS CRYING! TEARS WERE ROLLING DOWN MY FACE! I CAN’T BELIEVE I WAS SEEING THIS LEGENDARY PERFORMER IN FRONT OF ME! I CAN’T BELIEVE I WAS SINGING ALONG WITH HER! IT WAS OVERWHELMING! I’m still having tears in my eyes now, as I am typing, still having the same emotions as I saw her the first time. Truly magical, how I wished it never ended.

She then next performed some of her songs, “Womanizer”, “Me Against The Music” and “Gimme More”. I’m just amazed at how she can quickly change costumes, like, “Girl, do you just take off your bra and quickly wear a new one in front of your staff?” Like howIMG_6405 does she do it! I’m so amazed! People went insane when she performed a medley of “…Baby One More Time” and “Oops!… I Did It Again”, of course, these songs have a cult following and they stapled her to her legendary status today. She also performed her new songs from her recent album, “Glory”, such as “Do You Wanna Come Over”, “Make Me…” and “Slumber Party”. She also did amazing performances of some fan favorites like “I’m A Slave 4 U”, “If U Seek Amy”, and “Piece of Me” where everyone, with all their energy, screamed the line “SNEAK AWAY INTO THE PHILIPPINES”!

whewOne lucky fan was also invited to get up the stage to play with Britney during her “Freakshow” performance. She does this to her every tour, as well in her Vegas residency. She always gives a signed shirt to her fans who joined her, including this one who joined her in her Manila Tour. Sadly, there were rumors that the freakshow guy lost the shirt Britney gave her, I would kill just to have that shirt and he unbelievably lost it.

IMG_6424It also gives me chills and warm sensation when I remember Britney saying “what’s up Manila?” most of the tour! I love it when she says my City! Makes it feel more real! My friends say she gets more energized and hyped when we cheer for her! “Toxic” and her medley of “Crazy” and “Stronger” had the loudest cheers. It also means the concert was coming to an end, I can’t believe how fast it was! She said her thanks and her goodbyes to us and all the lights went off. We thought it already ended. But then the crowd cheered “Britney! Britney!”, and it was once of the best moments of the concert. The Philippines wanted more! And, of course, I knew she was still coming out with one final song, but it was just a great feeling to play along with crowd. And when she went out saying “Do you want more, Manila?” and started performing a medley of “Till The World Ends” and “Work B**ch”, I knew it was ending, so I enjoyed the final song with all my energy and all my heart. My friends said she was teary eyed as it was ending. Her dancers even mentioned that the Philippines was their best audience ever since their shows begun! I’M SO AMAZED! IT WAS THE BEST NIGHT OF MY LIFE! I WILL NEVER FORGET THIS!

IMG_6437I’m not ashamed that I am getting emotional while typing this, because it is true, she’s a big part of my life and I just wished her show never ended. She’s not just a performer, but an inspiration to me and to many people. We grew up with her. When everybody went out of the stadium, everyone was singing along with some of her songs like “Lucky”, “Sometimes” and “…Baby One More Time”, truly an ICON! People will say, Britney is over and a has-been, but I say to them, no other artist has ever been appreciated by the Filipino crowd like this! A has-been will never have a sold out concert and will never have fans wanting for more!

The concert has ended but my love for her will remain, forever. I may never see her again. Who knows, she might retire, or might just focus on her American audience, IIMG_6498 don’t know. But one thing’s for sure, one item has been checked off my bucket list, and I am very much happy and contented. Everytime I watch the videos I captured during the concert, I still cry and get emotional. You can’t blame me, I’m a fan. And she’s not just some random singer, she’s been through a lot and showed the people she can rise despite all the struggles, a true example to her peers and to her fans. She’s a survivor, a phoenix who rose from the ashes. A waste of money? No I don’t think so. It was all worth it. Seeing her breakdown in public and now making it back in her best form, was totally worth the wait and the price. Oops! I guess she did it again, making an impact to a lot of people and leaving behind an inspiration to never stop dreaming and that dreams do come true. ūüôā

My short vlog about the concert:

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MMFF 2016: Saving Sally and Seklusyon

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wikipedia.org

Metro Manila Film Festival or MMFF is a yearly tradition in Metro Manila where MMDA will host a festival of amazing Filipino Movies. Did I get that right? I hope so. Well technically it is a celebration of amazing Filipino talent, where families gather to celebrate the holiday season and watch these films. Normally, mainstream movies are shown, this year, they decided to feature quality indie films, as I’ve heard, missing the likes of Vice Ganda, Vic Sotto, Ai-Ai De Las Alas and Kris Aquino.

First of all, yes I am not a fan of Indie Films. Not that I don’t like them, but I’m just a mainstream person. I just like to watch feel good films, and every time I watch Indie, it leaves a lot of questions unanswered and feelings of hurt or confusion. Yep, they’re very good in story-telling and playing with emotions, but it’s a lot to handle. But yeah, why not give them a chance, right? It’s been a long time since my last Indie experience.

One of my friends has this MMFF movie pass or complimentary pass, or whatever you call it, and invited me to watch some of the films. I don’t have all the time in the world so we decided we will be watching two films. I really wanted to see Vince & Kath & James, but my friend isn’t a fan. We agreed to see Seklusyon, because of course, it’s horror! It should be in the list. I’ve also been amazed by the concept of Saving Sally since seeing its trailer online. We also agreed on seeing that first. We came to TriNoma by lunch time, good thing because there’s no much people watching yet, and the lines were short. So we got the chance to start our “movie marathon” seamlessly. It’s so cool to pay P5.00 for the films instead of P220.00, that’s a real relief, but I’m confused if I’m helping the industry with this. But hey, an opportunity is an opportunity, so I just grabbed it. :p

So we started with Saving Sally. I was so excited! I was like a kid waiting for the Avengers film to start. The movie theater wasn’t full. Again, it was noon, so there’s not much people watching. It’s already a lot of people for me for this timeslot. So the movie was fine, the animation was superb and the flow of the story is very solid. I just find it awkward that the¬†actors are speaking in English. ¬†I also don’t like Rhian Ramos playing the lead, they could’ve gotten some other new actress. However, the protagonist, Enzo Marcos, was very charming and did a good job, he was very relatable. Well they’re¬†just small bumps on the road, but other than that, it was a feel good movie, something I did not expect from an Indie film. There was no roller coaster of emotions for me, I was just witnessing how this “teen” experienced heartbreak and how he used it for his advantage, and in the end, he got what he wanted, and this is real life, less the sci-fi stuff. I felt like it was a Disney short film, but in this case it was full length. I am amazed at how far Pinoy Animation has gone. I sincerely love and appreciate this film, and I hope we get more of this in the future. Screw what haters say, but this is really a great effort! ‚̧

Then off we go for a quick snack, and headed straight to the next movie theater for Seklusyon. Now this is what I came for, no pun intended. My MMFF experience wouldn’t be complete without a horror film! Well, Kris Aquino’s time is done, so it’s time for new comers. This time, the movie house is full, it got me more excited. As the movie started I had this feeling to focus properly, because, you know, horror films need to be deciphered, and in this case, it is also an Indie film, so a lot of understanding has to be done, or else I’m screwed. I love the setting, I am impressed with the 1940s effects, the costume is SO on point, the actors were great! Ronnie Alonte did great, but Red Bustamante was a revelation. Her expressions and gestures were just flawless! The combination of all the actors were perfect. I was really impressed. I was thinking, this film will definitely bag awards! I got thrilled, scared and surprised all at the same time. This movie served it’s purpose. The movie feeds off from your fear from evil and uses it to scare you, very clever and effective. It got me all curious and as expected, a lot of questions were left unanswered. The beginning was creepy, up until the ending, it was wickedly satisfying! But one thing I can tell you, after this film,¬†I won’t let images of saints stay my house anymore, I better have them removed, haha. Two of the casts, Dominic Roque and J.R. Versales also made appearances in the theater to thank us after the film, which a bonus actually. I hope they felt how the audience appreciated their performances.

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                       cinemabravo.com

I wasn’t disappointed. The movies I’ve seen were impressive, and yes, I would be excited to see more. I’ll be looking forward for Vince & Kath & James, and maybe Oro. There were also amazing short films before the movie started. They were a bit cheesy, but this is still talent. I’m impressed at where the movie industry is heading, and there’s no turning back. I just hate it when people show hate for our emerging industry. Why not just support and be proud of what we can do and achieve? Why not just be excited of what our movie industry can do in the near future? I still have hope that someday, we can be at par with international standards when it comes to movie making. And how can we help? By supporting our own films, buying them instead of supporting piracy. Always remember that there is a thin line between criticizing and shaming, so we better be responsible with what we say. There’s nothing bad that I can say about my experience with the two films, but one thing’s for sure, I will continue to support and look forward. Mainstream or Indie, they’re all the same, they’re purpose is to bring entertainment to people. As long as they serve they’re purpose, the industry will continue to grow.