Sunday, February 26, 2012

RICHARD POON IN #BRUNEI

Yesterday night, together with other UP CB officers and members, I attended the “AID Mindanao” at the Centrepoint Hotel in Gadong. The Filipino Association Brunei organized the event in cooperation with the Philippine Embassy and other organizations.

Primarily, the main goal in putting up the dinner concert was to help the people of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro, which were highly affected by the typhoon Sendong (Washi). Priced at BND50 per ticket, Philippine’s Big Band Crooner, Richard Poon, delighted the audience with an unforgettable musical treat.

There are two major topics that I want to share in this blog entry. First, I would like to talk about my sentiment on what I felt when I was informed last Saturday night, a night before the event, that I won’t be hosting the event. And secondly, I would like to talk about the amazing performances at the Charity Event, which of course, were well delivered by the other Filipino front-act performers and Richard Poon.

Read on to know more.


Most of my friends, even some strangers, were asking me last night if I’ll be performing on stage. Some even asked if I will be hosting the event. As kuya said, one of the hotel staff, “Oh, hindi ba ikaw ang mag-ho-host?” (Aren’t you gonna host?). I replied with, “Hindi kuya eh. Voice over lang daw at hindi ako.” (I won’t. Someone will just do a voice over.”)

I was not booked to perform. But, I was supposed to host the event. But a sudden cancellation happened.

Rewind.
 

In respect to the organizer, who's also my close friend, I am putting a portion of this entry in password protected. This blog is not a platform for monster gossiping unless you are my super close friend and you really want to extend your sincerest concern.That's the only time I can disclose the password. Thank you very much.
Making my Presence

I was not supposed to attend the event. With what happened, I thought I deserve to just take a rest or work on a research that I’m doing. But then it hit me, I reflected: Why am I not to attend? I came to ponder: I am attending the event because I want to help the people who were badly affected by typhoon Sendong (Washi).

Soon, I was seated in the grand ballroom of Centrepoint Hotel together with my co-UP CB Officers and members.
L-R: Dr. Egay, Hanah, Ms. Joanne, Ma'am Betsy, Ton, and Ms. Ching!

Ms. Lea and Dr. Rommel

Sir Allan, Ms. Len, Ms. Lea and Dr. Rommel

Sir Allan, Ms. Len, me and Dr. Joey

Divina, Sir Allan, Ms. Len and me

Divina, Sir Allan, Ms. Len, Marvs, Ms. Lea, Sir Rommel and me at the back!

Ms. Ching, Me and Ms. Jing!

Ma'am Betsy, Ms. Weng, Me and Mhy


AID Mindanao rolls out

The 500-seater grand ballroom in Centrepoint Gadong was packed. There were a lot of people – from diplomats, the members of the high society in Brunei, businessmen, officers and staff of various organizations. 

Outside the hall, there were some photographs which were exhibited. Interestingly, some photos were bought and proceeds will directly go to helping Mindanao. I was also impressed with the pro-active participation of Pinoy Shutters Brunei Darussalam. Their intricately crafted photos were on showcase as well. You can contact Gatz if you're interested to know more about their organization. Better yet, check out Gatz's website (CLICK) if you need some photography services. I highly recommend him and the other Pinoy Shutters Brunei Darussalam members.






Since the event was an intimate and formal gathering, everyone walked in with majestic outfit. The women had their evening dresses while most men wore long sleeves with tie and some with a coat.

Prior to the start of the program, everyone was delighted with a scrumptious dinner. I tell you, I enjoyed the food. But as much as I wanted to eat more, I have to let others eat first as I was unsure if they refill the food on each table. In consideration, I'm on a (strict) diet, as everyone is up to (char!).


Diet on Myth!

Soon, the program unveiled.

Philippine Ambassador Nestor Ochoa officially opened the charity event by delivering a very warm and snappy speech. On his narrative, he highlighted the utmost appreciation of the Filipino community in Brunei to those people who came and supported the AID Mindanao event, locals and other expats. He also thanked those who joined the Golf tournament, as part of AID Mindanao, which happened in the morning.

After Mr. Ochoa’s speech, two front acts wowed the audience. Kuya Lito and Tonette graced the event. And yes, I’m very proud of them. Kuya Lito is my co-choir member at Serunai Singers, and Tonet is my co-choir member in the church. They’re my friends and they're both talent music teachers.

Kuya Lito’s performance was a show-stopper. He sang “This is the Moment” and followed through by a classical piece. I tell you, he (as he admitted on stage) looks like Pavarotti (without the mustache) and he really sounded like an opera singer. Actually, I was not surprised at all. Working with Kuya Lito in our church choir and in Serunai, I heard him sing jaw-dropping classical pieces. And he delivered so well that you’ll feel being transported to the Vatican City.

Prior to moving in Brunei (13 years ago) and becoming a music teacher at Seria Mulia Sarjana School, Kuya Lito was one of the Philippine’s bankable kundiman performers. He was also one of the men behind the popular singing cooks and waiters in the Philippines. Interesting right? Moreover, he had to different places because of his remarkable voice which he always share through joining choirale performances and training aspiring singers. And despite the many achievements tucked under his belt, Kuya Lito is a very humble man.

The Pavarotti of Brunei, Kuya Lito!
Mhy, Ms.Emily, Kuya Lito, me and Vhia
The next performer was Tonet, she’s a music teacher at Expressions Music School. She’s also my close friend and as I said, my choir mate. What’s stunning about Tonet’s performance was her precise pronunciation of words whenever she sings. Her melodious voice was just powerful that it soothes your mind and soul. Her singing never fails to give the audience, goooooosebumps! Moreover, with her years of experience in broadway, in the Philippines and abroad, her confidence exudes as reflected in conveying the emotion in every song she performs.
Tonet and I on our Empire Gig!

After the two front acts, Richard Poon went on stage and charmed everyone. Sorry guys, I don't have any pictures as he performed.

Oddly, minutes before Poon went on stage, I accidentally bumped into him. He was with his road manager and he was busy running through his songs. I was on my way to the toilet then.

Guess what, after I bumped into him, my friend told me, “Si Richard Poon!” (It’s Richard Poon). I felt ashamed. Why? Because I thought, I just “accidentally” bumped some Chinese looking guy. I didn’t know that “he” was already “The” Richard Poon of the night. I was clueless. Sorry naman.

I suppose, some audience were also clueless who Richard Poon is. In Brunei, we don’t have TFC (Channel 2) or Pinoy TV (GMA-7). The only access we have on Philippine TV is via online. Unless you regularly visit the Philippines (for business or vacation) or you’re a big follower of Philippine showbusiness, you’ll get updated with Philippine entertainment.

Surprisingly, the very humble crooner was very pleasing when he introduced himself before the show kicked off. He’s aware of the lack of Philippine show access in the abode of peace and so the possible limited information about him was perhaps reasonable.

So when I got back on my seat, Richard Poon was about to go to the stage. The moment he went up on stage, the people were mesmerized with his charm and voice.

I am not a fan of standard songs. Normally, I only hear songs of Nat King Cole or Engelbert Humperdinck through selections from my parents. So when Richard Poon sang some of the hits, way back (I guess) 50s or 60s, I knew I would be treated for a different musical extravaganza – something that is melodiously soothing and oldies but goodies. Thank God he didn't sing any A.D or B.C. (Before Christ) songs for surely I'll go, wow?

Touted as the Big Bang Crooner of the Philippines, and even the Michael Bubble of the Philippines, Richard Poon delivered a sweet, enchanting and polished performance. What’s more delightful, Poon was very interactive with the audience.

I tell you, and to be honest, while I felt sleepy at some portion of his performances, perhaps because of the song’s melody, nothing beats his energy in giving the audience an enlivening kick as he shared his personal stories.

On stage, he shared how he got into singing standard songs (through his manager named Eric). He also chronicled how he overcome fights with his parents on his quest on becoming a singer. As he said, in Chinese traditions, financial stability comes first and his parents were not keen (before) on musical career.  Yet in the end, he proved them that he could shine with what he passionately does best. Lastly, while I recalled how we tease our Philippine President Pnoy on “singlehood,” Poon also had his take on finding love and a future special someone.

Despite singing standard songs, which perhaps the young generation might not appreciate, Richard Poon’s powerful rendition gave a captivating twist. Poon, a pure Chinese, wowed the Chinese crowd by singing Jose Marie Chan’s “Beatiful Girl” in Chinese (some phrases). On top of that, while he walked up and down the stage and went around to ask someone to sing with him, Poon tickled the Filipino audience’s musically-inclined senses by singing a line-up of perky songs, and videoke favorites such as “Isang Linggong pag-ibig,” “Simula’t Sapul,” “ Tukso,” “Sayang,” and a lot more. Capping off his performances, he sang “Can’t take my eyes of you.” And as the audience cheered for more, he sang “Moon River.” Positively, Poon's song was very refreshing to the ears which was an escape from the Bieber Fever and Miley Cyrus Virus trend.

Overall, the event was a great success and I congratulate the organizers, supporters and everyone who made the event possible. Indeed, it was an enchanting evening packed with Pinoy’s musical ingenuity and talent. What’s more, it’s good to participate in a greater mission: to help our kababayans in Mindanao.

Post-Poon Syndrome

Right after the show, most people flocked into the stage to have a snapshot with Richard Poon. Yours truly, together with my friends, went up.
Everyone wants a piece of Poon. Hello there Divisoria on stage!
 And yes, since I bought Poon’s latest album last July, I really made an effort to get the crooner sign my 350-pesos souvenir. Thank God, despite being squeezed on my way to where Poon was engaged with lots of picture taking, I got in, he signed my album and we had a picture. 


You may be wondering where did I get his latest album. I've been informed that Poon will be in Brunei in February 2012. So way back January of this year, I really made an effort to grab a copy of his latest album, despite being clueless on how he sounds. Yes, for curiosity purposes. Fortunately, when I started viewing his songs via youtube, I said to myself, his album is worth the buy!

Brunei's Brightest (ambitious?) meets the Philippines' Crooner!

The signed album!
Of course, my night won’t be complete without a picture with my UP Circle Brunei family. I won’t be in the concert without them for they encouraged me to attend in support of those people in Mindanao. In my co-UP CB member’s inspiring words, “Look on the higher purpose.” 

L-R: Dr. Egay, Ms. Lea, Sir Rommel, Ms. Jing, Dr. Joey, Ma'am Betsy, Divina, Sir Allan, Ms. Len and Me!

How about let's get wacky!

Congratulations again to all who made the AID Mindanao a smashing success!

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