‘ASAP 2012’ Makes History In Singapore

JUST A THOUGHT: Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here, we should dance. - Author Unknown

• • •

'ASAP' STAR POWER: You can say that at this point in our career, we've seen 'em all.

Yet, nothing in the length and breadth of our experience in entertainment could match the intensity and ultimate star power that surprised us while 40 ABS-CBN top stars cast a unified spell on an adoring, celebratory crowd that Sunday, Oct. 14, at the Max Pavillion in Singapore. It was, in a sense, historic.

Network had timed a two-episode "ASAP 2012" presentation that weekend on the occasion of the twin entry in October of movie channel Cinema One and news channel ANC in the highly progressive island state via Starhub.

An entourage consisting of 110 cast members and technical crew included, aside from the 40 stars, 14 dancers plus a coterie of assorted workers: Assistant directors, writers, handlers, road managers, stylists and make-up artists. Twenty-four more local dancers were added to the ensemble.

The first show, staged at around 2 p.m., gathered a full house audience of easily 6,000. A second but entirely different show, which opened at 6 p.m. in the same venue, also saw a full-capacity crowd of another 6,000.

That's a total of about 12,000 people culled from the 16,000 registered subscribers to The Filipino Channel (TFC) in Singapore. The state itself has a total Filipino population of 200,000.

Of this number, 65 percent are professionals while 35 percent are domestic helpers.

The audience didn't pay cheap money to watch the two shows either. Tickets were pricey at $30, $50, and $80. They were comparable to the prices slapped on foreign acts performing in the island.

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ALL-STAR ATTACK: From the moment the shows started, deafening applause and wild cheers ruled the fresh-as-new venue in the outskirts of the city. The stage burst with five-star voltage, fluttering fabrics in rainbow colors, giant fans and sexy costumes.

Director Johnny Manahan had smartly showcased the 40 stars in lengthy opening numbers that struck like lightning and had the audience roaring mad.

The first show, for instance, had an all-star ASAP Cultural Remix theme that combined Singapore's Malay, Chinese and Indian cultural influences. Out came in at least six successive production numbers the dizzying likes of Billy Crawford, Vina Morales, Nikki Gil, Angeline Quinto, Yeng Constantino, Enchong Dee, Rayver Cruz, Gerald Anderson, John Prats, Gabriel Valenciano, Robi Domingo, Cristine Reyes, Maja Salvador, Iza Calzado, Iya Villania, Daniel Padilla, Khalil Ramos, Enrique Gil, Piolo Pascual, Sam Milby, Kim Chiu, Shaina Magdayao, Erich Gonzales, Julia Montes, Kathryn Bernardo, Jed Madela, Zsa Zsa Padilla, and Gary Valenciano!

It was one head-turning, shriek-inducing roll call that left 25-year-old domestic helper from Batangas Maria Marasigan on middle row with a hoarse voice and temporarily deaf in one ear.

Sequence after sequence, the screaming went on and on, without let-up. The "ASAP" artists have mastered the art of public entertainment, live, after having worked up crowds earlier in places such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, Japan and Guam.

As it approaches its 18th year in 2013 - a debutante - channel head Cory Vidanes and business unit head Joyce Liquicia envision broader, more foreign invasions in the near future, in partnership, of course with TFC.

TFC corporate communication head Nerissa Fernandez acknowledged that the "ASAP" galaxy of stars has paved the way for the smooth entry of ANC and Cinema One to Singapore. "We couldn't have done it any other way," she said.

The "ASAP 2012" special edition in Singapore, which will air in two succeeding episodes starting on Sunday, Oct. 21, was attended by, among others, ABS-CBN chair Gabby Lopez, president Charo Santos Concio, business unit head Laurenti Dyogi, PR head Bong Osorio. Optical Media Board chair Ronnie Ricketts (with wife Mariz), who has been named ABS-CBN icon against global piracy, also made a special guest appearance.

• • •

STAR NEWS

HATANKARU DEBUT: Hatankaru, Muziklaban's breakthrough band (2009 grand champion), launches its first album on Oct. 19 (Friday) at Cubao X, Araneta Center in Cubao, QC. The band's six-track EP includes debut single "Larawan," "Kipot," "Hipo," "Bawal."

BARACK FOLLOWING: US President Barack Obama has 20.8 million Twitter followers. His account is said to be the sixth most followed in the world, but still considered lagging behind Lady Gaga's following at 30 million.

(nescuar@yahoo.com)

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