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DAVID ARCHULETA

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David Archuleta ~ I’ll Never Go Far Away From You

Posted by ascphil on Wednesday, January 15, 2014

DASmiledAtMe10.18.12

Drawing by Ascphil

I wasn’t on my laptop the night I watched David’s “Before the Cut” vlog. I was on my iTouch and was waiting for it to load because our internet signal at night is usually so weak. When I finally watched it, I felt a sadness engulf me once more. I thought all this time that I was doing okay knowing less and less about what’s happening in the Archuworld. But even if that vlog was less than half a minute long, it made me ponder on how unhappy I had been not being able to write about David, and that I missed drawing his angelic face. I paused the video at certain spots to find his nice angles. Then accidentally the video froze on his profile which was very similar to the last one I drew of him.

DA Profile B4DCut Pic(11)

It was uncanny that it froze there because I didn’t even notice that he had such an angle when I watched it previously. Normally, when the video is paused, the image would become dark after some time as is the usual case when the iTouch goes on idle mode, then you have to touch the screen to re-activate it to go back to the previous image. This time, the image of his profile JUST STAYED ON! The screen never went dark, and no matter what I pressed on the image to make the video play again or to stop it, the image of his profile stayed there, unrelenting. I waited for the screen to go dark after several minutes, but it didn’t! My iTouch hanged, but was it coincidence that it chose to freeze on that significant pose? I then realized what was happening. I was being given a sign not to give up on David, despite everything that happened during the past month, and despite all the hurt I was going thru. I need to fulfill my promise to him that I’ll be here for him during his absence and especially when he comes back in 2014. I intend to do so but quietly. However, that image staying there for so long made me feel the message so strongly that I wept and sobbed, cupping my face with both hands in the privacy of my room. Thank God my husband and kids were downstairs busy doing their own stuff. They didn’t see how swollen my face became from crying so much. I then acknowledged that God must know my struggle and that it’s His way of telling me that David is worth all of it, that being an Archie is something I can no longer run away from, that there is a reason for my being one.

With that realization, and because that image remained immovable on my iTouch’s screen, I then turned on my laptop to look for that video on YouTube so that I could download it and make a screen capture of the frozen profile image. I was still tearful so it took me some time to find the exact moment of the profile, but I was finally able to save it. On the larger screen of my laptop, I could now see that he had a bigger smile than on the sketch that I drew, that he was truly happy and looking forward to his mission. It made such a deep impact on me that the video froze at that exact moment to comfort me in my sadness, and that Someone knows what I’m going through.

DA_Profile_B4DCut

Noticing that my iTouch was still on the same frozen image even after I had successfully screen-captured it, I then thought of taking a photo of my iTouch to document what happened. But when I was ready with my camera and focused on it, the screen went dark. I tried to revive my iTouch, but it didn’t recover the image. Instead it warned that the battery was low and needed to be charged. This happened after the image was on for almost an hour. It was as if it waited for me to capture it on my laptop. Right after that, I tweeted David that I had just gotten a strong message from his vlog. I wonder if he ever read it, but don’t expect that he did, knowing how busy he was at that time.

The next day, David released his very last video blog before he entered the MTC. I thought I would cry again after watching it, but I didn’t. Amazingly, I felt happy and peaceful, both for him and for me, because I was given an assurance that I am still in this journey with David and that I should keep the faith  stronger than ever. I am convinced all the more that God has a plan for David which he still has to fulfill, and I have to stick around to witness him fulfill it.

I still have to know what God wants me to do after all this. I keep praying for an answer, and so far I have been receiving bits and pieces which always lead me back to David. Until then, I remain a faithful Archie, waiting for the imminent return of our beloved David Archuleta.

DAB4dCut 11.07.12

Drawing by Ascphil

black line

Ascphil is a guest writer for The Voice

Posted in @DavidArchie, Archies, Art, vlog | Tagged: , , | 76 Comments »

Ascphil’s Recap, Asia, The Return of David Archuleta: Part 5

Posted by ascphil on Friday, July 15, 2011

The following is the final of five daily installments leading up to David’s return to Asia.  Written by Ascphil at the conclusion of his last trip to that part of the world, and with exclusive photos by her daughter.

It was time to pack our cameras, take out our cd’s, and form a line. A lady’s voice kept telling us to move fast and make it easy for David to sign by preparing the cd cover. Everyone was hurriedly ripping off the plastic wrapping of their newly purchased cd’s to take out the cover leaf which is actually one big folded poster. She also kept reminding us that only the first 400 cd’s will be signed and no picture-taking with David will be allowed. Naree and JR were lined up in front of me. Naree then turned to me and told me she’ll try to take a photo of me and David when she got out of the stage. She wanted me to be the fifth person behind her so that she had time to position herself to take a shot. I nodded but I was still busy with my bags, trying to put my cell phone in my pocket as I held the cd, the wrapper, the folded poster cover, and getting rid of the plastic pouches which held the cd’s and VIP passes. I was surprised by how quickly the line moved. The guards at the start of the line were pushing people forward to go to the stage after checking our stubs. There were more hands pushing us forward at the base of the stage to go up. I was rushing to get out my gift to David which was in a shoulder bag inside my second bag. I thought I was several persons behind Naree, but I saw that she was only three persons in front of me. Dang! I was barely getting my composure when I realized I was already near the table where David was signing. Many people were hovering around him. Someone motioned to me to open my cd cover to spread it out as a full poster. I could already see David looking down on the table and signing the cd covers so fast. The lady ahead of me handed him a card envelope which was taken by someone to his right and put into a huge clear plastic bag, even bigger than the usual garbage bag. Hmm, so that’s where my gift will go.

When it was my turn, I stood squarely in front of David as I watched him sign my cd cover/poster with his full name as if it was just one of those things he does so well. He has mastered the art of the autograph, and as I watched him do it effortlessly, I was amazed by how he appeared to me up close. Spotlights were focused on the line, but because David was seated, he was shielded from the bright lights by anyone standing in front of him. We all know that he is of small stature, but as he sat there calmly signing the cd covers, he struck me as a larger person than his actual height. He exuded a silent but strong confidence and made me feel he was in control of what was happening around him. I then greeted him, “Hi, David.” As he looked up at me and said, “Oh, hi!” while completing his signature, I could see why people gush so much on how gorgeous he is up close. I was casting my shadow on him, and the diffused light somehow made his features more enhanced. If the word photogenic and telegenic were to be applied to David, I would have to say he is none of them. He is even more handsome and more gorgeous than I had imagined him to be. All the best photographs I have seen of him do not give him justice. In that fleeting moment, he did not appear like a teenager to me. He is a beautiful, beautiful man, in the highest form of the word beautiful. Is he real? Is he really sitting there in front of me? I was almost taken aback when he looked directly at me. His gorgeousness was ultimately defined by the wonderment that was his eyes. I could not distinguish their colors in the soft light, but all I could feel was the beauty of his soul streaming through those enthralling eyes as they gazed at me inquisitively. His eyes sparkled, well-framed by those thick brows gently arched above his eyes which appeared dark under my shadow. I barely had the presence of mind to remember to give him my gift and was able to tell him, “This is for you, David” and knew it would go straight into the plastic bag being held by the large woman behind him. He said “Thanks!”, gave me a grateful smile, handed me my signed cd cover, and seemed like he was waiting for me to say something else. I wanted to speak to him some more but all I could say was, “I love your songs.” He acknowledged me with another “Thank you”, smiled and nodded, then turned to the next cd cover to be signed.

EEGAD! I was silently slapping myself, realizing what lame words I said to him as I was being guided off the stage. Someone stamped my right hand with a wet red logo of Sony and I was shown out of the Sky Dome doors. Why didn’t I even think of shaking his hand? It’s the Archugaze’s fault. I had been forewarned, but did I come prepared? Noooo. I had been so preoccupied with sticking to plans and arrangements and cell phones and cameras, etcetera, etcetera, all in the name of David. Yet I did not even think of a single memorable line to say to him. Double slapping, ugh! Oh well. I comforted myself with the hope that he reads my letter. Even if he won’t remember me as the one who wrote it, it’s enough that he knows how much a mom-fan in the Philippines regards him with great respect. I then realized I was outside the Sky Dome by the VIP entrance and didn’t see anyone I knew. I started walking towards the left to see how to get back in because I had left my daughter inside. The first set of glass doors were closed off with metal railings, so I went to the next set of doors where some people were milling around. There was a guard manning the doors, so I told him I needed to get in to look for someone inside. I motioned to show my hand which had the red stamp, so he allowed me inside. As I went back in, there were hardly any people left at the area beyond the VIP section. There were just a few people left on the bleachers, but there were still a lot of people lining up for the cd signing within the VIP area. I saw a group of young Archies watching the cd signing in the emptied area. They apparently did not get to be the first 400 VIP’s. I then proceeded to walk around searching for my daughter. I could not see her anywhere, so I called her cell phone instead. She answered me immediately, replied that she was already outside the Sky Dome and was waiting for me. I had wanted to give her the extra cd I still had which was really meant for her, seeing how quickly David was giving autographs. She didn’t want to go back in because she had already taken photos of me as I got my cd signed. I sighed and then just told her to look for her father instead. I’ll look for someone else to give the cd for signing. I walked around again looking for a familiar face that was not yet in the line.  I remembered the young Archies watching the signing and went back to them. I had met most of them the first time just yesterday, but one of them I recall meeting more than a year ago when we welcomed David at the airport as he arrived for the concert with Cook. I kept seeing her in the few get-togethers of ArchuletaPhilippines which I attended irregularly during the past year. I saw her again last night and even asked her name because her sweet face is very memorable. She hardly speaks in the meetings, is quite shy, but she somehow always manages to be at the get-togethers or anything planned by the group. I called out her name, she turned to me, and I asked her if she was able to get her cd signed. When her faced dropped and she started to say that she didn’t make it, I pulled out the spare cd with all the necessary documents. She shrieked with such glee and was jumping up and down. Those around her cheered her on and told her to run to the line. She was thanking me so much and was almost tearful that it warmed my heart to share that incomparable happiness. As she ran she was shrieking some more and holding up the cd until she got to the entry to the VIP section manned by guards. I was happy to see her allowed inside and she was excitedly looking for the end of the line.

Then I looked up at the stage. The giant video wall was playing the real-time video of the cd signing itself, focused on the table where David sat signing away. As I watched, I noticed a white-haired old lady slowly being escorted to the table. When she reached the table, she bent down so low in front of David that she seemed to be giving him a kiss. Then, I saw David’s bright smiling face slowly emerging above her right shoulder. He was standing up and was giving her a hug! Lucky old lady!!! Everyone was clapping and cheering as it was happening. I was laughing and kidding with the young Archies that it pays to be an old fan! But it didn’t take away the significance of the moment which showed how much David values his fans, and that he has a special place in his heart for old people. I was so glad to find out later on that this special moment was captured in a video and put up in YouTube, even if the quality wasn’t that good, and that this particular old fan’s granddaughter had previously released YT videos of her grandmother reading her letters to David as far back as a year ago. It was really a sight to see.

 

I felt that I had just seen a feel-good movie and that I had done what I needed to do: A grandma who got her long-awaited moment with David, plus a hug!, and a young Archie who will get her personal moment with David through a gifted VIP cd. David still had to sign more cd’s, and even if I wanted to watch some more, I had to go to my husband and daughter who were patiently waiting for me outside. I then told the young Archies I had to leave and we bade each other good bye.

When we got home at past 10 pm, my daughter immediately changed her clothes and prepared to go to sleep. She was out cold as soon as she lay on her bed. On the other hand, I no longer felt like sleeping even if my back was so sore. I did my usual rituals before going to bed, and one of them was turning on my laptop to check what happened in Archuland via Twitter. It was there that I learned that David signed more than just the first 400 cd’s. The timeline showed that he was signing all the cd’s that were brought to him. I knew it! That was just like David! He wouldn’t leave until he could accommodate all the fans who wanted autographs in the Sky Dome. The last tweet about the cd signing said that 600 cd’s have so far been signed and still counting. Oh, David, please don’t wonder anymore why your fans love you so much!

Posted in David Archuleta, recaps, The Voice | Tagged: , , , | 50 Comments »

Ascphil’s Recap, Asia, The Return of David Archuleta: Part 4

Posted by ascphil on Thursday, July 14, 2011

The following is the fourth of five daily installments leading up to David’s return to Asia.  Written by Ascphil at the conclusion of his last trip to that part of the world, and with exclusive photos by her daughter.

Having read that David glows and is very fair-skinned, I started comparing his skin tone to that of VJ Jules who was very fair for a Filipina. I was surprised that under the same light, VJ Jules was a pinkish, fleshy fair, while David seemed like he was made of porcelain, and the stage lights were making his skin reflect a bluish hue. Are my eyes fooling me? Is he really on stage? I know he is there because of his unmistakable speaking voice. My mind was puzzled by what I was seeing, but I was too busy trying to get a good shot of him on my video cam. As Alfredo started strumming the intro chords of Elevator and David started to sing, all I could see was a sea of lighted screens with David’s head barely visible above them.

When he went into his audience participation part of the song, he was very much in his element as he asked certain groups of the audience to sing. I was pleasantly surprised that when it was the turn of the male fans, there was much more singing than what I’d usually heard in the US videos. Way to go, Archienoys! When Elevator was done, I hesitated to put down my video cam lest I miss something significant in David’s in-between banter. He then moved toward the baby grand piano for the next song which he then revealed was Crush.

The fans went crazy again as he played the first few chords. Visibly pleased by the audience reaction, he gave a great big charming smile which brought on much more screaming, then sang Crush with such fervor. Dang these cameramen! Even if we were directly in front of David, their big cameras were crowding our vision as they moved back and forth in front of us. I could get a shot of David only when the cameramen moved enough away from each other to produce a gap between them. I could see the sweat on his forehead; his face was so smooth and expressive as he sang. He shimmered like fine bone china in his sweat. What was that skin made of? I was imagining that if I wiped him with soft cloth, he would have sheen like a porcelain doll. Watching him on the piano, I have never witnessed David sing Crush so passionately the way he did it that night. I think it is true what many have observed, that he feeds on the energy of the audience and his singing is so inspired by that energy. We were giving him loads of love and he was giving it back to us in heaps. Then the song ended. We were previously told that he would perform only two songs, then the cd signing. The fans were applauding but at the same time clamoring: Awww, one more please, David!

As though he could read our minds, David stood up and moved away from the piano then immediately said he had one more song for us. Although he was feeling very hot and wished there could be one big fan above us, he was very much in high gear. He then nodded at Alfredo who proceeded to play SBL’s opening chords. The crowd was mesmerized as David sang the first few high notes.

This time the cameramen in front of us were gone and moved center-stage, thank God! During the chorus of SBL, the fans were singing along with him and didn’t need his prompting. Again, the sea of raised hands hovered with a multitude of lighted screens and they seemed even higher than before. Although I was getting pretty tired holding my right video cam hand up, there were instances when I caught myself tiptoeing because there were just too many cameras to compete with. Wherever David went as he moved around the stage, you could feel that the people in the moshpit moved along with him. Our bodies were so pushed up against each other that we were already acting like many small pieces of metal that were following David like he was a big magnet. JR later related that even if she couldn’t see David the whole time, she knew exactly where he was because of how the people in the moshpit were moving to the left or to the right.

The air in the Sky Dome was so charged up with enormous energy, it is amazing how the fans were very much behaved even in all the frenzy. I didn’t hear of any mishap even though the moshpit was really packed. When SBL ended and David thanked us, sending us his love with “Mahal ko kayo!”, we all understood that there was no need to ask for another song, as we were all too excited to get ready for the cd signing.  :)

All videos courtesy Rabid4David

Posted in David Archuleta, recaps, The Voice | Tagged: , , | 86 Comments »

Ascphil’s Recap, Asia, The Return of David Archuleta: Part 3

Posted by ascphil on Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The following is the third of five daily installments leading up to David’s return to Asia.  Written by Ascphil at the conclusion of his last trip to that part of the world, and with exclusive photos by her daughter.

17 NOVEMBER 2010

What a long day it was! I felt like I was going thru an episode of 24 because every hour of November 17th was so eventful, from the time I woke up and left for the mini-concert, to when I got home and still stayed up late to review how David, once again, swept Manila off its feet. I was still so drowsy from only a few hours of sleep but I forced myself to get up and take a bath. I returned to my room in time to catch a text from Naree asking me to call her because of an emergency. What emergency could it be? She asked me if I knew what was happening at the venue? I said no, and she proceeded to tell me in an excited tone that three lines were being formed at different entrances to the mall where Skydome is located, and Dom texted that he was in one of them where there were already 200 people in the line. At 7 am?!? But the mall opens at 10 am!

Traffic was unusually bad. As my cab crawled down the long highway in thick traffic, I became pensive. I suddenly felt like I was David when he wrote his song, “Who I Am”. With that in mind, I started to compose a letter which I had been attempting to write for David. I couldn’t do it with a pen and the special paper which I had bought a few days ago because of the bumps on the road. So I typed my thoughts on the notes application of my cell phone. I was able to write a pretty lengthy letter, and before I knew it, the driver was asking me where I wanted to be dropped off because we were approaching the Sky Dome. I quickly saved my partially written letter, put everything into my bag, and asked the driver to stop by the pedestrian overpass that led directly to the mall’s Sky Garden and to the Sky Dome.

As I hurriedly traversed the overpass to the mall’s Sky Garden entrance I could already see from a distance the number of people lined up around the Sky Dome. It was not a single line but rather a thick row of about 3 to 4  persons deep. The sun was already high up as it was almost 11 am in the morning when I got there. Then I noticed that the background music being played was David’s TOSOD Album! Wonderful! I approached the first security guard I could find and asked him if he knew where the assistant mall manager was and gave her name. In a few minutes, a young woman with a cb radio in her hand approached and introduced herself as the marketing officer I had talked to over the phone. She asked me if I was getting the VIP passes already and I said yes. She left and suddenly was beside me again, holding four cd’s individually bagged with the corresponding receipts and VIP stubs. She asked me if I needed any other help to which I gave her my profuse thanks, adding that there was nothing more I needed at the moment.

It was already twelve noon when I realized I hadn’t even had a decent breakfast. I entered the mall and it was still David’s music which was being played as the background music. Great promo for David, and way to go SM North Mall! At a restaurant, I started to copy the start of the letter to David I had composed earlier on my cell phone while in the cab. I initially took out only one sheet, since the draft filled up only a third of the paper, thinking it would suffice. But as I continued writing from where I left off, I found that the thoughts and feelings I had wanted to convey to David flowed smoothly from one subject to the next with amazing clarity of purpose. Even if I was interrupted by a text from someone every now and then, I was able to continue my train of thought as if I was never distracted. I wrote everything in my mind as if I was just having a conversation with David. The first sheet was quickly filled up, so I took out a second sheet to continue writing. I was so engrossed and emotional, relating how his voice and his songs affected me, finding that as I wrote, it was getting difficult to see through tear-filled eyes and a nose that was starting to get runny. Gosh, I wonder if anyone was watching me wiping my eyes and nose, as I was constantly looking for a piece of tissue to use. I wish I could have made a copy of the letter because it was the first time I had written anything spontaneously without any correction. I felt that it had just enough of the important things that I wanted David to know of his impact on my life. I was relieved and satisfied that I was finally able to communicate to him how much I appreciate what he has been able to achieve within the past couple of years, and how he has been an inspiration to many people, speaking for myself and others like me.

Outside in the heat of the midday sun again, I noticed there were now a lot more people standing and sitting around the Sky Dome. People were abuzz, talking excitedly to each other. I then remembered I needed to call my daughter, only to find out that she hadn’t left yet, because she had to attend to her early registration for the next term. Understanding her yet worried about what she will have to deal with when she arrives after the doors open, I calmly advised her that if she doesn’t leave now it will be difficult for me to get her in because the place is already swarming with people. She felt the urgency and then said she was already walking out of the school premises to ride the light railway transit.

At 4 pm the signal was given to start letting people go in. As soon as I stepped inside the SkyDome, my immediate reaction was that the venue was even smaller than I had imagined it to be from outside. Although the venue feels spacious because of the high glass-domed roof, the VIP area sectioned off with railings for the first 400 VIP pass holders looked like it could only hold 200 — oh my goodness, we’re going to be packed like sardines! The rest of the standing room area beyond the railings could probably hold another 400. I could see that the center-stage front row portion of the VIP section was already filled up. I ran to the right side of the stage which was still empty. I preferred to be there because I was directly facing the seat of the baby grand piano where David would surely sit when he played it. The only downside was that a speaker directly in front would be blasting loudly at my face. I settled my two large bags in front of me against the railing, also to serve as the space I’m reserving for Naree, JR and my daughter. It was time to call my daughter again. When she answered, she told me that she had just gotten off the Metrorail and was already walking to the pedestrian overpass that led to the Sky Dome. Oh, thank God!  I looked behind me and saw that the people had increased to two rows deep. I told her to hurry because I was already inside and the place was quickly getting filled up. The speaker in front of me was loud, but I couldn’t move away from my spot anymore. People were crowding in on us to be closer to the stage. I then told her repeatedly in a loud voice to just text me because I couldn’t hear her. I looked towards the entry area hoping to see my daughter among the swarm of people, craning my neck to see above the sea of heads surrounding the stage. Then I felt a tap on my back. When I looked behind, my daughter was reaching out to me as she squeezed herself through the thick crowd to get closer. I was so glad to see her! She was still panting from her rush to get to the venue.

The fans were getting rowdy because it was almost 5 pm. Suddenly the audience cheered loudly when the giant video wall at the center of the stage started playing David’s music video of Crush. When that was done, the next video was the Behind-The-Scenes making of his first album. Girls were shrieking excitedly whenever David appeared and talked, as if he was appearing live in front of us. The next videos were those of his ALTNOY, TMH and SBL music videos, then a stream of interview/Q&A videos which kept the audience very much occupied and cheering every now and then. I couldn’t keep my eyes on the screen because I was waiting for a text or call from Naree or JR, and kept looking at my cell phone. We were standing for almost an hour. I checked my daughter behind me to ask if she was okay. She said she was but that she needed a fan because it was getting pretty stuffy with all our warm bodies squeezed against one another. The air conditioner was blasting and there were heavy-duty fans blowing on us, but they weren’t enough for the amount of people who were packed like sardines in the floor section. I was wondering what was taking so long for Naree and JR to get in. And then there was a commotion behind me. Naree was squeezing in and finding her way to me, as was JR! Oh, happiness, they’re finally here! Mission accomplished! Poor dears, they must be so stressed from inching their way through the thick, crazy crowd. JR was visibly drenched with sweat, but there was a serene look on her face. She noted that we were directly in front of the piano seat and remarked that David would be so near us. I nodded and asked her if it was a good location. She said it was okay except for the speaker. It might produce a cracking sound in our videos. I then asked how the press conference went and she smiled contemplatively, not answering me immediately. Hmm, maybe still savoring her moments with David — am so jealous! All she could say was that she couldn’t help but stare at his stubble. His stubble? She said she just stared at him and was just studying his face, that he wasn’t able to shave and that pimples were about to appear on his upper lip. Huh, is that all she could say to me? Then Naree told me that David must have just arrived since they rode the same elevator as they left the hotel. They were able to sing a snippet of Elevator with him as they got off. Lucky girls!

Finally, I could concentrate on what was happening on the stage. At about 5:30 pm a DJ’s voice was announcing as if the concert was about to start. The crowd was going crazy with anticipation, cheering loudly for David. Fog machines were also being tested, but still no one came out on stage. The place was starting to get darker as above us, I could see the sky was already black. The giant video wall went back to looping David’s music videos. People were getting uneasy because the start of the mini-concert was stated as 5 pm. My feet were already feeling a bit numb so I decided to lean forward on the railing. At one point I even squatted just so my heels could get some rest from the strain of standing on them for so long. People around me thought I wasn’t feeling well. I just acted as if I needed to get something from my bag, but I really felt that the blood stopped circulating in my legs and I needed to move them somehow. And then people started cheering. I stood up and looked around at what was happening. A line of security guards in full uniform were entering stage right, then went in front of us to position themselves strategically between the stage and the railings. We thought David was coming out, but after a few minutes of anxious waiting, still no one came on stage. Then I looked at the people beside me to check how they were. My daughter’s head was already bent down, so I held up her chin to see her face. She was obviously tired from the waiting, and all I could do was give her a look of sympathy. Then I looked at JR to my left who was intermittently holding on to me and to Naree. She said that she wanted to get off of her heels. I exclaimed, “You’re in heels?!?” I meant that sympathetically because it’s no joke to be wearing heels in a situation like this. It’s torture. And gosh, she’s that small. Suddenly I felt so lucky to have a clear view of the stage even with all the cameramen and guards milling around. Short people behind me must be cursing that I’m in front of them. Luck comes to us in all forms and I guess mine was in my height.

Then that DJ’s voice started blaring again the same lines from half an hour ago. It was 6 pm. FINALLY!  The audience cheered louder than ever and was chanting David’s name. The chanting stopped and turned to screaming when someone came out onto stage. It was VJ Jules of the local MYX Channel. She knew that everyone was dying to see David, and teased us by saying that she has seen David backstage and that he is very, very handsome. For the next several minutes she gave a short biography of David, then turned it into a trivia game with the audience, asking if they knew answers to her questions, specifically about the hit singles of David. And then she said she’d check if David was ready and moved back, taking a quick look behind the stage. She immediately came back up front and said David needed more time. We were already so hyped but our spirits were dampened when VJ Jules started reading again to us the reminders on the rules of the cd signing. Yada yada yada, yes we know. The fans were shouting, “Please bring out David!” Seeing that we were really getting impatient, VJ Jules hesitated a bit to check backstage, then proclaimed in a very loud voice, “Here is Daaaviid Archuu-lettaaaaa!!!”

Oh. My. Gosh! THUNDEROUS, EAR-DEAFENING, EARTHSHAKING APPLAUSE!!!  The SkyDome was rumbling from everyone screaming while jumping up and down as David came running out waving at us with that million-dollar smile. Everyone’s hands were suddenly up in the air, holding a camera, a cell phone, a video cam, whatever, trying to be higher than the one in front of them. The media cameramen were also suddenly milling in front of us. I thought I was tall enough, but I was also struggling to take a video of David while peeking through gaps in the outstretched hands to see him. Everyone squealed and screamed when he greeted us with, “Mabuhay!”

Posted in concerts, David Archuleta, recaps, The Voice | Tagged: , , | 85 Comments »

Ascphil’s Recap, Asia, The Return of David Archuleta: Part 2

Posted by ascphil on Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The following is the second of five daily installments leading up to David’s return to Asia.  Written by Ascphil at the conclusion of his last trip to that part of the world, and with exclusive photos by her daughter.

FAST FORWARD to NOVEMBER 16, 2010

Since everyone at home was on vacation for the Muslim holiday, my husband found an activity for all of us to do on that day. He programmed the day to do our early Christmas shopping with our two sons and daughter. I knew that David was arriving in the afternoon of the 16th, and I was resigned to not being able to join the airport welcome. But because Naree called me the previous night to say that there will be two welcoming teams, one at the airport and one at the hotel, I was re-thinking my chances. She informed me that JR was in charge of Team Airport and she was in charge of Team Hotel, so she wanted me to be with her. I told her that I’d see if I could make it but the chances were quite slim. I was thinking of a creative way to get to the place at the latest by 3 pm. The night before our downtown shopping, I told my husband that I needed to go meet my fellow Archies at 2 pm to discuss the arrangements for the concert and that it would last till early evening. He agreed for as long as we left pretty early in the morning to do the shopping in downtown Manila. Alas, no one woke up early enough because there was no sense of urgency. So we found ourselves caught up in heavy Saturday-like traffic and got to the downtown mall by mid-morning. While we were shopping, I received a text from JR saying that the hotel welcome was not a go; she had gotten confirmation from her contact that the hotel welcome would not be allowed. It was 3:30 pm when I had a chance to call Naree to find out what was happening. I wanted to know what happened with Team Hotel. She said David had already arrived at the hotel and they were able to greet him. Whaaattt??? The welcoming did push through at the hotel! Then I told her where I was and she was very excited and told me to stay and wait for them because they were really intending to go and re-group to review what had just happened.

Since I had already missed the whole thing, I told her that my family was with me and that I’d join them after we were finished with our meal. My family was pretty chatty during the meal, so I enjoyed it with them as much as I could but my mind was obviously somewhere else. Time flies while you’re having fun and realizing it was nearing 5 pm, I became pushy about leaving for my meeting. So my husband and kids finally separated from me and went on to go to another part of the mall while I proceeded to the Archie meeting place at the mall’s second level.

When I got to the meeting place which is a small cafe, there were two long tables each with about 8 to 10 Archies excitedly chatting away and laughing at each other’s stories. About half of them were familiar and the rest were new faces. Then a tall guy named Dom from the other table joined our discussion and started relating his experience with the hotel people prior to David’s arrival. It was then that I realized that one of the ladies at the second table whose back I failed to recognize was JR and she was busy working on her laptop. I quickly rose to greet her which pleasantly surprised her, but since she was totally engrossed and preoccupied with her computer, I went back to the first table to listen to what was being related. Oh my gosh!!! What did I just miss?!!!

Piecing together the stories of Naree, Dom and a few other Archies who were at the hotel, I could tell that the time prior to David’s arrival was full of anxiety, doubt and stress for them. Their meeting time at the hotel lobby was 1:30 pm, but Naree decided to come earlier at 11 am. It was when she settled down at the coffee shop with a few other Archies that she received a text from JR that the hotel welcome was cancelled. She decided to stay put and just wait for David to arrive, with or without the welcoming party, since she had brought along the welcome banners and the baskets of fruits they had prepared for David. Then a few more Archies started to arrive because they did not receive the info about the cancellation.

It was almost 3 pm with no news from Team Airport, way past David’s expected arrival at 2 pm. Suddenly JR texted that David had landed and just left for the hotel in a white van. Not to lose hope and in his determination to see David, Dom went back to the security people outside the lobby and negotiated for the Archies to be allowed to gather on one side of the hotel driveway with their banners. He told them that they would keep to a small group of ten and just wave at David from where they stood outside, a good distance away from lobby view in order not to disturb the hotel guests. He promised them that they would not cause a commotion or approach David when he arrived.

They were finally allowed to assemble on the side of the driveway approach, and as they were lining up with the banners along the driveway sidewalk, a nondescript low silver-gray van passed by and stopped at the hotel entrance. The hotel guards approached the van as foreigners started to alight from the van. The Archies just watched and thought they were just another group of foreign hotel guests. Then the fourth to emerge was a smaller guy with a large yellow smiley on a white T-shirt but a bigger smile on his face. Suddenly one of the Archies recognized who he was and exclaimed, “Daaviiiddd!!!” Naree’s perception of the moment David alighted was that there was a sudden burst of light out of nowhere in an afternoon that was previously overcast with drizzles. David waved at the Archies who were stunned and didn’t move from where they were, as he was led inside the lobby, surrounded by hotel security. The Archies thought that was it, time to go. But suddenly they were surprised to see David running out towards them and asking if anyone wanted him to sign anything. Caught off guard and frantically looking for anything they had for David to sign, they dropped the banners on the sidewalk and milled around David as he generously accepted anything they put in front of him. Right after, and despite the initial statement of David’s tall security guy that there will be no group photos to which David questioned, “Oh, why not?”, the Sony Philippines representative graciously allowed all the Archies to take a picture with David. As I listened to Dom and to Naree’s story, I concluded that the experience of the Team Hotel was another testimony to David’s unquestionable love and appreciation for his fans no matter who and where they are from. Even if I had missed what was surely an enviable experience, I was truly happy for everyone in Team Hotel because their perseverance paid off.  And it was as if David knew what they had gone through and made it worth all their effort.

At about 6:30 pm, most of the younger Archies were bidding us goodbye after an exciting afternoon. JR decided to move to our table with her laptop as she was waiting for Team Airport’s videos to be uploaded to her YouTube account. It was her turn to relate what was happening in the video as they waited for David to come out of the arrival area. The airport security kept telling them to stay back and not move from their position. When David and his people came out, the media swarmed him such that the Archies could not see him and they felt neither could he see them as they stood outside with their welcome banners. As the swarm of media around David moved towards the white van that was waiting for him, JR, in her small stature of a little less than 5 feet, could only get a glimpse of the side of his face. She was finding the right word to describe his skin. I was asking if he got a tan. She said, no — something more like ivory because he was so white. One of the young Archies, Xeno, who took the video, said that the media was crazy around him and that she was pinned against the van in all the craziness. But she was relieved that the lei of flowers they had prepared for him was successfully placed around his neck. Then JR made an observation: Was it coincidence that the rain stopped and the sun came out when David arrived? Then there was the question of why they were texted that David left the airport in a white van but were surprised when he arrived at the hotel in a low silver gray van. JR then concluded that it could have been due to security reasons, that somewhere along the way to the hotel, there was a switching of vehicles.

When almost everyone had left, it was then that the three of us, Naree, JR and I, discussed what the plans were for the next day before the Skydome mini-concert. Naree was anxious about what I had arranged for them at the venue. They couldn’t line up early enough for VIP passes which were to be given only to the first 400 TOSOD cd’s sold on the day itself. The cd’s with VIP passes were also announced as the only ones to be autographed by David. JR was invited by her Sony Philippines contact to join the press conference at the hotel and she was told to be there by 3 pm. She had asked Naree to be with her as her ‘official’ photographer representing Archuleta Philippines. The mini concert was at 5 pm, so it was clearly a challenge to get there early enough from the hotel which was two cities away, and with traffic, a good one hour travel. At home, I started to think of what needed to be prepared for the mini-concert. I had not realized that it took so much time to decide what to wear, to look for my camera and video cam, to charging batteries and making sure the spares were also fully charged, to discussing the recording settings of the video cam with my husband (a camera freak), to carefully packing my gift to David. My preparations went late into the night since I had to keep stopping to respond and check what was happening on Twitter. I didn’t realize that it was already 3 am until I began feeling quite light-headed from staying up too late.  After I was satisfied that I had everything prepared, I finally went to sleep.

Posted in concerts, David Archuleta, recaps, The Voice | Tagged: , , , | 38 Comments »

Ascphil’s Recap, Asia, and the Return of David Archuleta

Posted by ascphil on Monday, July 11, 2011

The following will be posted in five daily installments leading up to David’s return to Asia.  Written by Ascphil at the conclusion of his last trip to that part of the world, and with exclusive photos by her daughter, it was too lengthy to publish as a single article.  In her own words,

“Note:
I took the rest of the afternoon to late evening of November 18th to write the flashback portion of this story. It took me another twelve days to finish it. Although it may seem too detailed for comfort there were a lot more little things that happened which I decided not to include because they were more personal in nature but always brought me back to thinking about David. To those who I may have bored to death by this short ‘novel’, please accept my sincere apologies. I couldn’t help myself.”

DAVID LIVE IN MANILA
17 November 2010
A Personal Recollection
by ascphil

THE WEEK BEFORE

When I learned that David’s Manila promo tour was a sure thing, I took a vacation leave of three days from November 16 to 18, something I RARELY do, and it surprised my assistant who was all for it because she had been urging me for a long time to go on vacation. I forfeit my usually almost unused leave credits every year just because I’m an incurable workaholic. But only David can make me go on leave without making me feel guilt-ridden that I had pending work to do. I got my boss’s approval on November 11th, Thursday. That same day a memorandum came out that November 16th was a holiday for the Muslims which the whole nation had to observe. It should have been a welcome development for me because I gained back one day leave credit, but the first thing that came to my mind was — uh-oh! That was the day David was arriving from Singapore. I had taken a leave precisely so I could join the Pinoy Archies in welcoming him. The day turned out differently from how I had initially planned it.

I had also asked my daughter to come with me to the SkyDome event since her Wednesday classes ended early in the afternoon at 2:30 pm. She’d have enough time to get to the venue before the doors opened at 4 pm. Although she isn’t a fan of David as much as I am, she agreed to go with me. She watches the MYX channel a lot and updates me on the latest chart position of David’s SBL video on the Top 20 hit chart. After peaking at number 1 for the first few weeks after it debuted, SBL was hovering between Top 5 to 7 this week. I also wanted her to come along and take her SLR camera because she takes great photos. Upon the advice of her best friend’s mother who works in the fashion industry, she learned to watermark her photos with her name.

I knew the mall manager of the SM Mall of Asia, so I texted him on Friday morning to get contact details of anyone he might know who is in charge of the SkyDome. No response after an hour. Then I remembered one mall senior engineer who I had worked with on a project a few years ago. He made the rounds of the SM malls all over the country. Within an hour, he texted me back the contact number with a lady’s name. Wonderful! And when she asked if it was about “the David Archuleta thing” the next Wednesday, I said yes and she chuckled because it was the only and most important event happening at the SkyDome and in the whole mall the next week. I then proceeded to request for help in acquiring VIP passes for two good friends who were great fans of David, and then for myself and my daughter since I needed to be there to coordinate.

FLASHBACK TO MAY 2009

I did not want to repeat what I went through last year when David was in Manila for a week to do the back-to-back concert with Cook. I did not take a day off any time during that week because I felt that I could manage my David time in between my work hours. When David was scheduled to arrive in Manila last May 12th, the info posted at the Archuleta Philippines site was that he was arriving at 7:30 am, so I felt I had enough time before work to witness his arrival. That day at the airport was the first time I met my fellow Filipino Archies. I had initially intended just to be a silent bystander, but when I saw a group of young fans who were obviously talking about David cheerfully and excitedly, I decided to reveal that I was a fellow Archie. This started a series of introductions to each other, first by our cyber-names in Archuleta Philippines, then our real names. I was so delighted to find out that the well-loved JR4DA was in that group, a small middle-aged woman with a lot of spunk and energy. On that day I had witnessed how JR took full responsibility as the most senior Archie in talking to the airport security to allow us to assemble with welcome banners at a spot visible to David as he left the airport. She has the personality of a marketing person, but the demeanor of an executive in charge. But as we waited, she got info that it wasn’t Archuleta arriving in the morning but Cook. David was arriving later in mid-afternoon. When I heard that info, I told them I had to go, rode a waiting cab, and had enough time to reach the office by 9:30 am.

I had no intention of going back to the airport for David’s afternoon arrival. But then I started getting texts from another Filipino Archie, Naree, who used to be active at the FOD (Fans Of David) Forum and was referred to me as a doctor fan by fellow posters at the CDC (Counting David’s Character) site. Naree took the initiative to get in touch with me via texts a few months prior to the concert to exchange info on when and where to purchase the concert tickets. On the day of David’s arrival, she could not make it to the airport in the morning due to her clinic schedule. But when she learned of his afternoon arrival, she requested I go with her to the airport, and that she was more than willing to pick me up at my office. I was expecting a mature woman’s voice on the phone since I was advised she is a cardiologist, but her voice was that of a young girl. When I got down the building to meet her, I was pleasantly surprised to meet a bespectacled lady with teeth braces, wavy mid-length hair with bangs, in her late twenties or early thirties, driving a small shiny wine-red sedan. We talked to each other as if we had been friends for a long time, as if we had already been meeting up before. She really needs a calm person with her while she drives, since she was clearly spazzing out at the thought of seeing David. Really s-p-a-z-z-i-n-g. We eventually got to the spot where the Archies finally settled with the welcome banners near the end of the covered driveway, strategically in full view of David’s entourage on its way out of the airport, but about twenty meters from the lobby exit door. And then David arrived…and left amidst a thick hovering of excitedly noisy media. We could hardly see him thru the dark tinted windows of the vehicles that passed by. We didn’t even know which one he was riding until one of the Archies said he saw David, if I recall correctly, in the third car. When we reviewed the videos, we could only see the silhouette of his handsome face discernible in a split second.

On the way back to the office my husband rang me on my cell phone while we were talking about what had just happened. I found myself excitedly talking like a young girl and advising them to tone down a bit while I answered the phone. I think I pressed the accept button too soon as he heard a bit of the background commotion die down as if on cue. It got him curious since he called me at my office and learned that I wasn’t there. Busted! To keep my composure, I told him that I was on my way back to the office and that I’d tell him all about it when he picked me up after work.

That evening when we were on our way home, I felt like a daughter being scolded by her father after being caught cutting class. I am convinced that my husband should have taken Law instead of Marine Biology, because he manages to debate and argue anyone to death till they admit defeat. He made me see myself from the perspective of other people who will raise their eyebrows and wonder why an attractive (he he!) middle-aged married woman was acting like a groupie, following a handsome young male teenaged singer wherever he went. I realized that it affected his male ego, so I became a bit embarrassed by my teenage behavior and apologized to him. There was an uncomfortable silence between us for a few hours when we got home. I was uncommunicative and clearly saddened that I cannot openly be a fan of David who totally deserves anyone’s admiration, no matter what age or gender. When he had cooled down from our argument and saw how unhappy I was, he made a compromise with me that I can join the fan activities and events for as long as they are pretty exclusive and that I do not appear or am recognizable in any media footage, photos, write-ups and press releases of such events. He knew that there were a lot of media covering David’s arrival at the airport. Fair enough.

The next couple of days after he arrived, David had to go the rounds of radio stations and TV appearances, and the Pinoy Archies found ways to be wherever he was, thanks to their resourcefulness under JR’s and Naree’s guidance. Naree even booked a room in the sponsoring hotel during the period of David’s stay just so they could find a chance to see him in person somehow, at the lobby, coffee shop or along the hallway. David was closely guarded at all times with security fit for a prince. Then at midweek and in such short notice, a newspaper ad was released for a so-called Meet & Greet at the Mall of Asia which is just across the street from my office building! The M&G happened on a Thursday afternoon, and I thought I could just sneak out from the office for an hour to go to the mall at 4pm. But by some unfortunate twist of fate, one of my bosses suddenly asked me to attend a meeting which was not in my schedule and which overlapped with the time of the M&G! I even had to figure out how to leave the long-drawn meeting earlier than when it ended just to check if I could catch the tail-end of the M&G.

And when I was finally able to leave the office, I received a text from the MOA mall manager, a colleague I had worked with previously when he was still in the hotel industry, that David had already left the building since the M&G took only five minutes. What?!? When I got home that day and was alone in my room, I broke down and cried from all the pent-up frustration which I had to conceal from everyone. No one knew how broken-hearted I was during those days. I was questioning myself and seeking some answers in dealing with this unusual bout of depression I was feeling about a person who doesn’t even know me. I found the consolation I was looking for when I pulled out the photo I had printed for signing, the one of David’s beautiful smile exquisitely captured by Matt Clayton. It was a very comforting smile and his eyes communicated to me that everything will be alright. My sadness was washed away in an instant when those gentle eyes gazed back at me.

The next day I had tearful younger female fans, accompanied by Naree, who met with me at our office building canteen, seeking my help to gain access to David’s sound check at the nearby concert venue which could be viewed from the canteen’s windows. They felt so unlucky the whole week, unable to get close to the inaccessible David. I had refrained myself from pushing my weight on people I knew who could possibly help me because I was mindful of what my husband had discussed with me earlier that week. I had told them that I had no influence on people involved with the concert and that I had found peace by not expecting too much. They left me visibly depressed and helpless.

The concert organizers were very strict, and we attributed it to the H1N1 scare. Later that night, right after the concert, David came out with a vlog in which his demeanor appeared cheerful, but there was something sad in his eyes when he would look away from the camera. I believe he was as frustrated as all his fans were. But I think David eventually got his way as he left the hotel the next day to leave for the airport. There was an impromptu autograph session as David walked through the hotel hallway en route to the lobby and out to the vehicle that whisked him away to the airport. After all the behind the scene events that happened last year, I told myself, never again will I be a passive Archie fan and allow this to happen the next time David comes back to Manila.

Part 2 tomorrow.

Posted in David Archuleta, recaps, The Voice, tours | Tagged: , , | 34 Comments »

 
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