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,
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
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.