In the end, the stars of ASAP delivered what they promised, a special and amazing show specially for the fans.
At the press conference a few days before the show, TFC officials led by Olivia de Jesus and Ricky Resureccion said that after they staged ASAP in London last year, New York became their next logical target. The production team began preparing at once and for the past six to eight months, they have been working tirelessly to come up with a solid show.
“New York is a tough nut to crack,” Resureccion remarked. “But we came prepared.”
De Jesus agreed, “The New York community has been primed to appreciate Filipino talent.”
And on Saturday, more than 8,000 Filipinos and Filipino-Americans from across the northeast USA packed the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to the rafters.
Diehard fans were outside the arena lining up as early as noon, despite announcements that the gates will be opened to fans at 3:00 pm and the program proper to start at 5:00 pm. Dozens of sponsors dotted the corridors of Barclays with their booths offering products and services to the crowd.
As soon as the lights dimmed, screams from the fans reverberated inside the arena. One by one, the stars of the Philippines’ longest-running musical variety show came out and performed before the crowd. Each time, the audience would lovingly applaud and scream their hearts out.
The loudest of screams were reserved for Coco Martin and the child star Onyok, stars of the top-rating show FPJ’s Ang Probinsiyano. Onyok sang the viral Tatlong Bibe song while Martin gyrated to the tune of Vhong Navarro’s song Totoy Bibo.
Also eliciting eardrum-splitting screams were the love teams of Kathniel aka Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla (who promoted their upcoming flick Barcelona); LizQuen aka Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil (who just wrapped up their teleserye Dolce Amore) and the upcoming Elnella aka Elmo Magalona and Janella Salvador (stars of the ongoing show Born For You).
Fans of 90s musical icons Francis Magalona and Juan Miguel Salvador would feel old when they realize that the last pairing are son and daughter, respectively of Francis and Juan Miguel.
Piolo Pascual, Gary Valenciano, Martin Nievera and Zsa Zsa Padilla are the more senior members of the cast who have been with the show for at least ten years. Martin, the most senior of them all, has been with the show since its first episode. He was one of the four main hosts, along with Pops Fernandez, Dayanara Torres and Ariel Rivera when the show was launched back in February 5, 1995.
Fans were also thrilled to watch Kim Chiu, Gerald Anderson and Maja Salvador perform in a production number live, especially since their followers know and followed the trio’s colorful history.
Of course, the New York audience is biased. One of the most well-applauded numbers was the musical production number that featured Broadway Barkada with Ali Ewoldt (Phantom of the Opera), Karla Garcia (Hamilton), Jon Viktor Corpuz (The King and I) and Jaygee Macapugay (School of Rock). Their medley of Broadway hits culminated with the powerful “One Day More” from Les Miserables and the performers were awarded with loud screams and applause with many leaping off their seats to give a standing ovation.
A pleasant surprise for someone who hasn’t watched ASAP for more than a year now is the inclusion of a couple of segments: Birit Queens, Soul Sessions and LSS with Jolina Magdangal.
Birit Queens is comprised of Angeline Quinto, Morisette Amon, Jona and Klarisse de Guzman, all products of talent competitions back home. The good thing about this segment is the blending that the four divas do as they close the segment, something that is like a balm to soothe one’s weary ears after their vocal calisthenics. It’s also good that each one shares a few lines of her songs with another one and it is obvious that each one is secure with her talent and no one resorts to one-upmanship. In short, there’s no sapawan.
Then there’s the soul group composed of Jay R, Kyla, Jason Dy, KZ Tandingan and Daryl Ong. Except for Jay R and Kyla (who are both recent transferees from rival network GMA), the three – Jason, KZ and Daryl are homegrown products of ABS-CBN talent shows Pilipinas Got Talent and The Voice. Their production numbers are smooth as silk, effortless and very relaxing. It’s like jamming with friends while singing and in between, drinking beer and swapping stories.
For ASAP, LSS means Love Songs and Stories, not last song syndrome. This is where the production looks for three people to highlight in every episode. For one of the episodes shot at Barclays, ASAP honored three young Fil-Am movers: restaurateur Nicole Ponseca of Jeepney and Maharlika, hair artist Mark Bustos who gives haircuts to the homeless and Tony Award winner Jhett Tolentino.
ABS-CBN executives led by Gabby Lopez, Charo Santos, current president Carlo Katigbak, Raffy Lopez also came in full force to show their support to momentous and historic event.
The hosts also welcomed Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach as a guest of the show, along with Vice Ganda, who also brought the house down with his performance of his greatest moves and dance hits. If you haven’t heard of Boom Panes or Pak Ganern or Whoops Kiri Whoops, then it may be time for you to brush up on your Filipino pop culture by subscribing to TFC. The thousands inside the arena screamed and danced and moved along with Vice Ganda and his back up performers.
Consul General Mario L. de Leon, Jr., on behalf of the Filipinos who came in droves to watch the show, thanked ABS-CBN for finally bringing the show to New York.
“It’s always a pleasure to be a partner with ABS-CBN with their various projects here in the northeast. We are delighted to see our favorite stars live and to lighten the homesickness of many of our kababayans,” ConGen de Leon said.
This show was co-presented by Law Offices of Atty Michael J. Gurfinkel, Philippine Airlines, Cream Silk, Rexona, Energen, Pond’s, Money Gram, Nescafe, Remitly.com, Pic Poc, Financial Rescue LLC, XOOM, Western Union; Brought to you by: sponsors: Champion, Jollibbee, TANG, Law Offices of John C. Ye, Ramar Foods, LBC, Seafood City, With Special participation of sponsors: Pizza Hut, World Remit, Direct TV, LANDCO, SMDC, Ayala Land, Globe Duo USA, Avida, AARP, Generika Drugstore, South West Sun Solar, Cherry’s Salon & Cosmetics, FilAm Star, INQUIRER.net and Asian Journal.