ASAP fiesta in Canada

Baby K. Jimenez - The Philippine Star
ASAP fiesta in Canada

From left: Ricky Resurreccion, Jun del Rosario, Raffy Lopez, Minister of Immigration Ahmed Hussen, Premier Kathleen Wynne, Carlo Katigbak and Olivia de Jesus

TORONTO — A perfect summer day as temp peaked at 29-degree Celsius, just a little humid but certainly most welcomed by the usually winter-stricken Torontonians. All roads seemed to lead to RICOH Coliseum, an arena at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, used for agricultural displays, ice hockey and trade shows that also saw iconic performances of Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Who, Genesis, Bob Dylan, Bon Jovi and Pitbull.

And now, ABS-CBN/TFC decided to join in Canada’s 150th anniversary celebration bringing in the internationally-known acclaimed ASAP Live, the longest running, most successful weekend variety show that airs live on Philippine TV and later touring and scoring smash SRO hits first in 2012 in Singapore, then Dubai Festival City, Los Angeles Sports Arena, London’s The SSE Arena, Wembley and last year at New York’s Barclays Center.

As early as 11 a.m., Kapamilya fans and ASAP ticketholders were at the Heritage court, Enercare Centre for fun activities like photo booth, Filipino street games, sing and dance at the TFC Summer Station ID video booth, Pinoy food and many more games and prizes that included fantastic prizes like official concert merchandise, Meet & Greet with the Stars and a backstage pass. The air was festive and triumphant — the show’s a big sold-out, they had to add almost 200 SRO seats meaning you reached an audience of 7,000. ?

At the strike of 5 p.m. when ASAP was expected to start, the main stage quaked to an intensified buzz — first a hush that rose to a wave of almost demanding clamor. When Ginger Conejero started to emcee, the response was deafening. Imagine the surprise of the jam-packed coliseum to see our beloved Premier Wynne (Kathleen O’Day Wynne) on stage. Wynne is the 25th Premier of Ontario, a member of the Legislative Assembly, the first female premier. Also in attendance was Ahmed Hussen, clad in a Barong Tagalog who is Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. Some fans nearby were teasing, “He will help the TNTs (Tagu ng Tago) here...” The two VIPs were given plaques of appreciation by the ABS-CBN bigwigs led by president and CEO Carlo Katigbak. Later, the duo joined in the fun by dancing to the new dance craze, Mobe. Mga Kababayan Ko marked the entrance of the stars led by Piolo Pascual (girls were calling out — Papa P!) and Sam Milby. Like the screaming fanatics, we thought we were in Manila.?At the backstage, Maja Salvador was telling us, “I love Canada, I think this is my second home. My mom is here na for good in the West. I want to perform in every show here so I could be with my mom all the time.”

“My brother is now a resident of Edmonton, that makes me Canadian, too,” added Kim Chiu. Near the dressing room, we spotted architect Conrad Onglao whispering something to Zsa Zsa Padilla. Love is sweeter the second time around.

Jodi Sta. Maria, clad as a caregiver, was preparing for her next scene with Jolina Magdangal. The day before, Jodi was immersed into her books — she is now enrolled in a home-school college course on psychology.

When the Birit Queens (Jona, Morissette Amon, Klarisse de Guzman and Angeline Quinto) did the Rey Valera medley, the warm responsive crowd sang with them — also theme songs from soap like Tayong Dalawa, Pangako sa ‘Yo, Kung Kailangan Mo Ako and Naalala Ka.

The current flavor of the year, young lovebirds — Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano drew romantic drools. Joshua Garcia and Julia Barretto were inseparable. I asked Julia if her mom was around. “No, I am now 20 — no longer a baby!” ?

Turned out that Richard Yap was missed by the teleserye followers — you could hear some ladies calling him Ser Chief. Some good news, Richard would be in a teleserye soon. ?

Ah, the tribute to Gary Valenciano was so touching. His better-half Angeli Pangilinan wiped a tear. When he did Hataw Na, everyone was up to his rhythm. This was after he blew the candle on his birthday cake. First time ASAP Live participant Ogie Alcasid brought the house down as he matched the terpsichorean prowess of Gary V. And who could forget the original ASAP performer Martin Nievera (remember he coined the word ASAP which stands for All-Star Sunday Afternoon Party and created the first ABS-CBN jingle)? He did a number with Gary titled Sama Sama. We congratulated good friend Mel Galleon of FV Foods, an inspiring OFW story.

A lot of fans asked Bea Alonzo, “Where’s Anton?” There’s a 15-minute break before Part 2. As we grabbed some sandwiches, we bumped into Star Studio exec Mariole Alberto and Mr. M (direk Johnny Manahan) and asked what makes Toronto different. They said, “The audience is more responsive, warmer!”

Part 2 unfolded the story of former movie star Don Laurel who’s been a member of Toronto’s Police Force for nine years. The rest of the line-up included The Soul Sessionistas Jay-R, KZ Tandingan, Jason Dy, Daryl Ong and Kyla, Gerald Anderson, Paulo Avelino, Elmo Magalona, Janella Salvador, Erik Santos, Yeng Constantino, Enchong Dee, Rayver Cruz, Yassi Pressman, Robi Domingo and Darren Espanto (who is from Canada).

It was past 9:30 p.m. when all the stars gathered on the stage and did VST’s Tayo’y Magsayawan. Everybody stood up and danced amidst a shower of confetti. This was indeed the biggest Pinoy concert in Canada history. ASAP did it again.

Our CP kept on beeping as we approached the exit — it was an electronic invite to ASAP’s post party. We found ourselves whisked into an SUV that led us to an exclusive club called 2nd Floor on King Street downtown. ’Twas Saturday night and for a while I thought I was in Manhattan. Strictly for ASAP and friends, we were given an ID wristband for entrance. As food and drinks (open bar) flowed, vibrating tones filled the air. Despacito was the dance of the night.

What a party, what an event. Fun and laughter 150 times over. Happy 150th Canada. Then, like on cue, we saw some streaming — breaking news: Canada Sees Increase in Languages Spoken; Filipino Tagalog is Fastest-Growing Language. We went to the bar for another drink. Oh, wow. Proud to be both Canadian and Pinoy.



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