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Back Home with Charice & Chasters

Back Home with Charice & Chasters

My unexpected trip to the Philippines last August started as a sad one as it was to attend to the needs of my only brother who untimely passed at 60. I decided to stay longer to plan for my eventual retirement to the motherland. This decision turned out to be a blessing as it started my involvement with Philippine Chasters and the planned gathering on October 25th.

I met Tintol and Beda, the Chasters I affectionately describe as the Charice-size, fireballs of energy who are the cogs that keep the wheels in this group turning smoothly. Bluemax, Carol, Narita, abBonita and Julius showed up and details were laid out for the event. I learned that five underprivileged, musically talented kids who are fans of Charice were chosen to attend the dinner and the concert. It now dawned upon me that this get-together was not going to be a small gathering at all.  After a second meeting to finalize the plans (where I finally met Artemis, our poetic Chaster who composed a song dedicated to Charice and to be performed in the dinner with Aki, the quiet rapper-dancer Chaster), I patiently waited for the eventful day.

I then received a message from Tintol about Charice’s arrival on the 24th.  I went to the Mall of Asia, met Beda and a few Chasters and taxied to the airport where we met Tintol and a few more Chasters. Resigned to the fact that we cannot get near the arrival gate because of tight security, we patiently waited at the end of the driveway ramp, rubber necking at the convoy of black SUVs parked in front of the arrival exit, eagerly hoping to catch a glimpse of Charice. I became impatient and unsure of whether Charice will have the time to acknowledge us and ventured to ‘crash’ security. I casually crossed the driveway out of the guard’s sight, mingled with the arriving passengers at the various hotel reception suites facing the arrival exit, and then crossed again where the convoy was parked. SUCCESS! I stood around, hands akimbo to hide that I was the only one without a credential pass around my neck.

Charice then came out with dark shades and her trademark fedora!  She was met by Mommy Raqz and was handed her beautiful Shih Tzu. I tried to approach her, snapped a couple of pictures, and yelled: “Charice, It’s I, RodBelt from New Jersey”. Charice glanced in my direction, smiled, waved and hopped into the SUV. I wondered whether she remembered me as I was wearing my now trademark red-striped Polo and Philippine flag-emblazoned baseball cap, my attire in all five times I met her in the past. I hurriedly returned to the Chasters crew and proudly showed them the pictures I took. The convoy then started moving in our direction. The SUV carrying Charice stopped and opened its window. Charice briefly acknowledged those who were lucky enough to be in front.

Knowing that Resorts World (the premier casino in the Philippines adjacent to Marriot where the DF&F crew were staying) was going to have a program honoring the music of David Foster where Charice was invited, I requested BlueMax to drop me off there. I was hoping that I might have the chance to meet and talk with Charice again. (With all due respect folks, this was not stalking, just an ardent show of love for our PRINCESS).  I accidentally bumped into the band members on their way to dinner and had a brief conversation with the drummer who told me that Charice is the REAL DEAL.

A crowd started milling around the entrance of the club at about 7.00 when someone with a fedora arrived.  It was CHARICE! I yelled “Charice!” pointing at my cap. She looked around, saw me, smiled, said “Po!” (Sir), walked toward me, extended her hand which I warmly shook, and gave me a hug! I was briefly star-struck again, and could hardly say “I’ll see you tomorrow”. She replied “Opo” (Yes, sir) and walked into the venue. I said to myself: My GOD, Charice remembers me! I left walking on cloud nine to the taxi stand still hardly believing what I just experienced.

I woke up the next day, turned on my computer to check my e-mails and for some CM news thinking that it will still be at 3:00PM that I will meet with the organizers. I did not check my phone messages until 1:00PM only to find out that there was a last minute M&G at Café Adriatico at 1:00 PM! Cursing myself, I hurriedly dressed up, grabbed a cab and texted Tintol that I was not going to make it for the M&G but I was coming anyway. I arrived at 2:30 PM. Missing the event with nothing to do but brag (again) about my adventures with Charice, I thought of showing them my pictures with Charice only to realize in horror that I left my camera in the cab! My spirits sunk as if I lost a dear friend, thinking about all the memorable pictures of Charice and Chasters lost with the camera. I was almost ready to cry in disgust only for Beda to console me.

THE PARTY
The crowd started arriving at Max’s at about 3:30 PM with Beda and Julius manning registration. Other Chasters were preparing the sound system and cameras for taking pictures with a life-size replica of Charice. Chasters came from everywhere – Doc Ed from Guam, tsuki from Okinawa, Leigh from Dubai, stockpicker from California, Henry V, Wower, gunrunner, a couple of Singaporeans and so many others whose names I could not remember. Lantao then arrived and was mobbed like a real celebrity in his own right with Chasters jockeying to have pictures taken with him so much so that people in the restaurant started asking who he was! The program started with performances – Artemis playing her guitar and singing her own composition with a couple of Chasters; Aki doing an impressive rap mimicking various sound effects, an Adam Lambert imitation; a Chaster singing her version of All By Myself, Isaac from Texas on the piano who sang and gave some jazzy touches a la Ray Charles to some of Charice’s original recordings and of course, little Cutiesinger with her impressive imitation of a little Charice. It was almost total pandemonium. It was party time. It is hard to imagine that these 130+ former strangers were now bound together as one HAPPY FAMILY just because of the common love and adoration for Charice. The affair ended about 7:15 with attendees receiving souvenirs of beautiful hardboard cutouts of Charice in her performance outfits, their pictures with the life-size replica of Charice and memories of a wonderful event.

rod1 300x225 Back Home with Charice & Chasters

Photo courtesy of Wower

THE CONCERT
The arena was still half-full close to the starting time of 8:00 PM. I started to wonder if the Black Eyed Peas concert on the same night had seriously affected attendance. After all, BEP was heavily promoted with very heavy sponsorship. DF&F on the other hand had very little ads that I probably would have missed had I been a casual fan.  My worries were unfounded because the coliseum was filled to 95% capacity.

The concert finally started at 8:30 with David’s signature St. Elmos’s Fire. Russell Watson, a tenor I confess I know nothing about, opened the show and had the crowd into a chorus with “Volare” after being advised by David that the Filipino audience is not the typical sort with no equal in the world. That we Filipinos can sing!

Ashanti sang her version of the Bodyguard Medley giving it her own personal touch to the delight of the crowd. No, I will not make any comparison here with Charice’s interpretation of the song. Philip Bailey brought the crowd to its feet with his rendition of old Earth Wind and Fire standards. Martin Nievera was invited onstage and sang a few notes. A girl seated in the upper box (who I found out later through YouTube that she is one lucky Chaster named Kimmie) picked by David from the crowd took a long time to come down that David said she had to wait.

Then DARKNESS….A BIG INTRO BY THE BAND…. LIGHTS ON…..IT’S CHARICE! Green glow sticks lighted a section of the upper box – THE CHASTERS. She opened with “A Power of Love” without belting but showing style and maturity. She happily acknowledged the presence of Chasters. She followed with “Stand Up For Love”, a David Foster song I’ll admit I am not familiar with, then a beautiful rendition of “Unbreak My Heart”. David made a nice introduction of Charice’s very own “LOUDER” which Charice sang with gusto, descending from the stage, walking along the aisles and mingling with the fans to the delight of everyone.

She was followed by Michael Bolton who entertained and pleased the crowd with his memorable ballads. Charice came out again and sang a beautiful duet of “The Prayer” with Michael. David then made a heart-touching description of the finale number – MJ’s “Earth Song”, relating its haunting lyrics to the current state of our environment before David’s “FRIENDS” appeared one by one and sang it with Charice as the last one to appear on stage. Some of the crowd started heading for the exits but most refused to leave clapping furiously even after everyone left the stage.  I noticed that the lights were still not on and the band members were still on stage – meaning more was coming! David returned, sat on the piano, played a few of his songs with the AUDIENCE SINGING IN CHORUS IN THE BACKGROUND WITH EVERY SONG! It was not only a concert! It was a SING-ALONG LOVEFEST!   As David said: “ONLY IN THE PHILIPPINES” did he experience this! David stood up and reminded everyone of the last audience singer he invited. Kimmee then came out and started singing “Because You Love Me”. Then CHARICE came out to the roar of the crowd and joined Kimmee in a duet – reminding me of a little of the Celine-Charice duet at Madison Square Garden. Kimmee was quite shocked and with tears welling around her eyes, sang impressively with her idol.  Then, tremendous applause from the crowd as David and Charice left the stage. ……… THE PARTY’S OVER.

But it is far from the end. It is only a brief segment in the long journey for Charice whose music will hopefully bring more joy, love, camaraderie, and togetherness to millions for generations to come.

To all the nameless Chasters in the background who selflessly volunteered their time, efforts, and energy to make this affair a very successful and memorable one, you are the little Chaster Clauses in all Chaster’s hearts – THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

AND TO CHARICE: THE BEST PARTS OF YOUR STORY, CAREER AND MUSIC ARE YET TO BE WRITTEN!!

Charice at David Foster and Friends Manila, Oct. 25, ’11 Video Playlist


Videos uploaded by LantaoIslands

By Rodbelt, Charicemania.com

I first met Rod at The Coffee Bean (Araneta Center) last September 25, 2011 when he arrived as Tintol, Narita, Julius and I were planning the pre-concert activities on October 25, 2011. He commuted from Las Pinas City very eager to meet Chasters as they don’t seem to have a Chaster crowd in New Jersey. This nice man is a welcome addition to our growing “Senior Citizens” group (I know of over 15 whose names I refuse to share here).

I met Rod again on the 2nd and final meeting on October 16, 2011 at Max’s. He was late so I waited for him at the Coffee Bean (original meeting place). This final meeting was a bigger one where he met a great number of Chasters including Beda, A.B., Artemis, Aki, Nege, Dino, Sean, Kram, jonbudz, Leah, Chastin, Java etc. (Sorry for missed names. I have a “Senior” excuse)

Then I met with him once again on October 24th at the NAIA to meet Cha. I confirm all his related undercover activities and that I dropped him off at the Resorts World to continue his mission (it’s like he parachuted off from a helicopter). And now I hear of his exploits which, I am sure, were understated.

I write this response to confirm and attest to this genuine Senior Chaster’s adventure. Welcome Rod to the Philippine Chaster scene. I have already heard stories of your kindness, your story-telling nature and your innate passion for anything related to our princess from those Chasters who have spent moments with you.

Very inspiring article Rod. Thank you for sharing. – Bluemax

Posted/Edited by Mooffin, AnonymousFanatic & Schoen, Charicemania.com

78 Responses to “Back Home with Charice & Chasters”

  1. I’m late during pre gathering. I arrive at 7pm :’/ but thanks to ate tintol, the MAGICAL night of my life was then happened :D ate tintol gave me a UPPERBOX A ticket :D ohhh!! CHASTER is just the best. your just like a 2nd family to me!!! ♥

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

    • otosmas9 says:

      hi kimmie-chaster,
      indeed ,it was truly your magical night.loved your singing niche with everything that came along with it (i won’t mention the specifics anymore, watching u-tube sufficed all the tricks). really enjoyed watching your moment with “the little one” and sir David.
      hoping a Magic Night2 happens again in the near future,
      would you then sing ‘stand up for love’ please?
      …lest to forget for all of these, thanks God for bringing Charice to our hearts.
      God Bless.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  2. Stockpicker says:
    Hi RodBelt, it was real pleasure to have met you.. finally! Early on in this journey with Charice, you were known here in CM as RodBelt from New Jersey..now the RodBelt from the Motherland, the Philippines! This has a nice ring to it. Someday I will follow your lead to settle down there myself, someday somewhere! I guess, this is the salmon in us! Keep writing, I love it! God bless.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  3. Tony Vernsky says:
    That was indeed a very nice experience, Rodbelt. You made us feel as if we’re there also. Thanks for sharing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  4. RAM says:
    http://ph.news.yahoo.com/adele-throat-surgery-cancels-2011-plans-163631859.html read this one you will understand why team charice is very carefull in preserving her voice….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  5. leilaniandson says:
    Hello Chasters! Pls get Charice’s Louder Ringback tone for free. Just type VF020 then send to 2332.I got it on my phone.Globe only.I will check Smart tomorrow.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  6. honey says:
    oh,that was really a very nice experience…i do hope time will come that our princess will have her concert in Cebu City so that people from the southern part of the Philippines would have the chance of experiencing her music.

    bdw, i have been a chaster since 2007…been following Charice’s career since LBS days…even if I am busy in law school, I always make it a point to check this website (and youtube)for news and updates… =)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  7. artemis gibran says:
    Hi ! Thank you rodbelt for the wonderful article. I know how much you wanted to write about this since the 2nd meeting.lol. You told me how eager you were to start writing about the event. You were so adamant and full of energy. I hope more people will write their experience so we can read more from the burning hearts of CHASTERS.

    There will be more gathering I hope to celebrate your presence and the ones who will be coming in the land of 7100 beautiful and mostly UNTOUCHED islands. ooooppppssssss….well, just consider that this is a VERY CONFIDENTIAL matter…and it’s between the 2 (million of us)…lol.

    I can’t say much right now becuase I am not yet at liberty to express …but I promise to write (he he he) some of the silent heroes and that I saw during the party and the concert.

    I would also want to capture (which I don’t know how …yet…) the moments with CHARICE. Our little one doesn’t fail to INSPIRE me (and I know all of you too). So let’s just keep the FIRE BURNING. It only takes a spark to keep it. Thanks Rodbelt for this spark. We love you for this.

    Hope more will follow your lead.

    Muchas Gracias

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

    • ebjohns11 says:
      was good to see u Ate Artemis Gibran =))

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

      • artemis gibran says:
        Oh it was so good to see you Ate EBjohns.I think I was
        starstruck when I saw you. I thought you were CHARICE…lol.

        I used my MAGICAL EYEGEAR to see you…THE FUTURE of CHASTERS is sooooooo BRIGHT I gotta wear shades…lol.

        God bless EBjohns

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  8. odie052 says:
    Wish I could narrate my own experience as good as yours. No wonder, the word BELT is attached to your name. You had belted all those high note of words beautifully. Excellent writing as in excellent lyrics of a song. Excellent performance as in excellent presentation. Excellent interpretation as in excellent narration. What more! Shoemart says You Got It All but Hey!!!! Chaster’s We Have It All. hehe

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  9. tsuki says:
    Yes, sir Rodbelt was correct. Chasters had a good time and Charice was very impressive. Thank you very much Rodbelt for the very nice article you wrote. I think you should write a book about your Charice’s experiences. I’ll be the first customer. It’s now obvious Charice is really at the top coz she’s hard to reach from fans. I’ll follow Rodbelt’s techniques to get closer to her.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  10. ArrVee says:
    great comment, Henri …

    what you touched upon is something really profound – and although I have never been to any Chasters gathering, I have always believed that what brings us together is Something Much Bigger than Charice, albeit that it was her who reminded us of these enduring lessons in life that we’ve always known about, by sneaking into our lives and leaving those burning questions that we sought to answer by getting together like this.

    that those in our group would silently give to others directly or in kind, and then avoid any recognition for this is testament to each of us being aware of this Higher Calling that we need to answer to (special thanks btw to LantaoIslands for continuing to bring Charice to us …)

    and while you mentioned that the younger ones defer to the young-once, the Charice effect for me reminds me that we are all equal, with each of us taking away something personally unique from the life narrative of this young lady from Laguna …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  11. NEGE says:
    what an experience you had, sir rodbelt. Ups and Downs perhaps but always ends up with euphoria!

    It was so nice to meet you in person! and glad to listen to your experiences :)

    be safe and godbless!

    -NEGE

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  12. NEGE says:
    Aww… so true. :)

    and im always proud and Happy to be a part of this community and chasters. I have always Thank God above for having charice, chasters and everything in my life. Inspired as ever in life :)

    Thank you tito Henri for the write Up! HUgzz.. we’re all Family! Thank you for being a blessing to me and everyone else and as i am to you and all (if i do.haha) Labyoo labyoo!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  13. Abonita says:
    tito rod, it was really so nice meeting you and hearing your story. i wish we could have more chasters like you who could share their stories. it makes every moment alive, and makes every memories safe in charicemania’s treasure box. hehe ^_^

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

    • stefie2325 says:
      hi Abonita, i had the pleasure meeting you last DFF manila concert,,sorry if i didnt had the leisure of time to talk to you though you were just a seat away from me next to java…but im so happy to see and meet you..i read your article and i am hoping you could read mine once its finish cuz right now..i am still flying the heavens..God bless you!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

      • artemis gibran says:
        Hi stefie,

        I was looking for you all night long..lol. I saw ebjohns…I saw many bluemoons ( which are very rare he he he) but I never saw you. Well maybe next time…the right time.Hope you enjoyed every second of your stay and everything CHARICE and CHASTERS.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

      • ebjohns11 says:
        Stefie, oh pls share ur experience, i wanna hear =) lol. was good to see u there.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  14. Abonita says:
    POWERHUGGG again TITO Henry. Meeting and spending time with the Chasters is really unexplainable. Everyone is treated like a new family member. The hugs and smiles are so genuine, so warm. I just really wish everyone would discover how wonderful it is to be a chaster. And I also hope all the crabs to get a life and stop pulling our princess down. :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  15. chasterdad says:
    Wow!!! The effect Charice has on every fan especially Chasters.

    However, back in the PI she is influencing young Chasters to pursue singing as well. This Chaster during DF&F Manila concert did Charice proud by performing onstage and tackling “Listen” as her number.

    DF was so surprised again and again on how the PI has so many musically talented individuals. This is just another example:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNjNR8QLbdg&feature=related

    To Kris, the Chaster, kudos and may you follow the footsteps of Charice in the near future!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  16. Ham says:
    admin, pls. put this as one of your lead articles. henry had written a beautiful and wonderful piece about the chaster family that should be read by all chasters around the globe, thank you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  17. gunrunner says:
    congrats rod brilliant wrting brief but loaded and crisp. write more about charice. im so pleased to meet you in person

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  18. manang babes says:
    Thank you so much guys for your wonderful stories that you selflessly shared with us. That’s the halo effect coming from Charice that extends to all the true Chasters that love her unconditionally. More power to all Chasters!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  19. flowjam21 says:
    wow…that was a tremendous memories you have chaster’s….
    another momentum for DDF Concert with Charice….you all chaster’s have great time with Charice for that gathering…so jelouse:-).coz,we’re here in KL during DFF Concert don’t have that kind of event…such a very lucky chaster’s who’s been in that gathering…

    but anyway,,,we’ve been so much having fun also during DFF Live in KL…great concert n best concert so far in 2011…for Charice wishing you a good health…we are here to support you INFINITY….

    I’m proud to say Chaster in Malaysia…We love you Charice…Terima Kasi
    benyak:-)(Thank You Very Much)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 0

  20. stefie2325 says:
    i believe rodbelt..i took your picture in the Chaster gathering at max…i am stefie2325 from kuwait and i just flew miles just for this event so i cud fullfil my dreams..i feel so sorry for your camera, really i can’t afford to even get far from mine cuz we are talking about memories here that is priceless.

    thank you so much for sharing your experience here and your adventure…i am still hoping i cud see charice up close since i gave up my chance but its okay…i was there to hear her voice and it just inspire me more to still count my blessings so i cud see her eventually…il see you and meet you in person rod! mabuhay ka!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 1

  21. jimfan155 says:
    Hi Rodbelt. I’m beginning to suspect you have a “bug” attached to Charice’ mic or luggage. You have a knack of being at the right place at the right time and I am sooooo jealous. I have seen you in action when I met you at the NY Lifesavers Gummy Promotion and you are amazing.

    Have a great time in the Philippines and be safe and keep well. I’m sure you feel as I do that Charice showed up in our lives at the right time. WHAT A RIDE.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 3

  22. FBF says:
    Why all these talk about belting songs, she will do it when the time comes, DF really don’t want her to lose her voice in the middle of the tour. It will be catastrophic if she loses her voice during this tour, after all she is the main star of the show. Well, she hasnt won any Grammy yet compared to most of the stars she’s with but this is an Asian Tour and believe it or not, she is the star of the show, everyone of them. Let’s quit this talk and just enjoy the ride, she’ll do it in time, and just don’t watch the videos if you’re not comfortable in the way she’s singing the songs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 2

  23. muzikluvr says:
    i just read what oprah de generes’ & Cc’s two cents about charice & her voice.. It made me chuckle & laugh 😂. Its just like listening to someone talking about how great a certain car is when he himself has never driven one… Have no clue wat there talking just blabbin! (chuckle 😉) Whatever…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 2

  24. BangkokChaster says:
    Honestly speaking, I miss Charice’s belting but I love her low and mid notes now, I can hear more soul, more heart, and more feelings. I guess she’s avoiding high notes not because she can’t belt just like before, but she just wants to give her fans a new flavor of her music.
    Next year maybe, we can hear her super power belt again since everyone is missing it!
    There are a lot beautiful songs in her new album, Lighthouse is my favorite, I hope Japan will produce a Music Video for lighthouse too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 2

  25. prof.jay says:
    rodbelt, i was so lucky that i was there with you during the dff pre-gathering and you were telling all the stories how you met charice for the first, second, third and so many times LOL! with your trademark red-stripes tshirt and phil flag cap. i was so amazed that no matter what, you can still find a way to get near to charice. such a lucky guy indeed! and for all the effort to give us a blow by blow stories about charice’s whereabouts, we have only an admiration for a wonderful man like you. and i was so lucky to bear near you during that event that i was able to hear your stories about our beloved charice.

    god bless you with good health always.!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 1

    • RodBelt says:
      Thanx for the nice compliment, prof.jay. It is just a combination of luck and a little persistence. :>)

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 2

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