As you may all be aware, parts of Thailand has been struggling with serious flooding for weeks and it is with our deepest sympathy that Bangkok is now seriously bracing to cope up with the current flood situation. Thai Chasters are deeply saddened by the crisis it has brought and may still bring in the coming days. Due to the worsening situation, David Foster and Friends has to be canceled to ensure both the performers’ and the fans’ safety. Read the full story
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 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.
Photocourtesy of Wower
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
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
It has been many years since I put in writing the thoughts circling in my mind when I was an editor of the high school paper and staff of the varsitarian in my beloved alma mater. I’m getting old but my mind is very clear about where my journey as a Chaster started and where it will end.
It all began over a year ago when I kept hearing my women staff talk about someone called Charice Pempengco. “Did you see her sing in Oprah and Ellen?” “Wasn’t she great in her duet with Celine Dion?” Such comments led me to search You tube, eventually lurk at Charicemania.com and feel my heartbeat quicken every time I discover a new song of hers. Yes, I have cried many times. A reaction that prompted me to contact my son, a psychologist, to make sure that I wasn’t losing my mind considering my age. He said that I’m living my life through her. That made me realize that my experience of having been raised by a single mother and fearing of being lost without her, connected me to Charice. The fact that our history are alike triggered my strong emotions. I was sane indeed!!
It was then followed by my first trip to Las Vegas to watch the October 2010 David Foster & Friends concert. The concert finished at 12 midnight and she was scheduled to leave for Tokyo the next morning to start the asian tour. I was lucky that I was chosen for the Meet and Greet. As a typical lurker, I stood behind and watched the line dwindled. I saw that Marc Johnson was prodding her to hurry but I guess, she wanted to see everybody. I was grateful for that since I was third to last in line. It was already 1 am when we finished. She really love her fans!!!
I wasn’t content on just going to Vegas and so, I went to Manila to see her with my staff. There, I accidentally met a young lady that gave me a glow stick and when I sent an email to invite her to be part of the Tokyo Chaster Crew, I did not know her name then and actually thought she was a HE. Charice blew me away that night and I can’t believe that there was no backtrack or lip synching. I was feeling so elated that night. I then realized that it was the kind of feeling and fun that is better shared with others. I immediately invited another Chaster to join us next in Tokyo. She said that I should think about it and assured me that she won’t feel bad even if I develop any second thoughts. My original crew of two grew enough to be counted with both hands. I know that my wife will kill me if she finds out what I have done and continue to do so, which is why I created a separate email account to provide stealth for my Chaster activities.
A full year passed, Tokyo went by like a breeze, and much of those experiences have been written by scribes of Charicemania. What I hope will be accomplished is that we discover the Chaster Clauses within our hearts so that everybody can have a chance to celebrate Charice. I am but a clone of the different Clauses before me, you know who you are. A Chaster writer named LAfan was the one who brought it to life. Thanks to a developing tradition, a Chaster way, that there is now a spirit we call Chaster Clause.
The Las Vegas Chaster Crew has come and gone yet nobody noticed their presence until after the concert. I thank them for keeping their pledge of not talking about the event, me or even giving a hint about my true identity. I believe that Charice should remain center stage and I, together with the other Chasters, form but a supporting cast. To see her succeed is all that matters because now, talent is not enough to guarantee a spot at the top. Only 1% make it and the rest become but a passing fancy. It is tough but she cannot be faulted for not working hard enough. As young as she is, she needs to pace herself for the long haul, take a break when she can, and be at full force when showtime comes. We need to cater to her needs. I’m glad that we did not have a meet and greet in Las Vegas this year because I knew she would be exhausted from her whirlwind Singapore, Qatar and Vegas performances. Now, Manila is fast approaching and the excitement is building up.
To discover the Chaster Clause in each and every one of us is far more rewarding than knowing the person behind the character. My wish is to see Charice be around for a long time but we all know that the career of an artist is like a mountain: first is a climb, then a peak, followed by a plateau, and lastly, an unpredictable slow or fast walk towards the sunset. My focus is to make it possible for many Chasters to have a chance to see, touch and hear the object of their dreams. I had my moment when I hugged her and told her I love her in Tokyo. An experience I will always cherish. Though I will keep a low profile, I will always be behind Charice and our Chaster family.
After a long career, I would like to imagine that when the music stops and Charice settles down that she’ll have more time to herself. Hopefully, when people begin to step off the bandwagon, she will have the time to sit and reminisce of the past with me over a strong cup of coffee. I consider that the end of my journey that I hope can happen before my expiration date. Life has no guarantees and so I live life everyday, give thanks and say a prayer.
LABYO ALL, CHASTERS!!!!
There’s always the risk of somebody disagreeing with us and I won’t be surprise especially from people who doubt my good intentions. I have been consistent in my actions, so I can hold my ground. If this gives pause to people to release the resident goodness in their hearts, then the purpose of my article has been serve. That is the road to happiness.
Thank You Message:
“The editorial board prior to publishing the article asked me if I was willing to take flying arrows from doubting Thomases. I have long suspected that we are a different fan club because as ABonita said earlier “we care for each other”. Your comments has moved me and the truth be told that we are indeed one family. I did not imagine that cupid arrows will be raining down instead in the comment section.”
“The primitive parts of our brain where our instincts reside is wired for self preservation. That is why our first inclination during a famine is to fight over food rather than give it to the weakest or spread it out. It takes the larger, developing parts of our brain nurtured by prior experiences of self denial or delayed gratification for our sake by caring adults especially a mother that we gain the capacity to override those negative instincts.”
“The credit belongs to all past, present and future Clauses in our community willing to set the bar. Nothing is too big or too small to make a difference. For Charice and the world, We shall carry on!”
Charice was in Japan for less than a week with a schedule jampacked with appearances and interviews promoting her second album “Infinity”. Her efforts have paid off because as of this writing, Infinity has topped Japan iTunes’ pop chart and is at number 2 on the overall Japan iTunes chart! We give you two of her magazine interviews, which have helped spread the word about our dear Charice. Read the full story
It was a crisp early Thursday morning, the 29th of September 2011, when I left YYZ (Pearson Toronto Intl Airport) to fly to Las Vegas not only to watch Charice sing at the David Foster and Friends Concert; but to meet with other chasters. I arrived at the McCarran Airport (LAS) at 11AM to hot dry weather towering the 90’s. I almost fainted while waiting for a shuttle to take me to the ORLEANS Hotel Read the full story
(MANILA) Charice, GLEE’s Sunshine Corazon, was recently handed the BPInoy award in light of her outstanding achievements in the international music scene. Moreover, her list of accomplishments doesn’t end there. The Bank of the Philippine Islands’ (BPI) BPInoy award recognizes Filipinos who have internationally demonstrated unparalleled excellence in their chosen path. Read the full story
Nov 10 Update – English subtitled video added. Manila – In a recent TV interview with Charlene Gonzales in the Buzz, Charice talked about her achievements and how she is dealing with her newfound fame. Charice took a weeklong vacation after the last leg of the David Foster and Friends Asian Tour, which she was a part. Asked on why her vacation was so short, Charice said, “Actually, I’ve already been here for a week. I think it’s quite long because usually I get only two or three-day breaks in the past.” Read the full story
(SINGAPORE) Charice and the rest of the performers in the David Foster and Friends Asian Tour, has just reached another historic milestone, a day before their first concert in this extremely tiny but incredibly prosperous island nation.
All concert tickets for the whole tour have been sold out.
At 6:00 PM today, Sistic’s ticketing database indicated that tickets for the Saturday (October 30) concert were already unavailable. However, several single-seat upper-tier VIP tickets for the Friday (October 29) concert were still up for sale. Read the full story
(JAKARTA) Charice with the rest of the artists in the David Foster and Friends tour will be setting a new record in entertainment history. They will be performing in front of a sold-out crowd in what was dubbed as the priciest concert tickets of all all time in Indonesia– and all 2900 seats were taken way back in September.
Charice, who was dubbed by Oprah Winfrey as the “most talented girl in the world”, will be one of the international stars that will be there to wow audiences with her performances in this event. Read the full story
Charice’s Week in Review is a Weekly Series on CM to help you follow Charice’s hectic schedule. Each Monday, we will post a concise review of the past week’s events. We realize many Chasters: have limited time, or may miss something good with so many Charice events to follow. Think of this as medicine for Chadiction. Read the full story
The One and Only Hit-Man David Foster and Friends Returns to Mandalay Bay Events Center October 15
GRAMMY(R) Winning Producer, Writer and Showman Lines Up Seal, Ne-Yo, Martina McBride, Donna Summer, Charice, Chaka Khan, Natalie Cole, Kenny Loggins, Michael Bolton, Ruben Studdard, Earth, Wind & Fire and Surprise Guests; Tickets on Sale Wednesday, Sept. 15th. Read the full story
Jakarta, Kabarindo – Diamond Entertainment is the promoter who managed to bring David Foster to Indonesia along with some of his friends. Famous artists such as Natalie Cole, Peter Cetera, Charice Pempengco, Ruben Studdard, and the Canadian Tenors will be present in the most luxurious concert of the year 2010 .
UPDATE: October 23, 2010, ANNOUNCEMENT Malaysian (for those coming to DFF Singapore) and Singapore Chasters, there will be a scheduled Meet and Greet with Charice in Singapore. Proof of ticket purchase required for the M&G but no guarantee of admittance due to maximum capacity of 30. Nametags will be given out before the concert, meeting place and contact person to be announced later. You will receive a confirmation via email. Email your names and copies of tickets to Gracia_chong@yahoo.com.sg (Amazing CP) and firstname.lastname@example.org (Wyip). Goodluck! – SchoenRead the full story
In the 2 1/2 years since Ellen DeGeneres featured this young Filipina singer on her popular talk show, Charice has racked up an impressive number of friends in high places: She’s made several appearances on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” sung duets with Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion and signed a record deal with David Read the full story
In a time where drought and hopelessness was ruling the enchanted queendom, and most people were losing their jobs, and had nothing to eat, a simple little girl who loved to sing was seen through a vision which came from a single TUBE of an enchanted plant. Read the full story