Sam Milby

Sam Milby

Thursday, 18 October 2012

ASAP rocks Singapore

By Jerry Donato (The Philippine Star) Updated October 18, 2012 12:00 AM

From left: Sam Milby, Zsa Zsa, Gary Valenciano, Piolo Pascual and Billy Crawford lead the ASAP team at Singapore Expo Max Pavilion

SINGAPORE — There seems to be Filipinos anywhere in the world. And Singapore has been the latest destination of the Pinoy diaspora of more than 200,000 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who find greener pastures for their families. Making our kababayan stay connected with their roots, The ASAP team recently rocked the Merlion City by mounting two shows which will be aired on Oct. 21 and 28. The Sunday noontime variety show brought its signature concert-inspired presentation replete with highly-charged dance-and-song numbers. It didn’t shortchange those who paid 30 to 80 Singapore dollars a ticket. The Singapore Expo Max Pavilion was transformed into a bigger screen with larger-than-life performers who elicited screams from fans.

“We (have) about 16,000 subscribers here in Singapore,” replies Edgardo “Rocky” Roxas, head of ABS-CBN Australia Pty. Ltd. when asked about the presence of TFC/ABS-CBN in the multi-cultural Southeast Asian nation. “That’s a very good number. Probably, there are about 200,000 Pinoys in Singapore. Sixty-five percent are professionals and 35 percent are domestic helpers. The bulk of the 16,000 are on the professional side. They come from hotel and IT (information technology industries) and (work in) finance and accounting (departments). They are very highly-respected in Singapore and many more are coming.”

It is also interesting to note that a possible portion of the TFC subscribers consists of foreigners who enjoy Kapamilya programs in spite of language differences. This is true with Samoans, Fijians and Tongans who love TFC, shares Roxas. TFC also has a strong presence in Australia. “Even if they don’t understand the teleserye, they get the context of the story.” This observation can be attributed to the universal themes of love, triumph, defeat and family that ABS-CBN shows tackle and explore. In Singapore, Pinoys watch the same programming being aired in Manila.

“They remain connected (with their country) through TFC,” says ABS-CBN Broadcast head Cory Vidanes of the wonders TFC can bring to OFWs. “That’s the satisfaction on our part — to be able to serve them.”

Having done ASAP shows in places like Guam, Japan, L.A. and San Francisco, Vidanes recalls that global Pinoys have created a special bond with the network and its stars. “They would call us Tita (Cory). There’s this sense of family… When they see the stars, they call them by their character’s name like Nathan (for Paulo Avelino) and Katerina (for Julia Montes).”

It’s not surprising that the Max Pavilion was jam-packed. Twelve thousand Pinoys trooped to the venue to see their favorite stars up close and personal. Hours before the show, they visited booths of TFC, Starhub, Western Union and Philippine Embassy’s Overseas Absentee Voting, among others.

“The good thing about bringing ASAP is, you are already bringing 40-plus stars,” says Vidanes. OFWs are “busog na busog” when it comes to the number of performers and performances they can have in just one show.

“At ABS, we mentor (the stars),” Vidanes adds. “There’s a lot of training and mentoring. We give them projects that are very good for them. They have to keep improving themselves. And (showbiz) is also a competitive world. We always tell and encourage them to work hard and give their audience their best.”

The Singapore presentation was “a full ASAP show,” says Roxas. The ASAP contingent was composed of more than 80 artists, managers and production people whose mission was to entertain Pinoys in Singapore and touch base with them.

Every part of the ASAP shows was anticipated and well-applauded by OFWs. These were the highlights from the shows:

• The ASAP cultural remix which took off with the traditional Singaporean dances of Indian, Chinese and Malay. It reminded one of a pageant’s engaging and colorful opening number.

• The I’m-Missing-You and I-Miss-You-Like Crazy segment topbilled by ASAP Sessionistas Sitti, Princess, Juris Fernandez, Richard Poon and Aiza Seguerra.

• The Kapamilya Loveteam/Princess And I portion of Kathryn Bernardo, Enrique Gil, Daniel Padilla and Khalil Ramos. Daniel definitely received the loudest scream and cheer from fans.

•The guest appearance of Mario Maurer, star of Suddenly, It’s Magic.

• The Pinoy Pride Songs (Isang Lahi, Lipad ng Pangarap, Babalik Ka Rin and Tagumpay Nating Lahat) by Angeline Quinto, Yeng Constantino, Marcelito Pomoy and Jovit Baldovino.

• The medley of OPM Christmas songs.

• The Taralets-Sama-Sama-and-Magsaya all-star opening

• The Gitara and Alipin showcase of Khalil, Enrique, Daniel, Piolo Pascual and Sam Milby.

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