I Met International Latin Boyband, CNCO!
PART 1 of 2: The Backstory and How I Got In

I can’t really recall how it all started, but I guess you could say that I am definitely a fangirl. I’ve been to a significant amount of concerts, shows, and promo events and I’ve also bought my fair share of merchandise. I can’t say I regret any of it. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me talk about how this international Latin pop boyband has become my latest obsession. Thanks to a [Buzzfeed] Pero Like video about Spanish accents I came across one day, I was charmed by these musically talented Latin boys called CNCO. Composed of Richard, Joel, Christopher, Zabdiel, and Erick, CNCO sang a short snippet of their latest single, Se Vuelve Loca, by the end of the said video and that was it. The doors to the kingdom of fangirling were officially opened.

Buzzfeed Pero Like’s Which Spanish Accent is Sexiest? Celebrity Edition video

Soon after, I shared the said video with my friend and former officemate, Andrea (who  I’ve written about before) just because I had a feeling she’d appreciate it as much as I did. Lo and behold, we were both listening to the CNCO album on loop once we learned it was a shared love for this new discovery.

CNCO’s 2018 self-titled album

Due to our newfound appreciation for Latin pop music, Andrea asked me one day whether or not CNCO had ever been to the Philippines yet. I had no idead and I denied ever trying to find out if they previously held concerts or events here because, honestly, I didn’t want to get bitter either (1) about missing seeing them if they had already been in the country or (2) because they were about to and I just didn’t have the extra money to go see them. Funny enough, we found out how that same week, CNCO was headed to the Philippines from doing promos in Japan. They were scheduled to do promos in three different SM Malls (SM City Cebu on Friday, SM Fairview on Saturday, and SM City North EDSA on Sunday) and here’s the hooker: they were all for FREE. We soon agreed to make our way to SM Fairview for a little bit of an adventure (it was quite a ways away) and go see the boys perform. To our dismay, Super Typhoon Mangkhut,

Satellite images of Typhoon Mangkhut courtesy of NASA

locally named Ompong, kept delaying its arrival in the country. Instead of wreaking havoc early in the week, the height of the threat of the super typhoon was looming over the country on Friday and Saturday. On Saturday, there was too much rain and strong winds to risk it. Both of us lived relatively far away from SM Fairview; we could get stranded somewhere either on the way there or on the way back.

On Sunday morning, I was still kind of trying to move on from the fact that I was not going to get to see CNCO on their first visit to the Philippines. Right before noon, I was surprised to have finished pretty much everything I had to on a Sunday which is usually pretty booked for me. I was a little more exhausted that I expected to be, so I was already seriously considering going home to get some rest, both physically and mentally to prepare myself for a busy week ahead. I started to consider maybe trying to go and see the show at SM City North EDSA when I realized I could opt for a commute route that would pass by there. I guess there are times when I just overthink things because I couldn’t decide for the longest time whether I should just go home or go and try to see the show alone. I kept thinking how it might not be the same going without Andrea (I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks that fangirling alone can be challenging and awkward); how I’m not even sure how the show will go or if I’ll be able to get in, etc., etc.

Side note: Andrea and I just so happen to have the same Zodiac sign. We’re both Libras and we also have in common how, though we don’t believe in astrology, we find zodiacs interesting and entertaining. In true Libra fashion, I can find making decisions promptly difficult. I need to have all the options, know all the possible pros and cons, and I need to gather opinions from others.

Having said this, I messaged some friends to get their opinion. One of them, Angela (who I’ve also written about before), said that YES, I definitely should go. She asked me why shouldn’t I? After expressing how I wasn’t too ecstatic about watching yet another concert or show alone, she even got all deep and told me a life lesson you often hear from titos, titas, lolos, and lolas: “Okay lang ‘yan! Kaysa naman you miss a lot of concerts just because you’re alone [That’s okay! That’s better than missing out on a lot of concerts just because you have to go alone].” I probably internalized that statement more than I should have, but I ended up thinking, “Yeah! Why shouldn’t I!”

So then, I went to SM City North EDSA. I even got lost since the online poster I followed apparently had an error as it said the venue was the 4th Floor of The Annex when the event was actually at SM The Block Atrium (later on, I overheard one of the invited bloggers express her frustration about being informed the same thing and how she initially went to The Annex as well, thinking that was the venue just like me).

To my dismay, I soon found out that apparently, the event would only permit entrance to the 50 winners of Sony Music Philippines’ fan meet and greet contest for SM North EDSA and the 20 winners of another contest from SM Supermalls. Along with inquiries from other early fans, I also found out from the staff at the registration table how they could probably be able to let in fans inside if and only if some of the winners would not show up and the SM admin would give them the go signal to fill in the other seats that may be left unoccupied. Thus, it became a waiting game.

I’m not sure if it was because of my personal pride that I didn’t want to swallow, but after grabbing a drink, I decided to wait it out. I mean how long could it be, right? Of course, I underestimated it all and ended up waiting standing up for way, way too long.

Being such an early bird, I was one of the few people in front of the registration table for almost the whole time, but because more and more people crowded around as time passed by, you kind of get forced to change positions to make room for more people squeezing in. By the time the show was nearing the beginning, I was off to the side without even noticing. Honestly though, and not to throw some shade, but the logistics and arrangement of how registration was handled were all over the place. (Not all of the staff were as informed as they should have been and the lines were basically non-existent. There were also lots of questions and technicalities raised by fans who attended that took much too long to answer.)

Disclaimer: In all fairness to the two women assigned to the registration table, they were very friendly and positive, unlike the usual aura of staff at the entrance who are basically required to be watchdogs and help in controlling the crowd. They smiled at us and it seemed like they were also hoping that the admin would eventually let at least some of us join in on the fun inside.

While waiting and trying to distract myself from how tired my legs were starting to feel, I couldn’t help but overhear the staff inside talking about how the invited media and bloggers invited by the admin were mysteriously still not at the venue. A lot of the fans were already inside, yet the first row reserved for bloggers was still completely empty.

One blogger, as I mentioned in passing above, arrived with a slight aura of frustration. Out of the fifteen names listed on the registration sheet for invited bloggers, she was the first one to arrive. In a rush, she got proceeded to signing the sheet and informed the staff how bloggers were misinformed. They knew the venue to be the 4th floor of The Annex (basically, a different building and a long walk away, in case you didn’t know) and how there were other bloggers who also proceeded there instead of The Atrium at SM The Block. After airing these out, she was asked if she had anyone with her as bloggers were entitled to not one, but two tickets. It would simply be a waste, they insinuated. At that moment, I could just feel all the imaginary light bulbs blink on in the minds of all of us waiting for a chance to get in. Then, the woman grabbed the arm of this charming girl standing beside her who was patiently watching was going on. Honestly surprised, “Ako?!” [“Me?!”] she exclaimed. “Oh my gosh. Thank you po!” I mean from one fangirl to another and with such a genuine reaction, I couldn’t help but be happy for her, but the waiting game wasn’t over.

More bloggers arrived to register and you just knew all of us near the entrance were mentally wishing that they didn’t bring a companion so that the slot would be given to us hopefuls, but they all did. Then one blogger arrived without a companion. We all perked up like meercats. Since all of us waiting by the entrance were kind of stuck there in a way due to the crowd gathered behind us, those who ended up standing in my original spot (in front of the registration table) were then misidentified as early birds too (as in to have been waiting for the longest). More accompanied bloggers arrived, and girls near the entrance being suggested by the staff inside to take the open slot got invited in. This happened two or three more times. After more people getting in, all of which (with a clear conscience) I can say arrived later than I did, get inside before me, I talked to the lady and said that I wanted to get in too. No, I didn’t complain and point fingers at how it was unfair and unorganized (although in retrospect, I kind of think that maybe I should have, even just a little bit). I did my best to be polite while conveying how I should be let in too. The lady looked at me and said that if one more blogger arrived unaccompanied, I would be next.

A century later — more like a couple of minutes, actually (waiting for so long made minutes feel like years) — the LED screen on stage started to play the CNCO music videos louder and the emcee came out to hype up the crowd. Complaints rolled in how the remaining seats should be given out and how it should be done quickly since the show was officially about to start (even though it was delayed by more than an hour).

From somewhere behind me, a hand caught the attention of the ladies at the registration table. A woman was waving to signal how she’s on the list as one of the media people invited to the event; she was also a blogger. She struggled through the throngs of people to get to the front and register for her ticket. She barely got through the crowd, even ripping the paper bag she had as she tried to. As she was registering, the lady behind the desk asked her if she had anyone with her, to which she answered, no. The lady at the registration table and I locked eyes. “Ikaw na, ikaw. Pumasok ka na. Halika,” she said [You’re next, you. Get inside. Come here.]. Amidst a mixture of complaints and pleads, the woman who just registered continued to struggle to try to get from the front of the table to the entrance. The crowd behind us started pushing forward as the emcee in front began introducing the band. It was pretty much chaotic and a lot of things happened as the security guards tried to help the both of us get through, pulling us while blocking others who were a mix of people trying to get in and people getting pushed in. One of the ladies at the registration kept pointing to me and telling the security guard that I was the one to get the ticket. I made sure to let the lady blogger go in first before following.

Within a blink of an eye, I was inside the faux plant barriers and the intro video to CNCO was blasting on the screen. It felt like some sort of countdown but I was still a little bit frozen trying to get my stuff in order. I couldn’t believe I actually got inside. The LED screen went black for a split second, then CNCO was walking out. Almost by instinct, I took out whatever camera I had on me. It was showtime.


I Met International Latin Boyband, CNCO! PART 2 of 2 is coming up!


What do you think happened next? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

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