The crowd was cheering loud. The energy and electricity in the atmosphere was quickly rising up. I was still a little out of breath and confused as it continued to dawn on me that I was already inside. My mind shifted to looking for the backpack that was yanked from me by the security guard a couple of moments earlier when they were trying to help us get in. The introduction/countdown video to CNCO’s appearance on stage (showing a montage of them in different shows, winning various awards, and interacting with fans of different nationalities) was nearing its end. I looked around and spotted my backpack on the floor, behind the staff and security still trying to stop the pulsing crowd outside the barriers trying to get inside. The LED screen went black. At the left side of the stage, there were a couple of bouncers crowding by the entrance and the cameraman moved to that side as well. I speed-walked toward the stage where other people were crowding as Joel came out first.
I pulled out my camera and started recording from behind a bunch of girls who were going crazy, to say the least. I saw a small gap among some of the people in front of me where, if I excused myself, I could make myself to the front. In front, I had a great view of all of the boys, the only problem being that I couldn’t really get all of them to fit in my camera screen at the same time because I was too close (that’s not such a bad problem for a fangirl, though right?). Some of the girls to my left (I was almost dead center) were getting a little too carried away and a few of them were pretty darn close to jumping on the stage and grabbing one of the boys to take home for themselves. Because of this, one of the bouncers had stand in front of us and hold on to the rope barriers and make sure no one would go beyond them.
CNCO came out to perform Sòlo Yo first, hyping up everyone for the songs to come next. This was followed by Se Vuelve Loca, Mamita, Hey DJ, and of course, they ended with a bang by performing the full Spanish version of Reggaetón Lento (the same song which they did a remixed version with Little Mix).
After their set of five songs, the boys went backstage for a break and the MC came back out for a chat with the audience. There was also a trivia game where facts about CNCO and individual members were asked; prizes were up for grabs. I think it was great how the questions were distributed among the crowd evenly, both to those inside and those outside the barriers. The questions were also not too difficult, meaning they were almost just a formality to have a reason to give free stuff away to the fans.
Then, CNCO came back out from backstage for a brief interview. They were asked about their promos in Asia, their history and experiences as a band, as well as what they’ve experienced of the Philippines so far. They also got to meet a special fan who, according to the organizers, came all the way from Bicol. She had a solo meet and greet with all the members; Richard called her sweetheart as she made her way up the stage. She was greeted with lots of hugs and Christopher surprised her with a little somethin’ somethin’ for their group photo. 😘
My college orgmate (we were both members of the same college student organization) back in UPLB, Julie, was also a fan of CNCO. I had seen her activity about their promos in my personal social media feed and I found out beforehand that she was attending. Even though we didn’t manage to agree on meeting up before the actual day, she spotted me even when we were still outside the barriers. Julie was one of the winners (she won twice!) of the Meet and Greet (M&G) competition, so she already had the right to get inside even from the beginning. Since she was entitled to a ticket, she was one of the first people who got inside and when the M&G was about to start, Julie said [non-verbatim], “So makakasama ka na rin sa meet and greet? Feeling ko kasama ka na kasi may ticket ka rin!” [“So you also get to join the meet and greet? I think you do because you also have a ticket!”] She was right.
Then, the production staff started to try and organize all the members of the audience, motioning for everyone to get in line, starting with the front row occupied by the media partners and bloggers. I was standing beside Julie to the left side, and I was being called to get in line with those from the front row. I let them go first since I technically was not part of that group (although my ticket technically was).
We were around the third group to get our photos taken. Going up the stairs, we were greeted by CNCO’s road manager Clara Pablo’s smile. She was so nice so I told her that I hope they’ve been having a good time in the Philippines so far, to which she replied, “Oh yeah. We love it here!”
We were up next for the photo. There was one girl before me who I felt held her spot in front of Joel (I guessed he was her bias). Despite being still a little bit disoriented and in disbelief that I was going to get to participate in the M&G too, I made it a goal to at least make sure I got to hug all of them. So I kind of scooted my way in front of the girl in front of Joel and snuck in a hug. Next was Christopher who I vaguely remember leaning down because he was so tall; then I hugged Erick whose big, bright green-gray eyes were no let down. Unfortunately, I think all I was able to say was “oh my gosh,” or something like that. *facepalm* Then I went in to hug Zabdiel and we said hi to each other before I went to go and give Richard a hug too.
Someone was then loudly trying to call our attention to face front and pose for the photo. I assumed all spots were taken and I caught Richard moving to his right a little to make some space so I stood there and beamed. Within a blink of an eye, we were being ushered to leave the stage and make space for the fans in line behind us. I wanted to say something more than just “oh my gosh” and “hi,” but my wit was not quite at its best. As I was procrastinating getting off the stage, I managed to lock eyes with Richard since he was at the end. I thought about saying how their music is so upbeat and it’s great to see them spreading latin culture around the world; how despite their schedule being filled with promos, I hope they enjoy and get to come back to the Philippines for a vacation. That’s what I was thinking in my mind, but all I actually managed to blurt out before being shooed away by security was a cliché, “I really hope you guys enjoy your time here,” to which Richard said, “Oh yeah. Definitely. Definitely,” as he squeezed my hand before I had to exit.
I also made it a mission to say thank you in some way to the blogger who was the reason I got inside. I scanned the crowd looking for her and I spotted her having a chat back in her seat in the front row. I waited for her to finish and forced myself to awkwardly introduce myself. I told her I was the one who benefitted from her extra ticket and I just wanted to say thanks because I got to have fun. She was even kind enough to take my picture in front of the stage and agreed to take a photo with me.
A big thank you and shout out to Ms. Reylen Castro, a mother, an advocate, and the blogger behind Made It Through Mum who was the fairy godmother of this little experience. Make sure to go check out her stories and adventures. If you see this, it was so nice meeting you!
Still in a little bit of a daze after the M&G and meeting Ms. Reylen, I headed out without even getting to say goodbye to Julie. We didn’t even know we were in the same M&G photo until the official photos were posted a few days later. Shout out to her too for being my CNCO sunbae (Korean term meaning someone who has more experience) and helping me out with details for this article that I might have missed.
Since this experience, CNCO has announced an upcoming U.S. tour and I know Filipino fans are holding on to the same hopes CNCO said they have too: to come back to the Philippines for a show as part of a concert tour. Fingers crossed.
What do you think about this awesome experience? Let me know in the comments section below!