rae1Oh I know that you guys will be happy for me, for the Pinoy Archies. A lot of us spend w hole lot of crazy time as you guys do on cyberspace just to be at pace with him. The diff is just you see him LIVE while we see him through a small screen…. until now.

We had dinner with Mike & Eli (am still uploading the pix) while the 2 Davids were having Dinner with the Sony execs.

But here is my personal good news before I post the 2 recaps I just finished —

Without meaning to, I bumped into David last night — and a slew of bodyguards.

OOOOOMMMYYYYYYGAH! So yeah, I went down the hotel lobby to get something from my car. On my way back to the room where some Archies are staying, I started giggling with the prospects of crossing paths with him at the lobby at that hour (10pm) – yeah JR, dream on!

Lo and behold, several feet away, I saw Mr. Burly Bodyguard #1 coming down the mezzanine. (They are always in black shirts btw). I told myself, naaaaaaaaaah, can’t be. My eyes must be deceiving me, as I continue to walk. But a split second later, I saw a pair of legs, omgah, those sneakers!

As I cut a corner to my left, he was there!!!!!!! Just a couple of feet away from me – in that atomic fashion. I will forever love that corner as I made my lame ‘haaaaaaay David’ and he beamingly countered ‘OH HI!’ with a wave, killer-smile + a skip! Did I mention killer-smile?

ME: haaaayyy david (voice croaking & hand lamely waving)

DA: OH HI! (with that matching killer smile, wave and skip!)

And that’s it…

Despite being just 2 feet away

Despite going in the same direction (to the elevator)

Despite holding a handycam and a 3G phone

All I was able to muster was a LAME haaaayyyy david — croaking at that! I knew something was wrong cos why was I waving like a retard? How come things were like going in slowmo?

And how come I didn’t use my 2 videocams on hand? waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!

 You see, since morning, a group of tweenies have squattered (for lack of a better term) in the waiting area near the elevator in the hotel wing where David is staying. So apparently, they were still there.

“David! David! Can we have pictures with your David?!” And I heard him: “Oh am so sorry, I can’t stay!” More flashes, more screams as I turn the same right corner.

Oh the lanky guy? He started running as the girls screamed. Goodness, he was also an Archie just keeping his cool.

So am almost at the elevator, when I saw the tail of the ‘atomic David’ go to the fire exit. The screaming kids? All slayed and spent in the sofa of the waiting area LOL

Notice, after my lame ‘haaaaay David’, I kept my cool. So I took my elevator ride, punched __/F peacefully – probably still in shock it was more like it  when the elevator opened on the __/F. W/o seeing anyone when the elevator doors opened, I heard a woman’s voice from the right side of the hall “Omygosh! You walked the stairs?!”

Then still not seeing anyone, I heard an angelic voice from the right side of the hallway “Yeeeeah, needed to”. I swear I heard that and it sounded uttered with a smile.

Elevator door closes, when it suddenly hit me, I would be seeing the angelic voice appear in the horizon! Too late.. too late… as the elevator ascends…

RECAP #1: MAY 12, 2009 (DAY 1)

Yet TODAY will be forever etched in my memory as one of those perfect days. A day as sweet as the mangoes he has sampled this afternoon and which I seasonally enjoy NOTE: The Philippine-grown mango is known to be the best tasting, worldwide. The best ones locally are cultivated from Guimaras Island, Visayas Region

So, did I see David today? NO.

That is not the reason why this day is perfect.

Mission Accomplished

I have refrained from sharing on this site much of the frustrations we Archies here in Manila had to put up with, ever since this back-to-back concert was announced. I rant every now and then but has not given you details or the total picture. Even in Archuleta Philippines (AP), I opted to send private messages to core members.

 But I adhere to this memorable line from the film “Dreams of an Insomniac” – “Anything less than passion is simply a waste of my time”. So I know that despite the frustrations, there are ways to make things happen. You just have to work for it and boy, work we did!

Our day started at 5AM. Picked-up LOUISE, an AP Archie, to bring the banners, gifts and flowers to the airport. By 6am and on-site already meeting a number of Archies there. After all, David tweetered he was heading off early to bed for an early flight to Manila!

David… David.. David… His plane landed at 2:47pm LOL. So what did we do, all that time?

Well, it turned out that no permit was secured and that the protocol is to secure it at least 3 days in advance. oh…oh…

Being the Golden Archie in the group, I was called upon to talk to airport officials. LOL. Which worked in our favor actually cos well… tenacity is not my middle name for nothing

The Mission: Secure a pass for the fans at whatever cost, whatever form permissible!
At the outset, this was the objective cos we wanted to make sure that our David experience the much vaunted Filipino hospitality. Sounds easy, right?

NOPE. Cos of N1H1 (formerly known as swine flu), security alert was high. All special passes/permits to the arrival area had been canceled which means only those connected with the production and its media partners would have limited access. Fan clubs, out.

But I have my own agenda: MY GOAL was to turn around the impression that our David has no pull or is a lesser draw than the other David. This, I got from the promoters and media partners I talked to. This was like a lead that I had been carrying in my heart a month prior to arrival.  Then I have to hear that no M&G was being arranged for DA because it was David’s camp who are hard to deal with, refusing M&G, with many restrictions, etc.. — believable?

Whichever way, our pleading has been made for us. So how can we achieve both targets?

8AM, so off we go to the 1st line of defense

Louise and I found ourselves talking to the Corporal (I think that is what she is called). They were nice and sympathetic to our “cause” but because of N1H1, we were in a bind.

ME: We are not asking for special access in the lobby. We are not after talking or meeting David at this point. All we want is to have a secure spot where his entourage will passby so David can see us, his fans & our banners!

OFFICER: We cannot give you that info. Nothing was coordinated with us re his arrival. Cook’s was coordinated.

ME: (Ignoring the last sentence, lest I lose it) But Filipinos are known for being ingenious (ma-abilidad). Surely at your level, there has to be a way to help us without leaking sensitive info?

OFFICER: Why don’t you talk to the Media Affairs or the Customer Relations Office? They may be able to assist you to gain access to Archuleta. Here is my number and let me know immediately if you got what you need. If not, let me see what we can do.

LOUISE/ME: Thank you, thank you!

LOUISE: (taking out her LAST copy of David’s CD from her bag) Thank you mam for your help. (Officer was visibly touched, I was floored! her last CD!)

8:10AM, off to the 2nd line of defense

LOUISE: JR, I’ll go back to group to update them.

ME: Ok.(Approached the info desk, explained our situation with CRO… then they called someone, talked to him on the phone… then he was there with me, then he escorted me back to 1st line of defense)

More discussion until an arrangement was reached but with a condition: Their boss needs to approve it – the assistant general or something.

OFFICER: Ok, please come back in an hour when our boss is already here.

ME: I understand. (Thanked everyone & left). Time: 8:30am

By this time: we got AP’s text update that David’s flight is delayed. Good, given the circumstances.

9:30AM 3rd line of defense

ME: Am back

OFFICER: (smiling, offered me a seat) Oh, he just arrived! You can now go with him to his office

He was actually behind me all along! So we talked, again explained our situation. He was very nice and said that if only there were no N1H1 alert, there would have been no problem assisting us. But was curiously looking at me and was incredulous that that is only what we wanted. he was probably thingking: where is the catch? LOL. Our plan was ok with him but under those special circumstances, even him needed to go through his boss. So he asked one of the staff to escort me to the General’s office — the actual head of the airport security!

9:45AM 4th & last line of defense

Staff explained the situation to the secretary. General was in a meeting so I have to talk to EA. Staff & EA talked some more. Then the friendly staff motioned for me to approach and whispered that she thinks we can broker an agreement w/ the EA.

So we talked. She was also very helpful and very professional and actually tried a couple of ideas with another department.

She was more familiar with Cook so I showed her the magazine that I had with me – Yes SF! the LIFE STORY MAG – but I wasn’t giving that up!

Then she told me that they cannot do anything. They received several requests also from other groups but no one was approved.

Besides there was no time as he is coming in at 1PM via Singapore Airlines.

I corrected her. That can’t be Archie cos he was coming from UK, so he should be taking Qatar Airways. As both were using aliases, they doubted me. I told them I am sure of my info. Besides I am aware that they are using aliases and for sure – that was Cook arriving at 1pm. If Archie was not in the morning flight, then he must be taking the 2nd and last flight of the day from UK.

OFFICER3: Are you OK, mam?

ME: (hunched and uncovering my face with my hands) But that can’t be. This is such a simple request. All I know is that we are known as the most hospitable people in the world and we – the official DA fan club (hey, using official actually got their attention) – cannot even give our Idol a simple welcome?

EA: Ok, let me see what else I can do…

ME: Please, cos you know, am not going back there and tell those rabid fans who has been up as early as 4AM that all of their efforts would come to nothing (shaking my head)

EA: (Talking to someone on the phone & I heard her say to the other person on the phone) Ok, let’s try that.

By this time, the General’s meeting was over. When our request was explained to him, he also gave that incredulous look and asked if that was all we wanted — to have a spot in the arrival area, line up, show our banners and wave to David. SIMPLY welcome him, N1H1 or not. He repeated: “That’s all?” I nodded slowly while summoning all the innocence I could muster with my eyes haha!

FINALLY: Approval with the condition that we behave and not cause any security problem. (Somebody joked that they should hire me as my intel was good – bwahahahahahahahahahaha!) TIME – 10:30AM

Went back to the 1st line of defense to deliver the good news. I was to come back an hour before the Archie’s ETA so we can be escorted by security detailed to us.

By this time, Kricket of AP texted us that David is coming in on the next flight. Went back to the group who were clueless to the drama I had to go through that day. I got a kick when I saw them waiting with the GMA7 TV crew! With the good news delivered, we decided to move out and wait in a much cooler place and have lunch.

With lunch over, the Archies texted more Archies to come cos the flight was delayed. We were only 20 at that time. The airport is quite far, you see. So we need reinforcement and we have the time to alert others esp those who thought David has landed.

At 2PM, I went down to the corporal’s office and join the security who will assist us. Xeno, an Archie who came from New York had a bag of pastries for Archie. She willingly gave it up so we can give it as a token of gratitude for the wonderful airport officials! As David would say: “Thanks you guys!”

They even gave us a better location cos the original plan was to split the group to ensure that if David misses the 1st banner, there is still anther chance for him to see the other set of banners. But the group was requesting that it would be better if we be intact.

The airport officials also agreed to this last minute change and gave us that great spot you saw on youtube by now, right?

Will end this DAY01 RECAP with the following tidbits gathered from airport staff and the media (print & TV) who covered the events

4. Then one press guy came out and stationed himself by my side at the security post, parallel to David’s van which would ferry him to the hotel. I asked him what was he doing there?

5. He said he already enough pix and he couldn’t stand the pandemonium inside. The VIP Lounge was crazy. Everyone, as in everyone from Duty Free staff, airport staff, immigration and plane stewards/stewardesses wanted a piece of Archie.

Again you could see it in the posted vids at youtube that he could almost not move/walk and the cameras were almost touching his face with all the people wanting to get close to him!

One press guy said: “Grabe sa loob! Ibang klaseng hatak. Lutang yung bata! (his hand positioned under his face)” ROUGH TRANSLATION: It is crazy inside! That kid’s pull is really different. He glows!

7. One security officer even commented that “this is even crazier than the welcome Manny Pacquiao got! WOW”

8. Meanwhile, the Archies was interviewed & filmed by several press people.

9. When we were sure that David was coming out, pandemonium broke lose outside. One airport official told the press, “For me, that is the real story!” (pointing to the strategically located Archies)

10. In less than 5 minutes, David was gone. His van didn’t stop in front of the Archies as we expected.

11. We realized quite insanely why: he wasn’t in the van. As the entourage sped off with the van leading it, we realized belatedly that he and Jeff were in the next car. So the van was blocking their view and it was only when the van turned left that David saw the Archies with their colorful banners!

I saw him turn around at the back of the car to catch a last glimpse of his Archies. Am sure he was saying: OhMyGosh!

I was taking videos in all this time.

Then it was time to run to get my car, head to the hotel and upload whatever we can upload. Of course that was after the Archies had their celebratory cheers!

By 6pm, youtube was flooded with the airport scene, GMA-7 and ABS-CBN broadcasted their respective coverage.

Not a big draw? Has no pull? May I say: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED?!

Such a perfect day.