October 7, 2022

Today, the 28th of August, is daughterYsabelle’s birthday and her only wish was to be able to watch her K-pop-boyband NCT 127 concert, “NCT 127 2nd Tour: Neo City-The Link” in Manila on Sept. 4. 

 It is continuation of the “The Link” tour in South Korea launched December last year. Last Aug. 2 and 3, NCT 127 met Japanese fans through the “NCTzen 127-Japan.” 

Way back in 2017, I thought that NCT (엔시티), an acronym for “Neo Culture Techno-logy”, was only a passing fad for Ysa and other teeners. 

Then the posters and CDs came and I realized it was not. In the Big Apple four years back when we went to our favorite Korean restaurant in Times Square, she had her picture taken at the cardboard standees of the boyband.  

This year, back at the same resto with auntie Zeny and Erwin for the birthday of uncle Estoki with Milo Garcia and Efren Rulloda, the standees were no longer there but she remained assertive that absence was not enough reason to shift to BTS.

Speaking of K-pop, my niece Stefanie Kate and auntie Ambet are on the other side of the fence, as they are die-hard BTS (also known as the Bangtan Boys) fanatics, the former  going all the way to Los Angeles to watch their concert and the latter buying four-day tickets for the same concert but from different seat angles. The phenomena brought about by the K-pop culture is unfathomable but BTS is another story.

Same year, in Seoul, Korea, one whole day was spent on an NCT town mall which, of course, had nothing but NCT stuff including watching a live concert in a huge cinema, which she totally went gaga for. Then they came to Manila on June 9, 2019 but then again it was the annual family travel time and she missed it.  July this year was a Singapore gig, but the overdue trip to the land of milk and honey was on deck. This time, she was bent not to miss them.

A month ago, SM Entertainment announced they were finally coming and from then on, she focused on how to get tickets on Aug. 21 online. Immediately, she ordered the required lantern for the concert from Shoppee and was so excited that even the ribbing from Tatan and Enzo would not stop her from going to the Mall of Asia come floors, rains, or earthquake.

 Sunday she called and said she was nervous as the box office was about to open. When it did and she got in their website, she was number 10,000 plus in the queue but kalma lang, since the sitting capacity of SMX was 19,000. 

As the number dwindled to 60,000 plus, a sudden brownout ensued and all hell broke loose as she panicked and cried screaming for the first time in her life to put the gen-set on. And when it did and back onscreen, the number was now down to 2,000. So near yet so far, but when it was her turn to select seats, the screen flashed “unavailable”, worse, “sold out”.

 Tears as in hagulgul were now flooding, and everybody in the house was calling a friend here and there begging for tickets.  

Even the mayor of the host Pasay City and Congressman Sam, partner of Willy Revillame, were factored in but awan latta!

Then the scalpers began selling online and desperate as it was, pinatulan na rin n’ya. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures and Karren Nobres came into mind. She asked for time then lo and behold, after probably twisting the arm of the VP for marketing, she got two tickets for our Ysa.

 Thanks, Ms. Karen, for saving the day. Our birthday girl got her wish and can now smile and grin looking forward to D-day when she gets front row seats for her concert.

Happy birthday, Aya! We love you to anywhere NCT goes and back! 

Sigh.