Hometown: Paniqui, Tarlac, PhilippinesI am as I am. I am twenty-something (grr!) years old but there’s no point in denying that there are just quite a million things that I am yet to do and feel. I am no longer ten years old but I still feel like the world is a play. And I am still a terrible actor. I still forget my lines, and I still get confused with the rules of a sweet and broken smile. Even with such tragedy and comedy and everything else in between, I still believe in happy endings. I still believe that I am yet to find my own happy ending no matter how unimaginable it may be. Even though I’ve always felt lost, I just believe that I haven’t lost yet. I hope you get the idea. I am twenty-something years old but I still don’t hold the “conviction” to act my age yet because I still feel like an addict who hasn’t had a fix. I still romanticize the past. I still overlook the present. And I still hate thinking about tomorrow. I am still me.
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It was only because of Seasons of Love from the Rent musical that I came to know that one year is equivalent to 525,600 minutes. For all I care, right? I wouldn’t waste my precious time to do these mathematical computations just to count how many minutes are there in a year. We could have only counted one year, couldn’t we? That would have been easier and much more practical. But it dawned on me that it really is 525,600 minutes — that, I learned after watching the movie/musical for the first time. Every second, every minute, is another chance to make the most out of who we are and who we can be.
“No Day But Today”.Agree. Rent changed my life, vicariously. As simple as that. But allow me to elaborate on how much I adore this musical about Life, without the cliché.
There’s just something so utterly interesting about the taboos raised by the mere concept of the musical. And there’s something about the lyrics of the songs in the musical that’s just so awe-inspiring. The Rent movie and the musical were introduced to me by Ate Vienna and I just can’t thank her enough for letting me see and feel for myself why this masterpiece has touched and changed people from all walks of life.
Rent is a social commentary that is bound to reshape the fundamentals of the norms. It will definitely struggle to eradicate the stereotypes, the status quo’s, the double standards in this guilt-stricken, pseudo-moralistic society. And in order to enjoy watching the movie and the musical, it is a requirement to bare ourselves of what we think is right or wrong. Because the musical will teach you that what you think is right or wrong may not necessarily be right or wrong afterall. Nothing can be too absolute, especially when it involves the arbitrariness of real life.
Rent is meant to be watched with an open mind and heart. It is too unorthodox that it will bring you to a different pavement of understanding, so different that it may rock your old ideals in life. I love how it delved into the issues of poverty, health, sexuality, drugs, morality, and all the other things that may have appeared too controversial to other people. The issues and realizations it’s trying to impart to people are significant enough to be given second and third thoughts.
”Everything is rent”. Right.
Not only did Rent focus on societal taboos, it also, and more importantly, made its way to help us realize the value of life. The vulnerability of the characters made me realize that life is temporary so we must make the most of it. Rent is about seizing the day.
Love was also portrayed in Rent. And I was struck on how Rent depicted “love” in an entirely different light. There was no kissing in the rain, no whispering of sweet nothings, no pink flowers, no glimmering spotlight during prom. It was love in time of AIDS and poverty. It was love, sweet love in time of no electricity because they couldn’t even pay the bill. It was love inside a small, candle-lit room that they coudn’t even pay the rent because they were too broke and too sick to make a living.
And didn’t I say that I love Angel? Yes, I adore the drag queen! She’s my favorite character not only because I naturally love gays but also because her character is truly luminary. It even took me quite a while to recover from the agony of seeing her die because of AIDS. I especially envied her when she found her Tom Collins. When could I ever find my Tom Collins? The person who will accept and adore you for who and what you are. Angel is a major reason why Rent is unforgettable. She was the one who shed light in the dark alleys of Avenue A.
“We are the lucky ones, Angel”. True.
I love Rent. And when I say that I love it I tend to become unstoppable. There’s just something painfully beautiful about it. Every song in the musical is literally music to my ear that I can listen to the whole album every single day. Every scene is heart-pounding that I can never grow tired watching the movie and the musical. I get moved every time, in different ways, no matter how many times I watch it. I became too much of a fan that I really researched on Rent creator Jonathan Larson simplyBECAUSE HE IS A GENIUS. HE JUST IS. I can’t imagine what composed his mind and heart to be able to create such a wonderful story – a story that has led to a decade of becoming. But its true that every writer breathes an air of melancholy and despair. It’s kind of a prerequisite to become a writer. What’s so sad about him is the fact that he never really experienced the pride and credit for being the person behind the musical that won award after award and has captivated the hearts of millions of people across the globe. He died shortly before Rent’s first performance in 1996. How could a person so brilliant be gone too soon? He would have been happy to see his ideals come to life. Imagine the pride you’re supposed to feel when you realize how much difference you’re making in this life. Imagine how inspired you would have been to realize that your creation is being read and sang by performers all around the globe and is winning award after award because of its unparalleled brilliance.
When Rent was staged here in Manila in 2010, I was ecstatic to watch it. It was played by our very own Filipino stage actors and I had goosebumps all over me the whole time I was watching the play. Watching a live performance is always a different story. And I cannot be prouder to see for myself how Filipino talents have wittingly matched their foreign counterparts. Watching the Filipino version of Rent was the closest I could have gone to in the Rent phenomenon and I felt fortunate enough to be able to watch it. It felt close to dream-come-true.
Rent is life-changing. Need I say more? I loved it too much that I have been bugging my friends to watch it. It’s just that when I love something, I make sure that my friends also get to experience the same thing, the same natural high. They may not have given in yet but I am not losing hope that one day they’ll finally decide to watch the movie/musical that moved my thoughts around.
“How do you measure the life of a woman or a man?in truths that she learned?
Or in times that he cried?In bridges he burned?Or the way that she died?”
(Seasons of Love, Rent)
Trivia: it is kind of humiliating to admit that this is the first concert that I have watched live, inside a concert venue, with a live crowd. It’s a coming of age experience, I suppose. I’m trying to think that age 25 is not yet too late to experience the kind of thing I should have had in highschool. Being a late bloomer may be a lame excuse. But its still a valid excuse, right? :)
I came across Switchfoot in high school back in 2003. And I know one can never remember Switchfoot without bringing back the tearjerking moments of the movie, A Walk To Remember (the band sang most of the movie’s soundtrack). It was a fond high school memory of me and my friends inside the movie theater crying our hearts out when Mandy Moore and Shane West exchanged vows shortly before Mandy Moore’s untimely demise in the movie.
Me and my best friend have so much heart for Switchfoot because it reminded us of high school. So when we learned about them coming back to Manila for a concert, there were really no second thoughts. We immediately bought tickets and made sure to free our schedules on April 30.
So there, it was Switchfoot Live in Manila last April 30.
Being first-timers, we were discreetly observing how a concert gets done, just so we may know what to do in the next concert to watch. We were hushing to each other of the things that we couldn’t help but notice. Here they go:
1. ON TIME. You never really have to be too early when going to a concert. The time you have to allot waiting in line is directly proportional to the level of popularity of the artist that you’re going to watch. If its Justin Beiber or Taylor Swift or whoever the kids nowadays are emulating, then there may be a dire need to be half-a-day earlier. But if it’s a band that the kids of 2003 have loved to pieces, then you won’t really need to fuss about not getting a good seat. Their flunked popularity will surely give you a decent seat no matter what time you arrive at the venue. [special thanks to ate vienna who debriefed me about this:) ]
2. RESEARCH. When you go to a concert, make sure that you are quite familiar with the artist. And when I say familiarity, it should be on a fan-level. The more fan you are, the better. Why? Because for you to be able to ensure surefire fun, you should know their songs that well, so you could hum along, or better yet, sing along. During the Switchfoot concert, we were caught open-mouthed discovering how much everyone else was singing along with the band’s songs. Switchfoot was singing Chinese to me all night long until they sang the songs that I know, that’s how alienating the experience is if you don’t know the songs.
3. BE ALIVE. One vital component when watching a concert is PARTICIPATION. This may be kinda funny but really, there will be moments when you will need to shout your heart out and sing along like there’s no tomorrow. You will automatically shout your heart out just by the natural high you feel when you hear them dish out your favorite song. I was contemplating about hating the concert until Switchfoot sang “Learning to Breathe”and “Dare You To Move”. And hearing them sing these songs live was just larger than life. And that’s not even an exaggeration.
4. FEEL AT HOME. Concerts define a certain generation. Since these artists have made their mark in a particular era, it is automatic that their gigs also turn into fellowships of the people belonging to that era. Switchfoot was popular when we were in highschool. And even before the concert itself, while waiting in line, my best friend and I just felt so at home. It was like highschool in 2003. The people we were in line with wore the same fashion style we have. No one was wearing Vans shoes. The boys were not in their skinny jeans. No one was wearing their hats sideways and over the top. It was really an event that made us realize that we all grew up on the same era.
So we were really first timers, and I just hope the people we were around with didn’t notice our inexperience. Its just nice to watch a band that you’ve never really outgrown loving. Switchfoot is no longer making a big scene so their concerts are already considered rare, almost once in a lifetime events. I’m just psyched that before they disband or plainly fade away in the music scene, I was able to watch them perform live :)