• Kent Garcia

OVERTURE: The best detour ever


(photo credits: HHE)



Unlike any other Sunday, October 20, 2019 was supposed to be only a short day for me.


I was on an MRT ride heading to a football-related press conference in Pasig when a friend of mine messaged me “Oo, haha." It was my friend John, who let me know that he’ll go to an MNL48 Team L Concert that night and has spent the whole week convincing me to join him.


I can’t provide a sure answer because of my own reservations.


I had very little idea about MNL48, that Japanese-inspired idol group he’s raving about. The only thing I remember is that they were mocked by many when they were featured on “It’s Showtime” and the fact that their song “Pag-ibig Fortune Cookie” caught my attention a few months ago after watching it on the TV while riding a bus heading home.


Upon mentioning the group to John, he has stepped up in introducing me to the group and its members. He later intensified his efforts over the past few days, sending pictures from the prior Team NIV concert that he attended the week before and Instagram-worthy pictures of its members, sparking my curiosity and interest.


Even if I wasn’t sure, it was kept on a corner of my mind and I think about it at times. I have become interested, but where do I start?


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Time flew fast. Unexpectedly, the press conference was over in less than two hours. Interviews were recorded, pictures were taken, and even the filling merienda of pizza, donuts and coffee was consumed real fast.


While starting to write the article about the press conference, I realized that “since it’s all done, I’d be home early." Realizing that I still had lots of time to make that day a well-spent one, the thought of attending the Team L concert suddenly came to my nerves. It was a perfect opportunity to kill time and also watch something that is fascinating me for quite some time.


I made the simple decision while heading out of the press conference’s venue: I’ll take the detour. I’ll watch MNL48 that night.


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With time not on my side, it was a whirlwind of the next three hours for me in order to catch the concert: taking a GrabCar ride and braving the weekend traffic heading to SM Megamall, going through the huge sea of people inside the shopping complex, get into the department store’s ticket booth to purchase a Gold ticket, and commuting via MRT and taxi all the way to Makati Central Square’s TIU Theater, the venue where the concert was held.



After queueing and securing a comfortable seat inside the jam-packed theater, my excitement is starting to catch up all over me but I still have questions.


What will I see? What should I expect from a group that I haven’t really known of? Will it be fun? Will it be worth the efforts? Trying to hide my eagerness to learn more, I decided to finish my article draft on my phone while waiting for the show to begin.


But as the theater lights came off and the energetic "MNL48 Overture" came in to kick things off, all questions of mine were thrown out of the window.


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Every performance number from the members are full of overflowing energy, and it radiated to the fans who never stopped waving their lightsticks and shouting fanchants all throughout the concert.


Despite being quiet most of the time, I can feel my soul being lifted up by the charming and lively members showcasing their talents on the stage. It’s like the exhaustion as I had accumulated within the day was gone, just replaced by incredible amusement and a smile.


Deep inside, my perfectionist self was trying to point out some mistakes that I see but didn’t mind. They weren’t perfect, but all of the effort they poured out in every minute matters more. It filled my heart to see these young ladies perform and deliver, albeit not the ideal that most would like. What they showed was more than enough to compensate.


More importantly, they reminded me about the importance of doing your best even if you’re not the most excellent one in the bunch.


All throughout the night, I was never bored and forgot all the real-life tasks that were meant to be done for a while. In so much awe, I had nothing to say but a short message of thanks to all of them during the Hi-Touch session after the concert.


The reservations I had were completely gone. What remained inside my heart and mind was pure happiness, a new-found motivation and sincere gratitude.


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“Kumusta?”


John greeted me as we met up outside of the venue after the concert. His smile turned into a cackle as he also saw me smiling. I was left to watch the concert on my own as he got stuck in traffic en route to Makati and arrived late. But never mind that, he was successful with his recommendation and I thanked him for that.


As we headed home, I shared my own opinions and experiences during my first-ever MNL48 event and being the most quintessential AKB48 Group expert, he fully introduced me to the group and the system while stuck in traffic, not minding the time as we have spent the best hours of our Sunday to watch and support these young idols.


Before going to sleep that night, I can’t help but look at the free poster that the staff gave me at the registration booth before the concert. It was a night that I won’t forget, thanks to the best impulsive decision I made that day. And as I close my eyes, only one thing is clear in my mind: MNL48 has gained a new fan in me, and I will support them for as long as I can.



WRITER'S NOTE: To all MNL48 members (especially to my kami-oshi Alyssa, ni-oshi Dian and other oshis), I can't thank you all enough for always inspiring me every time. Keep fighting for your dreams. We're here to help you reach it. Always take care.


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