Thursday, October 27, 2016

The ADNFest According to the Tita sa Gilid

The Fest has been a long time dream of MJ but we never got around to really planning as we had different ideas on how to execute it. It was just that one fateful date in August that she really pushed for it to happen.

At that time, I was suffering through first trimester pregnancy symptoms which any mother would know, is another version of hell. I could hardly follow the discussion as I was miserable most of the time. When they were discussing SMX, I could barely butt in but at the back of my mind, I was terrified. I’m familiar with event rental costs and getting SMX would easily involve six figures which we do not have. The money that we have left from our previous project is not even enough to meet the maintaining balance of our bank account and they were discussing SMX.

Not wanting to ruin the mood, I let them be and slept the night off. Next thing I knew, they already booked the venue and they’re ready to announce it to everyone. I was scared stiff but I rest on the supposition that the girls knew what they were doing and I was just here to help out with audit and stuff. It was to my shock that we learned later on that neither of us has any experience in event planning or organization. Apparently, we were all thinking the same thing--that everyone else knew what they were doing! Thank God, we were able to survive planning the event without f*cking things up.

Another thing that gave me sleepless nights was that I was elected to speak in behalf of the OrgComm during the program. I can’t exactly say I’m used to it but ok, fine, I’m used to it (I was a teacher once), but it did not diminish my nervousness. This will be the biggest crowd that I will ever address in my lifetime and I don’t know if ever I’ll get over it. I’ve got three versions of my speech written out but I ended up speaking from the heart.

We faced a lot of troubles while planning this event. One is that there were some people who were asking who we were. A sizable event with an equally humongous venue and here we are, a bunch of unknowns suddenly coming out of the woodwork. Saying that we raised a lot of eyebrows and probably ruffled some feathers is an understatement. But armed with just our pure intentions and fervent dream, we managed to surpass expectations and put the naysayers to rest.

If there’s one thing that organizing this fest taught me is that our God is such a great God! He made miracles happen. A lot of things could’ve gone wrong, especially for newbies like us. But He gave us solutions immediately when faced with problems. Moreover, our group is really a positive bunch that when confronted with issues, our mindset is, “Kaya natin ‘to.” We can do this. No obstacle is too great when God is by your side and during our planning, we certainly felt His presence.

Don’t get me wrong, we were not always right. He taught us a serious lesson in humility that brought us back to reality and the objective of our event. We swore never to forget that lesson and we always remind each other of that fact.

I was also assigned to speak with possible sponsors. Whenever a company is interested to be a part of our event, they usually call me. I was so surprised and elated when Coke called us telling us that they are very much interested to be our partner. Just to let you guys know, all of our sponsors gave products instead of cash, except for one company (our auditor will release a detailed report on our expenses later on). The problem with products was that it’s either we pick-up the goods or they are delivered to us.

Some of you might be familiar with this already. We all thought that we’ve coordinated all pick-up and drop-offs of goods. A day before the event, we received notice that the Coke products were not available at the warehouse and our truck left empty-handed. I wanted to sit down and cry as we needed those drinks to serve to our participants, but we did not have the luxury of time. I called my contact and she really did everything to make sure we had the sodas available. However, we were only given a leeway of two hours to get the goods from another warehouse and to SMX. I kept a tight hold of myself and it was Mommy Kim that saved the day for us--and the girls (yes, girls) who unloaded the jeep of the 650 cases of Coke Mismo.

Those bottles did not appear there magically. Our army of girls transported these from the vehicles to the hall. #girlpower #girlsruletheworld

Being pregnant, I was given the privilege of sitting with Alden and Maine to check if they needed anything and to ensure that they are comfortable. It was a rare chance given to people but I could not, for the life of me, take pictures or videos. I felt that it was unprofessional and that it’s the only respite that we could give them from all the autograph and selfie seeking fans that follow their every step.

We invited Maine and Alden to be guests and not as performers or the main attraction. We never promised their attendance because we wanted them to see what the fans have prepared for them, pordalab, and also to surprise the participants. It was so hard for us to balance this as we understand that for many, the event was their first and only time to see them up close.

If there’s one thing I could say about the two, they are SO accommodating. When Maine arrived, she immediately said that she wanted to go around and meet the fans. I kept on asking if she was sure as I was worried about her safety but she was insistent. During the photo ops, they were even considering of going table to table but their security team vetoed the idea. That is how much they love their fans and I will be forever thankful to them.

One poignant moment that stood out for me (and was captured on film and was also meme’d to death), was when the performers started singing “Keep Holding On”. I had a magazine with me that somebody requested that Alden and Maine sign. I was handing it to Alden when he politely said that he wanted to watch the performance first. I should be embarrassed but I was actually touched by his statement. So I sat back on my chair and watched the song number with them. I was taken aback when I saw Maine crying and Alden comforting her that I could not help but cry with her as well. #TitaSaGilid


It’s amazing what we have accomplished especially with the magnitude of the event in just a span of two months. Up to now, we’re still awestruck by how big the event was considering we initially wanted it small and intimate and how it became the highlight for most of the participants. Reading all the messages and stories in twitter made our hearts so full, and our spirits, so glad.

MJ already thanked so many people and I echo her gratitude. This whole thing would not have been possible if not for the hundreds of people who helped us, not only financially, but physically. From the pagbubuhat to the pagpupuyat; From Tamahang Panahon up to Aldub Nation Fest, everyone helped out when help is needed. Just one tweet and the response is just overwhelming. If there's one thing that can truly describe what ADN is all about, it's that the spirit of bayanihan truly lives in our hearts.

We initially wanted this to be a one-time thing only especially when we are reminded of the obstacles that we had to overcome just to get things done. But considering the lives we’ve touched and how our lives have changed, we will do it all over again. For Maine. For Alden. For ADN.

- Shine (@sunshi_fairy)

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