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SUPERSTAR SELFIES: Dingdong Dantes (center) with (from left) Jennylyn Mercado, Betong Sumaya and Lovi Poe.  (Photo by GMA Pinoy TV)


By KAY HABANA
Special to the Filipino Reporter


A press conference was held on April 6, 2018 at the Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center in New York to welcome the most awaited artists of GMA Network’s biggest stars — Alden Richards, Lovi Poe, Dennis Trillo, Jennylyn Mercado, Betong Sumaya and Dingdong Dantes.

The presser was a prelude to the first of their back-to-back “Sikat Ka, Kapuso!” shows, first in New Jersey followed the next evening in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Media and select members of the Filipino-American community participated in a potpourri of questions thrown at the artists, to which they graciously responded.

Albeit perceptible upon their faces that they were jetlagged and some still recovering from having been sick, each one tactfully engaged in the exchange of conversations.

Delicious food and sweets were beautifully arrayed and generously given at the back of the hall by the sponsors.


Concert proper


April 7, 2018 at Newark Symphony Hall in New Jersey, 5 p.m. — entryways opened to the public as everybody lit up with energy as the long-awaited show would soon turn into a reality.

Filipinos in the tri-state area came hurrying in, sure of the delight that this melodic celebration would bring.

Indeed, even those from the neighboring country [Canada] couldn’t be dissuaded from watching.


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JOB WELL DONE: GMA stars celebrate after their show at Newark Symphony Hall in New Jersey on April 7, 2018. From left, Alden Richards, Jennylyn Mercado, Lovi Poe, Dennis Trillo, Dingdong Dantes and Betong Sumaya.  (Photo by GMA Pinoy TV)


All things considered, for the numerous Pinoys here abroad, this #SikatKaKapuso show might just be the sustenance of happiness and a definitive remedy to missing our country.

These familiar faces we see on television screens regularly, the music from home, the mushy jokes we chuckle at — they certainly tie individuals together, creating solidarity, despite the various struggles and, on occasion, loneliness with which many of us are confronted.

Cheers and praises, boisterous and clear, welcomed New Jersey’s finests in singing during the opening acts of the concert — Angel Ram, Kirby Asunto, Alyssa Shoemaker and Jared Martin.

Every one was inarguably adored by the onlookers.

Their tunes filled the antiquated space of Newark Symphony Hall.

Initially built by the Shriners it was later on renamed to Newark Symphony Hall in 1964.

It highlights a Greek and Egyptian theme inside, as well as marble segments, and a gold-leaf fret work among many.

This antiquated grandeur contained avid fans and concert-goers for a few hours.

#SikatKaKapuso stars Dennis, Betong, Jennylyn, Lovi, Alden, and Dingdong were a diverse blend.

Each displayed an assortment in style, be it in the way they dressed, talked, sang and moved.


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Lovi Poe dazzles the audience in a solo number.  (Photo by GMA Pinoy TV)


They communicated their sentiments and eagerness about the preparations they needed to do for the show.

In the midst of determined practices in the sweltering temperature back home, the nippy climate of the East Coast would later on welcome them.

However, one thing stayed indomitable — the warm spirits of Pinoys in New York and New Jersey awaiting their beloved Kapuso.

When they started their song and dance numbers, the crisp and hearty screams of Pinoys were heard all over like a drum roll.

At times, individuals would get up to chance upon going near the stage just to be inches far from their adored stars.

Some had their banners raised to the air to get recognized, and others were prepared with hand-picked gifts purchased with love and warmth.

I suppose it’s an expression of giving back to one who gives such delight.

These attendees came straight from work, conquered the traffic, and embraced  the still-marginally cool climate to get close to their most loved Pinoy celebrities.


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Alden Richards sings to the crowd.  (Photo by GMA Pinoy TV)


Joey Alfonso who went to the concert had this to say: “Seeing my favorite artists from the Philippines perform here gives me relief to my homesickness.”

Moppet-Maria Villasin Nucum of New Jersey said: “It’s a very exciting feeling when they come and perform, especially if you’re a fan. They give joy and entertainment to the Filipinos, especially those who miss home. The best part, they’re very approachable and sincere.”

A most loved segment from the show was when select individuals from the audience were chosen to be among the stars on stage, sung to if not, serenaded, with tunes that melt the heart; these melodies were prefaced with #hugotlines that are commonplace and relatable to Filipinos today.

Vocally, Betong was my best pick.

Behind his comedic and enthusiastic persona concealed a full and haunting voice that captivated me.

I genuinely wish to have a duet or two with him, sometime in the future.

Fundamentally, music is healing.

And seeing celebrities from home, spending a few hours with them, taking a momentary selfie and simply exchanging “kamusta” with them — it’s close enough to being home; close enough to having a piece of home; it’s the counter-agent to missing home.


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Jennylyn Mercado mingles with the audience.  (Photo by GMA Pinoy TV)


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The large crowd at Newark Symphony Hall.  (Photo by GMA Pinoy TV)


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GMA Network's biggest stars showing their appreciation to the fans.  (Photo by GMA Pinoy TV)


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PRESSER AT CONSULATE: From left, Alden Richards, Lovi Poe, Dingdong Dantes, Dennis Trillo, Jennylyn Mercado and Betong Sumaya.  (Filipino Reporter photo)


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The author (Kay Habana) with Dennis Trillo at Kalayaan Hall in New York.


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The author with Betong Sumaya.


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Blue Sevilla and Kay Habana.

 

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