With hordes of giddy, banner-toting teenage kids gathered at the Araneta Coliseum during the taping of “Liwanag ng Pasko: The 2012 ABS-CBN Christmas Special” on Dec. 11, it looked like a grand fans’ day instead.
When the doors leading to the upper box and general admission sections were opened, screaming fans made a mad dash for good seats. A handful proved to be quite athletic, jumping from the upper to the lower box with feline nimbleness.
A shouting match of sorts even broke out among different fan groups. Vocal cords stretched the limit, devotees tried to outdo each other in professing undying love for their idols.
The “KathNiel” (Kathryn Bernardo-Daniel Padilla), “KimXi” (Kim Chiu-Xian Lim) and “CharDawn” (Richard Gomez-Dawn Zulueta) groups were particularly hard-core.
While some fans held up placards spelling out the names of their favorite Kapamilya stars and love teams, others flashed LED (light-emitting diode) signs that probably cost a big chunk of their monthly allowances.
Signaling the start of the show were marching bands from the Philippine Army, Marines and Air Force playing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” They were accompanied by the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Ryan Cayabyab.
A jolt of star power came next. Gary Valenciano, Martin Nievera, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Piolo Pascual, Sarah Geronimo, Toni Gonzaga, Angeline Quinto, Bamboo, Erik Santos, Zia Quizon, Christian Bautista, Yeng Constantino and Jed Madela sang a medley of Christmas tunes—“The Little Drummer Boy,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and “Joy to the World.”
The audience was then treated to song and dance numbers meant to elicit the loudest cheers and most ear-splitting shrieks—from pop-rock hits by REO Speedwagon, The Script and Coldplay, to another that showcased selections from Broadway musicals “Rent,” “Miss Saigon” and “Les Misérables.”
Without question, the part that sent the crowd to the verge of convulsion was the “Kapamilya Leading Men” portion with heartthrobs Daniel Padilla, Paulo Avelino, Jake Cuenca, Enchong Dee, Xian Lim, Gerald Anderson, John Lloyd Cruz and Piolo Pascual singing (lip-synching?) 1990s Pinoy pop hits.
The older guys in the group, Richard Yap of “Be Careful With My Heart” and Richard Gomez of “Walang Hanggan,” were welcomed with applause as loud as—if not louder than—that given their teenage counterparts.
It was a tepid night for Kapamilya ladies, who performed more difficult numbers but didn’t elicit the desired response—with the exception of Sarah Geronimo, Kim Chiu, Anne Curtis and Dawn Zulueta.
For instance, Cristine Reyes, Bangs Garcia and Iza Calzado shimmied and shook their bodies in a lengthy mambo-burlesque number to lukewarm applause. In contrast, the mere mention of Coco Martin’s name sent the crowd into hysterics. And when he got a playful smack on the cheek from Lloydie, all hell broke loose.
At one point, the Christmas special turned into a plugging spree for Star Cinema entries to the 2012 Metro Manila Film Festival—“Sisterakas” and “One More Try”—as well as ABS-CBN’s coming series: “Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw,” “Apoy sa Dagat,” “Juan de la Cruz” and “May Isang Pangarap.”
Performance-wise, the event’s highlight was Sarah Geronimo, Angeline Quinto, Lani Misalucha and Lea Salonga’s tribute to the late pop icons Whitney Houston and Donna Summer. The four singers were on point—dancing and belting to “I’m Every Woman,” “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” “No More Tears,” “On the Radio” and “MacArthur Park.”
Lea for Whitney
Who said Lea couldn’t do those big diva ballads? She floored everyone when she tackled “I Will Always Love You” with aplomb.
Vice Ganda had the crowd in stitches with his stand-up comedy routine, poking fun at the network’s president and soon-to-be CEO Charo Santos-Concio, who laughed heartily.
To cap off the Christmas spectacle (which aired on Dec. 15 and 16), all Kapamilya talents gathered onstage for an all-star performance of their station ID theme, “Lumiliwanag ang Mundo sa Kwento ng Pasko.”
Outside, the fans were still high. They didn’t seem to run out of energy. They continued to scream and pose for photographs, and stayed on to hopefully catch a glimpse of their idols before heading home.