Meeting THE Carol Banawa

Probably the best Friday of my life. It’s the Friday when Carol Banawa did her long awaited Sydney show. As a further matter, it was a time again to get in touch with my “fan-kid” side. But I swear, it was a lot more manageable this time.

Photos have been long over due I know. I wanted to wait ’til all my uni stuff are finished, and gosh it did take me a while.

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If you must know, I have always been a huge Carol Banawa fan. If I had the serious guts to put up a fan club alongside the many popular die-hard fan clubs (like Popsters (Sarah G’s), Blackjacks (2NE1), Fighters (Christina Aguilera), or even KathNiel (really, who still hasn’t heard of this?)), I definitely would.

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Obviously, my family’s sitting pretty close to the stage. That’s why some a lot of the photos just look kinda funny.

 

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Here’s The Amazing Peanut! Thankful that he did explain why he chose that name. He’s really, really talented, and so hilarious!

Strolling a bit down memory lane, Carol was my first love in music, and remains to be one of my biggest inspirations, really. As a 7 or 8-year-old, I remember asking my Mum to buy me Carol’s very first album (which was still in a cassette tape type) because her popular song, Iingatan Ka was such a smasher hit. You could hear it being played pretty much everywhere.

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#THROWBACKTHURSDAY. This is the album I’m talking about. My most fav out of all her albums.

Everybody just loves and even cries at this song.  And up to this day that song still is the Philippine Mother’s Day Anthem, along with Ugoy ng Duyan. That song has always been an important song rendered in all kinds of special occasions for mum’s. And lo, it was made the title of her show!

I eventually bought the repackaged version of that same album that was then in a CD (If I remember it correctly, they wanted to re-release the album because they re-arranged/re-mastered Bakit ‘Di Totohanin because it was used as a soundtrack for that Juday-Piolo flick that was also a smasher).

Those two things were my priceless possessions. However, it is sad that I failed to look after them because as a kid, I wasn’t really mindful of my stuff, and I remember it being fixated on our stereo system. Also, I still don’t understand how I wasn’t able to bring them with me when we moved to Sydney.

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Her singing is just flawless. I was right next to the left speaker to indulge freely in her sweet, crystal-clear voice.

But anyway, I can be considered a real, genuine fan who pretty much know ALL of the songs in that album (and all her hits thereafter)—lyrics, ad libs (all the ooh’s and ash’s), the backup vocals bits, the mellow and the difficult parts; even the track listing, the photos in the album, the album design, font style and all that. I know them all by heart as I would listen and sing along to her songs pretty much everyday. And so I called myself a fan ever since.

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Amazing voice. Beautiful soul.

Carol is an icon. She was the church singers’ idol of that time! She was like the epitome of church ballads after she did Panunumpa, Tanging Yaman, and other church tunes that got really popular in the mainstream. I even used to sound (try hard to sound) like her. I was brilliant!

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Anyway, I guess I’m talking way too much now. Jumping back to the present time, after realising that she’s coming to do a couple of shows, I had no qualms about wanting to join the local cast, and was privileged to get myself in the production.

Things got a little too serious when I was offered by our producer and our director the opportunity to do a duet with her. I was floored but tried very hard to hold myself together. It was way beyond a fan’s dream to be given the chance to sing with an idol.

Rie Manaloto Carol Banawa

Singing “All of Me” by John Legend. I’m not a tenor so I had to modify some bits to sound decent

 

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The experience was simply indescribable. It’s like singing with the butterflies, experiencing a literal war of nerves on the inside. The hand that was holding the mic was jittery but did not really sweat (Thank the Lord!). It was awfully hard to focus.

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Trying to keep my eyes closed for the most part or else I’ll pass out. HAHAHA!

 

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Hitting the climax part. You can probably tell. Her voice is just astounding!

Looking at that beautiful face, and the tantalising eyes that would just liquify you alive and make you freeze at the same time. And gosh, her voice is just so dang fantastic. Fantastic is an understatement, truth be told. You are just drawn to listening to that amazing voice that you could definitely lose concentration.

Gosh, imagine all that happening at the same time, not to mention I hardly memorised the song lyrics. It was astonishing.

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Wrapping up the song. My sister captured that giggling moment so perfectly.

 

Watch a snippet of our rehearsal here:

 

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Dress number 2! Stunning!

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Finally singing her classic, “Iingatan Ka” to some mum’s from the audience. They look thrilled. LOL

 

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Love the chit-chat moments! Her speaking voice is just as beautiful as her singing voice as well!

 

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Met this smart, cute and pretty Chelsea, Ate Carol’s daughter.

 

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Finally a decent photo with Ate. This is just a few moments before she came out for her last set. Photo taken by Darryl O’Brien

 

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Finale number! The Diva’s medley.

 

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With our director, Kuya Arvin Acosta. Really a privilege working with him and his wife, Ate Rose

 

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Autograph signing!

 

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With my ever supportive parents

 

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With my awesome sister who again was our official photographer! Thanks, neng!

 

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WOOOH! Finally got this signed! It’s been sitting in my collection for years now!

Oh well, I guess it’s another dream that has come true. Never underestimate the power of wishful thinking and daydreaming (or fan dreaming?). It’s been an incredible and gratifying experience that’s gonna be hard to forget. I won’t even dare.

 

 

R.

Rie Manaloto

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