Boyce Avenue in Manila 2015: Meeting Them Again

LOVE FOR BOYCE AVENUE

Boyce Avenue will always have a special place in my heart. Ever since I heard their covers and songs online, I knew that I would be listening to their music for a very, very, very, very long time. Five years and a hundred of YouTube videos later, I still find myself enjoying the chill, acoustic vibe of the Manzano brothers. Indeed, it is amazing to see them consistently use their talents to make and share beautiful music to the world.

At Smart Araneta Coliseum with Fabian Manzano, Alejandro Manzano, and Daniel Manzano. Boyce Avenue!
At Smart Araneta Coliseum with Fabian Manzano, Alejandro Manzano, and Daniel Manzano. Boyce Avenue!

Last 2013, my younger brother and I had the privilege of going to their concert at Resorts World Manila and meeting them after the show. I shared more about the experience HERE . It was definitely an unforgettable moment because seeing and hearing them sing and play live in the Philippines rarely happens. I enjoyed their show so much that I told myself I would go to their next concert in Manila, regardless of the price ticket and the date. Because they just had their concert in Manila last 2013, I didn’t expect them to be back soon. But to my surprise, two months ago, Ovation Productions proudly announced that Boyce Avenue was returning to Manila on Valentine’s day this 2015! It was going to be their biggest concert ever!

Meet and Greet with Boyce Avenue last 2013 at Resorts World Manila
Meet and Greet with Boyce Avenue last 2013 at Resorts World Manila
Boyce Avenue's Poster: Concert in Manila 2015. Valentine's Day
Boyce Avenue’s Poster: Concert in Manila 2015. Valentine’s Day

WHAT?! I couldn’t believe it. As soon as I heard about it, I immediately checked websites for possible ticket giveaways and I set aside money for the ticket, just in case. I also tried to ask some of our family friends if they had discounted tickets or free tickets that they can give away. However, by the end of January 2015, I still didn’t have a ticket. I prayed about it and thought of finally buying a ticket for the best seat possible since they were running out of good seats. On the 27th of January, I finally bought a ticket for me. Yup! Just one ticket. I was going to attend the concert of Boyce Avenue alone… on Valentine’s day! Also, by faith, I prayed for an opportunity to meet the band again. They didn’t sell meet and greet passes, so meeting them would really be a miracle.

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After that night, the days quickly passed by and all I could think of during my spare time was how funny and exciting this new experience would be for me! I was so excited to see my favorite band again that I consistently dreamt about them days before the concert. But, at the same time, I was getting nervous because there was no assurance for me to meet them in person. On the eve of Valentine’s day, I prayed about meeting them again and I started daydreaming about giving them gifts when I meet them. Talk about dreaming big! Haha. I ended up sleeping that night and dreaming about their concert one last time. In my dream, I saw Alejandro Manzano walking towards me while he was singing at their concert. Just when we were about to take a photo in my dream, I woke up. Aaaah!!! You could just imagine the suspense I felt. It was crazy.

Alejandro Manzano. Photo c/o Ovation Productions' Mong Pintolo
Alejandro Manzano. Photo c/o Ovation Productions’ Mong Pintolo

 

VALENTINE’S DAY

Finally, it was already the 14th of February. While I was browsing through Facebook that morning, I noticed a lot of similar photos shared by my friends online. It was an acronym of VALENTINE inside the Bible verse: John 3:16. Somehow, while I was looking at it, God spoke to me and I heard Him say: “I know the best gift you could give to Boyce Avenue! The best gift is Me. IF I allow you to meet and greet the band later, I want you to share Me to them. I want you to tell them that I love them.”

Before the concert, I made letters for Boyce Avenue even if there was no assurance for a meet & greet after the show. By faith!
Before the concert, I made letters for Boyce Avenue even if there was no assurance for a meet & greet after the show. By faith!

When I heard that, I felt a bit uneasy yet peaceful at the same time. Sharing God’s love to the band on Valentine’s day was a great idea! But, at the same time, I was puzzled because I didn’t know if I would meet them and I didn’t know how I would share His love to them. Nonetheless, later that evening, when I arrived at the basement parking of Smart Araneta Coliseum, I remembered what God said and I wrote personalized letters to Alejandro, Fabian, and Daniel Manzano. I wrote the VALENTINE acronym and John 3:16 on the sheets of paper and kept them in my bag. It was finally happening. I felt my heart beat fast as I left the parking lot and walked ins­­­ide the coliseum by myself. I was excited to enjoy my date night with God at the Boyce Avenue concert.

View from my seat
View from my seat

Since I was just by myself, I spent time observing the people around me, the setup, the stage, the production crew, and I had the privilege of sharing to God what I was feeling at the moment. It was also during this time that I tried to ask one of our family friends again if there was still a way to meet the band after the show. However, after a few minutes, our family friend replied and said that the band was leaving immediately after the show and that there wouldn’t be a meet and greet. When I read her message, I honestly got heartbroken because I had been praying for this request since two months before the concert. The smile on my face instantly disappeared and I felt so discouraged. I sent a text message to my mom and shared to her that our friend confirmed that there wouldn’t be a meet and greet.

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But, despite that update, I told my mom that somehow, God was still giving me hope and telling me not to let go of that dream. So, I took that opportunity to talk to God and I asked him to strengthen my heart and help me find hope in Him. He then gave me the desire to be grateful for the fact that He provided for my ticket, that I was sitting near the stage, that I safely got to the venue, and that I was watching the concert of Boyce Avenue that night. Suddenly, I felt lighter and I shared to God that I knew that He was still God no matter what and I knew that He could let me meet the band in a heartbeat if He wants me to. So, by faith, I asked Him one more time to provide an opportunity for me to see the band after the show.

 

HEARTBROKEN TO HOPEFUL

Just ten minutes before the band was scheduled to go on stage, I saw one of Dad’s friends from church who was working with the production team. Then, I heard a whisper from God and He told me to go to the guy and ask him. I started walking towards Dad’s friend, introduced myself, and asked if meeting the band after the show was possible. He warmly listened to my request and said that he wasn’t sure, but he could try to do something. He instructed me to meet him at the side of the stage after the show, just in case.

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I thanked him and went back to my seat as I held on to the hope that God was giving to me. I didn’t know if it was possible, but God changed my anxious heart and He gave me peace which lasted for the rest of the night. Finally, the Manzano brothers went on stage, strummed their guitars, and flawlessly sang their beautiful songs! IT. WAS. AMAZING!!! Everyone brought out their cameras and phones and the whole crowd recorded the band’s every move as we happily listened to their music. I didn’t even notice that I was alone because we all just enjoyed the moments with the band. (I’ll be sharing more about the details of the concert in another post.) It was definitely the best concert I’ve been to. Of course, they’re my favorite band!

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Daniel Manzano. Photo c/o Ovation Productions' Mong Pintolo
Daniel Manzano. Photo c/o Ovation Productions’ Mong Pintolo
Fabian Manzano. Photo c/o Ovation Productions' Mong Pintolo
Fabian Manzano. Photo c/o Ovation Productions’ Mong Pintolo

After the concert, I rushed to the side of the stage where I was supposed to meet Dad’s friend. However, he wasn’t there. I waited for ten minutes, but I still didn’t see any sign of him. I decided to go to the other side of the stage and surprisingly, I saw a familiar face. I saw one of the bouncers that my sisters and I met while we watched the musical “Beauty and the Beast” which was also produced by Ovation Productions. I said hi to him and asked if he saw my dad’s friend. But, he said that he didn’t see him. Ten more minutes passed by and I was starting to lose hope because I knew that the band would be leaving the place immediately. Then, my bouncer friend and I saw the mother (who also knew Dad) of my dad’s friend and he suggested that I ask her instead.

With tita C! :)
With tita C! :)

 

DREAM COME TRUE… AGAIN.

I then walked towards her, introduced myself, and shared to her that I spoke with her son earlier that night. Just like her son, she warmly said hello and told me that she would try to check if she could help me and some of her friends (who were also near the area) to go inside the backstage. A few minutes later, she came out from the backstage and signaled us to go in with her. The next moments after that felt like a dream. We went inside a VIP lounge behind the stage and were instructed to wait for the band there. I was shaking the whole time because I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. We sat in a fancy bar area and were served with fresh, cold iced tea. It was crazy, amazing.

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I was sitting on one of the sofa chairs when I heard low murmurs. When I looked at the entrance of the VIP lounge, I saw the Manzano brothers walking towards us, along with their body guards. I thought I was going to faint, but by God’s grace, he kept me sane. Haha. We spent the next minutes casually talking to the band, taking photos of them and with them, getting their autographs, and just enjoying a relaxing time with the group. I kept thanking Tita C for the privilege and for graciously allowing me to spend a few minutes with the band after the show. Before leaving the lounge, I remembered the personalized letters I made for them before going to the concert. So, I approached them again and gave my simple Valentine’s gift to them. They were so nice. They got the letters, hugged me, and said that it was these little things from their fans that they really appreciate. I thanked them again and left the place with a joyful and grateful heart.

Shared God's love to Boyce Avenue on Valentine's Day through these personalized John 3:16 letters.
Shared God’s love to Boyce Avenue on Valentine’s Day through these personalized John 3:16 letters.
Boyce Avenue's Autograph
Boyce Avenue’s Autograph

By God’s grace, He allowed me to meet the band AGAIN and share His love to them after the show. Indeed, God is able to do more than what we can ever imagine or think of. He is able to do the impossible. He is able to inspire, break, change, and bless our hearts for the best. I learned so many lessons throughout my Valentine weekend this year. But, one of the highlights that my heart will forever remember is learning to put my faith in God no matter what situation I am in, to trust that He is able to bring me through it, and to obey Him when He tells me to honor Him even through the simplest ways. I may not always understand why or know how and if He will allow things to happen, but I am encouraged to trust His heart and believe that He has His best in store for me always.

Boyce Avenue at Smart Araneta Coliseum, Manila.
Boyce Avenue at Smart Araneta Coliseum, Manila.

Once again, I thank You, Lord, for showing your amazing, AMAZING GRACE to me through this Boyce Avenue experience. As I’ve mentioned before, You leave me speechless. I only asked for a chance to meet the band, but You gave me more. You even allowed me to share You to them! Thank You for Ovation Productions, for tita C and her gracious family. May You bless them even more this year. Thank You for Boyce Avenue’s love for music. May You continue to use their talents to inspire people around the world. What a Valentine’s treat from You, Jesus. From the bottom of my heart, I thank You. :)

Took a grumpy cat selfie with Alejandro Manzano of Boyce Avenue at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Took a grumpy cat selfie with Alejandro Manzano of Boyce Avenue at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

To my favorite band, by faith, I will meet you again soon! Until then, I will see you online. Keep making beautiful music! :)

Matthew 21:22 “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

BEST VALENTINE’S DAY EVER!!! :) <3

BOYCE AVENUE:

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/boyceavenue

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BoyceAvenue

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BoyceAvenue

Encourage yourself one treat at a time.

Simple Sunday Snack: Puff Pastry

I recently watched a video of Gordon Ramsay and a baker in Paris making freshly baked croissants. It caught my attention because the video showed the basic steps of making the delicious, flaky, buttery bread from scratch. The baker used a machine to fold and knead the water-based dough with a huge block of butter since he was making bulk orders for his store. After folding the dough seven times, they prepared it for baking.

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As I watched them roll out, cut, assemble, and bake the dough, I couldn’t help but crave for croissants and other puff pastries. I then remembered a shop (Sweet Craft) that offers really good, pre-made puff pastry dough. So, during the recent long weekend, I invited my siblings to join me in buying and baking the dough. We spent two hours assembling, decorating, and baking the puff pastries. It was really fun! We also experimented with different kinds of shapes and used some of my favorite fruits, chocolate, cream cheese, and nuts as the filling/topping.

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Using the pre-made puff pastry dough helped me appreciate the art of baking more because it reminded me of the hearts and skills of the professional bakers out there. In order to make really good puff pastry dough from scratch, the baker needs to make sure that he/she uses the right amount of ingredients and measure them down to the last gram of flour or butter or teaspoon of water. Also, the baker needs to carefully discern how many times he/she would fold and knead the dough without letting it get tough. These are just some of the crucial aspects in baking and it’s just amazing how bakers can create such interesting and beautiful things.

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Indeed, it really was a wonderful experience for me and my siblings to bake pastries that night. I loved the fact that I was able to do something that I love (baking) and enjoy it with my family. Also, I enjoyed seeing the puff pastry dough transform into delicious, crisp, golden brown, flaky, and buttery treats! They were beautiful. They were exactly how I imagined them to be!

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The day after we baked the pastries, my older sister and I decided to give some of them to our family friends who were visiting the country for a few days. My sister packed a couple of pastries and informed me early in the morning that she would pass by their place to give them the treats. Before she left, God somehow urged me to give our friends fresh strawberries too because we had extra strawberries from our baking session the night before. So, I asked my sister to add three strawberries to the container too.

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A few hours later, I got a message from my sister and it showed a photo of our friend, Ate Riz, and her daughter, Cami, holding the pastries and strawberries. I remember feeling delighted and shocked at the same time because my sister shared to me that ate Riz and Cami randomly prayed for strawberries that morning. It was really amazing to see God’s grace and provision in that simple moment with our family friends. When I woke up that day and asked my sister to add strawberries to the container, I didn’t know that Ate Riz and Cami were already praying for some.

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It reminded me of how sovereign our God is and it encouraged me to continue listening to His voice and obeying Him even in the smallest things. He can use even the simplest moments and acts of obedience in our lives to bless others and ourselves. Thank You, Lord, for allowing us to experience You in moments like these. :)

“Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.” -Deuteronomy 5:33

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Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)