Meeting PH YouTube idols in the flesh
MANILA, Philippines – Never let a bit of rain keep you from seeing the stars.
Well, yesterday's torrent can't actually be considered just "a bit of rain" as it had streets flooding all over the metro, but not even this could keep fans away from seeing their favorite YouTube stars in the flesh.
Those who came were treated to an intimate show of songs, dances, and a lot of laughs.
Upon entering the venue, fans were asked to sign up by a photowall of the night's featured celebrities. Across the entryway, was an impressive display of these celebrities' profiles and YouTube videos.
As in true Pinoy fashion, food was available in the next hall. Fans were welcome to munch on delicious treats while they viewed the display.
The main event would be held in the hall just beyond this. Promising a night of entertainment, a stage stood on one side of the room with instruments already set-up.
The room was drenched in red light as a gigantic LCD display behind the stage showed off YouTube's familiar logo along with the night's official hashtag: #YTMeet&GreetPH.
Although the program started late, the night's hosts Ramon Bautista and Jun Sabayton made sure there was never a dull moment on stage by filling the gaps between performances with gags, pick-up lines, and interacting with the night's most special guests: the fans.
Known for his YouTube series: Tales from the Friend Zone, Bautista was never short of quirky love banter like "Sa ngalan ng kalandian, nandito kayong lahat!" and "Sa love, ang unang kiligin: talo!" These had both the audience and the organizers cracking up.
The first YouTube celebrity up on stage was a very energetic Mikey Bustos who sang and danced as if he were in one of his videos.
Bustos, whose amazing singing landed him a spot on Canadian Idol back in 2003, has a knack for using his singing talents to make humorous videos. His brand of comedy also includes YouTube tutorial hits such as his Filipino Accent Tutorial.
To add to his opening performance, Davao's own Bogart the Explorer jumped in mid-song and eventually ended up playing the drums.
Bogart's (real name Marco Ho) claim to fame are his unique wildlife-documentary style travel and tourism videos that showcase his quick wit as well as amazing sites of the Philippines. His latest video is entitled The Return to Boracay.
Before the next act came on, the hosts called up a pair of fans to play a little game with them: The Titig Game. Rules: huwag kiligin. (Don't get the feels.)
But it was a rule made to be broken because the next act that came on was a dance number by Paolinne Michelle Liggayu of YouTube couple Jamich.
Jam Sebastian, who watched the performace from the audience, then joined his fiance onstage to greet their fans – who had yet to stop cheering for their favorite online couple.
Jamich rose to fame by creating and starring as on-screen lovers in various short films uploaded on their YouTube channel. One of their most viewed videos is Classmates Love Story.
The couple talked a bit about their day-to-day lives and living with Jam's ailment. Then a surprise video came on where many of their friends from the YouTube community wished Jam strength and good health.
From cutest couple to YouTube heartthrob, the next celebrity that came up was Filipino-American singer AJ Rafael accompanied by Andrew Rhim. They played a set of five original songs – the ones that shot him to Internet stardom.
The third song was his original "Without You" – the entire room sang along to every word. For their fourth song, Rafael called up two fans to help him out.
Then is was time for the night's fifth act: Chicser. The boys ran onstage and wasted no time in showing their fans their dance moves were up close.
These dancers have come a long way from their humble rooftop video days and are now signed under a label and releasing songs of their own.
A quick scan of last night's tweets regarding the event showed that many fans couldn't attend due to the rain.
YouTube published this webpage to announce the event and all fans had to do was sign up to get in for free.
Fan meet and greets don't happen often in the Philippines but this event proved that there is so much more to YouTube gatherings than just autographs and photo ops.
It's a chance for YouTube celebrities to be with their audience and share their interests on a personal level.
See more photos here:
All photos by Nile Villa/Rappler
Editor's Note: In an earlier version, it was stated that Bogart's real name was Jako de Leon. This has been corrected.