In the Philippines, there’s almost always a reason to celebrate when a lady turns 18. This holds true with ABS-CBN’s longest-running Sunday noontime variety show, ASAP.
Last February 3, the Kapamilya Network marked ASAP’s 18th year of “noontime supremacy,”—in the words of Concert King Martin Nievera—via a grand, debut-themed, all-star celebration.
Opening the show was the graceful Iya Villania whose acrobatic dance number seemed to fit the coming-of-age concert party. Her mid-air stunt was then followed by a cotillion with the ASAP Debutante Promo winners and the Star Magic artists.
A series of song and dance numbers were then presented by Kapamilya stars Enchong Dee, Toni Gonzaga, and Piolo Pascual, succeeded by no less than veteran artists Zsa Zsa Padilla, Vina Morales, Gary Valenciano, and Martin Nievera.
Officially welcoming the equally pumped-up and energetic crowd, Martin told the audience: “ASAP marks 18! Let the celebrations begin.”
To which the Divine Diva seconded, “Prepare to witness a once-in-a-lifetime event, 18 years in the making.”
Before the first gap, Mr. Pure Energy unveiled the “newest ASAP opening billboard,” produced by Edsel Misenas, Sheryl Ramos, and Paolo Ramos of ABS-CBN’s Creative Communications Management Group, which featured the current, all-star hosts and performers of the noontime musical variety show in a modern, almost Phantom-of-the-Opera-inspired production.
LOOKING BACK 18 YEARS. The ASAP debut party also served as the reunion of the original ASAP hosts—Martin Nievera, Pops Fernandez, and singer Ariel Rivera, who were also joined by former co-hosts Richard Gomez and Kuh Ledesma.Since day one, ASAP has been under the helm of director Johnny “Mr. M” Manahan, with its very first episode broadcasted on February 5, 1995 at the Delta Theatre in Quezon City.
Martin: If you are watching this and you’ve got some memory laps that means you’re very, very old.
Ariel: I miss this!
Pops: I know. Isa pang bagay na di natin makakalimutan s’yempre malapit na ang birthday ni Martin.
Martin: The first episode of ASAP was my birthday February 5, 1995 that was 18 years ago.
Pops: So that makes you 18 years also.
Martin: I’m 18 years old today, at least three times.
Ariel: Sayang lang wala si Dayanara [Torres, who used to be part of the dance segment called Sayaw Nara].
Ariel: Kumpletong-kumpleto sana tayo!
Pops: Oo nga!
Martin: We miss it talaga! We miss this friendship!
Martin: What are the things you miss a lot during this show?
Ariel: Just being together, kasi we used to go out every week. Iba na ngayon, e. We used to go out every weekend. Sama-sama tayo noon, kasi we go on trips ’yong mga trips natin sa Hawaii.
The exchange of memorable anecdotes went on until for about a minute, showing past clips, particularly that of the “Dancing Queen” Dayanara Torres’s dance numbers, to which Martin and Pops described as “pitch perfect.” Dayanara was one of the four original ASAP hosts who were introduced in February 1995.
THE ASAP BOYS. Setting the stage on fire was the back-to-back “hot and sexy” performances of the ASAP boy groups.
Kicking off the already warmed up concert party was the ASAP POPABLES (Xian Lim, Rayver Cruz, Enchong Dee, and Gerald Anderson), followed by the COVER BOYS (Jake Cuenca, Zanjoe Marudo, Victor Basa, Will Devaughn, and Jon Avila), who all went topless after their number.
When it was time for the iconic ASAP boy group—“The Hunks”—the crowd went wild! If the screaming girls were to be the basis, then Jericho Rosales, Diether Ocampo, Carlos Agassi, Bernard Palanca, and Piolo Pascual still hold the spot as the hottest, much-awaited ASAP boy group.
The celebration continued with the regular segment, the ASAP Supah Dance with the all-Filipino dance group, G-FORCE; as well as with the promotion of Coco Martin’s latest primetime fantasy series, Juan dela Cruz, and his upcoming movie with Julia Montes titled A Moment in Time.
MUSICAL EXTRAVAGANZA. Saving the best sirens for last, the ASAP 18th celebration concluded with performances of Sarah Geronimo and Angeline Quinto, who belted out the OPM hits “Isang Lahi,” “Ngayon at Kailanman,” and “Pangarap na Bituin.”
Joining the two on stage to complete the finale performance were ABS-CBN’s homegrown artists—Erik Santos, Jed Madela, Christian Bautista, Marcelito Pomoy, KZ Tandingan; Jovit Baldivino, Yeng Constantino, and Bugoy Drilon.
Ending on a high note, the ASAP 18 concert party was a trending topic on Twitter, with the hashtag, #ASAP18years. To boot, the show registered a national rating of 14.6% last February 3 versus the 9.5% rating of GMA-7’s Party Pilipinas, based on data provided by Kantar Media/TNS.