"Hooray for OPM!" shouted singer-songwriter Ogie Alcasid and Maestro Ryan Cayabyab before proceeding to woo their audience with carefully chosen Filipino music in their recent concert, The O.C. at the P.I.C.C.
The show, staged October 8 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City, opened with a medley of popular OPM hits, "Meron Akong Ano" by the late King of Pinoy Rap Francis Magalona and "Heto na Naman" by Mr. Pure Energy, Gary Valenciano.
Ogie also performed hits by local rock bands Eraserheads, Rivermaya, and Bamboo, with the Ryan Cayabyab Singers (RCS) providing backup.
Then he sang his very own "Nandito Ako," performing it Reggae style.
After setting the mood, the award-winning music artist formally introduced himself: "Hi, I'm Ogie Alcasid and I'm married... to Filipino music, that is."
The concert flaunted Ogie, president of Organisasyon ng mga Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM), and Mr. C's love for our very own Pinoy music.
And yes, the audience started falling in love again.
THE LOVE SONGS. Because Pinoys are such sentimental souls, Ogie featured Mr. C's all-time romantic hits, such as "Nais Ko," "Kahit Ika'y Panaginip," "Tunay na Ligaya," "Araw-Gabi," and "Tuwing Umuulan at Kapiling Ka."
"Pagdating sa love songs, di ba, iba ang Pinoy kasi diretso sa puso," said the Maestro when Ogie asked him why his songs are filled with romance.
When it was time to recall his own hits, Ogie performed songs that pledged his undying love to OPM and his bride-to-be, Regine Velasquez, a.k.a. Asia's Songbird.
At the end of "Pangako," which was sung by Regine in her movie Pangako Ikaw Lang (2001), Ogie changed the lyrics: "Magmula ngayo'y tayong dalawa ang mag-asawa."
The audience became even more "kilig" when Ogie went down the stage and over to Regine while singing "Kailangan Kita."
It was a special moment and she started to cry. "Para kasing you're just watching it and suddenly he's there. It's wonderful, di ba?" Regine told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) after the show.
Other love songs performed in this segment included "Kung Mawawala Ka," "Paano Kita Iibigin," and "Ikaw Lamang."
TAGALOG AS THE BEST LANGUAGE. "Tagalog, the Filipino language, is the best language in the world because it's very expressive," Ogie said.
"For a song to become a hit, there should be a 'hook' so people will remember it," added Mr. Cayabyab.
To illustrate this "hook," Ogie and the RCS belted hits by the Aegis band and April Boy Regino.
They also paid tribute to the late Pinoy music artists Yoyoy Revillame, Victor Wood, and Eddie Peregrina.
Ogie sang songs by award-winning composer Willy Cruz, such as "Never Ever Say Goodbye," "Bituing Walang Ningning," and "Doon Lang."
Then in a Videoke-like presentation, the singer-composer performed a Korean pop song with Tagalog lyrics. To acknowledge the sponsors of the concert, he performed "Nobody," a dance pop song recorded by Korean girl group Wonder Girls.
"FREAKIN' REGINE VELASQUEZ." Some members of the audience thought the show was over. Just then, the Queen of Comedy, Ai-Ai delas Alas, appeared onstage in a wedding gown.
"Hi, honey," she greeted Ogie.
Ogie and Regine call each other "Honey."
Ai-Ai continued, "I'm freakin' Regine Velasquez. You like it? Because I like it!"
The comedienne brought the house down with her impersonation of Asia's Songbird. Regine, who was in the audience with her family, laughed so hard she almost cried. Again.
"Muntik na akong maglumpasay sa sahig, umiiyak ako sa katatawa!" she told PEP.
"Actually, ilang beses ko na nakita 'yan, e. Pero natatawa pa rin talaga ako. Ai-Ai is so hilarious, and as usual, she's so good!"
Ai-Ai also tried to reach Regine's high notes in the songs "Narito Ako," "Kung Maibabalik Ko Lang," "Dadalhin," and "Hanggang Ngayon."
APO WITH A TWIST. Ogie and the RCS staged songs of the local music industry's best-known trio, the Apo Hiking Society, whose two members, Jim Paredes and Boboy Garovillo, were in the audience.
The Apo, according to Ogie, has been giving Filipinos good advice and reminders through their music.
A medley of "Mahirap Magmahal ng Syota ng Iba," "Doo Bidoo," "Pumapatak ang Ulan" was performed in their original tempo.
But Mr. Cayabyab gave these a twist by adding an Armida Siguion-Reyna-like rendition of "Aawitan Kita," sung by the ladies of the Ryan Cayabyab Singers.
Jim became emotional when Ogie, Mr. Cayabyab, and his group performed "Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo" towards the end of this segment. The song was released by the Apo a couple of months after the People Power Revolution in 1986.
NOEL CABANGON ON PATRIOTISM. Ogie gave up the stage to his special guest—singer-songwriter Noel Cabangon.
His "Ako'y Mabuting Isang Pilipino," which he performed at the inauguration of President Noynoy Aquino, once again struck home with its message of patriotism.
He asked everyone in the audience to stand up, raise their right hand and pledge to become good citizens of the country.
And then Noel delivered the punchline: "Salamat. Masasabi ko na nakapagpa-standing ovation ako sa PICC."
Ogie said he was able to forge a good relationship with Noel during the presidential campaign of PNoy. In fact, their friendship has produced a song, "Bagong Pilipinas," which they dedicate to all Filipinos.
"God willing we'll probably do more shows. Noel and I have become good friends. It was really a fantastic night," said Ogie in an interview after the concert.
Noel also joined Ogie, Mr. Cayabyab, and the RCS during the finale, which focused on the national anthem, "Lupang Hinirang."
The audience couldn't get enough of OPM and yelled "More!"
Ogie officially ended the one-night concert by dedicating his encore to local music icon, George Canseco, who composed such immortal songs as "Kastilyong Buhangin," "Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan," and "Ngayon at Kailan Man."
After two memorable hours, there were still OPM hits waiting to be sung.
"Ang lawak-lawak ng musikang Pilipino. You cannot fit all that in two hours... Baka may part two," said the OPM president to the delight of the crowd.