Category Archives: Random Hobbies

Coldplay Live in Manila: The VIP Experience and Why It’s All Worth It

…And time seemed to say. Forget the world and its weight, And here I just want to stay. Amazing day amazing day!!!

This pretty much summed up how I felt when the Coldplay concert in Manila ended. It’s ironic because they didn’t sing this song (one of my favorites in the AHFOD album) but in one way or another, I think a lot of people in the audience can agree that this experience was indeed an Amazing Day!

I’m not a regular concert goer because I thought I can spend my money somewhere else and I’m not a big fan of big crowds and parties either.

If I will list down the concerts that I’ve watched in the Philippines, it’s really not a lot and I can only count 5 (foreign acts only) prior to Coldplay.

  1. Backstreetboys
  2. Idina Menzel (just because Globe gave 2 complimentary tickets)
  3. Maroon 5 (the most recent one) – given to me as birthday gift
  4. Bruno Mars
  5. Keane – just because my friend had one extra ticket and no one else is available
  6. David Cook – because I was a really big fan back then

If there’s one thing in common in all those previous concerts, none of those were in the VIP section or even Platinum (just to prove my point that I’m not really fond of spending my hard-earned money for concerts :).

Then came the exception. When we found out last year that there’s a good chance of Coldplay stopping by in Manila for their A Head Full of Dreams Asian tour; my friend and I aimed for a VIP ticket and we told ourselves that we won’t settle for anything less.

That’s even before we found out how much would that cost us. All we know is it can be as high as $1000+ (Php50,000+) (basing from Madonna or J-Lo I think) and cannot be lower than Php20,000. We literally set aside and saved up money like 6 months prior just to get a VIP ticket.

The actual ticket price for a VIP ticket is Php22,500 and yes, it’s really expensive. We were expecting this much and in fact felt relieved because it’s half the price of what we really planned for. A lot of people can quickly judge that only fools will pay that much for a 2-hour event, line up and be with a very huge crowd and brave the heavy traffic; instead of relaxing comfortable at home; and that money we spent could have been spent elsewhere.

Yes, you are entitled to your own opinion but let me sum up the 10 reasons why it’s all worth it from my own perspective.

1. It’s a 17-year wait.

From it’s 1st album “Parachutes” in 2000 where the song Yellow became a hit; fans in the Philippines have been waiting for this tour. It finally came along in a sold-out concert held in Mall of Asia Concert Grounds on April 4, 2017 (Tuesday). 

We lined up early and we were already inside at around 5PM or 3 hours before the front act. The concert started past 9PM already. What’s a 4-hour wait compared to 17 years? Haha.


2. Because they have more than enough good songs.

When Chris Martin answered the question on why it took them so long to come to the Philippines; he added that “we’ve been waiting, so we would have enough good songs“.  From the 23 songs (plus one bonus song) they’ve played that night; they really have more than enough good songs. They played all of my favorites except one (Amazing Day).

Below is the setlist given by the cameraman to my lucky friend right after the concert.

3. Their songs appeal to all ages and life status.

From the audience, I’ve seen people of different ages from teens to mature ones. I guess unlike other bands that cater to a specific group (e.g. teenagers, women etc.); Coldplay’s songs can appeal to a lot of people because it really varies. Whether you are heartbroken, or you need something to cheer you up, or a good song to listen to upon waking up or while bored or even before going to sleep, Coldplay’s music is really addicting. Some people say it’s overrated but I beg to disagree!


4. The band is awesome and totally talented

While Chris Martin is the most popular because he’s the lead singer, Coldplay won’t reach Superstar status without the support of Jonny Buckland, Will Champion and Guy Berryman. They play their instruments really well. The studio recordings are really good but watching and seeing them play live are beyond awesome!

5. Because It’s More Fun in the Philippines

After buying the ticket from the Globe Pre-Sale, I had second thoughts of watching it here in Manila primarily because of the venue and I can buy cheaper VIP tickets abroad. I searched for a ticket either in Singapore or Seoul (I will actually be there on a scheduled vacation when they hold the tour there).

Good thing I chose to watch in Manila. Filipino fans can party like no other and of course we can sing really good! Every time the band lowers the volume to let the audience sing along, it’s always a pleasure in the ears.


6. The stage and light effects are world class! And oh yeah the fireworks!

Yeah, I initially didn’t like the venue since it’s an open concert ground (parking lot). However, due to the open venue, they managed to put up a huge stage with 3 giant screens (not including the ones in the other sections). The light effects totally exceeded my expectations. Last but not the least, they managed to have fireworks (I don’t think they’ll be able to do it inside MOA arena). I counted at least 3 (during the opening, in the middle and towards the end) and the songs were made extra wonderful as if all the lights up in the air were dancing with the tune. Please watch the video embedded at the end of this post for you to see what I’m talking about.

P.S. All members of the audience received Xylobands that light up with different colors based from the music and radio frequencies. It’s so fascinating to see every time we raise our hands. I’ve never been to a concert with Xylobands honestly so I don’t know if it’s been out there for a long time now or just recently (really clueless).

7. Because we don’t know for sure if they are coming back again.

Chris Martin promised that this won’t be the first and last time that they will hold a concert in Manila but you can never know for sure, right?

8. They sang a special song dedicated to the Filipino fans.

Yes, it appears like an impromptu song. They might have done it elsewhere with varying lyrics and tunes but I don’t care. It’s still touching to hear it. 🙂

Here’s the lyrics of the song taken from the Coldplay Philippines Facebook page. If you wanna hear it, check out the Youtube link below. 🙂

Just listen to how they sound in… Manila 🇵🇭

Thank you, Coldplay. #ColdplayManila #AHFODtour

Posted by Coldplay Philippines on Thursday, April 6, 2017

9. Because of Chris’ Dance Moves

I didn’t realize that Chris is a good dancer. Please watch the video at the end of this post to have a glimpse of his moves and all that jumping and running. I had the privilege of being right at the side of the stage so I got really good views.

10. Because the experience is surreal!

I won’t be able to describe the experience in full but I hope this video will make you regret not watching the show; only if you’re a fan. It’s been 3 days since the concert and I still feel exhilarated every time I remember the whole experience. Definitely the best concert ever.

And for those saying it’s not practical to spend over Php20,000 for a concert and making a big fuss about it in social media; I didn’t post this blog to convince you otherwise. All I can say is on that night, I didn’t buy the cheap drink (1 stub only per person) or the parking lot venue; nor the souvenirs (lanyard and poster). I went there for the experience and with the 10 reasons I’ve mentioned and probably more; I can say that it’s definitely worth it! 🙂

Diving in Davao: Exploring the Beauty of God’s Underwater Creations

He will rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. – Psalm 72:8 (NIV)

I turned 28 years old last month. A turning point in anyone’s life could be a major decision like going abroad, starting a family, venturing into a new business or for me; it’s a simple as discovering new things that you can be really passionate about such as diving.

Several months back, When AirPhil Express offered a round trip ticket from Manila to Davao for just 1,000 pesos; I booked a flight right away and contacted my Aunt whose family resides in Davao to let her know that I’m going there for a vacation. It’s either I climb Mt. Apo or I go for an open water diving certification; the latter I have been planning to do for more than a year now. My uncle, who is a certified diving instructor, offered his services so I started to see one of my dreams coming into reality.

DAY 1 started with the pool training in the morning and then we finished in the afternoon with a lecture to go over some of the important modules in the manual. Since there are only 2 students, we finished earlier than expected. The good thing is I was able to read the SDI training manual prior to the actual training. I had a hard time with the skills training on clearing the mask. Whenever I try to blow the water out, I keep on blowing from my mouth. Well, my uncle was very patient so I successfully did it after several tries. It’s really hard at the start to get yourself accustomed to breathing under water even if you are just under the pool and only a few feet deep. Well, the real adventure starts in the ocean.

DAY 2 started early for us to catch the diving boat courtesy of Carabao Diving Center. It is one of the newest diving centers in Davao City but they have gained the #1 status already. If you are looking for cheap buys, my uncle said this is the place you should visit. He was right! I got a pair of boots for just 1,000 pesos.

We went to Talikud Island, southwest from the famous Samal Island, and visited two diving sites. Just around 1 hour away, we started with Coral Gardens. It is famous for its sandy sea floor and base slopes. We had our first open water skills training here and we went as deep as 16.8 meters and stayed under the water for 39 minutes. Not bad for a beginner! Next stop is the Dapia dive site. I really had a hard time equalizing and my ears started to hurt but I managed to to go as deep as 20.8 meters. This one lasted for 44 minutes. This place has an amazing coral gardens and coral covered reefs. We tried to search for sea horses and although we did not find any, we had a feast of other sea creatures.

One of the cheapest open water diving certification in the country

DAY 3 – we went to Samal Island and again visited 2 diving sites to finish our certification. The first stop is San Juan. I’m not sure but I think this is the place where I found nemo and saw a sea snake for the first time in my life. We went as deep as 20 meters and the dive lasted 51 minutes. Lastly, we went to Marissa 2. The Marissa Dive site is actually 3 dive spots (1, 2 and 3) located southeast of Samal Island near Pearl Farm. It is a whole new world of unique deep sea features visible even at a shallow depth. The last dive was my deepest dive at 21.6 meters but my shortest dive because it only lasted for 27 minutes. Long story but let’s just say that I have to make an emergency ascent because of equipment malfunction.

My uncle trying to prevent me from ascending
Finding Nemo
My diving buddy Xandra and myself learning how to signal OK
The poisonous sea snake! Contrary to popular beliefs, this sea creature is very passive.

You can access my Multiply page to view more of the diving pictures.

My 28th birthday was the day I got certified as a diver. It was the same day when I literally ran out of air 10 meters deep and halfway through the dive because of an equipment malfunction. Thank God I managed to ascend just in time when the gauge showed 0% oxygen content.

Below is a video of “Still” – one of my all-time favorite songs courtesy of Hillsong Church. This video reminds me of one of my other struggles in the diving certification and that is trying to remain neutrally buoyant. A lot of times during the dive, I can’t keep myself from ascending. My uncle said, just remain calm and be still and you should see yourself go down in a few. It works! This song teaches us that despite our busy schedule wherein we are so much preoccupied with a lot of things and despite the daily challenges that we are facing, there is a God out there who can calm the raging seas and work in our lives. Under the water, I felt closer to God. I felt His creations spoke His majesty. Under the water, I have learned to be Still and experienced the beauty of God’s marvelous underwater creations.

A new hobby found: Swimming

The summer season is almost over but I have not visited any beaches so far. Well, because of climate change, it’s really hard to tell when will summer end. I only had one summer outing recently when Mary Ann (my office mate) invited me to join her team building in Bato Springs, San Pablo, Laguna (going south from Manila). Aside from the unlimited use of videoke and the never-ending generous servings of food, the place was really nice. It is indeed a breathe of fresh air away from the city. The place is located at the foot of the mountain (Mt. Banahaw) and there is an outdoor pool with man-made falls that provided an added attraction. The water was very cold but once you dip in the pool area, you will feel all the stress from work being stripped off by fresh water. Check out this site for more details –

Continue reading A new hobby found: Swimming