Singer-songwriter Ogie Alcasid put down his mobile phone when asked what his thoughts are on pricey concert tickets of foreign artists, and what his group, the Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM), can do about it.
“Actually the pricing of tickets ay isang mahabang usapin talaga,” he said with a sigh, indicating this is not the first time he’s been asked that. “We have no control over that dahil ang nagpa-pricing ng tickets ay ang mga promoters.”
In recent years, the most expensive tickets to concerts of international acts that visit the Philippines have reached as much as R50,000 or $1,000. Sometimes, it’s cheaper to book a flight to and get hotel accommodation in a nearby Asian country to catch the show there – and some people actually do that.
But being a non-government organization, OPM has no say about it at all, Ogie said.
His wife, singer Regine Velasquez-Alcasid who was seated beside him, couldn’t help but give her two cents’ worth on the matter. She expressed sadness over some concertgoers’ readiness to pay for such high ticket prices while concerts by local artists comparatively get loose change.
Regine pointed out how expensive producing concerts are even for the likes of them.
“Everything is so expensive. Kaya nga walang nagpo-produce masyado (ng concerts). In fact, when I do my concerts (lately), it’s us who produce it. Kami-kami na lang talaga or otherwise, no one will produce it anymore. The thing is, hindi kami makabawi sa ticket price kasi umaalma ang mga manunuod if we make it more expensive.
“Kasi nga daw local artists lang kami and we feel kinda bad (about it). Kasi if someone like Madonna comes here, the tickets are 50 thousand bucks and the concertgoers just buy it just like that. It’s like we are citizen in our own country but we can’t even charge like that in our own country.”
Don’t get her wrong, Regine understands people would naturally want to grab the chance to see their favorite foreign musical acts live and up close at whatever cost. She just hopes local artists and their shows get same treatment or reception.
“I mean we understand na once in a blue moon lang sila mag-perform dito but same with us,” she shared. “We don’t perform all the time. Yeah, they (audience) see us on TV but we don’t perform like this every day, it’s also once a year lang. So I think, i-level lang sana (in terms of ticket pricing).”
To be straight about it, Ogie and Regine said they have nothing against foreign artists holding concerts in the country. What they want addressed is due protection for local artists from whatever “displacement” those foreign acts may cause.
“OPM is not against foreign concerts. In fact, it’s good for tourism, it’s good for us. Filipinos deserve to watch good artists,” Ogie said. “What we want is just to protect our industry as well as the concertgoers.”
Martin Nievera recalled the glory days of OPM when promoters were allowed to bring limited number of foreign artists into the country within a year.
Regine hopes for similar support from the present government.
“You know what, the reason K-pop is so successful kasi sa Korea, you won’t hear any other music. Talagang puro local nila, and sinu-suportahan sila ng kanilang government,” she said.
Erik Santos underscored the important role media plays to turn the tide.
“Like sa radio kung mas gagamitin nila ’yung mga local music, mas maraming tao ang makaka-appreciate nito. And kung mas ipa-prioritize nila ang local music, I think everything else will follow,” he said.
Love in the air
On a lighter note, Ogie, Regine, Martin and Erik headline the Valentine concert “#paMORE.” Directed by Paolo Valenciano, it’s on Feb. 10 at the MOA Arena.
Erik expressed excitement over working with the three all of whom he considers his idols.
“I’m beyond grateful and thankful na makasama ko sa stage, sa isang malaking concert ang mga tinitingala kong mang-aawit. Hindi po dumadating ’tong pagkakataon na’to sa lahat eh. I’m just so grateful and thankful to God na binigay sa akin ’tong blessings na’to.
“Bata pa lang po ako nasa industriya na sila. Pinapanuod ko na sila sa telebisyon tapos makakasama ko na sila sa isang malaking produksyon ngayon.”
Being the youngest in the group, a reporter asked how Erik manages to keep pace with them.
“Honest po ako sa kanila palagi whenever I feel intimidated,” he shared. “Minsan kasi talaga, iba ’yung nakakausap lang sila sa nakikipag-perform ka sa kanila.”
“To be honest, hindi na ako nasanay to perform with them. Excited ako palagi eh. Dito sa concert na’to, pinagpe-pray ko na sana hindi ako ma-intimidate kasi kapag nangyari ’yun, I tend to be quiet. Baka mamaya papanuorin ko na lang sila habang nasa stage!” he added, laughing.
Ogie, Martin and Regine welcome Erik joining them in concert. In fact, the three find him “very talented” and “very fantastic” who “deserves” to be in the industry.
“Are we surprised that Erik joins us? No. A big no. Number one because he is a colleague. He is fantastic. He always says that he is honored to be with us and I’m so happy for him that he is working for us. He is a great guy and he deserves it,” Ogie said.
Martin said concertgoers will see a mix of talents and voices at the concert.
“We (three) are all balladeers and that’s what we have in common. And so, I’m looking forward as to how we’re going to blend our voices. We’re not here to outshine each other, we’re here to perform and to make people happy,” he said.
Being the only girl in the group, Regine is excited to do harmonies with the boys, saying she loves doing it.
“Lahat ng combination gagawin namin like trio, quartet, duo but in such a way na hindi predictable,” she hinted. “I’m excited sa mga kanta, kasi we will try do new songs na hindi pilit, like we are going to sing in our own ways.”
Since it’s a Valentine concert, we asked the four when was the last time they felt “kilig.”
“Every day,” Regine said, smiling.
“Ogie texts me out of nowhere like ‘Can I date you?’ Tapos I’ll answer, ‘I’ll ask my parents first.’ Minsan naman, out of nowhere, he’ll give me flowers or random gifts. Tapos sa birthday ko, we will be going to Boracay kasi gusto niya kaming dalawa lang.”
She shared Nathan, their five-year-old son, got Ogie’s “pagka-malambing.”
“Lagi kami nagki-kiss. Si Ogie kasi lagi niya ako pinapatawa and my son is doing the same thing. He is so funny. ’Pag nakikita nila (kids) na very loving ang parents nila, pati ang mga anak they come out very loving, too.”
Regine said it is important that people show love to their partners not just on Valentines Day but every day.
“Hindi lang dapat kapag Valentines mo pinapakilig ’yung spouse mo or ’yung boyfriend/girlfriend mo. It’s a relationship and so it needs work talaga,” she explained. “You always have to find out kung ano ba ’yung naiiba sa kanya or nagpapakilig sa kanya. Kaya paminsan-minsan nagpapa-mysterious pa rin ako para meron pa rin siyang surprise factor sa akin.”
For Ogie, what makes him kilig are the little things Regine does to and for him.
“Like kapag binilhan ka ng wife mo ng pang-shave, they think we don’t appreciate that. But ’yung mga little things na ganoon, nata-touch talaga kami,” he said.
Martin calls himself “master of kilig.”
“I taught Ogie everything he knows actually,” he said in jest.
Turning serious, Martin shared he advised his son Robin Nievera and girlfriend Zia Quizon to sustain that “kilig factor” to each other.
“I told them to continue holding each other’s hand, don’t stop doing that because that’s the feeling you should sustain for your relationship to work,” he said. “The two of them take vacations together and that’s very important. As for me, that’s my mission, to keep my woman kilig always.”
Erik thinks guys are in charge of that aspect in the relationship.
“Most of the time, dapat mga lalaki ang nagsisimula talaga. Kami ang nagpi-first move. Mahilig ako mang-surprise ng girls but I hate surprises. Tapos mahilig din ako kumanta kapag kausap ko siya (girl he likes) sa phone. Basta, it takes a lot of effort talaga to make a girl feel loved and special.”