Kaleidoscope Eyes Open Mic: Remembering Yolanda

There are times when we find happiness in doing things simply because, “Why not?” 🙂

Some time last month, I got a text from a friend saying something like, “Rhea, may open mic gig ang KE sa Blacksoup [a cafe in Maginhawa St.] sa November 7. Punta ka to perform or watch. It’s also a fundraising event, since it’s a day before the anniversary of Yolanda.”

First things first, I’m not a performer. :)) I do sing here and there but, nothing serious. But then, the first thing that came to my mind then was that, it is my last semester in college (classes start Nov. 10), and what better way to begin it than with a gig?

why not

So I ask a group of friends I’ve performed with for a few events before, and (after some/a lot of discussion and a little bit of forcing) we decide to actually do the gig.

In addition to this, the Yolanda incident holds a very special place in my heart, in both positive and negative ways. Because of Yolanda (and with a lot of help from my friends), I was moved to organize my very first event- a fundraising gig in Route 196 held last December 6, 2013. That actually started things for me. It helped me realize the things I really love to do, and more importantly, determine how this passion can make a dent in other people’s lives- especially those who need it the most.

This particular undertaking also exposed me to just how tragic things were; and how, even more tragically, most of the people who survived cannot even ask why. People who’ve lost their homes, means of livelihood, friends, and families have to continue going through life with a straight face. As if things are going well. It is just another day. The mere mention of Yolanda opens up wounds in my heart that normally go by unnoticed in my day-to-day busy life as a student, and reminds me that, “Hey, I gotta do something. I was able to do something, help a little. It shouldn’t end there. It should never end.”

SO, going back to the open mic thingy (as I’d like to call it), I prepared a four-song set with a couple of friends, River Del Rosario and Gelino Guibone. (Miko Jimenez was supposed to join us but… he was busy.) I called our group Mirage, playing with the letters M, R, and G. Only later did I realize that having a legit-sounding band name is could actually just add to the pressure we already were feeling.

(We have decided to call ourselves The Why Not? Band instead. Because why not?)

We covered a few songs that, as I said during the start of our set, only aimed to say one message: that no matter how tragic things get, pain is never the final word. And that no matter how hard it is to find it; somehow, somewhere, there is hope. There is love.

We did 3 Things by Jason Mraz, Somehow by Never the Strangers, and Fix You by Coldplay (our set was supposed to end with Posible by Rivermaya, just to end with a not-so-sad song, but we lacked time). We weren’t amazing or anything, but at least we didn’t suck (which we actually feared we would). The little white kitten from Blacksoup also joined our set (and slept on the amplifier), and I have officially named it Miko.

Some wonderful friends also took the time and effort to watch our set. There were also other amazing friends, newly made acquaintances, and some people I still haven’t met ( :)) ) who performed. Demi Miyazawa and Jeff Agustin, Anj Florendo, Pam Musni (whom I just found out to be a really talented singer-songwriter), Liam Lee, Rocky Deleste, Andrew De Pano and Erika Cruz (OTP!), Aimless, Serge Gabriel (who did spoken word poetry. I missed his set, but I’ve heard him perform Yolanda twice last year, and it moved me to tears. 😦 ), Aimless, people from the UP Music Circle, and Kaleidoscope Eyes (who’ve never ceased to be amazing in their performances), of course.

During the event, Gab Cabangon (KE Vocalist and event-organizer) also passed a basket for donations for Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA)’s program for Yolanda survivors. I believe he was able to collect around 6-7K before the night ended. 🙂

So, that’s how a little bit of spontaneity led to a very beautiful experience, like how it often does. Two days later, I find myself hoping I could sing and write more songs this semester. Still, nothing serious, of course. Also, here’s to being more open to things I’ve never done before, and doing more things because, hey, why not? 🙂

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