Friday, October 21, 2011

One amazing AIESEC party and how Gary V rocked our world

We've planned some pretty wonderful events in our not very long TRAVELIFE, but I must say that tonight's party at the Peninsula Conservatory is certainly one for the books. AIESEC: ONE MORE TIME was co-organized by Travelife Magazine together with the AIESEC Alumni/ AAAPC 2011 Committee, and in cooperation with Genesis Productions and GV Productions.

The evening began with AIESECer Cocoy Puyat DJ-ing from 6 PM, and this was followed by really great singing by the UP Harana Boys, which is a group of AIESEC guys from UP. Then 8 Track got on stage and the dancing began in earnest; and this was followed by the great Gary Valenciano, and then 8 Track came on again. Cocoy Puyat finally ended the evening with some chill 80s songs like "Friends" by Mike Francis.

The Harana Boys


I can't even begin to describe what a success the event was and just how much fun we all had. You had to be there to know what I mean. What a party, and what a full house we had. The Peninsula Conservatory was packed to maximum capacity and people were dancing and singing all night until 1 AM.

Grown-up and pretty well-dressed women were screaming and acting like groupies back in high school, when they weren't on the dance floor dancing the swing. I was one of them. At one point, I sat on the stage when Gary V did a ballad and refused to get up. It was so much indescribable fun.

I love the 8 Track Band and they were just fantastic; and Cocoy Puyat was a real trooper for staying all night -- he was just supposed to stay from 6 to 730 pm and then to hand the musical reins over to the next group, but at 1 AM there he was still spinning High Fidelity and other 80s songs. At one point, I walked over to him and said, "Whatever it is you're playing, keep doing it please. It's fantastic." He then said: "Just let me know if you have any requests."

I responded: "Just anything great from the 80s." He ask me: "You mean Stargazer? Faces?" Wow. Yes. Stargazer. Faces. Fantastic.


And it's official: I have a crush on Gary Valenciano as of tonight. What an amazing performer, unlike any other. He has the energy, magnetism and incredible talent -- and what a privilege it was for us AIESECers in the relatively private space of the Peninsula Conservatory to have him all to ourselves in a very private concert. And the best part is that Gary Valenciano is practically part of the AIESEC family for so many reasons, and so is 8 Track.

Click here
to see Gary V singing
"Di Bale Na Lang"

So tonight was really a big family reunion.

And what fun it was to dance until the early hours of the morning. For one night -- truly, for one night -- we all felt like we were back in college, in one of our great college parties. It felt like 1988 or 1989! AIESEC, after all, is known for working hard and also for throwing great parties; and today, we realized that we still had it in us to throw a fantastic party just like back in college.


And this party had a big surprise as well, in terms of a VVIP guest. One of the founders of AIESEC in the world -- an 83-year-old European who helped found AIESEC in Europe in 1948! -- actually flew in to Manila to attend the party tonight and the conference tomorrow. This made our event tonight very special.


Tonight's party was a great team effort between the AIESEC Alumni Asia Pacific Congress 2011 Organizing Committee headed by Joseph Pangilinan, and Travelife Magazine. We got involved in this because I was really active in AIESEC in college.

I was AIESEC National Committee Public Relations Officer (NCPRO) when Anthony Pangilinan was president of AIESEC Philippines, and then chairman of the AIESEC Philippines bid for International Congress in 1987; and then I became the very first AIESEC International Regional Development Officer (AI-RDO) for Asia Pacific in 1989. So I have a very long history with AIESEC, and I learned so much from it. It changed my life, as it did for so many other people.


It was so nice, easy and a great pleasure to work with people who have been trained in the AIESEC way because we speak the same language. We've been trained for teamwork, for managing and maximizing resources, and for event planning -- so it was like everyone knew what to do and we all seamlessly did our part to make the event a success. Just imagine that we were all different schools & different generations, and (because we're alumni) we all had day jobs. And we'd never worked together before. But we pulled this off without too many meetings or headaches. That's AIESEC trainingfor you.


Meanwhile, my personal vision for tonight's event was to create a really great party to get AIESEC Alumni together, and to have a fantastic and total 80s environment that would transport everyone back just one more time to college days and AIESEC life. We've all moved on from college and perhaps from AIESEC, so I wanted to get back to those good old days just one more time.

The latter was part of a bucket list I had made for myself while I was at The Farm at San Benito last month. I'd made up my mind -- and in fact written it publicly on this blog -- that one of the things on my bucket list was to organize a party with really great 80s music. Well, tonight I got my wish.

At the same time, I wanted to create an event that would get the AIESEC Alumni together in a grand reunion. And tonight, too, was the perfect opportunity. Who knows when this is going to happen again, after all?


AIESEC: We weren't called the "party org" for nothing.

Joseph Pangilinan reminded me of my dream when we were finally talking by ourselves at about 130 AM this morning. We were standing at the back of the venue just listening to the music. "Wasn't it just like being in college again, for one night?" I asked him happily. I knew the answer but perhaps I just wanted some affirmation from him. We'd worked together on this, after all. And we even had the same birthday, which as also this same week, so in a way this was a delayed celebration.

Interestingly, I'd met Joseph in Tokyo when I was at school and he was on an AIESEC internship, but of the Pangilinan brothers, it was really Joseph's brother Anthony who I'd worked with closely -- until AIESEC: ONE MORE TIME.

By then, AIESEC: ONE MORE TIME had been a most amazing success and most people had gone home. It was just him and I and a handful of other people, although Cocoy Puyat was still spinning his music. It was Mike Francis playing as we talked.

He smiled at me and said: "Wasn't this exactly what you wanted?"


I still remember how just a few days after our successful Travelife Italy Night last September, Joseph, Raul Guerrero and Dondi Alikpala came over to my house to brainstorm about what to do for the opening night of the AIESEC Alumni Asia Pacific Congress 2011. I'd said: "Let's combine the opening night with a grand reunion for AIESEC Philippines. It's the perfect opportunity, and it won't easily happen again."

I so strongly wanted to have an 80s theme party and I knew exactly where I wanted to have it -- at the Peninsula Conservatory, which was the scene of so many events in the 1980s. I also definitely wanted to have the 8 Track Band and Gary Valenciano, as well as an 80s DJ to put everyone in the mood as soon as they entered the venue. And I knew that Joseph could get these all together for us if I just kept pushing him.

As guys who've worked with me (including for this party) will attest, I'm used to getting my way most of the time. So, to make a long story short, we did end up having an AIESEC Philippines Alumni Party and AIESEC Alumni Asia Pacific Conference 2011 Opening Night at the same time, and this was held at the Peninsula Conservatory. We also got our musical dream team: DJ Cocoy Puyat, 8 Track and the great Gary Valenciano. Thank you, Joseph, for giving me everything I wanted. And thank you to everyone else who helped make AIESEC: ONE MORE NIGHT a great success.


And with everything in place, we at Travelife Magazine set out to publicize the event in every way possible: from online postings, to ads in newspapers and email blasts and personalized calls and faxes, to early morning radio guestings. I still remember dragging myself out of bed a couple of early mornings (after rather late nights out) to talk about AIESEC: ONE MORE NIGHT on radio. Lots of AIESEC alumni also put in the time to text and email brigade about the event, and this was how we got the biggest AIESEC alumni crowd in the Philippines so far.

Cocoy played all night, 8 Track sang three sets, and Gary practically sang a full-length concert. He kept trying to say goodbye but the crowd just wouldn't let him go. He sang everything we liked. The crowd just went wild with songs like "Rock with You" and "It's gonna be a good day." Finally, he ended his concert with two great songs: "Di Bale Na Lang" and "Spain" by Al Jarreau. By this time, I was literally sitting on the stage and someone had to help me get up when it was all over.

Everyone was so generous in providing their time, efforts and talents for AIESEC. I couldn't stop thanking Gary V enough for making everyone's day. He told me as he left: "Let's do this again." Oh, I so hope we can hold him to this...haha.

The end result was a most perfect night. The stars were aligned, the heavens opened, the Peninsula Manila decorated the Conservatory so wonderfully and all the talents sang beautifully. We had a full house at the Conservatory. I don't think any of us could have asked for anything more than AIESEC and college days for one more time.

Opening Ceremony for AAAPC 2011
and grand AIESEC Philippines Alumni Reunion

organized by AIESEC Philippines alumni
and TRAVELIFE Magazine

Joseph Pangilinan, AAAPC 2011 Chairman
Mia Del Rosario & Cat Ocariz (Organizing Committee)
Cyrene de la Rosa (Food & Wine)
Dondi Alikpala (Wine sponsor)

Gary & Angeli Valenciano
The 8 Track Band
Cocoy Puyat
Peter Laud (emcee)

The Peninsula Manila team
Sonja Vodusek
Stephanie Chong
Tina Antonio

Business Mirror
105.1 Crossover FM
99.5 RT
Fly-Ace Wines

The original three who discussed with me
the idea of a grand AIESEC reunion
Joseph Pangilinan
Dondi Alikpala
Raul Guerrero

my entire Travelife team
who did their part for this event,
from planning and marketing the event
to manning registration and entrance.

PS: Photos are from Travelife's official photographer, my Blackberry and taken from photos posted on FB by different AIESECers. Hope no one minds that we've re-posted some of the photos in this blog.

Travelife Magazine's
Oct-Nov 2011 Issue


1 comment:

  1. Wow what a raging success of a party!!! Thanks for sharing.