If Korea has K-Pop, the Philippines has ASAP. A record-breaking crowd of more than 8,000 Filipinos filled the ICC Sydney theatre today to catch a glimpse of their idols.
In thousands of Filipino households around Australia, one of the enduring connections to their life back in the Philippines is the global media powerhouse TFC or The Filipino Channel. And at the heart of TFC's success is its crown jewel: the award-winning long-running musical variety show ASAP. Australian TV networks can learn so much from the commercial acumen of the team behind ABS-CBN. They have diversified and specialised with equal ease. And successfully so.
Past the "kilig" factor of seeing young stars onstage, which can be ASAP's main drawcard, the best thing about today is watching legendary star Regine Velasquez take command of the stage like nobody else can. She is hands-down a force of nature.
There was visual and vocal overload, with crowd favourites KZ, Jed Madela, Bamboo, Gary V, Eric Santos and Angeline Quinto.
But to not mention everyone, including the dance crew, would be a disservice. They each tell a story of why ASAP is an entertainment behemoth.
Representing talent that came from Sydney, it was good to see Marlisa Punzalan and Ylona Garcia join the star-studded ensemble.
But rising above all the noise, there was one name everyone called out: Papa P. The Philippines' answer to Brad Pitt.
It would be impossible for Piolo Pascual to get rid of his heartthrob tag even if he wanted to.
From the costumes to the lights and sounds, the show delivered to its opening song "Let me entertain you".
For TFC diehards, it was magical.