Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Gifts

People have been asking for more details and the story behind the gifts we gave David, and I said there was just one piece of the puzzle I needed before I posted about it. Well, that piece came through last night, and so, here goes.

I. The tshirt. Fans who have been reading up on everything DC need no explanation for the design of the tshirt. It takes off from Cooky’s Katy Perry tshirt, which was first seen way back in January while he was doing the USO Tour. He has worn the tshirt frequently during the Declaration Tour. We’ve been told that the EEB loved the tshirt, and were quite pleasantly surprised to find out that each of them had one too (theirs are blue). They appreciated the fact that only fans would think of making a reference to the “Katy Perry Slept Here” shirt, which is one of Cooky’s favorites. I had a quick chat with Joey before they left last Sunday, and he said that it was a really cool idea. They had not received the tshirts yet – see, all gifts go through the tour manager and security. Also, we think they didn’t open most of the gifts anymore for practical reasons (it's easier to pack things as they are). Each tshirt was wrapped in japanese paper and packaged in an abaca bag. Well, except for Cooky’s, which I threw onstage during the M&G (fortunately one of the BNO guys picked it up, was it Slick Rick, I can’t remember anymore. Thank you Rick!). Er yes, you read that right, I threw it. What, sleepyinsomniac and I panicked, we didn’t want him to leave without getting the shirt – that was the goal for the day. As you know, Cooky laughed when he held it up and saw what was written on it.

(Picture by tim_09 of PEx.)

II. The sneakers. Naturally we knew what size to get (thanks to Vera,Valermarie, raefabulous and AprilD of IOC *wink*). The art was done by the artist Lala Gallardo, who might be known to some as the 1st prize winner (together with sister Waya Gallardo, who did the writing) of the Neil Gaiman-initiated First Philippine Fiction/Graphic Awards, for her work on The Mad, Sad, Incredible But True Adventures of Hika Girl. Here is the study that Lala submitted:

Here is the final result:

We were unable to give the sneakers, along with the tshirts for the band, during the M&G at the Sky Garden (rather strange to throw shoes onstage, no?), so we proceeded to the press conference afterwards at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel. Because it was not open to the public, we had to wait outside the cordoned area way beyond the closed doors. Joey passed by at least twice while we were there, and he smiled back and waved both times when we greeted him. But he didn’t go near us, even as we held out the abaca bags with the tshirts. Let’s just say that by then it was clear to us that giving the gifts would not be a simple matter of saying “Hi, here’s a gift for you”. A number of fans were there with us. We gawked and waited and chatted amongst ourselves, only to see later how Dave and company were quickly whisked away through the opposite exit. Quite sad to see a patch of vest and Joey's curls moving away into the distance. *sigh* We got to chat instead to Suzy Entrata and Nelson Canlas (of GMA 7) and former Philippine Idol finalist Miguel Mendoza, who told us a little bit about what transpired during the presscon (I believe Cha Park has video on this).

Later, we waited in the lobby for Cooky and company to pass by so we could give him the sneakers, which had already been filmed by the media (yep, a whole lot of people saw the sneakers before Cooky heard about them). When he did come, I took one step forward and called out “David, you forgot this!”, but did not get to go within a few feet. Fortunately someone from the party held out a hand and took the bag with the sneakers (plus a couple of tshirts and tubaos – native scarves for the band – clandestine and I had picked out at Kultura). The tshirts for Kyle and Joey were with Cha Park, who ran towards the elevator and handed them over. The tshirts for Andy and Neal, on the other hand, were left behind as they were with sleepyinsomniac who stood some distance away.

Fortunately, there was a woman there who graciously accepted sleepyinsomniac's request to bring the 2 bags for Andy and Neal. But shortly afterwards, sleepyinsomniac had second thoughts - what if we got a chance to meet the EEB later? Wouldn't that be a better way of giving the tshirts? I'll let her tell her own side of the story later, but for now let me just say we ended up running after the woman as she made her way to the front desk .We didn't want to seem ungracious, at the same time Cha Park and I were more inclined towards leaving things as they were, but sleepyinsomniac inexplicably felt like she should get the bags back.

So there we stood to the side as the woman talked, and the person behind the front desk asked what her name was. We couldn’t believe our ears when she said she was Atty. Arlyn Mancao. Good heavens, we had been trying to contact her for weeks, and even sent an email to her informing her who we were, and asking if there was any way we could be allowed to give some gifts to David Cook. This was only one of many coincidences that led to the success of our mission (i.e., to make sure the gifts reach Cooky) – this, and many other incidents are rather like pieces of a puzzle coming together, eventually completing the picture.

Atty. Mancao represents Fearless, and (as we understand it) oversees the various aspects of the concert. She deals directly with the producers and the talents. She was our in to David Cook himself. We can’t say how grateful we are for having met her, for she was very understanding and accommodating. We told her about our last gift, the guitar, and she agreed to personally deliver it to David for us.

III. The guitar. The guitar was custom-made by Guitar Master, exporters based in Cebu City. glitch_101 took care of ordering the guitar, coordinating with the guitar maker and bringing it over to Manila. The idea for the design, the sun-star-flag motif, was suggested by a shishki71, a Carrie Underwood fan , while the actual design was created by stitchmeup and flygirl24, with inputs from some Cookistas.

glitch_101 arrived late in the night on Friday, the eve of the concert. We were initially worried when she reported that she was not allowed to handcarry the guitar – they had put it together with other cargo, gaaaah!!! Fortunately, there was no mishap. By another stroke of coincidence, glitch mistakenly went to Makati Shangri-La instead of Edsa Shangri-La (the three of us – I, Cha Park and sleepyinsomniac had checked in to the hotel – more on the why’s and wherefore’s of this matter in a a separate post, for later). When she finally got to the right hotel and met us, only a few minutes had passed when Atty. Mancao walked by! We had been anxious about waiting til morning to contact her because we knew they would be very busy by then. So we promptly handed her the guitar – we had not even finished inspecting it (we have no pic of the Cookista inscription at the back of the instrument) – right then and there. She promised to give it to him herself, and to record the moment as he received it.

She made good on her promise. Behold:

Atty. Arlyn says he was completely blown away, that he was impressed and bewildered ("Oh my god, this is expensive."). Skechers was there to give him shoes *cough cough* - that's the bag you see on the bed - when she came in to the room, but when he got the guitar he left and immediately brought it back to his room to make sure it was safe. As I mentioned in PEx the other day, the guitar was handcarried from Manila all the way to the US.

A closer look:

I'm finishing this post rather abruptly, but I intend to come back and add some more details if I've forgotten any. For now, let me just say, fellow Cookistas, stand proud, you all rock. Thank you to all those who contributed, whether in monetary terms or in some other way, so that we could give these gifts to David. Atty. Arlyn Mancao and Fearless, "Salamat po so much!" (tm David Cook)


  1. I think the band wore the tubao scarf you gave them during their performance on the Ellen Show. It looked like it was a tubao! That's so cool! Congratulations! :D


    thank you for making me part of it (and bestowing upon me the honour of buying the abaca bag for those size 38 chucks LOL) kahit na i'm mostly absentee *teehee*

    it was rae(raefabulous of the 'oh-look-david cook is on our hotel floor next door fame') who helped me convert the shoe size and April (AprilD) confirmed the shirt size Val gave him.

    go cookistas :)


  3. I am just blown away by that guitar, and by Cookistas. David will always hold a warm place in his heart for the Philippines and his Pinoy fans. Americans are very touched when we go somewhere and we feel embraced... I suspect David will return to Manila many times during his career. I'm so happy that he chose The Philippines as his first overseas concert and recognized the huge support he (and Archie) have there. What a warm and wonderful country. I hope to go there someday.