To cope up with life’s sorrows, I usually spend my leisure time watching Korean Dramas and reading books. When I almost finish watching and reading all of them, I decided to browse the Internet. I noticed that most of my friends in social media keep on sharing a video of a young, handsome, Chinito boy from the TVK blind audition wearing a combination of red and grey jacket. When I watched the video, I was amazed on how a 13 years old kid can sing and dance so well!
It made me more surprised when I learned that he’s from Canada but speaks the Tagalog language fluently. I told myself, this Kid is really something. It was then the start of my journey of being a DARRENatic. I watched all his videos in YouTube and followed his performances in TVK. I even tried to vote for him during the finals. Sadly, he wasn’t declared as winner. My heart was pierced when I saw him cry. With the incredible talent that he has, I knew that he can still reach his dreams. God has prepared a good plan for him.
My life which is full of pains and sorrows became meaningful when I knew Darren. He’s like my daily dose of Vitamin D. I can’t last a day without seeing or listening to any of his songs. I activated my Twitter account and searched for fellow DARRENatics. I was glad that I was able to find them online. I was chosen to be an Admin of Cagayan de Oro and a part of the Trending Group.
Because of my love for Darren, I began to look for opportunities where I can see him perform live. I thought it was really impossible to personally meet him because I’m living in the Northern part of Mindanao. Then suddenly, the Butuan City admin told me that Darren will have a concert there on October 19, 2014. I did not mind her invitation at first, thinking of the distance and of course the money for ticket, fare, accommodation etc. But after his 1st Solo Concert in the Music Museum, I was really jealous to those who came. And it made me more jealous when they share the experiences they have. Immediately, I contacted the organizer of the concert and asked to reserve a VIP ticket for me. Gladly, my mom (who’s also a DARRENatic) agreed that she will pay for the ticket. I was really happy that time and thought that I’m a few steps away to meet Darren.
It was on October 19, 2014 at 12:00 midnight where we (with DARRENatic Iligan admins and co- DARRENatic CdeO) traveled to Butuan by non air-conditioned bus. We traveled for 6 hours and arrived at Butuan early in the morning. We immediately went to the hotel where Darren will be staying and prepared our gifts, banner and even balloons to welcome him. It was past 10:00 am when they arrived in the hotel, I was starstrucked when I saw him. He’s very different from the camera. He’s 10x cuter, his skin is so flawless and his eyes are very beautiful. He was like an angel as he entered the lobby and we were mesmerized as he waved and smiled at us. We took a group picture with Darren and also with Sir Vehnee and Ma’am Ladine. When he left from the hotel for the meet and greet session, all of us shouted for joy. Even some of the DARRENatics in Butuan were crying. They told me that they were just so happy to see Darren and it was like a dream come true for all of us.
Since I had a VIP ticket (Silver Level Sponsor), I was entitled to attend the meet and greet session. Another pictorial, but that time it was a solo picture with Darren. I was able to have a selfie with him and my friends took many pictures of me with Darren. When we had our last group picture, I was able to stand near and I told him “Darren, ang CUTE mo.” And he replied, “Thank you po” (with a cute smile). He’s really a very cute kid.
The concert started at 6:30 pm, we went to the venue an hour earlier and it was already filled with people wearing green shirts. Butuan is just a small city but they were able to fill the venue. It showed that Darren can gather thousands of people. The show started right on time. The concert was divided into two parts, 1st part was the talent presentation from Enfant Cheri, the school who organized Darren’s concert and 2nd part was his concert. The students and faculties really did a great job; they were able to showcase their talents in singing and dancing.
Then, came the second part of the show, a throwback video was flashed on screen. It was Darren’s journey from The Next Star and TVK performances. I was even teary eyed while watching his videos. I can’t imagine how a 13 year old kid managed to stand up after not getting the title twice. He started the concert by singing the song which made me love him, Domino and then followed by What Makes you Beautiful. The 3rd song was the one that he sang during the Sing-Offs round of TVK, Listen and followed by One Moment in Time by Whitney Houston in which he sang during the Semi Finals.. The 5th song was the one he performed during the Finals (upbeat), Somebody to Love. Then, it was followed by another song from the finals Ngayon. He also sang for the first time in live, Dance with My Father., It was requested by someone who just lost her father. I got teary eyed when he sang that song. Every lyric that he delivered pierced my heart. I have always wanted him to sing that song also. Even though he only had a short period of time in rehearsing that song, he still gave justice and I even love his version. After that tear jerking song, he asked the audience who wants to have a duet with him. Afterwards, a very shy girl went on stage. They sang Forever’s Not Enough. It was a beautiful duet. The audience was so thrilled, especially when Darren gave the Shy girl a power hug. After that sweet performance, Darren asked the audience to stand up and dance with him as he sings Where Have You Been. I like the part when he said “behave po kayo ha?”, then he went down from the stage and shook hands with the audience. A small kid was also very lucky that she was able to dance with Darren. He concluded the concert by singing Neon Lights.
My friends and I were so very lucky because we also checked-in the hotel where Darren was staying. After breakfast, we were able to have a chit chat with Mama Luz (Darren’s aunt), also with the TV Crew and even Darren. When it’s off cam, he’s just a normal kid, who loves to play around. I saw how he enjoys playing together with his TVCrew. He’s makulit pero magalang and masunurin na bata. That’s why everyone from all ages and gender loves him. My last conversation with him was, “Goodbye, Darren. Thank you.” Then, he replied, “Thank you din po” and smiled. I chose not to see him while he leaves the hotel because it will be heartbreaking for me. And with that, I will always look forward to the day that I will see him again. I hope that time it will be already here, in Cagayan de Oro City.
I will be forever thankful to the organizer of the concert, Ma’am Flora Aurea, for without her I will not be able to meet Darren. Also, DARRENatics Butuan for the warm welcome. I am also grateful to have DARRENatics Iligan, who traveled 8 hours just to meet Darren and of course my co-DARRENatic CdeO who was with me during the preparation until the day of the concert.
It was the best day of my life, short but memorable. Darren Espanto is a 13 year old kid with a great talent and charisma that captured everyone’s heart. With the fame that he is now experiencing, he still remains humble. He’s a good example to the youth. Darren has really helped me cope with the challenges that I was facing. He’s the living proof that no matter how many times we fall, if we just stand up and try again then, we will achieve our dreams. Darren has also taught me that losing is not the end of everything; it’s the beginning of new things. Indeed, it is true that when God closes a door, he opens the windows and pours out blessings from heaven.
God bless you always Darren, stay healthy and handsome. Keep on inspiring people, especially the youth. Thank you for making our lives more colorful and meaningful.
DARRENatics Cagayan de Oro Area Rep