I left the office early last March 30, 2016. The reason? Bench had an event in TriNoma starring our very own Alden Richards and his ka-love team, Maine Mendoza. Alden was being launched as the newest endorser of Bench Fix Salon while Maine’s scent line was being introduced.

I was there as early as 4pm, together with my colleague Renze, who is from our marketing and branding team. I had a long chitchat with fellow early bird Tito Lhar Santiago, who shared stuff about his recent trip to the US, his beginnings in another station, and judging contestants in various modelling and beauty pageants.

I also got to spend time with the lovely guys of Bench. Some of them I met for the first time, such as Miguel Pastor, while most of them I already know but rarely get to chitchat with, such as Noel Manapat.

The mall was already very crowded when I got there. The seats were already full and mallgoers were peeking from every floor. I thought the stage was amazing – it was ‘70s-inspired and there was a divider a la AlDub splitscreen – and I couldn’t wait to see Alden and Maine there.

I don’t remember what time it exactly started because I was busy socializing and taking care of the press and Alden’s cousin April (she joined us in Tarlac for the #AldenGivesBack birthday charity event) but it was non-stop fun when it finally did.

The opening dance numbers were really entertaining (I spotted a couple of really cute dancers LOLERS) and it was definitely goosebumps-inducing every time Alden and Maine stepped out to join the dancers. I’ve never really seen Maine perform live so whenever she did her dance numbers I made sure I was attentive. She’s such a natural born performer! She didn’t do splits or somersaults but she had so much stage presence and she knew how to effortlessly connect with the audience. Now that's talent.

Alden, on the other hand, sang his signature song God Gave Me You, and while I’ve seen him perform that song several times, it was still an experience, like it was the first time I was watching him sing it. I don’t know – something about him and the song and the love team and the whole phenomenon that has made that song really, really special, bringing all sorts of feelings and memories every time you hear it.

After the show, I joined Alden in his holding room. It was great to see him all energized and perky, which a lot of people would find hard to believe considering his crazy schedule. But he really was. 

One of my favorite things to witness every time I am with Alden is his meet-and-greets. From time to time, people from Bench would let some people in for photo opps and it’s always nice to see how happy these people get before, during, and after meeting Alden and having a picture with him. It’s such a joy to watch: someone like Alden making others happy through a photo opp – an act that is so simple and easy, when you come to think of it, but can also be something so hard to give sometimes if you’re someone who’s tired or in a bad mood and has given it too many times that day, an act that is so fast and instant but when you come to think of it is really hard to achieve if you’re a fan who doesn’t have connections or if Lady Luck isn’t on your side that day. Hayyy, showbiz!

Alden and Maine had to do a meet-and-greet onstage for a number of lucky people and while they were doing that I had the chance to say hi again to some members of Maine’s team, from Rams to Pat, to Mike, who used to be with GMA Artist Center, before I joined the team.

Before long, meet-and-greet was over and it was time to say goodbye. I said bye to Alden and then hopped over to Maine’s holding area to say bye to everyone. I got the chance to take some selfies and I even made beso! #FeelingClose

I was so tired and hungry and thirsty after that so I had a Pellegrino and a slice of banana loaf in Starbucks together with the GMA Artist Center team afterwards. That was very fulfilling considering it was pretty hot in the venue and I had my blazer on the whole time, plus all I had was one piece of the sosyal turon with caramel sauce, a stick of tofu inasal, and a couple of sips of dalandan juice (I didn’t want to drink a lot coz I didn’t want to go to the comfort room frequently).

Highlights of the night? One was making beso with Maine. The other was successfully uploading snaps on Snapchat. I snapped like crazy and prayed to the internet gods for good signal/connection, which I got, making sure I gave TeamBahay members a glimpse of the event, from the performance snaps to my backstage exclusives.

Don’t forget to check out my photos and videos from the event. They’re all in my Instagram account @MarkSablan. You can also follow me on Snapchat @MarkSablan for some fun celeb-filled snaps. :)