JUST about a week ago, I was one of the privileged few to be invited to Metro Manila for ABS-CBN’s Christmas Special. So, together with a few friends from the local media (and a couple of friends from Davao media), we were off to the North to catch a piece of the holiday action at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last Dec. 11.
It was my first time being in a star-studded event of this magnitude, and I still remember, days after, the sound of hundreds of screaming fans—with their creative cardboard props and LED gadgets—cheering for their favorite celebrities. It was non-stop show; Kapamilya celebrity after celebrity showcased on stage.
Musically, acts like Bamboo, Yeng Constantino, Moira Dela Torre—and especially, Sarah Geronimo—were just mind-blowing. Geronimo’s vocals alone would force any voice editing/enhancing software to quit. It was that incredible!
After the day of the concert and right before the Christmas party dinner with the rest of ABS-CBN’s media friends from Manila, we got to visit the recently opened “ABS-CBN Studio Experience” (Studio XP) at TriNoma. Studio XP is the network’s first “Studio City” opened September this year. I remember thinking to myself before entering the facility: “Nice! This feels like an arcade and theme park all rolled into one.” I thought the Studio Experience made perfect sense for the network—it diversified the network’s business beyond shows and programs, and extended its exposure beyond television screens and live events.
Before entering Studio XP, you’ll get the chance to first enjoy food from the Pinoy Komiks-themed Heroes Burger. After the meal, you’ll be treated to a display of a variety of ABS-CBN merch available on sale at the ABS-CBN Store. Go in deeper, and you’ll find a number of interactive games like “Action Academy” (an obstacle course-type of challenge), “The Voice Open Mic” (a karaoke-type challenge with a huge twist) and “Pinoy Big Brother Breakout” (an escape room-type of game where players are locked in a room and are given a task to complete). There are a lot more attractions like the “Minute To Win It: The Experience,” “It’s Showtime Director’s Booth,” “Kapamilya Theater” and “Star Lab.”
That said, I had fun as well! With great prizes at stake (and being miles away from home), I tried the “The Voice Open Mic” attraction. The challenge was to get all four virtual coaches—Sharon Cuneta, Bamboo, Sarah Geronimo and Lea Salonga—to turn their chairs for you while you’re singing. I “studied” the possible criteria/algorithm at play and went for the karaoke classic “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith.
Sure, it’s all make believe. But I swear, I lost touch with reality for about two seconds, when after the song, virtual Sarah G. congratulated me, saying, “Where have you been all this time!?”
I’m proud to say, I flew back home as the sole person who beat the challenge out of probably 50 who tried the Open Mic that night.
ABS-CBN’s Studio Experience and its attractions’ operating hours vary and is closed on Mondays.