Unlike their horrific experience at the height of Tropical Storm Sendong, the unexpected came across as much more pleasant this time for survivors staying at the West City Central School in Barangay Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City.
The surprise came in the form of an impromptu mini concert by Filipino-American hip-hop artist and Smart brand ambassador apl.de.ap of The Black Eyed Peas (BEP).
apl.de.ap, who is in the country for his annual Christmas visit, willingly participated in efforts to cheer up the survivors and boost the efforts of volunteers helping in relief efforts in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Sendong.
He gave a heartfelt performance in what must have been a first for the international rap artist – singing in a covered basketball court on a stage crowded by people and boxes of relief goods to an audience that was a far cry from BEP’s crowd of well-dressed, young hiphop enthusiasts.
It was warm for apl.de.ap, dressed in his signature white jacket, but he got an even warmer response from the crowd of lolos and lolas, moms tending to their babies, toddlers playing nearby and even on the stage, middle-aged men and the teenagers who were all staying in the evacuation center.
He energized the crowd with songs like “Bebot” and “The Apl Song” and gave his audience an inspiring message with “We Can Be Anything”, the song he composed for the “Bayanihang Pampaaralan” campaign to promote education and build 10,000 classrooms for poor Filipino children in 10 months. He ended with the hit song “Where is the Love?”, saying “because that’s what we need right now!”
apl.de.ap later greeted volunteers at the Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, where he also gave in to requests to render some songs.
His trip to Cagayan was made possible through the efforts of the Philippine Business for Social Progress in coordination with Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, TV5, One Meralco Foundation, the PLDT-Smart Foundation, PLDT and Smart Communications, Inc.