It was past eleven o’clock at Grilla in Greenhills, a few hours after our laser tag game with orgmates and foreign interns, we decided to grab a few drinks and chill before leaving (that meant watching them drink beer while I enjoy my bottle of clear tasteless water. I had a long test the next day and I haven’t prepared for it yet). By this time my friends from AIESEC Miriam College had already headed home and I was the only Filipino left in the group.
I was having a rather fruitful conversation with the foreigners; exchanging ideas about history, cultures, and politics that I don’t typically talk about. I was greatly astonished by their knowledge and interest in these areas. But just when Sokol, was about to excitedly deliver his point, my eyes drifted pass his head and zoned to this dude behind the glass walls of Grilla. My mouth formed a perfect O as I shrieked “Ooooh my God! That’s the President of the Philippines!”. Those words put a halt on our progressing and seemingly intelligent conversation, to act like chickens with their heads cut off in sight of that smoker chilling outside, thirsting for a bottle of beer. Hence, we all jolted from our comfortable seats and quickly hopped outside. Of course I, being the only Filipino in that group, was compelled to approach this man in his drinking session to have our picture taken with him. As I was about to walk up to him (that I couldn’t imagine myself doing so), I was held back by one of his bodyguards. “Sandali lang po miss”, was all the words I could understand from him. The rest of this sounded like a murmur to me, as I realized how humiliating I was. I felt so embarrassed that I wanted to give up on that idea of having a picture with the president.
To be honest, I’m not really into Noynoy Aquino. I’m not saying this because I’m bitter. I was frustrated about the fact that the greater percent of the country voted for him. I was supporting Gordon, I believe that out of all the presidential candidates (and I believe many will disagree) Dick Gordon would fit best as the President of the Philippines. President Noynoy may possess the name and the honor handed down from his parents, but he does not have the capability to manage himself, much more a country.
Regardless, I was dedicated to get that picture. So, I took a deep breath, pulled myself together, held my chin high… and waited for the perfect timing to approach him again. I was more careful now! I was embarrassed of what I did! I can’t just approach a leader of a country surrounded by body guards. What was I thinking? Of course I’m gonna get restrained! So, we took the table a few feet from him. We coolly asked one of Grilla’s waiters if it’s possible to have a picture with him and thankfully he responded positively. He advised us to approach President Noy directly and not the bodyguards, I looked at my friends and telepathically said “yeah we figured that out already”.
I wasn’t gonna be as hyped as I have been if it wasn’t because of Nick. Now that I think about it, I could have acted more civil. But Nick has managed to successfully infect us all with his excitement and put us all in the heat of the moment. Interrupting the President in the midst of his yosi and inuman with his boys, just to have our picture taken with him was not even an idea I could grasp if it wasn’t for Nick. But I would be lying if I tell you that it was my only motivation.
Seeing a public figure in person is a different case than seeing such person on tv. Despite my cynicism about him, I could not help but be keen on meeting and having a picture with him. No matter how ordinary you think of that person, if he's popular and he's of higher rank, there is such a thrill on meeting this person face to face. It seems like all the lacking awe you have for him just accumulated the instant you’re faced with him.
A few minutes have passed and we still couldn’t get a good timing to approach him, I don’t wanna be held back by one of his body guards again. But I was indeed persistent and patient. Finally, a few foreigners took the lead of having a picture taken with him. Thus, we followed their lead and before we knew it, there was a line behind us already. The night ended with enjoyment and satisfaction of having a picture with “The President Noynoy”.
The night left me thinking though… I wonder how I would act if I see Justine Beiber or Charice Pempengco around the mall?
I was glad how the night ended. This kind of event doesn’t happen often. Heck, what are the odds of meeting the President of the Philippines at a bar?! Top that for badassness! Thus, it was in fact wise to just go along with the heat of the moment. We can’t always take ourselves too seriously, because then I wouldn’t have this story to tell, and I wouldn’t have this picture to brag.