South African-born Australian singer Troye Sivan literally lit up the entire Mall of Asia Arena on Labor Day with his killer voice, infectious energy, genuine charm, and star power that left everyone, including those who are not queer, in awe.
His penultimate song “Youth” and final number “My My My” made the concert venue appear to be a big house party hosted by the 23-year-old gay icon.
“I want to come back here as soon as possible. Is that cool?” he asked the audience before closing the show, “We have one more song. For this particular show, we have like four more minutes left together, maybe. I want to see every single person losing their minds, singing along as loudly as you possibly can. Can you do that for me, Manila?”
And he was like that throughout the show, connecting with the audience not with a monologue but with a real conversation. He always asked the crowd to dance and sing along with him, starting each number with “are you ready?”
At one point, he asked the audience in front how to say thank you in Filipino and read the tongue twister “nakakapagbabagabag” written on a bond paper held up by a fan in the VIP area.
“I want to say that but promise me that it’s nothing rude. Sorry for my pronunciation.” he said, to which a loud fan shouted, “Mind-boggling!” “Oh, that’s sweet,” he retorted.
Troye opened his show singing right in the middle of the venue wearing a red turtleneck, black trousers, and black jacket. How the staff was able to sneak him in to sing in the middle of the crowd was still a puzzle though.
He sang the pop ballad “Seventeen,” culled from his critically-acclaimed sophomore album Bloom, from which the tour is named after. He then proceeded to the stage and officially kicked off his 17-song Manila show with chart-topping singles like “Plum,” “Heaven,” “Wild,” and “I’m So Tired.”
Troye also delighted thousands of his Filipino fans with his worldwide hits “Postcard,” “What a Heavenly Way To Die,” “Dance to This,” and “Animal.”
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1995, Troye was a celebrated child star in his adopted hometown of Perth, Australia. Home-schooled, he began singing and acting at a young age, but his biggest break came when he appeared as a young Wolverine in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
As a child of the digital age, Troye launched his YouTube channel with videos of musical performances, originals, and cover songs and later began to upload weekly video blogs documenting the minutia of his teenage life in Perth which quickly garnered a loyal international audience.
He also showcases his acting talents in the 2018 film, Boy Erased, alongside award-winning stars Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe. His debut album, 2015’s Blue Neighbourhood, introduced him to the pop mainstream, landing in the Billboard Top 10 with the singles “Wild” and “Youth.”
Troye’s The Bloom Tour Manila concert was presented by MMI Live and Live Nation, together with Smart.
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A.k.a. Mr. Heathcare
His father Erap is counted as an iconic action hero of Philippine cinema and was even acknowledged as President of and for the masses during his term in Malacanang. Yet, JV Ejercito, whether he was aware or not, did not allow his old man’s legacy and fame to overshadow his personal worth in the eyes of the public.
Since becoming a politician in 2001, he has carved his own path and himself transformed into a hero in his own right, earning the nickname “Mr. Healthcare” for championing the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act in the Senate which is “now approved on Third and Final Reading.”
The landmark bill will essentially provide accessible and affordable health services for all Filipinos. That’s synonymous to saying that poor families will be unburdened from financial difficulties paying for these services.
“Dahil sa UHC, abot-kaya na ng bulsa ang medical services mula sa checkup, piling laboratory tests, hanggang sa papaospital dahil katuwang ang gobyerno sa pagpasan ng gastos,” said the reelectionist senator in a recent chat with the press.
Ejercito, who assured that all Filipinos will be “automatic members of Philhealth under UHC,” has, as of this writing, authored 75 laws and 572 bills since getting elected in the Senate back in 2013. He was first elected Mayor of San Juan City and served for three consecutive terms wherein his constituents benefited from both his health and housing programs. The Polytechnic University of the Philippines-San Juan Campus, built during his term, has now produced more than 10,000 scholars. Continued on C3
Before embarking on a silently effective political career, he stood as a young leader of the Junior Chamber International Philippines. Clearly, this accomplished man who also represented his beloved city in the House of Representatives (2010-2013) has been poised to make a name for himself. Both his parents are currently city mayors — Erap in Manila, Guia in San Juan. Shining bright on a Senate seat is no doubt something to be proud of as a son of politician parents.
Senator JV expressed, “Tayo naman tahimik lang and I let my actions speak louder. But if I’m given the chance to talk and the situation calls for, you can count on me.”
That’s pretty much true as revealed in recent public debates.
The lawmaker is likewise concerned about the plight of overseas Filipino workers and ensured that they are covered by the UHC or Republic Act 11223. He related, “Kapag umuwi silaafter their tour of duty, they will be covered by the National Health Insurance Program. You just have to prove na Pilipino ka.”
Apart from health, Senator JV is also a strong voice for youth and education. He has pushed for “higher subsidy in the budget of State Universities and Colleges.” His mantra goes like “Isang college graduate sa bawat pamilya.” For the record, he completed his Political Science degree at the De La Salle University. He is studied and seriously sees the work of a politician as beyond the statistical push of popularity.
He may have been fortunate to be the son of a highly charismatic public figure, but Senator JV technically worked his way to the top not mainly banking on that badge. Yes, it did push him up, but it was merely destiny’s way to help ensure he gets to actually serve the people.
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