A blow-by-blow account of how I spent my Valentine’s Day at UP Fair Roots

Photos by Lucky Leoparte


The drum beats echo in my heart. I am a few meters away from the stage, and I am reminded of my love for the music scene. I know almost all of the songs by heart, and watching the bands perform onstage has always been an enjoyable experience.

This is the first time in a long time since I’ve been to a music event. I am in a sea of strangers, and I am alone. It’s Valentine’s Day, and the people around me are mostly loved-up couples. The day started with me running around the Metro, and the next hours had me in a state of exhaustion. But I stay the whole night. I stayed until 3 a.m., until my legs hurt from all the standing, and I became somewhat deaf because of how close I am to the speakers.

But I am happy. My heart is full. In all my years studying in UP, I have never been to UP Fair, and this was my first. And boy was I glad that I volunteered to cover this event.

4:45 pm: I arrive in UP, an hour later than the time I told the organizers. My anxiety skyrockets even when I know that the gates are open for the whole night. I try to calm myself as I walk to the Sunken Garden via really steep grasslands.


4:50 pm: I get my media pass and I walk around the grounds. So this is what UP Fair looks like, huh. A whole lot of shawarma stands and college kids dressed up in a very distinct style. There’s a Ferris Wheel, but it doesn’t look safe. At all.


4:58 pm: Two hosts go onstage to start the program. I am shookt. They’re so on time.

7:00 pm: I Belong to The Zoo is now onstage. He’s wearing a cast so someone plays the guitar for him. Still doesn’t make Courage less painful. That song will always remind me of a specific person and it’s a blessing and a curse at the same time.

8: 15 pm: It’s Imago’s turn and I realize that they have a new vocalist. Sundo will never get old. I could listen to it over and over again and still feel the same hurt. And a live version with the whole of UP crowd singing along is now etched in my mind.

8: 45: The Ransom Collective is always a sight for sore eyes. My deeply-rooted girl crush on Leah Halili intensifies as she plays the bass. The band’s stage energy is definitely contagious, and I find myself smiling as they finish their set.


9:20 pm: My legs hurt but I am going to endure because Mama didn’t raise a quitter.


9:25 pm: Okay fine. I need to sit down. I’m gonna go find my friends and sit with them for a bit.


9:34 pm: I find them outside the Sunken Garden. I sit with them and catch up on some work. (Because the hustle never stops, apparently.)


10:00 pm: Rivermaya is next. I pack up my stuff and run back inside the gates, because who would want to miss Rivermaya?

10:05 pm: RIVER FREAKING MAYA!!! Even in my sleep-deprived state, I was ready to dance along to Hinahanap-hanap Kita. That night, I learned that jumping up and down can ease your tired muscles. (Or maybe it was just all the adrenaline, really.)

11:00 pm: Here’s a confession: I never liked Franco. I used to think that the band’s rock and roll style was not my thing, but I realized that I was really just hating without even trying. I may not have been fully converted into a stan, but hey, at least I can sing along to Better Days now.

11:50 pm: Southborder’s Ikaw Nga will always be the ‘Mulawin’ theme song, am I right?


12:24 pm: “Hindi ko naman yata ikamamatay kung hindi ko mahawakan ang iyong kamay.” Shirebound and Busking plays Waltz of Four Left Feet and I take a video to send to my friend who has some painful memories of the song, just to mess with her.

12:54 pm: My legs hurt. I wanna sit down again. But it’s Mayonnaise onstage. But I wanna sit down. But Mayonnaise!! MIND OVER MATTER.

1:30 am: Last two bands, finally. Champ Lui Pio is making cute faces and I may have died a little. That sea of flashlights when they sang The Day You Said Goodnight made the song a hundred times more heartfelt. I wish I had someone to hug. Or maybe just a chair so I could sit down??

2:34 am:  Munimuni is the last band. I’ve been a fangirl for as long as I can remember, and seeing them up-close meant a lot to me. I had the chance to say hi to them after their set, and I may or may not have gushed a little too much.

3:00 am: Best. night. Ever. Okay, not really, but it was a Valentine’s Day well-spent. Forget the fact that I turned down a date with my crush for this night.

#events #music

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