I’m sorry if I always reiterate my age compared to other fangirls. Relatively, an 87-liner is a bit old compared to other fangirls that are mostly in their teens. If the KPop group is still young (in terms of debut years), then worries of their “oppas” going to the military is the least of their problems. As years creep in, the worry of a two-year hiatus becomes imminent, when we are so used to waiting on SNS for our idol’s latest news in a span of a few weeks? Now you start to ask the question.
“What would you do in 730 days without your bias?”
Time is relative when you are having fun. It’s been five years since my first taste of TVXQ, and yet it felt like it all happened a few weeks ago. I could still feel my 23-year old self even though my current age is the stuff of adult literature — dreaming of grandeur and going for thrills like life is a big poker game.
“Did somebody say, POKER?”
But I chose the path in which women of my age has outgrown. If there’s one relief that fate has offered me, it’s their ages are close to mine.
Like a cruel joke, my age also means military service to these guys. So, the annual Cassiopeia gathering was dedicated to the 730 days that these guys would be out of sight.
The Philippine Cassiopeia started by 2PM, but since I value my weekend sleep more than anything else, I arrived at the venue by 4:30PM.
“I don’t care if you are Jung freakin’ Yunho, but if you wake me up during weekends, YOU WILL DIE!!!”
Some of my Cassiopeia friends are looking for that “Cray-Cray-Changmin-fangirl-who-sometimes-uses-him-for-her-work” but, like sisters from another dimension, they do understand my relationship with weekend sleep.
Riding the LRT to the venue always takes me back to the old Manila. For those who are not familiar with Metro Manila’s political divisions, the city of Manila is the nation’s capital, even though most government offices (except for the Malacañang Palace) and business districts (except for the Chamber of Commerce) is located in Quezon City and Makati, respectively. The chipped paint of old buildings triggers my inner-historian, since most of the train stations are named after heroes and past political figures.
Such as the venue’s location that was named after late President Elpidio Quirino.
“Lazy, lazy Saturday afternoon in contrast to it’s usual ‘packed to the brim’ rush hours.”
The venue was a little dim and apparently my tremors are getting uncontrollable through age. I sometimes wonder how I’ve maintained my profession as an artist despite my shaky hands.
I apologize for the shaky photos.
“Welcome. We’ve been expecting you. Don’t mind us, this is how we ri~iiise.”
The entire penthouse floor was filled with Cassiopeias and everything TVXQ. A giant tarpaulin of the boys welcomes every Cassiopeia to the bar / film showing area.
My first Cassiopeia victim… was my colleague. Hehehe~
“I’m watching you~uuu.”
She was taking care of selling / managing all the pre-loved TVXQ items sold by other fangirls. Dang! Those merch don’t even look second-hand!
On the side are the staple Dong Bang standees.
“That you can take selfies with!”
In which I could do my obligatory “Troll Changmin’s standee with food” photo series!
This was the first photo from last year’s KPop Convention.
“His standee keeps on falling, it’s as if it’s throwing a tantrum!”
And now, this!
“With good ol’ Toasted Siopao.”
11G happened during Yoochun’s birthday (or within Yoochun’s birthday), judging the standees, it seems birthday boy is missing!
The whole afternoon was dedicated for fan programs and film showing of concert mash-ups and random videos.
When “Balloons” came up, the more active (or younger) Cassies started waiving their red balloons.
“Not really obvious in this photo, but they are dancing to it! I swear.”
The afternoon’s theme is like a Toho-cafe, wherein they serve pastries and coffee while enjoying the video mash-ups. Upon presenting my ticket, an admin handed me this chocolate pop right here. I don’t know if you can recognize the constellation pattern icing here?
I bought coffee with Dong Bang stamps on it for P15.
I stroll some more, and then saw the birthday boy… alone… going all existential.
“Staring at the window, asking himself, ‘Why am I here?’ ‘What is my purpose in life?'”
I will never understand his existential problem in his birthday party, so I’ve decided to pull him out of his existential rut and back to his birthday cake.
Birthday boy should be really enjoying his special DB5K cake!
“I could think of several R-18 (NC-17) jokes with this cake, not to mention, some Changmin inside jokes. Hehehe!”
Of course, the whole club sang a birthday song for Yoochun.
Fan gatherings like these gives me the chance to catch-up with old friends (who are apparently Cassies) and fangirls that I get to talk to on social media only. While I was catching up with my Taekwondo buddy, my name was called for a random raffle of Cassiopeia goods.
What happened was so random, I didn’t know I could do a smile like this.
Just crop out the other stuff a~aaand… Insta-Dong Bang creepers!
“We’re going to choke you with that lanyard while you slee~eeep!”
After the fan activities, it is time for Toho-Night. In the Philippines, Cassiopeias often have signature events such as Toho-Cafes and Toho-nights. Although not happening very often
which I sometimes wish it always does, but where’s the element of surprise if that happens. They did the same set-up before back in 2011 (if my memory is correct) during the “Red Room” gathering. I wasn’t able to experience the Toho-cafe that time because I was training during that year, so I went for the Toho-night instead.
Toho-night is like a big night club party for fangirls with alcoholic cocktails served at the Toho-bar.
“It’s kinda like this, but replace Yunho with a citra-board version of him.”
Each cocktail is named after Dong Bang members. From a moderate drinker like me, 2011’s mix was a little too weak in my opinion, but this year was a little stronger. I don’t if it’s due to I haven’t ate a decent dinner, but I liked it! The alcohol was not too strong or too weak, it was just enough to give you a buzz without causing a traffic accident while crossing the street later.
Each cocktail is P100, the first cocktail mix that I got is the Soul Fighter mix.
I don’t know if you can tell the colors, on the left – the pink one is “Essence of Jaejoong”, the Cassies’ take on basic Margarita and the yellow one is “Katas ni Changmin” (Extract of Changmin). In Filipino, the word “Katas” is a strong, funky word, kinda like you’re taking someone’s blood
or ♫swea~aaat♫ and put it into a vile or something… but that’s just me.
“Changmin EXTRACTS me wa~aaant!!!”
True enough, the “Katas ni Changmin” has a pungent taste, added with orange pulp mixed with what I think is gin, goodness. Kinda like the basic gin / vodka juice I always encounter in beach parties, or, or… the sour version of the drink “Sex on the Beach.”
“Like, if I ever get the chance to talk to Changmin and tries to bring this comparison up, It would be like, ‘Hey dude, the Philippine Cassiopeia made a drink after you and it kinda taste like Se…, se…, a~aaaaah, forget it!'”
“Essence of Jaejoong” is as pink as Jaejoong’s soul, and it’s pinkness is a prelude to it’s super sweet taste. Since we Filipinos prefer sweet tastes,
and apparently most Cassie heavy drinkers that I’ve met are Jaejoong fans it’s no surprise that in about an hour, Jaejoong’s drink was out of stock.
I still have some left in my cup, so I’ve decided to experiment on it, I mixed the two and it was divine, like Hello Kitties and Se…, Se…, AAAAH! THIS SOUNDS SO WRONG IN SO MANY LEVELS!!! WHY DO YOU EVEN NAME A FAMOUS ORANGE JUICE COCKTAIL LIKE THAT!!!
“Drunk Chang-pron would be so proud!”
The second round was the YooSu mix.
I can’t tell which is which ‘cos birthday boy’s cocktail was the same color as Junsu, but I think the one on the left is Junsu’s. Junsu juice is the basic Piñacolada. Birthday boy’s mix is called “Mr. Park’s Elixir” like he’s some kind of a magic potion! Or a warning that Micky’s mix is not to be messed with. As always, Micky’s cocktail is often the strongest alcoholic mix followed by Jaejoong’s.
After drinking his Elixir the buzz kicked in fast, leading to this sedated version of me… drinking alone… in an existential table.
“If fate would allow me to have a family of my own, at least that kid won’t find incriminating drunken photos of me in the bowels of the internet.
Instead, only incriminating sober photos of me doing stupid things while lucid!“
The train station will close within a few minutes, so I skipped on Yunho’s mix, which by the way has the funkiest name of all “Kamandag ni Yunconda” which is a great Tagalog wordplay for “Venom of Yunconda,” like oppa is some sort of a snake or something. I’m so sorry oppa.
“NEXT TIME! I promise.”
Judging from the last event, Yunho’s cocktail would have been the ‘punchiest’ of all, only fitting the manliest-man leader of Dong Bang Shin Ki!
“Yes. Manliest-man leader!”
But… when I need to dispose the extra alcohol, I see this morbid reminder of not trying Yunho’s!
Of course, a Cassiopeia night club party-party wouldn’t be complete without a “Mirotic” dance off!
Catching the last train home, I realized that a few hours of coffee and alcohol was a well spent weekend catching up with friends and meeting SNS Cassiopeias, not just profile pictures of their Dong Bang bias, that even I myself is guilty of doing. There was so much activities, I couldn’t even put all in this post.
As I get older, my responsibilities as an adult and a designer has greatly increased through the years, that what I took for granted before, like the little naps, boring and nothing to do weekends had turned into a luxury I can’t waste. Even writing a post about this weekend took me several days before I could publish it. I have to be honest, these girls, or women, are not only my partners in swooning, or either the people I go to for when I’m having a Changmin cray-cray episode, it’s more than that. Most of them are already professionals and because of this, it has helped pave way for us to have a well-founded professional and social activities network within ourselves. Not exclusively for Cassiopeias, but every other first and second generation idol fandoms. And I think that younger fandoms would have this too in the future, when they grow up and enter the working force. As I would advise younger fangirls, grow up together with your fellow fangirls, you’ll never know what will come in the future.
I have to admit, the only close friends that was left during my teen years are the ones that I spent my time fangirling. Nobody knows how long the allure of Hallyuwave would continue to entice us. Maybe someday we’ll outgrow it, just like how I’ve outgrown my obsession with anime. Until then, enjoy your fandom.
Just like us, the idols’ do carry a bigger plate once they turn into sunbaes. Also, the all eminent 2-year mandatory military service by South Korea. In two years, they’ll forego fan service in the service of their country technically still at war with their neighbor.
11G’s title suggests that we don’t forget, and this could probably the last Cassiopeia gathering before the boys do their duty for their motherland. Like a last swing party in all World War II movies, the last shots were called before sending them off…
…until then, we’ll be in a fangirl existential hiatus corner.
“How do I swoon thee without thy oppa?”
P.S.: Some corrections on the cocktail mixes, since my drinking experience is different, one CassPH core said that the mixes are as follows: Yunho – Midori Illusion, Jaejoong – Strawberry Margarita, Yoosu – Variants of Margarita, and Changmin – Screwdriver. Although I’ve tried Screwdriver before (and had fond memories of turning me into a blabbing GENIUS after several shots of it) both variants of Sex on the Beach and Screwdriver that I’ve tried in the past are made with orange juice, except that SOB has a grenadine syrup, and the basic Screwdriver has only the alcohol and juice on it which is much closer to what I’ve tasted. Bu~uuut for LOLs I won’t change it! Muwaaahahahahahahaha!!!
PHOTO CREDITS from CASSPH and various Tumblr TVXQ fan pages.
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