Once the excitement of the news of her performance waned, we buckled down to preparations for her arrival - i.e. performance stage, adjunctive activities, programming, and what seemed to be the most pressing one, security and safety
Yeng Constantino is a singer-songwriter, host and actor. She is dubbed as the Pop Rock Princess. Her breakout moment in the music industry was bagging the Grand Star Dreamer in the inaugural season of Pinoy Dream Academy in 2006. She has recorded several platinum albums and is the singer and songwriter for the hits “Hawak Kamay”, “Ikaw”, “Salamat”.
Before her arrival in Edmonton, I did some research on her and watched some of her vlogs to have a sense of her personality. Meeting Yeng at her hotel room, I was amused at how quickly she transformed from a worried professional suffering from a sleepless night, to an ecstatic fan when presented with a Raptors merchandise. I was surprised to learn that she was nervous about The Learning Table, and anxious about not meeting people’s expectations. There was nothing for her to worry about and I gave the assurance that the intent is to learn from her, that the participants are eager to know more about her, to present herself as she is, and just be her own person. And boy, did she do that and more. Yeng was genuine in her sharing and rapport with the participants. She was vulnerable and revealed her insecurities. She was also greathearted in sharing how she coped with uncertainties, in responding to the questions, and giving advice. Majority of the participants for The Learning Table were regulars of previous The Learning Table sessions and projects of the Philippine Arts Council. So they are not easily fazed and can sometimes be jaded. But never had I seen them more star struck than this one with Yeng.
Her appearance at the Edmonton Filipino Fiesta for the TFC Hour was both record breaking and refreshing. It was heartwarming to see the overwhelming crowd just having a really good time. They were enamoured and in high spirits. Yeng had good banter with her audience and hosts, and was gracious even with technical difficulties. Her singing, needless to say, was exceptional. Yeng was running on a tight schedule, yet she somehow managed to suspend time by singing an extra song from her playlist, and engaging in conversations with fans during the Meet and Greet just before heading to the airport.
* This article was published in the July 2019 issue of the Alberta Filipino Journal and written by Ida Beltran Lucila.