The encounter happened in 2012. While it's been a year, the memory is still fresh, as if it just happened yesterday.
To most people, it was a normal day in the office, but to me, it was something special—that I just had to skip work.
Days before that though, there had been contests online where the prizes are the same: the chance to meet Rey in person. I joined all of them, but I wasn't even close to winning. I thought it wasn't fated to happen.
But like they say, "If there's a will, there's a way."
The program was about to start, but the seats were still unoccupied, and we couldn't have that. So the two hosts had to hold a mini-contest to fill the seats; I was lucky enough to be spotted thanks to my mask.
You can only imagine the ovation he received. As soon as he came out from backstage, the people started chanting "619", the area code of his hometown in San Diego, also the name of his tiger feint kick move. You can tell that the crowd loves him.
One of the things asked to him during his interview was if he had ever tasted any Filipino food that he liked (you know, Pinoy Pride fuel and stuff). When Rey couldn't think of anything to answer, one of the hosts asked, "How about adobo?" To which Rey asked, "What's adobo?"
The hosts couldn't explain to him what kind of food adobo is, that they had to ask a member of the audience to explain it to him.
Again, it was my time to shine.
They called me up on stage to tell Rey what adobo looks and tastes like, and how it's cooked. I may be good in writing in English, but I'm in no way better at speaking it; I struggled to compose my sentences, but I know he got the gist of it. And then, the applause for my brave effort.
Then came my turn to have my stuff signed by Rey. It's humbling that even though my masks weren't authentic but handmade instead, he still signed them for me.
While Rey was signing my first mask, I asked him when he was going to try adobo. Rey replied, "I'll try it tomorrow," and after finishing signing the second one, he said, "Wait, how about tonight?"
But the story doesn't end here. Part Two follows tomorrow.