Converse Block Party: We are one!
By JC Ansis
When In Manila, I got to attend the Converse Block Party at SM Mall of Asia last May 28, 2011. An entire day full of fun and sports activities, the Converse Block Party was all about uniting the community and tapping into the “bayanihan” attitude of Filipinos.
One thing that bridges people together is the clothes they wear, and as we all know, Converse is a much-loved brand for street-wear apparel among the youth. In its efforts to promote camaraderie and friendship, the Converse Block Party featured a basketball tournament, a skateboarding competition, beatbox-ing and dancing. And of course, music. No party is ever complete without loud-banging heart-thumping music.
I was greeted by a graffiti wall upon entering, and people were already vandalizing it with their own garbage. There was one table that allowed participants to paint/draw their own Chuck Taylor designs, while artists on the other side face-painted kids of all sizes. This was, I guess, their way of promoting individual self-expression through art.
Kids had their own fun too, as Converse put up a mini-3D theater on one side of the floor, welcoming people with 3D glasses. The kids were also given crayons and other coloring materials so they could draw on the floor, using the tiles as their canvass.
A basketball court was staged in the middle to pave way for the 3-on-3 tournaments between UAAP and NCAA schools. I got to watch the first game between De La Salle University (DLSU) and Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC). I actually wanted to come in and sub for one of the DLSU players, but I realized I forgot to bring my gear. If I had played, I guess DLSU would’ve won that game.
There was also a 3-on-3 exhibition that featured celebrities like Ram Sagad, Rix Tai, Donnieboi, Jose Sarasola, Gerard Acao and Carlos Agassi. Really, they’re celebrities? I’ve always wondered what happened to Carlos Agassi after that trying-hard-to-be-Ashton-Kutcher stint on that ‘Victim’ show he did decades back, and finally I got my answer. He’s been busy practicing how NOT to be a good basketball player.
At around 5PM, we were amused by an entertaining performance by Beatbox Philippines. It was amazing how those four dudes came up with all kinds of sounds just by moving their mouths. They made MOA’s Music Hall their own club, blurting out beats and lyrics as the crowd bopped their heads. Wonder how much spit was on their mics after they finished.
Displayed on the left were Converse apparel and shoes from their Fall Collection which are expected to be released later this year. I wanted to grab a pair, but the bouncer standing beside the racks was looking at me like he wanted to beat me up. I wanted none of that and walked away.
As the sky grew dark, the Converse Block Party got more entertaining. Host Kat Alano called out The Philippine All-Stars and Krumpinoy. Both squads came out respectively and gave the crowd energetic dance numbers. Before they did their thing though, they handpicked people from the crowd and taught them some of their dance moves. I liked this part, staring at teenagers awkwardly swaying their bodies was fun. People were cheering and laughing at the participants, but it was all good. Two kids who danced the best walked away with free Converse goodies.
Then came the part everybody was waiting for: the Gloc-9/Callalily mini-concert. Gloc-9 came on first, rapping his lungs out to his popular songs. Everybody trying to mouth the lyrics as fast as Gloc did. I enjoyed his rendition of Francis M.’s 3 Stars and a Sun. Awesome sauce. I stayed for a few more songs and left before Callalily played (I didn’t want their music ringing in my ears).
It was a fun day. Athletes competed and skateboarders conquered the ramps. People smiled, laughed and swayed to the music. It only shows that When In Manila, Converse’s way of promoting camaraderie and uniting the community was a success.
Thank you Converse Philippines for the invites!
Converse Philippines Block Party: We are one!