TwoTeenTours is a favorite for many fans needing a ride going to the Philippine Arena. It started with a group of Filo CARATs who were looking for one themselves.
The Philippine Arena has been used as a concert venue for years. But it is in the past year that the world’s largest indoor arena has taken on a new significance in the local concert scene. From SEVENTEEN, Bruno Mars, BLACKPINK, and more, the Philippine Arena has been used more frequently as a go-to spot for the world’s biggest musicians to hold concerts in the country. And while it’s a treat to see S-tier faves perform to a crowd in the tens of thousands, getting to the arena is a whole other conversation.
Unlike venues such as MOA Arena or Araneta Coliseum, the Philippine Arena isn’t exactly the easiest place to get to. This is where TwoTeenTours comes in to help fill in the gaps, a Philippine Arena shuttle service that has become a favorite among many concertgoers who need a ride. Fittingly enough, the service was started by a group of friends who were bound by the fact that they were fans themselves. We recently got the chance to chat with Miel, Riri, and Mara of TwoTeenTours’ executive team as they opened up about the origins of the service, servicing thousands of fans, and more.
A MEETING OF CARATS
While TwoTeenTours isn’t the only private shuttle service people can book to go to the Philippine Arena, they stand out from the crowd because they put the fan experience at the center. “We’re a fans-first logistics service. We wanted to do this to help other fans,” shares Miel. The company traces its origins to SEVENTEEN’s Be The Sun encore concert in Bulacan last December 2022. It was a big moment considering that they were the first solo K-pop group to hold a concert at the venue. But getting there became a challenge real quick.
Miel, Mara, and Riri were all CARATs who knew each other as part of the BulaCARATs X account. For Miel and Mara, it dawned on them that even if they weren’t going to the concert, they knew they needed to help other Filo CARATs make it to Bulacan. “There was a lot of apprehension going to the Philippine Arena, especially in December. We may not be there, but we will bring the fans there,” recalls Mara.
As for Riri, she was in Laguna and hired a tourist bus to go to the concert. But if all she wanted was to find other CARATs to fill the bus, she was in for a big surprise. “I just posted a Google Form on X, and lo and behold, the following day, I woke up and the number of people that have signed up in the form could already fill four buses.” In the end, Riri filled nine buses of fans going to the Philippine Arena, with the trio organizing transportation for over 5,500 fans in total. Soon, it became clear that this was something special, and thus, TwoTeenTours was born.
A MULTI-STEP PROCESS
Organizing transportation for thousands of fans is not something that is done on a whim. As the trio share, it takes months of planning and preparation just for one artist’s concert. The process starts with their website where concertgoers have to set up an account, book their ticket, the terminal, the time of their departure, input a series of personal information, and finally payment. “We want to make sure of safety and that no one can resell our tickets. As fans, we’re very vigilant about those security concerns,” expresses Miel, who adds that each seat on their buses comes with passenger insurance.
In the lead-up to the show, fans are encouraged to join specific Telegram chats and other channels to get important reminders and ask any pertinent questions. Then, it’s on to the day of the actual concerts as terminal managers assist fans to their buses and make sure each person is attended to, which includes each rider getting a set of freebies. As for the core team, they have a van dubbed the “Mothership” that serves as their mobile base of operations. “It’s like boarding a plane. That’s the best way to describe it. There’s a lot that goes on,” says Mara.
From payment to travel to and from the Philippine Arena, post-event feedback forms, and countless updates, the team, which is composed mainly of fans and former passengers, is on top of everything. The whole process, such as getting suppliers, drivers, payments, and passenger insurance, has to be done not the week of the concert, but months before. This is one of the main reasons why TwoTeenTours can’t take new passengers on the day of the concert because of all the planning that goes behind the scenes.
And while it is a lot, the team prides themselves in how they will always lend their ear to the fans with customer service being a top priority from start to finish. As Miel notes, “We learn from our own experiences and we made many friends for life just because we sat in the same bus going to the concert. The sense of community is really important for fans, so we don’t want that to get lost in the service we’re offering.”
FOR AND BY THE FANS
What TwoTeenTours does is no joke. The work can overwhelm those who aren’t ready for all the responsibility, especially when it comes to servicing fans who are vocal about the experience they expect. “It’s a mix of all emotions literally,” reveals Riri. “Preparation takes a long time. Hindi siya parang concert sa December, November ka magprepare. It takes months.” But the team isn’t backing down when the going gets tough.
As Mara sees it, ”This kind of work excites us because we love a good challenge.” And for Miel, who described the feeling of the job as “everything everywhere all at once”, there’s something to be learned and gained from all of it. “This is something we love to do and very exciting for us. But of course, as a growing company, we have our growing pains and learning curves.”
More than just a source of income or a means to make money, TwoTeenTours operates on a philosophy of giving fans the experience they deserve. It’s no wonder then that they’ve become a favorite for many K-pop fans who need a ride to the Philippine Arena. In just under a year of operation, the service has transported an estimated 17,000 fans, a number that also includes foreign fans who travel to the country. It’s impressive numbers for a company that doesn’t even have a physical office space yet. “It’s been moving so fast. We didn’t realize it would grow so quickly,” says Miel.
While the pressure is real, so is the desire to be a company for fans, by fans. “We didn’t expect this to be known to the fans. It’s such a nice feeling to be top-of-mind for fans. And with more people knowing us, there’s more responsibility. That’s why we value feedback and engage with our community. We are fans ourselves and we put ourselves in their position of how we can make this the best experience that I will ever have,” states Mara.
SEEN AND HEARD
Scroll through the comments section of any post on social media about a concert being held at the Philippine Arena, and you’ll probably find a good share of people who would rather have it be held somewhere else. Some push for concert producers to not normalize the arena as a concert venue. But for the TwoTeenTours team, they welcome the Philippine Arena as a viable concert venue.
“If your artist goes to the Philippine Arena, that’s growth,” states Riri matter-of-factly. Adds Miel, “We need to normalize it so that we can develop a system that works. The reason why it’s not nice initially is because there’s nothing set in place yet. Our dream is to contribute to the solutions that are going to go towards making the Philippine Arena easier to access.”
And while concerts in the Philippines will always have its debated moments, especially when it comes to the topic of accessibility for fans, TwoTeenTours wants local concert producers to know that as long as you’re actively listening, you’re on the right track. “Realistically, it’s not possible to please every single fan, but most of the time, people just want to know they’re heard. At the end of the day, fans are people who care deeply, so if they know the organizer of their favorite artist’s events care too, sometimes that’s more than enough.”
As international concerts at the Philippine Arena, and soon other venues such as the Philippine Sports Stadium and New Clark City Stadium, continue to be held, so too does TwoTeenTours continue to evolve and improve themselves. The team grows by the day, and they’re starting 2024 strong as they transport thousands of attendees to the back-to-back concerts of Coldplay and SEVENTEEN. But no matter where the team goes, they will always strive to have the interests of fans at the front and center of it all.
And speaking of that, Miel, Riri, and Mara give fans who plan on watching a concert at the Philippine Arena some words of advice. First, change your mindset of going to the arena and not think like you’re just going to the mall. “The difference between an ordeal and an adventure is perspective. So, treat this like an adventure.” Second, don’t let what happens to you while waiting for the concert ruin what may well be a core memory. “Do not let the slight inconveniences throughout the day ruin the entire experience for you. Let it go and just try your best to enjoy the day.”
Finally, you’re all there to have fun and see your faves, so enjoy, make the most out of it, and be kind to each other. “Be a safe space and don’t be afraid to reach out if you want to be with someone. Open yourself up to the safe spaces that are there for you.”
Photos courtesy of TwoTeenTours