7 Highlights From BamBam’s AREA 52 Concert In Manila That Gave Big Filipino Energy

Shot puno!

Thai idol BamBam gave fans the experience of their lives at his first solo concert in Manila—earning honorary Filipino status along the way. Read on to find out why.

Related: Shot Puno: Sandara Park Flying to the Philippines to Support BamBam is Giving Big Sis Energy

Solo artist and GOT7 member BamBam is embarking on his first solo world tour AREA 52! His first stop outside of South Korea was Manila, where Double B doubled down on the fanservice and fun performances. He made sure he absorbed as much of Manila as Manila absorbed of him by immersing himself in the musical culture of the Philippines (he asked what surprise Filipino song to perform) and adopting Filipino slang, jokes, and phrases.

This has now become standard for each country, as the Thai artist also asked Malaysian fans which song they’d like for him to perform at his Kuala Lumpur show. BamBam is sweet for preparing a nice surprise for each stop, making sure each country’s culture and his fans are uniquely involved in the show. It’s giving Mr. Worldwide!

Ever since his early days in GOT7, BamBam has been dipping his toes in Filipino culture, singing Ronnie Liang’s Ngiti in concerts, and more recently, turning “shot puno!” into his trademark catchphrase. And after AREA 52 in Manila, he’s solidified his honorary Filipino status—here’s why!


BamBam and Sandara Park at AREA 52 concert


BamBam featured special guest, “pambansang krung-krung” Sandara Park, at AREA 52, performing alongside his close friend and labelmate. Did you know they also went to Gerry’s Grill together back in 2022? Dara, as an honorary Filipina darling herself, was the perfect guest to join BamBam, matching his funny, enthusiastic energy perfectly. Dara performed her new songs Festival and Dara Dara, as well as 2NE1 classic I Am The Best.


Filipino Ahgases do stay winning! Fans got BamBam to dance the SB19 global hit twice with Dara, after they also got him to sing Raining in Manila twice. More importantly, of course, they killed it.


After asking what surprise song he should perform at AREA 52, and getting a ton of responses, BamBam ultimately chose the Lola Amour hit Raining in Manila (and his favorite, Ngiti by Ronnie Liang). More than that, instead of just performing it at the concert, the singer also posted a full cover on his X account—and his pronunciation, accent, and vibe were on point! BamBam Batumbakal indeed.


The superstar also shared some cute social media interactions with Lola Amour on X after the band listened to BamBam’s cover. We’re slowly watching a friendship form, people! A friendship that could lead to a collab, if things fall into place. The artist also channeled a Filipino-style hugot in replying to the band. Who hurt you, BamBam?


@gail.ugc bambam is so funny 😭 his concert is just sooooo the best in manila 😭 #bambam #got7 #got7bambam #bambamgot7 #bambamarea52 #bambaminmanila #bambam1a #bambamxabyss #bambam_tour_area52 #bambamarea52tourmanila #kpopfyp #foryoupage #fypシ゚viral #hallyutalkph #hallyu ♬ original sound – eka Lifestyle and Kpop UGC

Seloso BamBam strikes again! The artist hilariously called out his fans for checking out his dancers instead of him, saying they should only pay attention to him. “You like my ate?” He said with no hesitation. Called out in English and Filipino! Don’t worry BamBam, plenty of eyes are just on you.


Unbeknownst to BamBam until after the show, Ronnie Liang himself attended the concert, showing his support for the idol. Clearly, he knows all about how Bam loves his song!


Still in glam, Double B ended his great night with a pint and his favorite catchphrase. Like with “skrrt skrrt,” he’s owning the use of “shot puno” and helping it become a global catchphrase. Hopefully the idol comes back sooner rather than later and checks off the next things off his Philippines checklist. If he doesn’t have one yet, we’ll make one for him. We’re waiting for that Lola Amour collab (and maybe a Poblacion pub crawl?)

Continue Reading: 10 Filipino Songs We Manifested Hearing BamBam Sing at His Manila Concert

Meet The Final 7 Members of The Girl Group Project

Go off, queens!

The final members of the upcoming, yet-to-be-named girl group of The Girl Group Project have been making the rounds on social media, and after months of training and evaluations, they’re almost ready to take on the P-Pop stage.

Related: 10 Things You Need to Know About Dream Academy’s Sophia Laforteza

If you were on TikTok the last few weeks, then you definitely have come across the “I Wanna Go Back” dance trend set to a sped-up version of Do It Again by Pia Mia. Well, did you know that the creators of the trend are young Filipino trainees getting ready to debut as members of a new, upcoming P-pop girl group?

@ggprojectmedia boy can we go back? 🤷🏻‍♀️ dc: jezrene 🐝 & nicole 🐣 #fyp #ppoprise ♬ do it again – ᶜ ʰ ˡ ˡ ˣ ᵉ ᵈ ⁱ ᵗ ˢ

That’s right, dancers and artists Jezrene and Nicole, whose names you may have seen credited under TikToks of the trend, are members of a yet-to-be-named girl group formed by DreamCloud Media Productions. DreamCloud recognized the immense potential of Filipinos in the pop music industry, and so, in early 2023, they started The Girl Group Project. It was a passion project, an initiative to select, train, and evaluate talented young girls to form a group ready to take the P-pop world by storm.

After the final evaluation at Eton Centris last July 30, seven trainees were selected to debut. It’ll take some more time, work, and decisions before they make it big, but for now, let’s meet the young girls who have made it steps closer to living their dreams.


Nicole from the girl group project

1/2 of the pioneers of the “I Wanna Go Back” trend, Nicole is The Girl Group Project’s center, and has shown her prowess in singing, dancing, and playing the ukulele—which she’s been playing since she was in high school. She’s driven by her desire to show the world her talent. She’s a Virgo, and her MBTI is ESFP-T.


Jezrene of the girl group project

The other half of the TikTok trend’s creators, 19-year old Jezrene is a strong singer, which got her the position of lead vocalist. A true introvert but with a powerful voice, she’s a Gemini, an INFP, and, like most of us, her hobbies include sleeping. She’s been inspired by K-pop since she was young, and pushed through some mental and physical challenges before she got to where she is now.


Hana of of the girl group project

Keen-eyed girl group enthusiasts may recognize the 22-year-old as a former center of idol group MNL48! Her stage name used to be Aly, and she can be seen in MNL48’s videos like Ikaw Ang Melody. Hana is the group’s lead rapper, visual, and sub-vocalist. She’s a Capricorn, INFJ, and she likes playing mobile games.


Jane of the girl group project

Jane is the group’s main rapper and a lead vocalist. She’s a Capricorn and an INFJ-T, often in dark clothing and makeup to match her fierce and independent spirit. She likes to sing, cook, and watch anime. She made, sold, and delivered food to help out her sick parents all while studying and trying hard for her dreams.


kath of the girl group project

Kath was the first trainee to be announced as part of The Girl Group Project. The 20-year old is the group’s main dancer and lead rapper while also being a diligent university student at the University of the Philippines Los Baños. She’s got grit and stage presence for days, and is a Taurus and ISFJ-T.


Mita of the girl group project

Lead vocalist and dancer Sushmita, or Mita for short, is a proud Taurus and INTJ. She loves cats and owns a handful of them—18 to be precise. A multi-talented performer, Mita was influenced by her aunt to get into music.


Pearl of the girl group project

The ever-fashionable Pearl is the group’s main vocalist and resident baton twirler. A Taurus and INFP-T, she was the last trainee to complete The Girl Group Project. She also loves to design clothes. Emotional during her last interview before making the final lineup, Pearl is driven and determined to reach her dreams.

Stay tuned on The Girl Group Project’s social media accounts (TikTok, Facebook, Instagram) to keep up with these talented Gen Z artists! Do you have a bias yet?

Photos courtesy of Jionor Verona for The Girl Group Project/Facebook

Continue Reading: Girl Group Calista Puts the Pedal to the Metal With Their Debut, ‘Race Car’

BGYO interview on NYLON Manila

Meet BGYO, P-Pop’s Breakout Boy Group

Meet the members of the breakout boy group, BGYO.

It’s only been less than a month since BGYO’s debut, and this rookie P-Pop group has already made big waves, reaching 1 million views on their first music video, The Light, in just a week since its release.

RELATED: The Light Has Come: BGYO Works Up A Storm With Their P-Pop Debut

The group—comprised of members, Gelo Rivera (19), Akira Morishita (19), JL Toreliza (19), Mikki Claver (18), and Nate Porcalla (17),—is the first boy group to be formed and debuted by Star Hunt Academy (SHA) to kick off the new decade. BGYO (pronounced B-G-Y-O) is the brainchild of Director Laurenti M. Dyogi, Head of Entertainment Production, and its talent management arm, Star Magic at ABS-CBN.

So, who is this new P-Pop boy group that is taking the world by storm? Here’s why BGYO is all over your timeline.

BGYO released their first single, The Light last January 29 and it became very clear that aside from watching out for this group, the world needs to pay close attention to this force of nature (read the full review of The Light here.) Their illuminating energy didn’t just happen overnight, though. They spent two years rigorously training to get to the point where they are today.

Blood, sweat, and tears formed this new P-Pop group. Mikki even recalls crying after one of their evaluations during SHA training, when he received what he now calls constructive criticism. “There was a time when Direk was giving us feedback because we had evaluations. When I went upstairs to meet Direk Lauren, I received negative feedback, so I cried when I heard that,” he said, bashfully smiling at the memory.

While Mikki can rap and make his own music now, he actually had zero experience in both singing and dancing prior to joining SHA. “That [feedback] really helped me to become better, and now I am able to catch up with them,” he added while the rest of his group nodded in full support.

Gelo, the leader, also shares one of his most memorable experiences as a trainee. “There was one time during Korean training, we had a lot of homework, we slept late, and was on a strict diet. Then randomly, someone played a worship song, and all of a sudden, I started breaking down.”

Not one to hold back his feelings, Gelo prides himself in being the most expressive of the group. And it rings true the most when he performs onstage. It also helps that he had training in dancesport, which is a technical competition for ballroom dancing. It became quite a useful skill now that he’s in BGYO; his movements and expression having a way to captivate and enchant the audience.


Living together for the most part when the pandemic hit, these boys naturally became tight-knit as a group. But it wasn’t always that way. Akira shares that he was close with the rest of the group during the early days of training, but when it came to their leader, Gelo, he wasn’t sure how to approach him.

To break the ice between the two, Akira would often ask Gelo if he had eaten already. “Bro, kumain ka na ba?” Akira re-enacts while Gelo starts laughing, as if it was an inside joke running between the two boys. “Ganun usually ‘yung tanong ko para mag-usap kami,” Akira explains.

It’s easy to see that Akira has a charming personality. After all, he started working at a young age, doing TVCs and modeling for high-profile brands. This led him to more acting jobs, the most notable being the indie film, Sundalong Kanin, which won him the Most Promising Actor recognition. He’s basically a natural in front of the camera now!


No stranger to the Korean wave, the boys of BGYO were trained for international standards. Inspired by K-Pop’s global domination, and motivated by the success of SB19 breaking through worldwide charts to show the promise of the Philippine music industry, BGYO’s goal is to be just as recognized as their Korean idols and the P-Pop trailblazers before them.

“Actually, my mom introduced me to K-Pop. She introduced me to BTS, EXO, and then eventually I learned about Wanna One, SEVENTEEN, and new groups like that,” says Nate who was beaming excitedly while sharing his love for K-Pop.

Though Nate is the youngest of the group, he is considered one of the most seasoned dancers in BGYO. Dancing since he was six years old, competing and performing around the US fueled his dream to perform in front of huge audiences. In fact, if it were not for SHA, he was prepared to relocate to Korea to train there as an idol. So, don’t be fooled by his seemingly sweet and bubbly disposition, he’s actually a dancing machine on stage.


A lot of things came unexpected last year when the pandemic hit. Having to camp inside SHA and be away from their families was a big challenge for the boys who are close with their family, along with the uncertainty of their future because of the ABS-CBN shutdown. But that didn’t stop the boys from getting overwhelming love and support from their fans. What was supposed to be a one-time appearance on a show became a regular occurrence in the high-rating Sunday noontime variety show, ASAP Natin ‘To. This further solidified their fandom, leading them to the light, which is their much-awaited debut this year.

And while the boys’ journey this year remains illuminated with opportunies, thanks to the support of their fans, BGYO is determined to work even harder to improve their skills.

JL, known as the mapanakit balladeer of the group because of his soulful voice, opened up about wanting to learn how to rap and branch out with his style of music. We won’t be surprised if, in the next few months, he’ll get a rap solo. His wide vocal range is definitely an advantage, and if he proved anything from camp, it’s that with enough persistence, he can power through and learn anything he wants to.


It’s a dream for BGYO to reach international recognition. During the fancon last January 29, they shared that they have plans to translate their song into different languages so that their international fans will be able to understand their music as well.

Recently, BGYO was featured in a New York fashion brand, Prive, co-owned by EXO’s Baekhyun. Naturally, Nate was gushing from the feature. Mikki recalled that they used to cover EXO’s songs, and now, they’re wearing one of the members’ collection.

Surely, there is more in store for BGYO. Things are looking good ahead of them, so there is no doubt in our minds that BGYO is ready to shine their light to the world, onward and upward, as their story continues to unfold.