Building Bonds, Beyond Borders, To One Red Ocean [A KFEST Fanchant Battle Fanaccount/Diary]

Dong Bang Shin Ki  taught me how to dance, how to cheer and how to connect my heart to others. Before, I wouldn’t dare sway to the music no matter how much it moved every part of my body, I wouldn’t scream no matter how itchy my throat was, I wouldn’t  open myself completely to people I just met. Dong Bang Shin Ki gave me a set of friends I could call my "second family", made me realize what it really means when you say "you do it for love" and made me accept that a person could cry an ocean if it was for something you cherished greatly.

Last night, I discovered, the most important lesson Dong Bang Shin Ki has taught not only me, but everyone else who learns from these five wonderful men.
Cassiopeia Philippines glamoured the stage when the lights went RED and Cassiopeia hearts were inflamed. Intense cheers and an ocean of tears soon followed when the victory was acknowledged. But everything wasn’t easy. 
Two months in the making, for a four-minute performance. Two months of sweat, frustration, anxieties, paranoia and arguements. All for that desire to knock to the hearts of every TVXQ/DBSK/THSK fan in the Philippines, to remind everyone that, "hey, we’re alive and we’re gonna kick". Moreover, for that desire to voice out that FAITH we’ve been keeping, if not the longest, probably one of the strongest since the array of negative issues plagued the global fandom two years ago. 
That’s right exactly two years ago. Still remember? You should. Because exactly two years ago, hearts were shattered. I don’t even need to repeat what every article that talked about the fate of the five men got fond of headlining their publications or news clips. Yes, the day the family was divided. It added up to the flame of that desire to stand on that stage and win that title – the Champions of the Fanclub Fanchant Battle. 
It was a burden everyone agreed to carry on their shoulders. Some would call it burden, but for us, it was an honor. It was an honor to be one of the chosen to embody that love that wasn’t ordinary, that reputation that wasn’t earned with days but with 8 years, that color that symbolized the strongest of emotions. We all reminded ourselves those. And with every weekend of June and July, we held on to that goal, because we believed, we needed to do this. Not only for Dong Bang Shin Ki, but for the family we wanted to heal, unite and go back to at the end of the day. 
The road was terribly bumpy, deep inside our hearts, sometimes we felt like giving up, because the desire to win was eating us alive. Along the way, some hearts failed to reach each other and some needed to leave. A lot of heartaches were felt and our bodies betrayed us. Some plans did not work. But as much as the hardships were the joys, laughter, dreams and achievements we all shared together. It filled us up more than the food, water and snacks we ate together on the same table. And at the very end, we still knew what we had to do. That stage better be ready. 
It was for that day, that four-minute performance that we knew, would be like forever. We started early because we were still not confident that we were at our best already. There were still frustrations and not to mention the strongest of all demons, the degrading self-confidence. It was hard enough to imagine what your competitors would do, it was harder to see it with your own eyes. But as they say, lose the self-confidence and you lose the battle even before you fight it. The battle wasn’t over till it was over. 
Before we stepped on that stage, we joined our hands together and prayed. It was then we all realized, that whatever happened, we shouldn’t forget that this was for love, not for fame and glory was only a bonus. The most important thing would be, that we love and will love this family, win or lose. Tears threatened to fall as the hurtful reality that the reason for all of these were the ones absent, not only before us, but before each other. We shouted "HWAITING" as we waited for our turn. We watched the first performers attentively and the floor opened for us. 
Just as after the first ones finished, the stage turned RED and cheers were heard. My heart stopped beating. We took our baby, little but enthusiastic steps and made our way before the eyes of perhaps hundreds of people. Some stared with indifferent looks, some with astonishment. The music played. We gave in to the moment, all that I could remember was, I was shouting while I struggled to catch up with my breath, danced every step automatically and jumped to encourage the audience to SCREAM. As I looked at my friends dancing with me on that stage, everyone looked like they were doing the same thing. We didn’t care if the stage trembled, we channeled every energy without an ounce of second thoughts. From our left, our right and on front, there were screams. My eyes were waiting to produce waters. Those waters wanted to fall so badly.
The four minutes flew by like a hawk. And we knew it wasn’t enough. The Cassies knew that as well. And even as we prepared to leave the stage, shouts were heard. Shouts of the names of the five men that united us all, "DONG BANG SHIN KI! DONG BANG SHIN KI!". Everyone ran as fast as they could to release their emotions. 
I ran to the nearest wall and pressed my face against it. I was breathing hard and fast. A cold hand reached out to me and as I turned to respond, she was crying. That one strong person was crying. I turned to see the others and they were crying as well. I couldn’t hold back anymore. We reached each others’ hands, all of us, we shared the tears we’ve been suppressing. We knew we did our best, and we were all lost for words. 
We ate together as we waited for the announcements of winners. We shared the same food, sat together on the floor (with CassPH’s tarp), laughed at each other and listened to DBSK’s music. We all wanted the night to last forever. We all wanted to cry more, we all wanted to dance and shout more. 
The moment we’ve all been waiting for arrived at last. We all sat together near the stage, beside each other and waited with our hearts skipping some beats. I held the person close to me as the winners were announced. Third place. Not us. Second place, not. A few seconds before the word "champions" were uttered, we prayed and bowed our heads. Reminded ourselves, no matter what happened…
"And the first place/champions for the Fanclub Fanchant Battle goes to…..CASSIOPEIA PHILIPPINES!"
As soon as it was announced, I found myself running to the stage while carrying our flag, my friends were as fast as Mach 5 and soon as we were all up there, I waved our flag with pride. Everyone cried again and jumped with joy. The MCs asked us to do a fanchant again and we chose the "Hug" fanchant. 
We all said our thanks and went down the stage. We formed a circle and hugged each other tightly, while shedding those tears of accomplishment. CHAMPIONS. 
As I checked the pages and Twitter account of CassPH, I couldn’t help but cry more. There were overflowing messages of congratulations and greetings from everyone. My news feed flooded with status messages of happiness and love. 
Even as I write this, I can feel my hands – cold, and tears falling down again. 
As I viewed each picture taken last night, reminisced with the videos of the peformance, I still cried. Everyone’s hearts were ONE. Everyone shouted like there was no tomorrow, as if the voices were being extended to the ears of the five men we all love. Yes, if only Jaejoong, Yunho, Yoochun, Junsu and Changmin heard. I told myself it was ok to cry more. Yes, because it was sweet. 
I can’t put everything into words, because my mind could not keep up with my overflowing emotions anymore. The happiness is unexplainable, the tears keep on flowing like I’m going to end up dehydrated and my heart is full of warmth. If only it was possible, I want to spend a whole week with every Cassiopeia and laugh together. 
Looking back at everything that happened one magical day of July 31st, I realized that it taught us one valuable lesson. The most important gift that Dong Bang Shin Ki has given us, without us realizing it easily. 
Jaejoong, Yunho, Yoochun, Junsu and Changmin wanted us to be like them, not as stars and be good at dancing, singing, acting, directing and composing songs, but as friends that enjoy a golden bond. Above every tangible achievement they have earned, the most priceless thing they own were those strong bonds they had, not only with themselves, but with their lovers-slash-sisters-slash-friends a.k.a CASSIOPEIA. Because when we danced on that stage and the Cassies cheered, the Red Ocean Family was very much alive and every heart formed a bond with each other. It didn’t matter if we knew exactly one another’s names and faces, all everyone knew was they had to be one with one another. And that bond took us all to our victory.
Jaejoong, Yunho, Yoochun, Junsu and Changmin, we all hope that your hearts were able to hear us when we screamed for you and for the Cassiopeia we all call our "home". 
With love, passion, dedication and faith – that is the beauty known as CASSIOPEIA. I am and will always be proud to be one. Always Keep The Faith and till the next event! 😀
PHOTO CREDITS: ERIKA PAULINO ( See more pictures here )

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