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Fancy Meeting You: Chance Encounter with Jose Mari Chan

Afternoon now, and earphones plugged into my ears, I am listening to Jose Mari Chan’s “Afterglow.” The song has just finished, and the phone is now playing “Beautiful Girl.”

ALARM!!! ALARM!!! Age alert!!! Age alert!!!

I just realized the other day that, despite my huge mp3 collection, I did not have one single Jose Mari Chan song in my hard drive. So yesterday, I set about remedying the situation.

Limewire is quite handy; but do a search and you will see for yourselves that not very many people have Chan’s songs shared. Fortunately, I have this really cool freeware called Easy Youtube Downloader. Just paste a Youtube URL into the utility and it will download a video and extract its mp3 for your listening pleasure. Whatever Limewire’s limitations as far as Jose Mari Chan collections are concerned, Youtube makes up for with aplomb!

Before long, I had 10 songs added to my collection. There were some I downloaded because they were personal favorites. Others I took a chance on but was pleasantly surprised when I played them that I knew the songs as well! I just did not know their titles.

Like this song that I remember for the line “My head's in a jam...” Afraid for Love to Fade pala ang title. Somewhat like many people recalling “Turn me loose...” for Elton John's “Skyline Pigeon.”

Oh, and did I mention that we met Jose Mari Chan when we were in Bohol? He and his lovely wife were actually billeted in a high-end resort and had come to ours so their kids could try the banana boat.

Before anyone starts thinking of us as star-struck celebrity seekers – albeit we had obligatory photographs to show off taken with him – there is this little-known fact that the Chancellor of the school we work for, Sonny Lozano, produced Chan’s first-ever single, “Afterglow,” back when I was still in shorts.

Now, we had all heard that story from the Chancellor himself; hence, the two girls who first spotted Chan had a convenient starting point for a conversation when they introduced themselves.

And it’s not as though we disbelieved the Chancellor; it was still great to hear Chan tell the exact same story we had already heard from the former.

Having obtained the Chancellor’s cell phone number from one of the girls, he then called up the former in what must have been among the surprises of his life!

“Sonny was the first person to believe in me as a singer,” Chan told us proudly earlier. “Joe wrote that when he was still courting me,” Chan's wife added, referring to “Afterglow.” We had heard that from the Chancellor as well...

Truth be told, I just nodded stupidly the first time I heard the “Afterglow” story from the Chancellor. I did not know of the song. It was that lovely fancy-meeting-you ballad that first brought Chan to my consciousness when I was a kid.

Now imagine bumping across this internationally known singer-composer as a bonus to our lovely if brief Bohol escapade! As we had our pictures taken with him, I could not help but be amazed by how pleasant and down-to-earth Chan was and how sincere he sounded talking to us complete strangers.

I guess the true mark of a genius is if one can remain unaffected by one’s successes in life, for the simple reason that the genius is natural instead of contrived. As far as geniuses go, they cannot go anymore authentic than this pleasant man who nonchalantly flung an arm over my shoulder when we were about to have our picture taken.

In my head, I was thinking... Fancy meeting you here...

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