Revisiting the AlDub Craze

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Credits: AlDub FB (@aldenandyayadub)

Our Obsession with “Kilig”

Kilig (noun): – the overwhelming thrill and excitement felt by someone who is in love or under a strong infatuation, caused by a word, action, or mere presence of the object of love or infatuation. It is characterized by various weird physical reactions such as smiling from ear to ear, laughing uncontrollably, giggling, blushing, hunching one’s shoulders, perspiring (even in a cold environment), cold hands and feet, a strong heartbeat, shaking, or other unexplainable actions. (My own personal definition 🙂 

The peak of the rare social phenomenon in the Philippines known as AlDub happened in the second half of 2015. After almost two years, many are now asking – is the magic over too soon?

One thing’s for sure—the accidental love team of Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza will forever go down in history as a marketing miracle, a rare advertizing goldrush event where millions of passionate fans broke social media records, movie ticket sales and tv viewership stats. This duo had remarkably attained many “firsts” in the world of Philippine entertainment and social media. All these happened within the loveteam’s first six months–a real feat indeed.

Marketing experts and media analysts have come up with various explanations about the “Secret Formula” – that magic ingredient that caused everyone from A, B, C and onward down the line in the entire viewership spectrum to stay glued on their TV screens or on YouTube at the height of this “madness”.

But that was in 2015. What’s going on with it now? We do suppose their TV producers or directors are hell-bent on re-creating that magic formula, whatever it may be, and realizing it is not as easy as it seems. An inherent nature of this “magic formula” seems to be spontaneity, an element of “realness,” a real tugging at the heart that couldn’t be summoned merely by a script or tv production.

That “secret ingredient” is what the Philippines calls “kilig”—a Filipino word that has no direct English translation.

Imagine an entire population, or what is known as the “AlDub Nation”, collectively feeling that exact same sensation, although vicariously, at the same time. The result is a widespread phenomenon never before seen on Philippine television or even in the international social media.

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Credits: AlDub FB (@aldenandyayadub)

The AlDub craze, if anything, has demonstrated something in “kilig” that people young and old, whether they be poor, unschooled street laborers, or highly skilled intellectual professionals, married or single, are just drawn to.

There is something in the mere prospect of true, unadulterated pure love that we seem to desperately want to be a part of.

We want to live in the world of this love unfolding before our very eyes, although vicariously through Alden and Maine.

Our primal hunger for love is the real reason why we do most of the things we do. It explains a lot of what we see on social media, for instance—the desire to be liked and admired and accepted. The desire to feel important and treasured. It is such an intrinsic part of you and me, as if we’ve been actually designed for it and it’s a major part of our DNA or genetic make-up. And to be honest about it, of course, we are talking about something beyond just romantic love.

This is why abandoned children usually grow up feeling incomplete. This is why jilted lovers harbor deep emotional wounds, sometimes for years. This is why teen-aged girls give up their virginity way ahead of time. This is why people turn to drugs and alcohol to cover up the emptiness from not being loved, or at least, not being loved as much as they desire to be loved.

And you know what, all of it would not even begin to make sense…. unless you believe that there’s a God who created everything in the universe including you, and that He purposely designed you for love. For His love.

This is why we are forever drawn to love or the prospect of true love. This is why nothing in this world could ever remove that emptiness or unfulfilment or discontent deep down that we keep trying to cover up with busyness, or money, or fame, or material things, or a career, or the love and admiration of other people, or adventure, or power, or illicit sex, or influence, or achievements, or drugs, or beer, or a nightlife, or social happenings, or any form of distraction, or any form of excitement… and the list goes on and on.

God created and designed you for love. For His love. And unless you believe and respond to His love, there would always be something missing in your life, no matter how far you think you’ve come.

God doesn’t want to be your religious icon or an object of religion. He doesn’t want to be your Santa Claus or your genie whom you merely go to for your wishes. He doesn’t want to be your goodluck charm or your talisman to protect you from bad luck. He doesn’t want you to go to Him merely as an emergency recourse in times of trouble. He doesn’t want you mentioning His Name merely for a semblance of morality or to make you look good. He doesn’t want you to see Him merely as your ticket to heaven.

He wants your heart. He wants you to know Him. He wants to be in your life. He wants to have a relationship with you. For real.

Question: Has your search for love ever influenced your actions or decisions? In what way? Please leave a comment. 🙂
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Radically Changed

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She was a man trapped in a woman’s body.

Or at least that’s what Leng had believed for the past 50 years. She used to take pride in being a toughie, thinking it was her masculinity and her strong and unrelenting personality that got her through most of life’s challenges.

That was until when, at the age of 50, she encountered something that radically changed her life. Or rather, she encountered Someone.

Her world was changed the day she encountered Jesus Christ and realized He is not just the religious figure she had revered since childhood, but a very real Presence, an all-consuming fire that revolutionized her entire being. For the first time in her life, she desired nothing more than knowing Him, following His lead, and experiencing His love.

After so many years of playing it tough, her rock-hard psychological defenses finally broke down in the face of this awesome reality. The sheer freedom of finally knowing the truth and knowing Jesus Himself was more wonderful than anything she could imagine. Soon, one after the other, changes were happening in her attitude, emotions, and the way she looks at life.

For one thing, she no longer desired sexual relationships with the same sex. Understandably, at first this didn’t go well with her long-time girlfriend and companion with whom she had raised a son. For Leng, however, the woman she had lived with for so long together with their son would always be her family and home. She would always be to her a dear sister and bestfriend, and mother of her son.

Despite her girlfriend’s initial displeasure, however, it didn’t take long and she was soon convinced to come to church with Leng. Together with their son, they now attend services at Victory Churches of Asia in Quezon City, Philippines every Sunday like a regular family.

The profound change in Leng’s life—the transformation from a defensive, tough-talking, bitter and usually angry façade—left no doubt to its authenticity. Physically, however, she still prefers her usual get-up—pants, leather jacket, sneakers, and closely cropped hair. It’s not that easy to get rid of half a century’s fashion habits. She couldn’t bring herself to wear a dress either. While she is aware of occasional looks of disapproval from some “religious” Christians, she is happy to find in God’s Word that

“People look at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart” (I Samuel 16:7).

Still, there are times when she would ask God—“Why am I this way?” meaning why does she still prefer to dress up like a man. And the answer soon became apparent.

The sense of God’s overwhelming love compels Leng to share Jesus to everybody and anybody she meets—in the office, on the streets, and everywhere she goes. And that’s when she finally understood. The way she looked gave her some sort of “access” and approachability to people whom other Christians would normally find hard to connect with. It was easy for her to reach out to both men and women and people who consider themselves of the third (and fourth) sex. She reveled in the thought that even her appearance had a purpose for His cause.

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A few weeks ago, she got to her office at City Hall and found an old man slumped motionless on her desk. She asked around and learned that the old man had been standing in line in one of the cityhall’s transaction windows and could have suffered a stroke. So the office staff took him to where the airconditioner was a lot cooler—in Leng’s office—and had him sit on her chair.

For Leng, it was an opportunity she couldn’t miss. She talked to the old man, telling him of Jesus’ love and power to heal. She touched his arms and found that he couldn’t even raise them. His fingers were twisted and gnarled and very stiff, and he was just totally weak.

Leng knew that just as Jesus healed a lot of people while He was on earth 2,000 years ago, He is still actively doing so now—through the hands of people like her who believe and have a living relationship with Him, who take Him at His word, who are willing to step out despite what other people might think. Thus, in obedience to Jesus who said, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, drive out demons,” Leng declared healing for the old man in His Name.

Almost immediately, the man was able to raise his arms straight up, his fingers softened and were able to move, and strength began to return to his body. Overwhelmed with joy, the man reached out for Leng’s hands and almost wanted to kneel before her. Leng recalled reading from the Bible about the exact same reaction from a lame man whom the apostle Peter had healed. Peter had said,

Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see”. (Acts 3:12-16)

Leng patiently explained to the old man, “It wasn’t me. It was Jesus”.

Question: Have you ever met a person whose life had been radically changed from inside out? Please leave a comment. 🙂