Me: “HAPPY SLIP? THE HAPPY SLIP? AKO!”
And that's how I found myself at the St. Francis Square Showroom beside Shangri-La Plaza last Thursday, bleary-eyed at having to wake up early for the 11 a.m. call time but giddy over the prospect of meeting Christine Gambito aka Happy Slip, the Fil-American vlogging phenomenon whose YouTube videos have generated some 4.4 million views (“That's equivalent to the entire Filipino-American and Filipino-Canadian populations combined,” the emcee pointed out helpfully).
Rewind a bit: You could call me a lucky bastard for this opportunity. News had floated around that Happy Slip would be having a meet-n-greet with bloggers and fans sometime during her Philippine tour (the Department of Tourism brought her over so she could help promote the Philippines to balikbayans and foreign tourists). But here I was, getting first crack at meeting her simply because I was from the press (who just happened to be a blogger, too).
The more I thought about it, the more I felt I wasn't worth this golden opportunity. Happy Slip is one of YouTube's top five most popular vloggers. I'm possibly the worst vlogger there is, given the point-shoot-and-dump-here rawness of my videos.
No, somebody else deserved this chance more than I did--somebody who's done more to popularize video blogging locally. Only one name came to mind: Cokskiblue aka Coy Caballes.
The guy, so well-known for his modulated voice, uncharacteristically lost his poise and stammered on the phone when I invited him along. He'd been a Happy Slip fan all this time, and in fact traces his original inspiration to vlog to her hilarious videos. Needless to say, Coy needed no convincing at all.
He had a brilliant idea a few hours later. He won't tell them he was meeting Happy Slip ahead of everyone, but he'd ask his readers this question: “If you guys have the chance to sit down with Christine and ask her ONE question--what would it be?” Then he'd choose one entry and incorporate it into our joint interview with Christine. The night before the event, I badgered Coy: only one question? Why not choose the five best entries, then we'll read these questions along with the names of the bloggers behind them? Having Happy Slip answer these questions would be a thrill, and that should spread the fun some more.
Yes, that's our surprise to our fellow Happy Slip fans. Despite the long line of people from TV, print and other media jostling for a chance to extract a quote or two from Happy Slip, Coy and I bided our time, Coy clutching the by-now tattered piece of paper where he had written the top 5 questions of his choosing. But first, he recognized Josh Verdes, known to viewers as the guy who scores the music for Happy Slip videos. So while Christine made the rounds and ate her (late) lunch, we interviewed Josh, who turned out to be Christine's cousin.
Here's the video of our brief chat--a sort of warm-up entry before the primetime show: our own interview with Happy Slip! Which questions did Coy choose, and how did Happy Slip answer them? Abangan in part 2!
Coy aka Cokskiblue finally meets his idol and inspiration, vlogging phenom Happy Slip aka Christine Gambito.
Christine with her Mexican agent, Richard. (Hottie alert!)
With Tourism Secretary Ace Durano
Beautiful, smart, warm and funny Happy Slip--RP's newest tourism ambassador to North America