Ben Adams, Mark Read and Christian Ingebrigtsen who made their comeback two years ago in Norway with the boyband a1 after ten years doing various solo-careers, are still popular as ever in the Philippines.
Thousands of screaming fans met up at the airport in Cebu when a1 landed, cheering and waving Filipino, Norwegian and British flags. – A very warm welcome just the way we remember the Filipinos from last time we were here, Christian said.
For seven days the group stayed in the Cebu area, mostly visiting and supporting Younglife Foundation, a Norwegian non-government organization (NGO) founded in 2007. The visit was sponsored by the Norwegian company British Armour (A global manufacturer of armoured SUVs) and its CEO Finn T. Wattenberg.
Charity in Olango, Cebu.
A1 visited Younglife’s main project Olango Village de Lus, where street children are being taken care of and treated for hare-lip and other mouth and throat related diseases. One of Younglife’s new commitments is to provide dental care to the 15.000 children on Olango, a small, very densely populated island outside Cebu where much needed public health facilities are absent.
A1 highlighted the need for charity in these areas, but also spread joy and prosperity for the people when performing several gigs, singing old and new songs in the different communities.
There was also some time for a1 to see some of the beautiful and spectacular nature that the Philippines and Cebu have to offer, such as an island hopping boat trip on the surrounding sea. – I will never in my life forget this, Christian expressed after the trip.
The visit to Cebu was so rewarding and successful that a1 has already planned their return. In early June they will come back and have a bigger concert in the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu. – This will be a concert not only for those who can afford it, but also for the ones who can’t, we want everybody to be included, a1 told us.
All the revenues from this planned concert will go to the construction of a new house for the children in need on Olango, a1 said.
A1 visiting the embassy.
A1 performing "Like a rose" in Smart Araneta Coliseum. Photo: Espen Moseidjord
The day before the big concert a1 stopped by our embassy. They were naturally served warm Norwegian waffles with jelly and sour cream, something Christian also used to serve Ben and Mark when they were studying together in the UK.
On the touring of the embassy a1 awarded a lucky visa applicant two tickets to their concert for answering correctly on Christian’s question: “What is your favourite British-Norwegian boyband?” You can just imagine the applicant’s reaction after realizing she won.