I went to the 1st Ukulele Philippines Challenge at The Collective last Saturday. There were ukes, harmonicas, kids, and old people. There were peanuts and milk. Every single person in that room was either happy or in love. Or both. I was in love with the atmosphere and the way people held their ukes like old best friends. We were inside that small store on our monoblock chairs and it felt how a big happy picnic would’ve felt like.
Sir Manny, a long-time friend of Ukulele Philippines, was one of the last performers. He had everybody sing and play along to Stand By Me. All it took for me to stop in cathartic amusement was a glance at the kids playing their ukes, and the harmonica solo at the end. It honestly felt like home.
I didn’t get a uke for a prize but when the shop owner found out that I didn’t really own a uke, he promised to give me one before my friend and I left. I was the happiest kid that day.