How to survive concerts at Philippine Arena

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 22) — Live concerts are back and the enormous Philippine Arena in Bulacan has become a popular choice for producers of top acts who deserve a bigger audience.

Located at Ciudad de Victoria in Sta. Maria, the Philippine Arena has a seating capacity of over 50,000 — making it the world's largest mixed-use indoor theater, according to the Guiness World Records.

Among the artists who already performed there were Irish rock band U2, pop singer Harry Styles, and K-pop groups Seventeen and Blackpink. Filipino American singer Bruno Mars will also stage his concert at the Philippine Arena in June.

While it is bigger than the other venues like the Araneta Coliseum and the SM Mall of Asia Arena, not everyone finds the Philippine Arena "concert-friendly" due to the lack of nearby commercial areas and access to public transportation.

But here are some survival tips when attending concerts in the world's largest indoor stadium.

1. Transportation and parking

If you plan on commuting, the only thing you can do is ride a bus to Brgy. Turo in Bocaue. From there, a tricycle can take you to the arena. However, concert organizers and fan bases have recently offered roundtrip shuttle services or carpools for concertgoers. These services cost from ₱450 to ₱1,000, depending on the pick-up location. The amount is usually inclusive of toll and payment for gas.

For those driving to the venue, better go early as Ciudad de Victoria is just along the North Luzon Expressway — where heavy traffic is almost always guaranteed whenever there's a concert at the Philippine Arena. It's also better to park near exits to avoid being stuck for hours just to get out of the vicinity.

2. Food

Expect food offered inside the venue to be more expensive, so it’s advisable to eat a full meal at home before going to the Philippine Arena. You may also want to bring snacks with you as getting inside the venue may take a while.

Don't forget to bring your own water, as concert organizers do not always set up water refilling stations. Bottles are prohibited inside the Philippine Arena so you would have to leave your tumbler in your car before lining up, or throw your plastic water bottle before the security check.

3. Signal and contacts

Mobile phone signal in the vicinity is unstable regardless of your service provider. But be sure to have enough load.

We also advise not to solely rely on online messaging or social media apps as mode of communication. Always save the phone numbers of your friends and even of your family members for emergency purposes. If you are going to the concert through a shuttle service, please also save the numbers of the bus or shuttle driver, marshals, and of your seatmate.

4. Clothing and shoes

The vicinity of Philippine Arena is so huge you would have to ride a tricycle from any of the parking sites just to get to the arena itself. It's best to wear something light and comfortable, as getting around Ciudad de Victoria will take long walks.

Rubber shoes are highly advisable. Aside from the long walks, you will also pass through the large staircases going inside the arena. If you are seated at the Upper Box portions, you would really need to wear comfortable shoes as you will take many flights of stairs before you get to your seats.

5. Essentials

Just pack light when going to any concert. Organizers and venues usually allow bags up to 12 by 12 inches inside the venue. So better bring a bag that can carry essentials like a foldable umbrella, rubbing alcohol, tissue and wet wipes, emergency medicines for headaches and stomach aches, wound plaster, extra face masks, wallet, vaccine card, and a power bank.

As for concert tickets, put them somewhere easily accessible for faster entry to the arena. Do not forget to have a scanned copy or photo of your ticket.

Bring enough cash too as there are no available ATMs or banks near the Philippine Arena. Also, not all stalls accept card or online payments. As phone signal in the vicinity is also unstable, online payments may not be reliable as well.

(Note: This is based on the writer's experience. Experiences may vary for each concertgoer.)