Singer Jed Madela, a friend and long-time collaborator of Sarah Geronimo, was "in tears" upon watching the pop star's emotional breakdown during her Las Vegas concert in which she revealed feeling "empty" despite her success.
"Naiyak ako for her. Nalungkot ako for her," Madela told ABS-CBN News' MJ Felipe Wednesday, when asked for his reaction to his fellow ASAP Champion's on-stage outburst.
He explained: "For somebody who is [looked up to], a pop star royalty, every time we see her, she's always this strong, fierce performer, entertainer. For her to, just like a switch, biglang. . . Bumalik siya sa Sarah na very vulnerable, parang bata.
"Ang sakit ng feeling bilang isang kaibigan na makita siya na nag-be-break down. I was so concerned. Something has to be done."
Madela and Geronimo started working together in 2005, as part of the Champions segment of ABS-CBN's concert variety show "ASAP." The segment gathered winners from different singing competitions for one production number every week.
The balladeer, who joined showbiz in 2003, admitted having grappled with burnout at some point in his career.
"People sometimes don't understand that we are also human. Ang nakikita nila sa TV, we're all made up, with all the lights, all the sounds. The visuals, nakikita nila, 'Wow, celebrity,' 'Wow, ang ganda ng buhay nila.' It's not all that. . . It's not easy. Sobrang nakaka-stress. Ang taas ng expectations ng tao," he said.
The topic, according to Madela, was brought up in a group chat he shares with fellow "ASAP" performers, in light of Geronimo's episode.
This, they agreed on: "At one point in our careers, in our lives, mapupuno ka talaga, to the point na kahit anong pretend mo. . . OK, I'm going to put a mask. Time will come talaga na hindi kaya takpan ng mask. You will just have to stop and break and give up."
Having gone through a similar experience as Geronimo, Madela shared he could empathize with the "Kilometro" hitmaker. He imagined the pressure to be multiplied for Geronimo, whose superstar status is backed by 15 successful years not only as a pop performer, but as an actress and sought-after endorser.
"Watching Sarah, nakaka-relate ako sa pinagdadaanan niya, but then what more for her? She is all over the place doing concerts, recordings, movies. Lahat. . . It's a normal thing for somebody like her na at a certain point, babalik ka sa pagiging tao. Masasaktan ka, mapapagod ka," he said.
Asked for his message to Geronimo, Madela gave assuring words that appeared to address, specifically, the pop star's admission that she is exhausted, and is still looking for fulfillment outside of her career.
He said: "Sars, nandito lang kami for you. We feel you. We know how difficult it is to be the pop star princess. Just remember it's OK to say no, it's OK to say na break time muna, 'Relax muna ako.' It's OK.
"If you say that you need a break, your fans, kaming mga supporters mo, we will be here. We will be here to support you, no matter what. I think you've already given so much of yourself sa aming mga fans mo.
"I guess it's time for you to think of yourself now, it's time for you to stop and enjoy your own life, kung ano'ng mga gusto mo pang gawin. It's OK. We know na tao ka. Mahal ka nag maraming tao, mahal ka namin, we will support you no matter what."