Madonna has been leaving a trail of unforgettable performances and controversial moments in Asia since her Rebel Heart Tour kicked off early this month.
The singer arrived in Manila at 2 a.m. on Monday on board a chartered flight from Hong Kong.
Airport personnel who waited for her were ordered to stow their cell phones because no one was allowed to take photos.
Madonna reportedly did not pass through normal airport procedures because immigration officials stamped her passport inside the plane.
The pop star was immediately whisked to a waiting car and escorted out of the airport by a fleet of foreign and local security.
Madonna’s tour began in Taipei, Taiwan, where she closed her concert by wrapping herself with the nation’s flag.
While this should not come as a surprise, the singer is known for flashing and even incorporating flags in her outfits in her final acts, the move still angered the Chinese people.
According to Taipei Times, the move was perceived as Madonna’s stance to support Taiwan, which China perceives as a renegade province, therefore sparking an online “word war” between the Taiwanese and the Chinese.
Nevertheless, the American pop superstar still managed to deliver stunning performances for her Taiwanese fans.
Madonna also held back-to-back concerts in Hong Kong and Macau.
In Hong Kong where she performed for the first time, her fans were given a taste of what makes Madonna the Queen of Pop–racy and rebellious with her musical genius rising above grandiose props and costumes.
In Macau, Madonna broke her tightly choreographed show for a surprise performance with Hong Kong celebrity Eason Chan.
Drawing roars from the audience, she playfully danced with Chan who even fell to floor to allow the former to kick his behind.
As the number ended, the Queen of Pop asked, “Who are you young man?” clearly amused and without knowing that she had just met her Chinese counterpart, Chan being the “King of Cantopop.”
In both concerts, Madonna closed the show with her symbolic encore wrapping herself with Macau’s flag, and donning a bauhinia jacket.
The bauhinia flower is Hong Kong’s emblem.
To be sure, authorities will be closely watching if Madonna will don the Philippine flag as a costume or uniform.
Her two-night concert will be held on Wednesday and Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Republic Act 8491, or the “Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines,” explicitly prohibits the wearing of the flag “in whole or in part as a costume or uniform.”
If her international producers did their research, they may even encourage the rebellious pop icon to highlight the 30th anniversary of the EDSA Revolution on February 25, the second night of her show.
Local promoters have not released any statement regarding the removal of the song “Holy Water” from Madonna’s set list.
With lyrics bearing heavy sexual content, the song was banned in Singapore way ahead her concert, which was also rated R-18.
The Philippines had had issues with religiously charged foreign performers in the past.
American pop singer Lady Gaga, for example, was “welcomed” by Christian protesters in her 2012 debut concert in Manila.
Besides Taipei, Macau, Hong Kong and Manila, the Asian Rebel Heart Tour has also been to Tokyo, Japan and Bangkok, Thailand.
It will close in Singapore on February 28, and move on to Australia for its finale in March.
With BENJIE L. VERGARA