Fan meet
Park Hyung Sik: First Love in Manila Fan Meeting
Nov. 11, Kia Theater, Cubao, QC

KOREAN ACTOR and pop star Park Hyung Sik — who staged his first fan meeting in Manila on Nov. 11 — is no stranger to the Philippines. He has been to the country twice before — first with his boy band, Z:EA, for a series of mall shows in 2012, and again in 2014 for the reality TV show, Real Men, which saw him contribute to the rebuilding efforts for the victims of typhoon Yolanda in Leyte.

The solo fan meeting could not have come at a better time. Fresh from his hit K-dramas, Strong Woman Do Bong Soon and Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth, the 27-year-old Park may well be at the peak of his career. The Filipino fans’ response to his visit was enthusiastic, and he reciprocated by participating in the games and dishing out his three songs with much gusto.

He was so taken by his fans who filled the Kia Theater that he vowed to return, and soon.

“I will not forget all of you and I promise to come back,” he told around 2,000 supporters.

Mr. Park entertained the audience for two hours, singing hits from his recent dramas, playing games with fans, and satisfying their curiosity during the question-and-answer portion. All the spectators were allowed to go on stage for brief high fives. He also had his photo taken with select ticket holders.

He opened the fan meeting with “Because of You,” from the official soundtrack of Strong Woman and followed it with “Two People,” from The Heirs, where he appeared opposite Lee Min Ho. Mr. Park also sang “I’ll Be There,” also from Strong Woman, reminding the audience that he first made a name for himself as a singer.

At a press conference on Nov. 10 at the Marco Polo Hotel in Ortigas, he said his real-life personality is “somewhat similar” to his Strong Woman character, Ahn Min Hyuk, a romantic and spirited owner of a gaming company, but he could better relate to the role of Yoo Chang-soo, a down-to-earth businessman in the 2015 drama, High Society.

Do Bong Soon, which airs on local TV, also stars award-winning actress Park Bo Young, who plays a diminutive bodyguard with extraordinary strength.

“Usually the men play more powerful roles but in this romantic comedy, the woman is stronger and it’s good,” he said.

In 2018, he will star in the Korean version of the US hit series, Suits. Although his acting portfolio is mainly comprised of TV series, Mr. Park also looks forward to making his first movie. Although he is open to any genre, action and science fiction are preferred. A project similar to Avengers, Transformers or even the vampire blockbuster, Twilight, he said, would be most welcome.

While a perfect day would be one where he doesn’t “have to think of anything and rest,” he admitted that he is an avid computer gamer and scuba diver and if given the opportunity, he would like to explore some of the diving sites in the Philippines.

“The Philippines made a great impression on me when I was here to shoot Real Men,” he said.

And during the fan meet, he had a taste of things uniquely Filipino. The actor-singer gamely donned an elegant blue barong Tagalog and with the help of host Kring Elenzano-Kim, cheerfully delivered some Tagalog lines such as “Mamahalin kita maging sino ka man (I will love you whoever you are),” “Ang pogi ko, ’di ba? (I’m handsome, aren’t I?),” and even “Nakakaloka, ang init! (It is crazy hot!)” He also bravely tried some Filipino food such as sisig (sizzling chopped pig’s face), guyabano and kamias fruits, as well as demonstrated his sharp-shooting skills when he tried a local slingshot.

The United Artist talent likewise reenacted his most memorable scenes in Strong Woman and period drama Hwarang with chosen fans.

Towards the end of event, his fans threw him a surprise in advance of his Nov. 16 birthday.

The fan meet was fun and, owing to the rather small venue, intimate. Park Hyung Sik came across as down-to-earth and relaxed and, fortunately for his supporters, he graciously went the extra mile to make the event truly memorable. — Cecille Santillan Visto