By Cecille Santillan-Visto

Fan meeting
One Summer Night
(Fan Meeting Tour 2019)
Sept. 28, New Frontier Theater, QC

WHEN A Korean celebrity returns to Manila just a few months after his last show, then it is safe to assume that he has cemented his status as a local crowd-drawer.

Among the Hallyu stars who have had fan meetings in the Philippines in recent years, only superstar Lee Min Ho had yearly sellout events in the country. Actor Jung Hae In can now boast of being in the same league as Bench endorser.

The 31-year-old held his second fan meeting here in as many years, solidifying his standing as among the favorite actors of Filipino K-drama enthusiasts. His first encounter with fans, at the then Kia Theater, was in June 2018 through his Smile Fan Meeting In Manila. There was a consistent clamor for a second serving, prompting Wilbros Live! to bring him back.

“I am so happy to be back in Manila after last year’s visit and thankful for the opportunity to sit down for an interview,” he said during a press conference for his One Summer Night fan meeting at the Marco Polo Hotel. He added that it is always a treat to perform for the Filipino audience considering their warmth, “amidst their shyness.”

During the press conference, Mr. Jung talked of one unforgettable fan meeting where he sang a song but he was out of tune. In another instance, the audience requested a dance number. While he gave it his best shot, reviews had it that it was not his best performance.

For One Summer Night in Manila, he sang at least two songs — both of which were decent and demonstrated his, in his words, “slightly upgraded singing skills” — but he did not attempt to put on his dancing shoes. He admitted he is a fan of K-pop group, Bangtan Boys (BTS).

There was more fan interaction, which his loyal followers appreciated, as it allowed fans to know the actor beyond what they see in Korean dramas, shows, and interviews.

In one of the highlights of his fan encounter, he donned a white doctor’s gown and provided advice to three selected fans.

One confessed that she has broken up with her boyfriend, who did not take well to her extreme fangirling, particularly those involving him. He shared some encouraging words and told his fan to “love yourself” first and foremost.

He also jokingly told a Malaysian follower to train her sights at his numerous male fans.

He then proceeded to prescribe some “remedy,” including a photo of himself and a portable magnifying glass to enable her to see him closely. Another young fan was gifted with a journal to allow her to better analyze and decide what she wants for her future.

During the fan meeting, Mr. Jung — who is best known for his smile and his effective portrayal of roles — also told some behind-the-scenes stories on projects he has been working on.

Mr. Jung had a career-changing experience when he took on the part of the first love of actress Kim Go Eun’s character in Goblin, a blockbuster drama starring Gong Yoo and Lee Dong Wook.

“I was a fan and a viewer of the drama so when I was tapped to take a role, it was surreal. I was able to see Gong Yoo up close,” he shared, noting that he does not really consider himself a Hallyu star but is grateful to be able to do what he loves. He declined to be compared with any of the other popular K-drama actors.

Since Goblin, the actor went on to star in other TV series such as One Spring Night and Something in the Rain.

One Spring Night was my last project and my role as a father was very interesting but new to me. The difference in my character in Something in the Rain is that he was aggressive and strong… But among the roles that I have played so far, my most memorable is that of Yoo Jiho (in One Spring Night) but Seo Joon Hee (in Something in the Rain) is my favorite.”

He said he looks forward to playing more diverse roles, including that of a CEO in a large Korean company.

“Acting is something I do because it makes me happy. I am glad that there are people all over the world who watch my dramas and movies. I am excited to work on more shows and movies to entertain my fans,” he noted.

In his last two visits to Manila, his schedule was very tight and he has not been able to visit popular destinations — he has been eyeing Cebu and Boracay. However, this gives him a reason to schedule a third trip to the Philippines.

Given the response to his last two fan meetings, it is not unlikely that he will soon return to the local stage.