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She ain’t heavy, she’s the weightlifting fairy

THAT one iconic role can catapult an artist’s popularity to unimaginable heights and earn him a spot among the elites. In the world of Korean drama, there are only a few actors whose portrayal created such impact that they continue to be recognized years after their series have ended.

From China with love

IF THERE is one export from China that the Philippines is willing to receive with open arms, it’s celebrities. More specifically, Dylan Wang.

Where The BOYZ are

THERE are basically two types of Korean pop events held regularly in Manila — concerts and fan meetings. Presumably to get the best of both worlds, the 12-member group The Boyz combined the two concepts to come up with a “fan-con” tour in Asia dubbed as The Castle.

Boyzone, signing off

FANS OF 1990s boy bands died a little inside when Boyzone finally said goodbye after more than 25 years of performing and touring. But the group was not about to go out without a bang and delivered what was arguably a fitting finale show where they sang all their greatest hits, leading the entire SM Mall of Asia Arena to reminisce on the period that was.

TWICE the excitement, double the fun

EVEN WITH the deluge of Korean boy bands holding concerts and fan meetings in Manila, there is a dearth of K-pop girl groups performing in some of the biggest venues in the country. The last all-ladies team to stage a concert at the SM MOA Arena was the now-defunct 2NE1, with Sandara Park, in May 2014. Early this year, Momoland had a fan meeting at the Smart Araneta Coliseum while six-member GFRIEND opted for the more intimate New Frontier Theater for its own concert in August 2018.

Park Bo Gum’s feel good fan meet

By Cecille Santillan Visto Fan Meeting Review Park Bo Gum: May Your Everyday Be A Good Day June 22, SM MOA Arena PARK BO GUM’s May Your...

Enjoying a festival of friendship

AS THE Philippines and Korea commemorated the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations, yet another festival was held recently to celebrate the close ties between the two countries.

K-drama star charms Filipino fans

WHEN Korean actor and singer Seo Kang Joon first appeared on the reality TV show Roomate five years ago, his quiet charm immediately caught the viewers’ attention, and early on pundits were confident that he had the makings of a full-fledged K-drama star.

Two K-pop fan meets in two days

In the hierarchy of Korean stardom, there are legitimate superstars, true celebrities, award-winning actors, and chart-topping singers. Only a few who can rightfully claim to belong to each class and 41-year-old So Ji Sub is one of them. So when he visited Manila for his first fan meeting two weeks ago, the Titas of Manila expectedly came in droves, beating their millennial K-pop counterparts to the box-office. Mr. So of Oh My Venus and My Secret Terrius fame is recognized, and rightfully so, as the total package, who has more to offer than those freshly minted, lip syncing teenage idols.

Going Solo

SINGERS breaking away from their band to kick off solo careers may find performing alone somewhat unsettling. From sharing the stage with 10 other members, to suddenly exclusively owning it with the expectation that he can carry a whole show by himself can be overwhelming.

Love (local) in the time of K-pop

FILIPINO fashion brand, Bench, has mastered the art of fostering nationalism while keeping up with the trends. Its mantra, “Love Local,” has a unique twist in that while Bench is a homegrown line, it has partnered with Asian superstars to beef up marketing. The formula has worked -- and continues to work -- making Bench the brand of choice in its target segments.

Winner takes it all

TELEVISION TALENT contests may be either a boon or a bane for budding Korean artists. While many proceed to make a name for themselves after the competition, some have fallen into oblivion after their 15 minutes of fame.

Iconic iKON

UNLIKE IN beauty pageants, the “spare tire” principle does not apply to reality shows. The winner usually proceeds to sign the hefty, multi-year, exclusive contract, receive all the accolades, and, for all intents and purposes, makes the runner-up eat dust.

Championing K-pop

AS THE dispute with Beijing over the deployment of a US anti-missile system in South Korea is still unresolved, the Korean music industry is constantly looking to expand its market to countries outside China. The two-year security-related spat has resulted not only in the dwindling of Chinese tourists going to Seoul but also in China effectively banning Korean artists and producers of Korean dramas and films from its territory. To fill the void, K-pop producers have trained their sights on Southeast Asian countries to sell their talents.

The dawning of DAY6

IN AN ocean of Korean pop idols whose main selling point is pulsating dance moves, an honest-to-goodness rock band is very hard to come by. One can only name a few — CNBLUE, FTIsland, and newbies N Flying and Honeyst. All of them are under FNC Entertainment’s umbrella and of these, only CNBLUE has performed in the Philippines. CNBLUE is on hiatus with all four members undergoing mandatory military service.

Beauty and the boys

APPOINTING male ambassadors for Korean beauty brands is more common than ever. Customers strolling through the Seoul shopping district of Myeongdong can attest that they are often lured into stores by men endorsers of make-up and skin care lines rather than their women counterparts. The strategy may have seemed odd several years back, but today it has become the norm, especially for Korean cosmetics.

An Ideal Cut above the rest

SOME KOREAN pop groups — no matter how popular — have performed in the Philippines only once and without an insistent demand, they never managed to return. Not so in the case of the 13-member group, Seventeen, which can now boast of a three-sold-out-concert streak in Manila, a feat that only equally phenomenal bands such as BTS, EXO, and Super Junior have managed.

The Rocker and the Prince

KOREAN POP fans know Jung Joon Young as the wacky yet competitive member of the reality-variety show, 2 Days 1 Night (2D1N). Every Sunday evening, he — along with five other regular cast members — entertains audiences worldwide with various challenges as the show also showcases suburban Korea.

Once with Wanna One

KOREAN SURVIVAL reality shows have spawned a new breed of K-pop idols — the kind that has a limited “shelf life.”

Stars for all seasons

“FULL FAN experience” best describes the concert of K-pop group GFriend in Manila over the weekend.

The ‘Bboom’ of MOMOLAND

SOCIAL MEDIA has greatly contributed to the burgeoning interest in Korean pop music worldwide.

Korean greats amidst the chaos

THE FRENZY that accompanied the visit of K-pop group, MOMOLAND, to the Philippines over the weekend overshadowed the arrival of three of Korea’s best singers.

Do you want to be a K-pop idol? There is a...

KOREAN POP idols are all the craze not just in Asia but worldwide — BTS headlined the 2018 Billboard Music Awards and even appeared on Ellen; Big Bang celebrated its 10th anniversary by guesting on CNN’s Talk Asia; and Korean music festivals featuring boy and girl groups are making the rounds of Europe and the Middle East. K-pop fame is indeed enticing — although the road to stardom is never easy.

The Gentle Sungjae

YOOK SUNGJAE is only 1/7 of the Korean boy band BtoB (Born to Beat) but he is arguably the most popular member. Aside from his activities with the group, he has a flourishing acting career which shot up several notches when he joined the cast of blockbuster K-drama Goblin, and played the nephew of Gong Yoo from Train to Busan fame.

Everlasting Super Junior

THIRTEEN YEARS after they were catapulted to stardom, Korean pop group Super Junior can still give boy bands half their age a run for their money. In their first solo concert in Manila in five years, the group — which is recognized as the catalyst that led to the worldwide K-pop craze — rocked the SM Mall of Asia Arena. Fans could only describe their performance as “walang kupas” (unfading).

K-pop idols versus food

THE WORLD is fascinated with food these days. Food blogs, cooking segments, and reality television shows centered on food prove that every gastronomic experience — even the vicarious kind — makes for great entertainment.

Seungri goes solo

THE PECULIARITY with male Korean pop groups is that at some point in their career, the band will go on hiatus. By force of circumstances — or more aptly, due to the mandatory military service required of able-bodied adult male Koreans — groups either go on an involuntary 24-month respite or perform as an incomplete unit or members pursue solo careers while waiting for their band to regroup.