Fan-girling in South Korea after being Bitten by the Hallyu Bug
South Korea has never been a destination of choice for me until the hallyu bug bit me. I didn’t know what fangirling or fan-girling was until then.
According to Merriam Webster Fangirling is to exhibit fandom often to an excessive degree : to behave like an extremely devoted or overly excited fangirl.
The first ever Korean drama I watched on TV is was “Winter Sonata” starring Bae Yong Joon and Choi Ji Woo. The drama was in Korean but was conveniently dubbed in Tagalog. I was hooked. It was followed by a string of more K-dramas: Love Story in Harvard, Full House, Stairway to Heaven, and Coffee Prince.
Then the drama My Love from the Stars, Secret Garden, and Jewel in the Palace. I can go on and on. I can’t believe I ended up staying until the wee hours in the morning watching one episode after another. It was simply addicting.
I was Determined to go to Korea and Live the Drama I was Watching
How can the lead stars be so beautiful, cute and fashionable? I was determined to go to South Korea and live the drama I was watching.
Friends were hooked as well, so it was no sweat to find travel companions. Going to the places where the dramas were shot was a thrill for all of us.
The tour guide admitted that the Korean wave did boost the tourism industry in their country.
The first stop was the actual house especially built for the drama “Full House”. It was built on Gwangyeok-si area of Incheon, near Incheon International Airport, and is a ten-minute boat ride from Sammok Harbor. The house was a sight to behold inside and out. And it being on a beach made it all the more special. It would have been nice if Song Hye Kyo and Rain were there for photo and autograph opportunities for us.
We went to the Location of Gong Yoo’s “Coffee Prince”
We went to the Hongdae area for the location of Gong Yoo’s “Coffee Prince” and a sip of Americano. It seems Koreans are fond of coffee as coffee shops are everywhere.
We had the chance of wearing the hanbok (national dress) and make some kimchi in the “Jewel in the Palace” shooting location.
A theme park is almost always included in most tours. We don’t really mind as it was where the carousel of the drama “Stairway to Heaven” was. Korean food is nothing but delicious. On the first day we had samgyupsal (grilled meat) with all the trimmings. In a Korean meal, it is common to find a number of side dishes.
Although we were happy enough with the japchae (noodle dish) and bibimbap (rice with egg and vegetables mixed together) served on our flight, we were glad to try all their other dishes when we set foot on Korean soil. The samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup) stood out for me.
The street food in Myeongdong is also good. I particularly like the fish cake. The street is also an open air bazaar where you can find souvenirs and all sorts of merchandise. Most popular are the socks with fancy designs as well as fashion earrings worn by the pretty ladies of the dramas.
Korean Stars have Flawless Skin and almost Perfect Features
Well, it will not go unnoticed that the Korean stars have flawless skin and almost perfect features. That is because plastic surgery is quite common. Beauty and skin care products are a few too many. It is the perfect gift to bring back home. Who would not want to have the creamy, dreamy looks of the Korean stars? What if I could have people fan-girling about me? I’m just dreaming.
I had the chance to visit again after more than a decade. The Korean wave is as strong as ever in the Philippines, both K-drama and K-pop. While the Korean dramas are translated in Tagalog on local TV, you can always watch them online with English sub-titles. The stories are as captivating as ever and the locations and cinematography are magnificent.
Would you believe I got to visit the location of my first ever K-drama only on my recent visit. The trip to Nami Island in its autumn splendor was magical. Although it took a while, what better time to see where my addiction all began? In “Winter Sonata”, that is, than during a fine fall season.
The Garden of the Morning Calm in the Gapyeong district where “Love in the Moonlight” was shot is postcard pretty. Different flowers bloom in every season. It has vast amounts of greenery and has well-kept landscapes. It is also surrounded by mountains and every angle makes a beautiful picture for Instagram.
Petite France where part of “My Love from the Star” was shot gives one a feel of France. There you will find the little prince who famously said that “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Nami Island South Korea Autumn Vlog
by Marie’s Kawaii Mommy Vlog
Published on Youtube on Aug 26, 2018
Nami Island or Namiseom (남이섬) is a man made island that was formed as a result of construction of the Cheongpyeong Dam in 1944. It was named after General Nami, who was falsely accused of treason and executed. A tour company later developed the island into a theme park. You can either take a ferry or a zipline to the island. We chose the ferry for obvious reasons.
My Old Favorite Fan-girling Stars still Remain but I also have New Favorite Stars Now
I have new favorites now like Gong Yoo, Park Boo Gum, Hyun bin, Park Seo Joon, Park Hyung Sik, Lee Jong Suk, Song Jong Ki. But my old favorites remain. It seems I grew old with them. While Song Hye Kyoo was a cutie in her early 20s in “Full House”, she has matured into a fine actress now in her late 30s in “Descendants of the Sun.”
Fans of the Song-Song couple (term for her and Song Jong Ki) were ecstatic when their reel life tandem became real but got broken hearted just as fast when their union ended in divorce after only a few years.
As usual, I would rather stay in a Korean house to give me the feel of the locals and how they live. I stayed in one and my host informed me that she is the first cousin of Park Hyung Sik. I was over the moon. Would I finally be able to meet him in person?
Not from afar but up close? And a photo and autograph to complete the experience? Oh, such wishful thinking on my part. She told me later on that he signed up for his military service recently. What a letdown.
Gigi Galang is an upcoming writer traveling the world and writing of her travels. We’re wondering where her next destination and story will be about.