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Rayel, Jennica R.

Philippines-Korea Exchange Program Essay


National Youth Commission

Philippines-Korean relations started when the Philippines deployed the Philippine


Expeditionary Force during the Korean War in the 1950s to help South Korea defend itself from
the North.1 Few decades later, the friendly relation of these two countries is still present when
Koreans top the list of PH tourist arrivals in the first 7 months of 2015.2 Koreans are everywhere
wherever you go and some of them even have businesses of their own. They treat our country
as if its their second home. The friendly relation of these two countries seems more intense
than the last few decades due to the Korean Wave thats been penetrating the lives and culture
of Filipinos.
Over the past years, Korean Wave or Hallyu has largely influenced the Pop Culture
here in the Philippines. I became a fan of Korean culture especially Kpop during my high school
days. I admit that Ive become a die hard fan even before the boom of its popularity here in our
country. I was a fan girl of several groups especially Big Bang to the point that I even
memorized their songs and downloaded all their albums during that time. My fangirling leveled
up when I studied Korean language and writing system all by myself just to understand all the
lyrics that I was singing.
When I was in first year high school, Kpop had started emerging the music scene with
the coming of Nobody by Wonder Girls that became so popular on radios and televisions.
Filipinos were dancing on the music that they do not even understand. Then several boy and girl
groups started to enter into our music scene like Super Junior, Big Bang, Exo, U-Kiss, Shinee,
Psy, etc. You can here their music literally everywhere; they are played in radio stations, music
televisions, malls, restaurants, and even in jeepneys. Filipino artists are also hooked and started
dancing in the beat of Korean music. Many Korean fan groups were created and a lot of
conventions and fan meetings were held. Ive known several friends of mine who are Kpop fans.
I can attest that theyve given so much effort on being a fangirl. Theyve sacrificed a lot just to go
to the concerts of their idols and buy albums and souvenirs to satisfy their addiction. One of my
friends was lucky enough to meet, hug, and have dinner with her idol. They spend hours
watching videos and stalking them online just to feed themselves with updates. Being a fangirl
of Korean artists makes them really happy.
With the increasing popularity of Kpop in the Philippines, Original Pilipino Music or
commonly known as OPM needs to reinvent, redefine or put itself in a different package just to
compete against its new contender. Ive noticed that some Filipinos had a dramatic shift of
interests from OPM to Kpop. Album sales and popularity of OPM has been decreasing and may
be due to lost of interest of Filipinos in their own music. Ive noticed that we are fond of reviving
old songs with a little touch of creativity just to make them somehow different from their original
versions and not writing enough new songs to give new taste. In reinventing OPM, artists and
producers started creating boy and girl groups and songs that have similar style and beat to
attract Korean fans.
Even before the boom of Korean music in our country, Korean dramas and shows had
already been dominating the homes of every Filipino. I remembered when I was in grade school
when Stairway to Heaven, Full House, and Jewel in the Palace were huge hits during that time.

I can still recall the famous Bear song popularized by Full House which became a Last Song
Syndrome of Filipinos during that time. The famous F4 had totally dominated youth
conversations when Boys Over Flowers was dubbed and aired in ABS-CBN. I was so hooked
on this series that I already finished it before it was even aired here in our country. Even reality
shows such as The Return of the Superman is very popular. I personally love this show because
of the unique concept thats never been tried in Philippine televisions. Im actually amazed of
how wide and strategic fans are in terms of knowing and discovering whats popular in Korea.
Now, Song Hye Kyo has once again dominated the Philippines because of the popularity of
Descendants of the Sun in social media. It is literally everywhere and everyday on Facebook
and Twitter. I was also hooked on this series to the point that Id only watched it for a week. Its
not even aired here in the Philippines.
Korean drama and reality shows have a huge impact in Philippine Pop Culture in terms
of influencing the attitude, consciousness, and lifestyle of Filipinos. Whenever we watch TV
shows, it gives us the avenue to see the kind of culture, tradition, and values that they embody.
Watching Korean shows enable us to see how Koreans live and the values that they personify.
We learn more about their habits and lifestyle in their everyday living. The popularity of their
shows leads to the penetration of the Korean Way. Viewers may adopt their values and
tradition and change the way that they live and think. Some of them want to imitate the
characters of their idols just to at least experience the life that they idolize.
Lets not forget with the advent of Korean Pop Culture comes with the food that they eat.
Filipinos learned how to love Korean food. Korean restaurants are literally everywhere. Instant
Ramyeon and Jjampong are famous in our country. It is a must in every Filipino household.
Kimchi is not an unfamiliar dish anymore and we learn how to drink Soju and try their Korean ice
cream.
Meanwhile, the popularity of tv shows and music comes with the increasing demand for
make-up and skin care. Koreans are known for having flawless and white skin; and having good
skin comes with perfect skin care routine. The 10-step (or more) Korean routine is gaining
prestige and followers in the beauty industry. Etude House, The Face Shop, Body Shop, Tony
Moly, Skin Food, and Nature Republic - these are just some of the popular Korean make-up and
skin care companies here in the Philippines. They are very accessible having several branches
in malls. Im actually a costumer of these brands from time to time. I was hooked by their
products because of its popularity in Youtube and drama series.
The popularity of make-up and skin care implies the influence of Korean wave in terms
of changing the standards of beauty of Filipinos. The Korean Wave somehow influences our
judgement and the idea of beauty. Fans would then want to achieve the skin and looks of their
idols. They may want to purchase the products that their idols are endorsing.
Korea is one of the richest and interesting country Ive ever known. I personally love this
country and admire the Koreans who are very loyal to their country. It inspires me on how Korea
is progressing and developing as decades go by and how they alleviate themselves from the
humble beginnings. Their culture is very rich and unique thats why its very fulfilling and
interesting to scrutinize and study it. Its fascinating how they enrich and preserve their culture
as much as they can even with the advent of globalization. With the great and beautiful culture
that they have, theres no doubt that Filipinos will surely embrace it.

It is very evident that Korean Wave has a large influence in our Philippine Pop Culture in
many aspects. Their culture and tradition penetrate our own culture. Korean Wave reaches our
inner being, influencing the way we think, decide, and speak. It changes our standards as it
dictates the new things we should look upon to. It affects every aspect of our culture:
knowledge, beliefs, art, morals, law, customs and habits. The advent of Korean Wave means
additional knowledge for our citizens. In other words, they are more exposed to other culture
and alternatives. Having more access to knowledge will surely affect ones creation of laws
since he can adopt the other countries good policies and strategies that he thinks are suitable
for our country. Korean beliefs and customs will somehow be assimilated and will have a place
of their own in our culture. It affects and alters our everyday routine, giving us a different way of
living our lives.

1 Palaa, Voltaire. "Koreans Top List Of PH Tourist Arrivals In First 7 Months". The Manila Times. N.p., 2015. Web. 9 June 2016.
2 "Philippine-Korean Relations". Philembassy-seoul. N.p., 2007. Web. 9 June 2016.