K-Pop in the Philippines

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All the way from South Korea, Korean Popular Music or more commonly known as K-Pop started subsisting in the Philippines since the rise of Asianovelas in the country. The wide popularity of this music genre is most oftentimes attributed to the rise of Hallyu or Korean Wave in different parts of the world such as the U.S., Europe, Australia, Japan, China, Taiwan, Philippines, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, and other parts of Asia. From random music videos of not-so-famous artists on local music channels, K-Pop in the Philippines has evolved to the virtual world of the Internet where a multitude of Filipino fan groups devoted to specific Korean artists started growing. Today, even if K-Pop still has not hit the airwaves of the local FM and TV stations as hard as how the Taiwanese Pop did in 2003, it is hoped for, especially by its fans, that their favorite Korean artists will be able to steal the Philippine limelight in the very near future.



Endless Love I: Autumn in My Heart

K-Pop was born in the Philippines indirectly through the Koreanovelas in 2003. One of the first Koreanovelas aired in the Philippines is Autumn in My Heart, the first season of the Endless Love series, which was aired on GMA-7 in order to compete with ABSCBN-2's highest-rating Chinovela, Meteor Garden.<ref>http://asiafuture.org/csps2006/50pdf/csps2006_5c.pdf</ref> It is in Endless Love that K-Pop started proliferating the airwaves most oftentimes with the Filipino remakes of its soundtrack. Most of the Koreanovelas in GMA-7 had the Philippine theme song be performed by Faith Cuneta whose remake for Winter Sonata (Endless Love 2) pushed her up to stardom and made her be recognized as the 'Diva of Koreanovela'.<ref>http://www.titikpilipino.com/news/?aid=321</ref>

During the same year, one of the first Korean music videos in the Philippines was aired on Myx, a local music channel, which emotional theme caught many viewers. This is the music video of the Korean female group known as Kiss for their ballad, Because I'm A Girl. Not long after, the music video of Korean singer Mina for her first album's carrier single, Answer The Phone, also entered the local music scene. Eventually, in 2004, both of these songs were remade by Roxanne Barcelo in her debut album, Roxie. Kiss' Because I'm A Girl was made Filipino as Kung Alam Mo Lang, whereas Mina's Answer the Phone was translated into English retaining its original title.<ref>http://www.titikpilipino.com/album/?albumid=347</ref>

In 2005, K-Pop's indirect fame expanded from the realm of the television to the theatres. The Korean hit movie, My Sassy Girl, was dubbed into Filipino and was released on Philippine theatres on October of that year. The movie's theme song, I Believe, which was originally sung by Korean balladeer Shin SeungHun, was also remade by Jimmy Bondoc into Filipino still using the same title.<ref>http://www.esnips.com/doc/88a33c9a-5115-4eca-92d2-119f23613a64/i-believe---jimmy-bondoc</ref>

Going back to the television, following the success of Endless Love came Full House in 2005. Full House also starred the same actress from the first season of Endless Love, Song HyeKyo, who was paired with Korean singer-actor Rain. Rain's debut in the local television paved way for K-Pop to be more known in the Philippines. Not long after the airing of the said series, his music videos such as I'm Coming and the more recent Love Story started to enter the charts of Myx and local FM stations.<ref>http://www.atrl.net/forums/showthread.php?t=62767&page=3</ref> Because of his popularity among the Filipinos, Rain was also recently offered to do a shampoo commercial which was aired here in the Philippines.

K-Pop Fandom

Crowned as the Kings of K-Pop, TVXQ swept most of last year's trophies and medals in the awarding ceremonies in Korea.
The Cassiopeia Philippines crowd outside of Manila Film Center.

Because of the rise of Rain as a singer here in the Philippines, among other reasons, more Filipinos became interested in K-Pop; more Korean singers became known, loved and actually had fan bases here in the country. Apart from Rain, some of the Korean music artists admired by many K-Pop fans here in the Philippines are Se7en, BoA, TVXQ, U-KISS, Super Junior, 2ne1, Big Bang, SHINee, SS501, Wonder Girls, Girls' Generation, Shinhwa, Fly to the Sky, and F.T. Island. The names of these singers may sound strange to an ordinary Filipino primarily due to the fact that the songs of these artists are not being aired on the local radio stations, nor are they featured on national television (in stations like ABSCBN-2 and GMA-7) or even on Myx.

So how do these fans maintain their so-called fandom which is still unknown to the rest of the Philippines?

Even if they could not see their idols on the national TV, the fans could still watch them on cable TV specifically on the Korean channels such as MBC, KBS, SBS, and Arirang, the only Korean channel in English. Specifically, supporters of TVXQ, BoA, Rain, and Se7en could also see these artists on Japanese channels like NHK since they also perform in Japanese. They could also watch the music videos of these Korean stars on international music channels such as MTV Asia and Channel V which charts these singers usually get into.

More than the television, it must be said that the Internet is the K-Pop fan's best friend. There are so many K-Pop blog sites in English (such as on Blogspot and Wordpress) made by fans that are updated everyday with the latest news, pictures, and videos to cater to the needs of their fellow fans. One of these sites is the fangirlmitz account on Blogspot (now moved to TVXQfever) which is actually managed by some Filipino TVXQ enthusiasts. A fan may also sometimes just go straight to Youtube, type her favorite artist's name and in a moment she would get the video she is looking for. It is in this site that fans usually upload the performances, guestings, music videos, stalker videos and the like of these Korean stars. It is from these where those blog site owners get or upload the videos they want to post. Aside from these sites, these fans usually join online forums such as Soompi and Asianfanatics, Korean sites such as DNBN, and communities in Livejournal such as DBSG, YG_BigBang and Wonder_Girls. And from these groups, fans from the same country usually meet one another and eventually form their own groups. It is from these that Filipino fan clubs are born.

Philippine-based K-Pop fan clubs most often use Yahoo! Groups as their main form of communication. One of the biggest K-Pop fan bases here in the country is Cassiopeia Philippines, a fan club solely devoted to TVXQ, which Yahoo! Groups, as of March 22, 2009, has 910 male and female members combined.<ref>http://asia.groups.yahoo.com/group/cass_ph/members</ref> Aside from this, these fan clubs also use Multiply groups for better media sharing. It is in these groups that they share pictures, videos, and news that they most probably got from those aforementioned sites. Cassiopeia Philippines, more commonly known as Cass Ph, has their own Multiply site that now houses more or less 1000 members.<ref>http://cassiopeiaph.multiply.com/members</ref>

2008: Pops in Seoul in Manila

Official poster of the 1000th episode celebration in Manila of Pops in Seoul

On July 5, 2008, at the Manila Film Center, the first ever K-Pop fan event in the Philippines was held. This was in celebration of Arirang's music program, Pops in Seoul's 1000th episode. VJ Isak and former Click-B member, Yoo HoSeok, also known as Evan, flew in from South Korea just to shoot the three-episode celebration, and to culminate it with the fans at the Manila Film Center. More than 1,000 K-Pop fans joined; 501 of which are part of Cassiopeia Philippines.<ref>http://cassiopeiaph.multiply.com/journal/item/91/IMPORTANT_NOTICE_-_READ_Pops_In_Seoul_Headcount</ref> Aside from Cass Ph, nine other fan groups also attended, namely: SJUPH, Big Bang Ph, Shinhwa Philippines, Suna4Life, Shinee Ph, Soshi Ph, Cloud Ph, and Fly to the Sky Philippines.<ref>http://cassiopeiaph.multiply.com/journal/item/89/FCs_that_are_coming_for_the_Pops_in_Seoul_event</ref> Each fan club wore their artist's official color as how their official Korean counterparts would do it. Members of Cassiopeia Philippines, like the official Cassiopeia in South Korea, put on pearl red shirts to identify themselves. Super Junior fans (SJUPH) wore sapphire blue; Big Bang admirers (Big Bang Ph) used black and white with matching large handkerchiefs tied to their necks. Girls' Generation fans (Soshi Ph) attended with pink shirts on, while Shinhwa supporters (Shinhwa Philippines) were in orange. The fan groups also brought banners, glow sticks and balloons--still according to their color--just as how the Koreans would do it.

2009: K-Pop Fans to Steal the Limelight?

These devoted Filipino K-Pop fans seem too eager to finally have their stars step on the Philippine soil and into the Philippine limelight. Early this year, many Filipino fans have stated that certain Korean songs, especially that of Wonder Girls, have been played more than once in local radio stations such as iFM 93.9. Fans, especially from Cass Ph, admitted that they have been submitting burned CDs containing songs of their favorite K-Pop artists to these stations in hope that they will eventually be able to hear those songs more frequently in the local airwaves.<ref>http://asia.groups.yahoo.com/group/cass_ph/message/6090</ref> Aside from this, fans are also into doing petitions in hope of having their beloved Korean artists sing for them without going overseas. Cassiopeia Philippines had actually passed a petition letter with written signatures last year to a Korean company asking for a TVXQ live performance here in the country in celebration of this year's 60th Korea-Philippines Friendship anniversary.<ref>http://cassiopeiaph.multiply.com/journal/item/70/ADMIN_POST_DARATING_NA_ANG_DONGBANGSHINKI</ref>


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