South Korean actor Lee Dong Wook visited the Philippines again last October 5 for a fan meet, as part of the #LoveKOrea Culture and Travel Fiesta event at SM Megamall Fashion Hall.
The 37-year-old K-drama star first came here 13 years ago to promote his then hit series My Girl. At that time, Filipino fans had just started getting caught up with the Korean pop culture wave, also known as Hallyu.
“I was worried that my fans would not remember me,” Dong Wook began when asked how it felt to be back in Manila.
His fears proved unfounded with the warm welcome yet again last Saturday. Screaming fans occupied the five floors of the venue just to have a look at the actor.
The Goblin actor entertained questions from the press, as well as fans from Lee Dong Wook Philippines group, during the meet and greet organized by the Korean Tourism Organization.
The cheering and chanting of his name drowned out some of his answers that he joked the audience wasn’t listening to him.
Nevertheless, he weighed in on the Hallyu fever, which has swept across and beyond Asia.
“Do you remember My Girl?” he asked the audience. “The secret to the Hallyu is that (we don’t) stagnate.”
They keep innovating and trying new things, he added.
“It’s the constant innovation that keeps everybody interested,” he said.
“As time goes by, whether they are singers or actors, they get better and better at their craft and I think that’s what the fans enjoy.”
Meanwhile, the event celebrated 70 years of friendship between the Philippines and South Korea.
Dong Wook said that he was very happy and honored to be part of the celebration.
He invited more Pinoys to visit Korea, especially this autumn season. He particularly recommended the city of Gongju in South Chungcheong province for its heritage attractions.
For someone who has been in showbiz for 20 years now, he also gave tips to aspiring actors.
“Trust in your abilities. If you trust in your abilities, when the tough times come, you will be able to overcome it because you believe in yourself,” he said.
It’s also very important, he continued, to “practice, practice, practice.”
The fan meet wouldn’t be complete without Dong Wook learning some Filipino words, telling a thrilled crowd “Ganda ka” and “Mahal kita.”