Anyeong Nangyari Sa Atin?!

Let us start things slow on this one ok? I, personally, will not rush into this topic headstrong saying negatives about the current Korean Fad in the Philippines; but instead, will approach this from the perspective of typical Real Pinoy. I will keep an open mind (and probably ears as well), since we are going into a rabbit hole filled with nothing but foreign language and men dressed up in a ‘new’ way.\

Now, before you hit that ‘Comment’ button and say, “Di ka naman inaano ng K-Pop ah! Wag ka nga epal!” (K-Pop has done nothing to you! Don’t be an a**). The textbook definition of Stupidity is the inability or lack of understanding. Real Pinoys understand this very well so we will proceed under this pretext. Now… LET’S GET IT ON!

Quick Links

Episode 1: ‘Koreanovelas’ (Korean Shows)

Dae Jang Geum

Source: http://gmaasianovelas.weebly.com/

I vividly remember my first exposure to Korean shows. I’m not sure if you know of the show, but do you recall that girl named, “Jang Geum”? The girl who cooks awesome meals for an emperor? That’s the girl who got me introduced to Korean Shows. I remember watching it on a local channel and it was tagalized (dubbed in Tagalog)! The show got me hooked because of its strong angle on traditional Korea. I am not one to speak on whether it was accurate or not; but the visuals were stunning, and the food they cooked were oh-so pleasing to the eye! I tried cooking one of the meals; failed miserably, and ended up ordering a Jolly Kiddie Meal just to ease the hunger pains.

The Beginning of the K-Pop Wave

That was not the first Korean Novela that was aired in the Philippines. 2005 was the very first time Korean shows were aired in our local television. The shows, All In, Stairway to Heaven and Winter Sonata were just a few of the shows that were exposed to Pinoy eyes. The success of these shows were all phenomenal. You might have guessed this is because of our typical Pinoy story lines that got us into the whole Korean show fiesta. Remember Kardo?

These shows came in waves! Not like the Meteor Garden Fever back in the 90’s which was probably the only foreign drama show that the Philippines was watching at the time. This Korean Wave was so massive, that when you hit a local channel, it almost feels like you are watching from a Korean hotel.

Episode 2: First Korean Song

Do not go and Google this! But what was the first Korean song you have heard on the radio, television or internet? Bboom? Bam? Fantastic Baby? Sorry sorry? GANGNAM STYLE?!?!? If one these are your answers, you are going to flunk K-Pop 101. It is ‘Answer The Phone’ by: Shin Mina. Yes! You probably did not notice but that song is KOREAN! Now you may Google it and thank me later. And I am pretty much sure for those who do not know this song is Korean, you are going to either say, “Akala ko Japanese or Spanish!!” (I thought it was Japanese or Spanish!!). This song became so well known, it became a staple dance song.

This was probably the first spark of subliminal Korean fad in the Philippines that got the Pinoys hankering for more. A fad basically starts with a common interest and all of a sudden; it catches air time on Television, Noontime shows, OSTs of series, movies. All of these are fed into your mind almost every day through these different mediums. That is how this fad started. We were not aware the song was Korean; it was just like, you suddenly knew that this song had a certain connection to a Korean Drama that you were watching, some of you probably went, “Ahh! Kaya pala gustong gusto ko itong tugtog na ito.” (Ahh! This is why I really like this song).  When we connect the dots, you tend to connect more and see where you are going. It is human nature to be adroit to fads and trends.

Episode 3: Boy bands all over again, but…

Presenting… THE BACKSTREET BOYS!

Source: https://www.billboard.com

Back in the late 90’s, the buzz of the Boy bands were the biggest thing that hit the music industry; not only in the Philippines, but world wide. The rise of N’Sync, Backstreet Boys, Boyzone, A1, etc was unstoppable! Just like any other fads and trends, music is usually a casualty to this death train. The boy bands that were once rich with fans, were replaced with die hard groupies who followed them religiously.

WTH do the lyrics mean?

Considering the wicked swing that our music fad turned, we are now back to the boy band era again. With Super Junior on the spearhead, it paved a way for all the other Korean boy bands to be heard in the Philippines. And so it was back to the 90’s all over again, but this time, half of what they are singing we do not understand. The only thing standing in their way was; you guessed it, translation. This was an awesome experience for the Pinoy, because we were learning and enjoying at the same time! I can only imagine our very own K-Pop fans, listening to BTS while holding a Korean dictionary and read what, 널 위해 예쁜 거짓을 빚어내 means. 

BTS (Bangtan Sonyeondan)

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/

The songs they aired were very much loved by a select age. These include the ones who are just on the typical daily routine of either washing clothes or dishes. 

What shade are you using?

Compared to the way these new age boy bands are dressed today, this was a complete 180 from the 90’s boy bands that we were used to. These guys use every single tool in their fanny packs as their arsenal; including, but not limited to, MAKE UP! They either use the Glam Smokey style, Peach Make up, or the downright Edgy Grunge effect to express their musicality and dance prowess better on screen. They put a new meaning to the phrase, “WORK IT, BABY!”.

Episode 3: Moshi-moshi VS Anyeong Haseyo (A SATIRE)

I do not know if you read my previous article about Anime in the Philippines, but this Korean sleeper was not the first foreign language, pop culture that sprung out of the ground. Before all this Gangnam Style was the ugly yet appreciated J-Rock and J-Pop. The string of songs that came from our favorite anime spawned a bunch of these mushrooms which we do not want to eat! The songs were nothing but gibberish, and they held guitars and drums! What ever happened to dancing, huh?! These rock bands from Japan took over the radios in the late 2000’s when the Anime fad was still on a high.

J-Rock was first (STILL A SATIRE)

Asian Kung Fu Generation (Band who sang opening songs for Full Metal Alchemist, Bleach and Naruto)

Source: http://portal-j.blogspot.com/

L’arc en Ciel, Asian Kung Fu Generation, Dir en Grey, Malice Mizer, etc. These bands who had no talent whatsoever took us to the same route for every single riff they played on their Les Paul guitars. Again, what ever happened to dancing huh?! Another valid point, was that these dudes who donned normal footwear and typical shirts, had the audacity to make music videos! From which they try to hide their lack of musicality with the use of musical instruments!

Comparing to the current fad of K-Pop which is the probably the best display of talent on either live and on screen, these dudes do not lip sync! They really do sing live and dance at the same time! Oh my God!

Why J-Rock?

Kidding aside, before all this hoopla, it was the Japanese who tapped our hearts first. The J-Rock and J-Pop scene was not as well received; because the genre they offered were more into rock, and less from the Pop Scene. The moment J-Rock was introduced to the Philippines, the brunt of the impact was thorough in the eyes and ears of the younger ages. Particularly to those who watch Anime. That was the conduit for J-Rock to put into the Pinoy Youth Radar. The fun fact of it all was the target of the market was supposedly the youth but with the boom of Ghost Fighter, Slam Dunk, Dragon Ball Z, it was safe to say that the hypothetical ‘Sniper Rifle’ that was trained to aim at the a specific age bracket, became a cannon ball going off and hitting a whole lot of people!

People have been singing themes of the shows left and right. We stood in awe as the moments pass by when Kogure from Slam Dunk took that wicked 3-point shot that took at least 3 episodes to finish.  These were the golden years of J-Rock and J-Pop in our time.

Baad – The band who sang the opening song for Slam Dunk

Source: http://melodic-hardrock.com/

Come and SING WITH ME!

Songs like, “Kimi ga suki dato, sake bitai”- The opening theme from Slam Dunk or even the LSS-Inducing, “Yuzurenai Nagai” – The Opening theme for Magic Knight Rayearth which was also tagalized. Who could ever forget the line, “Kami’y narito… Asahan mong magtatanggol! Makikipaglaban para sa kapayapaan at kaayusan!” (We are here. Anticipate that we are going to protect. We are to fight for peace and freedom!) This era solidified our hearts with the love for both Anime and J-Pop. Not to mention in those age, our love for the tagalog language was also enriched by many since almost all of the Japanese OSTs from Animes and Sentai shows were tagalized.

Hello, Hallyu!

Enter the Korean wave. Or should I say, ‘Hallyu’. Just like how J-Rock entered the scene, the Korean Wave used a different conduit to gain access to the Pinoy airwaves. The K-Pop age started to make a big influence with the success of artists like Super Junior, BTS and even Psy are the ones who captured the hearts of many Pinoy Teens and Children.

The age bracket that got the brunt of the attention of these Boy bands were ranging from early 10s and and mid – 20s. That is probably the reason why you hear a random K-pop song playing from every household.

Episode 4: OPM’s Bane (OPM – Original Pilipino Music)

Do you remember the time when Bboom became a year-long  Pinoy anthem? During those days, have you tried watching Myx or MTV Pilipinas? Have you checked the ranking of international songs? Yes, it is probably this song. In the year 2000s, we only had one chart in Myx and that’s the Myx Daily Top Ten. Now they have categorized the top OPM hits from the International hits. If Myx still had their previous setting before, you would not see any OPM song graze that top 10.

That is how passionate Pinoys are with the current fad. The vast number of youth who are listening and riding Hallyu wave, our very own music is set aside. The days of the bands are now over. All our artists can do is possibly replicate what the youth wants which is a display of showmanship and funky costumes.

Even in schools. This is from personal experience… Being a PTA President for a school, I am given information with regard any kind of activity that the school will be having and all of its details. The school had one event that would have all kindergarten students dance in front of the school and the town Mayor. The song they used for the Kindergarten’s dance number is Bboom Bboom by: Momoland.

I have nothing against this act; however, I was shocked, because the first song that came into the school teachers’ mind was a song from a different country. Now, I will leave the thinking to you since we are close to teach Korean to our children. (Better yet, leave a comment below!)

Episode 5: Anyeong na gagawin natin?! (What are we going to do now?)

Momoland!

Source: https://www.philstar.com

I have to say that when us Pinoys get passionate, we really mean it even when it comes to fads and trends. The bridging of two cultural entities is never bad because the more we are immersed to another culture, the stronger our roots to our motherland should grow. The fad comes and goes and this is something that our generation is embracing which is never a problem. However, we are also responsible for the regulation.

What better way to end this note from a few words of the famous song by BTS: 2! 3!

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