If you’re a K-enthusiast, it is always exciting to know that your idol is going to visit the country, but what more if they have once lived here in the Philippines? From K-actors to Kpop idols, all of them fondly shared their stay in the country—which was mostly spent learning English, and some of them even learned local languages.
So here are some of the top Korean celebrities who revealed and shared their experiences living in the Philippines.
1. Sandara Park
For Filipinos, this one’s a no-brainer. Before Pambansang “Krung-Krung” Sandara Park shot to global stardom as a K-pop idol, she first lived in the Philippines as an actress and singer for 13 years. Her family moved to our country in 1994 in hopes of a fresh start. Dara, who rose to fame in the Philippines for joining Star Circle Quest, eventually became her family’s breadwinner after her father left them. The 2NE1 singer flew back to South Korea in 2007 to pursue her idol dreams, and boy, what a career she’s had since then.
2. Chanty Videla of Lapillus
Chanty Videla, Lapillus’ main visual and vocalist, was born in Manila and began her acting and modeling career at the age of 13. Although she grew up in Argentina, Chanty can fluently speak Tagalog. She is also an actress under Star Magic and has acted in different Filipino dramas and movies up until 2020. She was revealed as one of the new Kpop trainees of MILD Entertainment last November 2021 and officially debuted last June 20, 2022, with the digital single Hit Ya!
3. Hwang In Yeop
“True Beauty” and “Why Her” actor Hwang In Yeop not only lived in the Philippines but also earned his degree in Fashion Design. During his time in the country, In Youp went by his English name, Ryan Leong.
He finished his secondary education at Philippine Nikkei Jin Kai International School and even won Mr. Intrams for his school in 2008. In Yeop also graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Fine Arts, Major in Fashion Design from the Philippine Women’s College of Davao sometime in 2012. Fine Arts and Design Students Organization of the Philippine Women’s College of Davao confirmed in a Facebook post that In Youp was a member of their organization and was also a part of the Fine Arts program batch 2012. In Yeop recently met his Filipino fans in his fan meeting with BYS Cosmetics and is set to come back in his Asian fan meet tour.
4. Cha Eun Woo of ASTRO
Much like his “True Beauty” co-star, actor and K-pop idol Cha Eun Woo also spent time in the Philippines studying. Astro member Eun Woo shared that he actually studied here in the Philippines for six months back when he was in elementary school to study English. But it doesn’t only help him speak English but Tagalog as well. During his fan meet in Manila in 2019, he serenaded his fans with Ben&Ben’s Kathang Isip.
5. Yook Sung Jae BTOB
BTOB member and “Goblin” actor Sungjae revealed that he actually briefly stayed in Cebu to learn English in his fan meeting back in 2018. You can even catch him speaking in Tagalog and Bisaya on the same day, much to the delight of his Pinoy fans in attendance.
6. Solar of MAMAMOO
Mamamoo’s leader Solar shared a quick story about her time in Manila. According to the vocalist, she went to the Philippines when she was 12 years old to study English. She further explained that since her parents were back in South Korea, she’d often call them asking to return home. After two months in Manila, though, Solar had a change of heart and even stubbornly told her mom that she didn’t want to go back to SK. Solar later visited the country again in 2019 along with her fellow Mamamoo members for a vacation in Boracay.
7. Kim Jinhwan IKON
Seven months before his debut with K-pop boy group iKon under YG Entertainment, Kim Jinhwan had actually been residing in Cebu. He revealed this during a radio interview with his group back in 2017. Showing off what he learned during his time in the Philippines, Jinhwan comfortably spoke in Bisaya. Jinhwan also revealed that he became a singer because he was very lonely when he lived in the Philippines and singing made him happy.
8. Pentagon’s Kino
It looks like the Philippines really is the go-to for K-pop idols looking to learn English. Lastly, Pentagon’s Kino revealed that he stayed in the Philippines for three months, and even spent the New Year here. During his 3-month stay, he only used English to communicate.