Today is a special day for all Filipino Shawols. It’s the official release of SHINee’s 2nd Album Lucifer for the Philippine market. Since my best friend had already given me a SHINee Lucifer Version B with an amazing plastic folder freebie for my birthday (Thanks, Sally!), I was not planning to get a copy of the Philippine release. Continue reading
Last night, I attended one of the best shows I’ve seen in my life and it’s all because of one performer–RAIN!
To be honest, I may be considered a Rain newbie. I am not really a huge fan although I knew him. I mean, if you’ve never heard of Rain, you were probably living under a huge rock these past year. Rain is THE Korean superstar who was recently in Ninja Assasin. He is well known for his singing, dancing and acting. I actually got to learn more about him when Stephen Colbert of “The Colbert Report” jokingly challenged him to a dance off and recently commented on his “MTV Baddest Bad Ass” Award. Click here for the news report about this. Continue reading
I got the opportunity to attend the “Runaway and Intensity Press Con” for Rain, Daniel Henney and others. This is my blow by blow account of my experience covering this event. This entry is dedicated to all my K-pop and K-novela fangirls specially my Shinhwa Philippines friends.
The Night Before
A dear friend from Yahoo Philippines called to ask my husband if he can cover Rain’s press conference for them. Since Ganns has a previous engagement, he told them that he can send me to cover the event and that we can write the story together. Since I am also a blogger and a kpop fan, it would be good to have someone like me cover the event. It was settled and I got a call from Yahoo about the details of the event.
I prepared for the interview by researching more details about Rain. I do know him but not that well. I wanted to prepare unique questions for him. I also emailed my Shinhwa Philippines friends to send me suggested questions if they have any. I watched some of his YouTube interview videos just so I don’t ask the usual questions. Since I already covered Elliott Yamin before, I knew how press conferences work. No autographs, no photos, structured questioning…
The Day Itself and the Presscon
Since I was instructed to be at Manila Hotel by 530PM, I was there by 445PM. I know, I know. I was too early but I did not want to be late and I wanted a good seat. The problem was I was really too early so I went to Cafe Ilang Ilang to have the famous Manila Hotel putobumbong before the press con. While eating, I reviewed my interview questions. At around 515PM, I paid my bill and went to the Champagne Room where they were holding the event.
Surprisingly, they were not very strict. I was able to enter the room after a quick register. The people manning the registration area did not even offer me a press kit after knowing that I am representing Yahoo Philippines.
I went in and took a seat on the second row. There were some press there already but I just sat there to wait until the press con starts. Little did I know that it will be a 2 hour wait. I mean, the press con actually started at 730PM. At some point during the wait, the cameramen who were there early were already starting to heckle impatiently. Mo Twister hosted the press con which was a surprise to me since he was involved in a gigantic controversy when he described the U-KISS members as “gay”. I guess someone in ABC-5 wasn’t doing their homework or is this an indirect peace offering from Mo? Whatever. I am speculating.
At around 730PM, the person handling the presscon started giving out pre-set interview questions to members of the press. I am so blessed to have gotten one question to ask Rain. The question was “You received international acclaim as a singer, dancer and actor. Is there still anything you’d like to do with your career?”
At around 745PM, the presscon officially started. Since it is for both “Fugitive” and the “Intensity” show, there were a total of 6 celebrities who appeared before the press. These included Lee Jungjin (“Love Story in Harvard”), Yoon Jin Seo (“The Return of Iljimae”), Lee Na Young (“High Kick Through the Roof”), DANIEL HENNEY!!!! (“Seducing Mr. Perfect”, “My Name is Kim Sam Soon”), and Jihoon Hung aka RAIN (“Full House”, “Ninja Assasin”). Please note that all guests except DANIEL HENNEY spoke in Korean.
The press questions start with the first question being for the director. He was asked about why the drama “Fugitive” crosses genres since it is described as a drama, action and romantic comedy. He said that since they have a varied audience with different ages and points of view, they try to make a drama that fits their varied tastes. The next question was for Lee Jung Jin, he was asked about his role in the drama. He said that he is playing a detective that is chasing Rain. He plays the key detective opposite Rain. Carlo Orosa representing Philippine Star asked him next. He asked Lee Jung Jin about what kind of roles he like to do. Lee Jung Jin said that every time he is doing a role, he focuses on that so he is currently focused on his role in the “Fugitive”.
Someone from Manila Bulletin asked the next question. Her question was for Daniel Henney and Rain. Her question was obviously a “marketing question” for Manila Hotel. She asked them what sets Manila Hotel apart from other hotels they stayed in. Rain answered simply by saying that his stay was comfortable and that the food is good. Daniel Henney said that the food is “very” delicious and that he went to Baguio and thought it was nice there. He also enjoyed the music at the bar the night before.
Yoon Jin Seo was asked next. She was asked about the three leading men she was working with and who is her favorite. She answered very nicely by describing the characters of the actors in the drama but ultimately picking her drama partner, Lee Jungjin as her favorite. She said that Rain’s character is a naughty and mischievous guy, and that Lee Jungjin is wild and tough guy who also knows how to love.
Lee Na Young was asked next. She was asked about what challenges her as an actress. Interestingly, she said that she not just as an actress but as an actor meaning not just a female. She said that she concentrates on every character that she gets.
Someone from the Philippine Star got to ask Daniel Henney an interesting question. She asked him what traditions from Britain, America and Korea does he embrace. Daniel said that this is a difficult question and charmingly corrected her by saying that he is not British but Irish (His dad is Irish). He said that from his Irish descent, his love for beer, from the Korean side, his respect for elders and that this is incorporated in their language and from America, his free spirit.
Lee Na Young was asked next about the cities she visited in the course of shooting the drama. She was asked what memories she will take from the experience. She said that she likes the food even if the schedule is hectic. She appreciates the director who tries hard to allow them some personal time. Each country has different colors and that she tries to show the colors for each country.
Grace Lee from GMA got to ask next. Since she is able to speak in Korean, she was very animated in asking her question and translated Rain’s answer for everyone. She should have been the official translator! She said that she worked with Rain before when he first visited the Philippines. She asked him what he thinks is his biggest achievement so far. Rain said “De…” Like saying “Yes”. It elicited laughter from the press. He answered Grace by saying that it was nice to see her again and that he is very happy to be back in the Philippines. He said that when he arrived, he was very naive. He just released his first single at that time. He has achieved a lot since then and he is very very proud about his achievements and that he is happy to be back in the Philippines and that he had missed it a lot.
The next question was for Daniel. She asked him about his band since he played lead vocals and guitar and if she thinks he will have something kpop fans will like. He said that he doubts kpop fans will like his music because his music is like the Doors, Pearl Jam (“Rock Music”) He said that he had a band in New York about 5 or 6 years ago. But he said a promising…”You never know…these things” SING FOR US, Daniel!!!
I got to ask my question next and I improved the phrasing by saying: “Hi! I am Caths Deen from Yahoo.ph. You received international acclaim in the areas of singing, dancing and acting. Is there still anything that you would like to do with your career? What else is there for you to conquer?” Rain actually smiled a big smile after hearing my question and I can prove it on video! He said that right now he wants to do more television dramas as an actor. He said that he wants to show his capabilities.”
The next question was for Daniel Henney about his other Hollywood plans. He said that there’s always scripts and scenarios but it is always about the character for him. He said that he liked his last role “David” since he thinks it’s important for an Asian actor to do that kind of role. He said he has turned down some roles and that he tends to wait patiently for good roles.
The next question was from Philippine Daily Inquirer. She said if it is necessary for an artist to struggle to be successful. Rain said that he is not thinking of struggles and that he is focused on his role and doing his best as a performer. He said he is happy to see us and that he promise to do his best in all that he does.
The Philippine Star asked him if he’s only here for work and if he had a chance to see the city and what his favorite spots are. Rain asked the person to repeat the question. After he understood, he said that as long as the food is good, he is happy and he goes anywhere.
Ginger from ABS-CBN got to ask her question next. She asked him what drives him and what motivates him as a performer and artist. Rain said that he does not think of difficult things and that his focus is on his fans. He wants to meet his fans’ expectations.
Rain was asked the final question by Mo Twister. He was asked what his fans can expect this Saturday. He said that since it is his first show in the Philippines, his fans can expect “Anything”. I think something was lost in translation here….He may have meant “Everything”.
The presscon ended and the press were asked to vacate the premises for an “Exclusive KBS Conference” with the stars.
After going out of the Champagne Room, I waited for my husband while reviewing my recording, videos and pictures. I had some messages on the cell asking me about the presscon and this was what I texted. “I think Daniel Henney stole the show”. I also posted on my facebook that I think Daniel Henney stole Rain’s thunder (Did you get the pun?). Overall, it was a great experience seeing the stars but I have to be truthful and say that it was Daniel Henney who made the presscon so unforgettable for me.
For my Yahoo article, click here.
If you want to see the photos, visit this album: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=275515&id=581044065
SHINee’s long awaited second album is…surprising. When I first saw the concept photos, I felt a little scared for my favorite dongsengs of k-pop. The concept photos just seemed too wild. Out of the five concept photos, I only liked Taemin’s photo. After finding out that the title of the album is Lucifer, I got more worried. Lucifer is known as the ‘morning star’ angel who became the Devil. What is SM Entertainment doing? What is happening to my SHINee boys? Continue reading
10. Fated to Love You (Taiwan) – This was the very first drama I watched. Really…once you start, you can’t stop! It’s about a mistaken identity which lead to a shotgun marriage. The twists and turns were just so unpredictable, it was pure pleasure. I remember laughing so hard and then crying within 10 minutes watching a pivotal episode. Although I did not like the additional episode they shot after the actual ending. It was still a pleasure to watch. Memorable characters include “Naynay”, the grandmother of Ji Cun Xi (Ethan Ruan) and Dylan (Baron Chen).
9. Shining Inheritance/Brilliant Legacy (Korea) – This drama is so irresistible and addicting, even my husband could not resist it. It is a heavy drama about a stepdaughter who was asked to leave her home with her autistic brother to fend for herself after her father died. She experiences many trials and along the way finds love. Don’t watch if you dislike to much crying and drama.
8. My Queen/Queen of No Marriage (Taiwan) – This is a May-December love story set in modern Taiwan. Both Lucas (Ethan Ruan) and Shan Wu Shuang (Cheryl Yang) are strong characters with past broken relationships. The progression of the story is very realistic and the challenges faced by older woman-younger man couples are well explored. Although I did not like the ending too much, I still loved the dialogue exchanges and climax of this series.
7. The Princess Hours/Goong (Korea) – This is a classic Korean drama. No drama addict has not heard of it. The story is quite unique and combines old and new Korea. I think the appeal is that this drama was able to strike a balance between old Korean values and modern sensibilities. The development of the love story is also quite interesting as the princess does not fall in love with the prince as easily as one would expect. The second prince is also a very endearing tragic character. Although lacking in skinship (touchy-feely scenes as per Korean), it is still fun to watch this drama.
6. Down with Love (Taiwan) – I was not impressed with Jerry Yan in Meteor Garden. In fact, the only thing I thought he had going for him was his killer looks. BUT before diehard Jerry fans kill me, I just have to say this drama completely changed my mind about Jerry Yan. He played Xiang Yu Ping with so much wit and maturity that I just fell for his charms. If only to witness Jerry Yan’s funny moments and lovesick looks, this is worth your time. I am not recommending this just because Jerry’s in it, it is really a light and fun romantic comedy which will surely make you smile. I love the episodes in China because I think that’s when Jerry and Ella’s chemistry really showed. I loved the music from the drama too.
5. Personal Preference/Ka-in’s Taste (Korea) – This is Lee Min Ho’s (Goo Jun Pyo in Boys Over Flowers) follow-up project and it was a hit. He plays a man mistaken for a gay man by a girl. He had no choice but to go along with the farce since he had to stay at her house for an architectural project. It is a story of how an insecure woman finds her inner strength and builds confidence through a friend. They later fall in love but not without challenges. Watch out for the episode entitled “Game Over”. If this episode does not make you a fan, I do not know what will.
4. Full House (Korea) – Another classic Korean drama, Full House is one of the reasons why Rain is a super star. In this drama, Rain plays a haughty super star named Lee Young Jae who buys Han Ji Eun’s (Song Hye Kyo) house. Since she was not in on the transaction, Ji Eun does not leave the house and in turn becomes Young Jae’s personal maid. Due to some twists and turns in the story, they enter a contract marriage. We all know what those lead to. This is a fun romance to watch. My younger brother actually watched all 16 episodes straight with no sleep!
For #3, there’s a tie between…
3. Boys Over Flowers/Boys Before FlowersÂ (Korea) – I know of 4 versions of this classic drama, the Japanese animation, the Japanese version Hana Yori Dango, the Taiwan version Meteor Garden and the Korean version Boys Over Flowers. I watched all versions and the best one is the Korean version. Boys Over Flowers tells the story of a poor and ordinary girl who enters a prestigious school only to unwittingly insult the son of the school’s owner. Boys Over Flowers shows the love-hate relationship between Geum Jan Di and Goo Jun Pyo so beautifully. It’s a picture of young love when nothing in the world can stop the couple from loving each other. This is a true Â delight to all those who have seen it.
3. The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince (Korea) – I cannot decide which one I like better, Coffee Prince or Boys Over Flowers, so I decided to give them both #3 position. Coffee Prince is an enjoyable tale of a woman who pretends to be a man to work in a coffee house. The best part of this drama is the development of the love relationship between the 2 main characters where the man thinks the woman is a man. Did you get it? Just imagine the drama that ensues when a full-blooded man realizes he is falling for a man then realizes that she’s actually a woman! The contrasting relationship shown by the supporting characters is also beautiful to watch. This drama shows different types of love and how different people express their feelings. The other coffee princes are also quite enjoyable to watch. Each prince has his own story line.
2. You’re Beautiful/He’s Handsome/You’re Handsome (Korea) – This drama entertained me so much, I finished 16 episodes in 2 days. It’s a story of a girl who pretends to be her twin brother in order to join a famous boy band. I loved the funny antics of Go Mi Nam (Park Shin Hye) and watching Hwang Te Kyung’s (Jang Keun Suk) pride collapse as the episodes progress. There are so many funny scenes that just endears the characters to you. The storytelling is also surprising so the audience is left guessing until the end about the character’s past. It is not until the second to the last episode when things beautifully unravel. I love the dialogue from this drama. A lot of funny and romantic scenes are in store for those who will give some of their time to this drama.
1. Cinderella’s Sister (Korea) – This drama just killed it for me. It has the perfect balance of comedy, drama, romance and magic realism which made it the best drama for me. If you are familiar with the story of Cinderella, this drama draws inspiration from the classic fairy tale. The story is set in a rice wine factory where Hyo Sun and Eun Jo grow up together as stepsisters. Typical of stepsisters, there’s rivalry in many areas including studies, romance, looks, etc. But the story is not as simple as that. It is difficult to describe because Cinderella’s Sister is the most complex drama I’ve seen so far. The story offers a lot of discussion points and complex characters. The characters are not one-dimensional (i.e., villain, good girl, good boy). All characters have both the yin and the yang and the audience are drawn to all of them. You feel for the supposed villain. Watch this drama, it is soooo worth the 20 hours investment.