December 6, 2023

The expanded community quarantine gave people the greatest gift in this modern era, time.

From elementary to college and on to working, it was as if we hardly had the time to sit because it was since birth, a rat race. We just went on and on through time with very little of it for ourselves to indulge in something we wanted to do most. This electronic age and cyber space have brought us Netflix, Viu, and other platforms to enjoy movies or binge on drama series episodes. Undeniably, many have become Korean drama addicts.

This edition opens this space to reasons why the K drama addiction is on the rise.

“The first Korean drama I watched was “Goblin” which didn’t really strike me because its storyline didn’t appeal to my taste. Who wanted to watch a drama series about weird beings roaming the earth ready to grab you for death. The romantic spice was there which created an excitement, but altogether, it still didn’t interest me. Then a local channel started airing Korean series dubbed in Tagalog. Interesting enough. I did not have to watch and read subtitles at the same time. To cut the long story short, my eagerness to watch more Korean dramas increased, solely because of the uniqueness of each story plot .Unlike Filipino and English presentations, one can very well gauge the ending just by watching a few scenes from the start. I guess that different approach of Korean dramas made me want to watch more Korean projects. And so, one Korean drama after another came. And more so, with the quarantine we had to go through, it had become a habit. So far.  I haven’t come across a drama series which have the same plot or story pattern.

“What Korean drama do I like most as of now? It still is and I think will always be “The Heirs” (also entitled “The Inheritors”) where I fell in love with Lee Min Ho. How could God have created so handsome and lovable creature. I started scouting for all of Lee Min Ho’s dramas…and to date, I have a collection. And, to top it all, Lee Min Ho also sings. I have a playlist of his songs and gosh. There is no reason for me not to fall in love with him.

“So, have I closed my eyes to all other Korean actors? No. When I watched “Encounter”, I found Park Bo Gum cute, then “Crash Landing on You” came along, Hyun Bin killed everyone with his charm and terrible appeal.

“I also love the Korean music themes. I download the drama series music and I listen to it amusingly, recalling the scene when that song was played!

“Oh yes! I am addicted to Korean output now. I even carry a hairstyle that makes me look like a Korean.

“To those who have not tried watching Korean stuff, try it. And be prepared to get addicted.”  – Rosanna Ruñez, retired teacher

“I cannot recall when I started to watch Korean dramas on Netflix but after a few, the different storylines and unpredictable as well as open ended conclusions of every drama got me irrevocably hooked. One of my favorites, although at latest count, I may have watched close to a hundred, is “Chicago Typewriter”. It’s about a famous writer and his female fan who, as different persons in the past met during the 1930’s occupation of Korea by Japan. He was a secret head of the secret organization against the Japanese, posing as a writer, while the girl was trained as a sniper for the group. Random flashbacks inch their way into their present, and there is a third party, a ghost who appears to the writer in the present, but turns out to be part of his life in the past, and a big question mark lurking throughout the story, is finally answered.” – Dolly Aquino – Hamada, HR Specialist

“I could never understand why many of my friends and even family members have been addicted to Korean dramas for several years now.   More than 15 years ago, I did enjoy a few romantic Asian drama’s but was more inclined towards Japanese drama which I found to be more “artsy” and “trippy” and more palatable to the taste of my “intellectual snobbery”.

“Today, I find myself in their shoes, excited to create my watch list and it started with the drama “Crash Landing on You”. I was hesitant to watch the drama at first because I found the plot to be quite ridiculous.  It is about a South Korean woman who crashes into North Korea from a paraglider and ends up falling in love with a North Korean soldier. But I wanted to know what the fuss was about so I tried watching it and ended up hooked on Asian dramas.

“I am pleased with the opportunity to dissect the reason for my addiction with this essay. The first reason why I enjoyed this particular drama is because of the romance. I’ve been hooked on romantic literature ever since my first fairy tale. Its fantasy, an escape, therefore I find myself inclined towards the tried and tested formula. Realistic fiction when it comes to romance is not fun.   I like the Filipino term wagas na pag-ibig when referring to this formula. 

“But moving out of the formula, the next reason why I like K dramas is the quality of production. The art scene in South Korea should not be underestimated. I have seen other beautiful dramas such as Mr. Sunshine and When the Weather is Fine which I consider to be beautiful and profound. Not just in the acting and cinematography but in the screenplay as well.

“Another reason that I am hooked on these dramas and find myself crossing over to dramas made in Turkey, India and China is the depiction of culture. The depiction of North Korea in Crash landing On You is highly appealing to me and it was gratifying to know that a big percentage of it was accurate. It’s so easy to make sweeping generalizations about a culture but it’s different when you experience a culture through hundreds of episodes.

“And finally, these dramas are just so simple and go back to basic emotions that we have long dismissed as being corny. There is courage manifested in knowing what you want and going after it without too much affectation. And so, for a brief moment in time you get to feel kilig. Kilig, as an emotion is something that is elusive, and so when you experience it even vicariously, you want it to last.” – Valeree Nolasco, consultant

“I’m not sure I’d call myself addicted to Kdrama but there are some series that I like in particular especially those where Lee Min Ho is the lead. I’ve seen Boys Over Flowers, City Hunter, Personal Taste, Faith, and some eight years later I’m currently again enjoying his latest series The King: Eternal Monarch on Netflix. So maybe for some people they are drawn to watching K-dramas because they have their own favorite Korean actors and actresses. I’ve lately also finished the Netflix series, “Crash Landing on You.” I’m drawn to watching some K-dramas because the story usually includes a chivalrous hero, a protector who often fights physically and does martial arts. In the recent K-dramas, I noticed that both the hero and heroine somehow protect each other. They also oftentimes are opposites, usually socio-economically but still end up together. That’s a big part of the K-drama draw is they always end up together at the end of the story. The buildup to the love story seems pretty innocent and sweet compared to most Western soaps which are often tawdry and sometimes involves beyond PG scenes. Somehow writers of K-dramas are able to express as much connection, attraction, love between the characters by a simple hug, an endearing gaze, or short-lived kiss. The leading characters also often are torn between their responsibilities to their family, their country, their company (these often headed by a respected elderly patriarchal figure that wields a lot of power), vis-à-vis their budding relationship and in the end they often don’t prioritize the relationship but again somehow always end up with their beloved. Food and drink are key ingredients to the storylines. Family meals and meals with friends are often a colorful backdrop offering a look into the dynamics between the lead characters and their family and friends. Typical meals include kimchi, soju, beer and in these latest series I’m seeing a lot of fried chicken eaten.” – Gladys D acpano – Alumit, businesswoman

This writer confesses that K dramas always make one feels good in the end. The resolutions or denouement leaves one with hope amid the travails of life and love. Somehow, one can see cinema’s subtle effect of culture, patriotism, politics, education, religion, and social dynamics to make a country great. Happy watching while time is at hand.