Anything Korean is bound to be a big trend in the Philippines. Whether it’s food, culture, fashion, or TV shows, many locals have turned to the offerings of Seoul to get their fix. A trip there is the best way to experience hallyu culture, but you can still live the Korean culture while you’re here!
Here are seven tips to live like a Korean in the Philippines:
7. Visit Korean cafes
Manila is home to many cute Korean cafes. Many of them play K-pop songs and music videos, but each has its own gimmick to separate itself from the rest. Subspace Coffee has beautiful interiors designed by Space Encounters, Zoo Coffee is filled with stuffed animal dolls of all sizes, and Kiss the Tiramisu has large goblets of dessert goodness. Of course, the food and coffee are all delicious.
6. Watch the best Korean movies
If the only Korean film you’ve seen is Train to Busan, you’re missing out. Korea is home to a booming film industry and they have tons of movies you can explore. If you like action, there’s Park Chan-wook’s The Vengeance Trilogy, composed of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, and Lady Vengeance. He also directed the psychological thriller The Handmaiden. For science fiction, there’s Bong Joon-Ho’s Snowpiercer and Okja. For rom-coms, there’s Kwak Jae-yong’s My Sassy Girl. The horror genre is also alive, but the breadth of films available deserve its own number on the list.
5. Watch the latest Korean shows
There are many Korean shows popping up, and more and more are debuting each week. But for the best K-dramas, we recommend Secret Garden, The Lover, Legend of the Blue Sea, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, and Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (more popularly known as Goblin). They’ve become so popular that anyone who’s become a fan of K-drama has been described as “kinain na ng sistema.”
4. Listen to K-pop playlists
Just as popular as the K-dramas is the K-pop industry. There are so many genres and groups to choose from, like Super Junior, BTS, Blackpink, the disbanded 2NE1, and EXO.
They’ve become so popular in Hollywood that BTS and Psy were recognized at the Billboard Music Awards, and Blackpink’s music video of “As If It’s Your Last” was included in a scene in Justice League. Locally, Kris Aquino proudly proclaimed that she’s now part of the BTS Army!
3. Dress like a Korean!
The popularity of K-pop superstars means their fans are now emulating their style. Koreans are known for being trendy (we saw this ourselves during a trip to Seoul) and they’re not afraid to show off their fashion choices. They’re quite adventurous, too: think short skirts, graphic tees, and lots of colors. You don’t need to fly to Korea to dress like a local because many boutiques and online stores offer Korean fashion for less!
2. Eat authentic Korean food
Foodies will be spoiled for choice when it comes to Korean food. Many restaurants offer bibimbap, bingsu, gimbap, and more, but our favorite Korean restaurant so far is Gen Korean BBQ House. Even if it’s an import from Los Angeles, it captures the authenticity of Korean food. Some of our top picks here are the samgyupsal, a pork dish grilled with kimchi, garlic, and onions; the Gen chadol, thinly sliced beef brisket dipped in sesame oil mixed in with salt and pepper; the Gen signature pork steak, or marinated pork loin; the Gen signature sirloin steak, or slices of sirloin marinated in a sweet yet savory blend; and the Gen beef bulgogi, thin and marinated slices of sweet and savory beef.
People line up for this in LA all the time, and it’s no surprise that people line up for it in its SM By the Bay branch in Manila. You can eat every day for free during your birth month, too!
1. Visit the Korean Cultural Center
If you really want to immerse yourself in Korean culture, make a trip to the Korean Cultural Center in Bonifacio Global City. There are classes for Korean language, K-pop dance, singing, cooking, taekwondo, and traditional dance. The exhibit hall has quarterly exhibitions on Korean culture, and you can visit the library, which has 5,000 titles of books, magazines, movies, TV shows, and music!