MANILA, Philippines - South Korean actor Lee Min Ho, who set many female hearts fluttering in the 2009 hit TV drama Boys Over Flowers, received crazy, wild love and devotion from his Filipino fans during his meet-and-greet session for Bench at the Araneta Coliseum on Friday night.
Some 10,000 screaming fans packed the Big Dome to see in the flesh the Korean heartthrob who also starred in the action drama City Hunter.
Jennifer Pangilinan, a college student, said she and her friend lined up as early as 6 a.m. to get the best seats inside Araneta.
“We’ve been waiting for him so long to visit us, I don’t want to miss the chance to see him in person and share the air he breathes,” Pangilinan gushed.
The program featured performances from teen groups performing K-Pop hits from Wonder Girls and Super Junior but the night truly belonged to Min Ho.
Deafening screams filled the Big Dome as soon Min Ho entered the stage. He smiled, waved and expressed his interest in trying out the Filipino national dish adobo.
The 25-year-old actor is one of the international endorsers of the Filipino local clothing brand Bench.
Meanwhile, in an earlier presscon, Min Ho said he hopes his next drama will be less serious and will show his naturally playful and dorky side.
“I hope to play a role that will show a lighter side of me. The last two dramas were heavy and dark. I want to portray someone who will not be so uptight, someone who is laidback and relaxed just like me in real life,” Min Ho said through host and translator Sam Oh during a press conference at the Makati Shangri-La on Thursday evening.
Min Ho was referring to his “heavy and dark roles” in City Hunter where he played a private detective out to exact revenge on the killers of his father, while in the action-packed fantasy drama Faith, he plays a Goryeo-era warrior Choi Young whose mission is to defend and protect the King against an evil sorcerer with time-traveling abilities.
Faith was broadcast in Korea last August and just finished airing last October. ABS-CBN announced that it bought rights for the drama series, which the network will air soon.
In his previous interviews in variety shows in Korea last August, Min Ho admitted wasting from the long hours of shooting the drama, saying he lost seven kilos.
At the presscon, Min Ho was noticeably thin in his preppy jacket and shirt and simple jeans get-up.
On his Twitter a month ago, Min Ho said he was glad filming for Faith was over and that he could “go back to eating homemade meals” and sleeping regular hours.
He said in the presscon that visiting Manila was not just an opportunity to connect with his Pinoy fans but it could also serve as a much-needed respite from his work in Korea.
“Going to the Philippines, because it’s geographically near, doesn’t feel like work. If I come to visit, I know that it won’t feel like work but it’s always gonna be a vacation,” the dreamboat said.
What makes his Philippine trip memorable is the hospitality of Filipinos, he said.
“Filipinos are so warm and friendly and they’re known worldwide for that. I am so grateful that my Filipino fans cheer me on and support me even if I’m from far away. I feel like I have to work hard so that there will be more opportunities to go back to the Philippines,” Min Ho said.
His arrival Thursday was a top Twitter trend in the country and TV stations showed video clips of the actor being mobbed by fans at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Min Ho, for his part, expressed gratitude to Bench for choosing him as an endorser.
Min Ho said the best thing about being a Bench endorser was to see his face in a huge billboard.
“I chose Bench since it has a broad appeal. I like the stylish clothes, and I feel it was a good choice and it fits my style,” he said.
Min Ho also displayed his humorous side when asked about what kind of design he would create for Bench.
“It will just be a shirt with a Bench brand on it since it is Bench,” he said, eliciting guffaws from the press people.
“I would also put rainbow colors into it so that it will be a striped rainbow colored shirt,” he added.
When asked what type of clothing on women he finds sexy, Min Ho said it doesn’t matter if she’s clad in a bikini or a simple dress, as long she knows how to carry and project herself.
“She doesn’t have to wear over-revealing clothes, it’s how she exudes confidence,” he said.
And lastly, Min Ho said he likes girls with long hair.