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Lee Min-ho: ‘I want to vacation in a secret, quiet Island in the Philippines’ |


Lee Min-ho: ‘I want to vacation in a secret, quiet Island in the Philippines’

ALL IN MY HEAD - Monique Toda - The Philippine Star
Lee Min-ho: âI want to vacation in a secret, quiet Island in the Philippinesâ
Global superstar Lee Min-ho makes a special appearance at SMDC’s celebration for SM’s 65th-year anniversary

The energy of the Philippines is wonderful,” says Korean super-duper star Lee Min-ho. The internationally famous actor was in the country as the special guest of SMDC, which was celebrating SM’s 65th anniversary. For the past months, Min-ho’s handsome face has been on billboards promoting the company’s condominium projects. He is their brand ambassador, and its “good guy.” Lee Min-ho’s appearance was a much-awaited event, and his fans were ecstatic that he visited the Philippines once again.

Confession: Lee Min-ho is my ultimate Korean actor. As the Zoomers say, he is my “ult bias.” I have interviewed a few K-actors and even K-pop idols whom I admire, but Lee Min-ho is my personal holy grail. He is a big part of my getting into K-dramas and films (Min-ho had me with his curly locks as Gu Jun-pyo in the teen series Boys Over Flowers). Since then, I religiously watched almost all his works, from City Hunter, Heirs, and Gangnam Blues to Pachinko. My favorite is the supremely kilig The Legend of the Blue Sea. He’s won too many awards too mention and is a global superstar. Min-ho is also the face and brand ambassador of international luxury brands Boss and Fendi. In fact, he impressively opened the Boss show at Milan Fashion Week recently. His fans, called Minoz, are legion.

Now here he was before my eyes, and I was awestruck. I had the privilege of seeing the superstar at the SMDC celebration, and at a press conference before that. And in those two events, we got to know so much more about Lee Min-ho.

Wearing a sparkly black jacket, he told the media (through an interpreter) that “time flew and he hasn’t visited the Philippines in seven years, but I really felt that my fans waited for me here when I arrived last night at the airport.” Min-ho arrived at a NAIA swarmed with his fans. Honestly, I thought he would be crushed with the number of people who were there and wanted a glimpse of him with matching screaming. It was a next-level welcome.

Lee Min-ho was candid, easygoing, and funny. His trademark laugh delighted the audience

At the press con, he described his ideal home “to not have many things, to be minimal.” The top three essential items in his home would be: a bed (he said a “double king” size); a sofa to create a space for people to gather, and a microwave (very practical).

And what would this busy actor love to do in the Philippines? “I would love to vacation in a quiet island. I would love to go to a secret island and spend time there. If anybody can tell me about a secret island in secret, I would be grateful.”

For the short term, though, and during this brief stay, he plans to try delicious lechon to get a taste of the country.

Min-ho uses pressure and the unwavering support of fans to motivate him to be a better actor. Regarding the fervor and loyalty of his Pinoy fans who have cheered for him all these years since his role in Boys Over Flowers, “there are people who still refer to Gu Jun-pyo, and I’m still surprised by it. The drama was aired 13 years ago — so long ago. It is amazing that it still influences and is remembered by people. I hope that I continue to create projects that will be remembered for years and decades.”

It was mentioned that season two of Pachinko will be shown next year, and I can already tell that it will be included in his memorable lineup of roles.

During the SMDC celebration at the SMX Convention Center, the mood was light and fun. The affair was attended by members of the Sy family, friends, and residents of the SMDC condos. There was excitement in the air and anticipation for the appearance of Lee Min-ho. The program included a quick speech by SMDC president Josie Mari Banzon, and a mini concert by Jed Madela (wow, what a voice!). Then the main attraction made his way towards the stage in a sharp blue suit. The buildup towards this was thrilling.

“First of all, it’s been seven years since I came back to the Philippines, and I really missed you guys so much,” Min-ho said. “I’m really glad to see that each and every one has overcome the difficulties of the coronavirus, and you are now well. I am very happy to see you again.”

Lee Min-ho appreciating messages from his Minoz

The feeling is mutual, Lee Min-ho. He continued to congratulate SMDC and SM on its anniversary, citing how incredible it is for a company to withstand the test of time. He added later that evening that being able to have a wonderful home is important, so we “must work with people who are trusted. I am honored to be a part of this brand, and happy that SMDC has given me this opportunity to see you all tonight.”

Vibrant host Sam Oh and the star had an hour or so conversation onstage. Min-ho was his endearing self: easygoing, funny, candid, and did I already mention charming? His trademark laugh would elicit screams of delight from the audience. There was an instance where someone shouted, “Saranghae,” to which he quickly responded, “You, too, mahal kita!”

Here are some highlights. Lee Min-ho is quite modest about his handsomeness. The secret to his good looks does not lie in some beauty routine, but the energy and love he receives from fans. He thinks the energy of the Philippines is wonderful. When asked what he would be if he weren’t an actor, he thought for a moment, laughed and said, “A YouTuber, or be a director or in film production,” not far from what he is doing now. He tries his best to do new things always. In fact, his most recent project is a drama (aside from Pachinko) related to space, and he had to learn to work in zero gravity.

In the “Fast Talk” and “Never Have I Ever” segments, we find out that Min-ho is a night owl: “My eyes light up at night.” He is a beach person. In the hotel he is staying in, he sees the beach and an amusement park. “I would like to go there but tell no one.” He’d rather sleep than shop, and his best day of the week is Sunday, because you can be tamad. He prefers a sunset than a sunrise. Min-ho had just witnessed a beautiful Manila Bay sunset earlier that day. “If you want to see a sunrise, you have to wake up.” And, like he said, he likes to sleep.

As to an SMDC amenity in a condo, he chooses a pool over a gym. And, similar to his desire to go to a secret, quiet island, he would like to build a luxury home in a place where there are no people, only nature. In his home, though, it is important to have warmth. He mentions having Choco, his famous dog, who makes him feel loved.

Min-ho admits to googling himself all the time. In fact, he just googled himself backstage. He often does this to read new articles about himself. With this in mind, annyeong, Lee Min-ho, are you reading this?

Now, what sage advice can we get from the actor who has done so much, and been through a lot in life? “The standards for success are different for each one of us, so don’t be tied to only one way of thinking. I don’t aim to be successful; I am happy and content where I am.”

In tough times, what gives him comfort? “As a person, I am already comfortable and I don’t really get anxious, I just live my life.”

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