by Dan Angello Rafael Degamo | Decemner 7, 2022
According to data released by Twitter this year, the Philippines ranked as the third country across the globe with the highest number of K-pop fans in 2021. Other countries that topped the charts were Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea which came first, second, and fourth respectively. We are no strangers to Korean culture. Every day we consume Korean food, movies, dramas, and music.
The Filipino nation has caught the ‘fever’ of Korean pop culture. We have been accustomed to Korean dramas, music, and local television, radio, and publications, jumping into the Hallyu Trend. Although still existent, the stigma towards Korean culture has subsided, and we as a nation have welcomed them into our hearts and homes. Korea quickly became the talk of the town. What can we learn from this ‘big wave’ of new content and media? How are they dominating the world? In an exclusive interview with the Philippine News Agency, former Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines Director Lee Jincheol said that Korean Culture’s distinct candidness is what sets it apart from the others. This element is present especially in K-dramas. Lee also pointed out K-pop is unique because it is “non-exclusive” and embraces cultures from other countries.
Is this “Hallyu” effect affecting our pop and traditional culture? Since the rise of K-pop in the Philippines, several opinions and criticism have arisen. The biggest among them all is the issue of Filipinos no longer patronizing our own Original Pinoy Music (OPM), dramas, and movies. We Filipinos are apparently turning our backs on our local creations. Recent talks about banning Korean dramas in the Senate took the nation by storm. This backlash came right after Senator Jose Pimentel “Jinggoy” Ejercito Jr. suggested during the budget hearing of the Film Development Council of the Philippines that Filipinos idolizing Koreans affect Filipino artists, leading them to lose jobs and income.
In all honesty, some aspects of our “Original Pinoy” content have become stale, repetitive, or borderline boring and disengaging. And no one could blame a person for listening to K-pop or watching K-dramas instead of patronizing their country’s content. We should step up our game and tweak the formula a bit to engage the audiences. I’m all for supporting Filipino content and hardworking artists, but we don’t have to shut down the entire Korean culture. Why won’t the government fund and boost the industry? What is there to praise when the industry receives little to no support from the government? We don’t close down a store when a customer complains or stop patronizing. We improve our services and products to reel the customers back in.
In my opinion, Hallyu hasn’t overshadowed or dominated our artists, culture, and media. Our local pride still stands with new OPM artists hitting global charts and movies applauded by international awarding bodies and audiences. We don’t have to change who we are to become regarded in this ever-changing global industry. It’s not a matter of changing but adapting.