(The Korea World Trade Center
is above the COEX Mall)
Although I always hear them singing on the alleyways of Myeongdong and see them dancing on TV, the first time I actually bumped into EXO was at Incheon International Airport. And they weren't singing or dancing. They were running away from their screaming fans!
And I thought that was the last time I saw them.
(Anna's EXO favorite member, Chanyeol)
Before I flew back home for Christmas, I dropped by what K-pop fans would call their 'playground', SMTown, which has a shop, a theater and other facilities that all constitute a version of a K-pop theme park of sorts. This place must be hallowed grounds for the fans of EXO, TVXQ, SHINee, Super Junior and other k-pop bands.
(Shinee's shiny things)
(EXO members' shirts)
But I wasn't there to watch or listen to these bands, whose management surely knows how to tickle the fans into buying their music CDs and tickets to their concerts.
I was there to get some presents for Anna, an EXO fan in Manila. Since she's a fan of EXO's Chanyeol, I got her a big photo of Chanyeol and EXO CD. But since CDs whose cover was Chanyeol were all sold out, I only was able to get her Sehun's CD.
At the shop, I noticed some Korean and Japanese fans who all seemed giddy and excited just for being in a place full of their favorite idol's souvenirs and memorabilia. They couldn't seem to decide which item to buy, or why k-pop band member to bring home!
And speaking of going home, when I was finally back in Manila, I met up with Anna at CIBO restaurant at Shangri-La Plaza.
And over our favorite farfalle alla genovese and funghi trifolati pizza, Anna finally met EXO's Chanyeol who all came all the way from COEX and now, to CIBO.
(SMTown at COEX in Seoul)
A few years back, Bae Yong-Joon of Winter Sonata korean drama came all the way from Seoul to Mary Grace café, this time, it's EXO's Chanyeol who travelled some 2,600 kilometers from Seoul to Manila.
(EXO's Chanyeol sitting at CIBO)
Last night, EXO had a concert in Manila, and I'm sure, along with thousands of K-pop fans, Anna and her friends had fun singing and dancing while watching their favorite Korean boy band, not just on TV or on Youtube, but live on stage!
(By the way, congratulations to Cibo's Margarita Fores for being named 2016 Best Female Chef in Asia!)