Lifestyle & Entertainment

Asian Fever is on! Why Filipinos are obsessing over asianovelas, samgyeopsal, hallyu culture

The different versions of Meteor Garden: Korea, Japan, Chinese, and Taiwan (Photo courtesy: Google)

Admit it, we all probably fell in love with at least one or two Asian countries given by its indifference with the usual taste of reality we see every day. They came without warning, trickling in almost unnoticed until there were too many to ignore.

In history, the Philippines has been colonized by Spain, America, and Japan. At present, it appears that such colonization has not ceased since the country is now experiencing neo-colonization under South Korea, China, Japan and Taiwan. Such colonization is neither bloody nor catastrophic; it is rather fun and exciting. As observed, it is interesting to note that more and more Filipinos are getting that “Asian-fever”, although not by nationality but by taste and looks.

Undeniably, these countries have been conquering and colonizing the Philippines through arts and culture.

As time progress, we can also notice that the attraction brought by our neighbor countries changed our views when it comes to the aspects of TV drama, food, music, clothes and recently, makeup/skincare routines. From then on, the “Asian-fever” craze grew in popularity and even more so with the introduction of their so-called “Asianovelas” to Philippine TV. It clearly showed its influence upon us on a daily basis.

But the big questions people may want to ask here is why Filipinos are attracted to it?


Asianovelas gave Filipinos a new look on TV drama 

The First and True Home of Asianovelas (Photo courtesy: ABS-CBN PR)

We hate to break it, but Filipinos are tired of the same old plot, artists and ending in every TV drama.

During the 90’s, entertainment networks introduced foreign TV dramas that are dubbed into Tagalog. These are the popular Mexican telenovelas Marimar” and “Betty La Fea” (among many others) were groundbreaking while Mexican actress Thalia aka Marimar and Venezuelan actor Fernando Carrillo aka Fernando Jose of the hit drama series, “Rosalinda,” captivated the hearts of many Filipinos.

However, it wasn’t until 2003 that Philippine TV decided to change and focus more on series from Asian countries such as Taiwan and South Korea. This is where the term “Asianovelas” was introduced,  starting with the hit Taiwanese drama series, “Meteor Garden” that aired in May 2003.   During the same year, the rise of Hallyu or Korean Wave also took the country by storm. From then on, the Asianovela craze grew in popularity and even more so with the introduction of Korean dramas to Philippine TV.

Whether they are dubbed in Tagalog or watched with English subtitles, Filipinos are enraptured with Chinese and Korean superstars who have good looks and undeniable charisma. The storyline of Asian dramas became something new to Filipino viewers since it is not as easy to predict as those in the local dramas.

Some people might find these Korean dramas weird, awkward, unrealistic, stupid and shallow, though actually, it is what captured the hearts of its fans. The story-telling is excellent with fast developing plots and how the acting gave justice to it. Unlike Filipinos and Western TV shows that would take years to end because the story has a lot of subplots, the introduction, rise of the problem, climax fall of the problem, intervention and solutions can be told brilliantly with only 16 episodes.

The best thing about K-dramas is that they are light and less erotic than Filipino or Western shows so you can have your whole family watch it.

The popularity of Koreanovelas has stayed strong for more than a decade. And because of these reasons, they will continue to be staples in Filipino TVs for more years to come.


Food coma for Asian cuisines

(Photo courtesy: Google)

  For this moment, let us all leave behind Filipino favorites such as Adobo and Sinigang in the list and delve yourself into the wonders of sushi, ramen, sashimi, samgyeopsal and other famous Asian cuisines.

According to a study, Chinese food tops the hierarchy of Asian food known in the other side of the world.

One of the main reasons why we Filipinos have a unique affinity for Chinese cuisine is because it has been part of our culture for over hundreds of years. Since the 11th century, our ancestors have been trading with our Asian neighbors, exchanging items like silk and beeswax. When some of these Chinese traders chose to stay in our shores, they decided to recreate their favorite Chinese meals using local ingredients to have a taste of home.
Since then, various recipes from Chinese cuisine have been turned into Filipino favorites. From pansit (Hokien piān-ê-si̍t), siopao(Cantonese cha siu bao), and even lumpia (Hokien lunpia), these dishes have become part of our culture for years. We even recreated a number of versions of pansit (from Lucban’s habhab to Batangas’ lomi) to fit our unique palates.
Japanese cuisine has always enjoyed mainstream popularity in the country since it has the right blend of familiarity and novelty, both comforting and different at the same time.
Meanwhile, Filipinos have been recently engaged with Korean food such as Kimchi that serves as a staple in every Korean dish,  a traditional side dish made from salted and fermented vegetables. Its popularity has reached almost every local grocery store in the country. Next is the Ramyeon, a type of noodle dish similar to country’s “lucky me” and such. Lastly, is the Samgyeopsal (Sam-gyeop-sal), an extremely popular Korean BBQ dish and because the cooking and eating are done on the table, it’s a great social and party food. Korean stores can be found in many places in the Philippines where you can buy Korean traditional food, drinks, junk food and even alcohol—Soju!

Dewy makeup and Glass Skincare for the win

(Photo courtesy: Google)

Because skin care is life!

But before that, let us also discussed how the Asian culture also influenced Filipinos when it comes to pulling off different looks with multi-colored clothes and hair as fashion. Basically, it’s all about mixing your clothes with just any accessory you have and you don’t have to follow the stereotype, you can dress however you want. However, the main key in acing the fashion world is simple: Just be yourself!

Now, Korean beauty shops are widely popular here in the country.

More and more Korean cosmetics are finding their way to the Philippines with brands like Etude House, The Face Shop, Nature Republic, Tonymoly, Missha and Skin Food opening stores to take advantage of the country’s growing market for beauty products. The sudden interest in Korean beauty brands is part of the current “Korean wave,” as many young Filipino girls want to look like their favorite Korean singers and actors.

Filipino consumers are getting more curious about the Korean cosmetics brands as they are quite unconventional compared to other local products despite their higher price points. Korean cosmetics are perceived as the high-end products with their high quality and great efficacy. It also helps that their packaging is also attractive. It also helps that Korean cosmetic brands use famous K-pop stars to advertise their products in the Philippines. Etude House has Sandara Park, f(x) and Shinee, while Tonymoly features JYJ.

Some of the popular Korean makeup brands that are making its wave in the country are Laneige, Innisfree, and CosRX.

On the other hand, Japanese cosmetics are also making Filipinos swear by its makeup and skincare products such as Kanebo Suisai Beauty Clear Powder — an enzyme powder cleanser removes excess sebum and dead skin without stripping off the skin’s moisture; Shiseido Medicated Baby Powder which comes in compact form, perfect for touch-ups on-the-go; Heroine Make mascara that lengthens your lashes by up to 120 percent and stays on for up to 10 hours; Liese Creamy Bubble Color  for “tamad girls” out there since it only requires you to “shampoo” the color into your hair; and Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence that provides SPF 50 coverage, is quickly absorbed by the skin upon application, and dries to a matte finish.

However, the premise behind the statement may not justify that the entire country is into the “Asian-fever” yet the trends will always find its way to the hearts of most Filipinos who have been a big fan of their culture since then.

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