K-pop in the Philippines has come a long way since Super Junior’s “Sorry, Sorry” and Wonder Girls’ “Nobody” that took over the country in the early 2010s.
Since then, more Filipinos have found themselves falling into the rabbit hole that is K-pop – even a 2021 Twitter report ranked the Philippines as the third country with the most K-pop fans in the world (by beating South Korea itself)!
It is no longer surprising, then, that most of the K-pop shows held in the Philippines have sold out since restrictions were eased in May. Understandably, Filipino fans are now more than excited to see live performances by their favorite artists, especially after two long years of silence on the live music front.
Indeed, as soon as South Korea announced in June that it had opened its international borders to Filipino citizens – many took the opportunity to go to Seoul for these live concerts.
“It’s my first time going to South Korea. Honestly, I had no plans to go to South Korea but [K-pop boy group] Nikoi, a 32-year-old businesswoman, told Rappler, “SEVENTEEN made me do it.
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Dennis, a 27-year-old engineer, flew to Seoul for Super Junior’s concert Super Show 9 Concert on July 15th. “It’s actually my first ever concert in K-pop, and it was probably a very reckless decision to do my first concert in a foreign country,” she said.
But even though she knew there was a possibility of the Philippines being included in the group’s world tour stops, Denise pressed by going to South Korea instead: “I really wanted to see Super Junior and watch them perform live…. Super excited na acre (I was so excited) that they can now have offline parties again after two years.”
The calm on the live music front was also what drove Niqui to attend SEVENTEEN be the sun Concert in Seoul from June 25-26. “Due to the pandemic, concerts have been suspended for more than two years, so I told myself that once the borders of South Korea are opened for tourists and concerts, I will apply for a visa to watch the SEVENTEEN concert.”
The same goes for Mads, a graduate nursing student, Danny, a college student, and Aichi, a business owner. The main reason for visiting Seoul was to attend a K-pop concert.
After their successful trip, they shared with Rappler their experiences, which other Filipino fans can take tips from.
Make your Seoul trip happen
For all of them, the most important factor when going to a K-pop concert in South Korea is getting a concert ticket successfully.
They said Filipino fans should do extensive research on the ticket selling process as many entertainment companies and concert promoters have different guidelines and requirements. Fortunately, tickets can also be purchased online, making it easier for fans outside South Korea to secure their tickets.
Dennis also noted that some groups have a pre-sale service for members of official fan clubs. But they cautioned that it will not be easy, given that many fans from all over the world are also trying to secure tickets online. And if the tickets on the site are already sold out, some resort to buying tickets from distributors on other social media platforms.
In Niqui’s case, she got her ticket for the second day of the concert on the official website, while she bought her ticket for the first day from a distributor on Twitter.
“My friends advised me to be very careful when buying tickets on Twitter because there are too many scammers. A Vietnamese friend who lives in Seoul told me that if the prices are three times or even more than the original ticket price, it is mostly a scam. Banned after sending your payment, you were definitely scammed. So it’s better to check the account [of the seller] when it was created.
Madz echoed the sentiment, saying that before buying from the retailer it’s best to check your ticket first. she said that to be the sun The concert, the names are already printed on the ticket. Therefore, for resale transactions, the original owner must be comfortable enough to accompany the buyer in claiming the ticket for it to be valid.
After getting the concert tickets, they started processing their visas. Niqui pointed out that the list of requirements – which are all listed on the Korean embassy website – depends on the classification of the tourist whether he is a student, employee, self-employed, housewife, etc.
Apart from the concert ticket and visa, fans traveling to South Korea must also arrange flights and accommodation for their trip. Expenses for RT-PCR tests, food, transportation, and other necessities should also be included in the budget.
Some agencies also offer tour packages that include concert tickets and accommodations near the venue, which international fans can consider as well.
What makes a concert in Seoul so special?
While most K-pop groups often include the Philippines as part of their world tour, many fans say it’s still different if you attend a concert in Seoul. “Watching them back home is a completely different kind of experience that you will never regret in your life,” Danny said.
Aichi states that Seoul concerts usually last longer compared to international stops because the artists are more talkative through their selves: “They express themselves freely on stage since the show is being staged assuming the majority of the audience will understand Korean. There are no translators for global audiences.”
Fans also note that on international stations, there are usually changes in the overall production such as the number of songs on the playlist, or no backup dancers compared to performances in Seoul. There are also additional perks like raffle prizes and other executions for fans at Seoul concerts that aren’t often found on international stations.
“Ticket prices are cheaper [in Seoul concerts as compared to international stops] But international fans will also have to spend on other travel expenses, so it may not be cheaper in the end.”
Make the overall trip worth it
Aside from experiencing a K-pop concert in Seoul, having a chance to tour all over South Korea makes their trip unforgettable.
“The most important thing to consider is to make your visit there worthwhile. If you are able to get more days off, also consider going to other places outside of Seoul. Plan it efficiently to save expenses. It will also be interesting to go there,” said Denise. With other K-Pop fan friends.
While Niqui, Madz, and Aichi went to Seoul on their own, they were able to meet Filipino fans who also attended the concert which made their South Korea trip even more fun. “I initially planned to go on the trip on my own. But in a fanbase, you are never alone, I guess,” Aichi said, remembering that she and her friends ended up visiting the places their idols went to while they were staying in Seoul.
“If your fellow fans can and have the means for that, they should definitely go [to Seoul for a concert, too]. Mads recalls, “It’s a completely different experience as a fan.
Nikoi added, “As long as you are able, why not give it a try. It is a good experience and you can keep memories that will never be forgotten. But I also believe that there is always a perfect time for everything. So, no need to rush, just be patient and once you get there, you can say that All the wait was worth it.” – Rappler.com
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