Filipinos are known to be one of the top nationalities who are still taken over by the Korean drama (K-drama) craze. Proof of this are the localized K-drama programs produced in recent years, which have Filipino actors reprising the lead roles.
And whereas one would think Filipino versions of K-dramas take the cake in demonstrating such fanaticism for the neighboring culture, GMA Network has gone a bigger step further in producing local TV’s first-ever original Filipino-Korean romantic comedy series titled, “My Korean Jagiya.”
Headlining this newest primetime spectacle is the Philippine TV’s Sweetheart Heart Evangelista-Escudero as Guadalupe Immaculada Asuncion or Gia.
Evangeslita is paired up with professional Korean actor, host, and former member of well-known K-pop group U-KISS, Alexander Lee, as Kim Jun Ho.
“This show is very exciting, and I’ve been having a great time doing it,” Lee enthused. “I was actually shocked in the beginning [of taping]how Filipinos are just so welcoming and very friendly. In Korea, it takes us weeks to break the ice! And Heart always takes care of me so I feel at home here.”
According to Evangelista, this project is “huge” for her especially now that she is celebrating her 19th year in showbiz.
“It’s not every day that I get to have these kinds of projects so I am very thankful. It was also overwhelming to be working with Korean actors. Especially today when we saw the trailer and the music video, our hard work really paid off. The Koreans are so talented. I am praying for this project’s success, not just for me but for them as well,” the actress shared.
Asked to compare the two cultures on set, she replied, “Koreans and Filipinos are almost the same. Everyone works fast and we all just get along so it’s only the language that is different. When we left Korea, we were all sad. In turn, Alexander even said when he leaves the Philippines, he will cry.”
Meanwhile, the half-Korean, quarter-Portuguese and quarter-Chinese singer-actor shared that he had known Evengelista since he was a student from his foreign-exchange classmates.
“Before I even heard about this project I already knew Heart–she’s famous. Even in my school if there is an international student, they’d talk about Heart. So, when I heard she’s going to be in the show, I said yes immediately and I want to do it,” Lee exclaimed.
“The first few days [of working]was a little awkward for me but you know, her 19 years in the industry makes her so relaxed and she helped me. It’s all been magical; she’s like a real-life princess and a major reason why my Philippine showbiz experience is perfect. I am really loving it,” Lee added.
With a light and romantic theme, My Korean Jagiya is set to make viewers fall in love with the kilig-filled story between Gia and Jun Ho. The series was partly shot in South Korea’s most scenic spots, which also figure in famous K-dramas including Nami Island (“Winter Sonata”), Namsan Park (“My Name is Kim Sam Soon”), Love Padlocks at N Seoul Tower (“My Love from the Star”), and Daejanggeum Park, the actual set built and used for the internationally-acclaimed series “Jewel In The Palace.”
The Seoul Film Commission and Seoul Metropolitan Government generoudly provided support and assistance to the production team of My Korean Jagiya during their entire stay in South Korea, making everything run smoothly on set and beautifully on screen.
The show also stars award-winning actors Janice De Belen as Aida Asuncion, Gia’s widowed aunt; Ricky Davao as Jose/Josie Asuncion, Gia’s flamboyant and colorful uncle; Iya Villania-Arellano as Kennedy Santos, Gia’s perky and cheerful best friend; Edgar Allan Guzman as Ryan Alba, Gia’s handsome playboy boyfriend; and Valeen Montenegro as Cindy, the manipulative Filipina girlfriend of Jun Ho.
Moreover, the show also enjoys the special participation of Korean stars David Kim as Kim Ji Hu, Jun Ho’s stubborn older brother; Michelle Oh as Madam Kim Yea-Jin, Jun Ho and Ji Hu’s authoritative but caring mother; and Jerry Lee as Manager Choi, the goal-oriented and controlling manager of Jun Ho.
Directed by Mark Reyes, My Korean Jagiya premiers tonight on GMA Telebabad.