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Kim Soo Hyun in Manila: ‘The hotness of the Philippines embraced me’

By JOANNE RAE M. RAMIREZ, The Philippine STAR Published Jun 17, 2022 5:00 am

In one particularly kilig moment in the Kim Soo Hyun (KSH) hit K-drama series It’s Okay Not to Be Okay, KSH tells his leading lady, who asks him how he knew their paths once crossed, “I probably knew the moment I looked into your eyes…”

Indeed, the eyes have it. Windows to your soul, your past, your present and future. And your moment!

Just as I, a “Noona” in the eyes of KSH’s generation, had a kilig moment when he said at a press conference organized by Bench Philippines, of which he is the latest global ambassador or “BenchSetter,” that Filipinos have the “eyes of an angel.”

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Asked what he missed most about Filipinos since he last visited the country in 2017, the 34-year-old Oppa said, “ The eyes of the fans, not just the fans but generally the Filipino people, they’ve got the eyes of the angels. And the eyes have power, so I believe I miss them the most.”

KSH’s eyes also gave him away during a fan meet at the Mall of Asia Arena when, after a video presented to him by his fans, he couldn’t help but cry because he was so moved.

KSH is reportedly one of the highest-paid actors in South Korea if not the highest paid. His accolades include four Baeksang Arts Awards. Last year, he was part of Forbes Korea Power Celebrity list, as he was in 2012 and 2016. He already has a wax figure in his likeness at Madame Tussauds.

I’ve seen a lot of romances, reel and real, to know that that kind of strong but silent man is what most women need, especially strong women. And I think that KSH’s eyes can tame anyone.

“Charismatic. Talented. Down to earth,” was how Bench founder and CEO Ben Chan described KSH in his Instagram account after meeting the Korean superstar. Bench brought KSH to Manila, a historic first in retail history after the lockdowns that followed the COVID-19 pandemic.

In another post, Ben attached the hashtags #SuperHumble #SuperTalented #HumilityPersonified to a photo of him and KSH.

Bench founder and CEO Ben Chan, Mons Romulo Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo Puyat and Miguel Pastor during Kim Soo Hyun’s day with fans and the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Speaking through an interpreter, KSH also told the media, composed of women mostly, “From the airport, on the way to the car, I was starting to see billboards of Bench. If you wear exactly the same as the billboards, I guess you will look great.”

A bowling aficionado (“I prefer playing bowling because it’s a very mental thing… it’s a concentration game”), he was also looking forward to playing golf in the Philippines. “And I heard that golf also requires mental concentration so I am having my day of it.”

He got his wish by having a chance to hit the greens at the Manila Golf Club in Forbes Park. Aside from trying Jollibee, he also had a meal at the Conrad Manila.

***

After laying my own Noona eyes on KSH, I made it a point to watch one of his hits on Netflix, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay.

Lean and boyish, Kim Soo Hyun, IMHO, is not macho like Hyun Bin, my ultimate Oppa, nor the cover-boy type like Rowoon or Park Seo Joon nor as debonair as Song Joong-ki. And yet, he makes you melt (Oh, gee, did I say that?!) with his boyish good looks, his quiet charm, shy but killer smile and eyes.

In It’s Okay to Not Be Okay, KSH was called the “tamer,” and the “safety pin” to a dynamite of a leading lady. I’ve seen a lot of romances, reel and real, to know that that kind of strong but silent man is what most women need, especially strong women. And I think that KSH’s eyes can tame anyone. Right, Noonas? 

KSH’s eyes also gave him away during a fan meet at the Mall of Asia Arena when, after a video presented to him by his fans, he couldn’t help but cry because he was so moved. Not just tear up, but actually wipe away tears from his cheeks with a face towel! 

Among those who were touched by KSH’s tears was Tourism Secretary and incoming Central Bank Gov. Berna Romulo-Puyat, a K-drama fan.

“I’ve been watching K-drama since Princess Hours (2006). I thought Kim was so humble even if he is the highest paid actor in Korea! I was shocked when he cried! You would think that he would be used to this by now,” Berna told me.

K halo-halo a la Kim Soo Hyun is topped by kamias.

I also caught a photo of KSH trying his hand at preparing halo-halo with a twist. According to Sam Oh in an Instagram post, Kim Soo Hyun’s halo-halo -“would really hit the spot on this hot day — kahit may kamias and carrot yung version niya!”

Sam also related that there were so many “kalurky” moments in the fan — and fun — meet “when the guy dropped the pizza Soo Hyun was supposed to taste.”

“I died. And then died some more when he ate it anyway!” she quipped.

Well, it seems this “love from another star” is one ordinary guy who had an extraordinary time in the Philippines.

And he knew it from the start.

As he said to the media, “The hotness of the Philippines embraced me and when I saw the fans outside and their greetings, because of the heat and the hotness that the fans were able to express, I had to take off my jacket.”

Well, as Sam said during the press conference, you can take off more than that, Kim Soo Hyun! *