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When joy crash-lands on New Year’s Day

By JOANNE RAE M. RAMIREZ, The Philippine STAR Published Jan 07, 2021 4:00 pm

For many of those who were comforted, thrilled, sustained, and buoyed by the Korean romance Crash Landing on You (CLOY) during the strictest lockdown months of 2020, the first day of 2021 lit a giant sparkler. Because the drama’s lead stars Captain Ri Jeong Hyeok (Hyun Bin) and Yoon Se-ri (Son Ye-jin) were extending the series’ happy ending… for real.

“It was eminent!” gushed Marliza-Tiza Clidoro Deona, a Legazpi City-based businesswoman. “Mr. HB was not acting anymore in CLOY. Those were his true feelings. You could read it all in his eyes that he was in love. That’s why everybody became so euphoric when they finally admitted (their romance). In fact, their love story is like a drama unfolding also.”

“Ecstatic” was how Dr. Maria Theresa Yu, one of the psychiatric service chiefs at G. Werber Bryan Psychiatric Hospital in Columbia, South Carolina, described her reaction to the confirmation of the BinJin romance. She shows just how in touch she is with ordinary noonas like us with her membership in a Facebook group called K Drama Mama Docs, a group of 180 highly accomplished doctors who are “addicted to K-Drama and handsome oppas.”

 “This has been a hot topic of conversation and everyone was so happy with the news,” said Dr. Yu, revealing that not a single K Drama Mama Doc is jealous of Se-ri.

In its New Year’s Day pasabog, Dispatch also reported that Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin developed feelings for each other back in March 2020, after the airing of CLOY. They reportedly continued to meet in get-togethers with the show’s cast. The two also reportedly bonded over their common interest in golf.

Reacting to an online article on the Jan. 1 year opener scooped by Dispatch, and confirmed by both HB and SYJ’s agencies, Vast Entertainment and MS Team Entertainment, another fan, who chose to remain unnamed, commented, “I cried when I read the news... I will attend their wedding even outside the venue just to say I witnessed their union.”

And the lady who crash-landed into Captain Ri’s arms, and now apparently has captured his heart as well? In an Instagram post translated by Soompi right after both their agencies confirmed she and HB were dating, Son Ye-jin said: “I’m thankful to have been able to meet a good person, and I’ll work hard to tend [to the relationship] with care…”

True to his strong, silent Capt. Ri persona, Hyun Bin, as of this writing, has kept publicly quiet.

* * *

To recap, after the pasabog from Dispatch, Hyun Bin’s agency, VAST Entertainment, said in a statement: “Actors Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin met through their projects, and after the end of their drama, their positive feelings towards one another developed into a romantic relationship.

“We ask that you look warmly upon their relationship and cheer them on in the future,” it added.

For its part, Son Ye-jin’s agency, MS Team Entertainment, said: “The two of them got to know each other through their acting projects, and after the end of their drama, they developed an interest in each other and ended up dating.”

In its New Year’s Day pasabogDispatch also reported that Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin developed feelings for each other back in March 2020, after the airing of CLOY. They reportedly continued to meet in get-togethers with the show’s cast. The two also reportedly bonded over their common interest in golf.

In the Philippines, both Son Ye-jin and Hyun Bin are telco giant’s Smart’s brand ambassadors, and have even appeared on the cover of PeopleAsia magazine. Hyun Bin headlined the glossy’s June-July 2020 issue (marking his print magazine debut in the Philippines), while Son Ye-jingraced the cover in October.

 At a press conference in June last year, Smart president Al Panilio was asked if the group was going to add another Korean star to its roster of endorsers after Hyun Bin, and he said, “Capt. Ri is lonely if he’s alone, right?”

That was a foreshadowing of things to come. Fans and Smartees were thrilled that the person who would keep Capt. Ri from being lonely would be Se-ri. And true enough, in August, SYJ was launched as Smart’s newest endorser.

Smart SVP Jane Jimenez Basas said in a press conference in August following the announcement of SYJ’s Smart move, “Mr. Al, he was asked a question and he answered by saying he didn’t want to make Hyun Bin too lonely, right? So that statement was actually picked up by the press. It was picked up by the fans over social media. And we knew that we had to get her because of the positive reaction to that statement, and if only to make the fans happy.”

And happy they were, especially with the hint of a Hyun Bin presence in the final scene of SYJ’s commercial, when a black car similar to the one Hyun Bin drove in his own Smart commercial catches up, then stops, beside SYJ’s Ducati.

“How do I know he’s the one?” SYJ says teasingly in the ad’s closing seconds. “Simple, Smart ako.”

Apparently, the couple were already secretly dating at the time. A smart move to keep it secret, says Dr. Yu, because Korean fans are reportedly possessive of their oppas. Well, not just Korean fans. But with this OTP (One True Pairing, that much I have learned!), HB fans are letting him go.

Ninang na lang ako,” (I will be godmother) said another HB fan Annie Lim Kawpeng in reaction to the news that HB was officially “taken.”

Asked if Smart knew all along the couple were for real, Panlilio simply said: “We have another surprise soon.”

* * *

Like a paraglider that soars before it glides to terra firma, CLOY and other K-Dramas lifted many of our sagging spirits up to Cloud 9 during the first uncertain months of the quarantine. So much so that on New Year’s Eve, wife and mother Eliza Romualdez Valtos wrote on her Facebook page, which had a collage of all the male K-Drama stars that kept her company via the small screen, “Before the year ends, I would like to thank these ‘Fantastic Men’ who helped get me through the year that was 2020. You kept me company, you entertained me, you introduced me to a whole different culture — and a beautiful one at that! You watched sunsets and sunrises with me; you caught first snowfall and cherry blossom flowers with me. You took me to all sorts of adventures — sometimes carried me on your back when I’ve had too much Soju, or when I’m tired or injured. You shielded me from sun and rain; cooked for me. You showed me a whole new world! You made me fall in love and made me experience kilig many times over. And most importantly, you allowed me to continue to see beauty, not only in you, but in a world that was quickly filling up with COVID-19 ugliness. To you I say, thank you.” Eliza then punctuated her post with the Korean finger heart emoji.

And I give the last word to another psychiatrist, who himself has probably dissected this CLOY phenomenon with all the arsenal he has from medical school: “(Capt. Ri and Se-ri’s love) represents hope and victory of love over impossible circumstances.”

And in a world now experiencing “impossible circumstances” in many ways, the confirmation of a love sealed in the time of coronavirus is joy crash-landing, indeed, on our hopeful hearts.

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