Nowadays, if a baby is christened “Rain”, it doesn’t necessarily mean that its parents love precipitation.
Chances are, the baby was named after the Korean artist that is wildly popular among Filipino youth.
The list of Korean names does not stop there. There’s Tak Goo, Justin, Jumong, Cholo, Jodi, Sandara. That’s “Hallyu”, or the infectious wave for everything Korean and Korean-inspired.
Filipinos have warmly embraced Korean culture, from Koreanovelas (Korean television soap operas), KPop (Korean Pop music), food like kimchi (spicy pickled vegetable) and colorful coifs.
Noting the local acceptance of Korean culture, Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Hye Min-Lee, speaking at the 2nd Philippines-Korea Partnership Forum today at the Intercontinental Hotel in Makati, couldn’t hide his joy.
“When I assumed my position as ambassador last year, I was surprised to see how the Philippines have embraced telenovelas and K-Pop,” Lee told a delighted crowd composed mostly of members of the academe.
Lee said the Philippines and Korea have made “remarkable progress” in strengthening people-to-people relations, which was the forum’s theme.
Koreans have been finding their way to the Philippines, he said, citing the 740,000 Korean tourists that visited the country last year.
“This made Koreans the top tourists in the Philippines last year, by nationality. We expect the number to rise to one million—a 30 percent increase—this 2011,” Lee said. The envoy added that over 100,000 Koreans have opted to reside permanently here, finding comfort in country’s “working conditions and cultural ties.”