In 2003, the rom-com “Bright Girl” became the first Korean drama aired in the Philippines. Hallyu or Korean wave soon took over primetime TV with the “Endless Love” series “Autumn In My Heart” and “Winter Sonata,” then “Lovers in Paris,” “Full House,” “Stairway to Heaven,” “Jewel in the Palace,” “My Name is Kim Sam Soon” and “Jumong.”

Fast forward more than a decade later, we’ve just watched “Love in the Moonlight,” “Legend of the Blue Seas” and “Goblin.” So what is it about Korean Dramas that got Filipinos hooked and craving for more?

It’s the art of storytelling

A screenshot from Goblin episode 1

K-Drama unravels its story in a way that’s novel and refreshing for Filipino viewers. With the usual 16-20 episode-series, the story remains compact and sticks to a central theme. It’s also not littered with too many unnecessary characters.

It’s the cliffhangers and moving scenes

A scene from “Autumn in my Heart”

Like any decent type of addiction, K-Dramas leave Filipino viewers craving for more. It does so with episodes ending in perfect cliffhangers. The pace doesn’t drag and the plot moves unpredictably. The viewers are completely taken when they’re laughing at the first episodes and end up in tears at the end.

It’s the characters

A screenshot from Descendants of the Sun OST K.will Talk Love

The characters can be portrayed as really rich and seemingly perfect people yet they still remain familiar and relatable. You understand why they can be gruff or selfish. You hate the villain character so much yet you also can’t help but sympathize. K-Dramas focus on fleshing out the characters as well as building the relationships. A simple kiss scene makes you feel more than you’ll ever feel watching a sex scene in an American series.

Feast for the eyes

A screenshot from the K-Drama “Legend of the Blue Sea”

There’s no blinking when you’re watching a K-Drama – not just because of the subtitles. A K-Drama fills up with plenty of feasts for the eyes. The cinematography, production design and choice of locations make you feel like you’re watching a full-length film. The actors are also eye candies in excellent makeup and fashion. You can’t help but drool.


Traditional values

A screenshot from “Love in the Moonlight”

K-Drama characters have a strong sense of right and wrong. Their Confucian values translate to a squeaky clean drama that esteems families, friendship, their nation and good virtues. The characters also don’t end up falling with everyone else. Such themes resonate with Filipino viewers. This also means just about everyone can watch it.

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