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How Korean entertainment helped Filipinos during the pandemic

Oct. 10 marks World Mental Health Day. Breathe, take a break and if you can, check on the people you love.

“Better Today Conversations” is PLDT and Smart’s storytelling campaign focused on wellness. The four-part series will premiere on Oct. 9, 6 p.m., and will be held every Friday of October on Facebook. 

Athlete and beauty queen Michele Gumabao will host the first episode. Watch out for TV personality and Woman in Action website founder Gretchen Ho, and listen to actor and youth empowerment advocate Richard Juan. 

Alyssa Valdez will also share her experiences as a professional volleyball player. 

Mark Averilla, better known as the Tik Tok superstar Macoy Dubs who made popular the well-loved Aunt Julie character, will discuss his work as a content creator. 

Metro.Style’s beauty and wellness editor Kate Paras-Santiago will be on the panel, too. 

Inquirer’s Super K section editor Ruth Navarra-Mayo will tackle how Korean entertainment has helped Filipinos during the pandemic. In an email interview, she explains the draw of Korean materials: “Majority of the Filipino fans are women, I would say that the main attraction are the men, and how good-looking they appear on screen. However, the fans stay because of the storytelling.”

Mayo adds that “there’s a formula in K-drama that keeps its viewers hooked. So even the die-hard fans of a certain celebrity follow the careers of the writers who made the dramas that they fell in love with.”

Can you imagine how the seven-month lockdown would have been without the gorgeous oppas?

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“Everybody needs something to help them stay sane right now,” Mayo says. “Korea has successfully beat the new coronavirus disease, but their entertainment industry never really stopped. Having access to new episodes and music made people excited. We needed that. The huge library of past dramas that we have access to via streaming sites enabled people to escape the pandemic even for just a few hours.”

Aside from K-drama hits, Mayo suggests watching the following: Netflix’s “Extracurricular” crime drama, Park Bo-gum and Park So-dam’s “Record of Youth” series about models turned actors, the serial-killer show “Flower of Evil” starring Lee Joon-gi and Moon Chae-won, and upcoming documentary “Blackpink: Light Up the Sky.” 

“Better Today Conversations,” powered by PLDT and Smart, is a way to welcome conversations as an important component to one’s wellness and personal growth, and break the stigma on mental health issues. 

Follow @bettertodayph on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

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