I can’t believe he was finally HERE!!
For four days, actor Lee Min Ho stayed in Manila to endorse a local clothing brand and to meet his Filipino fans who are all anxiously waiting for him since 2009. It’s been quite a long wait, but he really made it worth it!
Last November 15, he arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and was greeted by hundreds of Filipinos waiting both inside and outside the NAIA terminal. Lee Min Ho’s flight to Manila was delayed and he apologized immediately when he met the press at a conference that was held at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel. Sam Oh was the host and the interpreter for all Lee Min Ho’s event and fan meet. How I wish I could have her job!
The highlight of his visit is the Bench Fun Meet at the Smart Araneta Coliseum held last November 16. For his second day stay in Manila, as a product endorser and Bench newest Global Star Ambassador, Lee Min Ho made thousands of Filipinos the happiest that night! Araneta was full almost to the brim, and it wasn’t even a concert. Imagine he filled Araneta alone!! Phenomenal!
Gates opened at around 5 in the afternoon. The queue was long that I think fans surrounded four blocks from the actual venue. Crazy! But this is how Filipino’s show love, willingly lining up early in the morning for Min Ho. I salute everyone who was there!
I was thankful and uber glad to experience his presence. I really love Lee Min Ho! I can feel how much my fellow Filipinos love him too. The scream was tremendous and earth shattering, I can’t even hear Min ho’s response to questions at times. The moment seemed surreal for him. I’m glad he loved the moment too.. his killer smile says it all!
I’m going to stop right here. A very special MINSUN sister and a certified MINOZ will be taking over the rest of this post. May I introduce dysenteryanalyn!!! *woot* Here is her full of heart, hourly coverage of the Lee Min Ho fun meet. Let’s relieve the fun, the excitement and the unforgettable experience that night!
The prologue started past 2:00 PM. The massive line started to snake around the Araneta coliseum’s perimeter up to the entrance that it actually merited news crew, ABS CBN to name it. Fortunately for our group, we were shaded under tents otherwise, we had been soaking in beads of sweat due to the tropic afternoon. Knowing that, I just couldn’t believe we were able to stand by there for straight four
hours. Thankfully, we had eaten good lunch earlier that afternoon and one of us got to hobble out the hordes of people alive to grab some snacks nearby. Yes, you could also imagine random “sungit” glances, glares, raising eyebrows whenever somebody tries to stealthily cut in the line to join her group. Anyhow, it was reasonably understandable.
5:30 PM onwards – As we were all praying to drag the time, finally the gates to the entrance opened. Automatically, the beefed up marshals had been keeping their eyes over everyone to organize us in our lines as they usher us nearer and nearer. Funny how the squealing and shrieking by some fans way ahead of us had become involuntary as soon as the line moves forward, closer to the gates. Just minutes later, as we shuffled closer to the front, our group was standing only a few meters away from the entrance to where they were selling souvenir Bench Lee Min Ho t-shirts slash fan shirts, which some fans of course had purchased even before the date of the event. There was also a welcoming huge flat screen which rolls Lee Min Ho’s behind the scene footage from his photo shoot for Bench itself.
The Big Dome or also known as the Smart Araneta Coliseum, which could be filled by little over 16,500 people was eventually getting packed. Looking around, there were fans either wearing heels and wedges or screw dignity outfits, few who were still wearing their school/university uniforms and IDs, moms who surely were there as chaperon’s of their daughters or who you can call as the ahjumma fans (high five!), couples (probably the boyfriends didn’t have a choice), and italicized boys, if you know what I meant. That’s how evident Lee Min Ho’s craze was. (Min Ho’s fans are ageless here in Manila – like everyone surely has a representative! — leila)
7:00 PM – Thanks to God, someone finally emerged onstage (videographers and photographers aside) to purposely entertain us. It was Hans Mortel, a TV reality show host/comedian. He took over the draw of the winners for the fansigning, spin-the-wheel contest and Act-That-Scene finalists. In short, these lucky people will get the chance to go up stage and meet Min Ho up close! Luck wasn’t so good for me that time, even for anybody else in our group. Everything happens for a reason, I consoled myself. We all had a great time with Hans. One time I remembered he asked us if there comes a time we get married to someone like Lee Min Ho, are we still going to leave the house? (I know you knew the answer.) Of course not! It was utterly one of those things which didn’t require any second thoughts, right Hyperbole it is.
Well, everything seemed more heightened that evening just like us fans there. Hans Mortel finished it all up with a countdown flashing on the LED screens. Just then, the whole Araneta throbbed in excitement as it went down to zero and dimmed. Laser lights pierced through simultaneously as if we were in a disco ball. Cameras (SLRs weren’t allowed though), iPads, cellphones were already fished and stretched out in the air.
As if on cue, BOOM! The crowd got wilder until a familiar music came on. It was the famous Nobody by Wonder Girls being performed by a group of female dancers. Followed by Sorry, Sorry of Super Junior performed by who they called ‘Down to Mars’ and a 2NE1 dance number by the females of the Philippine All Stars. While their males wrapped up the surprise opening number by dancing the viral Oppa Gangnam Style of YG’s PSY. Party right there! Honestly, my reverie anticipated Min Ho to appear anytime soon between those performances when we could just see him dance with them onstage as his grand entrance. But the performances finished without him. Not until Sam Oh introduced herself as the host for the actual fan meeting.
8:00 PM – The pitch black coliseum had been stunned again with laser lights in assortment of colors. Suddenly, the speakers piped up to welcome the reason of our long hours of waiting and standing―no other than the latest Global Bench setter, Korean super star..
LEE. MIN. HO!!
On cue of hysterical screams and intakes of breath, pyrotechnics went off one by one right on the stage as the backdrops began to slide open, slowly revealing the man himself, smiling with his overwhelmed eyes (who wouldn’t be surprised to see the largest indoor facility in Southeast Asia fully packed?) and waving a hand or his two to us. Seeing him finally in flesh, I didn’t let my mind to go blank. Our group had a banner which was made personally so he would at least recognize us. So with the help of the tallest in our group, we gestured to each other about the banner and without further ado, she raised it to the air despite the number of fans at the back complaining about it because they couldn’t see. Then that was the first time I heard his voice in real life though you’ve heard/watched him countless on the Internet and DVD’s with your earphones!
“Annyeong haseyo yeoreobun. Bogoship wasseo sseumnida.” — Good evening everyone, I’ve missed all of you. He greeted.
I took in his tucked in pinstriped polo with sleeves bunched up to elbow, black pants and black leather shoes. Surprisingly, he wasn’t wearing any accessories side from a wrist watch. He was tall in his 186cm height, slim built and sure had utterly handsome face in his short haircut that I sort of want to take my words back when I said his hair screwed the first time I saw him with that new haircut on the web and disliked it for him. He’s so handsome though he was still the same Lee Min Ho you usually spazz about in forums and even in Chinese websites before this dream-come-true. As expected to Koreans, he has actually fair skin, even minus the spotlights unlike what we used to see in his photos.
After sending out his warm greetings, he and Sam settled on their stools on stage as they started with the brief interview. This included the 15 questions chosen from the twitter hashtag #AskLeeMinHo. It was a battle between enjoying the show live and trying my best to remember everything by sequence. Google can be useful for this part since it had been already written all over news articles ― from questions about his career to the small talk-y ones. So I’m not gonna repeat them all. Haha! But I couldn’t skip on telling you how the video screens functioned so well that it had enlarged the moments he oozes hotness when the cameraman did a great job in spotting him licking his lips with his tongue or nipping on his bottom lip. That was unspeakably sexy and heart pounding, it had all sent us to a hundred times giddy screams even though he wasn’t even yet answering the question. He could just have done that the whole evening and that would have been enough. (Amen. — leila)
Then the look-a-like contest came next. Straight and those who had come out of their closet guys even a couple of girls lined up onstage and walked as if on a runway, not just to sport their Lee Min Ho-ish outfits but also to imitate Min Ho’s famous mannerisms as well. (If only there was someone who tried to be a Goo Jun Pyo copycat pulling off his trademark curly hair, I bet he would not only have the chance of winning but also, would be able to stand out among the rest.) The winner had made the audience jealous because he had taken a solo picture with Min Ho onstage after giving him his prizes.
Then the five finalists for the Act-That-Scene contest were called one by one up on stage as their video entries will be played. No offense though, but we all found the entries funny even if they hadn’t meant to be funny, taking note of their efforts editing and completing them within the given short time. The idol on his stool, on the other hand, couldn’t help but cracked himself up over watching them. Maybe because all of them had injected their own brand of gimmicks in their entries such as making the lead guy wear a mask with Lee Min Ho’s face on it or maybe just the way they delivered the lines. Until Min Ho had chosen the winner from whom he felt the emotions and delivery well executed. He said he noticed its attention to detail to take shots from hands to down to toes. (Min Ho must have learnt these kind of things too well huh.) As soon as the winner was declared, the young lucky winner broke out into tears of joy as she walked to the side of the stage with Min Ho to receive the life-size Lee Min Ho Bench poster and take a picture together.
Lastly, the anticipated spin-the-wheel followed. The wheel includes shake hands, eye staring contest, special gift, autographed shirt and poster, and solo photo together. Each of the drawn winners went onstage to spin the wheel together with Min Ho. Being jealous was an understatement. My favorite part there was when everytime Min Ho counts ‘one-two-three’ in that sexy, deep tone of his voice before spinning up the wheel. He still sounded Korean, but at least there was a slight American accent in it.
Pretty soon, the fanmeet sped by after that. It finished with another pyrotechnic blow with red confettis. And as a remembrance, like what he did before in his previous fan meet’s, he asked for a group photo. So he stooped in front and posed with his back turned away from us so he was also facing the camera. And shoot. One big group photo!
“Kamsahamnida – Thank you.” he told us sincerely before he bid his farewell. Sniff, sniff! His very last words were he hoped that we enjoyed the evening and he also wished to visit the Philippines again soon and meet us again.
The whole run up the high-rise stairs of the MRT during morning dilemma to catch the 8 AM line for the ticket exchange of your invite and the another round of lineup to the entrance―a full 4 hours before the actual event, basking under the glare of the morning and afternoon sun and nearly dehydration and starvation, spending one whole dawn to paint a banner you weren’t expecting he would recognize though we were in the further side of the jammed nosebleed section (yeah, he saw our banner and smiled to it, a knowing smile) were all worth it! It was the longest day I’ve ever had in the history of my second world― my FANtastic world. Ain’t no mountain high enough, they say.
That was a lot of fun right !?! Look forward to more fan accounts from us and our friends. See you on the next CK EXCLUSIVES!! — leila
FULL CREDITS: Lee Min Ho (@ActorLeeMinHo twitter), Ruselle Purillo, Analyn Robliado, Bench
Note: Please don’t take any photos in this post. All photos belong to its rightful owner.