Photos by Kitkat Pajaro
Here’s a fun, totally random fact to kick off your Buwan ng Wika celebration: international K-pop superstar Dara traces her motivations to become a singer back to a high school Linggo ng Wika performance.
Dara, or Sandara Park to all you OG Star Circle Quest fans, revealed that interesting tidbit during her press conference for this year’s Penshoppe FanCon with Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo star Nam Joo Hyuk. During the Q&A portion, I asked both Joo Hyuk and Dara to recall their most On Brand™ childhood memory and they both delivered (with the latter albeit slightly embarrassed).
Dara answered first by reminding us of her Filipino roots, telling the press “When I was young, I was the super super shy type. I remember, kumanta ako noong Linggo ng Wika during my high school days, and that’s the day that changed my life.” She continued by saying that her friends praised her singing abilities after the performance, and that’s when she got the self-confidence that jumpstarted her career as a singer.
Joo Hyuk, meanwhile, sheepishly explained that growing up near the beach in Busan made him the chill person he is today, especially because he and his friends would just hang out and swim all the time.
Their answers told me that 1) Dara truly is our Pambansang Krung Krung and 2) Joo Hyuk is the shy type who seems to be down for anything; the kind that’d make you uwu out loud just because.
Those personalities emerged even more later that afternoon at the FanCon proper. Fanmeet veterans know the drill: a straightforward program usually consisting of a video, Q&A, some fan games, and a hi touch. The Penshoppe FanCon was on a whole other level, packing all of that with a rave, mini-concert, and fashion show in a bit over three hours. Before the main event, we were treated to performances by DJ Tom Taus, the Philippine All-Stars, Keiko Necesario, IV of Spades and Club Penshoppe PH ambassadors Khalil Ramos, Maris Racal, Ronnie Alonte and Loisa Andalio. Add the unveiling of Penshoppe’s nostalgic Pre-Holiday 2018 collection to complete the whole experience.
The wait for the stars of the hour was long, but the fans brought on the energy the entire time. RIP to my eardrums, which are still recovering as of this writing. When Dara and Joo Hyuk came out, the sold-out arena went wild, screaming whenever the pair so much as breathed.
Heck, even my fellow media people couldn’t control themselves. I’m looking at you, photographer who was jumping up and down with the 2NE1 lightstick, screaming “I love you Dara!” and all the reporters in my section doing finger hearts at Joo Hyuk. During the game portion, envious fans squealed when Joo Hyuk broke out of his shell and passionately hugged a fan while reenacting a scene from Weightlifting Fairy. We all melted. Dara’s fashion pose game was also a crowd fave, with participants really bringing their A-game to each pose.
The night ended with Filipino stans well-fed, and Dara and Joo Hyuk throwing all their love back to them.