Don't you just love it when you discover that your favorite Korean stars have already been to the Philippines? Apart from the usual concerts and fan meets, some K-drama actors and K-pop idols visit our country to study or promote a certain organization or brand. Take The Penthouse actress and K-pop queen Eugene for example, who was actually once the Philippines' special tourism envoy to South Korea!
ICYDK, the 40-year-old actress, whose real name is Kim Yoo Jin, was already wildly popular in the country prior to her casting in The Penthouse. (She's a first-generation K-pop star and was part of the legendary girl group S.E.S; she's also said to be the original visual of K-pop!) She was particularly loved for her role in the classic Koreanovela Save the Last Dance for Me. For years, Eugene gained a huge following both in South Korea and abroad—and this is why she was chosen to promote the Philippines in SoKor by the Department of Tourism (DoT). In an article by The Seoul Times in 2006, the then DoT Secretary, Ace Durano, highlighted this reason: "Kim was picked because she fits the demographics of our target market: the honeymooners and young single people, or those with families who are all looking for holiday destinations."
To promote her project with DoT as well as her drama, Eugene made a special guesting in the noontime show Wowowee! When the Hallyu star entered the stage, the crowd went crazy and they started screaming the moment Zanjoe Marudo came. The ex Pinoy Big Brother housemate sang a love song for Eugene, a.k.a. a harana, to the delight of her fans.
Eugene mentioned that the Philippines is "great" and "beautiful," and even said "Mahal ko kayo!" She was also asked by Wowowee hosts to showcase her vocal skills. Eugene mesmerized everyone with her soothing voice and timeless beauty when she sang the Japanese song First Love by Hikaru Utada.
In 2008, Eugene came back to the Philippines to film her movie, Island, in Boracay. The show also casts Lee Min Ki, Lee Sun Kyun, and Lee Soo Kyung.
Here's to hoping she'll be back in the Philippines again soon once it's safe to travel for everyone again!
You can watch episodes of The Penthouse and The Penthouse 2 on Viu.
*This story originally appeared on Cosmo.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.