The morning sun was warm but the weather was as erratic as my heartbeat that day. As if going on a first date with my crush, I went the extra mile to look my best. After putting on a dainty dress and dabbing some blush on my cheek, I went to work on my assignment.
Back in 2019, when the news came that my most favorite South Korean actor Ji Chang Wook will become an endorser of Bench, I had a good hunch then that he will soon set foot on Philippine shores. However, the pandemic came uninvited and took us all on a sudden halt. Needless to say, what we had hope for, did not happen.
Fast forward to November 2022, Ji Chang Wook visited Manila for the first time to hold a fan meeting with his Filipino fans. A first of many (I hope!) courtesy of Bench. Annyeong Oppa was invited to attend the press conference and was lucky enough to ask a question to Wookie himself!
It was a rainy afternoon but when Ji Chang Wook entered the venue, the room turned warm and pleasant. He greeted us with his swoon-worthy smile and graciously sent hearts to everyone.
It was no longer a dream. My Top 1 Oppa is right infront of me. Annyeong, Oppa!
“He is here! He’s real and OMG, he is really good looking!” Everyone in the room was as excited as me to see him. Lost touch of my reality for a bit but then had to remind myself that I’ve got a job to do.
Our favorite Sam Oh hosted the media junket and facilitated the queuing of questions from the press.
Since the presscon happened the day before his Reach You Fan Meeting in MOA Arena, he gave a teaser of what he had prepared for his fans. Those who have attended the event will agree that it turned out to be a memorable night full of personal stories , granted fan wishes, a bit of magic and a serenade of songs from his K-Dramas, all performed live by the main man himself.
When asked about the places that he’d like to visit in the Philippines, two popular tourist spots made it on the list: Boracay and Cebu. He did share about his quick visit to Greenbelt, a trending topic during his first day of stay in Manila, for some coffee and sightseeing.
As this is his first visit in Manila, everyone’s curious about the Filipino food that he tried after he arrived, Halo-Halo and Sisig (from Bench Cafe) earned his nod of approval. The skies seemed to agree as he was taken aback by a loud thunder sound while answering this question. A peek of his cuteness showed up then.
On working with Bench, he showed gratitude to the company that gave him his first endorsement deal in the country. With all sincerity, he thanked them for being hospitable and accommodating. He said that he was treated like a family and was provided with a comfortable working environment which resulted to a very satisfying output, he is very happy about. Who could forget his huge billboard along Edsa, right? I have never enjoyed traffic before not until I saw his dashing face up there.
Talking about his multifaceted nature of being an actor and singer, he honestly thinks that he is more of an actor who just got an opportunity to sing. Most people don’t know that Ji Chang Wook started doing musicals before going mainstream. He is equally good at both, a complete package of talent that earned him the following that he has now in South Korea and the rest of the world.
His thoughts on acting made me love him even more. He takes his craft seriously and gives a very consistent response on how he chooses his roles and the genres he’ll work on. His replies are simple and well-thought of, he doesn’t play favorites. Every acting opportunity is a work of ART and HEART for him. No character stands out from the other. He’s is very open to try on different things and values teamwork above all. He is a superstar who remains humble until now.
Another surprising thing about Ji Chang Wook is that he enjoys his regular day like most of us do. He works hard and plays hard. When not busy with work, he usually spends time with his friends, biking (he loves the rush of motorcycles ), playing golf or working out.
His time with the press people was short and sweet but his honesty resonated from how he answered our questions. The room lit up simply with his presence.
While I was browsing through his photos on my phone, one thing came to mind.
“He is sincerity personified.” He’s more than just the gorgeous face we love looking at or the powerful characters he portrayed in the dramas he starred in. He is a lot more than that.
He is hardworking and driven (as I type this, he’s back in South Korea and resumed shooting for his new drama, The Worst Evil). His motivation to do better springs from the support of his fans. He loves to stay home on rainy days.
When asked how he describes himself as an actor, with no fanfare and grandiose, he simply said, “Just (with my name) Ji Chang Wook. I guess that describes me pretty certain and clear.”
This is Ji Chang Wook. It was a privilege to have met him.
I was a happy fangirl/writer that Saturday. Got “Lovestruck in the City” and it “Melted me Softly”.
The universe will always find a way. My dream star came down near my horizon that day. It was that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I can never forget.
You are that dream and you are that star, Ji Chang Wook.