Sandara Park, most commonly known as Dara, has been a household name in the Filipino community since the early 2000s. The Korean superstar has sealed her fate in the K-Pop industry as one of the vocal voices of the unrivaled girl crush group 2NE1.
Even though the group went inactive in 2016, Sandara’s presence has never faded in the Philippines.
And if you are wondering why, here are the reasons for the special relationship Dara has formed with her Filipino fans.
1. Sandara Park: First Popular Korean name on Filipino TV.
It is no secret that Dara joined ABS-CBN’s Star Circle Quest for a shot to kickstart her acting career. The mentors at that time were impressed with her Tagalog skills, as it is rare to find a foreigner, especially a Korean, who speaks it fluently.
Her stint in Star Circle Quest benefited Dara, as a lot of acting projects and endorsements flooded her way. One of the most iconic projects on which she’s worked is the 2006 Filipino movie D’ Lucky Ones.
2. Followed her dreams and returned home.
Despite her unexpected fame, Dara decided to pursue idol life by signing with YG Entertainment to be part of their upcoming girl group in 2009.
This was a huge decision for her, especially with her stable career established in the Philippines. It seemed that she was back to a new beginning once again. Just like any K-Pop idol, Dara underwent lots of training prior to her debut with 2NE1.
Thankfully for her Filipino fans, supporting Dara shouldn’t stop within the Philippines; continue cheering for her! And most Filipino could relate to her perseverance in working hard to finally achieve her goal.
3. The Philippines, her second home.
Upon the success of 2NE1, most people assumed that Dara would only acknowledge the Philippines for a short while. Much to everyone’s surprise, she’s truly embodied the Pinoy at heart personality! Dara has never forgotten where her career began, and she feels happy whenever she’s back in her second home.
The Korean star has completely infused the Filipino habits she has acquired while staying in the country. One of them is, of course, her fluency in Tagalog. Whenever any opportunity arises, Dara will always promote the country due to all the amazing places the Philippines has to offer.
4. A lovely communication with her fans.
Now that her fandom name is revealed, Dara will always try her best to connect with her DARAlings whenever possible. Especially to her Filipino fans, being called a DARAling is long overdue, and now Dara can communicate even more with all of her fans.
She’s active on Twitter and randomly replies to her fans in English, Korean, or Tagalog! I mean, only Dara can do that! And if you’re a Filipino DARAling, it’s such a huge flex to have her reply to you in Tagalog.
5. Singer DARA is here!
Sure, she’s proven herself to be one of the B-E-S-T as part of 2NE1, but Dara is actually one of the great singers out there! For sure, Filipino DARAlings could never forget her iconic hit in 2004, In or Out as her “debut song,” but after years of waiting, we’re finally getting her first digital album!
Dara has always accepted every opportunity that may knock on her door. From being an MC, actress, judge, or just a style icon, it’s heartwarming to finally welcome her back into the music industry.
6. You’re just unforgettable, Dara!
Dara visited the Philippines in June 2023 for a show. During her stay, she expressed in a Tweet how flattered she was that people still knew her!
And to every Filipino fan’s defense, how can we just forget our, first unnie? It’s all thanks to her that some fans are proud to support K-Pop music. If it weren’t for Dara, we wouldn’t appreciate the beauty of K-Pop and K-Drama the way we’re doing it now.
We can’t simply forget the work and influence you’ve left us!
We’re ending this feature with an open letter to our Pambansang Krung Krung:
To our dearest Sandy, Dara, and Ati,
We’re so proud of how your career flourished! From being a shy Korean girl who struck the Philippines through her iconic “Mahal ko Kayo” phrase, you’ve turned into one of the most successful Korean icons today. Our unnie, Sandara Park, now that you’re back in the music scene, know that your Filipino DARAlings will always have your back. We’ve been trained to stream your songs and to always cheer for you whenever you’re down.
All the best on your upcoming music release! And no matter what happens, the Philippines and your Filipino DARAlings will always welcome you here, your second home.
Mahal ka namin, bes!