I’ve read about this drama on Pinoyexchange sometime last month. Back then, Pinoy netizens still didn’t know whether it would be an original story or a remake of the late Nida Blanca’s movie, which I saw on RPN 9 two decades ago!
“Koreana” had its premiere episode last night. It stars Eddie Garcia as a Korean (Chang Hee Jung) who was born and raised in the Philippines. They own Korean restaurants in the country. I wonder if they have bathroom fans like the ones here in Korea ;p He has a son (Philip) who fell in love with a Filipina, Nerissa played by Angelu de Leon. As expected, the father didn’t approve that his son marry a non-Korean (yup, not specifically Pinay but a non-Korean). The son eloped, got married and later had a daughter, Jenny played by Kris Bernal.
Chang learned about his grandchild. He visited his son on his grandchild’s first 100 days. Whoa! She looked so big for a 100-day old baby. He invited his son and his family back to his big mansion.
Eula Valdez plays Violeta, the adopted Filipina daughter of Eddie Garcia. He found her lying on the side of the road on a rainy day. She longs for the love of her adoptive father. She even got pregnant of out of wedlock by a Korean so her father would recognize her more. Alas, Philip’s family is back at Chang’s home and Violeta is incensed especially that Chang seems to love Philip’s daughter more. She plots to have Nerissa and her daughter banished from the mansion.
“Koreana” is shown on GMA-7 in the Philippines in the afternoon. The first episode seems like a story that I’ve seen or heard before. There was nothing really special in it except that the actors are playing Korean or Korean-Filipino characters. The music used didn’t sound Korean at all. It sounded Chinese to me and I even asked my husband to listen without me informing him that it’s supposed to be Korean. He said it sounds Chinese too.
In the show, Eddie Garcia is supposed to have grown-up Korean even if he was born and lived all his life in the Philippines. His accent is a little awkward though, but Korean accent is not that easy to learn. I know a Vietnamese here who speaks Korean well but her accent still sounds Vietnamese. As to whether they look Korean or not? There are some Pinoys here that I know who ogt mistaken as Koreans by Koreans themselves. (Yikes! Even my husband has been mistaken for a Japanese by a Korean FA!) In one scene, he was telling his granddaughter that “chili pepper” is the secret ingredient to kimchi. He sprinkled the powder on top of the cabbage though ;p
“Koreana” doesn’t seem to be a big-budgeted drama. It is also shown in the afternoon and not on primetime. It seems to be like a “Mano Po” drama but with Koreans instead of Chinese in the story. Remember that the lead character, played by Kris Bernal, is half-Filipina half-Korean who grew up in non-Korean environment. Don’t expect too much (based on the first episode) but just enjoy it!