Lee Min Ho receives warm welcome in Cebu

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“ANNYEONG Cebuanos,” read the orange T-shirt Korean superstar Lee Min Ho wore.

And with a resounding chorus of shouts and cheers, the thousands of Cebuano fans, who waited for hours at the SM Seaside City Cebu, welcomed the heartthrob in his first-ever visit to Cebu to promote the clothing line Bench.

This was Lee’s fifth time in the country. He first visited in 2012 also to promote Bench. But last Sunday, April 3, was his first in Cebu for his “Be My Yeobo” Benchsetter fun meet at SM Seaside City Cebu and later on at Ayala Center Cebu.

(Yeobo is a Korean term of endearment similar to “honey” or “darling.”)

“I’ll never get tired of coming to the Philippines. Also, it’s my first time in Cebu and I’m wondering why it took so long for me to make my way down here,” said Lee who spoke to his fans through the event’s Korean host Sam Oh who translated his answers from Korean to English.

The 28-year-old Lee is best known for his portrayal of Gu Jun Pyo in the 2009 hit Korean television series “Boys Over Flowers” which was well-loved by fans in the Philippines. He also won Best New Actor during the 45th Baeksang Arts Awards for his role.

This earned him lead roles in subsequent TV shows including Personal Taste (2010), City Hunter (2011), Faith (2012) and The Heirs (2013).

In 2015, he also starred in the action film “Gangnam Blues.” Lee invited his Cebuano fans to watch out for his upcoming film “Bounty Hunters,” which he said will be released summer this year.

The joint Chinese-Korean financed movie will feature five bounty hunters pursuing their targets all over several countries. He will be joined by Chinese actress Tiffany Tang and Hong Kong singer-actor Wallace Chung in the film whose budget is estimated at 35 billion won (around P1.4 billion).

He also said he hopes to star in a TV series once again. Thousands of fans filled the Event Center of SM Seaside’s Mountain Wing Atrium during the event which was scheduled at 3 p.m. but started at almost 4 p.m.

Some fans waited as early as 10 a.m. in order to meet the Korean heartthrob. Fifty lucky fans, chosen at random, were also able to get up close and personal with Lee.

They received a signed Bench poster and also got to shake hands with the superstar, albeit very quickly. Among them was 21-year-old Eunice Amor S. Alcedera who waited four hours in order to get a good spot for the event.

“I can’t say I’m lucky, but I can say I’m blessed that day. I didn’t expect to see him just an inch away, holding his precious right hand and looking at him like he owns my world. I swear, it was the best experience I had being a fangirl. Lee Min Ho is really handsome. Even for just a second or two, I can truly understand why a lot of us are really into him,” she shared to Cebu Daily News.

She recalled that in the eight years she’s been a fan of Korean actors and groups, it was the first time she got a lucky break when attending events.

Even if the entire event just lasted for around 20 minutes, Eunice said she’s so happy that Bench was able to bring Lee to the Queen City of the South.

In his several visits to the country, it’s the chance to meet his fans that Lee said he always anticipates.

“The thing that I most look forward to when I come to the Philippines is when I go to something like this and all of you are here and you give me so much love which I bring back with me to Korea,” he said.

The actor also left some tips to his fans like wear something “colorful and comfortable” during summer.

As for his personal styling tip, he said loose clothing and something he can be comfortable in is how he rolls.

He then thanked his fans for showing up to the event and said he hoped he can come back and meet them again in the future. He then wished happiness and health for his fans.

Asked for his message to his fans, Lee said, without any interpreter, “Mahal ko kayo.”

“Thanks for everything. I love you,” he also said as he went off the stage to proceed to his other meet at the Terraces of Ayala Center Cebu which was also filled with fans who waited for hours for the Korean star.

Before visiting Cebu, Lee also had other events at the Trinoma Activity Center and SM Megamall Fashion Hall in April 2, Saturday.

He arrived in Cebu at dawn the next day and stayed at the Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa.

Lee stayed for another day to enjoy a short vacation in Cebu’s renowned beaches in Mactan before leaving for South Korea on Monday night (April 4).

In his Instagram account (@bcbench), Bench founder Ben Chan posted a video of Lee Min Ho on his way to go island hopping at around noon on Monday.

Later in the evening, Chan  posted photos of Lee riding a jetski and on a motorboat on his way to do wake boarding in Shangri-La’s Mactan before his flight back to Korea.

Past 11 p.m. of Tuesday, Lee Min Ho posted two photos of his stay in Cebu on his Instagram. The first picture was of the beach and the second one was a selfie. He captioned both photos with: #goodbye #cebu

Some fans also posted videos and photos of the actor enjoying his short but sweet vacation in Cebu.

TAGS: Bench, Cebu
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