THE advent of the Internet and the accessibility of the cyber highway has changed the way we look at things, influenced our stand on political issues and even inspired us, especially the young people, to dress like celebrities and other nationalities. The Internet, indeed, has greatly changed our take on life.
This is what happened to a group of high school students in Bacolod City, who, because of the Internet, has transformed their way of life and fashion similar to the Korean Pop (K-Pop) stars they idolized. Coming from different schools in the city, they have found themselves liking similar K-Pop trends and fashion in social media, thus, forming a boy group called “ANM8.”
Yes, it’s like reenacting the Meteor Garden fever in the local scene. Their hairstyles are mostly colored and highlighted. Their getup is a little overdone like that of Korean superstar Lee Min-ho.
K-Pop is an abbreviation of Korean pop music, a musical genre origination in South Korea characterized by a wide variety of audio-visual elements. It covers pop music like dance-pop, pop-ballad, electronic, rock, metal, hip-hop, and R & B.
Despite the scorching hot weather in May and June, they pulled off their stint of running around the city like a gang of fashion icons with jackets over sweaters and winter clothes paired with knee-high socks and tattered jeans.
A little weird on the eye at first, but to put it in simple terms, they “sell like hotcakes,” in terms of popularity and recognition among high school girls. And yes, some guys, too.
The name of the group is reflective of the often colorful, animated and edgy styles of Korean celebrities. The group is composed of Allan, Jerico, Renell, Andrew, Paul Bryan, Raven and Bryan, mostly high school seniors who, apart from dressing up, spends a lot of time rehearsing Korean songs, popular music videos and mastering the Korean language itself.
One of the members, Allan Dean Divinagracia, a pilot section student of Bacolod City National High School, shares that he finds it a "very rewarding experience to learn a lot of cultures through the Internet.”
Curious, I ask them how much time and money they invest to look and sing like their idols. And my serious question got an equally serious response, surprisingly from a lanky young teen: “We go inch by inch and watch the details of their fashion and performances. Also, we practice daily last summer and will try to squeeze in night practices and during weekends now.”
Without a doubt, the Korean pop culture has become a global phenomenon. In the Philippines, young people sing their songs and know a bulk of bands and girl groups as if they just live next door. This is by far, Korea’s contribution to the world of entertainment. K-Pop has transformed as the country’s “Greatest Export,” which even landed in the pages of Time magazine, with the same title.
As expected, the likes of Allan are more exposed to video-sharing platforms like YouTube that South Korea has mastered to tap and break into. Allan Dean and ANM8 are just among the undeniable chunk of fans around the world who have served as bridge in introducing Korea’s entertainment culture and unique genre in communities like Bacolod.
Today, ANM8 is continuously exerting a lot of efforts to share the K-Pop genre in the city. But on the side, they make sure to learn Pop songs and other Tagalog hits as well. “This will make us well rounded performers and entertainers,” they add.