Ji Chang Wook Declares Halo-Halo as the Best Filipino Food

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If you were strolling around Greenbelt last Friday evening or enjoying an afternoon tea at the decked-out Peninsula Lobby over the weekend, you might have heard the adoring squeals of the city's most dedicated fangirls loudly admiring the modelesque and dewy-skinned Ji Chang Wook. The Korean actor, known for leading roles in dramas such as K2 and Suspicious Partner, flew to Manila over the weekend for a fan meeting called "Reach You," organized by Bench. It was the local retailer who brought in Chang Wook and collaborated with him on a product campaign as their newest celebrity endorser.

Esquire Philippines was invited to a more intimate setting with the 35-year-old actor the day before he was to face thousands of his adoring fans at SM Mall of Asia Arena. The question of "what have you been eating here in the Philippines?" comes up, naturally. Halo-halo and sisig were food items he's tried and loved, the former more than the latter. We learn that he also took a leisurely walk around Greenbelt the night before and dreams of a vacation to Boracay and Cebu one day. These Korean superstars, they're just like the rest of us. 

These touristy aspirations are expected from a Philippine first-timer. Chang Wook recounts how he was welcomed by fans from the moment he arrived in the Philippines and his experience working with Bench. "Bench is the first company I was able to work with in the Philippines… They treated me like family and gave me a very comfortable environment so I guess I was able to work in a very chill setting," he says.

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"Though I'm only an actor who has [had] acting jobs in Korea, having different fans all over the world, I'm grateful. It also drives me to work harder," he adds when asked about what he feels about his fan bases across the globe.

Photo by AUTHOR.

The actor has displayed versatility in his roles, smoothly transitioning from regal emperor in historic drama Empress Ki, to convenience store clerk in Backstreet Rookie, to an illegal errand runner in the action-packed series, Healer. Wookie, as he is better known to his fan base, has also made the news with his head-turning style and his singing voice, as he first took the stage as a musical theatre actor in 2006.

The Philippines is the second leg of Ji Chang Wook's "'Reach You" tour, as he will soon head to Japan and Indonesia. During the fan meet, he spoke about his personal life, the dramas that he appeared on, and sang songs.

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If you missed him in Manila, you can easily find him on TV. He recently concluded a drama entitled If You Wish Upon Me, inspired by a real-life story about the Make-a-Wish Foundation in the Netherlands, and is set to return to screens next year with action series The Worst Evil which will premiere on Disney+.

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