Dreaming of ‘Hometown Cha-cha-cha’ sites? This Filipino fan tours the fictional Gongjin village

Published November 4, 2021, 10:46 AM

by John Legaspi

30-year-old Dan Arinzana gives a glimpse of Pohang City

Apart from that kilig that came from tVn’s “Hometown Cha-cha-cha” series, K-drama fans are taken to a trip to one of South Korea’s picturesque spots, Pohang City in the province of North Gyeongsang. Blue horizons of clear skies and crystal waters provided a perfect setting for the fictional Gongjin village, and an escape to our at-home confinement.

“Since we’re shooting by the seaside, I’m also really looking forward to watching the beautiful scenery,” lead star Shin Min-a says. “Sometimes while I’m on set I would be exhausted, but I would look at the ocean and hear the waves and feel comforted. There are some challenges, of course, in the process of filming but the scenery is very soothing and gives us energy.”

And it truly was, just seeing it on the screens made many fall in love with the humble beauty of the city. One of those who are captivated by the show’s locations is Filipino fan Dan Arinzana. Currently living in Yangsan City, the 30-year-old works there as a factory worker for two years. To get a break from metal works and furniture assembly, he went and visited the filming locations of “Hometown Cha-cha-cha” during the Chuseok holiday.

Sobrang fan ako ng ‘HomCha.’ Back then, puro mga locals pa lang yung nakikita ko sa Instagram na nagkakaroon ng chance to visit the places. It took me courage since may restrictions sa company namin at hindi kami allowed mag-travel. I think, nakadagdag din na mas malapit itong puntahan rather than Seoul where most of the K-dramas were filmed (I’m a big fan of ‘HomeCha.’ Back then, I saw on Instagram that only locals have the chance to visit the places. It took me courage to go since there are restrictions in the company that I work for and we are not allowed to travel. Good thing is that it is much easier to visit than Seoul where most of the K-dramas were filmed),” he said to Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “Ang peg ko lang that time is mamamalengke, may backpack ako at bayong (That time, I looked like I was going to the market, I have my backpack and bayong).”

Going there is pretty much a breeze, according to Dan. From Busan Central Bus Terminal, it took him an hour and a half to get to Pohang. Much like in the Philippines, people are required to wear masks at all times, though there are no face shields in sight. He went to Pohang twice. On his first visit, he was able to see Cheongha Market, Coffee in the Middle of the Day and Beer in the Moonlight, Yoon Dental Clinic, Sabang Memorial Park, and Wolpo Beach.

After five days, he came back and saw Ara Plaza/Guryeongpo Port (where Ju-ri, Du-sik, and Hye-jin performed in a festival in Episode 6), the characters’ residences, Red lighthouse, and Village Hall. What amazed him more about the series, how it made Pohang a small village, when, in fact, it is not.

“Pohang is geographically a large city. Comparatively, it is way larger than Seoul or even the entire Metro Manila. I was in the northern part the first time I came there, then south is where their houses are located. You can tour them all in one day but it is going to be very tiring,” Dan said. “Pohang is a good place to visit. It’s not the typical buildings and sightseeing that you see in Seoul or Busan.”

Check out the places he visited below:

Coffee in the Middle of the Day and Beer in the Moonlight

Ara Plaza

Yoon Dental Clinic

Wolpo Beach

Sabang Memorial Park

Pohang lighthouse

All photos courtesy of Dan Arinzana.