MOVIEGOER: Pinoy stars in Korea

Published May 19, 2022, 7:54 AM

by Nestor Cuartero

Vice Governor-elect Ejay Falcon of Oriental Mindoro (Facebook)

Did it go unnoticed, or wasn’t I looking?

    I caught, rather belatedly, an episode of a Korean drama series that featured quite a familiar face. His voice, that aura about him, led to closer scrutiny.

    One close-up was all it took for us to realize that the Eurasian-looking actor on our home screen was Ejay Falcon, formerly of Pasion de Amor.

    Playing his wife was another Filipino actor, Lauren Young.

     Cecile had accidentally discovered a series called Where Stars Land, set in an airport where most everything unfolds. Ejay plays a Filipino contract worker who uses a fake passport and is thus detained at the airport, not allowed entry by immigration.

   Turns out his character is anxious to be with his full-pregnant wife, who, indeed, gives birth at the airport’s clinic.

    Ejay and Lauren render standard performances, not great, yet not bad, either.

    The former PBB winner, recently elected vice-governor of Oriental Mindoro, however, had his own moments. He had a fight scene with Korean star Lee Je Hoon and a tearful reunion scene with Lauren and their newborn.


   Did you know that there are some Filipinos based in Korea who have crash landed into acting? 

   One of them is Christian Lagahit, an English teacher, seen in the current hit, Squid Game.

   Christian’s other credits include  Miss Lee (with Lee Hye-ri, 2019) and Space Sweepers (with Song Joong-ki, 2021). He was also seen in Lee Je-hoon’s recent hit, Taxi Driver and  Racket Boys.

   Noreen Joyce Esguerra moonlights as an extra in Korean dramas. You probably saw or didn’t see her in series shows like Record of Youth, Extraordinary You, True Beauty, Hi, Bye Mama, and The King: The Eternal Monarch.

     Noreen has acted in more than 50 dramas while maintaining her job as a finance manager in a Korean institution.


    What’s striking for me is the breakthrough these two Filipino actors have made in a popular Koreanovella as Where Stars Land.

     Korean drama shows are quite the rage among local audiences, and it must have been a welcome treat for many to see two of our own stars shining on one of them.

    Korean producers are probably aware of this huge market this side of South East Asia. On some occasions, characters would name-drop Manila for any of the following reasons.

      Someone is being sent to the Philippines either to study, or to gamble in some casino. Heard that   a new movie starring Good Boy star   Kim Seon Ho shall portray him as the son of a Filipino mother and a Korean father. Lucky is the Filipino actress who shall hopefully be cast in this dream project.

    And what about that piece of news that Heart Evangelista has done a guest stint in a Korean series shot in Los Angeles? 

    I just hope that Filipinos will be portrayed in a more positive light in future episodes where our actors are to be tapped. Holding an illegal passport while trying to enter a foreign country doesn’t exactly speak well of our character as a people. At its worst, it hinges, sad to say, on prejudice and typecasting.