INTERVIEW:ALEX C. PAITA
STYLING: CY BREE
MAKEUP: RHINA MONTEMAYOR
HAIR: MAUI MANALO
You’re pure Korean, but judging from the way you speak, it seems like you’ve been here for a long time now.
I move back and forth. If you add it all up I’ve been here for almost 14 years. We moved to Cebu
from Korea when I was six years old. In Grade 10, I went to Manila. And then I went back to Korea and studied pre-med for two years. But then I realized it wasn’t for me. So I went back to Manila to take up HRM.
That’s long before Koreans started coming here by the truckload! Who do we thank for that?
My dad. He got a job here so my family moved to Cebu. We were in fact one of the first Koreans in Cebu. And then they all started to flock!
Can you speak fluent Filipino now?
I’m learning it now in school as a foreign language. I can understand bits and pieces but I can’t really speak it. But I’m trying to build up my Tagalog.
But when you speak English you don’t sound like a Korean speaking English either, but more like a Pinay socialite just talking.
I get that a lot. Maybe because I went to an international school,and I have a lot of Fil-Am and
Fil-European friends. Maybe I got the accent from them. Most of my friends are Filipinos and
foreigners. I don’t have many Korean friends.
What do you like about your Filipino friends?
They’re friendly and we have the same mindset because I grew up here. We have things in common,
and the jokes I like are more on the Filipino side, I guess.
Do “knock-knock” jokes make you laugh?
Ha ha! Not really.
Er. What’s more Pinoy than Korean about you?
I’m very open-minded. I’m not saying Koreans are narrow-minded, but we have our own traditions
and follow certain rules. Pinoys are very open-minded and very chill. I like the free mindset and the laidback culture. Because in Korea, everything has to be fast. You get harassed because everyone is so busy. Here, it’s less hectic. I don’t feel stressed. Even though you have a lot of work, you’re still relaxed and get to have coffee. I like that. You’re enjoying your time.
Hence, this brilliant thing called Filipino time. Are you used to it already?
I am! When my friends say let’s meet up at 6, I’m there 6:30 and they’re still not there. I guess you’re just the relaxed type of people. You don’t like rushing things, so maybe that’s why. It could be a bad thing, but it could also be a good thing that you take your time.
FHM babe Jennifer Lee also goes to the same school as you. Do you know her?
She’s a really good friend. She’s one of the nicest girls I’ve ever met. She’s super sweet and smart; she’s a dean’s lister—and so am I. Ha ha!