Park Jihoon’s Manila fan meeting is saved in our hearts

Photos by Elaine Lim

Park Jihoon was born to be a star. There’s no doubt about that, when we saw him charm many Filipino Mays during “First Edition,” his first fan meeting on March 15 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The screams from the crowd were deafening the minute Jihoon stepped onstage to dance a remixed version of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You.” The exhilarating opening number set the tone and pace for the rest of the fan meeting: fun, exciting, and memorable.

“Nakatatak na kayo sa puso ko.”

After the dance number, Jihoon walked up on stage to introduce himself with “Mabuhay, Filipino Mays! Ako po si Jihoon!” Then, he threw in something special for his introduction: “Filipino Mays, nakatatak kayo sa puso ko”, a translation of his signature catchphrase “Na maeum soge jeojang (You are saved in my heart).” And he did that with the signature hand movements. Fans cooed at how cute and charming he was, and were amazed with his on-point pronunciation. Host Kring Kim even pointed out how good Jihoon’s language skills are.

Fans got to know Jihoon better through the “Study Edition: Exploring Park Ji Hoon” segment. They had to guess the right answers to a series of questions about the idol. During the press conference held earlier that morning, Jihoon mentioned that his favorite Filipino phrase was “Mahal ko kayo (I love you),” but it looked like he learned a new phrase because he listed his favorite Filipino phrase as “Akin ka (You’re mine)” during the game.

Jihoon also revealed he feels the sexiest while he takes a selfie after taking a shower, and that he considers the “small and precious” Ha Sungwoon as the ex-Wanna One member who rivals him in cuteness. He also emphasized that he wasn’t cute, but Filipino Mays begged to differ.

As a master of coming up with aegyo, Jihoon said there’s pressure to think of something that will top both “Nae maeum soge jeojang” and “Kku kku kka kka.” He asked fans to anticipate his new idea.

Known for his interesting fashion choices, Jihoon ranked himself a 2 out of 10 when asked to rank his fashion skills. Other than comfy clothes, he admitted that earphones are important to his airport fashion because he listens to music while he sleeps. But slippers are his favorite item of clothing because of how versatile and comfortable they are.  The next segment of the fan meeting allowed Jihoon to talk to two lucky Mays through a paper cup phone. Jihoon had expressed interest in wanting to go to Boracay to see the beautiful sunsets there, which is why the imaginary date was set in Boracay. The Mays then had to choose between two scenarios: two college friends in the same dance organization and ex-lovers who meet again. After the conversations, Jihoon signed the paper cups for the lucky fans.

“Patataasin ko mga suweldo niyo.”

Jihoon was determined to show his love for Filipino May in every way he knew how that night. In the next segment, he designed two tote bags that were given to two lucky Mays. These tote bags were personally delivered to them by Jihoon’s manager.

While Jihoon was designing the bags, he admitted that he’s not into arts and crafts. Despite his many skills, one skill he said he doesn’t have is making things with his hands. However, Jihoon promised to make it pretty for the fans. He even wished there was a sticker of his dog Max that he could include to the designs. He even added a candy bouquet to the bag. He said it was his delayed White Day gift!

At some point, while he was working Jihoon asked Filipino Mays whether they love him. The crowd responded with a resounding “YES!”

As Jihoon was working, host Kring Kim kept talking to Jihoon and made hilarious and relatable comments to keep the audience entertained. One of her comments was asking what the lucky fans planned to do with the tote bags. She joked on whether they would display the tote bags and never use them for the rest of their lives. “Para suwerte? (For luck?)” she asked. Jihoon suddenly replied, “I will make your salaries go high!” With this, the older, working members of the audience (this writer and the photographer included) cheered.

After that was done, Jihoon had to prove his skills as a gamer by going through a series of challenges to give two stuffed toys with Polaroids to two more lucky Mays. Jihoon’s first task was to retrieve the stuffed dolls out of a claw machine. The struggle was very real, but he managed! However, he had to knock out at least five bowling pins too. The last task was a random dance. The song ended up being Wanna One’s “Day by Day,” wherein Jihoon surprised the audience as he dropped to the floor and danced.

Speaking of Wanna One songs, Jihoon performed a medley of his two favorite Wanna One tracks, “I Wanna Have” and “11.” He also performed “Young 20,” which fellow ex-Wanna One member Lee Daehwi composed for him.

Jihoon was supposed to take a photo with the entire audience, but Filipino Mays had prepared a special video for him. He even removed his earpiece to listen to the audience and the video. You can watch the video the fans prepared below.

With Jihoon officially debuting as a soloist on March 26, fans wanted to see a teaser for his upcoming single. When he had gotten the fans’ hopes high enough, Jihoon cheekily said to wait for it. The concept was a secret at the time of the fan meeting, but he revealed that the music video was shot in Prague.

Before we knew it, the fanmeet had ended. Jihoon prepared a ballad performance, which turned out to be Wanna One’s “Hide and Seek.” He ended the show with Taemin’s “Press Your Number.”

Just as the lights turned on and everyone was getting ready to leave, we were told to stay in our seats because Jihoon had one last surprise! In something I had never experienced before, Jihoon ended up saying goodbye to his fans while he’s on a float!

It’s not surprising that Jihoon captured the hearts of fans all over the world. With his talent, charm, and never-say-die attitude, there’s no doubt this is just the beginning of the “Greatest MAYsterpiece” we will ever see.

We would like to thank Pulp Live World for inviting us to cover the event!

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