Bon Voyage with Lee Seung Gi in Manila

Photos from CDM Entertainment

It was a rainy Saturday night on October 12 when people entered the New Frontier Theater for Lee Seung Gi’s “Vagabond Voyage in Manila” fan meeting. Honestly, with how heavy the rain and floods were and how bad traffic was, I was almost scared that I wasn’t going to make it in time for the fan meeting! (Yes, this was despite leaving my house early. Sino nagsasabing walang traffic crisis?)

There was some higher being in heaven that was looking out for me that I still managed to make it on time. I was just getting settled in my seat and managed to snap a quick photo of the venue when the lights dimmed.

This only meant one thing: the show was finally starting.

Dressed in an all-white outfit with some hints of color, Lee Seung Gi finally came on stage as he sang one of his hit songs “Because You’re My Woman.”

Lee Seung Gi

To be honest, I first knew of Lee Seung Gi when I watched his drama “My Girlfriend is a Gumiho” when it first aired on TV. His character made me laugh a lot, and I watched more of his dramas since then. The last one I watched was “Hwayugi”. I have to admit that I wasn’t planning on starting his latest drama “Vagabond” until it was finished. But perhaps, his fan meeting made me change my mind.

I had almost forgotten that he started out as a “Ballad Prince” before he became known as an actor and variety star, and that night’s fan meeting was kind enough to remind me of that fact.

After that song number, host Sam Oh and the translator (who was also named Sam) joined Lee Seung Gi on stage. When asked about how it felt to finally meet his Filipino Airen, Lee Seung Gi said “I’ve been dreaming of meeting my Filipino fans for a long time. I’m so happy that it’s finally happening!”

Explaining the name of the fan meeting, Lee Seung Gi joked that it was named that way because this is his journey to meet his Filipino fans. Turning more serious, he admits that it’s a shoutout to his ongoing drama Vagabond, which he put his whole heart and soul into. “A lot of us worked for it,” he said.

It’s Nice To Meet You

The first part of the fan meeting allowed the audience to get to know Lee Seung Gi better. He revealed that he enjoys singing for his fans the most. He added, “I also love interacting with my fans. But so far, the reactions I’ve been getting here in Manila are the best. I’m always thankful for the warm welcome I have received. The welcome I got at the airport was very warm; however, tonight exceeds my expectations.”

He also talked about his dog Ppero, who is just as popular (or maybe even more popular than Lee Seung Gi himself) among the fans.

Lee Seung Gi also admitted that he hadn’t had much time to rest of he got discharged from mandatory military service. He said, “I didn’t get to rest after I left the military, but the fact that I was able to work hard to have many things for my fans makes it all worth it.”

Despite receiving the 2018 Artist of the Year award and the Daesang at the SBS Entertainment Awards, Lee Seung Gi doesn’t put too much focus on receiving awards. However, if there’s an award for being hardworking, then he wants that.

It’s Me, The Variety Star

The next segment was called “Variety Show Entertainer,” where Lee Seung Gi talked about the many variety shows he had participated in. He advised his fans to not follow the easy path. Sam Oh noted how playful and talented he is and how good he is in all he does.

The first show they talked about was “Master of the House” (also known as “All the Butlers”), where Lee Seung Gi’s dance from the show went viral. He gamely stood up and danced to TWICE’s “TT” and JYP’s “Honey,” to the amusement of the audience.

The next show Lee Seung Gi talked about was “Little Forest”, where he worked with children. “It gave me an opportunity to understand children, but now I feel like I know them too well. It was so much fun working with them, but it made me realize that I never want to work with children again.”

Lee Seung Gi

But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t sworn off having his own children in the future. “The kids were lovely, but the reason I should be careful with working with children is because they’re so tiring. But personally, I’ve always wanted to have three kids [of my own].”

To end this segment, the adorable children from the show sent messages of support to their “Uncle Seung Gi.”

Lights, Camera, Action!

Lee Seung Gi also talked about his latest drama “Vagabond”, (which he worked on for a year, mind you), and he kept it as spoiler-free as possible. Not going to lie, his excitement as he talked about it made me want to break my usual “No watching dramas until they’re done” rule.

On whether there were any injuries because it’s an action-drama, he admitted: “There were a few cuts and bruises, but thankfully, there were no serious injuries. There was a bandaid on my eye for Episode 7, right? That was an actual injury. I think it gives the show [and my character] a more realistic touch.”

Lee Seung Gi admits to doing as many of his own stunts as he possibly can. “To be honest, it’s scary. A small mistake can lead to a big accident. But I trust my team and they trust me, so it all works out.”

Speaking of working out, Sam Oh happened to ask a very important question: “How did you prepare for the abs?” Not-so spoiler alert: There is a scene in the drama that Cha Dal Geon (Lee Seung Gi’s character) doesn’t have a shirt on.

“The abs are gone now!” Lee Seung Gi said with a laugh. Turning serious, he added, “I had a bit of training here and there, but nothing out of the ordinary. Although I needed so much stamina because of all the running involved in the drama.”

Then they showed off several Best One Minute clips, including that scene where he chased down a terrorist, which apparently took two weeks to film.

The next clip showed off his funny side, as Cha Dal Geon was auditioning to become a stuntman. Apparently, it was as funny for Seung Gi to do as much as it was for those watching it. Fun fact: he was adlibbing that part!

The last clip was a super kilig scene between Cha Dal Geon and Go Hae Ri (Suzy) in the airplane. On working with Suzy the second time, Lee Seung Gi admits that their chemistry is so much better now than when they did “Gu Family Book” back then.

That segment wrapped up with Lee Seung Gi inviting everyone to watch “Vagabond”. Coincidentally, the next episode aired just a few hours after the fan meeting. I can guess what everyone did as soon as they got home that night.

While waiting for Lee Seung Gi to come back, his coworkers and co-stars prepared a video message to support him and to greet his fans!

Let’s Go on A Date

Lee Seunggi finally came back after Sam Oh instructed the fans to shout “Seunggi-ssi.” This time, he was dressed in an all black outfit. He explained that “sexy” was the concept behind the look.

This time, there was a lot more fan participation involved. This is also when Lee Seunggi showcased his funny side. I honestly found myself asking whether I was at a fan meeting or at a gag show because of how much everyone was laughing for the duration of the fan meeting!

Lee Seunggi’s first task was to make a lunchbox for a lucky Airen. Admittedly more confident in cooking steak, he expressed his dismay when he saw the ingredients he had to use. He had to work with bread, fruits, vegetables, quail eggs, seaweed, rice, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, and soy sauce, to name a few things on the table.

Lee Seung Gi

As he finally decided to make kimbap, he kept holding the raw carrot and asking how he was going to add it to his dish. At some point, he even said, “These ingredients are for rabbits, not humans!” He even doubted that Gordon Ramsay would be able to pull off the task at hand.

Things got even more amusing as fans started protesting when Lee Seung Gi put on the plastic gloves (to prepare the kimbap). He then challenged the fans with “You have strong stomachs, right?” as everyone once again started laughing.

When the rather unique kimbap was finally done, a lucky Airen was called on to try the dish. Apparently, the fan came all the way from Butuan City and was actually at the barracks when Lee Seunggi completed his mandatory military duty. If there’s anyone who deserves this, she does. He even fed her the kimbap! Repeat after me, guys: Sana all.

Lee Seung Gi

Nine lucky fans got to play games with #LeeSeungGi! The winning team won their team a chance to have photos taken with the actor! The players from the winning team also got to take home some of the clothes Lee Seung Gi wore in “Vagabond”. Congrats Team C!

So Long, Until Next Time

After taking another photo with the entire audience, a heartwarming video from Lee Seung Gi Philippines plays on the screen. I could have sworn I thought Lee Seung Gi was going to cry. Then again, many of the fans waited nine or 10 years for him to hold a fan meeting in the country. To this, Lee Seung Gi said: “The first memory is really just the perfect memory. I’m so happy to finally meet my Filipino fans. Thank you all for coming.”

Lee Seung Gi

“Personally, I’m the most nervous right now,” Lee Seung Gi said to the audience before he performed his last song. “All the love I received tonight, I’ll put into this one song. I think I’m happiest when I’m singing for you guys. The next song is my last one. It’s sad, but the end is just the start of another beginning.”

To end the night, he performed his hit songs “Smile Boy” and “Let’s Go on Vacation,” reminding us all once again that he is triple threat.

I rarely say that I want to marry someone right after just seeing them once, but Lee Seung Gi is making a very strong case for himself. He has proven himself to be kind-hearted, genuine, funny, sincere, and dedicated to his craft. There was something about him that made me think that he’d be someone I’d like to be friends with or date in the future. It’s no wonder Airen have fallen for his many charms. In the meantime, I should probably start watching “Vagabond” so I don’t miss him too much.

We’d like to thank CDM Entertainment for inviting us to cover the event!

Clara Palma
A frustrated supermodel/ballerina/novelist who lists Super Junior, EXO, and Infinite as some of her favorite groups, Clara’s first exposure to all things Korean was through K-dramas Lovers in Paris and Goong. She is willing to talk about fashion, beauty, dance, books, all things baduy, and figure skating over a cup of tea. She co-runs a figure skating blog You Only Lutz Once with fellow KStreet contributor Bea. Check out her blog or follow her on Twitter.

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