I don’t know when and how it started. It was like a kick of endorphins injected in my system that made me terribly happy but, ironically, there were bouts of tears in between surreal moments. I knew it was love but I tried to fight it knowing that I will be devoting so much of my time to it, time that should be used for other meaningful activities.
But there I was, suddenly spending hour after hour of mindless ogling at beautiful Korean drama celebrities attacking their roles with fantastic storylines carried out with unexpected twists and turns that made my heart flutter long after I finished watching an episode.
Yes, this is a shameless confession of a middle class, middle-aged woman totally in love with K-Dramas. With my Facebook account as evidence, I know I am only one of the thousands of Filipino women who have been smitten by K-actors and actresses, some of them we cannot even pronounce their names properly but we are infatuated with them just the same.
I am not a movie critic so I will not attempt to review K-Dramas. I am just here to share my Top 10 ALL-TIME K-Drama FAVORITES. This is in no particular order. I just wrote what K-drama came to my mind first.
This K-drama is perfect for those who love to eat like me including those who love to cook. It is a story about a doctor who dreamed of being a cook inspired by his mom who had a small seaside restaurant. In his childhood, he met and fed a girl in their restaurant who would later become a top chef. Many years later, they would meet again. Together, they prepared meals for patients in a hospice. Cooking helped heal their emotional traumas. The stunning scenery, fabulous food, and beautiful actors kept me awake and always hungry while I watched this drama.
2. Wok of Love
Another K-drama that involves romance and food. It tells the story of how the passion and persistence of a world-class chef in a small, shabby restaurant overturned a five-star hotel giant. I laughed so much when ex-prison mates were forced to work in the kitchen led by their former mafia boss who owned the restaurant. Both the chef and the mafia boss fell in love with the broke heiress who loved to cook. Their love story made the episodes hotter than the sizzling wok.
3. The Healer
The awesome fight scenes and intricate plots that combined suspense, romance and comedy in this K-drama kept we awake during a long weekend. The story is about a special kind of night courier that delivers to his clients any service that they require as long as it does not involve killing someone. This series awakened my infatuation with the dashing Korean actor Ji Chang-Wook.
4. Reply 1988
My husband and I watched together this perfect K-drama for middle-aged people like us who grew up in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. The series was a wonderful depiction of friendship, family, and teenage first loves. Watching it felt like a trek down our high school memory lane.
5. Crash Landing on You
The only K-drama that I watched three times. It took a while before I could get out of my addiction from Soon Ye Jin and Hyun Bin who had great chemistry on screen. It was exciting to watch how the two star- crossed lovers, a South Korean heiress and a North Korean elite who also happens to be an army officer, fought for their love despite the conflict between their respective countries.
6. It’s Okay not to be Okay
I thought this was a horror series so I did not watch it immediately when Netflix launched it. Until I started seeing my friends talk about it online. True enough, the moment I clicked the first episode, I got hooked. The series evolved on love of siblings, support for mental health patients, and a fantasy fairy tale love. The writers were fantastic when they presented an alternate view of fairy tales. In all the K-Dramas that I watched, I have never seen an actor so brilliant at his craft than Oh Jung Sae (Moon Sang Tae) who portrayed as one of the brothers with autism spectrum disorder.
7. Hi Bye Mama!
All mothers will relate with this series that has a tear-jerking moment every episode. The story is about a woman who came back to life after being dead for five years. She was given 49 days to become human again. But what will she do when she no longer has a place in her family? Make sure your tissue is beside you when you watch this story of life, loss, coping and goodbyes.
8. Sky Castle
This series really hit my nerve perhaps because I was never the type of mother who pressured my kids to excel in school. Sky Castle is a luxury private neighborhood of wealthy doctors and professors who all want their kids to enter prestigious universities. At the core of the story is a mother who committed suicide because her only son left her after being accepted to a medical school. Drama, tragedy, mystery and comedy are all embroiled in this K-drama which actually criticized the strong pressure among Korean students to excel in education.
9. Descendants of the Sun
You do not forget the first time you fell in love. In this case, Descendants of the Sun was the first series that started my K-drama journey. This is a love story between a surgeon and a soldier in the midst of a war. Patriotism, solidarity, dedication to profession are the underlying themes of this series. Romance, comedy and action filled this K-drama which featured beautiful actors.
10. The King: Eternal Monarch
The parallel universe plot line of this K-drama would perhaps confuse a first-time viewer. But I had a different take on it. The plot line enriched with romance hooked me to the end. The story is about a Korean emperor who witnessed the murder of his father when he was eight years old. One day, he discovered a door to two worlds that eventually led him to find and exact revenge for this father’s death through the help of his childhood best friend and love interest. It was my first time to watch Lee Min Ho, one of Korea’s most popular actors.
My love for K-dramas has a lot with do with right timing. Obviously, this quarantine allowed my love for K-dramas to blossom. Amidst all the sad news that hound me everyday due to this health crisis, K-dramas give me a temporary escape out of our reality even for just an hour.