The Filipino-Korean Cultural Festival, which is marking its 20th anniversary this year, clearly shows Hallyu, or the Korean Wave craze.
The country is deep in love with K-pop!
Visitors start lining up hours before the festival.
With all the tickets sold out, the 2,700 seats in the hall hardly do justice to the festival's popularity.
[Interview : Lee Won-joo, President
United Korean Community Association in the Philippines] "Before the Korean culture was introduced here, this festival was mainly comprised of a contest aimed at teaching the locals about Korean culture. However, the Korean Wave has turned many Filipinos into big fans of Korean culture. So now, this festival is all about cultural exchanges between the two nations. It even offers a chance for Koreans living here to learn about Filipino culture by singing its songs."
Perhaps because of Hallyu, the number of applicants skyrocketed this year.
With 350 teams applying for the auditions in Manila alone, the competition was particularly fierce.
And a total of 15 teams have made it to the finals!
The Korean contestants are required to perform Filipino songs or dances, whereas the Filipino contestants are required to show off their talent in Korean songs or dances.
[Interview : Lee Jong-dae, Planning director
United Korean Community Association in the Philippines ] "In the past, many people didn't even know about Korea's existence. However, all that changed with the spread of Hallyu. And ever since Super Junior came to the Philippines, Korean singers and groups like Girls' Generation have gained a lot of popularity. One of the teams is actually imitating Girl's Generation. That's how hot Hallyu is in the Philippines."
The 20th Filipino-Korean Cultural Festival helped the two nations come together in the name of culture.
This tradition of passion and joy will continue to live on in the Philippines.