When I was six years old, my father who has been an OFW would always bring home pasalubong in balikbayan boxes. Written on those boxes were unfamiliar characters with many circles, and I would always copy them on my little notebook because I found them very cute! I would copy these interesting characters not only from these boxes but also from those user manuals of appliances and other imported products. Little did I know that these foreign characters belonged to a whole new thing that has yet to come to my life.
I remember that it was amidst the height of the phenomenal Taiwanese drama Meteor Garden when a Korean drama first aired here in the Philippines. There had been a huge demand for Asianovelas here in the country and the Filipinos were craving for more Asian dramas. The country’s biggest television networks were in vie of their own share of Korean drama servings to the Filipino mass. Unsurprisingly, many Filipinos were still captivated by the charm of these Koreans through their Tagalog-dubbed dramas, and luckily l was one of them.
I had already been watching dubbed Korean dramas when it was still on a daily afternoon and evening schedule in local television, and when online streaming was not yet available. It was very unexpected of this just mere leisure activity of binge watching to suddenly bring me into something that would change my life completely. It was year 2006 when one of the most popular Korean dramas titled Princess Hours was aired as Tagalog-dubbed here in the Philippines. I was completely swooned by the arrogant yet soft-hearted Prince Gian played by Joo Jihoon, toppled by the bright smile and positive aura of Princess Janelle played by Yoon Eunhye. This, my friends, sparked my obsession to the Korean dramas!
Let us not talk about how many more dramas have I binged-watched thereafter or just when I have started watching English-subbed dramas online, but let me share with you how watching Princess Hours has motivated me to learn the Korean language! I am pretty much sure that in one way or another, other fans have also been inspired to learn only by watching these Korean dramas. The introduction of the characters for each episode of Princess Hours would flash the name of the lead cast in Korean. I would always admire how those beautiful Korean characters were written. And so, I went to our dial-up Internet connected desktop computer, and googled Korean language. Right then and there, I discovered that the Korean language was governed by a Korean alphabet created by King Sejong the Great of the Joseon Dynasty and actually had a name known to be Hangul.
Flashbacks suddenly popped into my mind as I went back to the time when I used to collect these cute characters filled with circles that actually turned out to be Hangul. Just then I realized that I probably had this “Korean genes” running through my blood all along, or probably I was actually a Korean in my past life! These Korean dramas were really able to introduce me to basic Korean expressions and to help me learn a good amount of Korean vocabulary words.
If I were to advise someone who wanted to learn the Korean language, I highly recommend watching Korean dramas, and also movies and reality shows. Because these would not only help one in learning some Korean words or phrases, but would also improve one’s listening comprehension skills. Remember also to do self-studying as this has really helped me a lot in my journey to learn Hangugeo. Most importantly, practice speaking the language with Korean friends or with people who also share the same passion for Korea. Learning Korean language takes a long process coupled with a lot of patience and determination, but in the end, everything is going to be all worth it!
Written by Krew Member Mary Joy Padilla. Follow here personal blog: https://maryloveskorea.wordpress.com/