The festival that changed our views on ‘K-culture’

We are all on stage. The lights are on us. We are jumping around and clapping while singing the song ‘Arirang.’ The shift of the song from ballad to rock made the feel more festive. For a day, we all turned out to be full-blooded performers. The audience in return are clapping and waving their hands to the beat of the song. It is one of the most epic nights in our lives. At the same time, it’s probably one of the best experiences we’ll cherish as Happy Builders of the Global Bridge Program.

The six-month long preparation for the “Make it Shine Festival” was all worth it as everyone enjoyed a night of Korean and Filipino music through performances from the volunteers and schools who were the beneficiaries of educational equipment.

(Part 1) Bani National High School Student Recital and Korean Culture Booth

(August 20 – 5PM – 6:30PM)

11 Filipino and 23 Korean volunteers completed the whole Batch 6 of the ‘Happy Builders’ for the POSCO E&C Global Bridge Program. The event is the Philippine leg for POSCO’s yearly international outreach and volunteer program outside of Korea. In partnership with Korea foundation, they donated educational materials to seven selected high schools in Masinloc, Zambales and conducted career program to the students of Bani National High School.

From August 14 to 19, the students enjoyed variety of classes such as Arts, Drone Usage, Photography, Martial Arts, Science, Taekwondo, Music and Career Assessment.

Despite the erratic weather on the 20th, the culminating activity was successfully held. Just imagine how the rain suddenly stopped when the program started!

The program started with the new Taekwondo white belt holders who showcased their fierce martial art moves. The highlight of their performance was their routine on basic Taekwondo moves which was supervised by their mentors. Afterwards, they lightened up the tension through their graceful steps on the K-pop song ‘You’re the best’ by Mamamoo. Taekwondo is Korea’s national sport and its popularity has reached different parts of the world including the Philippines.

Afterwards, the martial arts students took the stage and unleashed their sword techniques. It’s amazing that they were able to create a synchronized performance in just a span of five-day practice. Their mentor also conducted the counting for their performance.

Following the Taekwondo demonstration are Kpop dance performances. The boys displayed their bubbly side through the song ‘Sorry Sorry’ (Super Junior) while the girls staged ‘Tell me’ (Wonder girls).

Aside from the program, students had a feel of Joseon era through the Hanbok wearing experience. Hanbok is Korea’s traditional attire and up to now, it is often used by natives during important events and celebrations. Also, to add art on their K-culture experience was face painting booth for the students!

Ending the special school event was the music class who produced great harmony by performing the songs Arirang, the Philippine folk song ‘Leron Leron Sinta’ and Lion King’s sound track ‘Hakuna Matata.’

Meanwhile, the students of photography class welcomed the guests with their exhibited profiles and sample shots through a tree sculpture located at the school entrance.

The creative sides of the arts students were visible in their displayed works including their personalized canvas bags and the newly designed safari-themed wall! Goals and dreams of the students are set up high through the student career orientation. Their visualized paths are shown in their ‘future’ business cards and career profiles (their photos with their objective as captions.)

(Part 2) Korea-Philippines Cultural Exchange Festival
(August 20 – 6:30PM – 8:00PM)

A line up of full blown performances successfully concluded the Korea-Philippines cultural exchange festival on August 20. The night started with the martial arts class instructor who wowed the audience with his special act on sword techniques. Following the lineup was the attention catching bang brought by the instrument ‘nanta.’ In the middle of the nanta performance team are a few taekwondo stunts that made the whole segment more breath taking.

The next part of the program is the distribution of certificates for the schools in Masinloc who are recipients of educational equipment. Afterwards, the participating schools showcased Philippine cultural dances including ‘Pandanggo sa Ilaw, Tinikling’ and other regional dances.

Then, the Korean boys danced into the song ‘Fire’ (BTS) with their museum display concept. Their steps incorporated a few Taekwondo techniques which showed more of their masculine side. Also, they gave a twist on the use of mask as the props.

Right after are the goddesses of Happy Builder who performed ‘Me Gusta Tu’ (Gfriend), ‘Ooh Ahh’ (Twice) and Party (Girls Generation).

“I think I’m ugly and nobody wants to love me, just like her I wanna be pretty! (I wanna be pretty!)” More than an idol-fan interaction style during a Kpop concert, a heart melting moment occurred when the volunteers played one of 2ne1’s popular songs ‘Ugly’ and the audience responds with the fan chant and before you know it, everybody is singing the chorus part.

Solemn vocals touched the hearts of the audience as the band sang Taeyang’s heart breaking song ‘Eyes, Nose, Lips.’ More than the message of the song, the appreciation of the locals for Korean music ignited despite the language barrier. Everyone waved their hands following the rhythm of the song making that moment more than just a concert type.

Maintaining the hype of the crowd, one of the mentors proved he’s a pro in rocking his guitar and hitting his high notes. He performed solo on ‘Hey Jude’ and had a duet with one of the volunteers for the song ‘I’m yours.’

Reaching the finale, the song Anak by Fredie Aguilar was sung by Korean and Filipino volunteers. Afterwards, the finale that made us one is the song ‘Arirang.’ All the volunteers gave an extremely emotional bow to end the whole program! We shouted the words ‘Make It Shine!’ and afterwards complemented each other for the job well done!

More than just an act of volunteering and strengthening bilateral relations between our countries, this cultural exchange program made us realize that despite the language barrier, there are so many means to enjoy and learn from each other and that includes one’s interest and goals.

Of course, let us not forget the people behind this successful program. Thank you so much Korea Foundation and POSCO E&C-URIM Welfare Foundation for such a wonderful experience. Also, kudos to the twins for their hard work in coordinating with the locals during the preparation and all throughout the event, Ate Rina and Riza, thank you very much for all the help and your kindness! We miss you already!


To make this more personalized, ending this story are the message of gratitude from the Filipino volunteers ♥

“Korea- Philippines Cultural Exchange program has officially ended but the memories remain in my heart. I’m thankful for everyone who made this week unforgettable and irreplaceable. I gained new Korean and Filipino friends that I would like to keep forever. It’s amazing how pure everyone’s passion is and how it inspires me to do better. It may be just a short meeting but I feel so fulfilled. I love you guys! Till we meet again!” – Denice Magbanua (Drone Team)

“There is no way I could thank you all than sharing our precious moments to everyone. I thought I have experienced so much about K-culture but this program opened new doors for more. This also gave me a chance to introduce my knowledge to more people and learn a lot from them as well. Big thanks to the people behind the ‘Global Bridge’ program; to all the mentors, Filipino & Korean volunteers, BNHS, my Photography team (Kyushik, Kwangje, Sungho and Margi) and definitely to our dearest students for all the great memories we had together! With regards to the ‘Make It Shine festival,’ I’ve been to lots of events but this is the first time that I appreciate the moment from bits to pieces; lesser banners, lesser cameras and no fan projects. The extreme down pour also added to that dramatic effect. More than just the usual concert screams, the smiles shouts thousands of messages and that makes it more heartwarming. This is probably one of the reasons why I enjoyed it so much. The appreciation is far better than my expectation and up to now, I could still see that unforgettable moment whenever I close my eyes! To my new friends (including Korean volunteers and our students), this isn’t the end of the road for our K-culture journey. Someday, we’ll meet again but for the meantime, let’s keep in touch through SNS!” – Mikai Javier, (Photography Team)

“It was fun doing volunteer services. I don’t even remember a day that was boring. Sometimes, days were difficult but since I have my friends with me, things became easy and fun. While teaching students, I laughed and create good memories together. Because of that, we became acquainted and turned to be good friends. Meeting both Filipino and Korean volunteers made me happy as I met new friends that I could treasure forever. To be honest, I wasn’t able to talk to all Koreans and I have regrets about it. But then, whenever we meet each other, we often say ‘Hi’ and that’s probably a good point for them to remember me. We may have said ‘Thank you and I will miss you’ on the day we separated but it doesn’t mean that we will not see each other again. For now, I hope that we will still communicate through SNS!”- Karen Sasil (Arts Team)

“Days leading to our outreach program in Masinloc, we experienced heavy rain and bit of flooding in Manila. I thought it would be cancelled or that I would not be able to come but luckily, I was able to go. I can say that my Happy Builder experience is one of the best things that happened to me so far. I’ve always wanted to teach children but I’ve never really done it so through Happy Builder I was able to fulfill that dream. It was not just a learning experience for BNHS students. I learned a lot from my mentors, new Korean friends and even students. I am very thankful for my teammates Kyushik oppa, Sungho, Kwangje and Mikai for all the good times we had during the photography class. I would also like to congratulate our team for the successful exhibition!” – Margi Fajardo, (Photography Team)

“Our one week volunteer work had been a very worthwhile experience for me. Not only was I able to help kids learn and love Science; I also met new people who share the same passion I have. I hope I get to do something like this again in the future.” – Jhoie Marie Felizardo (Science Team)

“If I could describe the whole program in one word, it would be AWESOME. It’s one of those decisions wherein it made me feel proud. Despite the doubts and fears of being able to do it, I still made it. I was able to meet humorous, intelligent, hard-working and lovable Korean friends and of course my spectacular Filipino co-Happy Builders. They made the experience more memorable. For a very short time, I was able to learn a lot of things; particularly on culture (from traditional dances, instruments, food etc) and more progressive stuffs like drone and photography. I am glad that I was able to share my talent in dancing together with my two Korean friends. We were able to teach students an easy-average choreography that reflects the Hallyu wave which particularly made us closer to Korea. Moreover, I’m thankful for the trust in hosting one of the events. I had hosting experiences before but it was my first time to do it in a multilingual setting and it was indeed wonderful. The last day was painful but also inspiring. I’m looking forward to meeting my Korean friends again in Korea. No one knows, maybe in the future we could be doing more activities together. Overall, I am proud to be a part of Posco Happy Builder. The program is life changing. It fueled my passion to incline my life where I can use several languages and bridge gaps, especially in Korean.” James Galen Soria, (Kpop Dance Team)

“It was short but it’s one of the best memories to keep. Thank you for the wonderful experience. Though the rain poured hard it didn’t became an obstacle to these warm-hearted people of Happy Builder. This is a beautiful program that gives hopes and dreams for students to have a brighter future.” – Romel Beringuel, (Music Team)

“It was the toughest yet the most meaningful eight days of my life. This is one of the experiences that I will treasure for a lifetime. It was tough because I can’t really speak Korean. I only know the basic and I don’t have the confidence to talk to Koreans. For 21 years, this is the first time that I realized that I have a purpose. I’ve realized that my existence has a meaningful purpose. Being a Taekwondo teacher for four days was the hardest one because I don’t have a legit background on Taekwondo, I can’t control the playful students and I have short temper. It was hard to handle 60 students adding the fact that most of them are male. Also, there’s a communication barrier between us, the teachers. I felt bad for a little but they are patient and they tried their best to understand me. Seeing the students learn a lot from the activities we had make it really worth it. This is the volunteer work that I will always look forward to. I think I found my passion. I hope to meet all of you soon. I promise to study Hanggul. I will study hard! See you in Korea and here in the Philippines.“ – Martina Cortes, (Taekwondo Team)

“The Make it Shine Festival provided a venue for both Filipinos and Koreans to appreciate each other’s culture. During the event, I was happy to notice that the Koreans were just as interested in Filipino traditional dances as we were interested in K-pop. Even if there was a language barrier, I realized that music, singing and dancing can bring everyone together! It was a night that we will definitely remember!” – Pauline Anne Macapagal, (Science Team)

“Being one of the selected volunteers for POSCO’s Global bridge project was one of the best opportunities that I have ever come across with. Not only was I able to utilize my skills in using Korean language, I was also able to make a lot of new friends and enjoy different cultures. It was an experience that has challenged different aspects in my life including my physical, emotional and mental state but it will definitely remain as one of the best memories I have. It was very fun to work with all the Korean and Filipino Happy Builders and I am looking forward for their future projects!” – Don Delos Santos, (Martial Arts Team)

“I think this volunteer program is a once in a lifetime experience that i will never forget. Like hitting two birds with one stone I was able to meet new friends and was able to inspire the students to study hard and reach for their dreams. I am so glad that despised of the heavy rainfall nobody complained or had any conflicts. Even though our language and culture is different we became one through this cultural exchange volunteer work. If i will be given a chance in the future I would like to work with the same people.” Carlo Angelo Asuncion (Career Assessment/ Vocational Team)

**Photos and Videos from the Volunteers and Students
Written by Krew Member Mikay Javier
Originally posted in kccsupportersblog