You can’t put a price on how far fans are willing to go for their idols. Those who lead fan groups are even more impressive. Imagine the time, effort, and money it takes to run an organization. How much more a major fan project here and abroad? There’s also some level of bayanihan involved—each member of the group has an ambag to the labor of love.
Check out some of the biggest fan projects by Pinoy K-pop and Hallyu fans:
An army of projects from PH ARMY
Because of the amazing fan service brought by the biggest boy band in the world right now, local fans (called ARMY) couldn’t help but try to give back with big initiatives, too.
We got to know more from the admins of BTS PH - Bangtan Boys Philippines, headed by Mirza Ann Barcenilla along with core admins Geisha Maiko Serrano and Fritzie Alojepan. “The biggest and most recent project this year was BTS’ 8th Anniversary ‘8ternally With BTS.’ We decided to go all-out for the anniversary project [since right now, we can’t] conduct live events and ARMY are stuck at home.”
Their lineup included extending help to homes that needed rehabilitation in Albay, booking a bus ad, and a meal and drink donation drive to frontliners. They also rented 12 LED billboards and adopted eight whales (!!!) to celebrate eight years with BTS.
The project was spearheaded by BTS PH - Bangtan Boys Philippines, Army Cavite Fanbase, and Taehgers PH. They also got a lot of support from sponsors and fan bases around the country in order to raise around P160,000 for each project. “The most rewarding part of the whole project is seeing our vision come to life and be shared with everyone. Our hearts are also full knowing the willingness of ARMYs from all walks of life to help and support us to reach our goals.”
Food donations and public promotions by Filo-Blinks
Erika Esquilona of BLACKPINK Philippines shares how their group planned a series of initiatives in time for the girl group’s comeback back in June 2020. “We felt it would be a great idea to show our gratitude to our frontliners in these difficult times. The concept of food support is also extremely well-known in South Korea, where fans sent a food truck to BLACKPINK’s filming set or comeback stage.”
They picked Sta. Ana Hospital as the beneficiary. “Our lack of manpower was the toughest part of our project, as most of our staff live in different parts of the country,” Erika shares. However, they gathered members in the area or nearby and raised around P12,000 to pull it off. “It’s rewarding when we go beyond the definition of a fan or a fan club. Many individuals are perplexed by our existence. They’ll ask what we get out of supporting them, and being able to do something to celebrate BLACKPINK while also helping others is the most valuable feeling a fan and a fan club can have.”
Another project they did was a billboard promotion for BLACKPINK. Five billboards were rented for five days to promote The Album. They don’t get profits or anything, so it’s really amazing how they’re determined to help the idols succeed.
A tribute to the King by Filo Minoz
Comebacks are a big deal for K-drama fans, too. So the group Lee Min Ho Philippines came up with the #WelcomeBackLeeMinHoProject. It was back in April 2019 after the actor’s discharge from the military.
Vanessa Arguelles shares that they rented the SM Mall of Asia Globe spherical LED for an hour to display the video they made for Lee Min Ho. They knew it would cost a lot, so they opened official memberships to the fan club with a t-shirt and ID card. “Humingi din kami ng donation mula sa mga fan clubs sa iba't ibang bansa at sa mga fans na nais maisakatuparan ang project na ito dahil lahat kami ay hinihitay ang pagbabalik ni Lee Min Ho.”
The total cost was around P57,800, which they were able to accomplish thanks to several supporters. “‘Yung araw ng napanood na namin ang video sa MOA Globe, ang masasabi ko lang na lahat ng pagod ay worth it. Nakakatuwang isipin na kasama mo ang ibang fans [sa panonood.] [Ramdam] mo na may connection kayo lahat sa oras [na] ‘yun.”
Another project was called “The King’s Gift” last December 13, 2020. “Isa po itong relief-giving program para sa mga pamilya na apektado ng bagyong Ulysses.” The Minoz (LMH fans) were really heartbroken for the victims, so they wanted to help even in their small way. One of Vanessa’s college friends based in Marikina was actually affected by the typhoon. So her house became the venue when they handed out relief goods.
She couldn’t really pinpoint a difficult part of organizing the project because the LMH PH admins, plus their family and friends, were really helpful. They were able to raise around P20,500 in funds. “Iba ang pakiramdam na nakakatulong ka sa kapwa, nakakataba ng puso ang bukal nila na pasasalamat at ngiti. Hindi matutumbasan ng kahit ano ang ganoong pakiramdam. May mga ibang proyekto din kami dati para sa mga bata at mga health worker kaya sobrang saya namin na ipagpatuloy ang proyekto na hangarin na makatulong sa ibang tao sa iba't ibang paraan.”
Sweet surprises from Pinoy Runners
It’s not just idols that spur these grand gestures. One of the longest-running variety shows in Korea has also amassed fans in the country. Running Man PH shares that over the past decade of laughter, they’ve also tried to make the cast smile. “We've done so many fan projects for Running Man, but [one of the biggest] is the coffee truck (for their 8th anniversary last 2018).”
Recently, RMPH also made a tribute video for the VLive event last September 2020. Their most recent fan project was a LED Billboard in EDSA to send off Lee Kwang Soo (#PrinceofAsiainEDSA). “We planned it as soon as we received the news of LKS's departure. It was a 10-second farewell greeting in the tallest outdoor LED landmark screen in the Asia Pacific.” They picked May 23, 2021, as the date—a day before his last day of filming. “We initially thought of sending a gift to him through his agency but we wanted something special not just for him but for all the Filipino fans.”
The two-week lead time posed a challenge for the team, but they were pleasantly surprised that many fans were willing to contribute. Freebies were given based on donation amount, which totaled more than P50,000. Some of the excess proceeds were donated to international fan projects. “[It was very rewarding] when the project trended not only in the Philippines but also in other countries, most especially in South Korea. We've reached Naver and even SBS News!”
Grand concert project by PH SONE
When Taeyeon of Girls’ Generation or SNSD booked a concert in Manila last 2018, various SNSD fan groups united to give Taeyeon big Pinoy love. France of Girls’ Generation Philippines shares how they collaborated with UNISONE (which composed of Soshified Philippines, Serenity Philippines, and Kim Taeyeon Philippines). It was the first solo concert of an SNSD member in the country, and the last times the group performed here was way back in 2015 and 2013. The groups collectively raised around P133,000, which was spent on gifts and concert projects.
“For the set of fan gifts, we mostly gave customized items like the canvas paintings by Daniel Evangelista, a jacket by celebrity designer Jorel Espina, hand-painted Vans shoes, a customized ukulele, and more.” For the actual concert, they prepared hand banners, which featured interconnected messages for the idol. “We only had a month to prepare everything before the concert and most of us are working adults with limited free time. We usually updated each other after our working hours or in-between our breaks to make sure everything is in place. Then, our rest days were spent searching for suppliers and organizing everything.”
France says all the PH SONE really worked hard for everything. “The most rewarding part in my opinion is when Kim Taeyeon noticed all the fan projects during the concert. She also posted the hand banners on her Instagram and we also saw some of our gifts that she’s still using until now.” Recently, Girls Generation Philippines has also been doing various projects like cup sleeve events where proceeds go to those in need during these difficult times.
What fan projects have you taken part in? Share them with us!
**Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity