No matter how many adaptations the Hana Yori Dango series has gotten, Pinoys fall in love with its classic rich-boy-poor-girl romance time and time again. For friends Liz and Mitzi, it was the 2018 Chinese remake, Meteor Garden, that sealed the deal for them. "It all started because of my friend Liz," Mitzi shares. "She texted me, she was making kulit, she was asking me na if I'm watching the Meteor Garden 2018 version."
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For both of them, it was Episode 2 that was the game-changer: Darren Chen, the Taiwanese actor who played softboy Hua Ze Lei, flashed the cutest "dimpled smile." And the rest, they say, is history.
"Somewhere in Episode 2, he gave Shan Cai this dimpled grin. And parang I had the same reaction as Shan Cai kasi parang feeling ko kinilig siya," Liz explains.
Darren had exactly the same effect on Mitzi: "Sa Episode 2, Darren Chen smiled. And then 'yon na. So sabi ko, Liz, cute nga siya."
The two brought their fangirling to the ~next level~ when they decided to book a flight to Taiwan, Darren's home country, to visit the spots featured on his Instagram account. One of the most important spots for them to check out? Daan Forest Park, which is the place where their favorite Darren snap was taken.
Mitzi says their internet sleuthing led them to find The Exact Bench where Darren took his IG photo: "So what we did is hinanap namin yung exact bench kung saan siya nakaupo sa photo na 'yon. Sabi ko nga sa friend ko, 'Liz, para tayong CIA nito,' kasi talagang hinahanap namin talaga yung bench na 'yon. Nagba-base kami sa background, doon sa mga nakapaligid na mga poste, signage, and everything. Hanggang sa we found the exact bench. So you know the feeling na parang, wow, ito 'yon. Naupo siya rito minsan, naupo siya. Ito 'yon. This is the exact bench. As in, The Bench."
They were able to go to other Darren-approved spots during their trip: a burger joint, a basketball court, and more! But more than anything, what they love most about Darren is his dorkiness, his humility, and his sincere appreciation for his fans. Being his fangirls has made Liz and Mitzi's friendship even stronger and it's an experience they wouldn't trade for the world. Liz says that the best thing about being Darren's fan is "meeting new friends and cultivating friendships." "There's a certain kind of happy only we can understand," she explains. "Like when you're having a bad day, it's just so easy to cheer up 'di ba. 'Yon lang, good vibes all the way."
To know more about Liz and Mitzi's fangirling adventure in Taiwan, watch Fangirl Diaries Episode 11 below:
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Catch a new episode of Cosmo Fangirl Diaries on Facebook and YouTube every Tuesday at 8:00 p.m.!
VIDEO PRODUCED BY: Jacinda A. Lopez, Lily Grace Tabanera, Andie Estella, Louise Ferrer
VIDEO EDITED BY: Lily Tabanera