Pinoy K-Pop Fans Reveal How Much They've Actually Spent On Their Fandoms

'All of the things I do for them are worth it.'
PHOTO: Courtesy of Elaine Cordero

K-pop fans go to great lengths (and faraway places!) to support their idols and usually end up spending a significant amount of money on fan merch, concert tickets, airfare, and more. Curious to know how much some are willing to spend for their beloved oppa, unni, or group? Here are eight Pinoys who shared their experiences and spending habits for their idols.

Chrisella Marie De Lara, 27

Occupation: Staff nurse

Courtesy of Chrisella Marie De Lara
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Who do you stan and when did you start becoming a K-pop fan?

NCT, BTS, 2PM, Highlight, Infinite, EXO, Big Bang, FT Island, Seventeen, TVXQ, Stray Kids, NUEST, BTOB, and Monsta X; 2009

What are the ways you support your idol and your fandom?

I have a blog on K-pop pero 'di ako madalas nakaka-update kasi either tinatamad magsulat or walang time. I mostly stream their videos on YouTube na lang. Before I used to be a member of international forums pero 'di na sila active.

On estimate, how much have you spent over the years on merch, concert tickets, fan meets, and other things related to your fandom?

Around P125,000.

Courtesy of Chrisella Marie De Lara
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What is/are your most expensive fandom-related purchase/s?

Pinaka-mahal kong gastos for concerts, so far, is yung Seventeen Ideal Cut In Manila, which is worth P13,250 for a VIP ticket. For merch, I went to South Korea last year and bought CDs and DVDs worth around P4,000.

What makes your being a fan worth all the expenses and effort?

For merch, iba din kasi yung pride and happiness na nadadala nung fact na mayroon kang legit CDs and DVDs. For example, yung We Go Up album ng NCT Dream, sobrang saya ko nung nakuha ko yun kasi last album nila yun as 7Dream and 'di na ulit magkakaroon ng ganoon.

But for me, since I mostly attend concerts, ang masasabi ko talaga, iba kasi yung feeling 'pag nasa harap mo na sila. Kahit hindi ka dikit na dikit, marinig mo lang yung live vocals, nakakaiyak na.

At saka mas ma-a-appreciate mo kasi yung effort nila sa practices, sa puyat, sa producing, composing, kapag na-experience mo na nang live. Dagdagan mo pa ng fan service na nakakaloka.

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And there are idols na super appreciative sa Filipino fans talaga, like Super Junior and EXO. Feeling ko laging with heartwarming feelings yung mga performance nila 'pag nandito sila sa Pilipinas.

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Elaine Cordero, 25

Occupation: Data specialist

Courtesy of Elaine Cordero

Who do you stan and when did you start becoming a K-pop fan?

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Girls' Generation; 2009

What are the ways you support your idol and your fandom?

I'm a staff member of Choi Sooyoung Philippines and probi (probationary member) of Girls' Generation Philippines (GGPH, the first Philippine fan base for SNSD). Our group organizes "fan gathering events" for each SNSD member's birthday as one of our fan projects.

During the ticket selling in Araneta Coliseum for Taeyeon's concert in December 2018, we initiated a "food project" and distributed snacks to our co-SONEs in line.

On estimate, how much have you spent over the years on merch, concert tickets, fan meets, and other things related to your fandom?

To be honest, I'm not sure anymore. It's been 10 years, and I have lost track of all my expenses!

Courtesy of Elaine Cordero
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What is/are your most expensive fandom-related purchase/s?

For concerts, I think the most expensive ticket that I bought was P12,500. For merchandise, I think it's the Baby-G Casio limited edition watch with printed autographs of the members. It cost P8,000. 

What makes your being a fan worth all the expenses and effort?
10 years ago, I was just a shy girl, an introvert who had a world of her own. Everything changed when I encountered Girls' Generation. My gloomy days turned bright, I'm more confident now, and I became more outgoing. Every time I'm upset, I would listen to their songs, and I would feel better. I think Girls' Generation brings out the best in me, even the parts of myself that I never knew existed.
 

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Jamih Hung, 38

Occupation: IT consultant

Courtesy of Jamih Hung
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Who do you stan and when did you start becoming a K-pop fan?

YoonA of Girls' Generation; 2009

What are the ways you support your idol and your fandom?

Currently, I'm an admin on the Soshified Philippines (international fan club of Girls' Generation) Facebook Page and moderator for the Soshified Philippines Discussion Group. We organize events and fan gatherings for Girls' Generation. If there are concerts, we also organize fan support bundles and prepare gifts or food for the artists and their staff. I also stream and share Girls' Generation's videos.

On estimate, how much have you spent over the years on merch, concert tickets, fan meets, and other things related to your fandom?

For merchandise (including fan-made goodies to support the artist): Around P500,000.

For concerts and other events: Their concert tickets and music shows cost around P7,000 to P10,000. I can't remember the number of times I have watched them, but I can say that I have seen them in at least 10 shows, so a good estimate would be around P100,000 for tickets only.

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Courtesy of Jamih Hung

What is/are your most expensive fandom-related purchase/s?

Girls' Generation Phantasia tour in Taipei: I decided to watch two shows, which cost me around P10,000 for each ticket. The plane ticket and lodging was around P25,000 to P30,000.

MBC Show in Thailand: What made the trip expensive is because I booked a room in the hotel where they were staying, which cost a lot more than the other hotels. Having a "chance" to bump into them while inside the hotel convinced me to go for it. 

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For merchandise: Some of the photo cards released in Japan cost around P3,000 to P5,000 each. They also released some rare "star cards" (collectible cards) that are hard to get. These include signed cards, which cost P10,000 to P15,000, depending on the featured member.

What makes your being a fan worth all the expenses and effort?

As a fan, no amount of words could describe the feeling of seeing your idol live in concert or a fan meet. Every fan service directed at you makes your heart skip a beat. I think the ultimate goal of any fan is to interact with the people they idolize. As a collector, just looking at the albums, magazines, DVDs, photo cards, and all the stuff that I have accumulated all these years gives me a sense of happiness. I also feel that buying their merchandise and even the products they are endorsing is my way of supporting them as a fan. 

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Richel J. Acabal II, 19

Occupation: Student

Courtesy of Richel J. Acabal II

Who do you stan and when did you start becoming a K-pop fan?

Girls' Generation; 2009

What are the ways you support your idol and your fandom?

In high school, I was the head admin and owner of an SNSD fan website called GGPalace, and I curated and compiled updates about them on that forum. Now, I use both my personal and my stan Twitter accounts. I am not shy to post about their whereabouts, activities, and achievements in both accounts. I also do Girls' Generation-related content on my personal YouTube channel, like unboxing videos, reaction videos, and concert vlogs. I am now currently earning some money from YouTube, at least, which is somehow funding my fanboy life.

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On estimate, how much have you spent over the years on merch, concert tickets, fan meets, and other things related to your fandom?

I have spent less than half a million pesos in the past two years alone. These expenses include merch, shipping fees, ticket prices, airfare, and accommodations. The money I spent looks ~unhealthy~, but if you ask me, these are the only things I actually spend money on, so maybe it isn't that bad.

Courtesy of Richel J. Acabal II
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What is/are your most expensive fandom-related purchase/s?

My travels and my fan meet attendances were the most expensive. I have made it my mission to see the girls of SNSD, one by one, last year, and I am still continuing that until now. So far, I have only two more members left to see—Jessica and Sunny.

Every trip I've been on cost me around P60,000 to P70,000. That includes airfare, accommodations, merch, and fan meeting tickets (which cost around P8,000 to P10,000 per ticket).

For merch, I can't really recall specific items, but their concert goods are the ones I spent the most money on. The items aren't very expensive, but they sell out really quickly, which makes them harder to purchase (and resellers price them higher).

What makes your being a fan worth all the expenses and effort?

Having a different and unique hobby besides usual school work may be taken as a small thing by others, but collecting and spending my time (and money) for my idols also distracts me from the things that make me sad (especially when I went through an emotional experience in college).

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When I see my idols and what they've achieved so far, it inspires me to do better in life. You see, each member of Girls' Generation can hold and sell out a fan meeting—not every group can do that. They make me more proud and fulfilled to be their fanboy.

The best thing about being an SNSD fan is that you will always be a fan. And you will always have that in your heart as you progress through life. SNSD has been and will always be around.

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Jhella Lubang, 20

Occupation: Student

Courtesy of Jhella Lubang
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Who do you stan and when did you start becoming a K-pop fan?

EXO; 2012

What are the ways you support your idol and your fandom?

I am part of EXO Philippines, a fan base and organization dedicated to supporting the group. I partake in handling different events established by the fan base to support the group's activities and to promote any activities that the members are a part of. As a student pursuing a medical degree, it is difficult to handle and balance my time. So whenever I'm free, I would stream EXO's music, albums, or music videos. As for my leisure time, I like to write stories and fanfics about them.

On estimate, how much have you spent over the years on merch, concert tickets, fan meets, and other things related to your fandom?

It would exceed P200,000.

What is/are your most expensive fandom-related purchase/s?

The most expensive EXO merch I bought is the Galaxy Note 9 EXO Edition. It is only available and sold in Korea, and it's limited edition! They only released 1,000 units, which were immediately sold out. It cost P56,000.

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Next would be concert tickets here in the Philippines. EXO had three concert tours in the country; EXO PLANET #2: The EXO'luxion, EXO PLANET #3: The EXO'rDIUM, and EXO PLANET #4: The ElyXiOn. They also came back for MBC Show Champion in Manila in October 2018. EXO'luxion and EXO'rDIUM had two-day concerts and I attended both days with VIP tickets. I also attended The ElyXiOn and the MBC Show Champion with VIP tickets. That's a total of P76,850 for the tickets.

I have a lot of official merchandise/goods, fansite goods, and even official EXO luggage. I buy skincare and makeup products endorsed and used by them. I also buy clothes from Baekhyun's clothing line, Privé by BBH. I also availed official memberships: EXO-L Japan worth P2,500 and EXO ACE worth P3,200. Both have an annual fee and yearly renewal fee.

Courtesy of Jhella Lubang
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What makes your being a fan worth all the expenses and effort?

They are the only group I support and love so much. They helped me grow, they inspire me, and they make me happy. Throughout the years of stanning them, they are the only group I've been so attached to. And I'm grateful for the love and care they show and give to the fans. All of the things I do for them are worth it.

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Ana Enriquez, 25

Occupation: Process trainer

Courtesy of Ana Enriquez
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Who do you stan and when did you start becoming a K-pop fan?

BTS; 2018

What are the ways you support your idol and your fandom?

I have a flexible schedule at work, so I applied as a moderator for the local fan base, and whenever I can, I stream their music. Even when I'm at work, I stream their music videos on a playlist. They have a lot of content that we can access easily, so I am maximizing social media. I also talk about BTS with my friends and family, and so far, I got a few friends and my aunt interested in them too. Spreading their message is a big part of me supporting them.

On estimate, how much have you spent over the years on merch, concert tickets, fan meets, and other things related to your fandom?

Being a new fan, I have not been purchasing merch for a long time. I started around November or December 2018, so I've spent a little above P20,000. Most of the merch I have are delivered from Korea, which I wish local fans can easily access. I haven't had the chance to see them live yet, but I have saved up money and I am prepared for it! 

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Courtesy of Ana Enriquez

What is/are your most expensive fandom-related purchase/s?

I bought the BTS Puma Basket Shoes which cost almost P6,000 without the shipping fee. That's the most expensive thing I spent on. Most of what I have now range from P1,000 to P3,000 each.

What makes your being a fan worth all the expenses and effort?

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I found BTS during a really low point in my life. Listening to their songs and the message they convey, I know I stan the right group. Whenever I read what they have been through as a group, I regret not being there for them earlier on, but being a fan now means that I can help avoid them going through all that hardship again. They really give music and art for healing. Even listening to their speeches makes me feel so loved and so understood.

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Geisha Maiko Serrano, 22

Occupation: Executive escalations specialist

Courtesy of Geisha Maiko Serrano
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Who do you stan and when did you start becoming a K-pop fan?

BTS; 2013

What are the ways you support your idol and your fandom?

I'm one of the admins for the recognized BTS fan club in the country (Bangtan Boys Philippines). It comes with it a lot of responsibilities, not just as a fan but as a representative of the Filipino ARMY. As an admin, I moderate the Facebook group and page, plus our Twitter account. I post updates and tutorials about the votings and streaming parties we have. We also collaborate with other BTS fan clubs around the world to help BTS with the charts. Aside from that, we produce events for ARMY. We celebrate a member's birthday and their anniversaries by raising funds, holding events with charities, and donating to the causes that BTS supports.

As a fan, I do love buying merchandise. By buying these merchandise, I feel a little closer to BTS since I know they partake in creating the concepts and the products they endorse. Also, they donate a part of the earnings from their merchandise, so it's always a win-win situation!

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On estimate, how much have you spent over the years on merch, concert tickets, fan meets, and other things related to your fandom?

I would say I've spent around P300,000, ever since I became a fan and an admin. This estimate not only includes the merchandise but also the concerts they held in Manila, side trips to Korea to celebrate their anniversary, and sometimes, some expenses we need to shoulder as an admin.

Courtesy of Geisha Maiko Serrano
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What is/are your most expensive fandom-related purchase/s?

Definitely the concerts! Aside from the Pulp Royalty (specialty ticket with perks like Hi-Touch and Soundcheck event) ticket worth P15,000, we always book rooms near the venue because we bring a lot of things as admins (banners to give away, other stuff for the concert projects, etc.).

My trip to Korea last year with other ARMY friends was one of the most indulgent things I did for BTS. We stayed in Korea for nine days and that was during their fifth anniversary. We hoped to get tickets for the Muster, but sadly, it was sold out. We visited other BTS-related places instead like the Line BT21 Café, the old and new BigHit Entertainment building, and, the most memorable one, the small eatery at Gangnam they loved during their pre-debut days. We also got to meet the lovely auntie who showed us BTS' favorite spot to dine in. I spent over P50,000 for that trip.

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What makes your being a fan worth all the expenses and effort?

When I buy something BTS-related, I don't really calculate the price that much because I know it's a lot. Instead, I focus on how much effort and passion was put into it. I guess I can speak on behalf of the whole fandom when I say we buy because we know its quality and content is top-notch.

I found BTS during a very low point in my life and they're the reason why I'm still alive. No matter how many of us are in the crowd, when they say "Saranghae ARMY," I feel like they are addressing me and the importance of my existence. When they give out advice for us through interviews, when they put out lyrics that really mirrors the current generation's situations or even just mundane lyrics that we can relate to, I feel like they know me personally. They're just so humble and real. They never forget where they started, never take their feet off the ground, and no matter how big they've gotten, they stay true to themselves. Money is something that can always be earned but the journey and memories I've shared with BTS are priceless and worth all the blood, sweat, and tears.

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BONUS: Variety Show Fangirl

Tetchie Medina, 38

Occupation: OFW based in Singapore 

Courtesy of Tetchie Medina

What Korean variety show do you stan and when did you start becoming a fan?

Running Man; 2014

What are the ways you support your idol and your fandom?

I promote them on social media. I like to share RM funny moments and I sometimes blog about them.

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On estimate, how much have you spent over the years on merch, concert tickets, fan meets, and other things related to your fandom?

I don't usually buy merch. The only merch I bought is a desk calendar, which is only10,000 to 12,000 Korean Won(P450 to P540). I haven't attended their fan meets yet, but I'm willing to spend at least $300 SG (P11,500) if ever. I mostly spend on airplane tickets to travel to Korea, which is around $500 SG (P19,100). More or less, I have spent almost $3,000 SG (P115, 000) for all my roundtrip tickets to Korea.

Courtesy of Tetchie Medina
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What is/are your most expensive fandom-related purchase/s?

I frequently visit Korea. My trip this April is going to be my fifth time. I already saw Haha, Kwang Soo, Gary, and Kim Jong Kook here in Singapore, but I haven't spent a single cent to see them! Kwang Soo and Gary's events were open to the public while Kim Jong Kook's was an invite-only event.

What makes your being a fan worth all the expenses and effort?

The best thing about being a Running Man fan is that it changed my outlook in life. I became happier and I worried less. Running Man helped me get over a heartbreak and completely move on.

*Answers have been edited for clarity.

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