Why Korean Dramas are Eating Pinoy Telenovelas Alive

Misaeng Korean drama

We don’t need figures to prove that more Filipinos love to watch Korean dramas than Pinoy telenovelas because it’s very obvious. But the question is why? In case you’re not aware, Koreanovelas has been invading the Philippines for more than decade. It all started when GMA-7 aired Bright Girl in 2003.

Soon after, Pinoy fans became addicted to Autumn in My Heart, Lovers in Paris, Full House, Stairway to Heaven, My Name is Kim Sam Soon, Coffee Prince, Jewel in the Palace, and many more. But before them, Filipino teens went crazy over Meteor Garden, which is a Taiwanese drama by the way.

But to answer that million-dollar question, we asked our followers and readers to give their opinions. And to be fair, we asked Filipinos from different generations and walks of in life. We also asked some Korea drama fanatics on this issue. Below are the top 5 reasons we gathered from them:

Storyline of Korean dramas is more realistic than Pinoy telenovelas

For decades, Filipinos love watching lead characters being eaten alive by antagonists (kontrabida). But of course, viewers expect that they will prevail in the end. But in this today’s era, viewers are now looking for more realistic and original plots. Gone are the days when hatred, envy, third party, and rich- and-poor love teams are attractive to the viewers. While we cannot deny the great contribution of Bella Flores, Cherry Gil, Zeny Zabala, Gladys Reyes, etc., Korean dramas offer more realistic life situations.

Scenes of Korean dramas are more artistic than Pinoy telenovelas

Jewel in the Palace is the best example of a Korean drama that featured the traditional Korean culture, cuisine, and even medicine; and they were all presented in a very artistic way. Winter Sonata and Princess Hours are only among those that offer great cinematography and heartwarming camera angles. It’s like watching a full-length movie. Sad to say, we don’t usually have them on local telenovelas. One of our readers told us, “halatang tipid sa budget.” (Obviously, it’s a budget issue.)

Scripts of Korean dramas are better and more natural

This reason seems to be ironic simply because Korean dramas are only being translated to Filipino, and are being dubbed by local voice talents. Although a few recent Filipino telenovelas have memorable lines just like in the local movies in the 70s and 80s (and 90s), the script is written not in a natural Filipino way. One of our readers asks, “Why should local actors always mix Filipino and English in a funny way?” Many of our veteran actors also seemed to have lost their touch because of the poor script.

Music and songs (Official Sound Track) of Korean dramas are more captivating

Obviously, Filipinos don’t understand the lyrics of Korean songs. But the melody is very captivating and they really match well to the scenes. In fact, many viewers said the lyrics don’t matter anymore. For local telenovelas, not all young viewers appreciate the blatant covering of songs for telenovelas. One of them told us, “Nakakarindi na yung halos revival na lang lagi naririnig ko. Wala bang bago?” (I’m sick and tired of listening to cover version of old songs. Don’t they have something original songs to offer?)

Korean stars are more fashionable than Filipino young stars

Korean stars look like fashionable dolls, both men and women. No wonder, a lot of Pinoy youngsters love to dress like them. For local telenovelas, we can somehow thank Daniel Padilla for his fashionable looks. But then, older generation cannot help but compare him to his uncle, Robin Padilla. For local teen actresses, our readers said they don’t really find someone who dresses really that good. Although local fashion is still alive, one mother told us that fashion back in the 70s and 80s is still better than today.


In the Internet, there are tons of websites where you can watch Korean dramas. And for the record, the Korean drama fever is also now starting to enter the US. This means that only Asians are going crazy over these shows. Although most of them are romantic-comedy, there are some good dramas about social and corporate life, and one of them is Misaeng (Incomplete Life).

For our readers, they believe that Filipino telenovelas still have a huge space on TV. GMA Network did well for My Husband’s Lover in 2013, and Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real (The Two Mrs. Real). For ABS-CBN, Coco Martin is doing well in all his teleserye shows. And just recently, the pilot episode of Forevermore was a big hit. This coming 2015, both networks are expected to release more local telenovelas.

But from us here at Taho News, our wish is that producers and writers should think of original ideas. Stop doing remakes and don’t sell the actors just to attract the viewers. Instead, offer us a good original story with well-written script, and avoid too much marketing. Study the magic of Korean dramas and learn some techniques from them. After all, a high quality show is only what televiewers want.

Related Posts:

* Upcoming Korean Dramas in the Philippines 2015
* Top 10 Interesting Philippine Showbiz Facts 90s Kids Do Not Know About
* Koreans React to Pinoy Stars Marian Rivera, Daniel Padilla, Liza Soberano, and more (Video)
* Why Filipinos Should Stop Doing TV Remakes of Old Movies and TV Shows



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