Foreigners in Kapamilya shows who are Pinoys at heart

Mary Ann Bardinas June 30, 2018 03:19 AM

Ryan Bang

Daniel Matsunaga

Sunshine Kim

Pricilla Meirelles

Eric Tai (Photo credit: @Eric Taieruption23 IG)

Yohan Hwang

Lee O'Brian

Sandara Park


The Philippines possesses a unique charm and beauty that incredibly enchant foreigners. Aside from the splendid beaches and breathtaking views always flocked with local and international tourists, we are also known for being one of the most beautiful, hospitable, and amiable people in the world. 


Thus, there’s no wonder why there are foreign visitors who have deeply fallen in love with our country and decided to frequently go back or stay here for good. Some of them even entered the local entertainment industry and captivated the hearts of Filipinos, such as the following Kapamilya foreign celebrities who have found a second home in the Philippines:


Ryan Bang

Of course, who doesn’t know our very own Korean “oppa”? The 27-year-old artist, whose real name is Bang Hyun-sung, first captured our attentions as one of the Teen-ternational housemates of Pinoy Big Brother Teen Clash of 2010 and finished as the 2nd Big Winner.


His innate comedic talent and cordiality made him an in-demand talent and gave him a spot in television programs It’s Showtime as a judge-turned-host, Banana Sundae, Hawak Kamay, Wansapanataym Presents: Yamashita’s Treasure, and Sana Dalawa ang Puso


He also had a stint in blockbuster flicks Every Breath You Take (2012), Girl Boy Bakla Tomboy (2013), Beauty and the Bestie (2015), My Ex and Whys (2017), Loving in Tandem (2017), Seven Sundays (2017), and his first-ever starring role in DOTGA: Da One That Ghost Away.


Not to mention that he is a recording artist as well.


Daniel Matsunaga

This Brazilian-Japanese model, actor, and professional footballer first caught our eyes when he got featured in a local lifestyle magazine supplement in 2009. It actually became his ticket to show business as he got offers for television and movie projects.


But his considered breakthrough was his PBB All-In stint in 2014 in which he emerged as the Big Winner. This triumphant feat was succeeded by a starring role in Be My Lady (2016) and appearances in the 2017 programs I Can Do That and A Love To Last, and films Sisterakas (2012), She’s The One (2013), and Past Tense (2014).


Sunshine Kim

So Young Kim, or popularly known as “VJ Sunny” to her fans and the viewers of MYX, is a 24-year-old Korean who rose to fame after being hailed as the first-ever vlogger of the aforementioned channel. She finished a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Communication at the University of the Philippines Diliman and also manages a trucking and heavy equipment company. 


She was able to expose her acting chops by headlining an episode of Maalala Mo Kaya opposite Ejay Falcon in February 2017, which recounted the interracial love story of a Filipino and Korean couple.


Priscilla Meirelles

The 2003 Miss Globe and 2004 Miss Earth titlist didn’t only found a second home in the Philippines, but also found the love of her life as well. In 2011, she tied the knot with seasoned Filipino actor John Estrada and now raises their adorable six-year-old unica hija Sammanta Anechka.


At 34, she already portrayed maternal figures in Be My Lady as Chelsea Oliviera, the mom of Daniel Matsunaga’s character and in Wildflower as the good-hearted foster mother of Lily Cruz/Ivy Aguas (Maja Salvador), Prianka Aguas.


Eric Tai

All heads will surely turn and eyes pop out once you see the outrageously built bod of this pure-blooded Tongan, which he probably developed from undergoing intense work-outs and playing rugby.


He first arrived in the country as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served for two years in Naga, Camarines Sur. He then became a member of the Philippine National Rugby Union Team in 2011.


After a year, the 34-year-old multi-faceted celebrity was invited to be a guest juror in It’s Showtime during which he exhibited his unbelievable flair in dancing. He eventually got absorbed as one of its hosts until his departure in 2016. 


Eric remained visible in the public eye as he continued his modelling and hosting gig which started when he was still based in Australia, is now a cast member of the fantasy series Bagani, initially as the monstrous giant minion of Sarimaw (Ryan Eigenmann) and now as one of the pirates from the island of Matutulis, Higa.


Yohan Hwang

The 22-year-old crooner kicked off his singing career after besting his fellow foreign contenders in the ABS-CBN’s reality music competition I Love OPM in 2016. Since then, he got invited to various television and radio guestings and live performances.


Moreover, he also released singles, such as his Tagalog and Korean renditions of popular Pinoy hits “Ikaw” by Yeng Constantino and “Kung Ako Nalang Sana” by Bituin Escalante.


His penchant for singing enkindled after his performance of Side A’s “Ako’y Sa’yo” during a function at their school, La Salle College – Antipolo, garnered a round of applause from the audiences.


He keeps on pursuing his passion until now, as he does song covers alongside friends and fellow singers Kristel Fulgar and Sam Mangubat.


Lee O’Brian

This American actor became well-known to the Filipinos after his stint in the 2014 melodrama film Edsa Woolworth, where he served as the love interest of the lead actress, and now his wife, Pokwang.


He has done a number of projects in and out of the country. Among his special and notable roles include the abusive American husband of Isay Alvarez’s Nanay Ron in On the Wings of Love, Ronald Bale, the vice president of a multinational company in FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano , and Edward, the understanding client of Nadine Lustre and James Reid’s characters in Till I Met You.


Sandara Park

Certainly, who would not recognize the most distinguished Pinoy-at-heart celebrity in this roster?


The 33-year old singer, actress, and host skyrocketed to fame as one of the Season 1 contestants of Star Circle Quest in 2004, with blockbuster films and unforgettable roles under her belt and immense admiration from the industry and her fans who bestowed her the moniker “Pambasang Krung-Krung ng Pilipinas” due to her unmistakable candidness and bubbliness.


After stepping out of the competition, Sandara starred in three romantic flicks, namely, Bcuz of U, Can This Be Love, and D’ Lucky Ones, and in a few teleseryes, such as Krystala and Komiks Presents: Machete.


In 2007, she went back to her homeland South Korea to pursue a K-Pop career and didn’t fail. Since their debut in 2009, her group 2NE1 has been one of the best-selling and most prominent Hallyu groups of all-time.


Their disbandment in 2016 allowed them to focus on personal endeavours, with Dara venturing in acting and being one of the judges in the 2016 reality singing competition Pinoy Boy Band Superstar.


This only shows how our innate congeniality and devotion have a tremendous effect to others, especially to our nonnative friends who have found a second family through our warm hugs and pleasant cheers.