oK Pop

Thousands gather for the 3rd Philippine K-Pop convention

A male dance group performs during the 3rd Philippine K-Pop Convention held at the Megatent, Meralco Avenue, Ortigas on December 30, 2011. (Ibarra Siapno/NPPA Images)(UPDATE) The Philippine K-Pop fandom proved once again that K-Pop is soooo hot and it does not show signs of cooling down. Over 5000 K-Pop fans and enthusiasts braved the heat and the crowd to attend the third Philippine K-Pop convention (KPOPCON3). This year's one-day event was held at the Megatent in Ortigas with over 60 of the biggest K-Pop fan clubs in the country including 2ne1PH, 2OneDay, 4minutePH, B2ST Philippines, BigBang Philippines, CNBluePH, Cassiopeia Philippines, GGPH, Primadonna Philippines, ShineeWorld PH, Shinhwa Philippines, UKissme PH, SJ United Philippines, Triple S Philippines, and many more.

Attended by more than 5,000 K-Pop fans and enthusiasts, the convention raised over half a million pesos for Gawad Kalinga and this year's additional beneficiary, the Philippine Animal Welfare Society. Similar to previous conventions, this year's highlights included the 3rd Philippine K-Pop Awards, K-Pop Dance Battle, K-Pop Singing Star, K-Pop Look-a-like among many other contests. One cannot deny the "realistic" feel of the performances complete with costumes, make-up, and awesome K-Pop hair! From a distance, it really felt like attendees saw Big Bang, 2NE1, Girls' Generation, SHINee, Super Junior and many other K-Pop idols in the flesh when the finalists performed. Judging from the supportive squeals and claps, these performances were well received. Here's the official list of winners from the Philippine K-Pop Committee.

3rd Philippine K-Pop Awards

Rookie of the Year: Boyfriend
Hottest Male Artist: Kim Jaejoong (JYJ)
Hottest Female Artist: Kwon Yuri (Girl's Generation)
Best Male Artist/Group: Super Junior
Best Female Artist/Group: 2NE1
Song of the Year: Keep Your Head Down (TVXQ)
Album of the Year: Mr. Simple (Super Junior)
Globe's K-Pop Fanclub of the Year: Cassiopeia Philippines

3rd Philippine K-Pop Dance Battle

Champion: Se-Eon
1st runner-up: 24 Minute K.pop

KPOP Singing Star 2011

Champion: Francis Adrian Dizon Florendo
1st runner-up: Jean Veronica P. Dimson

KPOP Kosplay Year 3

Solo: Marco Paquinan aka Ki Kwang
Group: Geoff Mabasa's group aka Double A

KPOP Idol Look-a-like

Dondie Martin aka Taeyang of Big Bang
Tasha aka Nicole Jung of Kara
Geoff Daniel Mabasa aka Jang Geun Seok
Katherine Yagi aka Taeyeon of Girls' Generation

Freestyle Dance Showdown

24 Minute K.pop

As for merchandise, there were a lot of booths selling original K-Pop CDs and fan merchandise like shirts, photo cards, posters, hats, fans, and even original Korean accessories. Everyone had a great time browsing through the variety and taking home items as keepsakes. I got some Secret buttons, cards and stickers for my husband who loves Song Jieun thanks to Secretime Philippines.

Aside from contests and merchandise, there were also fanclub booth games and gimmicks. Shinhwa Philippines had a sticker voting board to determine the popularity of the six Shinhwa members (who incidentally will be making their comeback by March 2012). Minwoo, the dancer, seemed to be the crowd favorite much to the chagrin of those who have other biases. In the CassPH booth, there was a cute carnival master facilitating a TVXQ-inspired "Dong Baccarat" game and the exciting roulette which I almost won by the way. In the 2NE1 booth, they prepared a bullseye game which I did not even attempt to play for fear of having to sing or dance. Super Junior United raffled of a coveted "Super Junior Boys in City" Hong Kong photobook to those who donated to the Sendong relief efforts.

Of course, no convention is complete without the idol standees. I mean, we don't have the real idols but we have the most awesome standees ever! This year's popular and eye-catching standees included CNBLUE, Big Bang, and TVXQ/JYJ. The standees looked so real and life-like even the most behaved K-Pop fan will let out a squeal of delight! Of course, the many "A-CHA" Super Junior standees were also present at the Universal Records booth for more photo opportunities.

After the day was done, most of the attendees have one thing to say about the event...that it was "HOT!" but judging the smiles on their faces and their refusal to go home, "HOT" in this context meant hot in both the literal and figurative sense. Despite the discomfort brought about by the heat, the fans still expressed the warmth of their K-Pop love through their friendships and fan support. I, for one, am looking forward to more opportunities to gather and celebrate the K-Pop fandom in the future. The Philippine K-Pop convention organizers expressed that next year's event will be in December and will be held at a larger venue. Here's to another year of K-Pop love!

Catherine Deen blogs for Yahoo! Philippines OMG! She lives, eats and breathes Korean music, cuisine, telenovelas, and pop culture. Follow her on Twitter @cathsdeen.

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