AHEAD of 2NE1’s May 17 concert, Sandara Park visited Manila and did some rounds of appearances on TV, including an interview in Aquino & Abunda and Gandang Gabi Vice, and a surprised visit in It’s Showtime and Pinoy Big Brother house.
Speaking in fluent Filipino, Sandara (or hugely popular in South Korea as Dara) greeted her fans warmly, “Kamusta na kayo, si Sandara po ito (How are you doing, this is Sandara).”
She first gained popularity in 2004 when she ended runner up in a reality talent search on ABS-CBN, Star Circle Quest (SCQ). She then joined the network entertainment stable called Star Magic in the wake of her success in SCQ. With her projects ranging from commercial endorsements to television appearances, Sandara became a household name and was dubbed “Pambansang Krung Krung,” a made-up word that means funny and crazy.
In a span of three years, Sandara had appeared in more than a dozen television shows and starred in five movies with Can This Be Love being the most successful. It earned almost P100 million at the local tills (the movie also starred her fellow SCQ winner, Hero Angeles). She also ventured into music recording by coming up with three extended plays under Star Records label and made the novelty songs “In or Out,” “Walang Sabit,” and “Ang Ganda Ko” hugely popular.
Amid a string of film and TV projects, Sandara, however, decided to leave for Korea to pursue a showbiz career there. In 2009, she took on the name “Dara” as a member of the girl group 2NE1 and the rest, as they say, is history.
Still in constant communication with her local fans, Dara has engaged her Twitter followers. She updates them with the latest happening in her career. She communicates in Hangul, English, and, of course. Filipino. And because she considers the Philippines her second home and she has more than 21 ways to prove why she loves the Philippines, many Filipinos idolize and look up to her.