It was way back in 2006, when Hyun Bin first caught the fancy of Pinoys via the now classic Korean Drama “My Name Is Kim Sam-soon,” followed by Secret Garden in 2011, both of which aired on GMA 7.

It would take another 8 years before we saw Hyun Bin in another series, but this time it wasn’t a tagalized version, nor was it shown on any of our local channels. 

“Crash Landing On You” was the No. 1 show on global streaming platform Netfilx, perhaps the most popular source of entertainment of this generation next to YouTube.

The cross-border rom-com about a North Korean military officer, Captain Ri (Hyun Bin), who falls in love with a South Korean heiress Yoon Se-Ri (Son Ye-jin), consistently topped ranked first on Netflix’s Top 10 list of most-watched content among Filipino subscribers. It premiered in December of 2019, and ended as one of the highest-rated Korean cable dramas in February. 

So even before the lockdown, Pinoys were already “locked down” on Hyun Bin, and the #ECQ just gave fans all the time they needed to watch the show whenever they liked and give in to their #CLOY obsession. 

TV might have turned Hyun Bin into a household name, but the ‘Hyun Bin Phenomenon’ is pretty much due to digital technology. 

“Filipinos have developed the craze because they are able to stream his shows, hear the buzz about him online, share their excitement with their friends, and even get to interact with him through social media,” said Smart senior vice president Jane Basas in a digital press conference on Monday, June 1, to officially launch the telco’s newest campaign. 

Technology also made it possible for Smart Communications to get Hyun Bin for its TVC and make him the “Captain” of their newest campaign.

In a country where the latest K-drama isn’t just a novelty but a national obsession, getting Hyun Bin not only made sense, it was also a very “smart” choice. 

“It was natural for us…. It would have been crazy for us not to do it,” Basas added. 

In Smart’s new ad, Hyun Bin rides a sports car and zooms past the city streets – a fitting reference to the blazing speeds by which Filipinos can enjoy their daily dose of entertainment powered by Smart LTE and Giga Promos. The ad strongly concludes with Hyun Bin delivering Smart’s new tagline in Filipino, “Simple. Smart Ako.”

“’Simple. Smart Ako’ sums up our company’s approach all this time to make amazing technology available, and more importantly, simple for every Filipino,”  explained Alfredo S. Panlilio, Smart President and CEO and PLDT Chief Revenue Officer. 

He added, “We are embracing our role as a digital lifestyle enabler that keeps innovating to make the life our customers simpler. Now that the world becomes more and more complicated, we believe that what matters most in life are the simplest things.”

The making of the TVC, however, was far from being simple. Because of the travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the pre-production stage proved to be quite difficult because they were conversing with the other team in another country. 

The filming of the commercial, took place on May 12, and it was game-changing how they were able to pull things off by relying on the “power of technology.” 

“100% of this project was actually done online. From the planning stages to clearing the storyboard with Hyun Bin and VAST Entertainment, from the pre-production to the actual shoot to the post-production, everything was done completely online. Thanks to the power of technology–actually, the simplicity of technology–we now have the first TVC of Hyun Bin for Filipinos,” she shared.

“Thankfully working with Hyun Bin and his team was surprisingly simple and easy because I think they understood the challenges we were facing, that we were monitoring [remotely] and they were producing there. Just like his character, Captain Ri, he didn’t make a lot of fuss, his team didn’t make a fuss. They would tell us if it’s doable or not, and obviously they were working with diligence and they’re very professional,” shared Lloyd Dennis R. Manaloto, Smart Vice President for Corporate Marketing and Strategy. 

Manaloto added, that they shot the whole thing in one day—”photography at about 1 o’clock until 6pm just in time to match the sunset scene; then, from 6 to 12 we shot the TVC and the videos in full. Imagine doing that complex ad in that time frame, it takes a team that’s quite professional and diligent. There’s a lot of precision when we actually did that and with that it became easier for us to work with the team.”

When asked about Hyun Bin’s talent fee and contract with Smart, Basas said: “Unfortunately, we can’t divulge the details of the contract because it’s confidential. You may think it’s Giga, but truth is, having him get our message across effectively while delighting the fans amid these challenging times is priceless.” 

Ramon R. Isberto, PLDT-Smart First Vice President and Public Affairs Head, then confirmed that they are indeed bringing the South Korean superstar to the Philippines for several appearances. “We still have to deal with COVID-19, but he is definitely coming. When exactly, we’re going to have to work it out.” Fans can also expect exclusive Hyun Bin merchandise to be released in the coming weeks.

Watch Hyun Bin’s #SmartAko BTS:

Living the Giga Life 

Smart’s new campaign follows a string of awards from third-party mobile analytics firms  Ookla and Opensignal, that recognize Smart as the country’s fastest mobile data network. These citations are a result of the continuous network expansion and upgrade of Smart on its mobile data network, which now supports a wide range of Giga Promos catering to the different passions and needs of customers.

Smart offers Giga Video for subscribers who want to binge-watch the latest K-dramas, online shows and series, and Giga Stories for those who love sharing their experiences with friends and loved ones on social media. Smart also offers Giga Games for avid mobile gamers, and Giga Music for those who want their daily dose of tunes and podcasts, and Giga Work for easy access to a wide range of productivity apps to make work and school life simpler and more convenient.

Speaking of school, Panlilio said Smart and the entire PLDT group has been talking to potential partners like learning management systems from Microsoft, Blackboard, Google, etc. “There are also offers that would cut across our service offerings, which includes wireless, mobile, and pocket Wi-Fi. So when we create the ecosystem on the platforms and connectivity, what’s also important is that the students and teachers have the devices so we are also working with device manufacturers to make sure that their devices are with the teachers and the students. Definitely e-learning is a key initiative and we will be creating that ecosystem for our customers.”


PLDT Home announced the extension of its free Speedboost for Fibr subscribers, and the double Fam Load data offers for its prepaid customers until June 30, 2020.

The nationwide free Speedboost provides Fibr customers a minimum speed of 25 Mbps, which is beneficial for homes that have multiple Internet users at home. This is the ideal speed for families who simultaneously access sites for online meetings, browsing, downloading files, and video streaming. 


For families who are concerned with managing their finances post-community quarantine, getting a prepaid home internet is advantageous for the family. You can still get the PLDT Home Wifi Prepaid at just P995 which comes with FREE 10GB worth of data valid for seven days and enjoy 2x data for all sites and apps. PLDT Home Wifi Prepaid also comes with family-sized data packages that suit your budget and are now doubled for the same price.  

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