Hey, That’s My Country! (Korean TV dramas and films shot around the world)

Written by on August 25, 2013 in Lifestyle, Travel, Worldwide Korea Bloggers

Don’t you just love it when, as you munch on your snack and sip your cola while watching a Korean TV drama, you suddenty go WOAH! Strangely familiar scenes hit you:

Colorful underwater life like the one you saw in Palawan Island.

Screenshot from the KBS TV drama "Fugitive Plan B"

Screenshot from the KBS TV drama “Fugitive Plan B”

Brown-skinned man speaking English in that strangely familiar accent.

Screenshot from the KBS TV drama "Fugitive Plan B"

Screenshot from the KBS TV drama “Fugitive Plan B”

And the clincher: Colorful jeepneys against gray and grimy buildings and asphalt roads.

Screenshot from the KBS TV drama "Fugitive Plan B"

Screenshot from the KBS TV drama “Fugitive Plan B”

And then you find yourself saying, “Hey, that’s my country?” That’s your proud moment that the Korean TV drama you’re watching is actually set where your home is: the Philippines.

That’s how I felt while watching the opening scene of Fugitive Plan B (도망자 플랜 B), you know, the Korean TV drama starring Rain.

This drama featured other countries, as well, such as Japan, Thailand, China and Macau, so I’m guessing you all squealed in delight like I did when your own countries were featured.

While watching other Korean TV dramas, I’m come across other shows which have scenes set in places other than Seoul or any part of Korea. I take it as a sign that Korea is shedding its centuries old image of being a “hermit kingdom” fast. I also take it as one of Korea’s many ways of going global, donning its new-found hip, young and dynamic image.

Here are some these TV dramas. Feel free to add to the list. ^^

Philippines

Romantic Island (로맨틱 아일랜드) is a romantic comedy featuring scenes set in Boracay, the world-famous white sand beach in the Philippines. Coconut trees on a white sand beach. Breathtaking seascapes. Warm, sunny weather. These all describe the famous island, alright.

Screenshot from the movie "Romantic Island" (2008)

Screenshot from the movie “Romantic Island” (2008)

There are also scenes from Manila, featuring the capital city’s drab and dampy old buildings side by side luxurious hotels and skyscrapers. The good and the bad in the Philippines – It’s all here.

Screenshot from the movie "Romantic Island" (2008)

Screenshot from the movie “Romantic Island” (2008)

France

Lovers in Paris (파리의 연인), released in 2004, is the first Korean TV drama I’ve ever watched…and fallen in love with. Picturesque buildings, quaint architecture, and colorful Parisian life coupled with Korean humor and an exciting storyline makes for a great TV drama. I loved seeing Paris through Korea’s eyes. At the time, it was something very new to me. I was initially reeled in by depictions of Parisian life and culture, which I love, but this drama gave me something new to love, too – Korea!

Screenshot from the SBS TV drama "Lovers in Paris"

Screenshot from the SBS TV drama “Lovers in Paris”

New Caledonia and Macau

When 2009 hit TV drama Boys Over Flowers (꽃보다 남자), one of my favorite Korean TV dramas EVER, showed scenes of Jan-Di and F4’s grand vacation in a place with a beautiful heart-shaped island, was the first time I ever admitted that there could be a place where beaches could be more beautiful than my own country’s. Later on, I found out through fan blogs that the place where the love triangle between Jan-Di, Jun-Pyo and Ji-Hoo intensified, and where love bloomed between Ga-Eul and Yi-Jung, is called New Caledonia.

Screenshot from the KBS TV drama "Boys Over Flowers"

Screenshot from the KBS TV drama “Boys Over Flowers”

And then there are those scenes from Macau, a place which I remember fondly for my previous travel to the place. Well, I remembered the food I ate and the Jesuit-related architecture, mostly. But Boys Over Flowers showed me another side of Macau which I didn’t pay attention to: Venetian Macau. It seemed fun. And I lived vicariously through watching it.

Screenshot from the KBS TV drama "Boys Over Flowers"

Screenshot from the KBS TV drama “Boys Over Flowers”

So there you have it! These are just some of the many Korean TV dramas with scenes set abroad. Isn’t it great to see your own country featured in your favorite Korean TV drama? Let’s talk! Do share your favorite TV dramas shot abroad in the comments section below. ^^

 

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About the Author

Mitzie Correa

Michelle Camille Correa is a Filipino graduate student, majoring in Korean Studies in a university in Thailand and a university in Korea. When people ask her why this roundabout way of learning about Korea, her reply often would be, "Because it sounded like a good idea at the time." When she's not buried in books, she watches Korean TV dramas and movies on the internet. She is deeply indebted to fan subbers whose extreme dedication allows language dummies like her to enjoy K-dramas with ease.