Because of the COVID pandemic, the ensuing lockdown and the Netflix availability of Crash Landing On You, many Filipinos became addicted to Korean dramas in March 2020. There is no denying that Pinoys have embraced “K” culture wholeheartedly and are now avid consumers of its food, music, TV shows, make-up and even gadgets.
But there is one Korean who has done the opposite, embracing the Philippines and even thinking of himself more as a Filipino than a Korean: actor Ryan Bang.
Recently, Ryan was all over social media when Yeng Constantino openly admitted on It’s Showtime that she appreciated Ryan when he courted her back in 2010. Yeng, who is now married, admitted she was hurt when Ryan ghosted her. For his part, Ryan never thought he even had a chance with the singer/composer of Hawak Kamay. But Yeng assured Ryan that he had an inexplicable charm and is grateful for the friendship they share. Ryan doesn’t have a girlfriend at the moment but is hopeful that he will find a suitable partner in the next few years so he can settle down.
Not many know that Ryan came to Manila in 2005 from Seoul after his parents split. His mom sent her only child to Manila to live with a good friend of hers. Ryan was enrolled at Reedley International School. In 2010, when he was in senior high school and the student council president, a classmate convinced him to audition for ABS-CBN’s Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) Teen Edition. He was the first runner-up to James Reid, that season’s big winner.
Though Ryan was the PBB second placer, he was invited to be a “hurado” on It’s Showtime. The rules had viewers voting to keep their favorite hurados, with those who didn’t get enough votes being kicked out. And what Ryan thought was going to be a brief stint lasted 48 weeks! To this day, Ryan is still with the noontime show. He also joined the cast of Banana Sundae and even had his own travel show on Studio 23 (later renamed as the ABS-CBN Sports and Action channel), Kaya Mo Bang, which was sponsored by a very successful food company.
Ryan is thankful that he is still the company’s endorser after many years. He shared that this endorsement might be traced to the day he was waiting outside ABS-CBN for a taxi when three high school students asked if they could interview him. He gamely accepted and answered their questions. To his surprise, a few days later, his road manager told him that there was an inquiry to get him as the food brand’s endorser.
He later found out that the three students were related to the owner of the food company. He’s still unsure, though, if the trio had a hand in what happened or if it was a mere coincidence. Whichever way you look at it, Ryan still feels so blessed that he continues to be the company’s brand endorser after 12 years.
From 2010 to 2020, Ryan focused on his showbiz career. In February 2020, he formed a company with his very good friend, Tommy Yoon.
Ryan decided that for this decade, the 2020s, he will focus on becoming a businessman as well. And so, Ryan and Tommy formed DUJABA Entertainment, which hopes to bring Korean artists to the Philippines. Unfortunately, the pandemic happened in March 2020 and those plans were put on hold.
Not to be disheartened, they opened a Korean Hair Salon named Moridu along Sct. Rallos street in Quezon City with a resident Korean hairstylist and has been a favorite among showbiz personalities. They also opened DUCUP, which serves affordable Korean rice dishes and is open for franchising.
Now that businesses are bouncing back thanks to the Alert Level 1 status of the National Capital Region (NCR) and other areas, Ryan’s business plans for the 2020s are back on track. He is hopeful about opening a full-service Korean restaurant soon, since he knows that K-food makes many Filipinos happy.
And what does the actor/host/businessman do to unwind on weekends? He goes to New Clark City to play golf, dines at any of the many Korean restaurants there, and visits the authentic Korean sauna Jjimjilbang.