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Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano's Seoul Itinerary for Your Inspiration

Donny and Belle indeed exuded K-drama vibes with their photo shoot and the activities they did in Seoul, South Korea. You, too, can live the K-drama life when you visit these locations

Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano in Seoul, South Korea - Itinerary
On Donny and Belle: Clothes, shoes, and accessories all by GUCCI | Photography by Dookie Ducay

"We’ve been really wanting to travel somewhere after the shoot. And I think Korea is perfect. It’s our first time together to go here," said Donny Pangilinan, one-half of the phenomenal DonBelle tandem. By "we," he was, of course, talking about looking forward to taking some time off with Belle Mariano, as they were both busy shooting for their recently concluded series Can't Buy Me Love.

Donny and Belle devoted nine months of filming for this project, and it's been one beautiful adventure full of learning and takeaways. Their CBML journey may have ended, but they're taking parts of Bingo and Caroline to their next adventures.  

By now, we already know that CBML ended with the dreamy barnyard wedding of Bingo and Caroline and their honeymoon in breathtaking Batanes (albeit with an emotional twist, considering Bingo's illness). When the show was launched, Metro marked the milestone with a cover feature on Donny and Belle一think of it as BingLing's meet-cute. Now, Metro celebrates the success of CBML with another DonBelle cover feature, this time in Seoul, South Korea. Fitting perfectly into the narrative, perhaps we can think of this as another version of BingLing's honeymoon.

Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano in Seoul, South Korea - Itinerary
DonBelle at the Gyeongbokgung Palace
“Can’t Buy Me Love” Stars and #TeamGalaxy Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano Go on an Awesome Seoul Adventure


“Can’t Buy Me Love” Stars and #TeamGalaxy Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano Go on an Awesome Seoul Adventure

In reality, though, this is a sweet escape for DonBelle. They've been a love team for four years, but there's still a lot of things they learn from each other, especially when going through firsts together such as this trip. 

One of those firsts, too, is their first magazine cover feature through Metro. We chatted about CBML and that cover shoot done in the thick of the pandemic while they were sitting in the middle of a subway train一not a real moving train but a cool setup that resembles the one in South Korean girl group aespa's "Black Mamba" music video. Where we were doing this interview is the HiKR Ground, which was especially created as a creative hub and playground for K-pop fan content creators. 

Donny told Metro.Style, "Even if we were in a pandemic, it was so nice. It was such a fun experience… I think it's memorable because it was the first cover shoot I did with Belle."

Donny further shared that, at the time, they were still seeing how their dynamics would work since shooting for a series is different from shooting a magazine editorial. He said, "I didn't know what to expect to see, what the photos would turn out or how the photos would turn out. And when I saw the first cover photo, I was like, 'Wow, it's beautiful.'" 

"It's beautiful, right?" he turned to ask Belle. He then jokingly said, "We can be a love team," making Belle laugh. 

"Ang saya," Belle also said of their Metro shoots. "Laging ang ganda talaga... parang wow, ang ganda ng photos! It's always beautiful."

Belle Mariano in Seoul, South Korea with Metro magazine
Belle at the Common Ground | On Belle: Ensemble by FENDI

During their first Metro cover shoot, there were still COVID-related protocols in place that limited the number of people at the shoot. I personally was monitoring that shoot via Zoom and text updates, but even through the laptop or cellphone screen then, DonBelle's chemistry was palpable. 

Fast forward to today, for their fourth Metro cover, we found ourselves flying to the Land of the Morning Calm and the land of K-pop, K-drama, K-food, and K-culture in general. Belle is a K-pop fan and has watched many K-dramas as well, so it was fun catching her all giddy upon seeing things related to these; her fun expression in her photo with Donny at a popular K-drama filming location, Starfield Library in COEX Mall in Gangnam, pretty much encapsulates her excitement at being in the heart of Hallyu.

Belle Mariano and Donny Pangilinan at the Starfield Library in COEX Mall, Gangnam
Starfield Library in COEX Mall, Gangnam | Photo from @donny

Donny, on the other hand, was thrilled at the dining and shopping opportunities the dynamic city offers through places such as Myeongdong and the upscale Hyundai Seoul mall (yes, Queens Group's department store in Queen of Tears!). 

Both also got excited upon seeing the framed signed papers and photos of global supergroup BTS and K-Pop boy group Stray Kids (who, like Donny and Belle, are members of Samsung's #TeamGalaxy) at the famous Yeongcheon Yeonghwa Sigyuk Sikdang in Gangnam, where the Hallyu artists also dined. The restaurant specializes in marinated, melt-in-your-mouth beef. 

Speaking of #TeamGalaxy, Donny and Belle also spent an afternoon at the Samsung Gangnam store, an immersive multi-level flagship store featuring the latest and most innovative gadgets and accessories. Here, they got to customize and personalize their phone cases.

Donny Pangilinan in Seoul, South Korea with Metro magazine
Donny at the Common Ground | On Donny: Ensemble by Louis Vuitton

A trip to Seoul, South Korea is incomplete without visiting iconic tourist spots, which also happen to be famous K-drama filming locations. Donny and Belle visited the Cheonggyecheon Stream, Yeouido Hangang Park by the Han River, N Seoul Tower, and Gyeongbokgung Palace

You may have seen Donny's and Belle's social media posts of photos of them wearing hanbok or the traditional Korean clothing in the Gyeongbokgung Palace. We thought this was the perfect way of capping their Metro cover shoot in Seoul. Belle told me hanbok is something she would only see in K-dramas, citing Mr. Queen in particular, so it was surreal for her to finally be able try on one一a classic red, black, and gold ensemble which we were told is meant for a queen. 

Like a K-drama plot, the queen, looking stunning and demure in hanbok, returned to the Gyeongbokgung Palace after getting glammed up; there, a handsome and mighty warrior (aka Donny, also in hanbok, as convinced by Belle) was waiting patiently to meet her. When they met, no words were necessary. The glow of the afternoon sun embraced them as they gazed intently at each other. Suddenly, it was like no one else was around and that the world stopped in that moment. Donny and Belle held each other's hands and faced the setting sun. Where they're headed next, we don't know yet一perhaps it's somewhere only they know.

Echoing what many fans are saying, Donny and Belle indeed exuded K-drama vibes with their photo shoot and the activities they did in Seoul, South Korea. But, with this eventful cover shoot, one thing that was most apparent to us was the genuine closeness of Donny and Belle even when there are no cameras around. As they enjoyed their own time in their hanbok and as we looked at them bonding, we thought, "It's a wrap!" 

A fitting message for BingLing is something that we can also apply to DonBelle: congratulations (on Can't Buy Me Love) and best wishes on your next chapter.

While we can't wait to see their next destination, for now, relive (or maybe even recreate!) Donny and Belle's first out-of-the-country cover shoot with us in the gallery below:  

Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano in Seoul, South Korea - Itinerary
DonBelle at the Gyeongbokgung Palace | Photography by Dookie Ducay

Photography by Dookie Ducay

Metro Head: Christina Lopez

Editor-in-Chief: Geolette Esguerra

Sittings Editors: Red Dimaandal and Grace Libero-Cruz

Makeup by Jake Galvez and hairstyling by Gian Sipaco (Belle)

Grooming by Jam Pareño (Donny)

Styling by Adrianne Concepcion (Belle) and John Lozano (Donny)

Nails by Mimi Qiu Reyes (Belle)

Photographer's assistant: @w.o.u.l.d.y.o.u

Shoot Coordination: Nina Laoang

Special thanks to Star Magic’s Edith Fariñas and April del RosarioStar CreativesRens DingliLove Andaya, Kat Valencia-Ibañez, Nina Laoang, Alexandra Camus; Lyza Samartino, Shaira Ibas, and Chantal CovarrubiasKorean Tourism Organization; and Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines