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Liza Soberano Launches YouTube Travel Series "Liza In Korea"

In this exclusive interview, the actress and model shares everything she loves about Korea and its culture

Liza Soberano is bridging the gap between herself and her fans as she takes them on a newfound journey. As she is no stranger to the core of Korean culture, she suits a fresh turn featuring her adventures in South Korea. The Filipino-American actress, with her latest YouTube travel series titled “Liza in Korea,” is set to loop us in her experience as a traveler in the esteemed Asian country. 

As her way of reconnecting, Liza told Metro.Style that it is through this channel that she can let people in her life again. “The whole series was created for them,” Liza began. “There has been a bit of a gap between me and my fans ever since I transitioned into becoming more of an independent artist. Because I haven’t been in any film or TV shows in the past few years, my fans haven’t been able to kind of see me and they really miss me.”

She appreciates JJ Global Group as well, which is the company who came up with the concept. “They wanted to create the series for my fans just to have something for them to look forward to,” Liza continued. “At the same time, [they wanted] to impart more knowledge and education on Korean culture.” The 25-year-old actress and model also added that since she has been shifting her career, she is constantly trying things out. 

“I think what my fans have to look forward to is just seeing me have a good time, seeing me being me, and [seeing me] navigating my way around working with different cultures,” Liza said, humming to the tune of hope up her sleeves. “Everybody knows that I’ve been exploring Korea and the U.S. and they know that I’m trying to learn how to work with different people and expand or even hone my craft but they’ve never actually seen it.”

Escorting the viewers to an entirely different world, Liza dreams of capturing the beauty of the country by sharing the 15-episode series and her brand to the Filipino (and even global) audience. To figure into the day-to-day order of her Korean odyssey, Liza invested time and labor, too. “I think the series is a great opportunity to kind of show the fun side and also the struggles of it. I’m just learning more and more about their culture and even trying to learn the language.”

On September 13, “Liza in Korea” finally aired on YouTube at 8:00 PM with its first ever episode tackling South Korea’s lush media landscape. Subsequent episodes will surface every Wednesday thereafter, serving a 10-minute scene where an immersive experience into the captivating Hallyu culture transpires. Through Liza’s lens, we are transported to the Land of the Morning Calm’s vibrant tapestry.

Liza’s versatility is an inspiration to many, her individuality a sweet ode to oneself. “I came here to Korea and we got to do a lot of the things that I wanted to experience, meet a lot of cool people, and here we are now!” she shared, taking pride in what she’s tailed. “[JJ Global Group] has been looking to expand into Southeast Asia by collaborating with some of the top stars from each Southeast Asian country and for the Philippines, it just so happened to be me.”

Tune in as “Liza in Korea” highlights traditional, up-and-coming, and unique brands and businesses in the South Korean scene like Lacimer. Witness Liza Soberano live her life as a K-culture lover and watch out for more wonders that she will do in town–from collaborating with cream-of-the-crop performers and Hallyu personalities to simply being in the streets of Seoul and its surrounding neighborhood, scenery, and sights.

Scroll down for our Q&A session with Liza:

Please share how this “Liza in Korea” YouTube series came about.

“The talks about even having the series started in March of this year and it came about through, the help of Dr. Hayden Kho and Dr. Vicki Belo. They introduced us to one of their good friends and business partners here in Korea and that business partner of theirs eventually introduced me to this Korean production-slash-e-commerce company called JJ Global, and JJ Global are the producers of this series that I’m coming out in and the reason why they reached out to me is because aside from being a production company that mainly produces variety shows and short-form content, they’re also an e-commerce platform.

And so, how it kind of happened is I met with them here in Korea and they asked me why I was so interested in Korean culture and what attracted me towards the culture and everything, and we had some really nice conversations about it and they really appreciated my love for the culture and country. And so, they just asked me what are the things that I want to do and experience in Korea. And then, I was surprised a few weeks later. They were like, ‘can we film Liza In Korea, just going on an adventure and having the best time ever?’ And then, I was like, ‘Of course! Who would say no to that?!’”

Who are your collaborators for this project?

“So there’s actually a bunch of collaborators for each episode. We have a special guest that I will be appearing with and so I’ve got to collaborate with the top TikToker in Korea. I got to collaborate with one of the top choreographers and dancers in Korea, some actors, a K-pop idol group, and some business people—entrepreneurs.”

When was the first time you ever visited Korea, and what was your fondest memory from that trip?

“My first trip ever to Korea was 2016, when I came here to film My Ex and Whys. So my fondest memory of that, I think, was filming in Nami Island. It was just so beautiful. We got to film here during fall, which I think is one of the best times to come and visit Nami Island. The colors were just so beautiful and I’m really a nature girly so I really appreciate just being around nature. But also, I got to film a movie here with a Filipino production, which was really fun. We also got to work with a Korean team and ever since then, I was always inspired by just learning how to work with different people from all over the world.”

What sparked your love for Korea and all things Korean?

“It started when I was 11 years old. When I first came to the Philippines, that was my first time kind of getting exposed to music and entertainment from different parts of the world, ’cause when I was in the States, you know, I lived in a very small town and the only thing I was really watching was Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. And so, I didn’t get to see a lot of Asian representation at the time, I would say.

So when I got to the Philippines, I really wanted to immerse myself and expose myself to different cultures and learn more about it and I stumbled upon Super Junior and Girls’ Generation. That’s what sparked my love for K-pop. And eventually, shortly after that, I started getting into K-dramas, my first ever being Boys Over Flowers. And then, I remember, I would watch ABS-CBN everyday and then, they would also show My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho and other shows like that.

So that’s when I started getting interested in Korean entertainment as a whole. And you know, as I became an actress and I started really becoming interested in just storytelling and entertainment in general, that’s when I started looking at Korea because as we all know, Korea is the next Hollywood. They’ve been coming up with some top-quality entertainment that everyone around the world is able to appreciate despite the language barrier and the cultural barriers, and that’s something that I’ve always appreciated about them and something that I’ve always aspired for with the Philippines.”

What do you love most about Korean culture?

“What do I love most about Korean culture? I’d say that it’s a very specific culture. The cultural nuances—I still don’t fully have a grasp on, of course, ’cause I’m not Korean. But as much as possible, I try to understand just the way that people are and kind of the history of how they came to be. Just getting to experience working with Koreans, I would say that they’re very creative in the ways that they handle things—not only in the format of the type of entertainment that they create.

Even the production is very creative and, for example, with Liza In Korea, their ultimate goal, really, is to expand their company into Southeast Asia. I thought that it was so creative of them to do it through producing content that entertains people but at the same time, brings awareness towards their brands. And, what I appreciate about Koreans is despite reaching global success and you know, becoming the next Hollywood, they’ve stayed true to their core essence and they’ve imparted their culture on everybody else. They didn’t change for anyone.”

Are you learning Korean, by the way?

“I am. I would say I’m not seriously learning it because I’m not being coached by an actual teacher or anything. I do Duolingo lessons, which is nearly good, but I think the best teacher, really, is being here and being exposed to people speaking in Korean. And then here and there, actually, people are surprised with me ’cause they’ll be having conversations in Korean and I’ll be responding to them. It’s not like I understand the complete sentence but if there’s a word or two that I can understand in that sentence, I can kind of grasp what it is that they’re trying to say. It also helps that they’re very expressive when they talk and they like to use their body to really explain what they’re saying and so, I can kind of read and tell what they’re saying.”

What is your favorite place in South Korea?

Gangnam, ’cause I’m always here. This is where I take a lot of my business meetings; this is where we kind of filmed around most of the time. But, I also really love Itaewon ’cause I watched Itaewon Class but aside from that, I feel like Itaewon feels like a Korean-American city. You’ll see a lot of like—they call them ‘gyopo.’ Gyopos are Koreans that grew up in the States. A lot of them do business there. There’s a lot of foreigners there so it just feels like a Korean-American city, you know, and it’s just fun to see all kinds of people from different walks of life in different industries just come together at Itaewon and kind of explore opportunities with each other.

And also, the way that they have fun in Itaewon is very different from the way people have fun in Gangnam, so it’s very interesting to see. But, I would love to explore other places outside of Seoul, which I haven’t had the chance to really do yet. I had a guesting for a series. I filmed a series a year ago, actually, where they featured different hotels and airbnbs throughout the country and I got to go to another area of Korea. But unfortunately, I didn’t get to explore, so I hope to go to Busan or Jeju Island one day.”

How about your favorite Korean food?

“I think I love everything, honestly! My top one would have to be sundubu jjigae, which is like a tofu stew, specifically haemul sundubu jjigae, which is seafood tofu stew. My second would be yukgaejang. Yukgaejang is like beef with some glass noodles and vegetable soup that’s also kind of spicy. My mouth is watering just thinking of all the food! What else? I love a jjamppong or a jjajangmyeon and the common theme—I think—throughout everything is I love spicy food. That’s why I really think that I have the taste palate of a Korean ‘cause I don’t think there’s a single dish that I’ve tried that I did not like at all. I think, yes! I think I was probably Korean in my past life ‘cause I really enjoy their food.”

In your free time, what do you usually do there?

 “So I think what I also really love about Korea—and don’t get me wrong, I love seeing my fans on the street and I love it when people recognize me and you know, tell me sweet things and ask for pictures—there aren’t a lot of Filipinos around here so I’m able to walk freely and kind of just explore independently, which is something I don’t really get to do back at home. Honestly, even in L.A., there’s so many people that recognize me and again, I love that, but it’s also nice to be able to go to a country where people have no idea who you are and I could go to a random café and some random person would come up to me and just start having a conversation. You know, I don’t even have to tell them that I’m an actress or anything. We just have normal conversations that everyday people have and I think there’s beauty in that.”

What would you say is your travel personality?

“I’m the type of person that likes to plan everything down to a tee. Before, when I was very, very active in showbiz, I would only get one or two rests in a year to travel for a good period of time. And so, months ahead of time, I would already be planning where I want to go, what restaurant I want to eat at. I would create a day-to-day itinerary for me and my family.

I would say, though, over the past year, I haven’t been like that so much just because my travels kind of happen all of a sudden all the time. There’s never enough time to really prepare for anything so I think I’m a more flexible traveler now. I’ve learned to go with the flow. At times, I still kind of panic or freak out about not having control over my schedule but I think it’s also great that I’m learning to become more flexible about that and just be more of like, you know, a cowboy, and be able to just be more chill about it.

I think it’s also great when you’re a little bit more chill about it. The trip doesn’t become as tiring. I think in the past, when I was very hands-on with the schedule and everything, I would be exhausted at the end of every day, which is still good ’cause I accomplished a lot in one day. But now that I’m just kind of going with the flow of things, I get to do things that I don’t plan for and there’s a lot of fun that comes out of that, too.”

You've met a lot of people in your time in Korea. Who do you wish to collaborate with?

“Honestly, anyone! I just love working with new people and I love just listening to people’s stories and getting inspired by their hopes and dreams in life. I can’t say for sure that there’s any one person, specifically, that I want to work with. Of course, as a K-pop fan—especially, as an army—I would love to meet BTS but that’s a little far-fetched, you know. They’re the biggest boy band in the world and it’s not like they have the time of the day to meet little me, but yes, I would love to meet them. I don’t know if I could collaborate with them but you know, a girl can dream!”

What else will you be up to next?

“Well, right now, I’m in Korea, actually. Today, I’m about to film a variety show thing with Dive Studios. It’s like a variety game show that airs on YouTube. So I’m going to be doing that. I think that episode’s coming out any time between this month and next month. I’m actually working on developing a lot of self-produced content in all different formats—meaning movie, TV, even variety, maybe even just social media content. So I’m just working on honing my craft and also learning how to become a producer and director. I wanted to make sure to take all the necessary steps to make sure that I’m learning and really understanding how the industry and business works.”

Liza in Korea can now be viewed on PHH TV’s YouTube Channel, with subsequent episodes every Wednesday, 8PM.

Lead photos by Jan Mayo and Anthea Bueno

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