Bago pa man ang kanilang pinakainaabangang Be The Sun concert sa Manila sa darating na October 8 at 9, 2022 ay nauna nang nagtungo ang SEVENTEEN member na si Joshua Hong sa Pilipinas.
Noong September 10, 2022, naispatan ng Philippine SEVENTEEN fandom, o mas kilala sa tawag na “Carats,” si Joshua na nasa Bonifacio Global City sa Taguig kasama ang kanyang ina.
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Hindi naman itinanggi ni Joshua na nagtungo nga siya sa bansa para sa isang bakasyon.
Noong October 2, 2022, sa pamamagitan ng livestream sa Weverse app, kasama ang kanyang co-SEVENTEEN members na sina Jun at Seungkwan, ikinuwento ni Joshua ang kanyang hindi makakalimutang karanasan habang nasa Manila.
Ayon kay Joshua, hindi naman talaga sa Pilipinas ang plano nilang bakasyon ng kanyang ina.
Sa Da Nang, Vietnam daw talaga sana sila pupunta ngunit dahil sa problema sa visa kung kaya’t napurnada ang kanilang Vietnam trip at napunta sila sa Pilipinas.
Kuwento ni Joshua, base sa translation ng South Korean media outlet na SBS, “I went on a trip with my mom recently. We were actually initially planned to go to Da Nang, Vietnam, but we ended up going to Manila, the Philippines, and a lot of things happened there.
“Since I had never gone on a trip abroad with my mom until then, I was really excited about it. I planned everything ahead. I booked our flight and hotel rooms. I also looked into places where we could go together and stuff.
“On the day of our trip, we headed to the airport. While we were checking in, the staff asked us, ‘You have a visa to Vietnam, right?’ I didn’t.
“When I was planning our trip, there was nothing about visa anywhere. It turned out that I searched things on a Korean site and Koreans didn’t need visa to go to Vietnam, but I did, as I’m American. I had totally forgotten that I wasn’t Korean.
“So, we couldn’t go to Vietnam. I blew like 3.5 million won on that day.
“Since we were already at the airport, I thought we should still try to go somewhere. The closest flight with seats was a flight to Manila, so we decided to go there instead.”
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Dahil daw sa biglaang desisyon na magtungo sa Pilipinas ay hindi na nagawang maghanda ni Joshua.
Aniya, “We didn’t have time to exchange our money and stuff, because our flight was taking off soon. We thought we’ll be able to sort it out once we get there.”
JOSHUA IN MANILA
Pagdating sa Manila ay doon na raw nagkaproblema si Joshua nang hindi gumana ang kanyang ATM card para sana mag-withdraw.
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Lahad niya, “There were, like, six of them, but none of them worked. We were, like, ‘Okay, then. Let’s find a hotel, then check in to it first. We’ll withdraw money near the hotel or something.'”
Halos hindi rin makapaniwala si Joshua na kahit mga taxi at convenience store sa Pilipinas ay hindi tumatanggap ng card para pambayad, at tanging cash lamang ang tinatanggap.
“We got into a taxi, thinking that they would accept cards. But it was cash only. I panicked so much.
“When I found out about it, I saw an ATM on the street, so we stopped there to try withdrawing it again. But it didn’t work.
“I told the taxi driver that I would buy him a meal or something if I was unable to get cash anywhere soon, just please take us to the hotel.
“At that time, I got really thirsty, so I went to grab something at the convenience store. And you know what? It was cash only there too. Unbelievable, isn’t it?”
Pagdating sa hotel ay agad daw kinausap ni Joshua ang hotel staff para palitan ng cash ang kanyang card, pambayad sa taxi driver na kanilang sinakyan.
“We went to this five-star hotel, and I asked the hotel staff to overcharge my card and give me some cash with the amount that they overcharged my card.
“Thankfully, they did that for me. The taxi driver asked for, like, a thousand something in the Philippine peso, and I later found out that I had paid like three times more. Gosh…”
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Matapos mag-book ng hotel ay naghanap naman daw sila ng makakainan.
Tila disappointed din ang K-pop star nang magbayad siya ng 100,000 won o katumbas ng 4,174 Philippine peso sa isang “tasted horrible” na hapunan.
“We walked around the hotel to find a decent restaurant for dinner, but none of them looked very good.
“We ended up going to the nicest-looking one out of all, but it tasted horrible. It was a dim sum place, and I paid over 100,000 won for that meal.
“Following our dinner, we discovered that there was a huge mall with great restaurants only a few minutes away from the restaurant we went to. Ah…”
Sa kabila ng kanyang mga naranasan sa “unplanned trip” sa bansa, nilinaw ni Joshua na hindi niya inilalarawan ang Manila bilang pangit at hindi deserving na lugar para bisitahin at puntahan.
“I’m not saying that Manila is a bad place to travel. I’m just sharing my own experience, and that is what sort of thing that could happen to you if you go on a trip without making any plans in advance.”
Sa huli ay nagpaala siya sa kanyang co-members at kanilang fans:
“Always make plans first! Make sure to take cash with you, especially when you’re traveling to a Southeast Asian country as well,” saad ni Joshua.
News Philippines today at https://philtoday.info/