Why Bongbong Marcos’s rise to power mirrors Korean boy band BTS’s rise to fame

In his PhilSTAR article “Could there be a Pinoy BTS?” today, Boo Chanco longingly beholds the rise of boy band BTS to astounding heights of fame, in the process doing its country proud, contributing billions to its economy, and putting South Korea at the top tiers of the planet’s cultural map. To further punctuate his Korea envy, he recalls the words of his “mentor” Bernie Villegas who points out that “person for person, Filipinos are more creative than practically every Asian country, including South Korea.” Chanco and his mentor exhibit what is really an age-old Pinoy condition — the idea that natural endowment alone is an entitlement to success and prosperity.

To be fair, Chanco consults with another friend Lisa Guerrero Nakpil who is likely better-qualified to comment on the matter having been a manager of the Filipino band RiverMaya. She gives a starker prognosis of the Philippines’ ability to mimic the success of the South Korean K-Pop phenomenon…

“I have studied this for several decades ever since the Korean juggernaut first reared its head. BTS is just the FINAL/latest flowering of South Korea’s efforts.

“This is grounded on the following:
“1. Long term planning: cultivation of talent over a 10 to 15 year horizon. Talents are picked, trained from ages eight to 12 and kept in almost military boot camps.

“2. Support of government in creative industries – tax breaks, travel, training.

“3. Korean people’s own character of hard work and perfectionism.

“I’ve had to perform with a Korean boy band and they do not quit, they keep rehearsing and working.
“I’m not surprised. Not at all accidental.

Not accidental. Success — as in the sort of consistent repeatable success — of Korean K-Pop which goes beyond BTS to include other global phenomena such as Psy of “Gangnam Style” fame, BLACKPINK, etc. is never accidental. It is engineered on the back of long-term vision as Nakpil points out. That well of human talent Villegas sighs about is no different to the Philippines’ natural resources, its fertile soil and the minerals buried beneath it. These don’t just bubble up for the picking (or fall from the proverbial mango tree into people’s gaping mouths). Resources are mined, developed, and turned into products for which there is a global demand for such as the way rich countries (which, by the way also started as dirt poor as any other) do. The alternative is to export these raw, straight off the earth or that proverbial tree — as what Third World countries like the Philippines habitually do.

Subscribe to our Substack community GRP Insider to receive by email our in-depth free weekly newsletter. Opt into a paid subscription and you'll get premium insider briefs and insights from us.
Subscribe to our Substack newsletter, GRP Insider!
Learn more

So with that as context, on to the point.

Why is Bongbong Marcos like BTS? Simple — because, except for Point 2, the manner with which he got to where he is in the political scene today fits the criteria for success laid out by Nakpil in describing BTS’s and other K-Pop acts’ rise to prominence. It was a long-haul slog: more than 30 years in the making marked by modest successes along the way and he had the character to sustain this effort. Like what Nakpil cited, Marcos does not quit. Indeed, Point 2 notably excepted: Marcos did not have any backing other than that of the base of supporters he cobbled together practically person-by-person, town-by-town, province-by-province. He was, after all, the “son of the dictator” as his rivals gleefully — to the point of obsolescence — point out. Except for a handful of courageous souls, no media personality or celebrity would touch him with a ten-foot pole. Marcos’s success was all his and that of his base of loyal followers who were consistent in their commitment to his vision rain or shine.

Compare this to the floundering campaign of Opposition “leader” Leni Robredo. The ill-thought-out nature of her branding, the fragmented character of her base of supporters, and the desperate incoherence of her messaging reveal the failure of her political machine to turn her into an overnight success. Robredo’s campaign is to Marcos’s as gambling is to professional investing. Team Robredo (if one can even call them a “team”) sought a quick buck for a pwede-na-yan effort. Indeed, one could even say the Robredo campaign is a dishonest effort reminiscent of the Pinoy way of doing business — trying to scam people into buying a mediocre undifferentiated product.

Do Filipinos want to be as successful as South Korea? Or Japan? Or Germany? Note that all of these countries — at the top of their games globally today — were once bomb-cratered losers of devastating wars. There is no other way to recover from such devastation other than to clear rubble and rebuild brick-by-brick. Between Marcos and Robredo, which of the two is likely to lead the Philippines down the same path South Korea, Japan, and Germany took to get to where they are today? Which of the two is more likely to produce that “Pinoy BTS” that Chanco dreams of? The answer to that question is quite obvious.

7 Replies to “Why Bongbong Marcos’s rise to power mirrors Korean boy band BTS’s rise to fame”

    1. Leni,dumber than rocks, is on the wrong side of history..and the people who follow her, few in number, are all apparently on the wrong side of evolution..

  1. First, Boo Chanco and Lisa Guerrero Nakpil were reminiscing backwards. Long before those BTS, Psy, etc. have even been dreamed of by South Korea, we already have the likes of Lea Salonga, Charice Pempengco, Manny Pacquaio, Arnel Pineda to name a few wowing the people in the international stage.

    The aforementioned have shown great sacrifices in honing their talents through long term planning, hard work and the desire to be the best. Unlike South Korea, they did all of that without government support and conquered the world.

    On that area, we’re the clear winner. Hands down. ?

    Now to BBM and Robredo.

    Between the two, which is likely to lead the Philippines on the same path of success as those countries mentioned?

    To be honest, I don’t have the faintest idea. Both have never really demonstrated excellence in management capability.

    Yes, BBM has been governor of Ilocos for years but, let’s admit it, he has never been identified for a sterling performance as chief executive of the province. There’s nothing outstanding, not to mention exemplary, in what he did in public service that he can brag to justify his run for the presidency. Of course, being a Marcos could be the principal reason for him to run. Then, there’s the willing base and a salivating loyalists eager and waiting for him to run. But that is all.

    Can he lead the country to success? The odds are stacked against him. With half of the country against him and his family, I don’t think he can even achieve half of what Noynoy accomplished.

    Does that mean no? It’s really a maybe and a stare-to-the-ceiling kind of response. Of all the presidentiables running he has the most baggage to carry to the finish line. I don’t even think he’ll be able to shine on the debates because he has the tendency to act cute first than to project intelligence. I mean, he’s just the male version of his mother, to tell you the truth. And that’s not good enough a capital in politics.

    About Leni, I’m really not familiar with her, politically and otherwise. She caught the country’s attention when she stood up against Pres. Duterte when the latter treated her shabbily. She also got a second look when she categorically declared her abhorrence of the Marcoses. In a way, she brought back the image of Cory Aquino and in the process revive the memory of the struggle against the dictatorship.

    But, we all know that’s no guarantee of first-rate performance. We need more than swagger and defiance against tyrants to be able to say that she’s it.

    In terms of insignificant performance, she’s head to head with BBM, actually. The only thing that I can see as her edge, a little edge, with BBM is her open affirmation and desire to stop the advance of tyranny in the country. For me, it’s a plus. Not a significant factor but just a plus that could make a difference at the finish line. ?

  2. If you watching massive caravan of bbm Hong n the Philippines…You will agree to me that Filipinos just awake .For the massive support of bbm is possible he will make if they will not cheat him.

  3. “Filipinos are more creative”… actually too creative. A Filipino hiding in America will likely be the author of upcoming best seller “101 ways to cheat in elections”.

    Meanwhile BBM’s upcoming victory will drive the final closing nail and exclamation mark on the “Rise and fall of the Ninoy/Cory-inspired Yellowtardism” drama series, which Korean telenovela makers can use as material to create another Squid-Game-caliber hit.

    BBM’s rise like a phoenix was well planned out. On top of that was the element of faith or fate – that one day:
    1. we won’t see 2 smiling faces on our P500 bills
    2. our premier airport will not be named after a traitor CPA-NPA terrorist enabler

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.