Pinay vlogger Imee “Mee” Aresta-Lee achieved her fangirl goals when she visited the filming location of the Netflix hit series Start-Up in South Korea.
A self-proclaimed member of the show’s “Team Good Boy,” Mee and her Pinay friend Yvonne took a two-hour trip from their residences in Cheongu and Daejeon to the show’s set in Seoul.
Although Mee didn’t get the chance to meet Kim Seon Ho aka Han Ji Pyeong or “Good Boy” during their tour, the long-time K-drama fangirl still described the experience as “nakakakilig.”
“Kapag na-hook talaga ako sa isang K-drama series, talagang pinupuntahan ko ‘yung filming location nila. Nakakakilig din kasi na makita kung saan sila nagshoot,” Mee told PhilSTAR L!fe.
“Syempre po, mas nakakakilig kapag makikita ko po si Kim Seon Ho,” she added.
Mee has been hopping from one K-drama set to another since 2015. Her go-to source for her itineraries, she said, is the website called Korean Dramaland.
“I got the address in Korean Dramaland, website ‘yun na andoon ang ilang address ng mga Korean drama and instruction on how to get there,” she said.
“There is no entrance fee sa lahat ng pinuntahan ko na Start-up shooting location. Marami rin nagpupunta, both locals and foreigners,” she added.
Their first stop was the SamSan Tech office which, in real life, is a quaint building located in the Dongdaemun Shoes Market in Seoul. To get there, Mee recommends dropping off at Exit 4 of the Dongdaemun Subway Station.
One look at Mee’s photos would tell you that the building perfectly concretized the small, rustic, not to mention untidy office of Start-Up’s lead male character Nam Do San (Nam Joo Hyuk).
But she clarified, “They only used the exterior of those filming locations. Like ‘yung sa Samsan Tech, iba 'yung loob ng office nila Do San.”
Adding more kilig to Mee's trip is the Hapjeongdon Restaurant in Mapo-gu district. In the show, it was portrayed as Cheongmyeong Corndog Shop owned by Choi Won Deok (Kim Hae Sook), the grandmother of female lead character Seo Dal Mi (Bae Suzy).
Mee didn’t dare miss taking a photo by the bird box, as it is her favorite spot on their tour. “Doon kasi nagsimula ang lahat,” she remarked.
From the side streets, Mee and her friend Yvonne moved to the grand Sandbox office which, undeniably, is similar to the Googleplex in California.
Similar to the employees of Google, the characters of Start-Up work in a huge, innovative, and pet-friendly office complete with free food.
Off cam, that office is Nodeul Island, a cultural space that combines nature, books, and music. Located at the heart of Seoul, it features a variety of facilities, such as Live House, Nodeul Book Store, and Plant Island
Mee’s visit to Nodeul Island has actually put her just a few steps away from Kim Seon Ho. “Actually po, we visited on their last filming day, and we didn't expect na mag-shoot pa sila sa Nodeul Island that time. We tried na makahabol sa shooting nila pero nalate kmi,” she recalled.
Still, the K-drama vlogger is keeping her hopes up about meeting her idol soon. “I’m still hoping na makita ko din sila someday, lalo na si Ji Pyeong hehe,” she added.
Full-fledged K-drama fan
Mee's constant love affair with K-dramas began in 2009. Her fangirling has not only taken her to different parts of South Korea, it has also put her name on the headlines the second time around this year.
Prior to her recent visit to the set of Start-Up, the 30-year-old vlogger and her Korean husband drove to the set of Crash Landing on You in the South Chungcheong Province on February 10.
Her photos of the trip, which she posted on Facebook on February 12, have earned over 10,000 reactions and 6,500 shares to date.
More than that, it was also Mee’s immense fondness for K-dramas that led her to meet her husband in Korea.
She revealed to PhilSTAR L!fe, “Actually, kahit noong hindi pa kami magkakilala, talagang nagpupunta na ako sa mga filming locations. My first trip to Korea was in 2015 dahil sa drama na My Love From The Star. Then every year na ako bumabalik sa Korea until nakilala ko siya [husband].”
And Mee couldn’t be any prouder that she found a real-life Oppa who always has her back in everything—her K-drama dreams included.
“Akala ko noong una matitigil na ang pagfa-fangirl ko kapag nagkaroon na ako ng asawa kaya hesitant pa ako magasawa dati. Kaya thankful ako ngayon na nagagawa ko parin ang gusto ko paminsan-minsam. I'm thankful sa Korean husband ko na sinusuportahan niya ang hilig ko na pumunta sa mga filming locations,” she said.
“‘’Di niya man ako masamahan minsan, pero sobrang laking bagay na ‘yung siya muna ang nag-aalaga sa baby namin sa bahay ng ilang oras habang wala ako, now that I'm a full-time mom and part-time fangirl,” Mee concluded.
Banner image courtesy of Mee Lee.