MANILA -- More than 3,000 people trooped to the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City for the 2019 K-pop Friendship Concert on Thursday night.

The concert is among the activities celebrating the 70th year of bilateral relations between the Philippines and Korea this year.

South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han Dong-man greeted the audience in Filipino during the opening. He ended his speech by saying, "Mahal ko kayo" (I love you all), and showing the Korean finger heart gesture.

Victorino Manalo, National Archives of the Philippines executive director, said the country will continue to strengthen people-to-people exchanges.

The agency will continue partnerships with the Korean embassy and the Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines (KCC), he added.

During the event, screaming fans were all singing along with their idols, Kpop groups APRIL, NOIR and NCT Dream, which performed at least three songs each.

"I am very proud and happy to say that this concert successfully showcased not just the beauty of K-pop music, but also the strong unity between the Philippines and Korea," KCC director Lee Jincheol told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

Lee said many Filipinos and Koreans enjoyed the event and hopes to stage this kind of event in the future.

"I hope that in the future, we would also have this opportunity to celebrate the stronger ties and relationship between the two countries," Lee said.

He said the K-pop Friendship Concert is not a yearly event.

In an earlier interview, Lee said the KCC plans to stage bigger cultural shows in the Philippines in 2019 to celebrate the 70th year of bilateral relations between the two countries.

He described K-pop as "a collection of other cultures", and added that K-pop songs reflect the agonies, scar and concerns of people.

"This could be the reason why many people could relate to K-pop," he said. (PNA)

Kpop group NOIR with host, Ryan Bang (Photo by Cristina Arayata)

 

South Korean girl group, APRIL (Photo by Cristina Arayata)

 

NCT Dream few hours before the concert (Photo by Cristina Arayata)