MANILA, Philippines – Everywhere they go, Sandara Park and Mario Maurer get loud cheers and screams from fans. After all, they are two of Asia's top stars, with Sandara formerly part of the now defunct K-pop female group 2NE1 and Mario being a popular actor in his native country of Thailand.
At the launch of Head and Shoulders on October 10, the media got a chance to catch up with the two. Aside from being the Asian faces of the shampoo brand, another thing that Sandara and Mario have in common is their love of traveling to the Philippines.
Before becoming a big name in South Korea, Sandara rose to fame on ABS-CBN's Star Circle Quest, where she became known as the pambansang krung-krung (crazy one).
Asked what she loves about going back to the Philippines, Sandara said: "The food. That's it. Ang sarap ng mga Filipino food and wala din [masyado] sa Korea (Filipino food is delicious and it's not readily available in Korea). The first thing I do is always go to [a] Filipino restaurant and order sinigang and sisig."
Mario, on the other hand, said: "[I miss] my fans here. You know, the Filipino fans, for me, are the greatest. They always give me support. It's like I was talking to Dara, every time we walk onstage it's like the people here give me goosebumps, cheer [me] up."
"Besides the support, I think it's the whole welcome that they give me every time I come here. They would like always wait for me in the airport," he added.
As Asian stars, the two said they are happy that the region is getting a lot of recognition and attention in the international scene.
"It's really amazing," Sandara said of the popularity of Asian entertainment. "As [an] Asian, I'm really proud. It's really funny because anywhere I go, I have things to talk about, like when I go to the Philippines, of course, and like to Thailand or Vietnam, I can always talk to them about the brilliant dramas... it's like really amazing."
"Yeah for me also, like nowadays, we're very close to each other and we can get to know each other very [easily]," Mario said. "For stars going to work abroad like me, working here in the Philippines is like, I never thought about it in my life that one day, I can become famous here in the Philippines, come work here, and even to work with Dara."
Aside from the work and travel, the two also have another thing in common – the same circle of friends. Sandara's batchmate in Star Circle Quest, Joross Gamboa, appeared with Mario in Suddenly It's Magic, his movie with Erich Gonzales in 2012.
Mario said he has been in touch with Joross as well as some of his co-stars.
"Joross, I know him very well, but his best friend is Dara. So yeah, we get to [talk] a lot," he said, with Dara adding that they all get to communicate through group chat.
As for possible projects in the Philippines, both of them are open to working on more movies or shows.
"Of course, I would love to do [more]," Sandara said. "We want to come back."
The two led the launch of Head and Shoulders' new offering, Supreme, which Sandara endorses.
Aside from the two, the Philippine endorsers of the brand led by Jeron Teng, Nico Bolzico, Chie Filomeno, and Janina Manipol were announced to the audience.