How much are you willing to spend to support your favorite band? P500? P1,000? P10,000? How about a million pesos?

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BTS ARMY mom and teacher Etang Reyes made a buzz online when she shared how much she spends on BTS merchandise. 

In an interview with Cosmopolitan Philippines, she shared how she spent up to P2 million on her love for the South Korean boy band Bangtan Boys, popularly known as BTS. 

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This time, she grants OG a peek inside her BTS room filled with all sorts of merchandise inspired by the band.

It was like falling into the rabbit hole

The BTS fandom is called ARMY. Before Etang became a BTS ARMY mom, she was just a casual listener. It was in 2018 when she started to be a more “active” fan. She looked for fellow ARMYs and started joining communities online.

Madaling maghanap ng mga groups, pages, pero ang mahirap, ‘yung real interaction,” she explained. (It’s very easy to find groups and pages, but it’s hard to find real interaction.)

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She also found fellow fans on Twitter. “Hindi lang acquaintance ‘yung nakita ko, but I also found friendship,” she shared. (I didn’t only find acquaintances, I also found friendship.)

“You fell into the rabbit hole, ganon,” she joked. “‘Yung hindi ka na makakaahon.” Like you won’t be able to come out.)

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Being a fan isn’t always “smooth like butter”

Earlier this year, ARMYs got into heated arguments online after a fast food chain released a meal inspired by BTS. 

Nonfans were asking what the fuss was all about and ARMYs came to the band’s defense. “Let people enjoy things” was the common ARMY reply—after all, everyone is a member of some sort of fandom. 

“ARMY is family,” Etang said. “I don’t think a family will be toxic.”

“ARMYs are just being critical about the misconceptions and criticisms,” she added. “Ganoon siguro talaga kamahal ng ARMY ‘yung BTS.” (That’s really how much ARMYs love BTS.)

“It’s because of love, hindi pwedeng hindi ka magre-respond,” she said. (You cannot just ignore it.)

When Etang shared how much she spends to support BTS, she expected to get negative comments online. Instead, she read mean comments about the band. 

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Hindi ako affected na masyado sa reaction nila sa P2.2 na ‘yan,” she said. “Naapektuhan ako doon sa mga negative comments towards BTS.” 

Although Etang knows she can’t please everyone, she wishes people would be more respectful. “Hindi ko naman hinihinging maging fan sila. Respect,” she explains.

Is BTS worth it? 

For Etang and all the other ARMYs all over the world? Definitely. “I’m proud to say na they compose, they produce their own songs,” Etang said. “‘Yung mga songs kasi nila, may special messages talaga lahat. They address social issues, mental health, about discovering one’s self.” (All their songs have special messages.)

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Etang told Cosmo that BTS helped her understand the importance of self-love. “I've realized that I need to love myself for who I am and not find happiness through people's validation.”

“I love how they take every opportunity to mention ARMY and make us feel like we are family. That we are part of their journey and success,” she added.

Catch OG’s conversation with Etang here:

BTS is currently trending online for their part in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Moment at the 2021 United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

The global sensation spoke in front of fans, diplomats, and world leaders about COVID-19 vaccinations and how today’s youth managed to adapt, move forward, and stay hopeful during the pandemic.

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