popped_too_cover.jpgDestination: Seoul, Korea (where dreams come true)

Purpose of Travel: Protect BFF from fan woman who wants to destroy all competition for the biggest K-Hip-Hop band's lead vocalist (and maybe hang out with hot Korean guy who looks like K-Pop crush).

Travel Companions: Fellow K-Pop fangirls/BFFs

Seoul Wishlist:
- A total K-Pop makeover
- Violet potato latte fix (a heart swirl on top wouldn't hurt)
- An appearance at only the most happening club in Seoul
- Bumping into your K-Pop celebrity crush
- Buying an adorable Hello Kitty subway card
- Holding hands with the Korean boy you've helplessly fallen head over heels for (and praying he likes you back)

Will the K-Pop fairy wave her sparkling wand and grant Andie and her friends their wishes as they adventure in the motherland? This time, the BFFs have no idea what to expect! But one thing's for sure, they're met with K-Pop giddiness at every turn.

From the author of the best-selling Summit Book Popped comes another fangirl tale in Seoul featuring more K-Pop celebrities, more side trips, and more room to fall in love! Grab a copy of Chinggay Labrador's Popped Too for P175 at the nearest bookstore, and see what Seoul has in store for heroine Andie.

Check out the excerpt below for a preview of Andie's new adventures.

Read excerpt



“Play FLIRTS—with the triple letter score and the triple word score, that’ll give you sixty-three points. You’re so gonna win," Trixie said, with all the authority of someone whose feelings, pride, and shame were all hanging on the line. There she was, my smarty-pants best friend, breathing down my neck, infuriating me with her tiny nuggets of Scrabble wisdom.

“He’ll think I’m flirting with him,” I whined, fingers frozen on the keyboard of my beat-up iPhone. “I’m not doing it.”

“Of course you’re flirting with him,” she said, giving me a look that clearly spelled how ridiculous she thought I was. “If you don’t do it, I will.”

Trixie plopped herself down on a chair and edged closer and closer towards me, trying desperately to get her hands on my phone. She cracked her knuckles and positioned her hands just a few inches away from mine and smirked, ready to attack.

“Don’t even,” I said, threatening to slosh her with my coffee.

Trixie twisted her waist-length hair into a knot, and started laughing. She was never any good at suppressing the giggles—especially with me. She snorted ever so ungracefully, her black, plastic-rimmed glasses slipping down her nose further and further as her shoulders shook uncontrollably.

“I’m happy to be your current source of amusement—really,” I said, half-sarcastic, half-sincere. It had only been a month since Trixie called it quits with Joon, her Korean ex-boyfriend—the one who famously permed his hair to impress her on their first date—and while all of us were tiptoeing around her feelings, careful not to bring up anything that might send her spinning out of denial and into heartbreak, she seemed fine. Happy, even.

Joon was in Manila taking care of renovations at the new Korean embassy when they first met; unfortunately, once the work was over, he was sent right back to Seoul and Trixie, not wanting to deal with a long-distance relationship, decided to nip things in the bud.

“I’m okay, okay?” she said. Trixie always had a penchant for downplaying whatever emotional hell she was currently going through. This breakup was no exception.

“And just because I’m not into the whole LDR thing doesn’t mean you can’t play cat-and-mouse with Mac over the Internet,” she added. “He’s in Korea, you’re in Manila—online Scrabble bridges the gap.”

“I can’t do it. I can’t play ‘FLIRTS’ with this guy. And what are you talking about ‘cat-and-mouse?’ I’m not playing cat-and-mouse,” I protested. “Mac’s not playing cat-and-mouse. No one’s playing cat-and-mouse. No one’s playing anything.”

It was embarrassing, how unconvincing I sounded. It was like I was projectile vomiting all my embarrassment by spewing fake denials out of my mouth.

Let me explain.

I’d feel a whole lot better if I could tell you with a straight face that all this gut-wrenching, tummy-turning, Scrabble-flirting had something to do with my K-Pop crush—the same celebrity I’d spent the last couple of months running after. As far from reality as that may sound, I think that my mixing things up via online word games with him would have actually made more sense than what was really going on.

If putting myself out there meant knowing whether or not I had a future with Kim Ji Kyung (or KJK), then these near-death panic attacks of mine would be totally justified. I’d die a happy fangirl death knowing my heart was trampled on by my harmonica-playing, beatboxing, sexy, smoldering crush.

Sadly though, that wasn’t the case. My knees weren’t turning into jelly because I was playing online Scrabble with my OTKP (one true K-Pop pair). Besides, I doubt if he knew enough English to make it through one round, much less beat me to a pulp with sixty-three-point word scores.

Cutting to the chase—the truth is, my brain was turning into mush because of a guy-guy (cue: facepalm). You know, a “real life” person. Someone who didn’t beatbox, didn’t play the harmonica (at least I didn’t think he did…), and someone who never actually smoldered his way into my heart with his Zoolander Blue Steel poses, the way KJK did when I first saw him live in concert.

My lame attempt at flirting (slash declaration of love) was meant for Mac Park.

Trixie’s Korean ex-boyfriend’s friend, Mac Park, who had flown in from Seoul for a two-day visit a couple of months ago (fifty-seven days to be exact… yes, I counted). He hung out with my friends and me all through his forty-eight hours in Manila, sending me into a tailspin of totally baseless kilig. But as it turned out, we were just a pit stop in his travels, and his main destination was actually Cebu, where, as per Facebook, he had met up with a whole bunch of pretty girls who were probably just as charming, fun, adventurous, easygoing, and laid back as him—totally the opposite of panic-ridden me.

It sucks. Monkey nuts.

In a nutshell, my long-standing pursuit of my OTKP led me on many adventures, each one involving my three best friends—Trixie, Ms. Obsessive Compulsive smartie-pants who went so far as to learn to speak and write Korean just to get to know her K-Pop boys better (hey, her perseverance landed her an actual boyfriend, so I guess it paid off); Cesca, my laid back hipster pixie-like photographer friend, who started a Daniel Henney goose chase (fully supported by her rockstar boyfriend, who was always quick to admit how handsome Daniel Henney was—I know, so weird…); and Nica, my fierce fashion editor friend, who beneath all her makeup and glamour, hid a totally self-effacing passion for the leader of Korea’s hottest K-Hip-hop group, Movement.

In a short span of time, I had had to weather almost-but-not-quite bankruptcy, getting lost amid the subways of Tokyo pre-earthquake, making emergency stalking runs to the airport with my fangirl friends, getting broadcast on Korean national TV screaming our lungs out because Daniel Henney was a few feet away from us, and traveling all the way to Seoul hoping to catch a glimpse of KJK walking down Agpujeong.
You would think I would’ve learned a thing or two, right? Wrong. Despite all the travails of obsessing mind-body-and-Seoul over a K-Pop superstar, here I was, losing my mind over Scrabble.

I was fangirling over a normal guy.

And I know you probably think I’m stupid for getting all huffed up over word games. Don’t worry—I get it. Playing Scrabble with Mac shouldn’t be a big deal. But, I don’t know. I liked him so much he made me feel like a twelve-year-old crushing on a high school senior—totally inept, clueless, and forever bound to make a wrong move.

Maybe my ability to interact with guys was permanently affected by the fact that my ex-boyfriend had decided to marry the girl he dated right after me. Maybe my overdosing on K-Dramas, K-Pop, and all things K had totally ruined my aptitude for relating to real people (even if Mac was actually Korean). My brain knew for a fact that Mac was the steadiest guy ever, but that didn’t stop my stomach from getting all tied up in knots whenever he was around (even if it was just online).

The first time I’d talked to him on the phone—before we even met—was one of the easiest conversations I’d had with anyone. Even when I ran into him in Hongdae Park and had no idea it was him (I thought I was talking to a stranger), everything was easy breezy. And even if he only spent two nights in Manila that time, when we were together, everything was fun and comfortable and it all just felt like everything was falling into place.

When he left Manila, everything was going so well, I thought I would sail through the whole long-distance situation. We’d spent so much time together, I thought it was only a matter of time. I didn’t even feel bad about him leaving for Cebu because I was so certain we would coast along, no muss no fuss. Wrong again—because ever since Mac went back to Seoul, he’d only managed to chat me up twice. In three months. So not a good sign—especially for someone who’s pored over all two hundred fifty-four photos of him alongside the bikini battalion in Cebu. Self-esteem fail!

Needless to say, Mac Park’s departure had turned me into a panic-stricken, discombobulated mess. Not even a fifth round of The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince could calm me down—and that’s saying a lot.

And so, my beat up ego decided to soldier on with the only form of communication Mac seemed to respond to—online Scrabble on my iPhone. It’s true. Even if Mac hadn’t exactly been the chattiest long-distance friend, he at least kept up with our games like a pro and would leave me the occasional one-liner comment that I would, then, analyze to death.

Trixie herself had turned into a double entendre detective, reading meaning into every single message from Mac—whether it was him virtually high-fiving me for scoring eighty-two points with ‘ZYGOTE’ (Trixie: “It means he can see you as the future mother of his children”) or whether he was leaving me a message on Facebook saying that summer in Seoul was getting insanely hot (Trixie: “That just means he wishes you were there ‘cause you’re so cool”).

“Compromise?” Trixie asked, stirring me out of my inner self-help session.

“What do you have in mind this time?” I asked suspiciously. Mac may have been Joon’s buddy, but their breakup hadn’t hampered Trixie’s undying support my almost-sure future relationship with Mac Park.

“Send him an e-mail!” she squealed.

“What? Why!”

“Because you can,” she answered. “I’m giving you an ultimatum—play ‘FLIRTS’ or send him an e-mail. It doesn’t matter what you decide, but you’ve got to do something now or else he’s going to disappear and when that happens, we’ll know who to blame.”

There was absolutely no winning with Trixie. She patiently waited a full hour for me to compose my four-sentence e-mail to Mac, and stood by yet another half hour while I painstakingly edited, revised, and rechecked every word I had typed up.

“Here,” I said, shoving my iPhone into her hand. “Read it and weep.”

Hey Mac,

10-0 on Scrabble—how is it that you keep beating me? Haha! Just wanted to say hi and how’s Korea… Wish we could all go back and visit. Maybe we can smuggle some of that crispy pata you love—you think airport security will let us?


PS: Scrabble rematch?

Read the synopsis.
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