Asian celebrities share stage at MyMarianas festival

South Korean singer Gak Huh, extreme left, and members of South Korean boy band Ulala Session, from left to right, Seung-il Park, Myung-hoon Kim, Do-won Choe, and Jun-seok Ha, answer questions during a press conference at the festival grounds of the Flame Tree Festival and MyMarianas Paradise Festival at the Civic Center in Susupe Friday morning. (Photos by Ferdie de la Torre)

Japanese, Chinese, and South Korean entertainment celebrities shared one stage on Saipan for the first-ever MyMarianas Paradise Festival at the Civic Center in Susupe Saturday night in conjunction with the 38th Annual Flame Tree Arts Festival.

A large and raucous crowd watched celebrity performers from China, South Korea, and Japan come together in a free MyParadise Festival concert that was intended to send the message to the international community that the CNMI is “back in business” after Super Typhoon Yutu’s devastation and remains a “welcoming, beautiful, and a wonderful paradise for everyone.”

The Marianas Visitors Authority sponsored the festival, with the support of Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands.

MVA also arranged for news media in South Korea, China, and Japan to cover the event and the Flame Tree Arts Festival.

Japanese Kenichi Ebina, the winner of America’s Got Talent in 2013, served as the festival’s finale performer.

Before Ebina, equally impressive were the performances of popular Chinese singer Yixin Wang, Korean singer Huh Gak, and South Korean boy band Ulala Session. Members of the Ulala Session are Myung-hoon Kim, Seung-il Park, Do-won Choe, and Jun-Seok Ha.

Just like Ebina, it was Yixin Wang’s first time to visit Saipan.

Wang said she is thankful given the opportunity to connect with the Chinese people in the CNMI. She started singing when she was 9 years old.

Marianas Visitors Authority managing director 
Christopher A. Concepcion said they are very happy with the outcome of the festival. He said the crowd reaction was amazing.

“They cheered loudly, interacted with the celebrities, and gave them a very warm welcome to the CNMI,” Concepcion said.

He noted that the international media coverage was also extensive, and the celebrities that they flew in enjoyed themselves.

“We want to thank Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Secretary Rob Hunter and Commonwealth Council of Arts and Culture director Parker Yobei and their team for supporting this event and for partnering with us,” Concepcion said.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com
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