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Visiting the Land of Meteor Garden

My hands were cold and clammy and I’m not sure if it’s due to the air-conditioning of the plane or my flying anxiety. I was on a plane, on my way to Taipei. There was an Air Asia seat-sale last year and I took the opportunity to book a trip. Frankly, I had no idea what I would see in Taiwan before I hit that button, I just went with my gut feel. You know that feeling, when a place seems to beckon you and you decide to answer it. And I answer it I did.



I’ve learned about Taiwan when I was in college via the hit Taiwanese drama, Meteor Garden. I wasn’t a fanatic, but my cousins were. In fact one of my cousins would even draw a flower on her hand to mimic the tattoo of its female lead, Barbie Hsu. Back then my exposure to inked women were limited, so were my understanding. I used to think tattoos are gross, only meant for people in the jail. Barbie has definitely changed people’s perception of tattoos, as well as mine’s, she made it cool.

But I thought my cousin’s fake tattoo was ridiculous; she was obsessed. And though I liked the show, I wasn’t all sold to the romance of Shan Cai and Dao Ming Si, completely perplexed why any woman would want to be with a man who dominates, bullies, and hurts people. Dao was played by the very good looking member of a boyband called, F4, Jerry Yan and maybe, being good looking does have benefits. But men like Dao Ming Si are only good on TV. In real life, girls should avoid a Dao Ming Si; that man is trouble, in the literal sense of the word. Sure he is handsome and filthy rich, but come on, do you really want a bully for a boyfriend? This is what I told my cousin who was obsessing about Dao. Of course she didn’t listen to me, you can’t change the mind of a die-hard fan. And her obsession reaches to cult level, she owned posters of the show, knew every line of F4 songs (regardless if it’s in Taiwanese), watched and re-watched the Meteor Garden series over and over again, and yeah, she always drew that Shan Cai’s tattoo on her freaking hand every single day. It was madness and the thing is, she wasn’t alone. Those were the Meteor Garden era, and the show lit the entire Tagalog-dubbed Asian drama trend in the Philippines. The show is so famous, F4 went here for a concert with a ticket price so expensive you could buy a new phone.


Dao Ming Si has become the ultimate heartthrob, Hua Ze Lei the dreamboy, and Shan Cai the person every girl wants to be. I watched all the chaos in mawkish fascination. Before Meteor Garden, I don’t remember any other Asian celebrities being this big in my country. The Philippines before that was busy dubbing Latin dramas and crying every night watching their favorite local shows that made Judy Ann Santos insanely famous. Meteor Garden is iconic because it changed the face of local TV. When before we thought it was perfectly normal to see TV characters kill each other because of the love of a man, here comes Meteor Garden, which only bids for violence was Dao Ming Si’s acts of bullying in his school. Filipinos realized that a love story doesn’t have to be so depressing and they loved it, hence, the rain of all the other Asian dramas that succeeded the Meteor Garden success.

And had it not been for Meteor Garden I wouldn’t have known about Taiwan, I wouldn’t know just how beautiful it is, I wouldn’t have fallen in love with it. And I am excited to tell you all about it.

 

 

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29 Comments

  • Reply
    Annabella
    February 15, 2017 at 5:14 AM

    I remember how we’d rush home so we can catch Meteor Garden. Then the next morning you’ll see high school girls in circles retelling how the last episode went while the boys try their best imitating the F4 group. It was definitely a TV revolution! It was indeed an epic transition from our grannies and mothers’ favorite Mexican telenovela to the funny and light-hearted Asian RomCom series. There’s just so much “kilig” factor in those Asian romantic series which, somehow, inspired me to travel around our neighboring Asian countries. =)

  • Reply
    Swayam tiwari
    February 8, 2017 at 5:25 PM

    Hi Marjorie Gavan, I echo the views of Sindhu when she says that she was intrigued by the word, Meteor Garden. You know what- I was amused by your video more than the text. It looked really professional. How did you put that foot tapping music in that video? Can you share the details please. Thanks

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 8, 2017 at 9:44 PM

      The tapping sounds comes from the music itself. I got it from Youtube. You can find license free music there. 🙂

  • Reply
    Sindhu Murthy
    February 6, 2017 at 6:05 PM

    When I read the title of your post, I started imagining there would be a location hit by a meteor which has emerged into a biodiversity hotspot 🙂 But the fantasy here is on a completely different note. Good to know about a popular TV show. I shall check on a few episodes on youtube. Hope there will be subtitles in English though 🙂

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 8, 2017 at 9:44 PM

      To be honest, I still don’t know why the show is titled Meteor Garden so don’t worry if you had a different notion haha…

  • Reply
    Louisa
    February 6, 2017 at 1:05 AM

    I didn’t religiously follow Meteor Garden but I didn’t watch a few episodes. I think it’s always an exhilarating experienceto get to visit a place where something you enjoyed was filmed. I’d love to see quite a few places myself. Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are two movies that I want to visit the set of. Italy for sure as some of my favorite movies were shot there.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 8, 2017 at 9:45 PM

      Oh yes, I went to Universal Studios Japan and had the time of my life exploring the recreation of the Harry Potter world in there. It was just a recreation yet my mind was blown, what more if I get to visit the one in London.

  • Reply
    Jon Espina
    February 5, 2017 at 9:01 AM

    Of course, who would forget Dao Ming Zu and San chai (dont know the correct spelling haha) I wasn’t also a fanatic, chill lang. But my cousins and friends were. Grabe hahaha

    Taiwan has also become a facination of our generation especially when the show became a hit. Thanks for this post about Taiwan. I’ll also travel there in time.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 8, 2017 at 9:42 PM

      Sinulat ko na nga yung spelling ng Dao Ming Si sa post eh hahaha…. You should go there Jon, for sure you will be fascinated too!

  • Reply
    Orana
    February 4, 2017 at 2:03 AM

    Well the name Meteor Garden sounds extremely intriguing. I had never heard if the show so I thought there really was a literal meteor garden in Taiwan! Im sure you had a wonderful trip.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 8, 2017 at 9:50 PM

      Oh yes, Taiwan is such a beautiful country and I wanna go back!

  • Reply
    Sarah Rbz
    January 28, 2017 at 1:42 PM

    I’ve never heard of Meteor Garden. It sounds interesting. I love that it made you go to Taiwan. Somewhere I’ve not been. We try to visit places from shows as well. Recently we went to Batmans house in Nottingham, England. It was fun.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 8, 2017 at 9:46 PM

      I thought this show is really popular so I’m a bit surprised that you and some people who commented didn’t know it. Maybe it was just popular in Asia then haha…

  • Reply
    Teddy Angert
    January 27, 2017 at 7:28 PM

    Good for you for jumping into something you weren’t sure of! I should be more open to going places that are not on my mental list . . .

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 8, 2017 at 9:47 PM

      Try it Teddy, you might just get a beautiful surprise.

  • Reply
    Victoria Hawkins
    January 27, 2017 at 6:54 PM

    I have yet to visit any destination in Asia. Taiwan is one place I’d definitely love to visit one day!

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 8, 2017 at 9:47 PM

      I highly recommend visiting Japan and Taiwan! But please visit my country too, The Philippines, for the best beaches. 🙂

  • Reply
    Joy Generoso
    January 27, 2017 at 5:01 PM

    Hi Marge! I’m a fan of Meteor Garden too hahaha. Taiwan is on my bucket list and hopefully I’ll get to visit it one day. Bitin ako sa video mo because I want to see more of Taiwan. 🙂

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 8, 2017 at 9:48 PM

      For sure you will have a better appreciation of Taiwan then because you loved the show. Please stay tuned for more videos!

  • Reply
    Geemiz Travel
    January 27, 2017 at 1:38 PM

    reading the title I know all along that you are in Taiwan. Oh! I was obsessed with that show as well. It has change my perception of an ideal man. And yes San Chai is rocking that tattoo.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 8, 2017 at 9:50 PM

      Were you in love with Dao Ming Si? Oh no! Hahahaha…

  • Reply
    Lily Travella
    January 26, 2017 at 9:22 PM

    I love the video! Sounds very interesting, will keep updated with this blog.

  • Reply
    Wendy Maes
    January 26, 2017 at 8:21 PM

    Never heard of it but I’ll keep it in mind in case I go to Taiwan!

  • Reply
    Jamie Italiane
    January 26, 2017 at 7:33 PM

    We chased Harry Potter around England. Literature and movies are a great travel inspiration.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 8, 2017 at 9:48 PM

      I’d love to do that too, I also love Harry Potter so yeah, definitely, would love to do that.

  • Reply
    Lisa Linh
    January 26, 2017 at 6:25 PM

    What an interesting show. I never heard of it before but now I’m intrigued to watch it so thanks for the suggestion! Taiwan looks gorgeous and is certainly on my list of places to visit.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 8, 2017 at 9:49 PM

      Maybe you will love it too, all in all, Meteor Garden is a cute story.

  • Reply
    Ricci I wheninmyjourneys
    January 26, 2017 at 5:58 PM

    I used to watch the show too back in the days of its popularity. I’ve been to Taiwan but it was just a connecting flight to a different destination. So, it really doesn’t count. I will be happy to read more of your adventures. 🙂

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      January 26, 2017 at 6:13 PM

      Thank you Ricci, I’m already excited to tell the whole story of this trip. 🙂

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