If you were to sum up HORI7ON’s career in a word, it would have to be trailblazers.

Vinci, Kim, Kyler, Reyster, Winston, Jeromy, and Marcus broke barriers by becoming the first-ever all-Filipino boy group to debut in South Korea. A year later, they released an album, performed at the Asia Artist Awards, and most recently, launched the first single “Lucky” off their forthcoming record, DAYTOUR. In between these momentous occasions, they’ve performed on music shows like SBS’s Inkigayo, done rounds of “School Attack” in different South Korean high schools, and various concerts in and out of South Korea.

With such a busy year for the rookies, it’s no wonder that their visit to the Philippines felt like a triumphant homecoming for them. “What’s really great about us HORI7ON is that we’re all Filipinos, and the Philippines is where our roots [are], so we always come back here. That way, I can still feel at home,” says Marcus.

For them, home isn’t just a place. They carry the Filipino flag with them all over the world, and it shines in their music. Since their debut, they’ve released a number of Filipino songs such as “Salamat” (Thank You) and “Mama.” While Filipino pop songs aren’t anything out of the normal for us, in the context of the South Korean industry, it’s truly a gamble to push for foreign language songs in a region where Filipinos are the minority.

HORI7ON Photographed by Kieran Punay for Billboard Philippines

“I don’t think there are other groups who are doing Filipino, Tagalog songs in a Korean company,” the group’s leader, Vinci, shares. “I’m still honored that we get to do that and our company lets us still use our mother tongue in the songs we release. Hopefully, it continues to be like that. Our Filipino fans appreciate it and our Korean, all our fans over the world, they get to know the Filipino language in that sense.”

No matter what ethnicity their fans are, it’s clear that music continues to bridge the cultural divide. It’s that infectious energy from the fans that keeps the boys motivated, especially during fan signing events. “Tanggap kami ng mga message nila physically, at dahil doon, masaya kami na makikita namin na masaya sila sa personal [We receive their messages physically, at because of that, we’re happy to see them happy in real life],” Kyler recounts, as he looks over what his favorite fan interactions are so far.

Another instance, Vinci shares, was during their School Attack series, where K-Pop groups perform at various schools and universities in South Korea to introduce themselves to the younger generation of listeners.

“We went to an all boys school, and it was really pressuring for us because we’re a boy group, and syempre, it’s hard to catch the hearts of the boys,” he says while laughing. “But they were really enthusiastic.”

“We also performed for a military camp, and that was so fun kasi [because] we were expecting low energy [from them] because syempre [of course] they [the military personnel] wanted to see the girl groups, but they were cheering for us and throwing their chairs around because they had an incentive that the most active soldier, the loudest soldier will have a free day at their military camp.”

Syempre, gusto namin magpa-happy sa mga tao and dumami mga Anchors natin, at ginagawa namin yung best namin para makipag-interact sa kanila [Of course, we want to make people happy and create more Anchors, and we’re doing our best to interact with them].”

hori7on lucky daytour

HORI7ON Photographed by Kieran Punay for Billboard Philippines

It’s not just fans that they strive to build a closer relationship with. In fact, they also try to make connections with fellow K-pop groups, especially if they find themselves performing at the same music show program. They all talk over each other, saying that learning the language has been difficult, but it’s never a barrier for them to try and interact with Koreans.

“We meet other idols, and sometimes we just try to understand them [to] the best that we can. We’re taking Korean classes now, and kapag free yung schedules namin (whenever we’re free). Usually, marunong din naman sila mag-English (they know how to speak English), so ‘yun talaga yung (that’s the) way as of now. Hopefully, in the future, all of us can make a conversation fully in Korean with them,” Vinci explains.

“There’s this K-pop boy group, The Wind, and I think that of everyone, they were the ones I was able to hold a conversation with,” Marcus reveals. “Most of them are young, and they’re my age! We recorded a TikTok together. [When we were] backstage, they were also the ones trying to hold a conversation with us. Out of all of them, they’re the ones…na parang magkaibigan talaga kami [we’re really like friends].”


HORI7ON Photographed by Kieran Punay for Billboard Philippines

“When I talk to them, I really try my best to talk in full Korean because we, HORI7ON, don’t just promote sa Pilipinas lang, we also promote in Korea. We want to [be on] Korean reality shows as soon as possible,” he continues.

As the seven-piece group looks forward into the horizon, it’s clear that their journey has only just begun. While “LUCKY” has the boy group playing around with the imagery of a roulette and getting that lucky number seven, it took more than just luck to get them here today. Now, they’re gearing up to continue dropping new releases under the DAYTOUR series and have their eyes on conquering not just South Korea, but the world.

But for now, the country is here with open arms. Welcome back, boys.

Listen to “LUCKY” by HORI7ON here.

Photographed by Kieran Punay. Creative & Art Direction by Nicole Almero. Shoot coordination by Mika Cruz.