Jessy Mendiola currently stars as the title character in ABS-CBN's 'Maria Mercedes.' Photo: Handout
MANILA -- "Maria Mercedes" star Jessy Mendiola has been tapped by South Korea to be its honorary ambassador for tourism, a position earlier held by the likes of K-pop superstars Psy and Jay Park.
The 20-year-old actress left for the country on Tuesday night to attend her ceremonial appointment to the position, which will be conferred on her by the Korean Tourism Organization (KTO).
Mendiola, according to an ABS-CBN statement released Wednesday, will immediately attend to her duties as ambassador. This includes a five-day trip to famous tourist destinations in South Korea, and a meeting with KTO chairman Charm Lee.
As an honorary KTO ambassador, Mendiola will take active part in promoting Korea's tourism to the Philippines.
KTO, on its official website, is described as a government organization that was set up to promote Korean tourism. It is said to have some 27 branch offices internationally.
Previous honorary ambassadors appointed by KTO include Psy and Jay Park, among other Korean personalities, Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan, renowned saxophonist Kenny G, French taekwondo master Roger Piarulli and American actress Moon Bloodgood.
"Isang karangalan ito, and masaya [ako] na napili ako ng KTO," said Mendiola, who has visited the country several times for personal and work-related engagements. "Mabait sa akin ang mga Korean and napamahal na rin ako sa kanila."
Late last year, Mendiola gained popularity in Korea after she appeared in the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) program "Word Date with Shinee," which featured eight ladies from different countries in a meet-and-greet with the popular K-pop boy group.
According to Mendiola, she started getting recognized in Korea after her stint in the show. At the time, the Kapamilya actress said she is open to do more projects there.
Mendiola has since become one of the Philippine endorsers of LINE, a popular Korean mobile messaging platform.