Unless you’re one of only approximately five people in the world who haven’t heard of BTS — introduced, not incorrectly, as ‘the biggest boy band on the planet’ during the recent Friends reunion special — you’ve probably witnessed the awesome power of the self-dubbed BTS ARMY of fans from all over the world.
Thankfully, many of the group’s massive and highly organized following use their power for good. The fan collective One in an ARMY, for example, made the news when it raised US$1 million in just over 24 hours for the Black Lives Matter Movement, matching BTS’ own million-dollar donation.
Yesterday, the homegrown ARMY Cavite Fanbase posted some tremendous news of their own: BTS Philippine fanbases have completed the ‘adoption’ of eight humpback whales from the Babuyan Marine Corridor with Balyena.org. The adoption funds will be used toward the NGO’s research and conservation projects.
This “whalesome project” among BTS Philippines fanbases is meant to honor the group’s eight years together, so the fundraiser — which gives naming rights for whales spotted in Philippine waters — has allowed fans to name a humpback each for the seven BTS members. The last whale, of course, is named for the fans.
The project is a nod to the BTS single “Whalien 52” which references the ‘world’s loneliest whale’, the one whale in the world who’s been known to sing at an unusual 52-hertz frequency. “Whales are an important symbol of our fandom. We treasure them very much,” Bie Rosales, head admin of ARMY Cavite Fanbase informed Coconuts through Facebook Messenger.
ARMY Cavite Fanbase was most recently in the news because of its community pantries, which it set up to offer free food for households hit hard by the continuing lockdowns in Metro Manila. These fan-driven pantries weren’t spared from ‘red-tagging’, however, and had to clarify that their name had nothing to do with the communist New People’s Army.
The community pantry is ongoing, though the Fanbase has already stopped collecting donations and is ready to move on to its next charity project. “BTS are the driving force of our movement. BTS taught us to love ourselves and we wanted to share the love, bring hope just like how they inspire us with their songs and make other people happy,” explains Rosales. “BTS has made many generous charitable donations over the years that inspired us to be a better fandom and as their fans we wanted to represent that good culture as well. That being a BTS ARMY does not mean it’s all just for fangirling, we are a community that is united to make the world a better place, too.”
Giving in BTS’ name is a worldwide phenomenon — this map tracks all the BTS fan-based charity projects around the globe.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering: “ARMY” stands for Adorable Representatives M.C. for Youth.