Earlier this month, Philippine ARMY prepared for the popular boy band’s 8th anniversary on June 13th by donating P20,000 to Balyena.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to research and conservation efforts on whales and dolphins.
In return, the fandom was able to adopt eight humpback whales from the Babuyan Marine Corridor in Cagayan province. Seven whales were named after BTS members — Kim Seokjin, Min Yoongi, Kim Namjoon, Jung Hoseok, Park Jimin, Kim Taehyung, and Jeon Jungkook — while the last whale was aptly named after the fandom, BTS ARMY.
The decision to adopt a whale specifically, was not a coincidence. In 2015, as part of The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Pt. 2 album, BTS released a song called “Whalien 52” that was based on the “world’s loneliest whale.” This certain whale reportedly sang at an unusual 52-hertz frequency, which caused scientists to question whether other whales could hear his song.
The song built on this theme of loneliness and transformed it into a tune that captures the anxieties and struggles of being misunderstood and unheard. Since the song’s release, whales have become an important symbol for the fandom.
Jo Marie Acebes, founder of Balyena.org, applauded the fandom’s initiative.
“It wasn’t like this during my time, I would say that. Pag fan ka, for example, of a certain band, group or singer, you don’t normally engage in things like this,” Acebes told ABS-CBN. Referring to BTS, she said, “They are quite more aware of what’s going on and they really want to make a difference by using their own influence as a group.”
The band is known for integrating social issues and messages of positivity and self-love in their music. Their newest single, “Butter.” is out now on all streaming platforms.