Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Movie Marathon

When you planned and made a timetable to follow in order to accomplish a certain task, in most of the time it didn't realize.  That's what I did when my VL was confirmed.  I started to buy all the ingredients and supplies for my baking to be shipped to the Philippines.  Alas, but until I left for Singapore, no box showed up on our doorstep.  

I love watching movies but perfect timing to go to the movie house is not feasible and ended up sleeping on my seat.  Since my plans went kaput, sudden turn around of  activity was to run a movie marathon for those movies I missed to watch.


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Hello! (안녕하세요, Annyeonghaseyo)

I always suggest to visit South Korea every time my sister and I is planning to go overseas.  May be I was fascinated by their culture, food and vanity.

I received a quick response from my sister if we will push through our plans, since both of us are free to travel without any hitch on our schedule.  After a meeting and some inquiries with the travel agent we blocked a date to apply for visa and thank God, it was given to us after three days.  We didn't waste anytime to meet again the travel agent and without any hesitation, we bite his offer which I think we're not on the losing end because he arrange our hotel accommodations and island tour in Jeju.  We opted to take only hotel accommodation in Seoul since we want to explore the city hopping from one train or bus to another.

A week before our departure, my sister listed and Googled a must see places and I took care only minor details.  It's good to be updated and comb the city with WiFi connection although it is free around the metropolis if you're in an establishment but we decided to scour the place on our own, using the internet  connection will not get us lost.  I rented the LTE  from Pocekt WiFi Korea for US$5.25/day with nationwide coverage at a speed of up to 100Mbps and can connect 5 devices simultaneously.  I'm not a sponsored but a satisfied client because we didn't experience  any glitches on our whole stay in Korea. 

 I put in an A4 size envelope together with my passport and other documents

It was a long day travel from Singapore to Incheon then Gimpo to Jeju Island.  Even if it was an exhausting journey but look what awaits us? A level out five-star digs at Ocean Suite Jeju Hotel.

Traditional Korean home pair of slippers

Dresser, where we took several selfies 

Counter top

Living room

Cla immediately check what are the channels we can watch 

Living room

Overlooking the busy supermarket 

The size is enough for my body build

It was well maintained
My assigned bed

Cla's bed
After we freshen up, we went to the downtown to check some interesting places to dine and buy local products to bring home.

An offbeat shopping area carrying international brands

An overboard marketplace

Jeju is known for their oranges

Dried fish

Fresh catches

I don't know if this is a preserved prawns pickled in salt

Freshly cut ready for consumption

Another fresh catch

More dried fish

Varieties of Kim chi

Dried herbs

Stone sculptures
We mingled with a group of Pinays who were married to locals at the underground market where we can have a Korean barbecue for dinner but we ended here.

Anyone can translate the name of this restaurant?

Bibimbap & Soft tofu soup
Jeju is not new to us when it comes to the location, where some of the koreanovela I wacthed was shot from that place.  Jeju is known as land of  wind, women and stone.  It is located in the path typhoons so the islanders had to fight against the sea then the people had to cultivate the land through the process of clearing away the numerous rocks covering the lands and then form the inlets for irrigation, afterwards construct the walls for protection against wind.  The main source of income is fishing and according to the history, most of the men were lost at the sea, which made women larger in number.  
Jeju Horse Park
Sangumburi Park

At Sangumburi, paths were covered with rubber to make it convenient to tourist on not stepping the stones

Sangumburi Crater

Clear top view of Sangumburi Crater
Photo credits to

Seongeup Folk Village

Haenyeo Museum 
These 60-80 year old divers have been working since their teens can hold their breath underwater for
around two minutes

Seongsan Sunrise Peak

At the top after trailing 600 stairs.

Clear & top view of Seongsan Sunrise Peak

Inside the Manjanggul Lava Cave

We finished the tour at 5:30 pm, took dinner and rushed to the airport to catch our 9:15 pm flight going back to Seoul.

Our trip was cut short to 4 days and it was difficult to squeeze all the places that we wanted to visit so we decided to join the city tour on Sunday at 9 am.  We cannot afford to miss the Sunday mass thus we attended the 7 am service even if we don't understand since English mass is at only 9 am. The temp on that Sunday morning was freezing cold on the way to the church, since it's a walking distance from our hotel to Myeongdong Cathedral we have to brave the weather. It was very solemn and most of the lady parishioners are wearing their veil. According to Cla, in Beijing you are not allowed to sit in a cross legs while inside the church.  I looked around and asked her if she noticed, she just shake her head so I sat comfortably the whole one hour.  


Cathedral Church of the Virgin  Mary of the Immaculate Conception or known as
Myeondong Cathedral
Facade of the Church

Constructed with twenty types of locally fired red and gray bricks
The interior of the church is ornately decorated with religious artwork
One thing I noticed the moment I took a sit that there's no bar for kneeling in every pews because they
don't kneel during consecration

Pope Francis image is display in honor of papal visit in Korea after 25 years on August, 2014

Church goers were greeted by the Parish priest and nuns to say thank you & good morning after the mass.
We had our breakfast after the mass from Lotteria, a locally well known fast food chain.  It was our agreement
that we're not going to try international brands
Jogyesa flower festival 2014

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gwanghwamum gate-guard-on-duty is ready for their performance

Pristine river inside the palace
Leaves are starting to change the color 
After our lunch we also dropped in at Korean ginseng and precious stone amethyst stores.  Our last stop is at Insa-dong, where we bought our pasalubong & some souvenir items.

Insa-dong art and antique district
Luckily our travel agent booked us at Savoy hotel which is located in the heart of very busy district, Myeongdong, (isang hakbang lang) where you will find hundreds of stores of cosmetics, clothes and of course food. If you have plans of visiting Korea, look for a place to stay in this area 'coz of convenience if you are shopaholics.  To those who are addicted to beauty products, name it, and you'll find it here at cheap rates.  Clothes and food are pricey, if there is a budget constraints then just settle for street food and few blocks away from our hotel is Namdaemun market where you can buy clothes and accessories at an affordable prices.    

Tteokbokki (Spicy rice cakes)

Mandu (Fried dumpling)

Bindaetteok (Mung bean pancake)

Ppopgi (Old-fashioned Korean sugar candy)

Bungeoppang (bread filled with re bean paste)

Gogi wanja (Korean meat balls)

Octopus snacks

Jap Chae (Korean glass noodles made from sweet potato starch)
From the time we set foot in Jeju Island, Cla was already looking for a Korean barbecue restaurant, fortunately on our last day in Seoul, we spotted several cafes but this one caught our attention.  That was my first time to try it, I followed Cla on how she wrapped the pork and kimchi in a big green leaf and have to put the whole pack in your mouth and don't eat it in portions because that's the practical way on how to consume it.  The servings that we ordered is good enough for two in a set of soup and salad.  Please forgive me, I don't know the name of the restaurant, I tried to ask the guy who help us to cut the barbecue but he doesn't speak English.  Any way, if you happened to be in Myeongdong, you have so many choices to pick from while wandering through the area.  

Authentic Korean barbecue for our last dinner in Seoul

We are in constant communication with Rofezel before our trip. Rofezel is my niece based in Korea for several years now.  Fluent in Korean language and what I admire her most? Her real Korean accent(nakakaaliw).

Breakfast with Rofezel, somewhere in Chungmuro

More catching up

Cla suggest to visit again the Myeongdong Cathedral after our breakfast, but more stories to be told so we settled to sip hot coffee to keep us warm while catching up.  We've been together for only 3 hours and it so sad that we need to say our goodbyes and see you soons.  We may not be able to explore the city as we planned but I hope there'll be more next time and meet Rofezel again.  This trip was originally booked for five days but 2 days before our journey, Cla begged to cut it short by one day because she  badly needs to report for work due to an important commitment and her presence is required.  

We were not able to experience to have selfies wearing Hanbok(Korean traditional dress) and visit the Hello kitty island but time is so kind to us and able to have a photo op with hello kitty at the airport.

 Annyeonghaseyo or Hello!   It all started during the war between North and South Korea which they used to it and asking every one they met on the road by saying are you okey?  Until it became a normal lingo to greet anyone they bump.  Part of their culture is their resiliency to rise after the war and look at where are they now.  Korea is one the richest and fast ascending country in Asia. No matter how hard their lives before but reaping now the fruits they planted in their heart and spirit of mightiness of their nation.  Food represent their respect to their ancestors who claimed their country. Don't you noticed these yellow races have in common?  Chopstick, noodles, soup and religion. Vanity is part of their growing up, as early as 18 years old they start to be conscious on their  skin and look. 

Incheon International Airport is one of the potentially dangerous airports in the world. A most susceptible to a rocket strike which North Korea can easily hit it far back from DMZ and slim chances to protect their aircraft and passengers at the airport according to Steven Frischling, a blogger and aviation security analyst.  This news didn't stop us to visit South Korea, and never mind the friction because what I found in the airport? A covered toilet seats where I can conveniently answer the call of nature.  

Sanitation is what we bother us most.

Culture, food and vanity will not break their sanity to the present rift in the peninsula.  Koreans are the most courageous, life goes on even there's a constant exchange of threat that may escalate to war. Just say ANNYEONGHASEYO may relieve their doubt to peace,  fear of conflict and pat on the shoulder signifying that they were okey.