Sunday, August 21, 2016

Reminiscing My Happiest Memory In Seoul

I believe that in order to fully experience Korea, you must go visit the provinces, experience the culture and see what Korea could offer to tourists other than Seoul. However, as I explored this country from the Northernmost City of Paju to the Southern cities of Busan, Pohang and Gyeongju, I realized that Seoul is an epitome of Korea’s best. Well, how could it be the Capital City of this country if it does not really represent the best of Korea? I can be oblivious to the beauty of Seoul since I’ve been to this city for a hundred times already, but what really reminds me of its awesomeness and what really convinced me that it is indeed the best city of this country is the happy memories that happened to me during my several visits to Seoul. But just like in a contest, there should only one that has that X Factor, the one that stands out among any others, and if I have to choose the happiest one, it should be that time when I wore the Korean Traditional cloth called Hanbok during a tour in Seoul in a cold Winter day.

In front of Gyeongbokgung Palacee

It was January 2014 when a Hanbok Rental shop in Seoul contacted me to try out their Hanbok for free. Since I am a lover of freebies, I dragged some of my friends and challenged them to wear a Hanbok while roaming around Seoul. Don’t get me wrong, Hanbok is a beautiful piece of clothing, I always admire its details, I salute the heart behind the makers of every Hanbok, and I have high respect for Korean national dress. However, as a foreigner, it would be an unusual or unique experience for us to wear that and go commute in the subway and visit several tourist spots in Seoul during winter. It was such a humbling and awesome experience for me. The Seoulites in the subway were smiling at us as if we got their respect for wearing something that is important for them.

My heart leapt for joy as Koreans in Seoul were giving us a nod of approval as we walked along the Gwanghwamun Square wearing the Hanbok. For me, it was the best way to engulf in Korean culture while enjoying the happy ambiance of Gwanghwamun Square. The Hanbok we wore did not protect us well against the cold weather, but we braved it because we don’t want to spoil the experience. For several occasions that I met the statue of King Sejong, I felt like I was connected even more to the founder of Korean alphabets when I took the photo in front of his statue with my Hanbok.

Meeting King Sejong on my Hanbok

In front of the Gwanghwamun Square stands the glorious and majestic Gyeongbokgung Palace. I told my friends that we must go enter the palace while we were on our Hanbok, and I tell you, it was a different kind of experience. It was not my first time to enter Gyeongbokgung, but I felt ecstatic to tour the palace in a Hanbok. We went to different corners of the palace and pretended as if we were in the Joseon Dynasty. We imagined we were traveling back in time and that we actually live in that palace. It was so much fun, and it’s an understatement.

Pretending as if I'm in the Joseon Dynasty at Gyeongbokgung Palace

The best part of my happiest day in Seoul was when we went to the Bukchon Hanok Village after our tour at Gyeongbokgung. As much as we would like to move on with our time traveling set up, the village reminded us even more of ancient Korea as it showcased the traditional houses of Korea. It’s actually an actual village with all the houses called Hanok preserved from the Joseon Dynasty. It’s a tourist spot but it’s actually an actual village. We visited every single corner of this village, tried some of the street food in the area and took some photos to capture our happy moment as we enjoyed our stay in the village.

Showcasing the beautiful Hanbok

And then it snowed. I guess it was the most awesome way to end the most awesome day in Seoul. The white flakes falling from the sky made that day even more memorable. We may not had the warmest clothes during that time, but the warm greetings of Seoulites helped us survived the cold. I have some more happy moments in Seoul, I could still even make happier moments in the future, but so far, when I think of Seoul, I think about that day. It was an adventure, an experience, and most of all, the happiest memory.

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Join Free Seminar in Korea About Investing in Foreclosure Properties in the Philippines

The Financial Literacy Advocate Network (FLAN) is organizing another free seminar for Filipino migrants in South Korea. In the past year of its existence, FLAN has introduced different investment vehicles especially Stock Market. A lot of Filipino migrants now in South Korea are not just workers but also investors of the Philippine Stock Market. Although I can’t really credit it all to the effort made by FLAN in educating OFWs in Korea in the financial aspect, but since this group conducted series of free seminars, a lot of OFWs in Korea are now more interested to learn about investing.

Now, here’s another opportunity to educate ourselves with another interesting investment vehicle. It is called Foreclosure Properties Investment. Do you have any idea about this? As Wikipedia describes it, Foreclosure Investment refers to the process of investing capital in the public sale of a mortgaged property following foreclosure of the loan secured by that property.

Sounds interesting right?

If you want to know more about this and find out if this type of investment is for you, why not join the Free Seminar about Foreclosure Properties on September 4, 2016. Please refer to the poster below for more information.

The Speaker for the said seminar is no other than the “El Subastahero” himself, Mr. Noli Alleje. He will come all the way from the Philippines just to conduct this free seminar for all of us.  Mr.  Alleje is one of the pioneers of foreclosure investment in the Philippines. If you want to know more about our speaker, watch this video.

 For those who are interested to attend this free seminar, please sign up on the Google Document by clicking THIS LINK.

See you there.
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Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Life of Patriot Yu Gwansun (유관순) : A National Liberation Day of Korea Special

For most of us foreigners in Korea, August 15 is one of those National Holidays that we look forward to because we don’t have to wake up early in the morning and go to work (at least true for some). However, for Koreans, this day is a very special day because August 15 is a commemoration of the National Liberation day of Korea. What does it mean? In Korea, they call this day Gwangbokjeol which means “the day the light returned”. This day marks the victory of Korea for claiming their independence from Japanese colonial rule. If you still don’t know what it means, you better go to the INDEPENDENCE HALL OF KOREA which is located in Cheonan, this is where you get to learn how this country suffered from the invasion of Japanese.

During the Japanese invasion, many have died and suffered under the cruelty of the oppressors. If not for those heroes who sacrificed their lives, we don’t have a free and progressive Korea today. I can’t obviously mentioned every heroes and unsung heroes, but in lieu of the celebration of the National Liberation Day of Korea, I will feature here the one I admired the most, and she, yes she’s a girl, is no other than, the patriot Yu Gwansun(유관순).

The monument of Patriot Yu Gwansun

You probably just scratch your head reading her name and decide to stop reading this because this is completely boring, but you will really admire her as much as I do if I tell you that she died at 18 years old fighting for the independence of this country. Yes, you read it right, 18 years old! And what can 18 years old of this generation willing to sacrifice for the country? Let me tell you her story.

If you are familiar of March 1 Independence Movement, it’s one of the national holidays here in Korea because they commemorate the biggest movement that happened during the Japanese colonial rule, again if you are not familiar, go visit the Independence Hall of Korea in Cheonan. Patriot Yu Gwansun was one of the organizers of this event. It was actually a protest against Japanese, and an organizer like her could not do any harm except for protesting in a peaceful way. She led the movement to proclaim to the Japanese invaders that Korea wants its independence, because of that, she became the symbol of Korea’s fight for independence through a peaceful way. In this day and age, we may call her the Mokingjay of her generation. She’s a Katniss Everdeen of Korea.

The actual uniform of Yu Gwansun at Ehwa Women's University

During this movement, she was still a student at Ehwa Women’s University in Seoul. However, because of what happened, the government temporarily closed her University and she had no other choice but to go back to her hometown in Cheonan. The house of Patriot Yu Gwansun still exists in Yondu-ri village in Cheonan, it’s a small place with a very laid back ambiance. The government preserved her house to give honor to her patriotism.

A tour at the house of Patriot Yu Gwansun in Yonduri Village

I am proud to say that I was able to visit her humble abode. Imagine, this house is already more than a 100 years old. It’s pretty simple and everything that a household needs in a house is there. I don’t know if this is what rich people house looks like a long long time ago, but for me, it’s quite decent. There are some diorama of some scenes that happened during that time.

Inside the house of Patriot Yu Gwansun

When patriot Yu Gwansun returned to this home, the fire in her heart was still burning. The desire for independence was still there, so she encouraged her parents to fight with her for claiming the victory of the country. She spread the information about what’s happening in Seoul and about how bad the effect of Japanese occupation to the country. She visited the neighboring villages and churches in her hometown to arouse the public feelings against Japanese invasion.

One of the churches Yu Gwansun attended

Through her effort, the people were informed and she was able to encourage the public to fight for what does rightfully belong to them. She, with the help of her parents, organized a public demonstration at Aunae Market in her hometown, but it was dispatched by the Japanese Police causing the lives of her parents and hundreds of people who participated in the demonstration.

Patriot Yu Gwansun on the other hand was sentenced for 5 years imprisonment for sedition and security law violation. However, that did not kill her spirit. She continued to protest against Japanese colonial administration. Because of protesting, she was tortured while she’s in prison. In September 28, 1920, when she was 18 years old, she died because of torture.

The museum of Yu Gwansun

Today, Patriot Yu Gwansun has a memorial hall in Cheonan as a homage to her bravery and love for the country. In this museum, you will see memorabilia of Yu Gwansun. Her photos, uniform and even her story are displayed in this museum. You will also get to experience what she experienced in prison because there are scenario and actual prison cells in this hall.

In my book, the life of Patriot Yu Gwansun is a very inspiring one and it should be shared to the next generation. It should remind them that without Yu Gwansun, the August 15 National Liberation Day of Korea would never exist.

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Day Tour at Yecheon County with Adventures Korea

About Yecheon

I always say that every City, County and Provinces in South Korea has the same characteristics. Just look at the buildings, the establishments and the markets, everywhere you go, you will see the same setup. However, Yecheon County is quite different. I can say that it has its own characteristics, although it’s unnoticeable at first, it somehow offers a different kind of feel to the tourists.
During the summer vacation, a tour organized by Adventure Korea brought us to the hidden county called Yecheon. It’s a far place if you are coming from Seoul because it is located in the province of North Gyeongsang. Some 50,000 Koreans live in this place and it has a total area of about 661 square km. The tour was organized to introduce Yecheon to foreigners like us. I bet you haven’t heard about this place before. If not for this tour, I would’ve not, for the life of me, come to visit Yecheon. Somehow, it’s interesting to go to places you don’t even know because it leads to the discovery of hidden treasures, well, not literally treasure like gold or something, but experiences and culture and whatnot.

The trip to Yecheon was graced by the foreigners living and working in South Korea, and it was actually dominated by Filipinos. The cost for the whole trip was only 10,000 won. It’s quite unbelievable because it’s a far place and 10,000 won is not even enough for the fare from Seoul to Yecheon, but since they offer it at that price, who are we to question, right? We departed from Seoul at Around 8 AM, an hour late from our expected time, but it’s forgivable. The trip was smooth and after about 4 hours, we arrived at our first agenda, the clay shooting.

Mungyeong Shooting Range

At the entrance of Mungyeong Shooting Range
Photo credit: Arman Carinan
Although this is not part of our Yecheon tour, we went to Mungyeong to try the shooting range. I’ve never expected I would try this one out because it’s not on my to-do-list. The only thing that convinced me to try the clay shooting was the thought of me holding a real air rifle and pulls its trigger. Plus, Mungyeong is such a beautiful place, it was such a nice experience to shoot clay targets in an open field while in the middle of the green mountains.

Some action at the shooting range area
Photo Credit: Arman Carinan

I have to be brutally honest though that out of 25 bullets, I think I hit only 5 targets. I know I was a loser on that part, but it was an experience. If clay shooting costs around 19,000 won for 25 bullets, another alternative is shooting using revolver. The 10 bullets costs only 13,000 won and apparently, they are the cheapest shooting range in the whole South Korea, as in cheap in terms of pricing.

Ancient Folk Town at Yecheon

After our shenanigans at Mungyeong Shooting Range, we went to the ancient folk town in Yecheon. The trip was a good cultural experience for all of us foreigners especially that some of the old establishments there still exist. Although the town has been developed throughout the years, some of them were able to preserve just like this Magkeolli or Rice Wine brewery, and do you know how old is this? This is around 100 year old already and it is still functioning up to this day.

100 year old makeolli brewery at the ancient town at Yecheon

We entered the brewery and we tried the freshly made magkeolli made by the expert magkeolli maker. I've tried drinking makeolli before just to try it out, but I realized it was even better to drink it while being watched by the master of magkeolli.

The authentic maker of authentic makkeoli

The ahjussi who made the magkeolli we drunk was somehow pleased with the way we appreciated his work. Although I am not a fan of magkeolli, it was my first time to taste it fresh from the oven, but of course it didn’t come from the oven, I meant it’s as fresh as the spring water.

The taste of fresh makeolli

Inside the oldest magkeolli brewery in town, we had a mini magkeolli party. They served us with one big pot of the rice wine but since we were on tour, we could not go all out in drinking the wine. We just tasted it and we had a little tour inside the brewery.

Aside from the magkeolli brewery house, there are still other old establishments in the town. Although I can just count them with my finger, these treasures are instant natural attraction to this old little town in Yecheon. Since it was lunch time, we also had a taste of Korean food in the area. Albeit the same as in any other Korean food in other parts of Korea, we still enjoyed the lunch time at the old town.

Barehand fishing at Hancheon River

Hancheon River

We braved the scorching heat of the sun to take time to walk a little bit in the area, but it was too hot that time, so we decided to head on to our next activity. We were on time for the barehand fishing experience at the Hancheon River.

People barehand fishing at the Hancheon River
It was a whooping 39 degrees Celsius and people are there in the middle of the river trying to catch the slippery poor fishes in the riverbed. It was a little bit crowded seeing that it’s midday and people have nothing to do but to catch fishes.

Ahjussi Caught the fish with his barehand

But of course, we joined in. Once I set my feet on the river, I didn’t feel the hotness and the humidity of the weather. At the end of it all, I was not able to catch even one fish. Maybe I was too noisy, or I was too busy, or I am not skilled for this kind of activity. How could you even catch a fish with your barehand? Surprisingly, the locals were able to collect good numbers of fishes for dinner time. Good for them!

The World Insect Expo

The tourists of Adventures Korea at the entrance of The World Insect Expo

Our next stop was at the World Insect Expo. The expo will run up to August 15, 2016 with the theme “Smart Future With Insects”. If we had the cultural experience at the ancient folk town, at the expo, we were educated about insects. The expo is located at the public stadium and at the Institute of Insect Ecology which are just adjacent to the Hancheon River.

People enjoying the exhibits at the expo

My first reaction when I heard about going to the insect expo was…hmppp… booorinngg… I was not so interested with insects, but it’s amazing how people at Yecheon patronized the expo. The expo has an entrance fee of 9,000 won but it’s still crowded. Look at how people are willing to pay just to see insects. The Metropolitan government did a great job in marketing in this event.

At the World Insect Expo

Since we were there already, I decided to might as well see the expo. I find it actually interesting. I got to see different kinds of insects in the world. Some of them are fake, but some of them are still alive. The expo was set up in different halls in the area and it has all the elements and information concerning insects and its industry. Through the expo, I was able to realize the role of the insects in our environment and how it affects us human being. We are all connected.

Wake Up City Festa Water Park

The Water Park
The last part of the tour and the fun one was the Water Park!!!

As I’ve said, it was 39 degrees celcius hot and all I wanted at that moment was to soak in the tub of a cold water, and the water park, our last destination, was heaven sent.
Although for me, it’s a kiddie type of activity, but who cares, adults can be kids too right? They installed three big inflating pools in the area where people, mostly kids can swim and play with the water. There's also live performance on the other part of waterpark where people were entertained by the local singers.

Enjoying the slide at the waterpark
But the stars of the waterpark are these two big city slides. Apparently, in Korea, installing giant slides in the middle of the city every summer is a trend, and Yecheon, eventhough in a far part of Korea, is joining the bandwagon in this event. It was a fun sliding experience for everyone.

We went home pretty late. We had so much fun with our one day Yecheon trip we didn’t realize it’s already 7 pm. As much as we wanted to stay and enjoy more, we have to go back to Seoul. We arrived at around 10:30 PM in Seoul. We were all tired but I’m sure the memories of Yecheon will be forever in our hearts. It was a short but fun experience. I’ve met new friends, made new memories and above all gained new experiences.
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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Meet And Greet K-Pop Stars At K-Style Hub (케이스타일허브)

The standfie of BigBang

Do you want to meet Sandara Park and the rest of 2NE1 members?

How about the famous Gangnam Style singer PSY?

Or maybe you want to have a date with G-Dragon or the rest of the Big Bang members?

Well, that’s possible, but with the busy schedule of these Kpop idols, you might find it difficult to get a date with them.

If you go to Korea hoping to bump with the famous Korean stars, chances are you may go home disappointed or rejected.

Virtual 2NE1

However, Korea has a unique way of making your dream to date or take a selfie photo with a Kpop star come true. There’s this place called K-Style Hub in Seoul where you can enjoy taking group photos with some of the famous Kpop idols like 2NE1, Big Bang, Psy and more. Don’t get too excited though because these are just holograms of the artists. You can see them, you can even talk to them, but you can’t touch them because they’re just virtually there. What’s more awesome about K-Style hub is that, it’s totally free. You can just enter the building and enjoy the company of the virtual idols.

Bonding with PSY

If you are not into Kpop, there are still other alternatives to enjoy your stay at Kstyle hub. You can have a tour at their medical center where you can learn the Korean way of healing sickness and diseases. They also have a small café inside where you can buy your favorite drink, sit back and relax at their comfy couches and chairs.

Comfortable couches at the cafe

Aside from that, at K-Style Hub building, you can also tour at their museum of food where it presents different kind of Korean food. From nuts and salt to different kinds of Kimchi, you will be amazed of how health buffs the Koreans are.

Strong message at the Korean food tour

If you want to try the Hanbok, the Korean national Dress, you can wear it for free just for the photo opp.

If you haven’t notice it yet, this building promotes the culture of Korea. From music, food, medicine and National Dress, this place is a one stop destination for those who want to experience a slice of Korea.

The KStar zone

When you are in Seoul, you can visit K-Style Hub. It is located at 40, Cheonggyecheon-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul [서울특별시 중구 청계천로 40 (다동)]. If you go there via subway, get off at Jonggak Station (Seoul Subway Line 1),  and go to Exit 5. Admission to the Kstyle hub building is totaly FREE and it is open from 10 am to 6 pm, it is closed every Tuesday.

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Your Ultimate One Day Itinerary Guide to Yangpyeong

The Yangpyeong County
Photo Credit to Arman Carinan

Who wants to go to Yangpyeong?!?!?!?

And you be like…. What Yangpyeong?

Don’t worry, if you feel like lost and clueless at the mention of Yangpyeong, you are not alone. Unlike Seoul, Gapyeong and other cities in Korea, Yangpyeong is some kind of not really famous at least for the tourists. What we foreigners in Korea really don’t know is, there are places in Yangpyeong that you might be interested to visit.

Yangpyeong is actually a county in Gyeonggi Province. Not all of us know about this but this place played a significant role in the South and North Korean war because this was used to be a battlefield during that war. The good thing about this place is, it is only about one hour away from Seoul if you ride by train.

But what exactly can we do at Yangpyeong? Well, for a start, there are a lot. And with a lot I meant events, places and experiences. You can do paragliding, attend strawberry festival or visit Dumulmeori where the Bukhangang River and Namhangang river meet. However, what I am going to share to you is something you can do at this place in just one day. Of course obviously, you can’t do all the things I mentioned earlier because you just can’t do it in one day. This itinerary is for those who can only go to a day trip at a very minimal cost. This one day trip covers a visit to one of the most interesting cafes in South Korea, the Dreamy Camera Café, tour the Yangpyeong English Village and lastly, experience Railbiking.

Time: 10:00 AM to 11 AM

Activity: Travel from Seoul To Yangpyeong

First and foremost, you must plan how to go to Yangpyeong. Well, there are a lot of ways, but for the convenience of the travelers and tourists out there, I guess the easiest way is via the train. You may look at the Seoul Subway map and find the station called Yongmun Station. That’s where you should get off. It’s the last station of GyeonguiJongang Line. If you are coming from Seoul, it would take at least an hour to go there. If you are coming from other cities, then you may need to adjust the timeframe of this activity.

Cost: Fare- 2350 Won


Time: 11:00 AM to 11:30 AM

Activity: Visit Dreamy Camera Café

Dreamy Camera Café is just near the Yongmun Station, but I made it a 30 minute timeframe so that you can adjust in case there’s a delay in your trip to Yongmun Station. From Yongmun Station, go to the Exit 1 and take a bus, but I don’t recommend a bus because it’s a 2 hour interval, it would cost you too much time. What I recommend is to take a taxi to “중원리 꿈꾸는사진기” , you can just show that to the taxi driver and they know where to take you.

Cost: Taxi Fare- 10,000 won


Time: 11:30 – 1:30 PM

Activity: At the Dreamy Camera Café (“중원리 꿈꾸는사진기”)

Dreamy Camera Cafe

Have you seen a café in a shape of Rollieflex Camera? Apparently, this camera café is a star in Yangpyeong because aside from the fact that it’s in an outskirt of the city, people especially the foreigners still go there to chill, relax and enjoy the view. If you want to know more about this café, CLICK HERE to read our visit at Dreamy Camera Café. You can also check out the Dream Camera Café Facebook page if you have some enquiries or if you want to reserve ahead of time. The cafe is closed every Sunday and Monday.

Cost: For food, beverages or souvenirs(optional)- around 15,000 won


Time: 1:30 – 2:00 PM

Acitivity: Travel to Yangpyeong English Village (양병영어마을)

Your next stop is at Yangpyeong English Village. It’s just near the camera café. To go there from the Dreamy Camera Café, you can ask help from the owner of the café to call a taxi for you that would take you to the village.

Cost: Taxi Fare- 5,000 Won


Time: 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM

Activity: Tour Yangpyeong English Village

Yangpyeong English Village

Famous as a shooting location of a Korean Drama series Boys Over Flower, Yangpyeong English Village will take you to another dimension. It’s an educational institution that has buildings, structures and ambiance like that of a British Country. The purpose of this village is to provide an English speaking environment to Korean students. While they do their classes and activities, people can just go to the village and tour because it’s interesting and it could pass as a tourist spot. You can CLICK HERE to read what you can expect about this village

Cost: 0 Won 

Time: 3:30 to 3:45 PM

Activity: Travel to Yangpyeong Railbike

The railbiking at Yangpyeong is very near the English Village, but to avoid to get lost, you can call a taxi to bring you there.

Cost: Taxi Fare: 3,000 won


Time: 3:45 to 6:00 PM

Activity: Railbiking

Yangpyeong Railbike

At Yangpyeong Railbike site, you can see magnificent view of Yangpyeong as you go biking along the old and abandoned railway. It’s a 6.4 km railway where you can bike and enjoy the experience. CLICK HERE to read what happened during our rail bike experience at Yangpyeong.

Cost: Bike rental depends on the type of bike- 25,000 won for couple (2 persons) and 32,000 won for group (4 persons)

Time: 6:00 to 6:30 PM

Acitvity: Walk from railbike site to Yongmun Station

Yes, it’s just a walking distance so you don’t need to call a taxi from there.

Cost: 0 won


Time: 6:30 PM
Activity: Homeward Bound


Three places in one day!!! Not bad right? If you are going to total the cost, you can spend I think from 50,000 won up to 70, 000 won. It’s a very affordable and cheap trip in exchange of a memorable and priceless experience.

Now go, put that phone away, pack up and go to Yangpyeong!!!

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

“From Sketch To Screen” – The DreamWorks Animation Exhibit in Seoul

Are you familiar with Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, How to Train your Dragon, and Shrek? I am sure even if you live in the cave, you definitely heard of them. Yes, they are the animated movies created by DreamWorks. If you have watched one of the animated movies I mentioned, I bet you were entertained by the moving sketches. Who could resist the charm of Shrek? Or Po? Or even Toothless? But do you ever wonder how they were transformed from Sketches to moving characters in the movie?

Now, this is the purpose of DreamWorks Animation Exhibit in The Seoul Museum of Art or SEMA, to show to the people the process of making an animated movie. I for one is a fan of an animated movie. For those of you who are thinking that this kind of movie is just for kids, I dare you to think again. Maybe you haven’t watched one yet. There are good lessons we can get from it, lessons that are applicable not only for kids but also for adults. I am also curious about how they made this kind of movies. That’s why I was so interested to check out this exhibit, let alone it’s an exhibit of DreamWorks Animation.

The exhibit is at the first floor of the Seoul Museum of Art.  Tickets can be bought outside the museum, it costs 13,000 won for adults, 10,000 won for the teenagers and 8,000 won for children.

When you enter the exhibit, Melman’s butt from Madagascar will welcome you, and it’s funny how people take it as a photo opportunity.

A welcome scenario to DreamWorks Exhibit

When you look up, you will see Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon flying motionless below the ceiling. Don’t worry, as silly as it may seem, they are not the main star of the exhibit.

Tootless hanging from the celing

What you can really see inside the exhibit are sketches, sketches and sketches. Yes, a lot of sketches there is. Apparently, it’s entertaining how an artist develop one character in the movie. One second you see them sketching on a pad paper, and then booommm… the birth of a new character.

How to sketch a character in an animated movie the DreamWorks way

Aside from the sketches, I also spotted some masks used in some of the movies of DreamWorks. There are also 3D characters and models which they secured dearly in an aquarium. Visitors are not even allowed to touch the glass…. Boohoo… The 3D versions of the characters I used to watch in an animate movie are so cute and adorable. Toy collectors will surely love them, but it’s not for sale though. The 3D models are just for display and for the eyes only.

The small caricatures of our favorite animated characters

The colored paintings on display are also the stars of the exhibit. It’s just like a photo frame of some of our favorite characters in DreamWorks movie, except that it’s a painting and not a photograph.

Some old movie posters of some old movies are also on display. To be honest, I was not sure if I’ve seen some of them, all I know is that, I am not familiar about some movies. I like it though to see some stuff from the past. It’s good they were able to preserve some of these movie posters.

What calls my attention though was this pile of booklets. Upon closer inspection, these were not booklets but the actual storyboards of movies like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and among others. One pile is equivalent to one movie. Just imagine how many pages of storyboard it takes to create one complete movie.

Another thing I like about the exhibit is they allow visitors to try the software used to animate, sketch and create an animation. It’s kind of a hands on and I somehow enjoyed that one.

For me, I think the whole concept of this exhibit is to stir the interest of not only the kids but also the adults in the animation industry. Who knows, you have the talent to sketch or make a story out of fictional characters. This exhibit can actually make you realize if you have the passion for this kind of film making. If you are not into this, the whole exhibit may bore you though, but it’s quite educational, so no time and money will be wasted for this event.

The DreamWorks Animation Exhibit runs from April 2016 up to August 15, 2016 only. The museum is just near the City Hall Station.

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Filipino EPS Worker in Korea Won $10,000 in PAG-IBIG Expanded Raffle Promo

Two Filipino migrants in South Korea were the lucky winners of PAG-IBIG Expanded Raffle Promo. Ms. Anneth Bun-as of Geoje City won a MacBook Air while Mr. Joel Turingan, an EPS worker, won the grand prize of $10,000.

For those who don’t know yet, PAG-IBIG or “Pagtutulungan sa Kinabukasan, Ikaw, Bangko, Industria at Gobyerno” is a saving scheme organized by the Philippine government. This is open not only to the Filipinos residing in the Philippines but also to overseas Filipino workers. In fact they are promoting some PAG-IBIG programs for Filipinos living abroad. In South Korea, we also have PAG-IBIG Overseas program. If you wish to find out about this, you may contact the PAG-IBIG representative in South Korea, Mr. Dominic Leoligao.

Now, here’s the good news. Just like Ms Bun-as and Mr Turingan, you can have the chance to win up to 1 Million pesos in the grand draw because PAG-IBIG has Expanded RAFFLE Promo.

This raffle promo is open to all qualified members and active contributors of PAG-IBIG. The promo period has started last May 1, 2016 and it will end up to March 31, 2017. This raffle promo is for those who are remitting at least 600 pesos monthly to their upgraded PAG-IBIG 1 savings account. For every 600 pesos contribution per month, you will get 1 raffle entry which will qualify you for an electronic raffle and a chance to win 1 Million pesos on May 1, 2017. Aside from the 1 Million pesos grand prize, 20 units of Macbook Pro will be given away. Also included in the prizes are 25 units of Samsung S-7 Edge, two winners of 250,000 pesos and two winners of 500,000 pesos.

If you wish to join this raffle promo, go ahead and contact Mr. Dominic Leoligao. Here is his contact details:

Facebook: Dominic Leoligao
Mobile Number: 010-7145-0385
Office: Room 201 Philippine Overseas Labor Office
Philippine Embassy Seoul

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Beach, Train Station, Rail Bike, Sunrise Park and More at Jeongdongjin

When you travel, what would you like your travel destination to be?

For me, I would like it to be like a “one stop shop”. It’s good if you can really do a lot of stuff in one place because 1) It makes your trip, especially if it’s a long trip, worthy and 2) There will be no dull moment because you would be busy experiencing everything in just one place.

Now, that’s what Jeongdongjin can offer to its visitors. Jeongdongjin is located in Gangneung, Gangwondo, South Korea and it has a lot of things in store for the locals as well as for the tourists. We visited the place as part of the itinerary of Goh Travel Korea, a travel group I joined in. For the first part of our trip, you can check our visit at the Sheep Ranch at the nearby place in Gangwondo.

Jeongdongjin Beach

At Jeongdongjin, the first thing that you would notice is the smell. It smells like the ocean. The air, the cool breeze, the sound and the feels, you know and you will never be wrong that there’s a sea somewhere in the area. True enough, the white sand and the big waves of Jeongdongin Beach welcomed us as we arrived in the area. I kid you not, and I have to be honest, that this is the best and the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen in South Korea. I always said that Korea is not really popular with beaches. Seeing that I came from the Philippines where you can find the best beaches in the world, I could not be easily pleased with the beaches in South Korea, but Jeongdongjin beach, oh man, this is so awesome.

Sun Cruise Resort

Added to the attraction is this ship like hotel constructed at the top of the hill. Whatever you’re doing in the beach, whether you’re sun bathing, swimming, or just viewing, you can’t help but notice this beautiful architecture. I mean, who would build a hotel on top of the hill, and what’s ironic? It’s in the form of a ship. But I guess it works. It’s nice to look at and we really admire it.

Although we were thrilled and we enjoyed the beach despite the fact that we didn’t really swim, the beach is not just the only thing you can see at Jeongdongjin. We also tried the rail biking. I’ve tried rail biking before at Yangpyeong, but it’s a different set up at Jeongdongjin because the railway is located right next to the beach. We bike our heart out in the railway with the beautiful view of the sea and the cool breeze. It was summer when we went there, the sun was up and high, but we’re not really intimated because we enjoyed the air from the sea while we do biking. The rail bike is operated with a battery and we had to pedal at the beginning just to start it up, so after a few aerobics on the pedal, we let the batter do its work to make the bike run and we just rod, relaxed and enjoyed the moment.

Jeongdongjin Station

If there’s a railway for bike, there’s also a railway for the train. The Jeongdongjin Station is located right in front of the beach, so people can ride a train from anywhere in South Korea up to the Jeongdongjin Station and when you get off, welcome to the beach. I think, if all train stations are like this, I would not mind waiting for my ride because you wait with the view of the sea and air blowing right through your face because the beach is literally one tumbling away from Train Station. It’s so close that the station even made it to the Guinness World Records as the closest train station and tracks to a beach. The station is on the Yeongdong Line of Korail. If you want to go here from Seoul, you take the train from Cheongnyangni Station, it takes around 5 hours to travel from there.

Jeongdongjin Railbike platform

I heard that people go to this place because of the Sunrise. There’s actually a Sunrise Park in the area but since we went there at the midday, obviously we were not able to catch the sunrise. As what they’ve said, sunrise is very popular in the area. People especially the travelers sometimes intentionally travel from Seoul at midnight, and when they arrived at Jeongjongdin Station at dawn, not only the beach will welcome them but also the most beautiful sunrise in all of South Korea.
I like how there are a lot of cafes, restaurants and stores in the area too. It makes traveling to this place easier. You will surely never go hungry when you go to Jeongjongdin. People are also selling variety of seafood like dried squids. And people there are extra friendly to foreigners.

Restaurants and cafes at Jeongdongjin

If you are looking for a travel destination this summer, you might want to consider the Jeongjongdin. It is far from Seoul yes, but it’s all worth it.

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Monday, July 11, 2016

The Epic Water Battle of the Year at the 4th Sinchon Water Gun Festival

Who would have thought you can organize a festival for a water gun? Yes folks, that colorful toy guns that spit water especially made for kids has a festival in Korea. This festival is held annually in Seoul as a way to fight the heat of the summer. I actually attended last year’s celebration but I was just a bystander. I went to the venue just to watch. It was fun, but for me, it’s too childish and mature people like me should not join this kind of festival. Fast forward 1 year after that event, I found myself going to the venue with my Apollo water gun, rain coat, goggle and the determination not to get wet in the battle. In short, I attended the 4th Sinchon Water Gun Festival, not just a bystander, but a participant in the battle.

Thanks to for organizing the registration for us foreigners. I booked for this a week before the event and for only 20,000 KRW, I got the whole gear for the water fight. The entrance to the festival is actually free, you can just go there with your water gun. What I like about registering to is that they provided everything I needed including the use of changing room and a locker. It's a good ideas so people can just leave their bag while they get wet and wild in the battlefield.

The festival runs for 2 days but I attended on the second day. The whole road at the area of Yonsei-ro right in front of the exit 2 of Sinchon Station was blocked just to give way for this event. As soon as I arrived, I already felt the youthful vibe. The kids/millennial/teenagers were still preparing the battleground for the water fight, and I realized I was too early. I proceeded to the ticketing booth to claim my package. Since I was too early, there’s no long line yet. In fairness, everything's organized at the ticketing booth. No hassle in claiming or buying the items needed for the event. Water gun vendors are also everywhere in the area. Depending on the type of the water gun, you can buy from as cheap as 6,000 won up to 15,000 won.

The changing room is not really what I expected because it’s not actually a room. They just put up some tent where you can enter and change. The locker room is also not a room and not a locker either. It’s just an open steel divider installed in an open area where the staffs are in charge to assign a number to your belongings, put it in one big plastic bag and pile it up according to your locker number. But I just put away all my expectations. I just let it passed and went to the main event, the water gun fight!

In the middle of the road, there stands a big pirate ship, probably to give some hype. Apparently, the pirate ship is not just a props, it actually has an area where some entertainers in the festival perform. At the top of the ship, there’s the sound system, a DJ and camera men to document the event.
Of course, my favorite part is the battle ground. It feels so good to shoot people with water from my water gun without them getting offended. Try doing that at random people in the street and see if you will not get a punch or two. The downside is, while you are free shooting other people with water, they are also free to fire back at you, and of course, you are not allowed to get pissed off. No Killjoy here.

But it was fun, fun, fun. People were dancing and shouting and enjoying the splash of water from the fire truck. I was wearing a raincoat but I found it completely futile. At the end of it all, I was all wet but happy with the experience. Aside from the water gun fight, there’s also a DJ party right in front of the pirate ship where people enjoyed good music and more water.

I was too busy enjoying the splashing of water all over the area that I temporarily forgot it was summer and it was hot.  The Sinchon Water Gun Festival has proven that you don’t need to go to the beach to ward off the heat of the summer because you can actually have fun under the heat of the sun even in the middle of the city.

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