Monday, February 20, 2017

How Filipino(Or Foreign) Couples Get Married in Korea

“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up.”
― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones


Love indeed can mess you up. Sometimes, it catches you off guard. Sometimes it shows up in the most unexpected way in an unexpected place and in unexpected circumstances. Just like what happened to Marissa and Jonard.

They first met in a Korean language training center in Cebu, Philippines. Never in their wildest imagination that they would become a couple because Marissa was a Korean language teacher while Jonard was a student then. However, love knows no boundaries, because it was love at first sight for Jonard. As time goes by, the two developed special feelings towards each other. Marissa stayed in Manila while Jonard stayed in Cebu but the two continued to communicate with each other. They met again when Jonard went to Manila to review Korean Language and to take the examination. The two further developed romantic connection while they’re together in Manila. However, after Jonard passed the examination, he was offered a job to South Korea. It was a dilemma for Jonard because he badly wanted to get the opportunity to go and work in Korea, but he badly wanted to stay and be with his love. As opportunity knocks only once, Jonard went to Korea and grabbed the opportunity to work as a Factory Worker. The couple still continued to communicate despite the challenge of distance. Through the help of technology, Jonard proposed to Marissa. Marissa, on the hand, has found a way to follow Jonard in Korea. She applied for a student visa so she can continue her Master’s degree in Korea.   Once they’re together in Korea, the couple did not waste time, they immediately planned their wedding.

It’s funny how Korea was the reason why the two met up. Korea was also the reason why they’re separated by long distance. But Korea sealed their love in a marriage. It’s like a fairy tale with a happy ending. I was honored to be chosen as the Best Man for their wedding. I was able to witness that very sweet and memorable moment that they shared with us.



But how did the couple manage to set up their wedding in Korea? Marissa shared the process they’ve been through just to make the special day possible. In case you are planning to marry somebody while in Korea, this is the process that you must go through:

1. The couple must individually secure the CENOMAR (SINGLENESS) NSO & NSO BIRTH CERTIFICATE.

2.  Authenticate the said document via DFA Red Ribbon. You must have your Red Ribbon authentication at DFA-Manila Cubao Branch (Or any DFA branch that authenticates document. Please note that you can ask somebody to do this on your behalf.

3. After authentication of document, the couple can now apply at the Philippine Embassy in Seoul, South Korea. You might need to wait for about 2 weeks or approximately 10 days before the Philippine Embassy post your wedding schedule at the bulletin board .

4. The Philippine Embassy will first set the wedding at the office. Important things like the date of the wedding, availability of both parties, etc will be discussed during the application. The wedding at the embassy is necessary because the church requires the documents proving that the couple was married at the Embassy.

During the wedding at the embassy, you must be there 1 hour before the specified time of the wedding day. You must prepare the essentials of wedding like the ring, flowers, etc. You can also change into your wedding outfit right at the venue to avoid the hassle. You can choose to wear simple outfits like long sleeves and colored khaki pants for men and white dress for women.



In order to legalize the documents for this wedding, you must prepare the following requirements:

ID Picture (passport size)
A fee of around 50, 000 Korean Won
Copy of NSO Birth Certificate of both parents
Copy of NSO Marriage Contract of both parents

5. After you secure the documents for your wedding at the embassy, you can now plan your church wedding in Korea. Here are the requirements for a church wedding in Korea for the foreigners:

* The documents from the Philippine Embassy proving that you are married couple
*Seminar (5 hours to one day)



It’s a little tedious, but hey, what can you not do for LOVE? So if you have plan to marry somebody in the future here in Korea, you might find this post handy.



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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Loving Korea More Together With "LOVING KOREA"

There are a lot of reasons why a lot of people around the globe love Korea. There’s the Hallyu wave or Korean wave that entices the world with the kpop music, drama and movies. There’s Korean food that gained the interest of the gastronomic because it is unique and deeply rooted to the culture of Korea. And of course, there’s the culture that every culture vulture aspire to delve into. For these reasons and more, Korea is a country that you would really love to LOVE, and a newly founded community called LOVING KOREA capitalizes on this idea.

LOVING KOREA is a travel group founded and administered by three Korean wanderlusts. The goal of the group is to reveal the hidden treasures of Korea, and by hidden treasures they mean some valuable aspects of Korea that the locals and the foreigners must know.

SaranghaeKorea meets LovingKorea
(c) LOVINGKOREA

Out of the several trips that Loving Korea had organized, I was able to attend two. The first was the Korean Traditional Medicine Tour and the Second was the Korean War Memorial Tour. I can say that what this group can offer is different from the others because I can feel the sincerity from them as tour guides. The first time I attended a tour, I felt like I was connected with the group because LOVING KOREA is just a direct translation of the name of my blog “SARANGHAE KOREA”. It was a coincidence; nevertheless, it’s a string that attached us. So I decided to meet up with Jun Seok, Jaemin and Young Jin to know more about LOVING Korea. In this interview, we will know about the people behind LOVING KOREA and the story behind this.

One of the many activities organized by Loving Korea last summer
(c) LovingKorea


HOW DID IT START?

The concept of LOVING KOREA started when a young Korean guy named Jun Seok Jung posted his idea of organizing such group on Couchsurfing. The idea came to him after his travel experience in Latin America.

Jun Seok: “While I was travelling in Latin America, I was thinking that to see local things is really nice for the foreigners”

So when he arrived in Korea after his Latin America trip, he posted on Couchsurfing about the idea and Jaemin Song, another Korean guy, saw the post and commented that he was interested to help materialize the idea. Jaemin’s decision to join Jun Seok in organizing a travel group was influenced by what he discovered during his 6 months trip in Europe.

 Jaemin: “Some locals don’t know about their place, and I was shocked. I was thinking about myself too if I know more about Seoul”

Jaemin talked about how people in Korea, both the tourists and the locals, always go to the same famous tourists spots. He wants to show that aside from the mainstream places, there are a lot to see in Korea. As he and Jun Seok were both looking on the same page after that brief conversation on couchsurfing, they immidiately arranged a meeting and prepared to organize the tour.

Jun Seok: “We first decided to research about Seongbokdung, visited the place, see the best route, etc.”

Another member of the team, Young Jin joined Jaemin and Junseok because he was inspired by Jaemin’s travelogue. He believed in the advocacy of the two guys to introduce Korea to the people and make people love Korea even more.

Young Jin:  “I want to really make good image about Korea, that’s why I started to join. I want to erase the bad image that Koreans made when I lived in Texas”


Why did you choose the name LOVING KOREA?

LOVING KOREA is a name coined by Jun Seok since he was the one started the idea. It’s just a simple name of the group, but for Jun Seok, he chose this for a reason.

Jun Seok: “While I was in Latin America and other countries, other people asked me about Korea but I couldn’t answer because I don’t know about Korea. So I said maybe I need to start this project to make people love Korea including myself, so I named it LOVING KOREA”

When Young Jin joined the group, he was not comfortable with the name.

Young Jin: “At first I thought the name is boring, but after joining and doing a lot of activities, it’s ok”

The aim of the group is to make other people and the locals to love Korea, and the Koreans.


What are the challenges you encountered so far in organizing the trips and tours?

At first, the three guys thought that the plan was easy. They realized that organizing a tour requires a lot of time and effort to make it successful. After the brainstorming, they were able to come up with the idea of organizing four walking tours just within the Seoul area.

Jaemin explained that they decided to introduce the Seongbokgung first, it’s a village in Seoul that shows the old Korea. Second, they organized a Medicine tour together with the folk museum tour, this kind of tour is all about Korean traditional medicine and academic. Third, a war museum tour, to introduce about Korean war and its effect nowadays especially the military duty. And last, the Core Korea which is all about the language, character and religion. For the Core Korea, they organized trip to Jongnyo Shrine, Hangeul Museum and even in Chinatown in Incheon.

The challenge of organizing the tour did not end at deciding for the theme and the places to visit. For them, there are a lot of struggles and difficulties that they encountered and conquered.

Young Jin: “It’s really tough for me actually because I am not really interested about the traditional Korea. Whenever I remember it, I couldn’t memorize, that’s why I couldn’t guide well. I can’t explain about the things because I don’t have many knowledge”

Jaemin: “We met a lot of obstacles, first is money, we meet several times to have meeting. We meet more than 30 hours per week on vacation. Since we have no funding, we spend our own money.  Second problem is with discovering local places for the foreigners. It’s hard to distinguish what is hidden that people want to know and hidden but people don’t want to know. Some culture is very deep but nobody knows because nobody wants to know. It’s hard to think in a foreigner’s view.”

Jun Seok: “The challenge for me was to learn new things. “

Junseok has to learn how to do video editing after his friend quitted Loving Korea. He learned it by himself. For him, everything was a first time including Video editing, photoshop and blog and managing facebook page.


What’s your most memorable trip with LOVING KOREA?

Jaemin explaining about Korean alphabet
(c) LovingKorea


Young Jin: “I think Core Korea. I think the Hangeul was very good because Jaemin was very good at it. A lot of people were moved by the way he guided."



Visiting an old village as part of Time Machine tour
(c) LovingKorea


Jaemin: “My most memorable tour is Time machine to Korea. It was my first tour. We invited people by Facebook and it was our first try to guide and everybody loved it. I still remember we kept checking the route and what kind of explanation we have to edit.”

Summer Activities at Ganghwado
(c) LovingKorea



Jun Seok:” I visited Ganghwado. I watched a TV show about Ganghwado and they show about one hidden place and they were making local things. They have program on how to make flower pancake. I visited the place with my parents. Then I decided to make a tour with Loving Korea. We first visited, then made a tent at 33 degrees, then the next day we visited again. We visited several times. It was interesting because it was our first time to build a tent under the heat of the sun.”


What do you think Loving Korea could offer that other travel groups couldn’t?

Jaemin: “The biggest point is we show them different places like Medicine museum. In our tour we edit our opinion, it’s not fact but our opinion and even more interesting.”

Young Jin: “ Our identity is to find hidden aspects to Korea for the people. We make a course, what place is good and attractive. We usually check all information and a lot of story and we want to make them lasts. We always search interesting story and not just boring information. We always make them comfortable, we have dinner together and just hang out.”

Jun Seok: “From the starting point up to now, there are many changes and obstacles that we didn’t expect. We are doing things as a guide and events. The most important thing is that we are Koreans, we say our opinions. I cannot know what you really want to do. I show first something as a Korean. Then second thing, we just didn’t tell a story, we share the story just like a friend with our own opinion.”


What are your standards in selecting places to visit?

Jaemin: “Guiding has to have a theme. If we don’t have a theme, it’s not like a tour, it’s just like walking. First we go to the places, sit and see what’s common things we could see from there. That’s how we make travel plans.”

Jun Seok: “The first point is that, it should be interesting. I visited many cities and Insadong many times, but if I will try to look at things in different, then it looks different.”

Young Jin: “Like what Jaemin mentioned, we have a theme. Since we are Koreans, we have some complaints about Korean things, or we can tell story which is interesting. If we feel it’s interesting, then it could be interesting to them. If we feel it’s an attractive topic, then we choose that.”
Jun Seok: “we first decide a topic, we search and then we visit. “


What impression would you like to leave to the people?

Jaemin:” I will tell people that Korea is not Seoul. I want to tell like some small parts, I want to make people realize about different Korea. I want to tell people that what you can see in the touristy place is not everything. “

Hiking and picnic
(c) LovingKorea


Young Jin: “In my case, to give a really good image about Korea. I think I want to have an image from them that I can be a friend with people very easily.”

Jun Seok: “Two Things. 1. That they enjoy it. 2. I want them to see that at least they see something different.”

For anyone interested to join future trips of LOVING KOREA, you can like the facebook page or subscribe on their YOUTUBE channel. For more information about this, please refer to the links below:

FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/lovingkorea2016/
YOUTUBE CHANNEL: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCd-wof0ucwBOKR9vNSIrurA

I believe that this travel group is not just a group for the travelers, it’s also for the people who want to know more about Korea. In so doing, knowing more about Korea will also make you love this country even more. With that, I say that LOVING KOREA is not just a travel group, it’s an advocacy to introduce Korea to anyone interested. It’s like a book open for everybody who wants to read it. The group is now operating for one year, and for what it is now, I think that this is a promising project and will continue to be more successful in the future.

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Monday, February 6, 2017

Ice Sculpture and Colorful Lightings at Hwacheon

The ice scupture of a dragon with the pagoda

If Princess Elsa was a Korean, I think the Kingdom of Isolation that she’s saying would be Hwacheon. This place is a hell of ice because everything freezes during winter including the river. This could be something deterrent to the lives of the residence of the place, but they found a way to capitalize on its cold weather.  Because of the frozen river, they were able to organize one of the biggest festivals in Korea, the Sancheono Festival or commonly known as the Ice Fishing Festival.

Aside from this festival, people can also enjoy the ice sculpture display at the Ice Illumination Plaza. This museum is just like a giant freezer because when you get inside, it’s full of ice. But don’t worry, these are not ordinary ice because it’s actually sculpted by the renowned Korean artists.

One of the menu interesting sculptures in the museum


We visited the Ice Illumination Plaza right after our fiasco at the Ice Fishing Festival. It’s just so near the venue of the festival, so we visited anyway. It was already freezing outside, going inside an ice museum was not a welcoming idea, but since it has ice sculptures inside and the entrance ticket was so cheap, it would be a mortal sin not to check it out.

Even the entrance is made of ice


The large scale ice sculptures taking into different forms and designs welcomed us as we entered the room. The sculptures were lit up in an assortment of colors making it more attractive and interesting. There are castles, palaces, fortress and even the statue of Buddha made of ice. I remember my visit to the Aiin’s world in Bucheon. The museum somehow looks like that as it features the small replica of some famous structures in the world, except that everything is made of ice.

Ice structures everywhere

If you pay attention to details, you will see that every side and curve was delicately and intricately carved to make it even more realistic. All sculptures are all beautiful, we felt like we were in the city full of ice with all the beautiful structures of the world surrounding us.

After taking a lot of photos inside the ice plaza, we went outside to go to our next destination, the Seondeung Street! The street is about 100 meters away from the plaza, it was brilliantly decorated by hundreds of Sancheoneo shaped lanterns which are made of hanji paper.

The Seondeung Street


Aside from the lanterns, there were LED lights emitting beautiful luminaries all over the street. We felt like VIPs as we walked in the well and beautifully lit street of Seondeung. However, since it is a street, there were a lot of cars passing. Taking a photo in the middle of the street is a matter of life and death. But we enjoyed the view and we can’t help but look up to the lightings while walking in the street.

LED lights and sancheono shaped lanterns


Hwacheon showed us the right way to enjoy the winter. It showed us various ways to have fun with the ice. And since winter has long night and short day, lights are the perfect partner of ice. It is even more beautiful if lights are in different colors and shapes just like in Seondeung Street.

A romantic pathway well lit by the LED lights

If you are interested to experience the Ice Plaza and the Seondeung Street Lighting, then you must go to Hwacheon on a winter. The street lighting usually opens late December and lasts up to mid February. You might want to check also the schedule of the Ice Fishing Festival so you can also include that in your itinerary and maximize your time in this winterland of Korea.

Hwacheon is located in the Province of Gangwondo. To go there via public transportation, take a bus from Dong Seoul Bus Terminal and get off at Hwacheon Bus Terminal. From the Bus Terminal, you can take bus number 7 and get off at the Front of Base Bus Stop. The Sancheono Ice Fishing Festival, Seondeung Street Lighting and the Ice Plaza Illumination are so near you can just walk from one venue to another.

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Saturday, February 4, 2017

Ski and More at Bearstown Ski Resort(베어스타운리조트 스키장)

Inside the ski jang of Bearstown Ski Resort

If you were born and grew up in a tropical country like me, the thought of trying some winter sports like skiing could be challenging, exciting and intimidating. So if ever you are in Korea on a winter day, don’t ever leave this country without at least taking one winter sport, and for that, I would recommend skiing.

Well, there aren’t any ski resorts or “ski jang” as what they call it in Korea in downtown Seoul, but if ever you want to really try this sport, the nearest ski resort in Seoul is the Bearstown Ski Resort(베어스타운리조트 스키장) . It is roughly one hour and a half away from Seoul. It is a very large complex located at this address: 27, Geumgang-ro 2536beon-gil, Naechon-myeon, Pocheon-si, Gyeonggi-do (경기도 포천시 내촌면 금강로2536번길 27 (내촌면) ). The advantage of Bearstown Ski Resort over any resort existing in South Korea is that it is very much accessible via public transportation. All you need to do is take Bus No. 11 from Gangbyeon Station. To take bus number 11, you need to get out of the exit 4 of Gangbyeon Station, and then cross the street and walk to the right. Then cross the street again until you reach the bus stop where you can catch Bus Number 11. The travel time from Gangbyeon Station is about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

This big bear will welcome you at the Bearstown Ski Resort


The entrance to the Bearstown Ski Resort is totally free. If you want to ride the lift so you can go up the slope, you need to buy a ticket from the ticket office. For the complete information about the prices of the ticket based on the time and the level of slope, you can CHECK THIS LINK for more information. At the Ski Jang, there are lockers, change rooms and rental shops for ski gears available for your convenience.

The courageous men taking on the ski challenge


As for us, we did not pay for the ticket because we decided to just ski in the practice area. We rented Ski gears at the nearby rental shop for just 10, 000 won ($10) for 4 hours. We did not invest that much on ski clothing and lift because we were there just to experience it. In fact, our primary purpose of going to Bearstown Ski Resort is to attend the Men and Women’s Conference for the Filipino Delegates in Korea. Since we still have time after the conference, some of us decided to stay for one afternoon just to try skiing. There are a lot of rental shops in the area, but we rented at the shop considerably far from the slopes, the good thing about these shops is that, they can offer you a free ride to the ski jang so you won’t be bothered carrying all those heavy ski gears.

It was not my first time to ski. I first tried skiing at Jisan Ski Resort in Icheon, but I admit I was not really that good because as what I’ve said, I didn’t invest much on this as I just wanted to try it. Although it’s my second time already, I still find it intimidating because it’s a hard winter sport, at least in my book.

This brave little kid is actually feeling nervious inside

When we entered the ski jang, my excitement turned into nightmare because it was so difficult to move around with my ski gears. Like any moment, I can fall and get injured. Then I saw other people who were probably trying the sports for the first time struggling to move around and stumbled on the snow bed. It looks like fun, but when you are actually experiencing it, it’s so scary. At first I was all so sissy because I was thinking of the possible fiasco this experience may bring to me, but I saw my friends doing it well like they were fishes swimming in the water, so I got motivated to man up too. They went up to the level of slope high enough to instill more fear in me, but they challenged me to come with them, and being the man of courage that I am, I went with them a little bit higher than I think I could manage, but it was a challenge for me.

Getting the hang of skiing and snowboarding 
I was so jealous at them, some of them were first timers, but I think they got the stamina, the energy and the will to do the sports. I wished to be like them, so I was there, at the middle of the slope, standing with them, looking down the hills. I am not afraid of height, but boy, I was so scared. One by one, they went skiing down the hill, and I was still there, standing, watching and listening to my heartbeart. They climbed back already to try another round, and I was still there, standing and waiting for nothing. They motivated me, so I observed again to make sure I am not making a single mistake. Then I decided to try it just for once. If I stumble and fall in the middle of the slope, it’s ok, I can still get up and try again (OR NOT!.. hahaha). I mustered up all the courage inside of me, and then I started sliding down the hill in a fast uncontrollable pace. The only thing I don’t like about the ski resort is that, there are a lot of people, and if you are skiing, there’s a big chance you’ll bump with somebody, and that would surely hurt. I was shouting while I was sliding down the hill for people to get out of my way. I think I shouted loud enough because apparently, they gave way for me. Now I have a problem!!! How to stop? That was my dilemma. I don’t know how to stop. So I maneuvered my ski so it will go into the direction where there’s flat area hoping that it will stop when I get there. But my ski won’t stop even at the flat surface, it could be because I skied too fast. So I decided to just hit the side wall, but the problem was, there were a lot of people standing there. So before I hit them, I shouted so loud again, thankfully, I hit the wall and not the people. It hurts though, but I just laughed it off. There’s ski patrol coming over to help me up, but I wanted to show I was man enough to stand up on my own, so the rescuer just backed off anyway.. haha

Despite of the hurt I got on my first fall, I climbed back up the hill (because we didn’t pay for the lift, we have to climb on feet and carry our ski gears), skied again. I tried several times, sometimes I managed to ski without falling, and sometimes, some minor shits happened. LOL. But I realized, that what’s make skiing even more fun and challenging. I can’t say I got the hang of it already, but if I still have another chance to ski, I would surely do it again.

At the cozy lobby of the hotel at Bearstown Resort


Aside from the ski jang, there are also other winter ski sports like sledding. We didn’t try it because we just think it’s for sissies and for the kids, but I think it’s fun too. There are a lot of accommodations at Bearstown Ski Resort. There are hotels and pension houses you can rent if you want to stay there overnight. And did I mention we went there for a conference? Yes, because there are also venues perfect for this kind of event. Right beside the ski Jang, there are hotels perfect for your accommodations if you want to stay there overnight. I just think it’s too pricey though for an average of 192,000 won - 354,000 won fee.

At some random Korean restaurant in the area

Restaurants and coffee shops are also plenty in the area. If you feel hungry after trying out different winter activities at the resort, you can just grab coffee, or burger or even Korean food at the restaurants nearby.

It was a fun and memorable day at Bearstown Ski Resort. I can feel the pain of stumbling and falling, but more than that, the experience worth it all. At least I know I can ski, not as good as the experts, but in my book, I can ski too well! haha

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Christian Couple Ardy Roberto and Miriam Quiambao Inspire Filipino Migrants at the Men and Women's Conference in Korea

The attendees of the conference with the speakers Bro. Ardy Roberto and Sis. Miriam Quiambao-Roberto

It’s been said that living in a foreign land is never easy. Needless to say that people working overseas are heroes in their own right for the sacrifices and the setbacks they’re trying to conquer while being away from home. Every Filipino working abroad is going through adversities, and Filipinos in South Korea are not exempted. Just like other OFWs, Filipino migrants in Korea are also dealing with homesickness, longing for their respective partners in the Philippines, missing their kids, their parents and friends and relatives. It is at this state when giving up to temptations and worldly pleasures are easy options. That is why despite the challenge of distance, we must need to protect ourselves against the worldly things that could not only damage us but also our relationship with family, friends and relatives.



For these reasons and more, three churches in South Korea have collaborated to conduct Men and Women’s Conference 2017 as part of the E12 Intentional Discipleship Ministry program. The conference dealt head-on with the way of the world and how we tend to rationalize and justify some wrong doings just so we can jump on to the bandwagon. The conference was attended by a total of 108 Filipino migrants from Sinwoldong Sungkyul Church Foreign Ministry (SSCFM), LOGOS Korea and Christ Commission Ministry (CCM). It was held at the Bears Town Ski Resort in Pocheon last January 27 and 28, 2017. The speakers for this conference were Entrepreneur and Author Bro. Ardy Roberto and his wife, 1999 Miss Universe 1st Runner Up Miriam Quiambao-Roberto.

The couple shares their inspiring life and love story

The conference started Friday evening; everyone braved the nippy weather to the venue just to attend the event. The conference room was fully occupied by the excited attendees. To warm up the hearts and minds, a prayer with hearty and moving praise and worship led by SSCFM music team opened the program of the night. The conference was capped with Bro. Ardy and Sis. Miriam’s personal testimonies.  After dealing with their individual hardships in love and life, God has made the world conspired to make sure that they will end up in each other’s arms. The conference followed a simultaneous storytelling of their individual lives up to the point where circumstances led them together. It was not simply a true to life storytelling, but a bible verse inspired story. Everybody was blessed that night because of the inspiring story of the couple. It is true indeed that nothing will go wrong if you will just pray and commit it all to God.

Attendees from different churches attentively listening to the speakers


The couple also talked about how they dealt with the struggles of keeping the purity between them. They set boundaries just to make sure that they are not doing what unmarried couples are doing nowadays. This part of their testimony made us realized that just because everybody is doing it doesn’t mean it is right. The irony of it all is that, if wrong deeds become too mainstream, you will feel outdated and out of place if you will not do it too. Let’s say for example the pre-marital sex. We all know it’s wrong, but because almost all unmarried couples are doing it, you are not cool if you will not do it too. As a Christian, we ought to do what is always right, because we are here not to please the people but the God that we believe in.

Congregational Prayer


Concluding the night, the couple prayed for everybody in the room. It was a moment of great renewal of spiritual commitment and pouring out the struggles and also the praises to the Lord. Lastly, the couple signed the books that the attendees purchased from them. They also graced the photo taking session despite their tiredness.

On the second day of the conference, the attendees were divided into two groups. One group is for men and the other group is for women. Bro. Ardy Roberto was the speaker for the men’s group. He talked about integrity and he taught how a person could become a man of integrity. At the end of it all, everybody wrote their pledge on a piece of paper to commit to become the man of integrity. Here are some of the reflections of the attendees from the men’s group:

Love your wife....avoid temptation...be a Man of God...Man of integrity...at higit sa lahat laging maging POGI. - Bro. Jasper De Ocampo

Naging challenge po sa akin para maging POGI yong malawak na pag unawa specially sa wife...wag tingnan yong kamalian ng isa.. kilangan mo ring balikan ang sarili mo kong ano ang tama at mali..most important thing is to PRAY pra magkaroon ng integridad na nag mumula sa holy spirit hindi sa pansariling kaalaman..at ma appreciate mo malaki o mallit man na bagay pra maipadama mo ang pagmamahal gaya ng pag mamahal ni KRISTO sa atin..- Bro. Jeorge Guillera
.
Sis. Miriam Quiambao-Roberto, on the other hand, led the session for the women’s group. She encouraged the women to become prayerful and always ask the Lord for guidance to follow His will. Here are some of the reflections of the attendees:

 *Ang pagkakaroon po ng deep relationship of God
 *Pagkakaroon po ng matatag n faith sa ating Panginoon.
 *Matutong laging mnalangin at hingiin lagi ang gabay ng Panginoon sa bawat hakbang or desisyon sa ating buhay
 *Lagi po nating ipagkatiwala at ilatag sa Panginoon ang ating anumang mga problems o pgsubok sa ating buhy huwag po tayong mgsawang mnalangin.. – Sis Mheey De Real

Women are hot! 1. Have a Heart for God~ Prov. 23:26 I should live inlove to my Savior Jesus Christ, but I can't say that I love God without obeying His word, 2. Obey~Exodus 19:5. If I want God to bless me I should obey what He wants me to do. Obedience equals blessings. 3. Trust ~proverbs 3:5~6 I will trust Him and I won't lean on my own understanding bec. I am nothing without God. When I accepted God not only my Savior also my Lord. So I should let Him lead my life daily. Eto po ang akin. I prayed to God these 3 points will manifest in my heart. In Jesus name I pray Amen. – Sis Cindy Yusi

Ang magkaroon tau ng oras para s pananalangin at tamang lugar. Manalangin s Panginoon khit maliit o sa malalaking desisyon. – Sis Bheng

Yes!. ..I was really touched by her testimony...until now di aq maka move on...un transformation sa kanya ng Panginoon grabe!..Napakabisa tlaga ng prayer...from her testimony, prayer ang naging solution sa lahat ng pinagdaanan niya and nakita naman sa kanya ang naging bunga ng mga panalangin nya...indeed, when we fully surrendered ourselves to God babaguhin at babaguhin Niya tayo until maging kawangis Niya...magkakaroon tayo ng contentment and ung dati nating ginagawa na nagpapasaya sa atin magiging boring na because inilagay na ng Diyos sa ating mga puso ang tunay na joy na nagmumula sa Kanya lamang.kaya naman un sinasabi ni sis Mirriam sa testimony na boyfriend niya si Lord at nararamdaman niya na nanliligaw sa Kanya si Lord..for me, totoo un .kapag talaga naka focus tyo kay Jesus alone maraming kamangha manghang bagay ang ipaparanas sa tin ang Diyos ...Because sis Mirriam was obeyed God, naghaharvest na siya ngayon ng mga blessings..Kaya naman ang challenge sa kin ngayon ,..pray consistently ...and fully surrender myself to God ...I really thank God for the life of sis Mirriam...she encouraged us na walang tunay na kasiyahan without Jesus in our lives...Thank you po sis Mirriam...more souls to win..God bless.. – Sis Len De Ocampo

Her testimony is really challenging and inspiring. No one and nothing can fill the emptiness of our heart and soul. The more we want something for ourselves lalo taung mawawalan, but when we desire to be filled with His presence and to be a woman of God, He will give us beyond our requests and anticipations. But we should fully surrender ourselves first. And ask Him to give us a heart na laging in luv na in luv s Kanya through our consistent and constant prayer. Entrust and submit everything to Him. And pray na minsan is prng imposible ung mga ngyayari katulad ng pgbulong s knya ng Lord s pangalan ni Bro.Ardy to be her husband... But it was real, nothing is impossible to God. Just believe and have faith in Him. – Sis Ana Kim

 Ung reflection ko po sa testimony ni Sis Miriam natotonan ko walang sinumang ma pride na tao ang pinagpapala ni Lord. Because Jesus Christ is the model of humbleness kaya we should humble ourselves before He bless us And we can't obey and submit to anyone if we don't have a humble heart kaya unang una dapat un ang ma change sa puso natin bago freely natin matanggap whatever commands and will God wanted for me to follow.
 Pangalawa matotong makinig sa answer ni Lord to what we prayed for. Hindi ung nagppray but we have something in our mind na gusto na or nka plan (same sa list of ideal person ni Sis Miriam) dapat wag ng mag ask kay Lord kung nka set na sa mind natin ung gusto natin kasi matatagalan lang ung process, at si Lord lang din nman ang masusunod at ma disappoint lang tayo.
Once we asked God for His will, let it be and let God to decide. Kasi nga po He answers our prayer more than to what we deserve. And I have testimonies narin mga kapatid how God answered my prayers more than to what I expect..Hindi lingid sa inyo ang buhay eps at 2x na panganganak ko, sa early na paglabas ni Rak, still i sincere pa ako ng samunim ko. To God be the glory. – Sis Rima Felizardo

Napaka timely & laking challenge for me to trust God 101%.. Not to worry what lies ahead .. set aside "my SELF" Not my own will but His will.. Not my dreams but His plans ... That all will fall into place with His perfect plan and time. But I want to start with my heart desire to have a CONSISTENT INTIMATE-prayer life and time with God.. i want to hear God's voice.. loud and clear.. Esp. in making life-changing decisions ahead us..
Ang ganda nga sinabi niya, humble down.. Obey.. Submit to husband as we submit to God.. fall inlove with God.. That feeling na masaya at excited lagi makausap at makapag spend ng time sa Kanya.. Mag devotion at gumawa ng journal..(kaya from today i long to have that "inlove" feeling with the Lord)
The way Sis. Miriam shared her testimony .. Indeed! You can feel kung paano kumilos ang Panginoon sa buhay niya..
P.s
and also that we can share our own testimony on how God touched our hearts & changed us inside-out that may inspire,bless others and get to know Jesus Christ.
Blessed day ahead!     - Sis Khaye Tuazon

!Be Humble alwayz specially to our Lord kc hindi natin kayang lumapit sa panginoon kung tayo ay mataas at hindi natin kayang magpakumbaba...Obey all commands of God and trust in the Lord with all ur heart and lean not ur own understanding!wag tyong manangan sa sarili nating kakayanan at kylangan ipagpray natin ky Lord lahat ng plano at gusto natin sa buhay...at pinaka the best is prayer un talaga ang kylangan natin sa buhay natin is prayer...Kylangan s prayer natin is always God's will not our own will...and i always pray to the Lord na patuloy na bigyan tyo ng wisdom pra malaman natin ung will ng Lord pra sa mga prayers natin kung ano man un?Glory to God.... – Sis Crizel

May bagong inspiration akong nkuha. Waiting upon God's best but in the time of waiting mahalin ang Panginoon ng buong puso at isipan. – Sis Darlyn

After the conference, there was an awarding of certificate to the graduates of the E12 Discipleship Ministry. It was awarded by the respective pastors of the different churches with the speakers Bro. Ardy Roberto and Sis. Miriam Quiambao-Roberto.


Everybody was blessed with what they learned from the conference. It was indeed a very meaningful and memorable event for all the attendees. And as what Pastor Jerry Yusi said, the Men and Women’s conference was the BEST, it is Beautiful, Enlightening, Spiritual and Thought Provoking.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Eat, Stroll and Wander at Chinatown Incheon

Ni Hao Ma!!!

Greetings all the way from CHINA……… town Incheon!!!

At the entrance of Chinatown in Incheon


You know what’s ridiculous about South Korea?

Everywhere you go, you always see the same thing.

If you walk at random streets, you probably see shops like Daiso, Lotteria, Paris Baguette and coffee shops like Angel-in-Us, Starbucks, and Tom N Toms among others. Korean restaurants are also everywhere, and of course, saunas and noraebang are always there too. The cities of Korea all look the same regardless of the location.

If you want to see different things in Korea, then go to places that offer different flavors to the visitors, example of this is the Chinatown in Incheon. Obviously, this place is a haven of Chinese food, buildings, products and whatnot. Aside from having a distinctive and unique atmosphere, this place is very special to both Chinese and Koreans because of its history.

A hotel designed in Chinese Architecture

A long long time ago, the Chinatown was a home to some 10,000 Chinese inhabitants of Korea. However, because of so many factors like Korean war and regulation of Chinese residents in Korea, the community had significantly decreased. Today, they still preserved the Chinese atmosphere of the place and people go to this place just to experience a little China in Korea. You can see more of these stories and about some Chinese legends on the paintings on the wall in the mural street.

Some paintings on the wall of the mural street

If you ever encountered the Korean food called “Jajangmyeon” or Noodles with bean pasta, you may want to know that this food is not just a Korean food. Jajangmyeon is actually a fusion of Chinese and Korean and this food was originated from this place. In fact, the restaurant that first served Jajangmyeon in the history of the world still exists right in the middle of Chinatown in Incheon.  There are a lot of jajangmyeon restaurant there, but if you see a restaurant with a ridiculously long line, that probably is the original maker of jajangmyeon. Other Chinese foods are also available in the menu of various restaurants in the area.


Some of the many Chinese restaurants in Chinatown


What I love about Incheon Chinatown though is the structure of the buildings because it is very Chinese. I’ve never been to China before so I don’t know how to compare it with the authentic designs, but nevertheless, taking a selfie in front of a hotel or a restaurant may make people believe that you are in China.

The busy street of Chinatown Incheon

The streets of Chinatown are always busy. People usually go to this place to eat, or buy Chinese products or just walk around. It’s a nice little place to visit if you want to feel the Chinese festivity and ambiance.


One of the many great architectures at Chinatown Incheon


It is easy to go to Incheon Chinatown. The address is located at Seollin-dong / Bukseong-dong, Jung-gu, Incheon-si (인천 중구 선린동 , 북성동 일대) but if you want to go there via public transportation, you can do so by taking the subway train Line number 1. Get off at Incheon station, and once you exit at the station, you can walk for about 3 minutes to reach the Chinatown.

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Saturday, January 21, 2017

WINTER-refic Activities at the Hwacheon Sancheono(Trout) Ice Fishing Festival (얼음나라 화천산천어축제)

Hwacheon Ice Fishing Area


If you think Korea would forget festivals and stay slumber on a winter, you are wrong, you are definitely wrong. Korea never stops the festivities all year around, even during the below zero degrees Celsius winter. There are a lot of activities going on during this cold season in Korea that would make you hate the idea of hibernating. One of the biggest festivals in Korea is held every winter and that is the Hwacheon Sancheono Ice Fishing Festival (얼음나라 화천산천어축제).

People are busy catching trout fishes


Just like Boryeong Mud Festival, this Ice Fishing festival is not only graced by the Koreans but also by the tourists. It’s a very interesting festival because it is held in a county in Gangwondo named Hwacheon. If there’s a hell of fire, I would say that Hwacheon is a hell of ice. It was freezing cold when we went there in mid January. Since it is located in the Northern Part of South Korea, Hwacheon is the first place in the country to freeze during winter season. It freezes so much that its river is covered with a very thick layer of ice, making it an ideal location for ice fishing.

Our travel group Goh Travel Korea arrived at the venue at almost noontime. There were a lot of people when we arrived in the location. We’re all foreigners in the bus and we were given a pass to a fishing area only for foreigners. There was already a long line, so we waited for I think about 30 minutes before we were able to go in the fishing area. I can’t believe I was stepping on a river. Yes, it’s a river covered with a very thick ice, so thick that it will not collapse even with hundreds and thousands of people stepping on it. They gave us fishing kit which includes a fishing rod and a fake small fish to attract the trout fishes.

Trying my luck to catch the trout fish from this little hole


In the fishing area, there were holes made so that participants can just cast their baits on it and wait for the fish to bite it. At first, I was confident I can catch a lot of fishes because it looks so easy, but I was wrong, it was never easy at all. I casted my bait into a hole, the water was so clear I could see the bottom of the river from the small hole. I even saw fishes just passing by my bait, they don’t care at all. After 10 minutes, the person next to me was able to catch a fish, I was a little bit pressured because the fishes were not reacting to my bait. I was determined to catch even just one fish, so I followed what others are doing. Apparently, you just don’t put your bait out there and wait for the dumb fish to bite it. You have to move it so that they think it’s alive and suitable for lunch. After 20 minutes, the people around me started to shout for joy because they were able to catch some fishes. I still patiently waited, transferred from one hole to another, and followed what others are doing, but to no avail. After about 30 minutes, I was already frustrated and started praying like crazy, making appeal to fishes passing by and somehow oblivious to the presence of my bait to bite it. Nobody listens to my plea. Maybe the trout fishes don’t like me at all. Our time was up, I wanted to stay for more, but there were a lot of people waiting for their turn, so I rested my case for the trout fish and went out of the fishing area empty handed. At least I enjoyed the experience of ice fishing. The thrill was real and you can feel the excitement in the air everytime somebody catches a fish. Somebody from our group caught 14 fishes, that was a lot of fishes, and she’s a woman. I asked what’s her technique, she said that you should not wait for the fish to bite your bait because most of the time, they will ignore it. Use the bait to attract the fishes, and when they’re near, catch them on their body using the hook of your bait. That technique was so effective, at least for her. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to bring our catches, we have to surrender them all at the kitchen booth.

Helping a friend for her catch

The good thing about this activity is, whether you caught 0, 1 ,2 or 14 fishes, everybody will be given one grilled trout fish. How awesome is that? It was already late for lunch when we finished the fishing activity, so we filled our stomach with the complimentary grilled trout fish given to us. Should I say that the trout fishes at Hwacheon are so delicious? They call this fishes Sancheoneo which literally means Mountain Trout Fish. This kind of fish does not swim on murky waters, they thrive on clear and clean water only. It tastes like a fusion of salmon and milkfish. Supposedly, we were only entitled to one fish per person, but I was given two fishes, and because I really really love the taste of Sancheono, I did not refuse the offer.

Sharing one hole to get the fish

Aside from the Ice Fishing, there were other activities held in the same location. There’s ice skating, snow sled, ice slide and even giant ice sculptures all over the place. Think of everything you can enjoy in the ice and you can find it at this festival. There’s also a barehand fishing activity where you catch trout fishes with your barehand in the cold water wearing only shirts and shorts.

Our tour group GOH Travel also brought us to the Ice Sculpture Museum and to the Street full of Lanterns. For this year 2017, GOh Travel will still conduct one last trip on February 5, 2017. To join the trip, GO CLICK THIS EVENT PAGE for more details and information.

I will make a separate blogpost about other activities you can enjoy at Hwacheon during winter. The Ice Fishing Festival is enough reason already to go to Hwacheon. The festival runs from January 14, 2017 up to February 5, 2017.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Announcement of Examination for the 14th Korean Language Test (1st point system)



Finally, the long wait is over for all the Filipinos who aspire to work in South Korea. The Human Resource Department of Korea (HRD) through the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has announced the schedule of registration and examination for the Paper Based Test (PBT) and Computer Based Test (CBT) for the Korean Language.

But before you get too excited, they also announced that there are additional requirements in order to be qualified as a foreign worker in Korea. I have posted the Process on How To Apply As Factory Worker in Korea in this blog before, apparently, that process is no longer applicable for this year’s recruitment because Korea is now hiring foreign workers based on Point System.

Before we get the details of the examination, please be informed that passing the Korean language test is not the only requirement to be hired. Aside from the Language Test, you must also pass the Skills test and at the same time you will be given the option for the competency test. We will discuss the other parts of point systems soon, but if you want to know the details of this, you can check THIS LINK for more information.

Your first challenge now is to pass the Korean Language Test. The qualifications of applicants have been revised already. The following are the new qualifications:

① Person aged between 18 and 38(Person born between Feb 1, 1978 ~ Jan 31, 1999)
 ② Person who has not been convicted of imprisonment or heavier punishment
③ Person who have no record of deportation or departure orders from the Republic of Korea
 ④ Person who is not restricted from departure of home country
⑤ Person who has no color blindness and color weakness
⑥ Person who has no physical handicaps such as the slipped disc or finger amputation

If you think you have the qualifications above, these are the dates of registrations and examinations:
For Registration:

Registration Period (4 DAYS): 31 January (Tues) ~ 3 February (Fri)

 Period: January 31-1-2 – February 3 – Male Applicants
February 3 – Male and Female Applicants may register (However, Male Applicants are preferred due to the nature of work) Presently, POEA has 2,000 Female Jobseekers in the roster. Allowed registrants per day: 7,500 or a maximum of 30,000 for four (4) days

 Time: From 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM
For Examination:
▪Announcement of Test Date, Place & Method: 17 March (Fri)
▪ Actual Test via PBT: 25 March (Sat) ~ 26 March (Sun)
 ▪ Actual Test via CBT: 3 July (Mon) ~ 31 July (Mon) / May be changed
▪ Announcement of Passers via PBT: 7 April (Fri)
 ▪ Announcement of Passers via CBT: 11 August (Fri)

Here are the requirements you need to submit:

1. Passport (validity should not be earlier than January 2018)
2. Clear copy of scanned passport
 3. Clear recent colored ID picture with dark blue background and name tag: (Last Name, First Name, Middle Initial, Suffix in capital letters), size: 3.5 cm X 4.5 cm

How to Apply Online(www.poea.gov.ph):

1. Create an EPS-TOPIK Registration Account
2. Check the email you provided 3. Click the link to activate your account in your email
4. Complete the registration form and then click “Submit”
5. Your application is now for evaluation. Please check your email for the status of your registration.
6. Login to your EPS-TOPIK Registration Account. If your registration has been approved, click “proceed to payment”.
7. Type the required information in the payment form 8. Wait for payment confirmation. Message, “You are now registered” 9. Print your test permit on the scheduled date.

Please note that this is just the FIRST STEP for the Point System. If you pass this test, then you can proceed to the SECOND STEP which is the Skills Test. I will discuss about this test in the future blogpost.

Good Luck!

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Invasion of Prize Claw Machines ( 인형 뽑기) in Korea

One of the many 인형 뽑기 in Korea

Four years ago, prize claw machines already existed in South Korea. They were everywhere, but you can just see them in some random corners especially in the market places. However, these days, prize claw machines have elevated into a higher new level, they’re no longer rusting in some lonely corners of the street; but instead, you can now see them in an arcade room especially dedicated for them. I admit I tried playing in a prize claw machines for several times, in all those instances, I don’t remember winning even once, I therefore concluded that these arcade games were rigged. You sure could just buy a $5 worth of stuff toy in the market. It’s just that, people are looking for the thrill, and the joy they got from playing in this machine is simply priceless. The prizes are simply generic plush toys manufactured by who knows who, but they’re cute and fluffy enough to gain customer’s attention.

Plush toys as prize for this particular machine

But before you all get too excited and enlivened over this new craze in Korea that is인형 뽑기, I will explain first what it is all about. Well, for a start, it’s simply an arcade game also known as claw machines. You can find this kind of machine almost everywhere in Korea. Prizes at stake varies, it could be jewelries, dolls, toys, but in the case of 인형 뽑기, the prize is usually plush toys. The mechanics of the game is simple, you just need to insert the money in the slot to turn on the machine. The cost per game ranges from 500 won up to 1000 won, this will give you 15 to 30 seconds to get the prize you want by manipulating the crane using a joystick. That’s it, simple and fun.

Proud girlfriend holding her boyfriend's prizes

Nowadays, if you walk along the crowd of Koreans in some random market places, chances are, you’ll get to see young people and young Korean couples holding some generic plush toys. I think, there’s 80 percent possibility that they got it from the claw machines. There are a lot of reasons why Koreans are hooked into these machines, based on my personal analysis and psychoanalysis, Korean guys used these machines to impress their girlfriends. They are willing to spend several Cheon Won because their girlfriends are cheering for them. Also, it’s a way for a group of friends to bond and cheer for each others. And most of all, it’s thrilling and entertaining. As I’ve said, you can just buy those toys from some novelty shops, but the joy of getting it from the claw machines is different. No wonder why Koreans flock to places where there are claw machines installed.

Waiting for their turn to play the machine


Arcade room for claw machines are sprouting like mushrooms everywhere in Korea nowadays. I thought it’s only happening in Seoul and in Cheonan, but when I went to Daegu last New Year, I couldn’t believe they closed some fashion retail shops and jewelry shops to convert it into an arcade room for claw machines. I thought it was crazy idea, but people are actually patronizing this business. So if you have spare coins and wondering how you can dispose that off, head on now to your nearest인형 뽑기and get them all plush toys.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Feeling Wizard at the Hogsmeade Café in Daegu

It was the last day of the year 2016 when I decided to do something magical. I’ve been a muggle all my life and there’s no way I can do magic. I once called the attention of Professor Dumbledore so he can let me in at the Hogwarts School of Wizardry so I can become one of them. Fortunately, an owl came at night with an invitation to Hogwarts, and I can still vividly remember how happy I was heading to the platform 3/4. At first, I felt awkward because those pure blood wizards stared at me like I was a dirty little boy, but thank goodness because I also met other muggles like Hermione Granger and she comforted me and even sat beside me at one of the compartments of Hogwarts Express.

Anyways, I was bored and would like to practice some of my magical skills, but I could not simply do it in the world of the muggles. At Hogwarts, I am a wizard, but in the human world, I am a normal person. Since it’s our break at school, there’s no way I could practice casting spells and making potions in the muggle world. I was so terrible at everything at school, although I have the determination and the patience and the enthusiasm, it’s difficult to turn muggles like me into a good wizard. So I decided to sneak into Hogsmeade. The problem was, unless you have the permit, no wizard is allowed to go to this wizarding village. I heard from a house elf that while wizards can’t go to Hogsmeade, everybody, and with everybody I mean including the muggles, can go to a Hogsmeade café which is located in South Korea!!! Another problem was, my broomstick was broken, it was my bad because last semester, I went to try out for a Quidditch tournament, I felt like I was ready for it, but instead of catching the golden snitch, I hit on a lamppost and broke my broomstick and my nose, ugh!!! I have no choice but to commute like an ordinary person.

So I traveled to Daegu, South Korea to visit the Hogsmeade Café that the house elf was talking about. Apparently, this café is not in the Marauder’s map, so to add insult to the injury, I have to step a notch lower into the human level by using a Google’s Map so I can find the Hogsmeade café. The address of the café is at 경상북도 경산시 성암로12길 36-11. Since I was commuting, I checked the most convenient way to go there using the public transportation. The nearest Train station to the café is Sawol Station of the Daegu Subway. It was not difficult to ride a train at Daegu because there are only 4 subway lines, although I wish I could just Dissaparate to my destination, but I was too scared to try it because this may Apparate me to South Africa instead of South Korea. So I decided to just go through the flow of public transportation to go to Hogsmeade Café. When I reached Sawol Station on Line number 2, I went to Exit 2, there’s a bus stop at the exit. I took Bus Number 100-1 and got off at Oksan Woobang Apartment which is just 5 stops away from Sawol Station.

When I got off from the bus, the street reminded of Privet Drive where Harry Potter lives. It’s a quiet neighborhood, there were few people in the area that time and clean street. But Hogsmeade café is nowhere in the vicinity. I was tempted to use my magical powers to locate the café, but I was very careful. I walked one more block from the bus stop, I passed a building which looks like an elementary school, and then I crossed the street. And then in one small corner beside the school, I found the Hogsmeade café waiting for my arrival. It’s a small café with a very interesting design. When I saw it, it was……magical!!!

The Hogsmeade Cafe in Daegu

So I went inside the café, the barista slash the owner was sitting in the common room of the Gryffindor. There were two customers obliviously talking to each other and I barged in with my usual “annyeong haseyo” greetings. The barista, probably in his mid to late 20s welcomed me with a charming smile. But his presence was overshadowed by the familiar things I saw inside the café. One of the eye catchers in the café is the replica of the Gryffindor common room. There’s a big banner which says Gryffindor, a cloak, scarf, sorting hat and even harry Potter’s eyeglass. There’s also a fireplace which for me looks like a Floo network.


The Gryffindor common room inside the cafe


Each house has been represented in the café. There’s a banner for Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin, but Gryffindor stands out. There’s also Nimbus 2000, wands, and pen which reminds me of Rita Skeeter. Other memorabilia relating to Harry Potter like cards, marauders map and potions are magically displayed inside the café to awe every potterhead who visits the place.

Wearing my Gryffindor cloak and scarf with wand and potion



My first question to the barista slash the owner was, “are you a harry potter fan?”, yeah it was a silly question because the obvious answer was YES. He said that the wands, the broomstick and other stuff inside the café were made by his father. He conceptualized the Harry Potter themed café because he loves the novel, and he is a barista, so the café is a fusion of his passion.

The cafe counter


There’s a butterbeer in the menu, but because I couldn’t drink beer, I was so sorry I have to skip that. For my beverage, I had Kiwi smoothie. I also ordered Cheese Soufle and Choco Choco. There are few selections of coffee too and a lot of sweet treats, but for the benefit of my sugar intake, I have to be contented with what I ordered. I only paid 15,000 KRW for my food, a price quite reasonable for a themed café.

Kiwi smoothie, cheese soufle and choco choco



The ambiance is very wizardy and cozy. I was wearing the Gryffindor cloak all the time while inside the café. It was dimly lit making it looks like a chamber or a dungeon plus the walls and ceilings are bringing the Hogwarts feel. I must say that the interior design was carefully planned to make it look and feel like a dungeon. There are also clips from Daily Prophets posted in every corner of the café. It really reminds me of the Hogsmeade.

Daily Prophet news clips on the wall


As much as I wanted to stay for long, I have to go back home that afternoon. It may not perfectly resemble to the real Hogsmeade, but at least this café will satisfy your Harry Potter cravings. If you are a potterhead and you are in Korea, you must visit this café!
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