Sunday, June 30, 2013

5 Pinoy Lifestyles You Can Experience At Hyehwa-Dong

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How should I describe Hyehwa-dong? 

All I know is that Hyehwa-dong is one of awesome places in Seoul, South Korea. But let me get some help with my best friend, the Wikipedia, to describe the place to you.

Wikipedia says:

"Hyehwa-dong is a vibrant neighborhood, with colorful nightlife and walking streets that are closed off to traffic in the evenings. The area has coffee shops, restaurants, basketball courts with numerous food choices including an American style diner similar to Johnny Rockets (Platters), and is a large theater district. It is adjacent to the Seoul National University Hospital, with many young people near this neighborhood."

What better way to describe the place I think is to show to you some pictures I took during my visit to the place. Wiki says it's a vibrant place, by the look of it, vibrant is an understatement, Just look at how colorful and happy the ambiance at Hyehwa:



Of course, we could not neglect the sightings of amazing pieces of arts:



But there is one thing special about Hyehwa-dong, it's a haven for Filipinos who are here in South Korea. There is this one area at Hyehwa-dong where Filipinos flocked every Sunday because of the Sunday Market hence making the place a little Philippines. This is a parcel of South Korea where Filipinos can just feel at home, thanks to the marks of "Filipinism" which is visible at this part of the foreign country. If you are a Filipino and you are here at South Korea, just go to Hyehwa every Sunday to experience the Filipino spirit in a foreign land. 

It's a great relief when after you bustled with the foreigners and Korean nationals riding a train to Hyehwa, you will see familiar faces and hear familiar language. It's like a Diagon Alley in Harry Potter, one second you are in a foreign ambiance, but after a few more steps, voila!!! Welcome to the Philippines. You will be greeted by some Filipino vendors with a smile "Kababayan, bili na po kayo dito, mura lang po!!!!" on the sidewalk of South Korea. It makes me say, whoaahhh, this is home!!!



And having said that, I guess the first Filipino mark that we could see at Hyehwa is the Filipino Market.

1. Filipino Market

When we say Filipino Market, it means an all out Filipino mark. The shanties, the vendors and all the foods and goods that they are selling.



From vegetables, to personal hygiene, to foods, name it and you can find, well most of it, at Filipino Market at Hyehwa. So if you feel like using the regular Filipino Toothpaste, i.e Colgate, Close Up, etc, or the regular Filipino soap, i.e. Safeguard, Bioderm, etc, or the regular Filipino Deodorants, i.e. Axe, Rexona, etc, or the regular Filipino foods, just go to Hyehwa and you can get it all in one go. But of course it comes with a price considering the importation of the products and the effort of our Kababayans to sell it.

2. Filipino Foods

Filipinos are everywhere, and so as the Filipino foods.



Yes, Filipino foods reached South Korea and you can definitely find it at Hyehwa. In all fairness, they gained not only Filipino customers but also some Korean Nationals. If you think the Filipino foods are served in a cool and luxurious ambiance, you are definitely wrong. To savor the Filipino spirit, these foods are displayed at the sidewalk, it's just like the turo-turo style of eating in the Philippines. 

3. Filipino Catholic Church

One best landmark at Hyehwa-dong is this Filipino Catholic church that stands tall and strong in the heart of the city.


This church is so popular that Filipino church-goers visit this every Sunday to attend a mass. If you will go there, chances are you will bumped with your good ol' friends and acquaintances just like what happened to me.


I went there alone just for the heck of experiencing the mass and found some awesome acquaintances there. The place is also a good meeting place for eyeballs and meet ups since it is very popular there.

4. Filipino Street Singers

This filipino religious group is in for collecting love gifts from fellow Filipinos in the area.


They are doing this for a cause, maybe for their church or for their ministry. Listening to them makes me feel like I am in the Philippines. This gesture is very Filipino.

5. Ukay ukay stores

Ok, we mean it or not, Filipinos love to buy pre-loved goods. 


We are known to be practical people, so we sometimes prefer to buy branded but pre-loved goods because it is way cheaper than the brand new and Koreans know this fact. So they put up this ukay ukay store in the sidewalk of the little Philippines of South Korean, and guess what, they are selling the items like a hot cake.

I can say that this Filipino market at Hyehwa which opens every Sunday is worth a visit especially if you are a Filipino. It's like taking a bite size of a taste of our home country, and being with fellow Filipinos, albeit strangers, makes me feel that I am indeed belong.

If you want to go to Hyehwa-dong, just take line 4 of the Seoul subway. Take exit 1 and you will know you are in the right place if you will see hundreds, and maybe thousands of Filipinos in the place.

17 comments:

  1. wow this is cool.. because of these marks, maybe it feels like you're still in you own country

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  2. I am so amused looking at those stalls! it seems that Divisoria vendors have migrated to Korea.. Lol!

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  3. I've also heard about or seen similar places in Singapore, Sabah, Thailand, and other countries around the world. I think Filipinos want to create a sense of community wherever they go.

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  4. I love those colorful poops and omg I want to go to Korea and shop at their thrift stores! =)

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  5. It's nice that they have variety in the markets there and also a touch of the Philippines.

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  6. Wow! Filipino foods. It's good to know that wherever we go, we can still enjoy our very own :)

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  7. same here in malaysia we have a building called kota raya same in singapore called lucky plaza too where you see tons of pinoys on sundays and the place where you can savour filipino foods!

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  8. Nice to hear that there is a Filipino Market there and I believe bagoong, tuyo, itlog na maalat and the likes are sold there.

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  9. I so want to go to Hyehwa-dong and visit the Filipino Market. The place will really remind me of my country. :D

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  10. I guess there's always a certain area in a foreign country where Filipinos can be seen around. I witnessed this firsthand when I visited Hong Kong. The Central district there had the same setup.. except for the selling of goods part. :) Anyway, this is a good list. I could visit this when I go back to South Korea. :)

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  11. When I go to a country, the first thinga I checked are Filipinos(kabayan), Filipino food and stuff. It feels like home in Hyehwa.

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  12. Its good to find shelter in a foreign land,
    what more, in building communities.
    Ive never been out of the Philippines, but Ive set my eyes to South Korea since I have a cousin who works in there.
    Think I like the church with its unique structure. :)

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  13. I wish i could meet pilipino in my place here in siminro seongnamsi... because im bored here no one understand me...

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    Replies
    1. try to join KLT8 group on FB kabayan, baka may makita ka mga kasamahan doon

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  14. Anyone curious about eating Filipino food at the vendors in Hyehwa dong should know that the foods are served in true Filipino fashion - as a big rip off. I paid 6,000W for menudo and beef and I was greeted with an elementary school lunch tray. This would not have been an issue had the menudo and beef actually been served adequately but it only managed to fill up one of the side dish bowls on the tray while the main entree portion of the tray was used for a meager laddle's worth of rice. While I can't speak for the Filipino restaurants in the area, I can say I would never recommend eating food at their vendors because of how they skimp you on the serving size.

    Food aside, I would say the only vibrant atmosphere you see around the area is the one that's emanating from a bunch of nasty Koreans who frequent that area in an attempt to pick up Filipino women for sex. I saw this happen on 3 different occasions during my visit there just from over-hearing conversations. Again.. all in true Filipino style.

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  15. That Bangketa and Ukay Ukay are really very Pinoy.

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  16. Wow i love filipino foods. Thanks for this great post.

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