Saturday, November 23, 2013


Are you a warfreak?

Let's redefine the word warfreak at least for this article. Let's make it more positive. What I mean when I say warfreak is having an utmost desire to learn or study more about war. It is not about making it as a habit, but making the "study" about war as a hobby.

I think it's interesting to learn more about war because it's part of the world history, and when we talk about it, I mean the misunderstanding between nations, Korea is one of the many countries who took part in so many kind of wars in the world. As a Filipino who is working here in Korea, everytime I see statues, museum or anything related to war, it reminds me of the darkest time of South Korea but it gives me a jolt of pride since Philippines helped South Korea to survive during the momentum of chaos against North Korea.

If this subject is something that trigger your interest, let me bring you to The War Memorial of Korea (전쟁기념관). 

I spent one fine afternoon last summer at War Memorial of Korea or we could just call it a museum. This museum was not only built just to showcase the grandeur of Korean warcrafts and weaponries, it is also a tribute to the victims and to the people who participated to all the wars that involved Korea. There are a lot of interesting stories and artifacts that 2 hours is not enough to really savor what this museum has to offer. If you really want to know everything about the place, you must spend half a day. 

This "Statue of Brothers" built in the southwest part of the memorial park is not simply a stone built in human form and fixated in a cracked dome made with granite. There's a story behind this statue, a mere proof that the museum has a heart that could capture the attention of many tourists aside from the fact that it is the biggest museum in the world of its kind. This statue depicts the story of the brothers, one working for South Korea and the other one working for North Korea. They met in the battlefield in the middle of the war. This is a profound image that showcase the greatness of love over any hatred and misunderstanding.

Another Interesting sculpture at the museum is this statue made with bronze. I love the details of the sculpture because it does not only show an action of escaping but the expression on their faces conveys tensions and troubles. I don't have any idea about the story of this statue but I find it very interesting.

Photo credit to

For the pleasure of your eyes, if you are not really into history and you just want to see their weapons, you can visit the Large Military Equipment Exhibit where you can see 3 types of weapons they used during the war. The Large Military Equipment is just one of the many halls for exhibits you can see at the museum. 

You can see a lot of types of weapons. This one is obviously used for battles that take place in the sea.

There are also a lot of land based warcrafts being displayed in the large military equipment in the exhibit like this:

We tried to operate it like we are one of the armies, but of course this is just for the show.

And more acting like this.... LIKE A BOSS!!! :)

It was such an amazing experience to ride on every piece in the exhibit.

And of course, the air based equipment are all there too. They are all huge!!!

The stuff look so real, of course they're real, just inactive.

Look, everyone is taking poses together with the weapons.

I think this is just one way to remind people that all these weapons and equipment can be as fun as cars and stuff toys if not being used to something horrible like killing people. Nobody wins in war, but everybody can be happy to see these stuff if being used in some activities that could contribute to the progress of the nation, like in this case in the area of tourism.

For those who are curious enough and want to visit the War Memorial of Korea, you can take this direction:

Take the subway line number 4 or number 6 to Samgakji Station. Go out at Exit Number 12. The museum is just 5 minutes away from this station. The War Memorial of Korea opens at 9 in the morning until 6 PM.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

3 Benefits You Can Get After You Finished Your Contract as EPS Worker And How To Claim Them

One very important information you should know as EPS Worker of South Korea is that you won't go home penniless. That is the beauty of working as OFW here in South Korea, whether you have saved money from your monthly wages or not, you still have benefits to claim so when you go home, you have money to start up a new chapter of your life.

In case you don't know what are these benefits, I will share this information to you and how to claim them.

1. National Pension System (NPS)

This is known as Kukmin. This is you and your employer's monthly contribution and you can get the lump sum after your contract or your final exit. To check how much money you and your employer have contributed, click here and follow the procedure for online inquiry.

To claim your NPS or Kukmin, before you leave the country, go to the nearest NPS office in your area. Coordinate with your employer so they can recommend the nearest NPS office in your area. You must file a Lump-Sum Refund and present the following documents:

-Alien Card
-Bank Account Number
-Plane Ticket

Note that your lump sum refund will only be claimed when you are already in the Philippines.

2. Toejikgeum or Severance Pay

The company will pay you a severance pay if you have served for at least one year. Based on the new rule, every worker can receive a severance pay regardless of the number of the workers. One (1) year of employment is equivalent to one month basic salary. If you decided to leave after one year of service, you can get equivalent to one month basic salary as a severance pay.

To claim your severance pay, go and file the claim at the Philippine Catholic Center at Hyehwa-Dong. Present the following requirements:

-Alien Card
-Bank Account Number

3. Samsung Insurance or Return Cost Insurance

From your first ever salary as an EPS worker, you have been deducted the amount of 400, 000 won. This is actually for your plane ticket back to the Philippines. Whatever is the outcome of your career here in South Korea, you can surely come back home because of this Return Cost Insurance. You sure can buy a ticket back to the Philippines with this amount.

You can visit Samsung Fire and Marine Insurance Co., Ltd. office at Samsung Insurance Bldg., 87, Euljiro 1 ga, Choongku, Seoul.

In case you have finished your contract or you will about to take your final exit, don't forget to claim your benefits.
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Thursday, November 14, 2013

7 Ways an Expatriate in South Korea Can Help Super Typhoon Yolanda Victims in the Philippines

It's all in the news channel of every country in the world. The super typhoon Yolanda has recently made history as the most devastating and the strongest typhoon in the world. And the most unlucky target of the typhoon, my beloved country- The Philippines.

Death toll rises to thousands and you can see dead bodies lying everywhere in the devastated area. Electricity has been cut off, communication signals have been shut down and the whole area looks like a ghost town similar to that of the scenes you can see in the TV series The Walking Dead. The aftermath of Yolanda is very depressing and has the most morbid view you could ever imagine.

Photo credit to GMA Network

As a Filipino, my heart aches everytime I see my kababayan pleading for help on TV. We who are not affected and living our lives in a regular basis must reach out to them. They need us more than ever. So even here in abroad, there are a lot of ways we can send help to the victims of typhoon Yolanda. Feel free to check the information below on where you can drop off your donations, both in cash and in kinds.

1. Korea Migrants Center

Get in touch with Ms. Katherine Corteza of Korea Migrant Center if you want to donate non-perishable in kinds like canned goods, blankets, tarpaulin, shampoo, soap, etc. Check the direction below on how you can find the office of Korea Migrants Center:

2. Pinoy Iskolar Sa Korea (PIKO)

Another way to donate is through this organization called Pinoy Iskolar sa Korea (PIKO).

List of Recommended Relief Items:

1. Ready to eat food (Biscuits, Cookies, Crackers, Canned Goods) 
**As for noodles, there might not be enough water there, so please avoid it
**Avoid spicy canned goods
**High Energy Bars/Biscuits are most helpful. Easy and ready to eat!

2. Flashlights and batteries / battery-operated lamps 
**No electricity still until the next coming weeks

PIKO will also be having relief collection this coming Sunday, November, 16, 2013 at Hyehwa in Seoul. All cash and in kind donations will be directly handled to the Red Cross. 

3. Philippine Engineers Association in Korea (PEAK)


"The Philippine Engineers Association in Korea is accepting cash donation for the typhoon Yolanda victims.  It is feared that at least 10,000 people dead.
Any amount from KRW 10,000 or below will do.
Please send to Korea Exchange Bank account: 620-202630-141
Account Name: Marcial Barroga, EVP External Affairs
For in-kind  donation (goods or used clothes), please bring it to Miseong Apartment exit 6, Line 5 (see map below)."

4. LBC Hyehwa-dong
If you don't have enough time to really meet with the organizations I mentioned above, you can just send your donations directly to victims via LBC located at Hyehwa-dong. 

LBC Balikbayan Box Address:
1F 101,102-1, Hyehwa-dong Jongno-gu, Seoul City, South Korea
Contact #: 1661-5899

5. Philippine Store at Sokye

If you are in the Southern part of South Korea, i.e Gyeongju-Ipsil, Mohwa, ec., the nearest drop off point for your donations is at the Philippine store at Sokye. You can call Ms. Ann at 010-3307-332 for more information regarding this relief collection drive.

6. Church communities

If you are a member of church community, try to get in touch with your ministry leader and ask how you can help for the victims of typhoon Yolanda. Or find a church community nearest to you and be part of their campaign drive in collecting donations for our kababayans.

7. Project Sagip Kapwa for Small Farming Villages in Tanauan Leyte

Let us help bring immediate relief to small farming villages in Leyte affected by Typhoon Haiyan - Barangay Bangon, Binolo, Bantagan, Kiling & Calsadahay.

Like the Facebook page here.

However cliche it may sounds, mas mabuti na ikaw ang tumulong kaysa ikaw ang tutulungan. Let's be part in helping the victims rise from this traumatic experience. This could not be done overnight, but with the help of our resources that we can share to them, gradually, they can be able to stand up once again.
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