Saturday, January 25, 2014

5 Freebies You Can Avail in South Korea

South Korea might not be the best option if you are looking for a place with an affordable lifestyle. However, not everything about Korea is expensive. Depending on your shopping preferences and the country you are coming from, South Korea is really not an expensive place to live in. While it is true that there are expensive goods and services, there are also some things that you can buy at a very affordable price. In fact, you can get some for FREE. Yes, you read it right, FREE STUFFS exist here in South Korea.

You know when they say “The Best Things in Life Are Free”? I guess it’s true. Sometimes, getting stuffs for free can give more happiness than buying it. Even if you can afford it, there’s some kind of excitement when you can have stuffs for free. My job today is to inform everyone who are here in South Korea, or for those who will visit this country in the future, about the things that you can enjoy for free.

1. Free Medical Service

I was tagged along by colleagues from Sinwoldong Sungkyul Church Foreign Ministry to visit a neighboring church because they were inviting people to avail their free medical service. So we went to the venue and I was amazed with the variety of medical services they offer for free to everyone.

There’s free haircut.

Free dental service.

Free medicines.

Free check up and consultation.

And yes, free oranges.

And look who were the happy campers.

Aside from the churches, the Ministry of Labor of the Government of South Korea also offers the same free service for all foreign workers in South Korea. I have seen them offering it to people at Hyehwa sometimes.

So if you are interested to avail free medical service here in South Korea, ask around the neighborhood especially those who are mainly active in church ministries. It’s good when you get yourself free check up.

2. Free Skills Training

One of the best freebies I have ever availed here in Korea is the skills training. I have attended this Free Korean Language training at 4th generation Academy at Gangnam. I have learned a lot from the classes especially the proper way to construct sentence in Korean and pronunciation.

If you are interested to join their free language training this year, feel free to contact the person below.

Aside from Korean Language training, there are also several short courses offered like Coffee Making, Video Editing and Photography from different Training centers and migrant centers. Here is an example.

3. Free WiFi

People in the subway, in the restos, and in most public places are all glued their eyes on their smartphones. Thanks to the free public wifi that is available almost anywhere in South Korea. Through the easy connection to the world wide web, people can chat their friends on Kakaotalk, stalk their crushes on Facebook and shop in online stores anywhere, anytime.

Free WiFi can be availed if you know how to move around and find the right spot. Some establishments who have WiFi installed on their buildings didn’t put password, you can easily connect for free.

4. Free Bicycle Tire Inflators

There are a lot of advantages when you use bicycle rather than automobiles. Although bicycle is best only when you go over short distances, you won’t have any problem inflating your flat tires here in South Korea because you can see these little machines randomly at major streets. You can have your bike’s flat tire fixed for free. Isn’t that amazing?

5. Free Tour Guides

Want to tour around Seoul but afraid of getting lost in direction? No worries, Korea has free tour guides for you or they call it The Walking Tours. Go check out this link to book for your schedule of free tour.

Aside from the 5 things I have mentioned above, you can also have free taste, free goodies, and yeah, free hugs. I know it’s not only here in South Korea that you can get the same freebies but for everybody’s information, I hope you’ll find this handy if you look for some good free stuffs when in Korea.
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Saturday, January 18, 2014

3 Types of Delectable Filipino Food you can Find in Seoul

I love FOOD!!!!

Who does not?

I bet you too love food.

Korea is one of the best places in the world to satisfy your gastronomic cravings. There are a lot of good dining restaurants that serve not only the authentic Korean food but also other western food. If you are in for an amazing food adventure in Korea, try visiting a place in Seoul called Hyehwa-dong. Chicken House? Pizza? Donuts? Ice cream parlor? Name it and you can find what exactly your taste bud is looking.

But  one thing I'd like to have for a food trip is Filipino food and this place they called Little Manila in Hyehwa is a haven for Filipino food lovers. I don't usually go to this place because it is crowded, noisy and messy but it offers different kind of fun especially for the Overseas Filipino Workers here in South Korea.

So I started my food trip with FILIPINO DESSERTS. I know it should come last but I supposed to just treat myself with sweets that time. I don't have any plan to eat anything aside from desserts. I saw almost, if not all, Filipino kakanin for sale at Hyehwa. I bought three kinds of kakanin, the Biko, Puto and Maja Blanca all for only 5,000 won.

I felt like I was in the Philippines while eating the sweets and I got other Korean bypassers curious of the food that I am eating. The filipino vendor told me that their best seller is actually kutsinta. In fact, it wasn't available because it was all sold out when I was there.

Aside from the desserts, FILIPINO STREET FOOD are also available there. You can buy Lumpia or even pork barbecue for only 2,000 won per stick.

One of the most common filipino street food is Toron and of course it is also available. If you miss the Saba coated with sugar, you can have one at Hyehwa for only 2,000 won.

I was so full already with the desserts and street food I ate but the welcoming presence of the Filipino cook in one corner of little Manila persuaded me to try eating at their place.

They serve FILIPINO VIANDS and you can get a value meal for only 6,000 Won. A value meal comprises of two viands of your choice, rice and a soup. It's a good deal for me considering that they serve authentic Filipino food made by Filipino cook.

It's fun to eat at this place because the Filipinos there are awesome and cool. They made me feel welcome and they also initiated an ambiance of being at home.

The place is not really that comfortable, a typical carenderia in the Philippines. Just bring somebody you want to eat with so you can enjoy the place and food despite the messy venue.

But what surprises me the most is that the small carenderia has a lot of patrons who are foreigners. I saw Americans and Koreans who maybe got curious about Filipino food.

Next time you want to satisfy your gastronomic cravings with a touch of nostalgia, go to Little Manila at Hyehwa. The market is only open during Sundays.
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Friday, January 10, 2014

52 Weeks Money Challenge for OFWs in South Korea

This 2014, are you up for a challenge?

I would like to introduce to you this 52 Weeks Money Challenge specially designed for OFWs here in South Korea. The reward of this challenge is something that everybody will look forward too. This aims to test our discipline when it comes to money and practice saving. If executed well, I know you will gonna repeat this next year.

We, the OFWs should learn to put value on our hard earned money, and by value I mean using the money wisely in spending for our family's needs without compromising the gratification of our own needs and wants. I once overheard a conversation between two OFWs at a remittance center in Seoul. I didn't intend to eavesdrop but these two women talked like they're in a tambayan in front of Aling Nena's store, so I listened anyway and here's how the conversation goes:

OFW1: Oi mare, nandito ka na pala. Magpapadala ka rin?
OFW2: Oo mare, buti na lang maaga tayo no? Maraming tao dito kapag ganitong araw ng pagpapadala.
OFW1: Oo nga eh. Padala na naman tayo ng pera, malapit na exam eh.
OFW2: Ako nga 2 Million won ipapadala ko pang tuition ng dalawa kong anak at pampaenroll na rin nila for next sem
OFW1: Aba, ang laki naman yata ng 2 million won.
OFW2: Eh yan daw kailangan nila eh, hindi ko nga alam magkano talaga kelangan, baka niloloko lang ako ng mga ito.
OFW1: Mga kapamilya talaga natin kung makahingi wagas eh no? Akala nila namumulot tayo ng pera dito
OFW2: Tama ka, ako nga may gustong bilhin para sa sarili ko pero di ko mabili. Ipapadala ko lahat ng pera sa pinas.

I should have let that conversation pass but I was dumbfounded by the fact that she can afford to send 2 Million won for a tuition fee but she can't buy something for herself. That's not healthy at all. You work your lungs out and you can't even reward yourself? I know that our primary purpose as OFW is to help our family in need, but we should also be wise. We can provide for the needs, but not as far as the wants. We should save up, and we should buy something for ourselves too.

Together with other OFWs here in South Korea, we are discussing this challenge in a Facebook group called PINOY STOCK MARKET INVESTORS IN KOREA. This is a small group with very few members where we discuss financial management advice, investment tips and other information on how to manage our income. We have come up with this 52 weeks money challenge that could make you save up to 3 Million won in 52 weeks. Here are the mechanics:

1. Think of something you want to buy for yourself or something you want to do. You want to buy a car? Gadgets? Go on a Vacation? Think about it and make it your goal for this year. It must be something that would gratify yourself.

2. Get a bank account or a box or a piggy bank where you want to put the money for weekly challenge.

3. Follow the savings plan below. Every week, from the first week of January up to the last week of December, you ought to put in the corresponding money per week into your savings.

If you think the amount of money for saving per week is too high to handle, you can adjust it depending on your income. You can follow the same pattern but with different amount based on how much you can afford.

3. At the end of the year, get all the accumulated amount of money saved and materialize what you have planned on procedure number 1.

This is one way of rewarding yourself for the hardwork you had done for one whole year. Please note that this is not your actual savings per se. This is just for this challenge and on top of any other saving plans you have right now. I think this is a good way to discipline yourself when it comes to saving the money.

Are you going to accept the challenge?
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Saturday, January 4, 2014

1 Stop Shop at Sindang Market in Seoul

When I hear about Seoul, everything sparkling, shining and shimmering come to my mind. I think I am not the only person in the world whose notion about Seoul is nothing but a limelight city of South Korea where the pretty actresses, handsome actors and the lively K-pop thrive. In fact, Seoul is one of the most targeted cities of travelers in the world because of the exciting technology and adventures it can offer. Seoul for me is in the limelight of South Korea, it is very popular that I feel like I don't need to know more about the place. But once you will set your feet on the ground of Seoul, right at every corner of its prominent streets, you will get some bewilderment from unexpected revelations of the place. Take for example the Sindang Market in Seoul.

The Sindang market is situated right after you exit the Sindang station which can be accessed via Subway Line Number 2 and Line Number 6. You can literally stop and shop all you can at this place because you can actually get what you want including things that you can't expect to see in South Korea.

This place in Seoul could be the best place for people who want to collect items especially the antiques. This is one place where you can find objects from the past that could be very valuable to some collectors.

These mini motorcycles made with bronze are very attractive for me. I saw this in one corner of Sindang market and I just can't help but stare at it. I couldn't even dare to touch it.

Sindang Market is a street market where you can see everything you can in the street, yes, it in indeed literally a street market. Vendors are just putting all the items in any vacant area and wait for customers to come and buy. I was told that some of the items here were actually ransacked from apartments and abandoned buildings. I couldn't find any evidence though so I could not testify on that. But by just looking at the items below, it looks like being aggressively taken out of a closet or a room. Hmmm... ?!?!

The best thing about shopping at Sindang Market is that you can actually personalize your approach to the vendors.This is one effective way to get discounts on items you have selected. But beware of some vendors because they will just yell at you if you keep asking for a discount. Hahaha.

I think this market in Seoul has all the cutest items you could ever see in the street stores. I was tempted to buy one of the lamps below, there could be a genie living there. Who knows? I might be granted with three wishes.

And speaking of wishes, do you ever wish to see those items back in the 80s and 90s? Walkie talkie. Analog cameras. Walkman. Can you still recall those stuffs? Yes, you can find them all at Sindang, right at the heart of Seoul. I am just curious if there are still buyers for these stuffs? Or are these even working?

I love it when I see some shops with their displays neatly arranged in order. I just want to look at it because if I will buy one of their items, it will look awkward. I don't know if these items are really for sale or for just display purposes only.

Second hand watches are also everywhere, and hey, they are not ordinary watches because the watches are branded.

Just beware of some drunk ajummas or ajussis. This woman caught our attention because she kept on shouting like she's challenging anybody for a war. Yes, even in Seoul Market place you can encounter people like her. We tried to avoid her because she's holding a bottle of soju and we don't want to be hit by a bottle of course.

I was tempted to buy a calculator or a walkman too just to see if they're all working. I am not sure how old these items are or if there are people actually buying any of these items.

Some unique stuffs are also on display. Heaven knows what are their uses.

For those who have a good taste in art, you might find it interesting in here. You can see some paintings and some unique items from the old centuries like the abacus and a bag made of bamboo.

Just because it is a street market doesn't mean you can't organize your items on sale. I guess collectors could find a lot of interesting stuffs in here.

Ah, you're looking for something interesting? How about this?

And this too?

Furniture represents!!!! These cute and colorful chairs and tables makes me want to get one and bring home. But their sizes aren't practical enough to carry.

I also saw some cChinese stuffs in here. They look so fragile and expensive.

And if other vendors put an effort to display their items, some vendors simply put it beside the street and wait for interested customers to buy.

Do we have some kind of mardis gras here? If you are looking for masks similar to this, you can see a lot at Sindang market. They come in different forms and colors.

Cassette tapes, anyone? Or can you even remember this? Back in the '90s, I am one of those teenagers who loved to collect cassette tapes and make mix tapes.

Of course, kitchenwares could not be absent in a market setting like this. However, I can't guarantee that these items are new. But for sure, they're all in good condition.

And since it's winter, pre-loved skiing essentials are also available for buying.

I am still puzzled where they got stuffs like these. And why? And How? And who will buy these? I think these are good for collection.

 Some good paintings that you can buy at Sindang Market.

After spending the whole cold Sunday afternoon at Sindang Market in Seoul, I think this place is a gem, a diamond in the rough. While some average shoppers could not really appreciate the items they can see at this market, I know that the story behind these pre-loved goods, the history, the previous owners and the value are more than enough to be appreciated.
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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 Complete List of Winners for the SBS Entertainment Awards

The year 2013 has been one of the successful years for SBS. To acknowledge the best of the bests that happened in the entertainment industry this year, SBS presents the following winners for the 2013 SBS Entertainment Awards:

Daesang: Kim Byung Man

Best Excellence Award: Lee Kyung Kyu, Song Ji Hyo

Best Excellence Program Award: Running Man

Excellence Program Award: K-Pop Star, Healing Camp

Producer MC Award: Kang Ho Dong

Popularity Award: Kim Sung Soo

Excellence Award: Sung Yuri, Kim Jong Kook, HaHa

Announcer Award: Kim Min Ji

Friendship AwardLee Kwang Soo, Ryu Dam

Rookie Award (Comedy Category): Kim Jung Hwan

Rookie Award (MC Category): Girls' Generation Sooyoung 

Rookie Award (Variety): Ham Ik Byung

Congratulation to the winners. See you at 2014 SBS Entertainment Awards.
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