Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Spirit and Lots of Fun at Lotte World Korea

Lotte World Adventure Korea
Lotte World Adventure Korea
(c) Anny Martinez

If you are looking for a theme park in Korea that offers entertainment as well as adventure, I recommend the Lotte World. I must say it’s an awesome venue to bring your family and friends because this is a perfect spot for sightseeing and to enjoy thrilling rides. Although Korea has a lot of theme parks, Lotte World is one of a kind because aside from the rides, parade and other entertaining activities, you can just go there to enjoy the view because it is located right next to Seokchon Lake, hence making it appear even more magical and interesting. I can’t say it’s the best theme park in Korea, but generally, I like the ambiance of Lotte World. 

The Indoor Adventure of Lotte World Korea
The Indoor Adventure of Lotte World Korea

What I like most about Lotte World is the different kind of parades they exhibit inside the park. Me and my friends were lucky enough to visit this theme park in December, this is of course courtesy of KEB-Hana Bank of Korea who gave us free tickets to enjoy Lotte World. We enjoyed the Christmas parade so much because it reminds us of the most celebrated holiday of the year which is Christmas. In Korea, you can only see and experience Christmas when you go out to major cities and markets and malls. Seldom can you see people decorate their houses with Christmas ornaments. But at Lotte World, we have witnessed how they spread the Christmas spirit to all the people inside the theme park. The Christmas parade was so colorful and entertaining, plus the Christmas music and characters were all jovial enough to make the ambiance festive and jolly inside the biggest indoor theme park in the world. 

Christmas parade at Lotte World Korea
Christmas parade at Lotte World Korea

So why is it considered the world’s biggest indoor theme park?

Well, aside from the fact that it can accommodate different parades in every season like the Christmas Parade in December, it has also a concert stage. Yes, a concert stage inside a theme park. In fact, we went to watch the concert first before doing anything. 

Korean kids performing at the concert stage of Lotte World Korea
Korean kids performing at the concert stage of Lotte World Korea

The Indoor adventure also includes 22 different rides like the World Monorail, Camelot Carousel, French Revolution and a lot more.

Not only that, there’s a connecting passageway to the second floor that will lead you to the Outdoor adventure where you can see the Magic island, an artificial island that is situated in the middle of the Seokchon Lake. Imagine this: A Magic castle in the center surrounded by the beautiful natural lake with different choices of rides all over the place. I don’t know about you, but I found it so overwhelming. 

The magic castle at Lotte World
The magic castle at Lotte World

There are about 17 thrill rides at the Magic Island of Lotte World. We actually tried the Bungee Drop, it’s a smaller version of Gyro drop. We saw how people were thrilled at the high-altitude-free-fall Gyro Drop, so we just decided to try the smaller version of it, at least we were confident we can handle the Bungee Drop. 

One of the many thrill rides at the Outdoor adventure of Lotte World
One of the many thrill rides at the Outdoor adventure of Lotte World
(c) Anny Martinez

Since some of us were not really into thrill rides, we just enjoyed the Christmas ambiance of Lotte World. When it started to dark, the magic castle lit up. Oh no, actually, Christmas lights started to appear everywhere in the Magic Island. It was such a magical night for us indeed.

The magic castle of Lotte World at night
The magic castleof Lotte World at night
(c) Anny Martinez

It’s all good at Lotte World except that we found it difficult to buy food. While there are a lot of food stalls and restaurants inside the park, we found it hard to find a good one because they’re all scattered in the area. It would be pretty easier for people to choose and find something to eat if there’s an area where you can buy food, it’s just my two cents though. But from our experience, we wasted some time to go from one area to another just to find something to eat.

Lotte World Fantasy Gift shop
(c) Anny Martinez

Generally, the combination of the fun rides, the entertaining Christmas parade and the magical view of castles and lake made our visit at Lotte World memorable and fun.
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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Truth Behind Old Nasty Tweets of Miss Universe 2015 for Siwon

Photo Credit to Ms Universe Pageant Hotspot

After the controversial coronation night, Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, a proud representative of the Philippines, on her first day reign as the queen, is now facing another controversy, it’s a thing she maybe did in the past that’s haunting her at present, now that she’s wearing the weight of the crown.

Apparently, Pia is a huge fan of Kpop. She’s a fan of Korean boy group Super Junior especially Siwon. After winning the crown in Ms Universe 2015, her old tweets about her obsession over Siwon of Super Junior back in 2009 resurfaced online. I read some of her tweets as posted at asianjunkie website.

While I believe that these messages are simply an admiration of a fan, some of the tweets posted are actually foul. This particular post of her was highlighted. In the article posted in asianjunkie, this is their translation:

But literally, the actual translation of that tweet is this:

“Siwon Choi’s duck egg is yummy. It’s one of a kind. Especially the meat part and the juice. Motherf*cker. You are so yummy Siwon”

As you can see, the real translation is way different from their translation. That's too much.

As a Filipino, I have to defend our queen. I can’t see anything wrong with the other tweets but this one, I can’t believe she tweeted that. I contacted the person she tweeted on that post and according to her, Pia is indeed a huge fan of Siwon but these tweets did not come from her.

In year 2009, her phone was actually stolen and the person who stole the phone got access to her Twitter account. When that person found out that Pia is a fan of Siwon, the person posted a series of Kpop fandom themed tweets, so it appears as if she’s the one tweeting those nasty tweets. She was not able to get her Twitter account back immediately that time and she was not able to delete those tweets too.

Hopefully, this will clear the issue. She seems like a fine lady and it’s not in her personality to say those words especially in a tweet. Now, let’s move on and hail the Queen.
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Sunday, December 6, 2015

Cute Products You Can Buy in South Korea

I love cute!

I don’t care if it’s a person, a thing or an animal, as long as it is cute, I definitely love it. I mean, who does not love it, right?

If you are into this kind of stuff, shopping in Korea is made easy for you because this country has a lot of cute products that you can buy and bring home. Most of these items are available in the street of major markets in South Korea like the Nampodong Market in Busan, Myeongdong in Seoul, Namdaemun and Dongdaemun. When you go to Korea and you set your foot in one of these markets, you will surely see these cute things all over the place. Here are some examples of adorable products that you can buy in South in Korea.

1. Cellphone Cases

The cute cellphone cases in Korea
The cute cellphone cases in Korea

 People here in Korea are into personalizing their mobile phones. From the apps, to the wallpapers, you can almost tell the personality of the person by just looking at their phones. These cute cellphone cases can transform your phone into extra ordinary looking gadget. Cellphone cases are no longer the boring black or white rectangular shaped ones. You can have a cellphone case in the form of your favorite cartoon character. Isn’t that awesome?

2. 3D Greeting Cards

3D greeting cards in Korea
3D greeting cards in Korea

In this digital age, greeting cards are in the verge of ending its era. But some people still choose to still send greeting cards than a text message or an online generated greetings because it is more personalized. Korea has found a way to make greeting cards more interactive and interesting. They call this 3D Greeting Cards! When you open the card, something will form in a 3D to surprise you. I really find this cute.

3. Hats

Hats with design in Korea
Hats with design in Korea

Whether it’s a winter hat or a summer hat, you will never get bored with the design of hats in Korea. It always comes with something attractive and nice to look at.

4. Kids’ Fashion

Korean Kids apparel
Korean Kids apparel

Ever wonder why Koreans are into fashion?
Because they are already fashionable since birth.
 I like how clothing for kids in Korea have own fashion statement. When Korean kids wear these fashionable clothes, they even look more adorable.

5. K-pop items

kpop items for sale in Korea
kpop items for sale in Korea

Pillows, pins, posters, calendars…… name it and you can find any item possible with the face of your favorite kpop star printed on it. I am sure that fanatics of Korean Drama and Korean songs will truly appreciate this. I guess if you are to bring these people something from Korea, you will never find it hard because these cute Kpop items are almost everywhere in South Korea.

6. Socks

Socks with cute designs in Korea
Socks with cute designs in Korea

If there’s one thing I can assure about South Korea, their socks will surely never suck! While you can buy some plain boring black, white and gray socks, these cute and colorful and attractive socks designed with different cartoon characters, combination of colors and weird form of art are almost everywhere in the market of South Korea. This is fun Korean item you can give as a gift to someone. And the quality? Definitely the best! Socks here are cheap but the quality is good. Just make sure you are buying something that is made in Korea.

7. Souvenir items

Souvenir items in Korea
Souvenir items in Korea

The souvenir items perfect to bring home or as a gift to somebody who loves Korea are not just like any other souvenir items in the world. There are key chains, pins and even nail cutters. But what makes these souvenirs different from others is that it is customized to show the culture of Korea. You can see the Korean flag, hanbok, significant landmarks and any other symbols that will tell you that the item has been made and bought in South Korea.

8. Stuff toys

Korean stuff toys
Korean stuff toys

When we talk about cuteness, of course we can’t eliminate stuff toys. But what makes stuff toys in Korea unique is that you can always find a Korean trademark in the items. Whether it’s a character from a Korean cartoon series, a cute teddy bear wearing the Korean traditional clothing, or a famous kpop star, Korea will always find a way to make it appear obvious that a stuff toy is made in Korea.

These are just some of the cute items you can buy in South Korea. If you have time to walk around one of the markets like maybe Myeongdong, you can see these adorable products for sale along the street of the market. If you are thinking of something that you must buy in Korea, in the cuteness level, I will gladly suggest you buy one of the above items I shared and keep as your cute remembrance of this country.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

CFO Conducted Peso Sense Financial Literacy Workshop to Filipino Migrant Workers in South Korea

The CFO or Commission on Filipino Overseas came to South Korea to conduct a free financial literacy workshop to the Filipino workers. This is part of their Financial Education campaign program called PESO SENSE. This Financial education campaign is part of CFO’s “Ugnayan sa South Korea” program which was held last November 27 to December 4 2015. The objectives of this program are encapsulated in three major components which are to ENGAGE which aims to address the challenges faced by the Filipino communities, EMPOWER which aims to provide Financial education to the OFWs in South Korea through PESO SENSE program, and to ENTERPRISE which aims to provide information on business and investments available for us.

Last November 29, 2015, I was able to attend the financial education campaign of their PESO SENSE program at the Philippine embassy in Seoul, this is in connection to their aim to provide EMPOWERMENT through the “Ugnayan sa Korea” event. It was attended by several other Filipino migrant workers here in South Korea. Together, we embarked into a fun and educational workshop.
In the first workshop, we were able to identify our financial status based on the lifestyle, spending, work attitude, luxuries and mindset towards success. Through the workshop, we realized how we are when it comes to financial status and we were grouped according to the result. As a group, we discussed ideas, opinions and other matters relating to our choice of lifestyle and how it affects our financial well being.

After that, we went through several other activities like taking the Financial Fitness Quiz where we assessed our personal financial health based on our lifestyle, insurances and level of literacy. We also formulated our Personal Income and Expense Tracker or PIET where we breakdown all our income and the corresponding expenses. We also went through prioritizing our expenses and we found out that when it comes to expenses, everything is relative. Your priorities are based on your status in life and your mindset too.

I guess my favorite part of the program was the Dream Matrix part. I always love it when we get to write down what we want to achieve in life. We were able to identify our top 10 goals in life, chose the top 4 and let go of the others based on the concept of S.M.A.R.T which means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. We created a dream matrix where we set a timetable to achieve our dreams and how much money we need to get it.

In the end, we realized that your attitude towards spending, saving and budgeting has an effect towards achieving your goals. Let’s face it, our dreams have corresponding cost and you can only achieve it if you have enough discipline when it comes to money. At the end of the program, we settled how much money we should allocate for savings, expenses and how much money we should save every month to achieve our ultimate dreams in life.

Before we closed the program, we made a vow to apply what we learned from the workshop and to constantly remind ourselves of our goals in life. It was such a productive day for everybody who attended the event and we went home feeling inspired. I personally felt like I stepped a notch higher when it comes to financial literacy. To the people behind CFO and this program, thank you for bringing us PESO SENSE, this will surely help OFWs not only in South Korea but around the globe.
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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Journey to the Depths of the Ocean at COEX Aquarium

Entrance to the COEX Aquarium
Entrance to the COEX Aquarium

If you are looking for an indoor attraction in Korea, I think I will recommend COEX Aquarium. This is a place where you can actually experience the underwater world, that means embarking on a water journey where you can see different sea creatures and species that you can only see when you go diving. I have tried diving before in the Philippines, although the COEX Aquarium could not offer you the same experience as in diving where you can see the sea creatures in their most natural habitat underwater, at least you get to see an in depth look of some species that you can only see in the depths of the oceans.

Sea creatures you can see at COEX Aquarium
Sea creatures you can see at COEX Aquarium

What is good about the COEX Aquarium is that it is not just an aquarium. I mean it’s a giant aquarium but it does not only contain things related to oceans. Upon entering, you will get a glimpse of how a tropical rainforest looks like where you can see creatures in the mountains and some animals you can only see in the forest and caves.

Bats inside the museum
Bats inside the museum

Everything is inside the museum, from swamps to rivers, name it and you can experience all of this and more. It feels like trekking through Amazon tropical rainforest. For a while, I forgot I was actually inside a building, that’s how convincing the set up is inside the museum.

Some interesting sea creatures at COEX Aquarium
Some interesting sea creatures at COEX Aquarium

But of course, the star of the museum is no other than their giant aquarium. I felt like I was swimming in the depth of the water minus the oxygen and the wet suit. I saw live sharks, turtles, octopus, electric eels and my favorite, the pulsating jellyfish. You know we are trying to avoid them in the water, but I find their movement actually entertaining.

The jellyfish at COEX Aquarium
The jellyfish at COEX Aquarium

The Entrance fee for COEX Aquarium is 22,000 won ($22) for adult. For Middle to High School Students, ticket price is only 19,000 won and 16,000 won for children. Seniors and disabled adult ticket price is 16,500 won only while disabled children will only pay 9,000 won. There is also a group discount (20 people or more) but you need to call them first at this number: +82-2-6002-6312.

Different variety of fishes at COEX Aquarium
Different variety of fishes at COEX Aquarium

COEX Aquairum address is in 513 Yeongdong-daero, Gangnam-gu, Seoul [서울특별시 강남구 영동대로 513 (삼성동)]. If you want to go via subway, take Seoul Subway Line Number 2 and get off at Samseong Station. Go to Exit 5 and 6 and go directly at the end of the Ocean Walk section which is located next to ASEM Plaza and Megabox Cinema. Coex Aquarium is directly connected to the COEX Mall. COEX Aquarium operating hours is from 10 am to 8 pm.


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Friday, November 20, 2015

What You Should Know About the Progress of Social Security Agreement Between Korea and Philippines

The meeting between President Aquino and President Park during the APEC summit held in the Philippines has left a bad taste in the mouth of OFWs in South Korea. Judging from the social media rants of some OFWs in South Korea, nobody approves President Aquino in his request to President Park to support the approval of the Social Security Agreement.

Just like other workers in South Korea, I reacted so badly with this because as far as I know, the issue about SSA has been resolved. But before I discuss further about the progress of SSA in South Korea, I just think that WE have overly reacted to this. It’s ok to get angry, it’s ok to rant, but I think saying bad words to our President and cursing our government is way too much. I understand that Social Media is our only outlet to express our disgust with this issue, but let’s be responsible with what we’re saying. To add insult to the injury, some of us are using wrong hashtags and information. Please don't use phrases like "No To NPS agreement" or something like that because it is way different from the Social Security Agreement or NPS-SSS Agreement.

The reaction has actually blown out of proportion as some of us created banners protesting against the NPS. Please be informed that the National Pension Service or NPS of Korea is not our enemy here, not even the SSS. We have no enemy and we don’t need to fight. What we are just fighting here is our right to claim what is due to us, which is in this case, our kukmin. If possible, please take down all those posters and banners because NPS may not like it seeing their logo used in a negative light. Let’s be responsible with our action as this will compromise our status as migrant workers in this country.

The Social Security Agreement, as we know it, is all about the agreement between Korea and Philippines to put our lump sum refund or kukmin in our respective SSS accounts. We can only claim the benefits when we reach the age of 65. Nobody agreed to this and NPS was kind enough to listen to the sentiments of the Filipino workers.

During the NPS-SSS Agreement forum

I asked Ms. Gennie Kim, an active Filipino volunteer and advocate in Korea, about what has actually happened to the Social Security Agreement throughout the course of the year. According to her, there was a forum held last February 2014 and there were some progress made in the agreement. Before the said forum, the Filipino EPS Workers Association or FEWA had conducted a survey soliciting from Filipino workers of their opinion about the SSA. Of course, the obvious reactions were negative; I for one has posted my own opinion about my dislike to this agreement.  The NPS was kind enough to listen and validate the reasons of the OFWs, and through that forum, the voice of Filipino workers was heard.

NPS representatives with the FEWA officers

I must say that the meeting held between Filipino workers and the NPS was successful because both parties came up with a working solution. Instead of making it mandatory for everybody to have their kukmin deposited to SSS account, an EPS worker can actually choose between two options:

1. To claim the NPS refund either in the Airport or deposit it into the bank account in the Philippines

2. Transfer the NPS refund into the SSS account and claim it at the age of 65 years old provided that the worker has contributed for 10 years in the NPS. This option is impossible to achieve because an EPS worker can only stay up to 4 years and 10 months.

That was what has been agreed at least during that forum, and from then on, nobody talks about the NPS-SSS agreement since obviously nobody wants that.

Not until the recent event in the APEC summit where President Aquino discussed this with President Park. If it’s all about making SSA mandatory or not, we don’t know! What we know is, as per agreement with NPS, we have two options. After all, what happened during the summit was just a discussion and President Park did not exactly say anything about it but she instead vowed to improve the Social Security Agreement for the benefits of the people.

So I guess let’s just be calm and stop condemning NPS, you are barking at the wrong tree. We have their words and Korea always listens to us.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

President Aquino Sought President Park’s Support for SSA at APEC

Photo credit:

The SSA or Social Security Agreement between Philippines and Korea seems like rising from dead again. Yes, just like how the dead people animate in The Walking Dead series, President Aquino took advantage of the ongoing Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the Philippines to talk to the President of South Korea Park Geun-hye about some concerns and issues and this includes the amended Social Security Agreement.

As an OFW in Korea, I am totally against this SSA. I have already posted my opinion HERE about that issue and as far as I know, we have successfully shut down this agreement.

To remind us about this SSA, this is how it actually works:

How will this SSA affects our refund?

To simply put, the lump sum refund(KUKMIN) will no longer be granted immediately when you go home. Instead, it will be deposited to your Social Security System (SSS) account and you will only get the lump sum at the age of 65.

Apparently, our dear President Aquino is trying to convince President Park to support the passage of this agreement at the bilateral meeting.

And to quote Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr:

“President Aquino said he hoped South Korea will positively consider proposed amendments to the Social Security Agreement so that it may be finally concluded to enable our peoples to fully maximize its benefits,”

President Park did not exactly respond to this request yet but she promised to develop the social security program to benefit the citizens involved in this.

I sincerely hope that this is the last time our government will touch the topic of Social Security Agreement between Philippines and South Korea. We don't simply trust you putting your hands on our hard earned money.... so back off!!!
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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

List of Korean Language Training Centers in the Philippines

Korean Language is fun and easy to learn… if you are going to learn it the right way.

It can also be difficult and cumbersome especially that sentence structure is different from English.
People want to learn Korean language for different reasons. Some study the language because of the influence of Kpop and Korean Dramas while others have to learn it because it is essential when you seek employment to South Korea.

There are a lot of ways to learn the language and I think one of the most effective way is to learn it with the help of Korean Language Training centers. It may cost you money and time but at least you have expert people willing to help you.

If you want to learn Korean while you are in Philippines, here’s the list of training centers specialize in teaching Korean language.


1. Name of Center: Hangul Sarang Korean Language Tutorial and Review Center
Address: Unit 303 CASA Malvar Bldg. General Malvar St. cor. Singalong St. Malate, Manila
Contact Numbers: 09491456324 and 09231481439

2. Name of Center: Korean Language And Culture Training Center
Address: U904 Parc Haus II Suites 21 EDSA, Guadalupe Nuevo Makati City, Philippines
 Contact Numbers: (02)882-1602 and 09154391076

3. Name of Center: CK-LC Korean Language Tutorial
Address: Block 67 lot 19 Grand Riverside Subd. Phase 2-A, Pascam General Trias Cavite
Contact Numbers: 0946-653-6066, 0910633-8742 and 0939-233-7704

4. Name of Center: JLTC
Quezon City Branch

Unit 306 TDS buidling 72 Kamias Road Quezon City Unionbak Kamias


2nd floor Aragon building, 107 national road/ alabang zapote road


#2150 San ANDRES Extension, Sta. Ana , Manila


‪#‎San‬ Jose Baranca, MAGALANG , PAMPANGA

Contact Numbers:
Quezon City:0915 946 5431
Las Pinas:0918 540 6400
Manila:0939 544 7807

Pampanga:0939 544 7807

Address: Unit 318-320 Victoria Bldg. 11th Avenue Gracepark Monumento Caloocan City
Contact Numbers: 0908-2541622/ 0915-1138373

Address: Balibago, Sta. Rosa Laguna
Contact Number: 0908 818 5234 OR 0908 244 1235
Other Branches:
                      Naic, Cavite
                      Balanga, Bataan
                     Tanuan, Batangas
                     Lemery, Batangas

7. Name of Center Britton International Languages and Tutorial Center
AddressL Rm 409 Hansel arcade bldg Aurora Blvd cubao near gateway at isetann landmark stop light at 7-11

Branch: Mc Arthur Highway, San Vicente, Apalit, Pampanga

call or text at 09437083336 / 09172770697 / 09434063585

8. Hangeul Excellence Language Tutorial Center
Pls visit any HELTC Office
Main Office: 1058 Marbea Subd. Sta Cruz
Magalang Pampanga
Angeles Branch: 109, 1st flr Sonny Lao Bldg. Jake Gonzales blvd. Virgen Delos Remedios Angeles City
MEXICO BRANCH: 2nd flr. Ommeta Bldg. Callye Washington/Javier St. Parian Mexico Pampanga ( near Municipality of Mexico)
Guagua Pampanga Branch:209, 2ND FLR. OLD MAC ARTHUR HIGHWAY 


1. Name of Center: Hanguel 101 
Address: A.S Fortuna, Mandaue City, Cebu
Contact Numbers: 0932.423.40.60 and  0949.838.55.64

2, Sebu Hangeugo Language Tutorial Services
Main Branch:
Sangi Rd, Lapu-Lapu City,Cebu
Contact # 09232838601
Bohol Branch:
Rm 203 Norkis Building, CPG Ave. cor Ma.Clara St.
Tagbilaran City Bohol

Contact # 09434079243/09065475751 


Address: ANGLIONGTO ST. DIHO,BUHANGIN, DAVAO CITY. Diversion Road location namin . 
Contact Numbers: (smart) 0918 651 4822 . (globe) 0917 671 4786. (TnT) 0910 997 9764. 
(globeline) 082 – 324 4326

2. Name of Center: TESDA KORPHIL Training Center
Address: ONB Tibungco Bldg, Asian Highway 26, Bunawan District, Davao City, 8000, Philippines

3. Name of Center: H.S. Son Korean Language Center, Inc.
Address: 3rd Floor N.B. Mercado Bldg. McArthur Highway, Matina Davao City, Philippines

Contact Number: 63 82 297 2477

4. JEM Technological Institute Inc. or JTii
addressL 3rd floor Del Mar Building, Mt. Mayon St. Davao City 
Tel no.: 300-3760 

cp no.: 0936-802-0046 or 0949-671-0360

If you know any Korean Language training center in the Philippines that is not in the list, please feel free to let me know so I can add it up to this list.
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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Keep Calm At The Garden of The Morning Calm (아침고요수목원)

The Garden of the Morning Calm during Autumn
The Garden of the Morning Calm during Autumn
It’s early November in Korea and Autumn Season is at its peak. I am vocal with my love for autumn and it is obviously my favorite season of the year. It is this time of the year when the green surrounding magically turns into what look like a painting of a wonderland. What better way to enjoy the autumn season is to go out and visit the places that could definitely give justice to the beauty of the most colorful and celebrated season of the year.

And where are these places?

Now, this is where dilemma is kicking its way to confuse your subconscious. There are a lot of great places in Korea to visit during autumn. It is up to you to choose and do research on which one is accessible. For this year, I visited the most famous garden in South Korea, The Garden of the Morning Calm.


Last year, I had the privilege to visit Nami Island and Petite France in Gapyeong during Autumn. The Garden of the Morning Calm is just around the corner of the city but I was not able to visit because I don’t have ample time. When a friend invited me to go to the garden, I did not hesitate because I wanted to go there since last year. Gapyeong is almost 2 hours away from Seoul. Seeing that I am coming from the province, it would take me at least a good 3 hours of travel via subway. Just as there are a lot of ways to cook a fish, there are also a lot of options to go to the Garden of the Morning Calm.

If you have your own private vehicle, going there could be very easy and convenient. Just navigate to this address and you will surely find your way there:

432, Sumogwon-ro, Sang-myeon, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do 
경기도 가평군 상면 수목원로 432 (상면)

Me and my friends wasted a good 45 minutes to discuss how we should go there. The options are via ITX Train from Yongsan Station to Gapyeong, or by bus, or just the ordinary subway.

ITX from Yongsan station to Gapyeong Station is the fastest. For only 4,500 KRW, you can get to the Gapyeong Station in just 50 minutes. Aside from being the fastest option, you can also get a comfortable seat all throughout the trip. The disadvantage of this is that you may need to book ahead of time for the ticket. There is a schedule for this, so you also need to check the schedule. We did not take this option because we need to wait for about an hour before the next trip, so we decided to take another option.

If by Bus, you need to go to Dong Seoul Bus Terminal and take the bus bound for Cheongpyeong Bus Terminal. It would take about 2 hours of travel. And from Cheongpyeong Terminal, you need to take Bus 31-7 that would take you to the Garden of Morning Calm (아침고요수목원).

Since we were already inside the train station that time, we took the third option, and that’s to go there via the regular subway. We took the Gyeonchun Line from Yongsan Station and got off at Cheongpyeong Station. It took us almost 2 hours to travel via the subway.

From Cheongpyeong Station, there are two ways to get to the garden. First is by taking Bus 31-7 at Cheongpyeong Terminal, second is by taking the City Bus Tour. We chose the City Bus Tour because there is not much Bus 31-7 available.

The City Bus Tour costs 6,000 won, you can hop on and off at the bus at different spot for one whole day. If you want to go to other places aside from the Garden of the Morning Calm, you can do so. You can check out my previous post about the ITINERARY TO GAPYEONG DAY TOUR on how you can fully avail the city tour.


We were so exhausted and hungry seeing that it was lunchtime when we arrived at the garden. We cared less of the view of the mountain and the garden because we looked for something to eat first. Good thing that there are a lot of restaurants available inside and outside of the garden. There are a lot of coffee shops, pension houses and Korean restaurants in the area. If you are planning to go there and spend overnight in the area, you can do so. We went to a chicken restaurant and had our lunch there. Before the entrance to the garden, there are also Korean street foods available. You will surely never go hungry there.


entrance to the garden of the morning calm
entrance to the garden of the morning calm

But of course we did not go there just to eat. After we ate, we went to see what’s inside the garden. The entrance fee costs 9,000 won per person during the weekend. There are also special prices for the youths, senior citizen and for kids. If you come in by group, you can also get a discount price. If you go there during weekdays, price is lower by about 1,000 won.

At The Garden of the Morning Calm, every single walkway is a perfect spot for photography. As a photography hobbyist, I did not find it hard to find scenic angles because everything inside the garden was perfectly designed. The grasses were beautifully manicured and the flowers are so attractive you could not resist but to appreciate it.

relaxing spot at the garden
relaxing spot at the garden

I don’t know how the garden looks like in different season but for me, it’s beautiful in the autumn. Just imagine how these 5,000 kinds of plants entertain your eyes with their colorful leaves and blossoming flowers. I was enticed by the beautiful foliage because it makes the garden even more romantic that is why couples find this place perfect to hang out.

Couple enjoying the scenic walkway of the garden of the morning calm
Couple enjoying the scenic walkway of the garden of the morning calm

I like how I felt like I was connected with nature when I was inside the garden. The elements of water, earth and plants are so powerful that it helps you forget about the busy world outside the garden.

the serenity of the garden of the morning calm

Korea is big when it comes to preserving nature but not everyday you get the chance to stop and appreciate it. The garden has different sections you can enjoy. There are sections for trees, for flowers, for forest, for stones and for waters. I forgot how exactly they call it but yeah, all these and more, you can experience at the garden.

one of the interesting displays at the garden of the morning calm
one of the interesting displays at the garden of the morning calm


I really appreciate the garden during the autumn, but apparently, the beauty of The Garden of The Morning Calm never fades all through the year. It is not only beautiful during the autumn, it finds a way to stay attractive and awesome in different seasons of the year. When we went there, the Chrysanthemums and fall foliage dominate the public eye because it was autumn.

Chrysanthemums and fall foliage festival at the garden of the morning calm
Chrysanthemums and fall foliage festival at the garden of the morning calm

Imagine how it looks like during spring. During this season, the garden celebrates the Spring Garden Festival where different varieties of flowers bloom. During summer, it’s the Festival of Roses, Hydrangeas and Roses of Sharon and on winter, they have the Lighting Festival where you can see the magnificent form of the garden when embedded with lights of different color and sizes.

And on that note, I am planning to visit the garden again at different season of the year. I think that would be very interesting.


an old tree in the garden of the morning calm
an old tree in the garden of the morning calm

All in all, we enjoyed our visit in the garden. It was one sweet and memorable afternoon because we once again experience the beauty of autumn in Korea. It’s far but it’s worth the visit. We went out of the garden at around 5 in the afternoon because it was getting cold already. We also need to catch the last trip of the city tour bus so we could go back to the train station. There were a lot of people during our visit probably because it was the peak season for autumn, but it was fun. I can’t wait to go back this winter if I have the chance again to witness the Lighting Festival.

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Friday, October 30, 2015

My top 10 Worst City Slogans of Korea

In a country where there are a lot of cities competing for attention, how would you promote your own city? Slogan is one good way to introduce your city to the world. However, I just recently found out that Korea is not good in coming up with a slogan. Could it be because of bad English? Lack of adjectives? Or simply because they are just too lazy to think of a slogan so they simply put some random adjectives or words right before or after the city name and pooofff!!! It became a slogan!!!
Just recently, Seoul announced their new tagline. They have finally decided to change “Hi Seoul” after how many years.

And after a long time of deliberation, they have come up with a new, fresh and catchy tagline

And I was like…… I….. what?

The seemingly awkward slogan receives a lot of negative comments especially in the social media. If you will google “I SEOUL YOU MEMES”, you will definitely find out how the slogan is the center of mockery in the internet today.

We are maybe all laughing at how the new slogan of Seoul is not making any sense, but have you tried looking at the slogan of the other cities of South Korea? I think the only decent slogans I ever read so far are “Dynamic Busan”, “Evergreen Seongju”, and…… and…. Ok… no more…

I just picked my top 10 worst slogans though. I have to put a disclaimer that this is just based on my own opinion. These are the worst for me, but the other slogans maybe the most awful in your book. For the complete list of the slogans of cities of Korea, check here 

10. Smile! Geumjong

My top 10 is Smile! Geumjong !!!

If you think the phrase sounds familiar, you are right! You hear that everytime somebody takes a photo of you. So what are we going to do at Geumjong? Take selfies?

9. Bravo Ansan

You can’t simply say this slogan without the chin up while slow clapping your hands and your voice must be like that of Pavarotti….. Bravo… bravo!!!

Oh wait, did Ansan show an amazing performance? Then what are we BRAVO-ing for?

8. Creative Hwaseong

And on number 8…. Let’s show the world how creative Hwaseong is…. Let’s start with the slogan!!! Aha, very creative indeed.

7. Gimhae for you

Not for me, not for us, not for them……but for YOU!!!. Gimhae is just for you.

6. Good morning Jinha

How about at noon? Or afternoon? Or at night? I think Jinha is a morning city, it will not function well from 12 noon onwards.

5. It’s Daejeon

Oh it is? I don’t know that.

4. Aha! Suncheon

Look, somebody has just discovered Suncheon. You must put emphasis in saying “AHA”!!!! and since you put all your energy to that word, you have no choice but say Suncheon in a very small voice.

3. Let’s Goyang 

I find this annoying than witty. Obviously, this is a mock on the common phrase we are all using, the “Let’s Go!!!”…. and it’s just one syllable away from Goyang, so they simply use it. It’s so brilliant I could pull all my hair…. This deserves to be on top 3.

2. Fast Cheonan

I guess they are running out of adjectives and they need to think fast so they could come up with a slogan for the city fast, why not Fast Cheonan? A city with a lot of fast food chains, it has also fast trains in the subway and people walk fast in Cheonan, hence the slogan.

1. Pyeongtaek Super

And the top spot goes to “Pyeongtaek Super”!!!!

This is a good-very slogan.

I like how they use phrase-catchy to come up with this.

I guess Man-Super like this.

And Girl-Super too.

Maybe Man-Bat too.

Or should we change the name of the country to Korea-South!

I hope you have enjoyed the slogan more than infuriated. And I hope the cities are well represented with these awesome taglines.

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