Thursday, May 22, 2014

Learn Korean Language Seamlessly with Elementary Korean Book of Tuttle Publishing


I started learning Korean language through youtube videos and free online tutorials. I was obligated to learn the language because I need it as a weapon for my tenure in South Korea. I don't want to feel sorry for not being able to commute and buy things in the market just because I couldn't communicate well. I have learned how to read, write and understand some Korean sentences on my own but I could not deny the fact that I need help. Thank God the Government of Korea is offering free Korean language classes, so despite the time constraint, I enrolled and so far I have learned a lot from the class.

One of my biggest troubles in studying the language here in Korea is the inability of the teacher to speak English. Attending the class and understanding what the teacher is saying is just like looking for a needle in a haystack. Fortunately, my current teacher in Korean language can speak English, so it is no longer a problem. However, I still find it difficult to use the textbooks here in Korea. Some reference books don't have English explanation at all, and if there is, it is very minimal that you could barely understand the topic.

I found this book called "Elementary Korean Second Edition" by King and Yeon published by Tuttle Publishing.

It has a hard cover and it includes discs for listening exercises.

I like this book because it explains the "how" and the "when" when it comes to proper usage of Korean language grammar. When I say HOW, it explains how to do proper conjugation and conversion of words from its basic form to the present tense, past tense and the future tense. Some textbooks show the "HOW", but forget to explain the "WHEN" which should instruct us on what situation, time or scenario should we use a particular verb ending sentence. In this book, you will not only get the explanation on how to properly play with the conjugation of words but also it has instruction as to when to use the words in the sentence.

Usually, I take time to learn the language by conversing with Koreans. I think it is more effective because you can learn the language naturally, but this book is also useful because it does not only instruct in a bookish manner, it also shows how to construct sentences in the most natural way.

If you don't know how to read and write Korean, don't worry because aside from the in depth approach of explaining things, the book also provide the romanization equivalent of the word. So this is also good to practice reading and writing in Hangeul. Although I would recommend not to really rely on romanization, but for starters, I find it necessary. I guess the book could help you learn how to read and at the same time learn how to use it properly in the sentence.

Not only that, this book has its own word builder. Unlike other textbooks I read, this book display the equivalent English translation of words in the sample sentences. This is very effective to build up your Korean Vocabulary.

I also like their workbook. It is somehow interactive and very comprehensible. A great way to test what I have learned so far in Korean language.

All possible ways of learning the language can be found in this workbook. It is not boring because the activities are diverse.

Learning Korean is not difficult, but it is also not easy and it could not be done overnight. Depending on your ability to absorb the knowledge, it may take time before you can actually fully grasp the language. All you need to have are determination and effective learning materials. Once you started understanding Korean, you will realize how fun it is to learn this language.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

"Let Me Introduce Myself" - An Invitation to the Photography Exhibition of Migrant Workers in Korea

Hear ye, hear ye.
All Ye Kings and Queens.
Knights and Nobles.
OFWs and migrant workers in Korea!

A photography exhibition is planned to showcase the culmination of the Media class of Yangcheon Global Migrant Center with the theme "Let Me Introduce Myself". Here is the content of the invitation.

The migrant workers in S.Korea have a photography exhibition about 'Self'. The period is from 28th of May to 1st of June, and there will be closing party at 3pm, 1st of June. The venue is 'Gwanggyo Gallery' in Cheonggye stream. Please come and see what we say through photography.
* This exhibition is a final presentation of Media Class in Yangcheon Global Migrant Center.

And yes, I will be participating in the said exhibit. This will be my first time to join this kind of event. I started photography as a hobby and if you have read my previous posts on this blog especially my travel posts, pictures play a vital role. So I decided to enroll in a photography class so I could be able to provide good photos here.

If you have time on the said dates, feel free to visit our work at the Gwanggyo Gallery in Cheonggye Stream. Refer to the poster for more details.

See you there.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Experience Korea's Nature at Its Best at Danyang

When I was still in the Philippines dreaming about going to the land of the calm morning, there are only three things that pop up on my thought bubble when I hear the word KOREA. First is its ability to fuse the culture and tradition into its modern way of living, second is the Korean Drama, and third is, needless to say, the KPOP, thanks to PSY. Now that I am here in Korea, I've got the chance to engulf myself with the Korean culture and at the same time explore the country which leads me to discover more things that this country has to offer. On my recent trip to Danyang, I found out that Korea has been blessed by God with head turner views and breathtaking nature.

Together with the congregation of SSCFM, a Christian church community, we traveled to Danyang since it was a Children's day holiday and to also kick off the anniversary of the church. It was a long drive from Seoul to Danyang, more or less 4 hours I guess, I must have got lost in time during the trip because we were all having fun in the car while we were traveling. The occasional napping and the frequent throwing off of jokes made the trip less boring and at some point relaxing. I have no idea about the place, but the longer we traversed the road, the more I was overwhelmed with the scenery of mountains, rivers and bridges. 

We arrived at Danyang safe and sound, and of course, we should start it with a group picture. We first went to Namhangang River where the three tall rocks stand in the middle of the river.

The Sinwoldong Sungkyul Church Foreign Ministry congregation at Danyang

The Dodamsambong Peak

These 3 rocks called the Dodamsambong peak stand tall and proud in the middle of the river. This is actually the only place in the world where you can see 3 long rocks in the middle of the river. I even asked if this is man made or a beauty built by nature. Nobody could answer me because we were all staring at the awesome structure standing right in front of us. I have to scout for information to answer my own question, and yes, it is as natural as the water flowing in the river where it stands.

3 Peak Island called Dodam Sambong
There's a quite interesting story about these 3 peaks. Accordingly, these three peaks represent a tragic love story in ancient Korea. It actually represents a love triangle where the highest peak is the husband, the smaller peak is the wife, and the smallest peak is the mistress. The wife could not give her husband a son, so the husband look for another woman. The wife was very angry with the husband because of that, so she turned her back to her husband. Well, that's just according to the legend.

 The Stone Gate

After we enjoyed the Dodamsambong peak and took a lot of selfies with it, we proceed to see another spectacular architecture made by nature. But before we get into it, we have to climb a very high mountain. Thank God there's actually a stairway that lead up to the natural treasure of the place.

Stairway to Stone gate

The climb took our breaths away, as in literally we gasped for air because it was really an uphill climb. We ended up breathless when we reached the top of the mountain, but the breathtaking view from the top worth it all.

 There you can see the SEOKMUN or the Stone Gate. It is about 200 meters away from the 3 Peak Island. As you can see, the stone gate is like in the form of a rainbow. Instead of colors, it is made of rock and some green plants sprout from it. If this is Mount Olympus, I would rather say that this is a gate where Gods and Goddesses would likely sojourn. But then again, it's just my conspiracy theory.

Seokmun (Stone Gate)
I am glad they have placed something like a photo opp area in front of the gate. A lot of people lined up just to get a picture with the stone gate, so I felt like I was lucky enough to see it in actual. Is it possible to put a zipline that passes through the gate and ends up at Namhangang river? Just my two cents.

Photo opp at Seokmun

Of Nature, Mountains and Rivers

Aside from the architecture designed by nature, Danyang is a place you would like to visit if you are a mountain lover. It is a mountain surrounded by many mountains and it looks so awesome. Imagine you can see green scenery everywhere.
Mountainous area at Danyang
And not only that, I notice that the mountains are forming into some interesting shapes. If you love walking, you can relax and enjoy nature at its best in this area of Danyang.

Jump shot at Danyang

At any random corner of Danyang, you can just get off the car and feel the fresh air from the green trees that you can actually see all over the place.

The green trees of Danyang
 Aside from that, the beautiful flowers of Danyang add to the attraction and the beauty of the place. This is a perfect spot for a family picnic.
The Yusi Family enjoying the view
 And I stood in awe of the rivers at Danyang. It was so clear and the big rocks are quite interesting too. For one second, I thought of indulging myself into the riverbed, but it's still spring and it's cold.

River at Danyang
 The Gosu Cave

The adventure that capped off our one day tour at Danyang is the memorable trip inside the Gosu Cave. Philippines has a lot of caves but it was my first time to enter a cave.

Entrance to Gosu Cave

We entered the cave without idea of what's waiting for us inside. And these beautiful stalactites and stalagmites welcomed us with strong conviction that something interesting is waiting for us in our cave journey.
Stalactites and Stalagmites of Gosu Cave 

And true enough, I was bewildered with what I saw inside the cave. Different forms of rocks, different shapes and sizes of the stalactites and stalagmites and a roller coaster like stairway to explore the cave.

Inside the Gosu Cave 
But you know what surprised me? The way they constructed the passageway inside the cave. It was carefully planned and built to ensure the safety of the people. We even brought with us the kids inside the cave and they really enjoyed the trip.
Gosu Cave Exit Area
For a one day trip, we have made the most of our time at Danyang. I just realized one thing though, that one day is really not enough. I came without really minding what to find out at the place, I ended up wanting for more adventure. It looks like we have visited a lot of places for one day, but I'll tell you, there are still a lot of interesting places worth visiting. You should allot at least one week to explore the place. There are hotels at Danyang where you can stay during the trip, I am sure you can find some cheap hotels there. You can visit the 8 scenic views like Haseonam, Jungseonam, Sangseonam, Sainam, Gudambong, Oksunbong, Dodamsambong, and Seokmun.