Saturday, April 23, 2016

Cherry Blossom and More at the Yeouido Spring Flower Festival ((영등포 여의도 봄꽃축제) with the Global Seoul Mates

Every month of April, when spring is in the air, Korea celebrates the presence of the Cherry Blossom all over the country because it signifies that spring has officially started. That means, a warmer weather, a better opportunity to go out and travel and most of all, a more colorful surrounding courtesy of the beautiful spring flowers of Korea that hibernated all throughout the Winter season. The azaleas, forsythia and royal azaleas are welcomed with different kind of spring festivals as they bloom to cheer you up and delight your eyes with its beauty. Above all of these beauties, cherry blossom is the most anticipated one. Spring is nothing without these white and pink petals we’ve known for the name Sakura. Among all other spring flower festivals, the one in Yeouido is one of the most crowded and visited spring flower festivals ever.

The Global Seoulmates at the Yeouido Spring Flower Festival

I was blessed that I was able join and enjoyed the Yeouido Spring Flower Festival during the Spring tour of the Global Seoulmates, an event organized by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. A friend dragged me into this event together with other Seoulmates coming from different countries like China, Malaysia, Mexico, Turkey and Russia. Attending the Yeouido Spring Flower Festival is part of the whole day tour and we were so entertained by the full bloom spring flowers especially the cherry blossoms.

The Yeouido road full of people and not of cars during the festival

The whole road around the National Assembly was blocked so that no cars will pass through it just to give way for the crowd to own the place and enjoy the relaxing ambiance emitted by the spring flowers all over the place. People could not only enjoy viewing the flowers at day time because at night time, the cherry blossom trees are lit up with lights of different colors so it could still be seen by the onlookers.

The comedians introducing themselves for the Pang Show

What really brought the festivities to the place during our visit was the different kind of entertainment you can see in the area. We, the global seoulmates, were treated to watch the “Pang show” or “Bread show”. At first I thought it was a show on how to make a bread, but it’s actually a comedy show. We laughed our heart out as the performers tickled us with their slapstick act.

Messing up with the band parade
(c) Arman Carinan
Aside from the bread show, there’s also a concert, there’s a magic show and there’s a band parade presenting the talented “ahjummas” and “ahjussis” showcasing their talents in playing band instruments. So really, it was a fun event to attend.

The Global Seoulmates at Yeouido Spring Festival
(c) Anny Martinez

Now I know why Yeouido Spring Flower Festival is crowded every year they celebrate it. It’s not just about viewing the flowers and taking photos, it’s actually a show. Hopefully, next year, I can still attend another festival in Yeouido. Thank you also to the Seoul Metropolitan Government for taking us to this one of a kind event.

For the video of our Yeouido Spring Outing, watch it below. This video is courtesy of the Seoul Metropolitan Government:

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Procedure of Immigration Process for Factory Worker Applicants (EPS) to South Korea Explained

The recently concluded 13th Korean Language Test has opened opportunity and ignited the hope to those who want to come to Korea and work as a Factory Worker. However, as per disclaimer is concerned, passing the Korean language test does not guarantee employment. You have bigger chance to be selected but if odds are against your favor, it is possible that you can’t get an employer.

But..but…but… let’s try to shake off that negativities. Let’s be positive and look forward for the opportunity that rightfully belongs to you. So if you are one of the smart ones(naks!!) who passed the Korean Language Test, don’t waste any single second. Go on, comply all the requirements and submit it as soon as possible to POEA. I have to stress this out because based on experience, the earlier you submit your requirements, the better. Also, please make sure that you have included all the required documents like medical result, scanned copy of passport id pictures, etc. Your medical result should have a mark “FIT TO WORK” from a medical clinic approved by POEA. Also, make sure that you submit the scanned copy of your passport, not colored photocopy. HRD Korea will return your documents if it is not clear or you did not comply to the requirements.

Anyways, HRD Korea was kind enough to provide a monitoring system for your immigration status. It’s convenient and efficient and I like the idea of just logging online to check what’s going on with the application. If you don’t know about it yet, go check it at and register if you are one of the passers of the recent exam. You may need to use Internet Explorer browser to properly use the website. I am not yet sure if it is already fully working on other browsers, but just to make sure, use IE.

What is inside the EPS website? Well, if you login, you will see a form where you can check the update of your status. In the image below, you can find a completed form starting from the date of examination up to the designation to work. I will explain each column in the form below so you will know what it means.

When you Sign up and when you login for the first time, you’ll probably see a “No data” message. In order to obtain a “DATA” (basically the form itself), you must send the requirements first. I already mentioned above that you must do it as soon as possible. So when can you see the form in your EPS account? Once POEA received your requirements, they will review it and see to it that it’s complete, then they will send it to HRD KOREA. In the HRD KOREA office, they will again check the documents you submitted, if everything is OK, they will approve it and then you will get the form or the DATA in your EPS account. If for example you’re still seeing “NO DATA” message after one month of submission of required documents, you may need to contact POEA as there might some problems in the documents you submitted.


After the POEA reviewed your documents, they will then send this to HRD KOREA. If for example, HRD KOREA approved your documents, the dates on the first column (EPS-TOPIK ) will appear. Once you see it, you can now breath easily because that means, your submitted documents have been approved by HRD KOREA.

Job Seekers Roster Forwarding Date

This column will immediately show the date of sending your name to the list of job seekers. Before you will be listed, the documents that you have submitted will be reviewed again. It may take time before you will be listed, but patience is a virtue, so wait a little more.

Job Seekers Roster Approval Date

After thorough check up of your documents, and with thorough I mean HRD Korea will check if the information on a job application does not match the information (e.g. name, date of birth, gender, photo) on the passport), you will get the approval from HRD Korea and the date in the form for the third column will appear. This is a very important part because this means you have been listed already. What does that mean? The process of selection is actually random. An employer will select random people from the list of job seeker. That means if you are already in the list, you have better chance to be selected (Of course!).

Employment Permit Issuance

The fourth column is one of the most exciting parts because once you have this EPI, you are 50 percent on your journey to Korea. It’s good news to get listed, but it’s better news if you have been issued an Employment Permit. Why great news? Because that means you have been selected. A manager of the factory somewhere in Korea has picked your name amongst thousands of names in the roster. However, they can back out anytime. Having an EPI is still not a guarantee, you can be happy but don’t celebrate just yet.

Standard Labor Contract Forwarding

The fifth column is somehow the shed of the light at the end of the tunnel. If the date appears on this column, that means the sajangnim who selected you is pretty serious of hiring you. If you see the date in this column, check the POEA website because you need to know when the contract will arrive and when you need to sign it. You need to go to POEA Manila to see the contract and sign it if you like what’s written on it.

Standard Labor Contract Signing

The sixth column is in your control already. This is the date when you signed the contract. If you decide to sign it next month, then the date on this column will appear next month. If next year, then next year. If not, then nothing will happen. This is your decision making column. But don’t be too complacent because they can still withdraw your employment even at this stage. So go on!!! Sign it immediately, as soon as possible!!! If you have current job, don’t resign yet. You need to be really sure.

CCVI Issuance

CCVI or Certificate for Confirmation of Visa Issuance or VISA for short is a very important column. Once the date appears on this column, VOILA!!! You’re almost at the end of the tunnel. You can almost see it, the dream you’re dreaming, but there’s a voice inside you’re head saying.. oh wait, am I singing? LOL

But yeah, if you have a VISA already, you are 90 percent sure now to go to Korea. If you have work in the Philippines, it’s time to resign!!! Say goodbye to your boss, to your workmates and give them a fake cry (just joking)….. because pretty soon, you’ll be in Korea!!!

Scheduled Entry Date

Probably the most bitter-sweet column. Once you have the date, CONGRATULATIONS!!!! It’s time to organize your send off party because you know the exact date of leaving Philippines. But hey, don’t drink too much, don’t eat too much, take care of your health because once you arrivde in Korea, you will go through series of medical exam.

Employment Training

You are already in Korea by the time the date stamp on this column appears. The moment you arrived, you will go directly to the training centers and learn about the culture, the expected work, the rules, regulations, laws, language, etc… all in 3 days. So good luck!

Assigned To Work
The last column is the day that the sajangnim who selected you in the roster will finally meet you and takes you out of the boring training center.

That’s it!

Complicated? I think it is rather exciting and this one takes a lot of patience and prayer. So I am crossing my fingers to all of you hopefuls. I hope to see you soon here in Korea.

Monday, April 18, 2016

BPI’s Investment Roadmap Korea Series

In more than 3 years of staying in Korea, I have already attended several financial literacy seminars. These seminars were conducted by Fillipino communities in South Korea to help educate the OFWs on how to properly handle their hard earned money. On April 17, 2016, a different kind of financial literacy seminar was held at the 3rd Floor Arium Hall of Best Western Arirang Hill Dongdaemun in Seoul. Why did I say it’s different? It is because it was organized by Bank of Philippine Island or BPI. As far as I know, it’s the first time a banking institution in the Philippines conducted a seminar in South Korea. As for BPI, it was their first time to conduct a Financial wellness event in the country.

Some participants of the seminar with Mr. Roy Perez

BPI did run the Investment Roadmap seminar for two consecutive days in three different batches. Each batch was attended by more than 70 Filipino migrants. The first batch was on April 16, 2016 at 5 pm. The second and last batch was April 17, 2016 at 10 am and 4 pm respectively. The seminar lasted for about 3 hours per batch including the lunch/dinner and the free financial consultation. It was hosted by Mr Roy Perez, BPI’s Marketing Officer in South Korea.

Mr. Paulo Tayag speaking about preparing for retirement to the OFWs
The first speaker was Mr. Paulo Tayag, BPI Asset and Wealth Management. He talked about “A present for my future”, a concise guide in planning for retirement. We learned from him the importance of preparing for retirement as early as now. This does not make sense for now but when we grow old and we are no longer capable to work, we’ll realize the importance of saving early for retirement. He provided guidelines on how we can prepare for the future. First is that we have to set a goal, and by setting goal we mean to couple it with plans. After that, we have to set a realistic time frame to achieve the goals. Let’s face it, in order to materialize a goal, there’s a corresponding amount for that, so it is important to set contribution for each goal you made. Identify how much you need to achieve one goal and base on the time frame, compute how much you need to contribute on a monthly basis. You must also know your Risk Profile, and then you can now Invest. Make sure that you take an investment vehicle that corresponds to your risk profile. And lastly, stick to your horizon. If you follow this, you will be well guided to your financially journey as you grow old.

Mr. Mario Miranda on the importance of Emergency Fund

The next speaker was Mr. Mario Miranda, the Head of BPI Asset Management and Trust Group. He discussed about the importance of emergency fund. He pointed out that before a person should venture into any investment, it is important that an emergency fund, which is equivalent to 6 months of your needs, must be secured first. It should be as liquid as possible so that you can easily pull it out in case of emergency. He suggested to list down all your goals in life and start to fund it. BPI has available products that can help a person to save his emergency fund, to set the goals and fund each goal in a very convenient and easy way.

Che Marquez on Franchising Business
The third speaker was BPI Relation Manager Che Marquez. She talked about Franchising business and how BPI can help you with this. Historically, she said that Franchising has better success rate than any start up businesses. For those who have no idea on how to start a business from the scratch, then this is the perfect option. Through BPI, you can secure the finances needed to get a franchise of the business you want.

Mr. Roy Perez on BPI remittance

The last speaker was BPI’s Marketing officer in South Korea, Mr. Roy Perez. He talked about the KB-BPI remittance in South Korea. The tie up between these two giant banking institutions in Korea and Philippines respectively take pride in their fast and convenient service, better exchange rate and the low charges on remittance fee and other hidden fees. To know more about this, you may reach sir Roy through his mobile number 01048835767 or add him on his facebook account at ROY PEREZ BPI.

Free financial consultation with BPI

Not only that, after the seminar, we were treated with free buffet dinner and free financial consultation from the speakers. We also received freebies from BPI and KB. It was an interesting seminar, we learned a lot from the speakers and the lessons we learned motivate us to do better with our respective financial journey.

To know more about BPI, you can visit their website at

Thank you BPI for the great seminar.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

TFC Brought The First Ever One Kapamilya Go 2016 to Korea

On April 10, 2016, One Kapamilya Go brought three Kapamilya stars to South Korea to entertain the Filipino migrants living and working in the country. Through ABS-CBN International’s The Filipino Channel (TFC), three of the best artists of this generation Rayver Cruz, Maja Salvador and KZ Tandingan performed at the Tong Seong High School Auditorium in Hyewa-dong, Seoul, South Korea.

As many as 1400 people flocked to the venue to watch the concert with the participation of MOR 101.9 DJ Chacha. The Filipino fans that came from different parts of South Korea were serenaded by the X Factor Grand winner KZ Tandingan with the love songs including her hit single “Mahal ko o Mahal ako”. Meanwhile, Maja and Rayver set the stage into a dance floor as they entertained the audience with their sizzling hot dance performance.

The Kapamilya stars with the press

The three artists were thankful to the TFC for the opportunity to come to Korea and perform in front of the Filipino crowd.

“Nakakatuwa kasi dumadami na rin ang mga Pilipino dito sa Korea at nakita namin na naging masaya naman sila sa concert. Nagpapasalamat kami sa TCF kasi through TFC, we were able to visit and entertain people here in Korea.” – Rayver Cruz

Aside from performing on stage, the three Kapamilya stars also gave special messages to the OFWs in South Korea during the press conference.

Rayver Cruz Gives Advice to Working Filipino Men in Korea.

The dance royalty Rayver Cruz expressed his respect to the Filipino men in South Korea who sacrificed a lot for their respective families. He urged the men to continue the good deeds that they have started for their loved ones

“Ipagpatuloy lang ang ginagawa kasi for sure ginagawa naman nila yan sa mahal nila sa buhay. More blessings sa ginagawa nilang work kasi pag masipag naman malalagay tayo sa maayos na kalagayan.” , Rayver said in an interview.

KZ Tandingan to struggling EPS workers: “Lapan Pa!”

Meanwhile, the Soul Supreme Idol KZ Tandingan can relate to those who are struggling in their work. Just like them, she also experienced the struggles of going up to become a successful singer. She gave advice to OFWs in South Korea who are struggling and on the verge of quitting
“Siguro everytime mafefeel na pagod at mag give up, balikan ang reason bakit sila nandito which is to give better life sa pamilya.”, said the X Factor Philippines champion.

She also salutes the hard working Filipinos in South Korea for the sacrifices they make just to provide for the family.

“Sobrang taas ng respeto ko sa mga OFWs kasi mahirap na nga magtrabaho, mas mahirap yong magtrabaho ng wala kang kasamang pamilya.”, she added
KZ also dedicated her latest single to the struggling EPS workers in South Korea
“Sabi nga sa kanta ko, Laban Pa!.. kasi hangga’t meron ka pang pwedeng gawin, meron ka pang pag asa na gaganda ang buhay. Yong ginagawa nyo dito is very honorable kasi lahat ng hirap nilulunok nyo para may maipadala sa family.”
As for the confused EPS workers whether to choose a company they love or choose a company that loves them, this is her advice:

“piliin natin ang company na mahal tayo para mayron tayong makuha, kasi pag pinilit naman natin ang sarili sa company na hindi tayo gusto, hindi naman tayo kikita doon.
Maja Salvador on spending the hard earned money: “Dahan dahan lang”

Her MAJAsty on the other hand dedicated her song “Dahan dahan lang” to remind Filipino people not only in Korea but all around the globe to spend the hard earned money wisely. In the midst of the “Pali-pali” (hurry) challenge faced by OFWs in South Korea, Maja said that they must go slow on spending their salary.

“Pag first time mo makahawak ng malaking pera, parang hindi mo mahahandle ng tama. At the end of the day, kelangan mo pa rin isipin na hindi mo alam kung hanggang kelan ka sa trabaho. Dapat lagging handa, dapat laging may ipon.”, Maja said in an interview
The singer-actress also shared her own savings technique that OFWs can also adapt.

“Ako, as part of my new year’s resolution, may savings ako for travel, savings for shopping and savings for rainy days. So ganun, you need to budget all your sweldo. Hindi masama na regaluhan nyo ang sarili nyo. “
She’s also thankful for the opportunity to entertain the Filipinos in South Korea. She urged everyone to take care of their health and finances.

“Alagaan mo ang sarili mo para maalagaan nyo rin ang pamilya nyo.”, said Maja Salvador.

The first ever One Kapamilya Go in Korea may be over but this for sure will not be the last event of TFC here in South Korea. The good news is, you can actually subscribe to TFC so that not only Maja, Rayver and KZ can entertain you but also the rest of the Kapamilya stars.

“ TFC Korea is one of the new or developing regions that TFC would like to penetrate given the increasing number of Filipinos. One of TFC's mission is to accompany Filipinos in their journey in every phase of their lives overseas. We hope that through TFC's One Kapamilya Go, we were able to bring a day of fun and Filipino entertainment for the Filipino community.”, said James Chua, Regional Marketing Specialist in Asia Pacific.

According to Mr. Chua, TFC or The Filipino Channel is the only legal and legitimate source of ABS-CBN content that every Filipino has embraced for more than 60 years.

“ Through our content, TFC fills the need to assuage a certain sort of homesickness that our kababayans experience when they go abroad. Last Sunday, we launched, a platform that allows our kababayans to watch the latest news about the Philippines through TV Patrol for FREE (live stream only at 7:30 Korea Time). To those who want to de-stress from a hard day's work, we have also made the live stream of Showtime for FREE (live stream at 1:30 PM Korea Time).”, he added.
Through TFC, we can now say goodbye to low resolution videos offered by free blogs and websites. According to Mr. Chua, there are other sites that show ABS-CBN content but he reiterated that these are illegal sites that pose risk to the viewers because some of these sites embed malware that allow hackers to invade your phones, laptops and tablets and steal private information including your bank account numbers, and private emails. Don’t pay a high price for free!

How Much Should I Pay to Subscribe to TFC KOREA?

We have made the subscription package to even more affordable. The TFC.TV Lite Package starts at 9,000 KRW for a 1-month subscription to the latest ABS-CBN content. With this package, subscribers can watch the most recent seven episodes of their favorite news, dramas, talk, variety, and sports programs.

How to Subscribe?

Subscription can be done online thru PayPal or Credit Card. To our kababayans who would like to purchase using prepaid card, they can reach out to the following dealers:

Contact Person: Oscar Amboy
Address: 455-28, Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul, Korea
Mobile: 010-5681-0581 / 070-4100-0581

With sub-agents in: Paju City, Hyehwa-dong, Cheongdam-dong, Changan-dong, Songtan-dong, Banghak-dong, Chungnamnunsan, Chungcheongbuk-do, Kwangju, Daegu, and Geoje.
 Electronic bank transfers are also accepted. Please call authorized TFC dealer for details.

Contact Person: Dinah A. Magat
Address: 2F, 44-7, Yongsan-dong 2-ga, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea
Business Phone: (02) 790-1826
 Mobile: 010-9465-1826 / 070-7687-2296

With sub-agents in: Hyehwa-dong, Ilsan, Ansan, Cheonan, Gwangju, Mokpo, Busan, Gimhae, and Daegu. Electronic bank transfers are also accepted. Please call authorized TFC dealer for details.

For any questions or issues on, you can send a message to Facebook page (TFC Korea) or to the Regional Marketing Specialist James Chua’s personal contact number:

Viber: +63 917 656 3187
Kakao: jamesredmond

Subscribe now!