Thursday, June 30, 2016

Mga Uri ng Pinoy Factory Workers sa Korea Memes

Disclaimer:  These memes do not intend to humiliate or mock the Filipino factory workers in Korea. I created these memes just for fun. We could not so serious all the time, right?

Ano ba ang galawang pinoy pagdating sa trabaho sa Korea?

Kanya kanyang personalidad, kanya kanyang pag uugali at higit sa lahat, kanya kanyang diskarte para mairaos ang isang araw ng bakbakan sa trabaho. Narito ang ilan sa mga memes na maaring makapagbigay ngiti dahil alam mong relate na relate ka dito. Alamin kung saan ka napapabilang.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Summer MUD-ness and SHELL-fie at Daecheon Beach (대천해수욕장)

You know it is summer when all roads lead to the beach!!!

I can’t argue when people say that beach is the primary choice of people to go to every summer. In Korea, there are a lot of beaches you can visit to celebrate your summer. I’ve been to Haeundae in Busan, Muchangpo and Daecheon beach.

At the seashore of Daecheon beach

This time, I am going to talk about the Daecheon Beach (대천해수욕장). It is actually located in Chungcheongnam-do Province. It is 3.5 Km long and 100 meters wide. I like the sands in this beach because it is not only white, it has also some sea elements like clamshells and starfish. When we walked along the seashore, shells and starfish are everywhere.

Picking up clamshells and starfish

Unlike most of the beaches we know, Daecheon beach doesn’t have blue waters. It’s not even as clear as crystal. It’s actually yellowish because of the abundance of mud. Yes, it’s a muddy beach, but don’t be afraid, it’s not a simple mud. The mud at Daecheon beach is rich in mineral which is good for the skin. In fact, people go to this place just to cover their body with thick mud as it helps improve the look of the skin. It even heals some skin disorders. Because of the popularity of its mud, Boryeong Mud Festival is celebrated in this beach every month of July.

Jump shot at the muddy Daecheon Beach

Since then, Daecheon Beach has become a tourist spot and people come not only during the festival, or summer, but all throughout the year. Aside from the mud, the shells and beach itself, people can also go to the parks near it like the Jogak(sculpture) Park or Dol (stone) park.

The giant stones (dol) at the beach

As for the accommodation, some people just put up some tent at the seashore. But if you want to stay overnight and sleep comfortably, there are a lot of inns, hotels and motels in front of the Daecheon beach. There are also restaurants, cafes and bars near the area. So basically, everything is available in the area.

To go to Daecheon beach, you can head on to this address:

123, Meodeu-ro, Boryeong-si, Chungcheongnam-do
충청남도 보령시 머드로 123 (신흑동

If you will go there via public transportation, you need to get off at Daecheon Beach station, and from Daecheon Station or Boryeong Intercity Bus Terminal, take a bus bound for Daecheon Beach.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Walking Down Memory Lane of Korea’s History at The Independence Hall of Korea (독립기념관)in Cheonan

Cheonan City.

Known as the transportation hub of South Korea.

Famous for its Hodu Gwaja (Walnut cookies).

Not a major tourist destination.

But, it could be an amazing place to visit when you are in Korea.

Cheonan is more or less 2 hours away from Seoul if you travel via Subway, and if you are in Korea to travel, most probably you have no intention to go to this City.

But why I am promoting Cheonan?

It is because one of the most important museums in Korea is located in this City. I am talking about The Independence Hall of Korea(독립기념관). It is a big place, no, not big, it’s actually huge. If you have visited War memorial park in Seoul, it has the same sentiment as that but it’s way bigger and way intense when it comes to explaining about the history of Korea and how it gained its independence against the oppressors.

The Independence Hall of Korea
There are a lot of things to see in this place. The major attraction so far is the Seven Exhibition Halls. I also like the 4D theatre because you can watch a movie in 4D for FREE! There’s a monument of the Nation too, the Grand hall of the nation, the Grand Square of the nation, and a lot of other facilities that commemorates the struggle of Korea to achieve the freedom. As I’ve said, it’s a huge compound, and there’s much you can do in a large space. It took me the whole day just to explore the place. You just can’t go there and spend 2 or 3 hours because I tell you, that’s not enough. For a big place like this, you must be there for the whole day if you want to fully explore the area.

I think the heart of this place is actually on the 7 exhibition halls. I actually visited every single hall because I want to know the history of Korea. In the Exhibition Hall 1, I felt like I’ve entered a jewelry store or an antique shop because this hall displays artifacts of Korea way back 5,000 years ago. This was before the Joseon Dynasty. I can’t help but be amazed with the precious and history-rich artifacts in the building.

Exhibition Hall Number 1

The Exhibition hall number 2 is a little bit harsh. In this hall, I saw collections of historical pieces that tell a story about how Japanese invaded Korea in the 19th Century. In Exhibition Hall Number 3, I saw photographs and evidences of how Koreans organized movements to regain their independence.

Exhibition Hall Number 3

The exhibition hall number 4 on the other hand shows historical records about the independence movements that had been organized during the 1910s. One of the movements was the famous Independence Movement that Korea is celebrating every 1st of March. The Exhibition Hall number 5, I saw images and dioramas that tell story about the resistance of the Independence Movement. The Exhibition Hall Number 6 focuses on the movements against the Japanese colonial rule.

Exhibition Hall Number 6
And Exhibition Hall number 7 is kind of interactive hall because you can actually hear, feel and experience the history of Korea through the state-of-the art technology installed in the hall.

Exhibition Hall Number 7
The Indepence Hall of Korea is not just all about the 7 Exhibition Halls. Although for me, it’s enough attraction for a day tour, but there are still a lot of things you can do. The monuments are so awesome to see. The artificial lake is a good place to contemplate and the open area is big enough if you just want to walk around with overlooking beautiful natural scenery.

If you want to visit The Independence Hall of Korea, it is actually located at this address:
95, Sambang-ro, Mokcheon-eup, Dongnam-gu, Cheonan-si, Chungcheongnam-do 
충청남도 천안시 동남구 목천읍 삼방로 95 (목천읍).

If you go there via public transportation, you can get off at Cheonan Bus Terminal or at Cheonan Station of Subway Line Number 1. Then take the  intercity bus bound for Jincheon (진천). You can get off at The Independence Hall of Korea (독립기념관, Dongnip Ginyeomgwan).

You can also take Bus numbers 400 or 402. A city bus tour is also available right in front of Cheonan Station. This tour bus will take you to The Independence Hall of Korea and to other tourist destination in Cheonan.

I guess The Independence Hall of Korea is a book in action because it tells story of how Korea regained it’s independence which plays a vital role in how it is today as a nation. The entrance free if absolutely FREE. For me, this is perfect for kids who are studying Korean history, but it’s also a good venue to visit if you are interested to learn about Korea in a not so boring way.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Sumptuous Meal at 63 Buffet Pavilion (63뷔페 파빌리온)

There comes a time in our life that we just want to splurge money on food. After all, life is all about food, for without it, we don’t have the energy to go on. Food is just like a fuel, and sometimes, that fuel costs a lot and that we are willing to pay the price. How about you? How much are you willing to pay to have a sumptuous dinner or lunch? If you are in Korea, and if you want to get to taste the food from other parts of the world, and if you don’t care how much to pay, then go to the largest buffet restaurant in Korea, the 63 Buffet Pavilion.

The 63 Buffet Pavilion can accommodate up to about 500 people and it serves not only 50, or 100, or 150 but up to 200 dishes. Otherwise, it will not be branded as the largest buffet restaurant in Korea if they can only offer few selections of dishes. Not only that, they don’t only offer Korean food, but also Chinese, Japanese and Western food. Suffice to say that this buffet restaurant is a combination of Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Western restaurants. How cool is that?

I am not a foodie type of person, but judging from my objective perspective, gourmets will definitely love this place. This is something that could satisfy the gastronomic, because…. Hello….. 200 dishes? And food of different countries? I am sure one or two of them will surely fit in your taste bud. And as a pasta and pizza lover, I feasted on those during our lunch at the restaurant. I am not so much into Japanese food, but the Western Food is definitely the winner.

And speaking of the winner, do you know that the chefs, all of them, are winners of international cooking contests? That means, whatever dish you decide to devour in this restaurant, rest assured that it was cooked by the best chef in town. They also claim that they used nothing but only fresh ingredients for their dishes.

The dessert? Oh my…. They are to die for! I mean literally die, because too much sweet is dangerous to health, hello Diabetes. But their cakes are tempting and so delicious. I remember I had tiramisu, tart, pudding, and…. Actually I got to taste all of them…. Yes, including chocolate fondue.

The ambiance of the place is so intimidating though. It looks so classy because it is indeed classy. If you go to exclusive restaurants, it definitely looks like it. You know you have to pay the price for that. I like also how chefs cooked the food live in one side of the room. I mean, while you eat, you can see them cooking the dishes for you. The staffs are customer friendly too and so polite. They are willing to assist you in picking your food in case you have too much on your plate, literally!

And the price? Well, the reason why I am a little bit philosophical at the beginning of this article is because I want to prepare you. As I’ve said, if you are willing to pay the price of what you are eating, then you can neglect how much money you shell out for it. Here is the price as of writing this article, this may subject to change as time goes by, you know, inflation rate and all.

Adult (14 y.o and above)
Kids (8-13 y.o)
Children (4 to 7 y.o)
Weekdays Lunch (12:00 – 15:00)
KRW 75, 000 (approx. 65 to 70 USD)
KRW 45, 000 (approx. 35 to 40 USD)
KRW 25, 000 (approx 15 to 20 USD)
Weekdays Dinner (18:00 – 22:00)
KRW 88, 000 (approx. 80 USD)
KRW 50,000 (approx 40 to 45 USD)
KRW 30, 000 (approx 20 to 25 USD)
Weekend and Holidays Lunch and Dinner
KRW 88, 000 (approx. 80 USD)
KRW 50,000 (approx 40 to 45 USD)
KRW 30, 000 (approx 20 to 25 USD)

If you want to try the best food of 63 Pavilion Buffet, it is located  on floor B1 of the 63 City Building at 50, 63-ro, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 영등포구 63로 50 (여의도동). To go there via Subway, get off at Yeouido Station (Subway Line 5), Exit 5. Take the free shuttle or Bus 62 from in front of St. Mary’s Hospital Platform.

And oh by the way, Thank you to the Government of Seoul Metropolitan and to the Global Seoul Mate for sponsoring this lunch. It is indeed sumptuous! Photos also credit to good friends of mine, Ms. Anny Martinez and Arman Carinan.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

A South Korea Based OFW Named 2016 Bagong Bayani Awardee

On June 7. 2016, Bagong Bayani Foundation, Inc. has awarded Dr. Joeffrey M. Calimag, an OFW in South Korea, the 2016 Bagong Bayani Award(BBA) for Outstanding and Exemplary Overseas Filipino Worker. His name will be etched alongside the names of other past awardees at the BBA Wall of Fame or “Bantayog ng Mga Bagong Bayani” located in POEA at Mandaluyong City.

Who is Dr. Joeffrey M. Calimag and what are his accomplishments as OFW in South Korea?

Well for a start, Dr. Calimag is working at the University of Ulsan in South Korea as a professor of International Business, Trade and Global Management. I have much more to say about Dr. Calimag’s career such as a Subject Matter Expert and Adjunct Lecturer for the International Studies, Vice President for International Business Consulting LTD (a Hongkong based international consultancy firm), and more, but I guess we are more interested on his contribution to the OFW in South Korea. Sure, this man is a jack of all trades, but this is not the reason why he was named 2016 Bagong Bayani Awardee.

More than his educational attainment and his fruitful career as an OFW, Dr. Calimag is so active when it comes to migrants’ affairs in South Korea. In fact, he holds various positions in different Filipino communities in South Korea like Public Information Officer of the Association of Filipino Educations in Korea (AFEK), Editor-in-Chief of Sulyapinoy, a monthly newsletter of OFW in Korea, and he also supports different kinds of advocacy for the benefits of EPS workers in Korea especially in the field of Financial Planning. In fact, he speaks in several Financial Literacy seminars for the Filipino in Korea and he also helps some OFWs to become an advocate of Financial Education.

Not only that, Dr. Calimag was one of the people who instituted the helpline for Migrant Workers in South Korea. This is a big help especially for those workers who are facing challenges in their respective workplace. He also volunteered to be a counselor for EPS at the Korea Migrant Center and he also promotes gender equality at work.

I probably haven’t mentioned all his accomplishments here in Korea when it comes to helping his fellow OFWs but I guess his significant efforts to promote goodwill among migrant workers in Korea is already enough for him to be awarded as Outstanding and Exemplary Overseas Filipino Worker.

To Dr. Joeffrey M. Calimag, Congratulations sir. We, the OFWs in South Korea, are so proud of you. Thank you for representing us.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Similarities and Differences of Gyeonggi English Village in Paju and Yangpyeong

The English Village signage

Talking to new generation Koreans are now easy with the help of English language. This country is no longer ensnared with their own language because nowadays, they are gradually embracing the English language to connect to the world. Although there are still a lot of young Koreans who cannot speak English, at least some of them are learning the language, thanks to the Hagwons and other English training centers in Korea. One of the most popular language education institutions I guess in South Korea is the English Village. This is an education program that provides an environment for the students to speak English language as a way to communicate with people. Koreans don’t need to go out of the country and learn the language because these English Villages can help them immersed into it through the aid of the activities and programs.

Two of these English Villages are located in Gyeonggi province. One is located in Paju, and the other one is in Yangpyeong. And yes, I’ve visited both villages for a tour. Weird, right? These places are actually an educational institution and not tourist spots, but the thought of bringing a village with English-speaking culture in another country makes it a very interesting place to visit.

RIGHT: Entrance to Gyeonggi English Village, Yangpyeong Camp
LEFT: Entrance to Gyeonggi English Village, Paju Camp

So what is this culture I am talking about? Well, if I am going to compare the English camp in Paju and in Yangpyeong, I can see a lot of similarities as well as the differences. I can share some of them so that in case you decide to visit one of the camp, you know what to expect.

1. The red telephone booth

Let’s start with the most obvious, the red telephone booth. Both camps have several telephone booths, and it’s not just a telephone booth, it is a red telephone booth. But it’s not working, it’s just there for display.

One of the many red telephone booths in the camp

What about these red telephone booths?

Well, I always associate this with British colonies. In fact, this is a British cultural icon and when you go to UK (not that I’ve been there), this is a common sight, and you can easily spot it because it’s…!

2. Statues of the Foot Guards

Have you been to Buckingham Palace?

I haven’t been there. Hahaha

But if there’s something recognizable when you go there, it’s the shouting red color of the foot guards. They usually wear red, black pants and an awkward looking black hat. I am sorry I don’t know how to describe their uniform, but it looks something like this!

Statue of the foot guard

And you can see these statues both in the Paju camp and Yangpyeong camp because obviously, they can’t bring foot guards here in South Korea

3. A perfect shooting location

I guess what makes this place an instant star is because both campuses have been the shooting location of different Korean TV shows. For example, the Gyeonggi English Village in Yangpyeong has been the shooting location of “Boys Over Flowers.

Shooting location of Boys Over Flower
And we can’t help to reenact some of the scenes when we started to recognize the place. This was used as the school campus of that TV show.

The English Village in Paju on the other hand has been a shooting location of the TV show, Running Man. If you are a fan of these shows, then I guess it’s enough reason to visit the place

4. Stonehenge

When we say England, we could not help but associate one of its famous cultural property, the STONEHENGE!!! In one of the gates of English village in Paju, there’s a Stonehenge inspired structure. Although it’s not exactly a replica of Stonehenge, it is obviously all about it.

Stonehenge inspired structure in Paju camp

In Yangpyeong campus, there is no such thing as this.

5. Statue of Liberty

A replica of statue of liberty at Yangpyeong camp

If there’s one thing in Yangpyeong that you cannot see in Paju, it’s the Statue of Liberty which we always associate to New York. This striking structure is undeniably an effective strategy of Yangpyeong campus to remind everyone that this is an English speaking place.

6. The little Prince

Life size Little Prince at Yangpyeong camp

Another thing present in Yangpyeong is the homage to the well loved novel of Korea, The Little Prince. There is no such thing in Paju, but in Yangpyeong, you can find a human size Little Prince in the area.

7. Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden at Paju camp

Although both campuses are surrounded by mountains and trees, the Paju campus has its own botanical garden inside the building. It’s not that all the floras and faunas in the surrounding mountain is not enough, this place is made in an indoor area.

8. Railbike inside the campus

Railbike at Paju camp

An additional fun activity to enjoy your visit in Paju English village is the railbike which is built inside the campus.

In Yangpyeong, there’s also a railbike but it’s already outside the campus.

I guess if I have to sum it up, the Paju campus is an England inspired village while the Yangpyeong campus is a US inspired village. But that’s just me. You be the judge if you visit one or both campuses.


Paju Campus Address: 40 Eoreumsil-ro, Tanhyeon-myeon, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do
Via Subway: Get off  at Hapjeong Station, go to Exit 2 and take Bus number 2200 and then get off at Paju English Village.

Yangpyeong Campus Address: 209 Yeonsu-ro, Yongmun-myeon, Yangpyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do
Via Subway: Get off at Yongmun Station, that’s the last station of GyeonguiJungang Line. When you arrived at Yongmun Station, go to Exit 1 and take a Taxi to "Yongeo Maul". It costs around 5,000 won.

If I have to choose between the Yangpyeong camp and Paju camp, my heart goes to the Paju camp.