Saturday, October 29, 2016

Joining in the Fun at Dokdo Day Festival 2016

Go World! Say Dokdo!

The Dokdo Day Festival was held last October 22, 2016 at Ttukseom Resort. Korean students from middle schools and foreign supporters of Dokdo flocked to the venue to join the program as homage to the most infamous island in South Korea. Dokdo is an isolated island located in the East side of Korea. This is very controversial because it's also near Japan, so they are also claiming that this island belongs to Japan. However, Ulleungdo, an island in Korea, is near Dokdo than in Japan. Korea fought for their ownership of this island. In terms of distance, the ownership is in favor to Korea. There have been a lot of arguments about this, but Korea is adamant that the island rightfully belongs to them. Hence, the celebration of Dokdo Day Festival. This is to spread awareness and to seek support to strengthen the right of Korea to Dokdo.

The Global Supporters of Dokdo

The Global Supporters coming from different parts of the world held a quiz show as their first activity. I registered for this event because I was hopeful to get the 1,000 USD prize plus the chance to go to Dokdo for FREE. There were a lot of participants in the quiz show and most of them are graduate school and exchange students in Korea. They came from different parts of the world like Pakistan, South Africa, Peru, Brazil and more. I met 2 other Filipinos who also joined the quiz show. I was frustrated because   I only reached up to the 4th question before I got eliminated. It was a True or False type of quiz, I hate it because they play trick on questions and I was confused, so I didn’t make it to the top. Questions are all about Dokdo, the organizers provided the study materials one week before the event happened, but most of the questions were so random and I’ve never read that from the materials they provided. I guess those who made it to the final round did their homework and made extra reading about Dokdo.

Fellow Filipinos in Dokdo Festival

After the quiz show, we paraded to the stage they setup in front of the Han River for the opening ceremony. The host in her elegant dress presented the history of Dokdo and explained why there’s such thing as Dokdo Day Festival.

Performances at Dokdo Festival

After a short opening ceremony, we were grouped for a poster making activity. We were provided with a piece of cloth where we should draw anything about Dokdo and some coloring materials. I am not good at art, but I realized that if you do art as a group, it also requires brainstorming. You just can’t draw what you want because it must synchronize with the idea of other members of the group. After we discussed our concept, we started drawing in the best way that we can and we came up with this awesome and most beautiful piece of art I’ve ever seen in my entire life… hahaha

Dokdo Festival poster making

 I believed that, not until I saw the works of other groups. Everybody did a great job on this activity. This is how different people, different languages, different cultures and different ideas unite as one.
As soon as we finished all our work of art, we paraded from Ttukseom resort station up to the event area to commence the final activity in the afternoon. It was the start of Autumn Season but I felt like it was summer again because it was hot that day. We were entertained by the different performances of Korean students and artists. Of course, there were singing, dancing and speeches about Dokdo.

Releasing of balloons in the air

The highlight of that afternoon show is the releasing of balloons with the message about ownership of Korea over Dokdo. It was a fun event and possibly one of the memories I would like to recall in Korea. I met different people from different parts of the world. Although the quiz show was the possible primary reason why most of us attended the event, we did not regret for sparing one day for Dokdo Festival because I made new friends. Most of all, I get to know more about Dokdo, about the struggles of Korean to prove that the island belongs to Korea and how valuable this piece of island to them. Dokdo is I guess one of the places I get to know well without even going to the actual island. I missed the chance of going there,  but I don’t burn bridges, I still have high hope that someday, somehow, I can see Dokdo in its enchanting beauty, with all those black-tailed gull flying around the island and its natural reserve. But for now, I am glad I learned more about Dokdo through the Dokdo Day Festival.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Don’t go to Korea During Its Autumn Season…..Find Out Why!

(c) Meynard Ramirez Photography
At The Twin Falls in Bangtaessan in the province of Gangwondo South Korea

The beautiful Fall foliage, the brilliant and colorful leaves of the trees, mountains enveloped by golden yellow, orange and red colors. Autumn in Korea reminds me that there’s life after a very long hours of working. It is indeed a perfect manifestation of God’s wonderful creation. Who would have thought that the typical trees can actually emit different colors aside from green? This what makes autumn the most celebrated season of the year. However, if you feel excited to go to Korea during the peak of its autumn season, sorry to disappoint you, but I reckon, for your own sake, don’t do it. It will only break your heart, the first time I experienced Autumn in Korea, I knew it was trouble when it walked in. I am doing you a favor here, I will reveal to you what damage an autumn in Korea can do to you.

1. It will make you want for more

(c) ArmanCarinan Photography
At Catholic University- Bucheon Campus
The ordinary streets of Korea become extra ordinary because of the changing of the colors of the leaves. Just as you are there enjoying the sights, you will suddenly remember that these beautiful leaves will soon fall down to give way to the winter season, and you can’t do anything about it. It caused me heartbreak before and it may happen to you too. At one point of my life, when it’s about to Fall, I tried to beg autumn "To Stay with me, cause that’s all I need”.

2. Autumn in Korea will always remind you that Nothing Lasts Forever

(c) AnnyMartinez Photography
Autumn in Petite France

And because you are still hoping for more after everything has ended, “you go back to the corner where you first experienced Autumn, you camp in your sleeping bag and not gonna move” .

 3. You will realize that life is not fair

(c)ArmanCarinan Photography

When you experience autumn in Korea, it will make you think about it during winter, spring or summer. You anticipate for it to come, but do you even know if Autumn is excited to see you again? I bet not, because “while you are wide awake, autumn has no trouble sleeping, because when the heart breaks, no it don’t break even”.

4. It will cause Sepanx

(c) AnnyMartinez Photography
At Suwon Catholic University
For travelers who will stay in Korea for only couple of days, this must be a hard thing to do. You’ll only get to enjoy it for several days, and then you have to leave Korea and go back to your country. The problem is, the beauty of Autumn of Korea will continue on haunting you even though you are on the other side of the globe, and all you can do is think about it and say “Hello from the other side”.

5. You can’t hide from it

(c) AnnyMartinez Photography
Deoksogung Stone Wall Road
Even if you want to spare yourself from autumn, no, you just can’t do it, because it is everywhere. It’s not only in the mountains, not only in the provinces, but even in the middle of the city, you’ll see colorful trees, “because every breath you take, every move you make, every bond you break, every step you make, Autumn will keep watching you”

You see, I have five super valid reasons why you should not come to Korea during Autumn. It will give you nothing but heartaches and pain. First, it will make you fall, and then what? It will just leave you eventually.

Are you convinced?

Ok Fine!

The good news is, Autumn will always come back, it will always go back to you once in a year. So if you think you can stand heartbreaks and if you think you are good in few nights stand, then go and experience autumn in Korea. After all, “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Quickie Visit at Trickeye’s Love Museum

How do you define love?

There are a lot of definitions of LOVE, and people sometimes define it based on their experience and their perspective. If somebody defines Love, we can’t say it’s right or wrong because when it comes to matter of the heart, everybody is entitled to their own opinion. If you are still looking for the meaning of Love, why not go to LOVE Museum in Seoul. The definition of Love in this museum defies all the slambook definitions as it viewed love in a kinky and naughty perspective. Does that excite you now?

Making out with the sexy lady at the entrance

Love Museum is a new addition to the Trickeye Museum. It’s still part of Trickeye per se, but it has its own floor all dedicated to the exhibits relating to sex and eroticism. At the entrance, Superman with his bulge is waiting for anybody, girl or boy, looking for a cuddle. This will give idea to the people who will enter the museum that something sexy is waiting inside.

Superman with his bulge ready to cuddle anybody.

The good thing about Love Museum is that they provide a paper eyeglass for people who want to disguise. Some people may feel awkward and uncomfortable about the exhibits, so the paper eyeglass can help cover somebody’s identity.

Feel Awkward? Hide with the paper eyeglass

And how is it awkward? Well, for a start, you will see 3D figures of naked women with big boobs.

A big surprise for the visitors of Love Museum

There’s a giant legs spreading at the entrance of the Museum, so everybody can actually peek up and look at something that could leave some work to the imagination.

What's UP?

I felt a little bit awkward especially with the exhibit that shows different sex positions. The key really to feel comfortable is just to make a good laugh out of it. It won’t help if you keep saying “eeewww” and “whoaaaa” more too often. The best way to enjoy the experience being at Love Museum is just to have fun with it.

Some of the many dioramas at Love Museum

Everything you need to learn about sex, you can find it at Love Museum. I guess if lovers will go to this museum, they will feel comfortable with each other’s body because both the male and female sex organs are well represented in the museum. You can actually both see sex in the perspective of both sexes.

A Male Sex Organ represents

We just had a quickie visit at Love Museum though, but I believe we had reached the climax of the tour because we were able to see what we supposed to see. We had a good one round of checking out the exhibits. For those who still have energy, I suggest make a good two or three rounds so you can really check the details of the exhibits. Even if it feels awkward inside Love Museum, don’t make a premature visit because not everyday you can see a porn I mean love expressed in a kinky way. You may find it funny but I assure you will enjoy and find it worthy, even if it’s just a quickie.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Enter the World of Imagination at Seoul’s Trickeye Museum

Our idea of staying away from the hustle and bustle of the city is to go to the beach, or in the farm or somewhere that would help us escape from the reality of life. But don’t you know that in the middle of the city of Seoul in Korea, there’s a museum that could actually take you to a different dimension of the world. This museum is called TRICKEYE MUSEUM, an art gallery full of 3D Paintings, interesting statues and fun stuff.

Entrance to the basement of Trickeye Museum

I tagged four of my friends to go with me to the most vibrant and youthful part of Seoul in Hongdae where Trickeye Museum is located. Once we entered the building, we felt like we’re in a different world. People in Hongdae area are usually busy shopping, eating, walking and whatnot. Trickeye Museum is just like a small door to a different dimension that would help you escape the noisy street of Hongdae. Are you excited to see what’s inside the museum?

When we entered the building, the naughty teasers of LOVE Museum greeted us. As soon as we walked down the basement to the Trickeye Museum, we know we were in for a fun treat. At first we thought it’s just a small museum because it’s in the basement, but that area actually contains not only the Trickeye Museum but also the Carnival Street and the Ice Museum. Not only that, there’s a fountain, a small café, the ticket booth and a Santorini inspired corner where we gladly posed for a Gogh Painting group photo. There’s also a booth where you can wear Korea’s traditional dress Hanbok and of course, the 3D paintings on the floor and some cute stuff foreshadowing of the exciting things waiting for us inside the museum.

The vibrant and fun lobby of Trickeye Museum

We first entered the main attraction which is the Trickeye Museum. When we entered the museum, there were colors of fire everywhere. At first, it doesn’t make sense, but there were sample photos posted right beside every exhibit to give idea on how it’s supposed to look like in the photo. Apparently, it’s a wooden bridge over a river of flowing lava. We figured out where we supposed to stand and we came up with this enactment.

The 3D Lava painting

Our first acting attempt brought out the creative juice in us. After the hot lava, the next room holds 3D paintings all related to water. Anybody can be part of the painting, there’s an area where you can position yourself and there’s also an area where a photographer must stand to get the best angle. I love this room because anything you can imagine to do in the water world is possible. There’s a big water monster dragon ready to devour anyone alive.

The monster dragon on the verge of devouring a live person

I also enjoyed surfing with the sharks.

And I think riding a dolphin is a must in this room.

Girls can play mermaid (Or boys too).

But my favorite is this white horses running in the water. It looks like adventure.

After the water world, we entered the world of illusion. In this room, we became giants and dwarfs. We also levitated. We were beheaded by the witches and we also climbed the wall like Spiderman.

We then danced our way to the next room. Whether you can groove or not, everybody can be a performer in this room. You can ballet, you can be one of the ballerinas and you can have the night of your life at the ballroom.

A big fish that looks like a piranha opening his mouth welcomed us as we continued our journey. We immediately planned and executed the best position we could ever dare to pose, and we came up with this amazing, fun and full of drama and adventure kind of photo.

Another intense scene that every visitor of the museum must be part of is this giant snake breaking out of the wall and about to swallow the poor victims hanging upside down the ceiling. This looks like a scene from a thriller movie.

We also gladly posed with the swimmers in the pool.

We went underwater with the fishes and whales and a giant turtle.

There’s also an interactive corner called Art Fighter where you can fight with Michelangelo’s David. You know I always admire David as a piece of art, but that time, I kicked, punched and knocked him down. It’s a fight between virtual and reality. Of course, I won!

The next room was the part that made me smile because everything’s so cute. We became ingredients of the potion in the cauldron, turned into superman and peeked at the pants of a naked boy.

We walked further and found the cute little panda clinging on the bamboo. There’s also a big lotus flower and a boat and more…

At the later part of Trickeye Museum, some paintings and 3D artworks are attributed to some sort of spirituality. There’s even an image of Buddha at the last part of the museum. The fun part was the exit. You can’t just simply walk away from the museum without going through the challenge of the mirror maze. It’s a maze, but instead of walls, you will see mirrors everywhere which make it even more difficult to pass through.  In less than five minutes, we passed the mirror maze and found the Exit.

Another attraction in that basement is the Carnival Street. I thought it’s simply a room full of paintings and sculptures about Carnival, but I was wrong. When we entered the Carnival Street, there's really an actual Carnival. We tried to play some carnival games like shooting the balls in the big mouth of big clowns.

Aside from the interactive and fun games, there are other Carnival elements like the statues of the circus troupe, a virtual dance video and a lot more. The Carnival Street is indeed a great addition to this museum.

We were so interested about the Ice Museum too. It's in one corner of the basement, just in front the fountain. There's a Korean lady distributing a sheet of clothe to every person entering the Ice Museum. We have idea that it could be cold inside, but when we entered, it was so cold, like winter. We were chilling inside the Ice Museum.

Despite the cold temperature, I'm guessing it's below zero degree, we were able to take some photos in different part of the room. We were greeted by some Christmas characters like Santa Claus.

Inside the room, there's a room made of ice, there's bedroom, kitchen and the comfort room, all made of ice. So we chilled (literally) a little bit in the sofa made of ice and pretended we were in an actual house. However, the cold bothered us anyway that we decided to let it go and exit the Ice Museum.

We had so much fun that we didn't notice we spent around 3 hours inside the Trickeye Museum. On the ground floor, there's still Love Museum, a part of Trickeye Museum but it's in the naughty side of the spectrum. I believe it deserves a separate blogpost so I am going to talk about it separately.

Anyway, if you want to visit Trickeye Museum in Seoul, CLICK HERE to get the detailed instruction on how to go there via Subway. If you have your own car, you can head on to this address:

20, Hongik-ro 3-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 마포구 홍익로3길 20 (서교동)

Ticket to Museum costs 15,000 won  for adults, 11,000 won for a group of 20 people or more, 12,000 won for 18 years old and below and 8,000 won for the group of youth consiting of 20 persons or more.

To know more about Trickeye Museum, go visit their website at or Like TRICKEYE MUSEUM FACEBOOK PAGE.

When you go to Trickeye Museum, don't forget to bring camera or prepare some space on your phone storage, a wild and creative imagination and most of all, a happy heart.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Day Trip to Switzerland in Korea at Edelweiss Swiss Theme Village

If you want to go to Switzerland, go to Korea!

I repeat, if you want to go to Switzerland, go to Korea!

Sounds absurd right? But that’s true, because in Korea, there’s a Swiss Theme Village called Edelweiss.

Entrance to Edelweiss Swiss Theme Village

As the name of the park suggests, this village is all about one of the most lovable countries in the world, Switzerland! I mean who wouldn’t love a country where you can see beautiful lakes, interesting villages and most of all high peaks of the alps? I love to go to Switzerland, but for the time being, let me suffice myself with a small replica of Switzerland at Edelweiss.

Edelweiss Swiss Theme Park is located at Gapyeong, the same city that houses other remarkable tourist spots like Petite France, Nami Island and Garden of the Morning Calm. I have been to all of these places in Gapyeong, but just when I thought I had the fair share of the tourist spots in this city, I never really knew about Edelweiss until a friend dragged me to go there during the National Foundation holiday of Korea. I found it interesting, so I gave it a go.

To go to Edelweiss Swiss Theme Village, you must take a train and get off at Cheongpyeong Station. This is the nearest train station to Edelweiss. If not for the Free Shuttle bus, going to Edelweiss would be quite challenging and at the same time expensive. Taxi fare would cost around 20,000 Korean Won from Cheongpyeong Station up to the village. But don’t worry guys, you can avail the free shuttle bus, you just have to take note of the schedule so you can get the free ride. However, the shuttle bus only operates on weekends and public holidays though. If you go there on weekdays, you may need to take a taxi. The schedule for free shuttle bus for weekends and holidays from Cheongpyeong Station to Edelweiss is at 9:30, 11:00, 13:00 and 15:00.

This is how the free shuttle bus of Edelweiss looks like

When you arrive at the theme park, you will be greeted with the beautiful and colorful buildings all related to the style of Switzerland. When you look to the right, you will see the breathtaking view of the mountains, yes, you read it right, the view of the mountains because the village is located in a very high altitude that you can even see the mountains below.

The ticket office is located right at the gate of the village (duh!!! It’s a no It was such a welcoming ambiance because of the presence of the cute bears in the room, but the stuff toys are for sale. There are also other souvenirs like scented candles and other stuff that would remind you about Swiitzerland and Edelweiss. Entrance fee is 10,000 won for adults 20 yrs old and above, 6,000 won for students and 5,000 won for 13 years old and below,

The start of the course of the village

A sweet young Korean lady welcomed us as we entered the Swiss Village, a Swiss themed café called Thats Coffee was the first thing we saw inside. Since it’s almost lunchtime, we took our lunch first. And guess what, they offered Swiss food inside, oh what a coincidence. My friends settled for pasta salad, and since I saw a lot of green leafy vegetables in the salad, I had Hotdog instead and fresh milk. The café is in a perfect location because when you look out of the window, you’ll see the beautiful view outside. On the second floor of the building, there’s a small coffee museum, for me it looks like a cellar because there are what looks like sacks of coffee beans, but I guess it’s for display. There are also stories and drawings and dioramas all about the production of coffee in the ancient days.

Thats Coffee located right in front of the entrance
After we had our Swiss Themed lunch, we did not waste any more time, we immediately explored the village. Our first stop was the Sheep Farm. However, I was a little bit disappointed because those are not real sheep. I thought there were live sheep happily grazing in the grass, but those were not even green grasses. The sheep farm is just an area where you can see two fake sheep in the field of beautiful and colorful flowers. Now that would make a good photo zone.

Swiss Sheep Farm

The village has different buildings and each building has a theme. On the right side of the road are the different museums and theme building where everybody is free to enter. On the left side of the road, there are residential houses, and I mean real houses. There are people actually living in this village, so you may notice that some of the house are gated and locked, that means, you are not supposed to enter there. The real head turners though are the flowers in the windows and in the side of the road. I presume it’s the flowers of Switzerland. I am not good when it comes to flowers, but whatever it is, they sure are great addition to make the place really look like Switzerland.

Inside the Swiss Theme village

The first building we invaded was Love and Wine Building. When we purchased the ticket to the village, they gave us a note card where we can write a love letter or a message. At the Love building, there’s a tree where you should pin that love note. I am not sure what the vital role of this in a relationship but couples are doing it. We had fun vandalizing the walls of the museum because we were allowed to do so, on the second floor, there’s a wine museum. There’s a set up for wine party and a diorama of the process of making a wine from harvesting up to the fermentation.

The wine museum

We then visited the Switzerland Story, a building which tells the story of Switzerland, did you get that? In this building, there’s a big wind musical instrument. There were several people taking turn to blow that instrument and there’s actually sound coming out of the instrument. I could have tried that but I just imagined how many people tried to blow that thing so I passed. There’s also an archery and people just played with the bow and arrow, some used it as a props. But we enjoyed wearing the Swiss Ornaments including Santa’s beard for a photo opportunity.

Switzerland Story

Next was this building called Heidi Cheese. It’s a building that tells a story of Cheese presenting the Cheese ambassador to Switzerland, Heidi. It’s actually a cheese museum in the guise of Heidi memorial center. There are memorabilia of our beloved childhood character Heidi. I felt a little nostalgic because Heidi was part of my childhood. So it’s not really more about the cheese but more of Heidi.

Heidi Cheese

Remember Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? It’s what I first saw when we entered the Swiss Chocolate Museum. It has the same concept as the Cheese building, but this time, it’s all about….. guess what…. Chocolate!!!! Although I am more of a cheese lover than chocolates, I find the story of chocolates more interesting. There were stories about how Chocolates became part of religious rituals of the ancestors and different interesting facts.

Chocolate Museum

I think my favorite was the Santa Village because it reminds me of the most important day of the year, Christmas!!! There’s a big Christmas tree and the background music was all Christmas songs and there were fake snowflakes and couples were kissing under the Christmas tree with the Christmas light. I felt the spirit of Christmas in that room, and it’s just what, October? If ever you want to feel Christmas any day of the year, Santa Village will give it to you because it’s Christmas all year round in this part of the world.

Santa Village

And for Everybody’s favorite, the Bern Bear. There’s a huge bear you can hug inside this building and you can take photo with him without any complaints. The cuteness will never fade and the charm will never go away. While there were not a lot of actual teddy bears in the building, you can just take photos with the standfies of Swiss bears and remain cute for the rest of your life.

Bern Bear

What is amazing with all these buildings is that, you enter the building through the door on the ground level, and you exit on the second level and there’s amazing view waiting for you outside. The Milk Cow farm is one of the examples. Again, there’s no actual cow, there’s no actual milk and there’s no actual farm. Only two fake milking cows and two mascots perfect for couple selfies.

Cows Milk farm

So far, those buildings are the highlights of the Swiss Village. Other houses are closed because some people actually lived there, so it’s kind of a private place. But there are other interesting places like Fountain Square, it looks like a garden or some sort but it’s just a small area though.

Garden Fountain

There’s also a LOVE square where you can take photo with your partner on the big heart shape decorated with colorful flowers. There’s also big letters that spell LOVE, a perfect spot for photo with the beautiful scenery as your background. You will surely LOVE that.

Love Square

We spent a good five hours in the Swiss Village. It was already 4 pm when we decided to go home. However, the schedule of free shuttle bus from Edelweiss to Cheongpyeong Station is at 10:10, 12:00, 14:00 and 17:30. Either we wait for one hour and a half or we commute back to Cheongpyeong Station to save us some time. The problem was, there’s no bus stop near the Swiss village, so the best way to go back to Cheongpyeong Station is to take a taxi. There’s a problem again, unless you know how to call a taxi, there’s no way you can get one. So our last option was to find the nearest bus station so we could at least take a bus. We didn’t expect that the search for the nearest bus station would make us walk for more than 30 minutes and more than 2 Kilometers. To add insult to the injury, we passed through several villages that look like a ghost town to me because I didn’t see a single human life there, only fierce dogs barking at the noisy strangers. To lighten up the burden, we just threw jokes, talked and laughed as we trek down the mountain to find “the nearest bus station”. But it was not only dogs that challenged us on our search, even snakes. I almost, for the life of me, had a heart attack when a snake crossed the street just a few meters away from us. The poor little thing was left lifeless when a car passed and hit as it slithered towards the other side of the road. That was a relief though. So if you don’t want to battle with the dogs and snakes or walk more than 2 kilometers in the mountainous remote area of Gapyeong, don’t take a bus from Edelweiss to Cheongpyeong Station. I suggest you either call a taxi or wait for the schedule of free Shuttle Bus.

All in all, it was a good, memorable and awesome experience. I can’t take the view from the village out of my mind, maybe I’m in love with the place. My only suggestion to the administrator of Edelweiss Swiss Theme Village is to make a way to make it accessible to the commuters. I hope there’s a bus stop at the entrance of the village or even a taxi waiting area. The free shuttle bus is good, but it’s only available on weekend and Holidays. Overall, good job for coming up with this awesome theme park.  I just hope someday I can go to Switzerland, like the real Switzerland and live my life the Swiss way.