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.