Monday, March 27, 2017

SGC Super Live 2017- The First Kpop Concert I Attended

I remember during the era when Kpop started to penetrate the Philippines. I really don’t know when it began, and how it made its way to the Philippine market. I was oblivious to what is happening to Hallyu wave in the Philippines because 1.) I was not interested and 2.) I don’t patronize something that I don’t understand. When Philippine radio stations started to play “Nobody Nobody but you” by the Wonder Girls, followed by “Sorry Sorry Sorry” by the Super Junior, and then joined by 2NE1’s “I don’t care eh eh eh eh”, I was the first person to cover my ears. It was around year 2007’s and 2008’s up to 2009’s when Kpop suddenly made its way to the spotlight of Philippine music market. I was the Mr. Scrooge of Kpop, until PSY’s Oppa Gangnam Style awakened my interest to Kpop. That song was a hit worldwide. It has a powerful beat and rhythm and charm that despite the incomprehensive lyrics, I was into it.

When I came to Korea to work, I already appreciate Kpop, but I’m not a ‘fan”, I just listen to it, and I’m ok with it. I even listened for the purpose of learning Korean language, and I admit that it did help pretty well. I also got to know some of the hottest Kpop idols in Korea, I listened to their music and even have it saved on my playlist.

And where am I going with these thoughts?

Well, I just want to share my first(and probably last) experience watching a Kpop concert. It was not just a simple Kpop concert because it’s  star studded event, and by star studded I meant the famous kpop idols in this generation like Rain, Korean girl group T-ara and Korean boy groups GOT7, Seventeen, Day 6, Se7en and the rookie group Day 6. It was actually a fusion of a fashion show and Kpop concert. The Seoul Girl’s Collection (SGC) Super Live was held last March 18, 2017 at the Korea University's Hwajung Gymnasium. The SGC Super live is on its 12th year of entertaining people through music and fashion. Korean fashion artists showcased their creations for the Spring and Summer collections, and alternately, Kpop artists performed every after fashion show.

The stage at the SGC Super Live 2017

Most of the attendees were teenagers, and most of them were girls. The show started at around 6:00 pm, I arrived at around 5:30 and there were a lot of people lining up at the entrance of the gymnasium. Although the main event was the Fashion Show, I’m 100 percent sure that people went there for the concert, just like us. When the personnel opened the gymnasium, everybody rushed to get inside, and we didn’t even show our tickets. If you go there without the ticket, you probably can still get inside and watch the show for free.

Colorful lightings during the performance of Day6

The first thing that I noticed was the lightings. It was incredibly awesome. If not for the lightings, the stage would be probably boring and dull. Almost 80 percent of the people inside the gym were holding a led light which they bought from the vendors outside the gym. We didn’t buy any of it because I don’t think we need it. The hardcore fans were so into it because for them, it’s their way to cheer for their Kpop idols. In all fairness, seeing a row of people with LED lights set me on a festive mode.

Fans waving their LED lights during the performance of Blanc7

The concert did not really run smooth because during GOT 7’s performance, fans started to go out of control. While GOT7 was performing, they started pushing towards the stage until the barricade almost collapsed. Worried for the safety of the fans, GOT7 decided to stop the performance and plead for the fans to move back. Nobody listened. The staffs started to push them back and warned the audience that the show will not push through unless they will move back. We wasted almost 30 minutes just to settle the fans. For us who were sitting on the bleachers, we kept shouting at the stubborn fans to move back, but they were adamant. The staffs forced them to move, after a few minutes, GOT7 repeated their performance.

Fans go crazy during the performance of GOT7

Fans were so wild during the concert. They danced, shouted and sang along with the performers. Good thing there’s a fashion show every after performance, it’s a good way to pacify the excited fans. But what I also appreciate in the show was the DJ. He played good music especially with the fashion show. It could have not been as classy and elegant as it was without that awesome background music. There were two instances where the DJ got the spotlight for spinning the music while waiting for the next performer. He played Bruno Mars, The Weeknd and some of the Western artists tracks. Apparently, the Korean audience did not appreciate it as much as I do. I feel bad for the DJ.

Rain's performance

The last performer of the night was RAIN. Suffice to say that he was the biggest artist that night, or else, he was not the finale. However, people started to move out when he performed. The lower box was opened, so we decided to move from the bleacher to the lower box so we could see Rain closer as he performs on stage. Sure, Seventeen got the moves, GOT7 got the charm, T-ara’s performance was sexy and hot, but RAIN, you can see how seasoned he is when he performs on stage. The new generation audience may not appreciate him as much as the younger Kpop idols, but performance wise, RAIN still has something to offer.

The closest I can get to see Rain performs on stage

It’s more than 3 hours of treat for the concert goers. I did enjoy the show, at least I experienced how it was to watch a kpop concert. The group with the most fans based on the audience impact was Seventeen, followed by GOT7. But my favorite performance was that of a rookie group called Blanc7. T-ara was the only girl group to perform that night.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Hang Out at Café De One Piece(원피스 카페) in Hongdae

If ever you find yourself wandering at Hongdae one of these days, don’t be surprised if you’ll see a pirate ship anchored in the middle of the city. Don’t panic, no don’t do that! Don’t run, no never! Don’t hide and don’t wonder. There are no pirates, there’s no ocean, it’s just a café. The Café De One Piece is a giant pirate ship café at Hongdae, South Korea.

Cafe De One Piece in Hongdae

I heard about its opening last year, but I never really had a chance or even the urge to visit the café. I was at Hongdae last week with my friends, and we decided to drop by at the café just to see how it is a bandwagon in Seoul nowadays. When we arrived at the café, there was a long line outside. It’s crazy because people are willing to wait outside even if it means standing in a very windy and cold open area. One must be an avid fan of this anime to be willing to go through all the troubles of waiting and freezing. Since we were not a fan, and I didn’t even watch a single episode of this anime, we just gave it to them. We never really entered the café, but we were contented just looking around the area and to its glorious figure that is a pirate ship.

The head of the pirate ship

Outside the café are the standees of some characters of the anime. As expected, I don’t recognize any of them, but it’s perfect for people who want to have a selfie or photo opportunity with the characters.

The cut outs of the characters
(c) Anny Martinez

We didn’t get a chance to see what’s inside the café because it was too crowded when we went there, but I like how they invested on their cups and stirrers. When you order a drink, your cup has “Café De One Piece” print on it, and the stirrer has a flag to make it even more appealing to the customers.

Cafe De One piece prints on the cups
(c) Arman Carinan

The Prices of beverages and desserts range from 3,500 won up to 6,000 won. But I heard that their novelty cakes are way too expensive for the price of 40,000 won up to 80,000 won, so you better careful when you order and double check the price if you don’t want to pay a piece of cake for that price. Take a look at their menu first before ordering.

The bar inside the cafe
(c) Arman Carinan

If you feel like hanging out at Café De One Piece because 1) You’re a fan of the anime, 2) You want to ride on the bandwagon, 3) You want to wait for more than 1 hour to enter the café, or for whatever reasons you have in mind, the address of the café is this:

Address: 343-10 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul

In front of th cafe

The café is open from Sunday to Saturday, from 10 am up to 10 pm.

To get there via subway, take Subway Line Number 2 (Green Line) and get off at Hongik University Station. Go to Exit 9 and walk towards the main gate of the Hongik University. The café is located beside the Starbucks Café.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Best Cherry Blossom Spots in Korea

I would like to congratulate all of you for surviving another winter in Korea. We have passed the brutal biting cold of the winter, and as a reward, Mother Nature will about to cover the whole country with pink through the most popular flower of spring, the Cherry Blossom! Who wouldn’t want to see the Cherry Blossom? If you want to experience Cherry Blossom in Korea, you better take note of the possible dates and the best spots to visit to enjoy its beauty. Cherry Blossom will only show up quick, so you better be alert, or else, you have to wait another year to see it again. Here’s a quick list of the best spots in Korea for Sakura viewing and the possible dates: (2017)

1. Yeouido

Possible date:  Mid April
Address (English): Gukhoe-daero, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul
Address (Korean): 서울특별시 영등포구 국회대로

How to get there:

Take Seoul Subway Line number 9 and get off at the  National Assembly Station (국회의사당역) and go to Exit 6.

2. Kyunghee University

Possible Date: Mid April
Address (English): 26 Kyungheedae-ro, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul
Address (Korean): 서울특별시 동대문구 경희대로 26

How to get there:

Take the Seoul Subway Metro Line 1 or the Junang Line and get off at Hoegi Station (회기역). Go to Exit 1 and walk straight until you reach the university. You can also take the mini bus 01 to Kyung Hee University.

3. Seokchon Lake

Possible Date: Early April

Address (English): 148, Jamsil-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul
Address (Korean): 서울특별시 송파구 잠실로 148

How to get there:

Take  Seoul subway line #2 and get off at Jamsil Station. Go to exit #2 and walk straight until you reach the lake

4. Anyangcheon Stream in Yangcheon-gu District

Possible Date: Early April

How to get there:

Take Subway Line Number 5(Purple Line) and get off at Ohmokyo Station. Go to exit 5 and walk towards the walkway beside the stream that stretches from Yanghwagyo Bridge to Ogeumgyo Bridge.

5. Jinhae

Possible Date: Early April

Address (English): Tongsin-dong, Jinhae-gu, Changwon-si, Gyeongsangnam-do
Address (Korean): 경상남도 창원시 진해구 통신동

How to get there:

From Jinhae Intercity Bus Terminal, take a taxi to Jinhae Jungwon Rotary Intersection.

6. Gyeongju

Possible Date: Early April

How to get there:
Go to Gyeongju downtown area or tourist places like Bulguksa temple.

7. Seogwipo in Jeju

Possible Date: Late March

How to get there:

Go to the Jeju Sports Complex and Seogwipo downtown area. You will see there the Jeju’s King Cherry Tree blossoms which have the largest petals.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Nature Tripping at Jeju’s Cheonjeyeon Falls (천제연 폭포) and Seonimgyo Bridge

After being entertained by the splashes of waves and beautiful columnar joints at Jusangjeolli cliff, we headed to another natural beauty of Jeju, the Cheonjeyeon Falls(천제연 폭포). Cheonjeyon Falls is one of the two major falls in Jeju, the other one is Cheonjiyon, and yes, the difference is only one character. We never had the chance to visit Cheonjiyon, but this time, I am going to talk about Cheonjeyon.

In order to go to the falls, we had to go down a wooden stair which was built along the slope of a mountain. We had to follow the trail because the water that flows through the falls came from the cave where cold water pours from the ceiling to create the first waterfall. The water gathers into a beautiful turquoise pool.

A beautiful torquise pool where the water that flows through the falls came from

The pool is so clean and calm as if inviting every visitor to swim. However, swimming is not allowed in this area. We don’t understand why they won’t allow swimming, how could they restrict people from enjoying the water? Regardless, some of our “tour mates” did swim anyway. Only to be whistled by the authorities assigned to watch the place. We had no choice but to be contented by just looking at the beauty of nature displayed in front of us.

From the pool, the water falls two more times. We followed the flow of water through the trail provided and we reached the area where the water falls for the second time. It is so high that they prohibited people to go at the top of the falls. But we decided to trespass anyways. Nobody dared to jump of course, or else you can’t get out from there alive.

Overlooking the falls from the top(prohibited area)

But don’t follow my example, you can just appreciate the fall by going to the area where people supposed to go to see it. Not bad though, although it’s more fun to be there standing on the top looking down the water as it falls from a very significant height.

Visitors can stand in this area to see the waterfalls

We walked further following the flow of the water until we reached the Cheonjeyeon village. In this village, we saw a very attractive bridge called Seonimgyo. It’s an arch bridge with 7 nymphs carved on the side.

The Seonimgyo bridge with 7 nymphs carved on its side

We crossed the bridge, and boy it was so huge. We lingered a little while at the bridge because from there, the beauty of nature was displayed right below us. I tried to turn 360 degrees, then look up and down, and all I saw was nature. I saw the water flowing from the falls from below us. Then to the left I saw the Hallasan, the tallest mountain of Korea. Then to the right, I saw a lushy green forest and mountains, and even temples. It’s a beautiful spot to appreciate the beauty of nature at Jeju.

Looking at the beautiful view from the bridge

After we crossed the bridge, we were greeted by the giant fountain of five blessings. Depending on your desire, either financial, wealth, health, etc., you must throw a coin and make a wish on this fountain.

The 5 blessings fountain

There’s also a building called Octagonal Cheonjeru Pavilion. I can’t seem to understand why it’s called Octagonal, but our group had a photo opp in front of the pavilion anyways.

In front of Cheonjero Pavilion

I think Cheonjeyeon falls is where you can experience the fusion between nature and myths. There are interesting stories about the falls and the surrounding places, but obviously, I couldn’t tell about it here. Maybe when you go there someday, you have to discover it on your own.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Make Extraordinary Adventures with Trickeye Museum’s AR and VR Features

Our favorite art gallery in Hongdae is now more interactive and fun with its new features, the AR or augmented reality and the VR or Virtual Reality! My last visit at the Trickeye Museum was a fun and memorable one as we interacted with 2D paintings giving impressions that we were part of the artwork.

Last week, I visited Trickeye Museum again together with friends, and I was so surprised with the new elements they have added in the museum. It’s a whole new level of fun and adventures, yes, you read it right, an adventure at Trickeye Museum. Before, visitors can only take photos with 3D effects, now, people can make videos of the artwork with special effects. This is the first and only museum in the world with AR.

The entrance to the Trickeye with Lava and fire effects via AR

With the Augmented reality feature, I tried to escape the lava attack!

A post shared by Shirgie Scf (@malditongserjz) on

Fought the fire breathing sea monster! The good thing about the app is that, it has embedded sound effects already, no matter how noisy the people around you, it will not be recorded because the default sound effect is that of the sound of the animation.

Saved a friend from the mouth of a big monster fish! Using a third party video editor, you can also add your own music background just like this one.

A post shared by Shirgie Scf (@malditongserjz) on

Survived the attack of a giant snake!

A post shared by Shirgie Scf (@malditongserjz) on

Enjoyed the fireworks!

A post shared by Shirgie Scf (@malditongserjz) on

And the flying flowers!

And a lot more!!!

So how this augmented reality works?

Well, it’s easy, all you need to do is download the Trickeye app on your respective devices. Just search for the app called “TRICKEYE”, then download it, it’s an app with a red and white camera icon.

Once you opened the application, you must connect to the wifi to make it work. Don’t worry, the museum has a Free wifi for everybody, so you can just connect and use the app. All you need to do is to focus the trickeye app camera in front of any 2D paintings available in the museum, make sure that the AR mode is turned ON, and then wait for the effect to come out. You can turn ON/OF AR mode by touching AR:T button (located between "video" and "photo" button).

Forget about taking 2D photos, because with the Trickeye app, you can make cool and interactive video. You need to muster all the acting skills you have to react with the video effect to make it even more realistic.

If you are not comfortable with the videos, you can actually take photos with the effect, in the Trickeye app, you can switch between Photos and Videos, it’s all up to you really. If you want to know more about using the Trickeye App, you can CLICK HERE.

Not only that, another feature added was the VR or the Virtual Reality. In this part of the museum, you can ride a virtual roller coaster, sing your heart out at the virtual “The voice” stage with the Monster VR, explore the wilderness without leaving the vicinity of the museum, and get some adrenaline rush at the racing games.

The VR really attracts a lot of visitors especially the young people because people can get to experience a different level of fun brought by the virtual effects. To know more a about the virtual reality feature, you can CLICK HERE.

I don’t know what else can Trickeye Museum do in the future, but as for what I experienced during my visit, I guess the museum set a higher level of fun and excitement when it comes to optical and virtual illusions. So if you want to experience this yourself, go visit Trickeye Museum at Hongdae in Seoul. For complete direction on how to go to Trickeye Museum, CLICK HERE. And oh by the way, make sure your smart phone’s battery is full, bring extra batteries and/or power banks so you have an unlimited opportunity to record your adventures at Trickeye Museum.