Thursday, July 27, 2017

Talk With Karla of TravelWithKarla.com


She is Karla, some people call her TravelWithKarla, but Kdrama fans call her "How To Be You Po?".

If you are into kpop or kdrama, or generally crazy over the OPPAs of South Korea, chances are, you may have stumbled upon her blog at TravelWithKarla.com, or competed against other fangirls to win some stuff at the TravelWithKarla Facebook Page, or an audience in one of her many trending Facebook Live. While others dream to go to Korea to satisfy their kdrama and kpop cravings, Karla had been living that dream during her stay in the country.

Her blog TravelWithKarla became an instant portal for all the K-Fans to virtually view Korea in a perspective of a fan. Whether it's about the culture, kpop, kdrama shooting locations, tourist spots and Korean lifestlye, her blog offers relevant information to the readers. Today, I am going to feature her here so that we can get to know more about Karla.

1. State your full name, your hometown in the Philippines, the city where you stayed in South Korea and your interests in life.

Annyeong! My name is Karla Elliesita D. Obispo. I was born in Manila but was raised in Dasmarinas City, Cavite. I like trying out new stuff. I believe that it’s better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times. I enjoy writing a journal about my experiences.

2. What is your work and how long did you work in South Korea?

I worked as an English teacher in Korea. Seoul to be particular. I explored Korea for about two years.

3. How did you get a job in Korea?

I’ve always been a volunteer teacher in some outreach programs. I meet a lot of people there and I keep in touch with them. A Korean pastor requested for an English teacher to worked in their church. Good thing, I was the first one who came up in the mind of his Filipino friend. I was highly recommended and they processed my visa immediately. 

4. What inspired you to travel and go to Kdrama shooting locations?

I go to tourist places once a week. At one point, I thought that there’s no more to explore in Seoul because I thought that I’ve already seen them all. I began watching Korean Dramas. While watching, I realized that I’ve already passed by those places. I thought I should go back and take pictures there too.

It feels good to be in the same place with my favorite Korean actors. I also have fun imitating the screen shots I take from the drama.

5. What’s your most memorable experience in SoKor?

My most memorable experience is when my mom and sister visited me. I realized that living in Korea is fun but I feel happier when I do fun activities with my family. Funding my mom and my sister’s trip to Korea is one of my greatest achievement in life.

6. Of All the Kdrama related places you’ve visited, what’s your most favorite and why?

My favorite is Yongin Daejanggeum Park (MBC Dramia). It’s the home of all historical Korean Dramas. I had fun exploring it wearing a hanbok. I felt that I was a part of the drama. Besides the awesome ambiance, the place is not crowded. I always see actors when I go there!

7. How did your stay in Korea influence you (if there’s any) as a person?

Living in Korea alone made me feel that I’m so independent. It made me feel so adult. I take care of my food, my laundry, my house, and myself of course. Besides being independent, living in Korea made me prioritize my health and beauty. The free gym equipment in the parks inspired me to work out every day. I chose to eat healthier food. Lastly, I adapted the Korean skin care routine.

8. If there are three places in Korea you must suggest to include in the itinerary, what are those places and why?

Garden of the Morning Calm – I love nature. It’s one of the places I saw that makes me feel that I’m in heaven. It was autumn when I first went there, and ever since I went there I kept coming back. I went back during winter and spring.

Yongin DaeJangGeum (MBC Dramia) – I think that it’s the ultimate destination of Korean Drama fans. If I only have one day in Korea, I’ll probably spend it here. In my opinion, the structures here are better than the palaces located in Seoul.

Korean Folk Village – If you want to try some Korean traditions, you have to go here. You can see a lot of traditional performances and activities there. I also like their staff who wears traditional costumes while roaming around the village.

9. If you will be given a chance to go back to Korea, are you going back? Why?

Definitely! I want to explore some provinces outside Seoul. I also want to visit more Korean Drama Filming locations. I’m planning to go there next year for a quick vacation.

10. What are the three things you missed about Korea?

I miss the fast internet, the efficient transportation, and the cold weather.

11. About your blog, travelwithkarla.com, what article is the most read of all time?

The most read articles are “Things Every Goblin Fan Must Have” and “Goblin Shooting Locations” It’s funny because I own a travel blog yet the most read are all about dramas. “Reasons for Denial of Korean Visa”, “7 Days Itinerary in Seoul”, and “Filipino Budget Trip to Korea” are also well read. 

12. What kind of information do you usually share on your blog?

I usually share about the itineraries I used. I write about some trivias, and directions on how to go to a certain tourist spot.

13. How did you start your blogging stint?

My work in Korea is not really time consuming. I usually teach 1 to 3 hours per day. I had a lot time to write during the time when I finish preparing for my classes.

14. Outside Korea, where are you going to take “Travel with Karla”?

I’m planning to take Travel with Karla around the world. I actually decided to go back to Philippines so I can explore my own country first. I’m inspired by a lot of foreign bloggers who say that Philippines is the most beautiful country they have ever been.

15. Last but not the least! Who is your favorite Oppa? Why?

Hahahaha! My favorite oppa is Jo Jung-Suk! I like his dramas especially the Oh My Ghostess and Jealousy Incarnate. Can I add more? I also like Ji Chang Wook! I first saw him in The K2, then Healer and Suspicious partner. I think he’s the manliest oppa.

I’ve seen both of them when I went to Baeksang Awards. I decided to shout saranghae oppa to catch their attention than to take pictures. I decided to live in the moment.

 

Well done Karla! Thank you for sharing a little piece of you by answering these questions. Now, we know you better than before. And for that, I think you deserve the title Philippine Ambassadress of Kpop/Kdrama Fan. We are excited to read your future travelogues and adventure.

God Bless!

 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Hallyu Tour at MBC World


The hallyu wave has been making too much noise that it slowly invades not only the neighboring Asian countries but also the western market. Thanks to the charming oppas, the sweet unnies and the conservative but romantic Korean dramas. The Hallyu wave did not only become the wire of energy to the kpop and kdrama aspect but also to the Korean Tourism. A lot of people want to go to Korea because of the influence of its entertainment industry.

The MBC, a cultural broadcasting company, is one of the TV networks in South Korea responsible for bringing out the couch potato inside every Kdrama fan in the world. As hallyu wave influenced people to visit Korea, MBC has devised a way to help hallyu-wave-infected individuals to make the most out of their stay in Korea by providing experience that could satisfy their being fan boy or girl.


The MBC World is a haven for the K-fans out there. If you are really a fan, like a hardcore fan, then this is where you should hang out. It’s a huge hallyu wave inspired themed parks and at the same time a broadcasting station for their radio. The tour is divided into three buildings, the M, B and C.



At the M building, you can experience various activities like watching the performance of kpop artists like the Super Junior in the hologram theatre. There’s also a dance studio where you can bring out the kpop moves inside of you. There’s a virtual reality space where you can see the Daejanggeum, another MBC themed park in Yongin, and wear a virtual history drama costume. You can even experience being an anchorman in a newsroom. In the fourth floor of the M Building, you can be a part of drama produced by MBC. And in the 7th floor, you can witness the actual process of making a news program. If you are lucky, you can maybe see some big k stars in the area.



The B building is my favorite. Why? Because it’s a trick art museum. It has dioramas and standfies of different dramas produced by MBC, some of them are very famous. In this building, you can actually become part of the drama poster. All you need to do is step into the right spot, take photo at the right angle and you can become a part of the show. Some famous shows included in the B building are Coffee Prince, Jumong, Personal taste, and the latest W.



The C Building on the other hand is somewhat the most interactive part of the tour. You can sing karaoke with the artist of your choice, you can date your crush K celebrity, you can have a selfie with the holograms of your idols, and a lot more.



So next time you plan a trip to Korea, bring out the k-fan inside of you by including MBC World as part of your itinerary. When I went there, there was a shooting of a kdrama, I just don’t know what kind of drama, but I saw some supporting casts taking some scenes in one part of the theme park. The MBC World is located at 267, Seongam-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea , it is open from 10 am to 6 pm from Monday to Sunday. It’s closed on New Year’s Day and Chuseok Day. Admission fees are as follows:


Adults (19-64) 18,000 won
Teenagers (14-18) 13,000 won
Children (36 months-13) 9,000 won
Senior Citizens (65 years old and above), People with Disabilities 13,000 won


If you will go there via subway, take Airport Railroad Express Line and get off at Digital Media City Station. Go to Exit 9 and take Bus Number 15 to MBC World.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Are You Qualified to Change Visa from E9 to E-7-4? Check Your Points Here!


The Government of South Korea has established a new visa scheme called E-7-4 Visa. The purpose of this visa is to solve the labor shortages in the sectors of Manufacturing, fishing and agriculture. Interested applicants can start submitting application on August 1, 2017. As a part of the demo program, the Ministry of Justice will issue 300 visas under this category. The quota for E-7-4 visa for next year is yet to be decided by the ministries involve in this program.


What exactly is E-7-4 Visa?


It’s a point based skilled workers’ Visa. The existing visa for non professional skilled workers is E9 Visa, and based on the required skills, E9 visa holders are the primary target of this kind of Visa. Those who have been working in manufacturing, fishing and agriculture for four years and more can get the chance to change the visa into E-7-4 considering the experience, skills and the amount of money they acquired from the current job.


What are the benefits of E-7-4 Visa?


When you have E-7-4 Visa, you don’t need to take another Korean Language test in the Philippines and go through the exam permit system again to go back to Korea because this visa can be extend every two years.With E-7-4 visa, you can have the opportunity to live and work in Korea continuously as long as you meet requirements based on points.


And Speaking of Points!


Since this is a point based visa, you must at least get 50 points out of the available 180 points. The breakdown of the points and its bases are as follows:


1. Technical points


Annual salary of 33 million won or more : 20 points

Annual salary is over 30 million won : 15 points

Salary over 26 million won : 10 points

Note: You must receive the above salary for two years.

 


2. Education points


University graduate or  higher : 20 points

College graduate : 10 points

High School graduate : 5 points

 


3. Age points


~ 24 years: 20 points

~ 29 years old: 10 points

~ 34 years: 5 points

~ 39 years old: 2 points

 


4. Korean Language ability


Topik 4, KIIP 4 or higher: 20 points

Topik level 3, KIIP level 3 : 15 points

Topik Level 2, KIIP Level 2 : 10 points

Topik Level 1, KIIP Level 1 : 5 points

 


5. Property points


More than 100 million savings: 15 points

More than 80 million won in savings: 10 points

More than 30 million won in savings: 5 points

Assets more than 100 million in Korea: 20 points

Assets more than 80 million won in Korea : 15 points

Assets more than 10 million won in Korea :10 points

The total savings must have been accumulated for more than two years.

If you have 100 million won in savings account and live in a house worth 100 million won, you get 35 points

 


6. Work experience points


Roots(ppuri) Industrial work experience more than 6 years: 15 points

More than 4 years of working experience in roots industry: 10 points

More than 6 years of working experience outside roots industry: 10 points

More than 4 years of working experience: 5 points

Working outside the root industry refers to agriculture, fishery, livestock industry, manufacturing, and construction.

 


7. Education in Korea points


University degree or higher in Korea: 10 points

College degree in Korea : 5 points

Language center in Korea 1 year or more: 5 points

Domestic center in Korea 1 year or more: 3 points

 


8. Addition


University or higher center in Korea: 10 points

College graduate center in Korea: 5 points

Government recommendation letter: 10 points

Work experience in province area: 10 points

Awards: 5 points

Volunteer activity: 3 points

Tax payment results: 1 ~ 5 points

 


From the 8 categories above, try to give yourself a point and see if you can get 50 points or more. If you think you have the chance, why not try to change your E9 visa to E-7-4 Visa.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

How to Claim Your Lump Sum Refund of National Pension for Foreigners ( Kukmin) at the Airport

One of the benefits that an OFW in South Korea can claim when going home is the Kukmin or the National Pension. There are two ways to claim this, one is via remittance to your bank account in the Philippines, and second is by claiming it at Incheon Airport.


This article is for those who will choose to claim it at the airport. I am going to share every detail based on my experience. Anybody who decides to go home through Incheon Airport can choose this option and the application must be done within 1 month of departure.


Airport payment is not possible for the following conditions:


  • If the departure date is on Sunday, Saturday, or public holiday
  • If flight departure time is not within the office hours of Incheon Airport Counseling Center. Their office hour is between 11:00 – 24:00.

In the event that Airport payment is not possible, then the applicant must choose to receive the lump sum via domestic or overseas remittance.


HOW TO APPLY?


1. Within 1 month before your departure, you should go to the National Pension Service Branch Office in your area.

2. Bring the following requirements:


  • Alien registration card
  • Passport
  • Air ticket
  • Domestic Bank Account (in case payment at the airport cannot be made)

3. Present the requirements at the NPS office and fill up the form

4. Choose to receive the lump sum at the airport

5. Take your Application for Airport Payment and other documents


HOW TO RECEIVE THE LUMP SUM AT THE AIRPORT?


At the day of your departure, you must be at the airport earlier than your flight to give time for the processing of your kukmin and other benefits. It is advisable to book your flight during weekdays and flight time should be at night time so you have ample time to process everything before you leave Korea. Here is the process on how to receive the lump sum at the airport.


>1. At the airport, proceed to Incheon Airport Counseling Center and present your Passport, Alien Card and Air Ticket. Although they don’t ask for Proof of Application Receipt, please have it ready in case they will look for it. This receipt should have been provided by the NPS office when you applied for it. They will give you your “Statement of Lump Sum Refund”.



 Location of Airport counseling center at the Airport is near the Arrival Hall A Gate #2 on the first floor of the passenger Terminal 


2. After that, bring your “Payment Order for Lump Sum Refund” at the Shinhan Bank Currency Exchange Booth which is located at the 1st Floor of the passenger terminal, near Exit 6 of Arrival Hall C. Present your passport and they will give you a receipt of currency exchange 



3. After passing through departure immigration step, collect the exchanged amount at the Shinhan Bank Currency Exchange Booth which is located at the 3rd floor of the passenger terminal near gate 43


That’s it! Pretty simple. Processing of kukmin at the airport will only take about 30 minutes, so it’s not that difficult to do.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A 24 Hours Itinerary to Busan


Do you want to go to Busan but you have no time? Well, you can do visit it and become productive in just a span of 24 hours, just like what I did. So today, I am sharing to you the itinerary that I made for all the busy people out there who want to go to Busan but no ample time to do so.

Day 1:

10:00 AM – Arrive at Busan Station

  • Depending on where you are coming from, the fare and the time of travel going to Busan vary. There are a lot of ways to go to Busan, you can take a train or a bus. The most expensive way to go there but the most convenient as it only takes shorter amount of time to reach the destination is via Express train. To save money, why don’t you get up early and take bus or regular train instead. 
  • Expenses: Fare starts at 37,000 KRW via regular train from Seoul.

10:00 AM – 10:30 AM – Travel to Oryukdo

  • From Busan Station, go to Exit 10. Then take Bus number 27 and get off at Oryukdo SK View Humun bus stop, about 25 stops from Busan Station. 
  • Expenses: Bus Fare is 1350 KRW

10:30 AM - 12:00 Noon – Explore Oryukdo

  • Walk at the Skywalk Observatory, watch the mysterious islets of Oryukdo, enjoy the sea breeze and the unique view of the rock structures, walk over the trailing path to explore the whole area of the island 
  • Expenses: FREE

12:00 Noon – 12:30 PM – Lunch

  • There are several restaurants near the area of Oryukdo. You can go to the gated apartment buildings right next to the island to go to the restaurants or convenience stores. 
  • Expenses: Average price per meal is around 7,500 KRW

12:30 PM – 2:00 PM – Travel to Gamcheon Cultural Village

  • After lunch, take Bus 27 again to leave Oryukdo. Get off at Yeongju-dong bus stop and transfer to Bus Number 87. Get off at Chungmu-dong Intersection. At Chungmudong Intersection Bus stop, transfer to a small village bus number 03. This bus will take you to Gamcheon Cultural Village. 
  • Expenses: Bus fare is 4,050 KRW

2:00 PM – 4:00 PM Explore Gamcheon Village

  • Gamcheon cultural village is a very colorful, attractive and interesting village. Go walk at the small alleys of Gamcheon, take beautiful photos, enter some random galleries and museums, make friends with the residents of the village and explore 
  • Expenses: FREE

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM – Travel to Samgwangsa Temple

  • Take any village bus and get off at the nearest Train Station, probably the “Toseong Yeok”. From Toseong Yeok, take subway line number 1 and get off at Seomyeon Yeok. From Seomyeon Yeok, go to the bus stop in front of Medical Centre which is located opposite the Lotte Department store. Take Bus Number 15 and get off at Samgwangsa Temple Stop. 
  • Expenses: 2700 KRW for the fare

5:00 PM – 8:00 PM – Explore Samgwangsa Temple

  • Look at the breathtaking view of the city from the top of the temple, observe the patrons and faithful as they worship and pray to their Gods, relax and meditate as the place is very conducive for deep thinking, explore the whole area 
  • Expenses: FREE

8:00 PM – 9:00 PM – Dinner and Travel to Songdo Haesoopia

  • You can take Bus number 15 from the temple and get off at Lotte Department Store which is near Seomyeon Station. Take your dinner from random Korean restaurants in the area, and then go to Seomyeon station, from Seomyeon Station, take the train and get off at Nampodong Station on line number 1. Go to Exit 1, walk straight ahead and take either Bus number 30 or 26 and get off at Daelim APT bus stop. The Jjimjilbang is just in front of the apartment. 
  • Expenses: Fare for the two buses and subway ride is 4,070 KRW

9:00 PM – Treat yourself a relaxing night at Songdo Haesoopia

  • Overlooking the Songdo bridge, Songdo Haesoopia is one of the most visited jjimjilbang in Busan. It’s a huge spa with big sleeping area and big sauna to give yourself some relaxing bath for a night. 
  • Expenses: 12,000 KRW for both spa and jjimjilbang

 

Day 2

7:00 AM – 8:00 AM – Leave Songdo Haesoopia and Travel to Jagalchi

  • You can take either bus number 26 or 30 right in front of the spa and get off at Jagalchi Market 
  • Expenses: 1350 for the bus fare

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM – Breakfast and Explore Jagalchi Market

  • A variety of seafood restaurants are all over the area of Jagalchi market. However, if seafood is not your type for a breakfast, you can just head to some random restaurants in the area. You can also explore Jagalchi Market and be amazed at how people in the market process the seafoods from the dock to the market. 
  • Expenses: You can allot around 10,000 won for your food

9:00 AM – 9:30 AM- Wander at BIFF zone

  • Go to BIFF zone which is just adjacent the Jagalchi Market. This is famous because every October, this place is the host for the Busan International Film Festival. You can also shop if you want, or just walk around the area and explore 
  • Expenses: FREE

9:30 AM-10:00 AM – Travel to Busan Station

  • Busan Station is just near the area, you can take a subway from the nearest subway station, which is probably Nampodong, to go to Busan Station. 
  • Expenses: Fare 1350 won

10:00 AM – Leave Busan

  • If you think 10:00 AM is too early to leave Busan, you can insert other places you want to visit. If you are planning to leave in the afternoon (Which is already beyond the 24 hours itinerary), here are other places I recommend you should visit:

 

-Busan Tower at Yongdusan Park(which is near the BIFF zone), you can CLICK HERE for reference

-Haeundae Beach for the beach lovers, you can CLICK HERE for the reference

-Taejongdae

-Gwangalli

 

Feel free to search for the locations of these other tourist attractions in BUSAN if you can spare more than 24 hours.


You may spend a total of 120,000 KRW to 150,000 KRW for this itinerary. It can be higher or lower based on your location of origin, the things you buy and other factors.

Here’s my shameless plug of the vide I created about my 24 hour trip to BUSAN.

ENJOY!


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Increase in Minumum Wage in South Korea for 2018 Has Been Approved


Yonhapnews reported today that after series of talks, the new minimum wage for next year in South Korea has been set at 7, 530 won per hour, it’s 16.4 percent increase from the current hourly rate.

The increase in the minimum wage has been approved because of the negotiations by the trilateral council of representatives from labor, management and the general public.

The new President of South Korea, President Moon Jae-in has promised that by the end of his term in 2022, the new minimum wage should be 10,000 won per hour. By the rapid increase of hourly rate next year, it looks like the President can possibly make his promise.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

All About Twejikum (퇴직금) (Computation, Claiming, Etc.)

The Twejikum (퇴직금) is one of the benefits that a migrant worker in Korea can avail after the sojourn in South Korea. It is also called “severance pay”, a lump sum of money paid by the employer for the number of years that a particular worker has served the company. Those who were able to work in one company for a minimum of one year or more are qualified to receive the severance pay.


COMPUTATION


About one month before your departure, your company(or you) will contact the insurance company for the computation of your Departure Guarantee Insurance. The insurance company will then provide the receipt where it shows the computation of your Twejikum. This is how it is being computed:



  1. 1. Add your last 3 months salary

Example:

 January : 1,800, 000 Won

 February: 1,900,000 Won

 March: 2,000,000 Won

Last 3 months salary = 1.8M won + 1.9M won + 2M won = 5.7M won


  1. 2. Get the average pay per day by dividing the sum of your Last 3 months salary by the total number of days of last 3 months.

Example:

January : 31 days

February: 28 days

March: 31 days

Total Number of Days of Last 3 Months= 31+28+31 = 90 days

Average Pay Per Day = 5.7M won ÷ 90 days = 63,333.33 Won/Day


  1. 3. Compute the Average salary in one month by multiplying the result of number 2 to 30 days.

Average Pay Per Month = 63,333.33 x 30 = 1,900,000 Won

  1. 4. Compute your Twejikum by Multiplying the result to the number of years of service.

To compute the exact number of years, this is the formula:

Number of years = Total Number of years + [Total Number of Months x (1 year/12 months)]

(For example, worker has finished 4 years and 10 months of work):

                Number of years = 4 years + [10 months x (1 year/12 months)]

                Number of years = 4 years + 0.83

                Number of years = 4.83

Twejikum = 1,900,000 Won x 4.83

Twejikum = 9,177,000 KRW


CLAIMING


Now that you know how much your twejikum is, the big question now is how to claim it!


Your boss should pay you that amount the moment you leave the company. Basically, they have been paying for your severance pay already via the Departure Guarantee Insurance. However, as they are only paying 8.3 percent of your monthly salary, your boss should pay you upfront for the remaining amount.


Say for example, your boss was able to deposit a total of 6,000,000 won in your departure guarantee insurance, he should pay you a total of  9,177,000 KRW- 6,000,000 KRW which is 3,177,000. This amount should be deposited in your payroll account along with your last salary or whatever account you want to nominate.


How about the 6,000,000 won? Where should you claim it?


You should claim it at the airport. Your boss will let you sign up a form where you can nominate a bank to which you want to claim the remaining amount of your departure guarantee insurance. Once you signed up the form, all you need to do is wait for your date of departure and claim it in the airport.


CLAIMING TWEJIKUM AT THE AIRPORT



When claiming Twejikum at the airport, you must go to the bank you nominated at the third floor of Incheon Airport. Usually, they are located near the boarding gates of the airport. You can ask around or look it up yourself, they are not difficult to find.


Once you’re at the currency exchange center of the bank of your choice, they will simply ask you for passport and Alien Card. They already know you are coming, there’s no more fuss or asking for extra document when you approach them.



They will convert your money into dollar denomination, and after verification, they will give you a receipt of the conversion of your money. You must present this receipt at the bank after passing through the immigration so they will give you your cash. Don’t worry, they will provide instruction as to which gate the bank is located, all you need to do is enter the immigration and proceed to the gate they suggested to find the bank and get your cold cash!


That’s it! It’s not really that complicated. If you know how to follow instruction, you can get your twejikum without a fuss. For better flow of transaction, it would be better if you book a flight at night time and during weekdays.

A 2 Day Itinerary for a Budget Trip to Yeosu


I love a lot of things about Yeosu especially the fact that this city has longer autumn and spring and cooler summer compared to any other places in South Korea. Thanks to the sea wind it enjoys as a privilege of being situated in the southern coast of South Korea.


Another thing I love about Yeosu is that, it’s not only a city full of history and culture, it’s also a haven for all nature lover out there. It might not be the biggest city in all of South Korea, but there are a lot of underrated tourist spots worth visiting. It was not chosen as the venue of World Expo 2012 for no reason at all. In this post, I will try to bring Yeosu in the spotlight because I think it deserves a visit. I will share my itinerary here. I did this for only one day, but for the sake of making the most out of your visit to Yeosu, I will stretch the itinerary up to two days. It’s up to you how are you going to adjust it depending on your available time.


Day 1:


12:00 Noon – Arrive at Yeosu Expo Station

  • Yeosu is a far place if we are going to base it from Seoul. You have to estimate the time of travel and make sure to arrive at Yeosu on or before 12 noon. You have to consider the medium of transportation (train, bus, car, etc.) and the location of departure so you will know what time you should travel to Yeosu.

Expenses: If coming from Seoul, Train tickets cost starts at 28, 600 KRW

12:00 Noon to 1:00 PM – Lunch at Yeosu Expo Station

  • There are varieties of restaurants at Yeosu Expo Station to choose from. It’s not difficult to find a good one.

Expenses: One meals costs a minimum of 5,000 KRW

1:00 PM to 1:30 PM – Travel to Yi Sun Shin Square

  • You can take a taxi from Yeosu Expo Station to Yi Sun Shin Square, but in order to save expenses for fare, you can take a bus to Jinnamgwan(진남관 ). There are several buses route to Jinnamgwan from Yeosu Expo Station. You can take bus numbers 7, 999 or 6.

Expenses: Bus Fare worth 1350 KRW

1:30 PM to 2:30 PM – Explore Yi Sun Shin Square


  • If you happen to pass by Yi Sun Shin Square, it’s impossible not to turn your head. There’s a big statue of Admiral Yi Sun Shin in the middle of the intersection and there’s a ship slash museum where you can get a glimpse of the heroic act of the admiral.

Expenses: Free entrance

2:30 PM to 3:30 PM – Jinnamgwan(진남관 )

  • You can just walk from Yi Sun Shin Square to the Jinnamgwan hall to know more about Yeosu’s history and culture. It’s like an open museum and also a head turner. The hall is located in the middle of the city, so you can really see it when you pass by because the structure of the building is different and it has an ancient feel and ambiance. This was the headquarter of Admiral Yi Sun Shin back in the Joseon Dynasty.

Expenses: Free entrance

3:30 PM to 4:30 PM – Rest/check in to a hostel

  • You can go back to Yeosu Expo Station as there are numerous hostels in the are where you can check in and have a quick rest.

Expenses: Hostels in Yeosu starts at 20,000 KRW per night. You can find the best deal as some of them offer free breakfast.

4:30 PM to 5:00 PM- Travel to Odongdo

  • Odongdo is an island near Yeosu Expo Station. You can just walk to go there, but to save some time and for your convenience, you can take a bus going to Odongdo. You can also take a taxi as it only costs minimum fare.

Expenses: Bus Fare 1350 KRW.

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM- Explore Odongdo

  • There are a lot of things you can do at Odongdo, so you can spend 2 hours exploring and enjoying the area. You can visit the Dragon Cave, watch the Water Dancing Fountain, leisurely walk at Barefoot Park and depending on the season, watch the sunset. I like Odongdo because I feel like it has a world of its own.

Expenses: FREE

7:00 PM to 8:00 PM- Take Cable Car to Dolsan Park

  • You can take the cable car to get a view of the city from higher perspective. This cable car will take you to Dolsan Park where there’s light everywhere making it looks like a Christmas park.

Expenses: Cable Car fare 13,000 KRW

8:00 PM to 8:30 PM – Travel to the Big-O show at Yeosu Expo Station

  • You can take a taxi or a bus back to Big-O Show at Yeosu Expo Station

Expenses: Bus fare 1350 KRW

8:30 PM to 10:00 PM- Watch the Big –O Show

  • Enjoy the dancing of lights and sound and water at the Big-O show. This one of a kind spectacle is a must watch in Yeosu. Although you can see the show from the outside, if you are willing to spend, you can pay for an entrance fee to watch it inside the open auditorium.

Expenses: Ticket Price at 18,000 KRW

10:00 PM onwards – Sleep time

 

Day 2

7:00 AM to 7:30 AM – Breakfast

7:30 AM to 8:30 AM –Travel to Hyangiram

  • From Yeosu Expo Station, or from your hostel, you can take bus number 113. This is the only bus that travels from the city to Hyangiram which would take about an hour

Expenses: Fare of 1350 KRW

8:30 AM to 10:30 AM – Explore Hyangiram

  • Hyangiram is one of the four hermitages in South Korea. It’s an uphill climb, but when you get to the top, or at least to the point where you can view the sea, it’s all worth it. You can spend 2 hours hiking the trail and enjoy the subtropical plants all over the mountain.

Expenses: Entrance Fee 2000 KRW

10:30 AM to 11:30 AM – Travel back to the hostel

  • Take note of the schedule of the bus. There’s a board at the bus stop where you can see the schedule of the bus, you must make sure that you take the bus scheduled at 10:30 or any time near it so you know what time you should return at the bus stop. Please note that you are hiking the Hyangiram, so going back to the bus stop may take time, you must consider that.

Expenses: Fare 1350 KRW

11:30 AM to 12:30 PM – Checkout/Lunch

12:30 PM to 2:00 PM – Explore the Yeosu Expo

  • You still have one and half hour or more to explore the Yeosu Expo. There are a lot of things to do at the expo, it’s up to you which once you would like to experience. You can go to the Memorial Hall.

Or take a look at the Aquaplanet.

Or just wander around the expo

Note that expenses for this activity depend on the entrance fees of the museum or themed parks you would like to visit. There’s minimum entrance fee to some attractions in the area, but some of them are just for free.

2:00 PM – Depart from Yeosu

 

In total, you may spend approximately 150,000 KRW up to 160,000 KRW for this 2 day travel, depending on the food you consume and the place of your origin as the fare also varies with distance. It’s quite a cheap price for a very productive trip. It’s up to you how to make it memorable.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Sad News For the Fans of Kdrama Goblin

If you are planning to go to Korea and visit the famous shooting locations of Goblin as they are all over the internet, then you must scratch the “Duksung Women’s University” out of your list. Apparently, the school no longer allows visitors to enter the campus. There’s a big NOTICE sign at the gate of the university when I went there.

The big notice is written in 4 different languages such as English, Korean, Japanese and Chinese. The English statement says:
Visitor Entrance Restriction
This is the campus of Duksung Women’s University and includes the “Do Gge Bi House”, Un Hyun Goong Yang Gwan, from the drama Do Gge Bi (Goblin in English). We appreciate your interest but must ask for your understanding that our campus includes not only the Graduate School of Duksung Women’s University but also Un Hyun Kindergarten and Elementary School. And therefore we are restricting the entrance of the visitors.
Thank you for your cooperation.
-Duksung Women’s University
But don’t be sad, the Korea Tourism Organization has released a list of Goblin’s shooting locations that you can visit. However, these places are in the far area of South Korea like the Gangwondo province, but for the love of the show, who are we to stop you?

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Dissecting a Translation Joke From the Movie OKJA


OKJA is an interesting movie in so many ways. It’s a crossover between a Hollywood and Korean movie, but for me, it’s more of a Korean movie because some of the main characters are Korean and the director is Bong Joon-ho, a Korean national. The premise of the movie is quite conventional in some aspect, a teen Korean girl named Mija (played by An Seo Hyun) who has been a constant companion and a caretaker of a gentle giant super pig named OKJA for 10 long years sets out to rescue her giant friend from the image obsessed CEO of Mirando Corporation who took over OKJA for their own promotion and business.
The appearance of OKJA as a super pig, who doesn’t even resemble to that of a pig, is a big plus as it offers something new to the eyes of the audience. The director Bong Joon-ho has virtually toured us into different locations. From the mountains of South Korea, to the underground market of Seoul, and the small alleys of villages and Han River, up to New York, this movie keeps moving us from one location to another in a fast pace without losing its focus on the actual event. Aside from the filming locations, the use of the actual language is also on point as it did not force Americans to speak Korean, and Koreans to speak English.
However, one interesting thing that happened in this movie is the translation joke that only people who can speak both English and Korean can understand. It’s similar to that binary joke that only IT people can understand, but this time, it’s all about translation. This could be a little bit of a spoiler but I have to say this in order for you to understand the joke.
In one particular scene, Mija rescued Okja from Mirando Corporation through the help of this chaotic animal lover advocates called “Animal Liberation Front”.  But the ALF has another plan, they want to use Okja as their mole at the Mirando laboratory by hacking Okja’s tracking device and return her to Mirando Corporation, but they will only do this with Mija’s consent. Due to her lack of ability to speak English, a Korean guy named K, played by Steven Yeun, stands as the translator between Mija and ALF’s team leader Jay. He asked Mija if it’s ok for her to use Okja to spy on the Mirando Corporation, Mija answered in Korean and she said that she just want to bring home Okja to the mountains of South Korea.
But K, desperate to pursue the mission, lied on his translation. He said that Mija agreed to Jay’s proposal which in turn amused the ALFs team members.

They jumped off the vehicle to Han River before the police came to catch them. Before jumping off, K said something to Mija in Korean.  The actual sentence in Korean is this:
미자야. 그리고 제 이름은 “Koo Soon-bum”.
Translation: Mija! Also,  my name is Koo Soon-bum
But the subtitle says otherwise:
The subtitle is a wink wink for all those who can speak both Korean and English. But for me, it’s also a message for English viewers who can’t speak Korean and Korean viewers who can’t speak English. English speakers may laugh at the subtitle because learning English doesn’t always mean opportunity as what non English Asian countries perceived it. For Korean viewers, the fact that the name Koo Soon-bum was mentioned is already a comic relief as this name is often translated as a dumb name in Korea.
I guess the beauty of Okja does not only lie on the premise of the movie but also the fact that you can actually appreciate this more when you view it in a multicultural lens.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo Are Getting Married


Just this morning, the respective talent agencies of Song Joong Ki and Song Hye  Kyo has announced to the public that the two are planning to get married on October. This is the Official Announcement:

“First, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to both Korean and international fans who have given their love and interest to Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo. We ask for your understand for this sudden news.
Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo are planning to hold their marriage on October 31.
The wedding does not only involve the individuals but also their families and because of this, we had to be careful about the situation.
Until the wedding was confirmed, we had to be careful about the situation and now we are able to give our official position.
We ask for everyone’s understanding.
We ask for everyone’s blessing for the beautiful future of the two actors and the two will also share the news individually.
Thank you.”
– Blossom Entertainment & UAA

What can you say about Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Ko planned wedding?

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A Kdrama Fan OFW in South Korea Shares His Fanboy Journey and the Addresses of Shooting Locations


There are various reasons why Korea is a dream place for most of the Filipinos. Some want to go to Korea to work, to travel, some just want to go there to breathe the same air as their kpop idols, and some want to go there to visit the filming locations of Korean Dramas. But for a Filipino worker in South Korea Keith Guieb, his definition of making the most of his experience in Korea is to work hard and to fanboy harder. He is not just an ordinary OFW, because aside from working in a manufacturing company, he is also a part time visitor of most of the famous Korean dramas nowadays.
Keith has been working in South Korea for 1 year and 7 months now. During his day off, he go out to kill his boredom.
“ I can't stay home because boredome might kill me so I go out and get wonderfully lost in KDrama Filming Location, KPop Events and any Hallyu related places.”
Keith lives in the city of Anyang in the province of Gyeonggido. Despite the unfamiliar places, he took the courage to go out of his comfort zone and defy all the struggles just to visit the Korean drama shooting locations.

He didn’t mind commuting and get lost at the subway rides and go through transferring from one station to another just to locate the places. Although he found it hard sometimes to travel especially to new places, he believes in the Korean Mantra “Fighting!”
In His Facebook post, he shared the photos he took from those different shooting location and a bonus address and directions on how to reach those places. He’s doing this to help other fanboys and fangirls out there who wish to do the same in the near future.
Aside from the Kdrama, he also spread his wings further to cover even the world of Kpop. He visited every talent agencies exiting in South Korea with the hope of spotting kpop idols leisurely walking in the alleys of their respective agencies.


Keith is also active in different kpop events such as concerts and fan meetings. Despite the competition in the crowd and other fans, he fought his way to get a glimpse of his kpop idols and even the famous celebrities.
Check out Keith’s actual post on Facebook if you are interested to know his hallyu wave journey in South Korea.