Sunday, November 4, 2018

How to Vote for Christian Saraos at MBC's Kpop Idol Survival Show “Under Nineteen” (언더 나인틴 )

Christian Saraos at MBC's Under Nineteen Show
Christian Saraos is the one and only Filipino contestant in MBC's new TV audition show called “Under Nineteen” (언더 나인틴 ). The aim of the show is to select new members of the next generation K-pop idols. There are about 57 aspiring contestants who will compete  to get a spot in the new K-pop idol group. There are three categories to show off their skills, the contestants must be able to showcase their talents in terms of vocals, rap and performance.

Out of 57 contestants, Christian Saraos is the only Filipino. He is 18 years old and he came from Marikina Philippines. Prior to joining the show, Christian was already doing a lot of K-pop covers in his Youtube Channel under the name Chunghee Saraos. Not only that, Christian has already won several K-pop competitions not only in the  Philippines but also in the international stage like the United States.

Under Nineteen has already started last November 3, 2018. Christian was one of the aspiring idols introduced in the show. There's an on going online voting that will end on December 1, 2018 at 9:00 PM. In order to vote, voters must register at the 11 Street website under the Korean language. Global registrants are not accepted. You also need to have a phone number in Korea to vote. Here's the process on how to cast your online vote for Christian.

1. Register at the Membership page of 11 Street website. Click the link below and click "희원가입" as shown in the image.
http://www.11st.co.kr/register/memberSubscribeOneIDForm.page



2. In the “개인 구매회원” tab, click “가임하기” button




3. In the next page, tick the “모두 동의” checkbox then click 다음 button at the bottom of the page




4. Fill up the form as shown in the image below. After filling up the form, click the “회원가임” button at the bottom of the page.






5. Then you will get this confirmation



6. Check your email address and click “11번가 가입” button.




7. Now, go to the voting page.

    If you are using PC to vote, use this link:

    http://www.11st.co.kr/browsing/MallPlanDetail.tmall?method=getMallPlanDetail&planDisplayNumber=1976803

    If you are using MOBILE, use this link:
http://event.11st.co.kr/promotion/mw/eventMwMain.tmall?eName=20181103_underNineteen

8. Select your 9 bets. Make sure that Christian is included in your selection. You can randomly pick the other 8. Christian is using the Korean name “크리스티안” and he is the last picture under the Performance(Blue tab) category.

    NOTE: If you haven't login yet, a pop up box will appear asking you to login first before voting. Just click it and login using the ID and password you registered in Procedure number 4.





9. After logging in and selecting your 9 votes, click “9명이게 투표하기” button.
10. You will get this pop up. This is asking you to verify your participation. Just Click 분인인증하기








11. In the next page, you need to fill up the form, this is to verify your vote via Mobile Phone. In the form, enter your name, birthdate, sex, your citizenship, select your carrier and your phone number.







12. After entering the phone number, you must click “인증번호 전송” button. This will send a code to your mobile number.
13. Enter the code you received in your mobile number
14. Tick the checkboxes at the bottom and click “휴대폰 본인인증” button


You should be able to receive confirmation that your vote has been accepted.

To follow the journey of Christian Saraos along with other 57 boys in Under Nineteen, you can watch the show on MBC every Saturday at 6:25 PM KSTwill have 14 episodes.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Korea’s Biggest Halloween Beer Festival, the 11th GKBF to Take Place at Yongsan, the Halloween & Craft Beer Mecca!

The Great Korean Beer Festival participants
For 3 days from October 26th to October 28th the 11th GKBF (Great Korean Beer Festival) — South Korea’s first and largest craft beer festival — will take place on the 8th floor rooftop of Yongsan I’PARK Mall.

Co-hosted by Media Paran and CJ ENM and sponsored by Hyundai I’PARK Mall, this year’s festival will see 20 different international and domestic craft beer brands and 9 global food companies participating.

Befitting the location of Yongsan — the mecca of both Halloween and craft beer in Korea — the festival will be centered around the themes of “Halloween” and “craft beer”. Various programs will be organized including live music performances, Halloween costume contests, a Halloween makeup zone, a photo zone and more.




Halloween Costumes at GKBF


◇ Drink international & domestic craft beers all in one place at the ‘Craft Beer Zone’
Not only will craft beers from Seoul be represented, but also craft beers from various regions in Korea including Chungcheong, Busan, Jeju, etc., in addition to international craft beers from the U.S., Czech Republic, and Germany. Festival-goers will also be able to learn information about each of the beers directly from the brew masters themselves.

◇ Pair your craft beers with delicious global foods at the ‘Global Food Zone’
Foodies will get to pair their beers with various global foods including an assorted sausage plate from premium sausage brand Jinju Ham, jamon and paella from Spain Club, as well as delicious bites from New York’s representative halal food Jil’Hal Bros, California Pizza Kitchen, On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina and more.

◇ Partake in the Halloween spirit with ‘Halloween Costume Contests’
Festival-goers will get to show off their Halloween spirit by participating in the daily Halloween costume contests. Those with the most creative and original costumes will have a chance at winning one of many prizes including hotel stay vouchers for Korea’s biggest “hotelplex” Seoul Dragon City, I’PARK Mall gift certificates, restaurant gift certificates and more, valued at over 7 million won. For more information about the Halloween costume contests, please visit the GKBF website.





The Great Korean Beer Festival can be enjoyed from 1pm to 10pm during the 3-day festival period, with no admission fee.

For event information: www.greatkoreanbeerfestival.com
For detailed inquiries: pr@mediaparan.com

Sunday, October 7, 2018

19 Filipino Films Included in 23rd Busan International Film Festival

The Busan International Film Festival is considered to be one of the most significant film festivals in Asia. In fact, in Busan, they have dedicated one street for the film festival eventhough it only happens once a year. This year marks the 23rd year of the BIFF and it continues to honor great films from different parts of Asia.

A total of nineteen films from the Philippines will be featured in the said festival. The event will run from October 4 to October 13, 2018 and the country of focus for this year is the Philippines. Out of nineteen Filipino films to be featured, 10 of which are for special retrospective program  which will features the greatest films in the Philippines cinema. The lineup includes ”A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino”(1965) by Lamberto V. Avellana, “Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon?”(1976) by Eddie Romero,”Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos” by Mario O’Hara (1976),”Ang Panday”(1980) by Fernando Poe, Jr.,”Cain at Abel”(1982) by Lino Brocka,”Moral”(1982) by Marilou Diaz-Abaya,”Himala”by Ishmael Bernal (1982),”Bayaning 3rdWorld”(2000) by Mike de Leon,”Dekada ’70”(2002) by Chito S. Roño, and ”Ang Damgo ni Eleuteria(“2010) by Remton Siega Zuasola.

The other 9 Filipino entries are to be featured in the festival’s “A Window on Asian Cinema” Section. The lineup includes “Citizen Jake”(2018) by Mike de Leon, ”Alpha: The Right to Kill”(2018) by Brillante Ma. Mendoza, “The Eternity Between Seconds”(2018) by Alec Figuracion,”Gusto Kita with all My Hypothalamus”(2018) by Dwein Baltazar,”Lakbayan”(2018) by Lav Diaz, Brillante Ma. Mendoza and Kidlat Tahimik, and “Signal Rock”(2018) by Chito S. Rono.

Aside from the 19 Full Featured Films, two short films are also included in the festival’s Wide Angle Short Film. The list includes “Last Order”(2018) by Joji Alonso and “Manila is Full of Men Named Boy”(2018) by Stephen Lee. One more Filipino entry is also included for the category Wide Angle Documentary entitled ”Land from God”(2018) by Stephen Lee.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Samgwangsa (삼광사)- A Buddhist Temple in the Hillside of Busan

Contrary to the classic notion that a temple must be somewhere remote, or in the middle of forest or even on the top of the mountain, Samgwangsa Temple, I must say is a breaker of that stigma. Not only it is located near the city, you can actually view the whole city when you are up there. Yes, “UP THERE” because although it's near the city, the temple is located in the hillside of the Baekyang mountain in Busan. Don't worry, you don't need to hike to reach the temple, they built a concrete road that lead to the gate of the temple so that elder followers of Buddha can go to the temple and pray. It is open 24 hours, so you could go up there any time of the day or night to pay respect to Buddha.

So here are the 7 remarkable things you can see/experience at Samgwangsa Temple.

1. The statue of Buddha

statue_buddha_samgwangsa
The statue of Buddha at Samgwangsa
Of course, the celebrity of this temple is no other than, the Big Boss, Buddha. This is his temple and as an homage to him, they built a big statue of him as if he is the big brother looking at the faithful worshipers.

2. The temple shrine and the 10 storey pagoda

The shrine of Samgwangsa
The shrine of Samgwangsa

What looks like a resting area from afar is actually a shrine where followers of Buddha can get to worship the Big Boss. I was sitting calmly at the waiting area and observed the patrons of the temple. Most of them were elderly women and I saw how they fervently prayed to Buddha at this shrine. The small 10 storey pagoda beside the temple is an additional attraction aside from its religious use.


3. The repentance stair

The repentance stair
The repentance stair
In this temple, you don't need to see the monks to confess for your sins and ask forgiveness. Just climb this stair and you will be forgiven. However, it's a steep stair with probably hundreds of steps. Climbing the stair requires more effort and energy. In exchange for your sacrifice and your hardship in climbing the steps, your sins will be washed away and will be forgiven.


4. The Healing Fountain


The healing fountain
The healing fountain
Now, here's an interesting part of the temple, the healing fountain. They believe that  if you drink from this spring water, you will be healed of whatever sickness you carry. By sickness, they meant not only the physical level but also in all other aspects of your life.

5. The city view

City view of Busan from the Temple
City view of Busan from the Temple

What set this temple apart from other temples is that, it is situated by the hillside where you can see the whole city of Busan from up there. While you're praying or keeping yourself away from the noise of the city, you will feel like you've never really been away from the city because you can still see it from up there. However, the serenity of the place is still there because city noise could not penetrate the area.


6. The statue at the garden

The statue at the garden of Samgwansa
The statue at the garden of Samgwansa
The garden on the other side of the temple is an added attraction and at the same time a contributor of the serenity in the general ambiance of the place. There's spring water coming out from the mouth of a what looks like a statue of the dragon. A more than human size statue of some religious characters all related to Buddhism.

7. The overwhelming monastery

The Samgwangsa monastery
The Samgwangsa monastery
Nested by the hill of the mountain is an enormous building with magnificent design you couldn't help but look up to it and be amazed with its grandeur. Who would have thought they could build a monastery as big as this in this side of the world?

Whether you go there for spiritual purpose or just for a tour, I would guarantee that you will feel relax when you visit this temple. To go there, get off at Busan Station and go to Exit 10. From the Exit 10, go to the bus stop in front of the exit and take Bus No. 81 and get off at Samgwangsa Temple Entrance Bus Stop.


Saturday, May 12, 2018

The Ultimate Filipino Fan Girl of “I AM NOT A ROBOT” (로봇이 아니야)

I AM NOT A ROBOT POSTER

Korean dramas never fail to amaze Filipino viewers. For some reason, it has the perfect ingredients that capture the attention of the filipino fans. With hundreds of Korean TV series produced, some of them landed on Philippine TV with new voice and dubbed with Filipino language. The latest show that probably joined in the list of craze among the Filipino fans is probably the show top billed by YOO SEUNG HO 유승호, the “I AM NOT A ROBOT” or “Robot Aniya”(로봇이 아니야) in Korean.

The premise of the show is all about a young and arrogant rich kid named Kim Min Kyu played by Yoo Seung Ho and a simple but street-smart girl named Jo Ji-A played by Chae Soo Bin. Kim Min Kyu has this peculiar illness, he is allergic to human contacts causing him to isolate himself from the society. His human interaction is only limited to his personal doctor and Hwang Yoo Cheol (Kang Ki Young), the CEO of his company. Min Kyu's life has changed when Baek Gyun hires his ex in the personality of Jo Ji-Ah played by Chae Soo Bin to act as a robot for Min Kyu after they failed to fix Aji 3 robot. Ji-A, acting as Aji3 appeared as a robot to Min Kyu, but the two have actually met before in a not so pleasant manner. Can Ji-Ah keep up to his character as a robot? Will Kim Min Kyu find out about the true personality of Aji3?

This TV series is unique in its own right because it is not simply a Rom-Com show. It has a touch of science fiction and of course, a little drama on the side. The approach is very effective because a lot of filipino fans are now pouring out their attention to Yoo Seung Ho because he played the lead role in this series. I guess if we have to crown the biggest filipino fan of the series, I would give it to my dear friend who is now currently residing in Korea, her name is Gail Medina. How far did she go in her fan girl stint over I am Not A Robot? Well, let's take a look at her journey.

LEVEL 1: Buy the Plush Toys, Aji3 shirt and other I AM NOT A ROBOT merchandises
I guess it's already a trademark for a Korean TV series to include a plush toy, and in this case, the cute rabbit got its spotlight after appearing in the TV series. And of course, our little fan here acquire herself the cute rabbits as an homage to the much celebrated series.

Cute Rabbit Plush Toys 

Not Only that, she has Aji3 shirt, Yoo Seung Ho's postcards and other merchandises. Now, tell me she's not really a fan of the show! Tell me.

Gail on Fan-Girling Mode

LEVEL 2: Visit the filming Locations of “I AM NOT A ROBOT”


If having all those merchandises related to the show does not pass for an ultimate fan title, then how about traveling all over Korea just to visit the filming locations of “I AM NOT A ROBOT”.
Let's start with this scene. Do you remember the most “Kilig” lesson ever held in the Korean TV series? Yes, it's a kissing lesson that apparently took place at Min Kyu's beautiful and vast garden. In reality, the garden is an actual garden in Korea and it is called “The Garden of the Morning Calm”. I personally visited the garden around three years ago during autumn and it is indeed a perfect place for a kissing lesson. If you want to know how to go there, go check out my blogpost about The Garden of the Morning Calm by clicking THIS LINK. And of course, our ultimate fan here visited the garden with her adorable son, well I guess, no kissing lesson for her. haha

Garden of the Morning Calm

One of the most accessible location so far when you come from Seoul is Nodeul Seom (노들섬). This is the scene where Min Kyu met up with Ji-Ah prior to the robot stint. The meet up was unpleasant after Min Kyu refused to pay Ji-ah for an action figure because of the packaging. In realtiy, Nodeul Seom is just an artificial island located in the middle of Han River in Seoul. To go there via public transportation, you can take Subway Line Number 9 and get off at Nodeul Station then go to Exit 2.

Nodeul Seom

Another accessible location when you are from Seoul is the Arriate Tea House [아리아떼]. In this cafe, Min Kyu and Ri-El had a heart to heart talk as the two decided to stay as good friends. And of course, as an ultimate fan, she sat at the very table where the conversation has transpired. For anyone who wants to visit the cafe, not for breaking up purposes but for heart to heart conversation, it is located in Gangnam. You can go there by taking Subway Line Number 2, get off at Yeoksam Station, and go to Exit 7. Once you exit, just keep walking straight. Actual Address is at 520 Nonhyeon-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul (서울 강남구 논현로 520)
(서울특별시 강남구 역삼동 668-3)

Arriate Tea House

Another cafe is featured in the TV series, the Praum Cafe (프라움레스토랑). This is the place where Min Kyu proposed to Ri-El in Episode 9 but he ended up being rejected. To visit the cafe, you need to take subway in Jungang Line. Get off at Dorim Station and go to Exit 2. You need to walk from the exit of the subway station.

Praum Cafe
Now, let's go to one of the main filming locations in the entire TV series. Of course, I am talking about Kim Min Kyu's mansion. Who would have thought that this building, in reality is in a park. Yes, it is located in the Bear Tree Park (베어트리파크). What you can see in this huge park are a lot of flowers and arboretum. They have reinders, carps and of course, black bears where it got its name from.

Bear Tree Park

In episode 29, the real robot Aji3 ventured out into the world of humans on her own. Some of the scenes took place at the Gaon Culture Park. Our ultimate fan went to the park herself and sat at the actual bench where this scene was shot. To go to Gaon Culture Park(가온문화공원), it is located at Sangam-dong in Seoul. To go there, take Subway Line number 6 and get off at Digital Media City Station [디지털미디어시티역] and go to Exit 9. You may need to take a little walk and a little challenge to find the bench.

Gaon Culture Park

The furthest place Gail visited is the Su-san Jayeonsan Hoejip [수산자연산횟집] which is located in the island of Geoje. Well, I guess it's impossible to go to this place, but if you are really really a fan of the show, then going there would be an extra challenge. In the Tv series, this restaurant appears as ‘Hong Joo’s Restaurant’ , the grandmother of Ji-Ah. This is where Min Kyu followed Ji-Ah after she was heartbroken. Since it's a very far city, you need to go to Busan so you can take a bus from there. Go to Busan West Termanl and ride at the bus going to Gohyeon Bus Terminal, it's about 1 hour and 20 minutes travel. From the terminal, take bus number 50, and then get off at Fishery ( 수산) bus stop.

Su-san Jayeonsan Heojip

Dalda Cafe [더달다] is where Sun-Hye and Hoktal love story happened. Not really the main location, but as part of the story, this one plays a good part in the series. The cafe is located in the Northern part of Seoul in Suyu-dong. Actual address is at 535-97 Insu-dong, Gangbuk-gu, Seoul, South Korea.

Dalda Cafe

When a leisure walk turns into an intense/intimate/confusing kiss on the forehead, how could you not fall for that? This romantic scene eventhough they are trying to be platonic with each other happens at the Gyeongui Line Forest Park [경의선숲길공원 / 경의선공원]. To go there, the address is at 50-4, Wausan-ro 35-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul 04052, South Korea.

Gyeongui Forest Park


LEVEL 3: Meet and Greet and Hug Yoo Seung Ho


Well, I guess, the epitome of an ultimate fan is to stay a fan even after the end of the TV series. Well, ladies and gentlemen, this is our final and ultimate test for Gail to prove her worth as an ultimate fan. She just only attended the meet and greet of Yoo Seung Ho in Seoul and she was the only Filipino in the audience.


In the event:


1. She gets to see Yoo Seung Ho in flesh, heard her voice in actual and saw him smile and wave LIVE!

Yoo Seong Ho at the Meet and Greet

2. She was able to go near Seung Ho and get an autograph

autograph of Yoo Seung Ho

3. Hug him, yes folks, Seung Ho hugged her, but sadly, no pictures for that gestureas it was not allowed.


What else do you think she should do to make her an ultimate filipino fan of I AM NOT A ROBOT?

Monday, February 26, 2018

HRD KOREA ANNOUNCES DATE OF REGISTRATION AND EXAMINATION FOR 1ST ROUND OF TEST FOR EPS-TOPIK IN THE PHILIPPINES 2018


Since last year, the HRD KOREA has changed the process on how to apply as a factory worker in Korea. The process is more strict and rigid because the qualification for the applicants is now based on a point system. In a 25 pages press releas, HRD KOREA has elaborated the processes and the series of test that an applicant must go through to get listed in the roster of workers bound for South Korea. If you wish to read in details the information about the upcoming Point-Based System, please check the link at the end of this article.

 

One of the highlights of the press release is the announcement of the registration of the EPS-TOPIK. It is an examination to test the Korean language skill of an applicant. If you wish to work in South Korea, you must learn the basics of Korean language. The exact date of examination will be on April 21-22, 2018 but the registration for the examination will be on March 7 to 9, 2018 via the online portal which will be posted at the POEA website (www.poea.gov.ph).

 

Please note that passing the EPS-TOPIK is just the first round out of the three rounds of tests. The second round will be the Skills test and the third round will be the Competency Test. Points from the EPS TOPIK, Skills Test and Competency Test will be combined and will serve as a determining factor if an applicant is qualified to work as a factory worker in South Korea.

 

For the complete mechanics of the point based system and for the requirements to apply, please download the PDF file below for more information.

 

DOWNLOAD THE PRESS RELEASE THROUGH THIS LINK-> http://hrdkoreaph.com/www/xe/?module=file&act=procFileDownload&file_srl=80525&sid=5803f21c4a798f05d1668769bfd7237a

 

Good Luck

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Must Visit Palaces in Seoul

When in Seoul, don't forget to include the palaces of Korea in your itinerary. While it is significant to go wander on top tourist spots in Seoul, paying a visit to its palaces is something you should experience. There are a lot of palaces in Korea but in Central Seoul alone, you can have enough of these historic buildings and architecture. You can even allot one day to visit all of them.


If a building has a name that ends in “GUNG” (), that means it is a palace. Gung means palace, and the name written before that suffix is the actual name of the palace. Say for example, Gyeongbokgung, it means “Gyeongbok Palace”. In english, we call it Gyeongbukgung Palace, so if you are going to translate it literally, it means Gyeongbok Palace Palace. It is maybe gramatically incorrect but people used to call it that way, so it has become acceptable as time goes by.


If you are planning to check out these awesome work of architecture, here is my list of must visit palaces in Seoul. These are the grandest, if not, the most accessible palaces in Seoul and these are actual buildings built in the Joseon Dynasty era. The buildings have witnessed the war and how Seoul progressed and become what it is today. Thanks to the government of Korea for preserving these treasures. Although it went through renovations and reconstructions, the original design of the buildings have been preserved.


1. Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁)



Let's start with our example, the Gyeongbokgung! Nobody would argue if we will say that Gyeongbokgung is the most famous palace in all of South Korea. It is also the grandest and the oldest. So if there's something you need to prioritize to visit, it is this palace because it is very accessible and at the same very symbolic for the Koreans because it is a “Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven.”


To go to Gyeongbokgung, take Seoul subway Line number number 3 and get off at Gyeongbokgung Station, go to Exit 5.


2. Changdeokgung Palace (창덕궁)



If you want to go nature tripping and historical tour in one go, Changdeokgung is the place to be. This palace loves nature as it preserves the trees and plants inside. It even has a secret garden where you can go to relax and commune with nature. The meaning of Changdeokgung is The Palace of Prospering Virtue” and it houses a lot of unique traditional elements.


To go to Changdeokgung Palace, Take the Seoul Subway Line Number 3 (Orange Line) and get off at Anguk Station. Go to Exit 3 and walk for approximately 500 meters.


3. Changgyonggung Palace (창경궁)



Just beside the Changdeokgung is another palace called Changgyonggung Palace. When you exit Changdeok near the Secret Garden, you will find yourself lost to the traditional and beautiful buildings in Changgyonggung Palace. It is branded as a “Palace of Flourishing Gladness” and it was built for King Taejong by his son King Sejung. It has the same characteristics as its neighbor Changdeokgung but it definitely has a different story and feel.


Changyonggung Palace is near the exit 4 (around 800 meters) of Hyehwa Station of Seoul Subway Line number 4.


4. Deoksogung Palace (덕수궁)



Another interesting palace situated right in the middle of the city of Seoul is the Deoksogung Palace. This has played a very vital role during the Japanese invasion because they used this place as a temporary shelter. King Gwanghaegun later on officially declared the temporary shelter as an official royal palace. Its name means Palace of Virtuous Longevity and just like any other palaces in Seoul, Deoksogung has its own forest gardens too but what set it apart from any other palaces is the influence of Western design of buildings and architecture.

Deoksogung is located right in front of the Exit 1 of City Hall Station (Seoul Subway Line 1, 2), it is not difficult to locate it.


5. Gyeonghuigung (경희궁)



Next is the palace called Gyeonghuigung which means “Palace of Serene Harmony”. This is perhaps the smallest palace of all and perhaps the most underrated palace in Seoul. Not a lot of tourists go to this place because it is very small. However, the size does not justify its significance to the history of Korea. This place is very important because this was used to be the “go-to” place in case of emergency.

To go to Gyeonghuigung, Take Seoul Subway Line Number 5, get off at Seodaemun Station and go to Exit 4 then wak straight around 400 m.


6. Unhyeongung (운현궁)



The Unhyeongung is considered as a Royal Residence more than a palace. It's one of the most interesting historical site in Seoul because it was used to be the home of Gojong, the emperor of Korea during the Joseon Dynasty. If you enter the compound, you can't help but notice the numerous rooms in one corner. The rooms were used to be occupied by the servants and guards. By the look of it, Unhyeongung might be the most celebrated residence during the Joseon Dynasty because they have space for celebration and other events.


To go to Unhyeongung, get off at Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 4, the walk straight out of the exit for about 50 m.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

How To Tour Gangnam With A Style?


I bet you never heard of Gangnam until phenomenal Korean singer named PSY used it as an inspiration of his upbeat song called “Oppa Gangnam Style”. Everyone was so curious about Gangnam when that song became so famous. What's in that town that people are going crazy about?

 

For me, Gangnam is just like any other cities in South Korea. The name has even no special meaning except that it describes the actual location of the city which is the South of the river. In Korea, there's only one river circulating around Seoul and they call it Han River which literally means One River. Gangnam is located in the southern part of Han River, so they called it GANG-NAM which means South and River.

 

Personally, I would rather go down south in Busan or tour around Gapyeong city where Nami Island and Garden of the Morning Calm are located, but if you really want to visit Gangnam for curiosity's sake, then by all means, visit it and make the most out of your time by putting a little bit of spice and style during your visit. How? Here are my recommendations of the things you can do at Gangnam.


Pay respect to the Oppa Gangnam Style


As an homage to the song that made the city very very famous around the globe, they put up a mini station where people can take photos while dancing to the tune of Oppa Gangnam Style. Of course, you must do the trademark dance step along with PSY's caricature while being poked fun at by the by-passers. Don't worry, it's part of the plan and it's something you should experience. This is located right at the Exit 5 of Gangnam station in the Seoul Subway.


Shop Till You Drop!



If you don't mind spending extra won on shopping, Gangnam is the place to be. Although shopping here could be very expensive, it is rather satisfying and something to be proud of because only rich people can afford shopping at Gangnam, that means you have money and you can afford it. If you don't have money, then window shopping around one of the biggest malls in Korea which is COEX is something you can do for free. Why not walk around the shopping malls, thrift markets and souvenir shops to satisfy your shopping needs?


Party All Night




If people go crazy shopping during daytime, they turned into party animals at night because Gangnam is a city that never sleeps. It's so alive especially at night time because clubs are all over the place. This is one city where club hopping is at your convenience.


Plastic Surgery


If you have budget and you are not happy with the way you look, Gangnam is one place in Korea where plastic surgery clinics are everywhere. It's like a haven of clinics for people who want to change the way they look. Don't worry, the society will not judge you for doing so. It's normal at Gangnam.


Just Get Lost in the City




If you have plenty of time to burn, walking aimlessly in the little alleys and corners of Gangnam would make your experience more memorable. Treat yourself as one of those locals and walk around without destination. Don't be afraid to get lost, young people in the Gangnam Area can speak English, so you won't find it hard to ask around in case you need help. Talk to the locals, observe their lifestyle and make friends with them. You will get to know the place better if you immerse yourself with the locals.


Next time you're in Seoul, pay a little visit to the most famous place in Korea, Gangnam! There's nothing really special, but believe me, the experience is one for the books.


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

An Artsy Walk at the Busan Gamcheon Cultural Village(부산 감천문화마을)


There’s more to Busan than trains and beaches, and yeah, zombies. This city located in the southern part of South Korea has recently sparked the interest of the tourists because of the famous movie “Train to Busan”. While it is disappointing to think that zombies on the trains bound to Busan do not exist, it is still worth visiting because it offers a lot of interesting places and tourist spots, and one of these is the Gamcheon Cultural Village.



I must say that Gamcheon is an art village. It has the same ambiance and feels as in the Ihwa Mural Village in Seoul and the Changdong Art Village in the nearby city called Masan. However, Gamcheon Cultural Village has its own character and definitely, a unique story. They called it a Lego City, because from the distance, it really looks like colorful block of legos connected to form a magnificent view. I think the best view of the city is at the entrance near the bus stop of Gamcheon. Although I could honestly stay at the area for the whole day to save myself from the scorching heat of the sun and to give my legs some rest, I just thought my experience would never be complete without going through the alleys of the village.



Who would have thought that Gamcheon was used to be a slum area. The city government of Busan has found a way to convert those shanties and dilapidated alleys into something interesting and touristy. If you know the history of Gamcheon, you would understand how it became so depressing after very long years. This village was actually used by the soldiers as shelter during the war. As it gets older and older, the society has completely abandoned the village and it turned out to be slum area. There are still people who wouldn’t want to let go of the village. Although the population has decreased, there are still remaining residences in the area.



The best way to make the village still useful and conducive for living is to renovate it. However, it has deep culture and history that the government still wants to preserve its cultural aspect. They made no changes of the village except for improving the alleys, the walls and painting the houses in an artsy way. Artists and painters have joint forces to make an art-themed transformation over the dilapidated village.



Today, if you go to Gamcheon Village, you will notice the steep stairs, the long and winding alleys and the touch of art which is present in every corner of the village. From the stairways, to the walls and even the fences and roofs, you’ll see art everywhere. Instagrammers, Art Lovers and artists would definitely enjoy the walk at this village despite of its challenging route.


Due to the number of tourists flock to the area, some parts of the village have been commercialized. There are cafes, boutiques, souvenir shops and even restaurants in the area. Some people say that Gamcheon is the Santorini of South Korea. Although I am not sure how Santorini looks like in the actual as I have never been there before, I believe that Gamcheon could be considered as a world class tourist spot because it takes a lot of effort to transform a dying village into something colorful and vibrant as what it is now. Next time you go to Busan, please include Gamcheon Village in your itinerary. It is not difficult to go there.  You just need to take a train and get off at Toseon Station which is in Line 1 of Busan Metro. Go to Exit 6, then walk towards Cancer Center Hospital. From there, take Bus number 2 or 2-2 and get off at Gamcheon Cultural Village.