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?