CRAZY AND AWESOME THINGS WE DID IN KOREA – on KPOP, shopping and BB creams

notes to ponder:

Vanity, fashion, narcissism is legit in Korea… be ready to get insecure.

when in Seoul, never ever do your shopping on your first day (or at least stay away from the major shopping districts). my expenses doubled from my original budget for this trip because i went to the shopping districts of Seoul on our first day… (it was for my mom’s bday gift, i ended up buying for everybody)

day 1 ended like this… i was doomed since we had to go back to myeongdong again 2 days after… which meant another set of paper bags….

KPOP and KPOP boybands are huge in Korea, and these boys (including lee min ho) are the endorsers of beauty products that are a big hit in appearance concious Koreans. for the Pinoy boys, chill…they’re still straight. lol.

Myeongdong, DOngdaemun, Insadong, Namdaemun, Itaewon among others spell DISASTER for the budget concious. stay away.

beauty products from Korean brands are considerably cheap if bought in Korea compared to buying it from branches outside Korea. hording is inevitable… unfortunately for me.

if you want to fashionably belong, then prepare your wardrobe while still in the Philippines. Cubao ukay2x and friends who frequent abroad can be a good source for these wardrobes. trust me, even those people working on not so high profile jobs in SK tend to look fashionably ‘fasyon’.

lastly, dont get allured w/ all the freebies in Myeongdong’s shopping district… every store in the area have freebies just for you to go inside w/c eventually will lead you to buying stuff. i was able to give pasalubong ( a whole set) all coming from freebies lol.

tips:

1000 won is 38Pesos

all the shopping districts are part of the Seoul CIty hop on-hop off tour (separate blog) and can be easily accessed by MRT subway.

photo overload c/o of yours truly, lot,jen and ashley

pasalubongssss.

very good marketing strategies, handsome men for the women market

lee min ho


try to choose where to go

forever 21 in Seoul


UNIQLO

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Crazy and Awesome things we did in Korea – getting lost in Incheon International Airport

First it was Changi, then Kuala Lumpur, then Hongkong and now Incheon…. NAIA, now what?! –

these were the thoughts looming in my mind as i deplaned from our 3 hour flight to Incheon SK. it felt surreal the moment i stepped out of the plane and breathe the cool South Korean autumn air. moments later, after immigration duties were fulfilled, it sank on me…i am in Korea… it didnt take much effort to dig the fact that i was already in Korean soil – the airport itself is screaming ‘yes tof you are in 1st world Korea! you have every right to feel oblivious! lol’

more info about Incheon International airport here.
photos c/o Lot2x:

hindi yan touch screen tof!

hindi nga touch screen yan eh

laser lights

may walkalator sa Pinas, wag masyado excited mag papicture sa walkalator

english lot, english ba… panic mode

Crazy and Awesome things we did in Korea – the DMZ

shared credits to my travel buddies lot2x,ashley and Jen for the photos used in this entry.

 

experience (and indulge) DMZ – the Demilitarized Zone

i have to admit it, by now, i am a fanatic of the North Korea (DPRK) and its socialist single party state of dictatorial rule that has been existing for the past 50++ years. i ‘m so wallowed w/ how elusive this country could get and how it stopped ‘evolving’ and got stuck to an early 80”s era up to this time. i’m dead serious about  how they brainwashed their people (and how people allow themselves to be brainwashed) .

i would want to know how it is to live in a country where mobile phones are just being introduced (GSM technology at that – think Nokia 5110), no internet – basically no access to the outside world, having only one fast food ‘concept’ store, only one soda flavor (second rate copy cat of coke), department stores selling VCDs of madonna and elton john (90’s album), only one channel on tv w/ endless and ‘paulit2x’ propaganda TV shows celebrating their ‘Dear Leader’ and lambasting the US, etc etc i can go on and on and on…so i’ll stop it there lol.

so, with that… a visit to a DMZ could actually sum up my whole trip to this wonderful country lol (madami pa tof chill lang wag muna uwi agad)

basically, DMZ is a 4KM demarcation line stretching hundreds upon hundreds of km from east to west that divides the Korea to a north and to a south. i wont go too much w/ the details but the whole experience was capped off w/ a ‘176 meters away from north korea’ infiltration tunnel experience – and i was extatic.

tips:

conversion – 1000 WON is 38 Pesos

there are 2 major DMZ tour types: the infiltration tunnel tours w/ other areas of the DMZ (1) and the Panmunjeom Tour ( JSA Tour ) (2). the latter should be ‘a must’ since this is the tour where you can enter the freedom house and have a glimpse of the thin demarcation line dividing SK and NK. unfotunately though we only got the first tour since its a lot cheaper compared to the JSA tour. if given the chance to visit SK again, i’d deinitely try Panmunjeom…chance ko na makakita ng authentic North Korean haha.

tour 1 costs 46000 won while tour 2 is at 87000-90000 won

passport is a must to enter DMZ.

photos:

entrance to the infiltration tunnel that leads to that 176 meters away from North Korean end of the tunnel

at the Munsan Train Station – the last SK station. officially wala pang trip ang train na ito since Pyongyang NK ang destination, not until unification will push thru then saka pa lang bibyahe ang train dito.

lot lot and the verrrry tall SK army men. p.s. DMZ is heavily guarded by both US and SK troops.

the railway leading to NK

a taste of NK propaganda on SK soil….

flora ornaments sa TOILET…

the bridge of no return

the viewing deck, about 2 KMs away is supposedly our first view of NK… unfortunately its a foggy autumn weather so we didnt see a thing.

nobody can ignore the red and orange (smells like shit) autumn leaves. diba lot? lol

the bell of Peace – you have to pay though to ring it

meeting fellow travel bugs – meet Jennifer from Singapore

and who can forget ‘Philip and his angry bird’ haha. diba lot? hahahaha.

Nagsasa Cove – off the radar

refreshing Nagsasa cove

no mobile phone signal.

no internet connection.

electricity was rationed from 6pm till about midnight only.

water was scarce.

no restaurant/eateries anywhere (so you need to cook your own food).

you only sleep on tents.

fire is very essential.

does that sound too detached? hermit life like? – i’d say YES big time!

…and i LOVE it (big time too)!

the trip to Anawangin and Nagsasa coves came perfectly when i was about to give up already w/ the tension brought about by work and life in general.

it was the time that phone calls were at its maximum. deliverables were at record high and i was reporting to 3 bosses and 2 superiors… there wasnt much diversion also as i never wanted to involve my family w/ my own issues… nonetheless my family was also struggling w/ their issues on our fam business (umay na umay na ako wala na ibang topic sa bahay). i didnt want to bother friends since i am always the protagonist for good vibes (#gv lol)…and yes im not into drinkin also during that time…

and well zero love life… what do i expect… asa pa ako.

so when my officemates from Cebu clued in that they’r coming over for a trip to Anawangin and Nagsasa, i readily said yes…i wanted to aloof from the world.

for 888P package tour (thanks to www.ensogo.com.ph for the good deal), we were off to Zambales in the western end of Luzon to explore and say hoola to Anawangin and Nagsasa coves!

the boat ride towards Anawangin and Nagsasa Coves (w/ side trip to Capones Island) – its in Capones where we saw Matteo and Jessie (again) while shooting for Paraiso

we cooked our own lunch. we had chicken and pork adobo, fried fish and tinola

at our cottage getting ready to cook lunch

could these be wild chickens… tinolang manok mode lol.

its like bahay-bahayan con reality show moment for us as we had to cook our own lunch (w/c by the way we had to look for fishermen so that we can buy fresh fish, good thing the owner of the place where we stayed also go fishing so we got a few variety of salt water fish and milk fish as food).

after eating, we had to kill some idle time so we opt to play ‘pinoy henyo’ using Bokz IPad. probably this was the only time Ipad was put into significant use haha.

i specifically enjoyed this moment since nobody was holding their mobile phones and kept updating their instagrams, facebook or twitter. we really felt time slowed down…and we really felt the idleness… ang sarap pala.

since there was still extra time, we went trekking and took a dip at a water falls in the area… (this deserves a separate blog).

when we got back from the trekking, it was already near sunset and we still had some extra time (again) to frolic in the beach… ang sarap magdrama

we shared this beach w/ 2 other groups more than enough space for us not to even notice each other…

sunset in Nagsasa kuno

Camping out

our tents for the night. funny story below:

we were already in deep slumber when it rained. we didnt know that the tent provided (included in the package) had a lacking piece that shoud be placed on the apex of our tent so naturally we were all supposedly got wet. good thing though, my tent mate was quite ‘shunga’ (peace bokz lol), he left his towel to dry and hung it at the apex of our tent. ending, we were the only ones who were left dry. lol.

bonfire under the stars

Anawangin-Nagsasa-Zambales

the gathering of the Midnight Society from’ Are You afraid of the dark?’

borlogs after the Tanduay 15 years drinking spree (w/c tasted really awful btw)

another authentic experience i had in Nagsasa was the bonfire and the overnight camp out. what made it ‘authentic’ was the absence of electricity and the basics. that meant we made it through with the bonfire thru countless ghost stories and urban legends, stargazing in the clear night sky, playing in the beach front w/ only the moonlight above and more than enough solo time to think about things… of course we cant ignore alcohol on the side. good thing we were able to store ice from the mainland.

it was soo soothing. very relaxing physically and mentally (buti na lang walang lamok). i woke up the next day feeling fully charged and renewed. if the need to detach to the world comes again, i’d want to go back to Nagsasa.

tip:

one major tip, if you plan for an overnight stay, choose Nagsasa over Anawangin since Anawangin is too crowded already.

Korea Sparkling – Visa Application for Filipinos

S.K. Visa Approved! valid for 3 months good for a 59 day stay in S.K.

I have so much ‘kwento’ about this unexpected trip i can go on and on and on… so let me start from where it should all begin – the Korean Visa Application.

it has been said that South Korea (S.K.)has loosen its Immigration Laws towards Southeast Asian nations (that includes us the Philippines) in order to attract SEA’s emerging tourist market. thus, visa application for S.K. is not much of a hassle and its FREE for us Filipinos.

the S.K. embassy and its Consulate can now be located on the following addresses below.

South Korea Embassy , Philippines

122 Upper McKinley Road
McKinley Town Center
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig city 1634
Philippines
Phone:
+63-2-856-9210
Fax:
+63-2-856-9008
+63-2-856-9019
+63-2-856-9024
Email:
ph04@mofat.go.kr
philippines@mofat.go.kr
Website URL:
embassy_philippines.mofat.go.kr/eng/as/embassy_philippines/main/index.jsp

South Korea Consulate, Philippines

122 Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Town Center,
Fort Bonifacio
Taguig city
1634
Philippines
Phone:
(63-2) 856-9210
Fax:
(63-2) 856-9024
Email:
ph04@mofat.go.kr
Website URL:
http://embassy_philippines.mofat.go.kr

a copy of the S.K. Visa requirements provided by the S.K. embassy

the Requirements:

1) Duly Signed Application Form available at the S.K. embassy Visa application Center
2) 1pc. passport sized picture
3) 6 months valid Passport – Original
4) COpy of Passport First Page
5) Employment Certificate – Original
6) Personal Bank Certificate – Original
7) Income Tax Return Form 2316
8) Original COpy of Your Visa and arrival stamps from OECD member nations (optional)

Tips:

1) Please make sure your application form has no erasures. acceptance of your documents (not even for approval yet) is subject to the Consul’s objectivity so better give the impression that you are dead serious w/ your trip and reflect it with the way you fill out the application form.

2) 1 pc. passport size photo is attached to the application form prior submission

3) Remove all covers of your passport upon submission. Consuls tend to assume this strict, irate, hateful look and you would never want to provoke them by not removing the passport cover (baka itapon lang yang passport mo sa basurahan)

4) Certificate of Employment (COE) should be Original. It must include the address, contact nos., signature of your Head H.R., your office number, your position and your company’s Letter Head. Just to be safe you may have to include/state in your COE the approval of your superior on your vacation leave and the no. of days of your VL.

5) Personal Bank Certificate is entirely different from a Personal Bank Statement. the Visa requirement is a Bank CERTIFICATE. i am a BPI account holder so i was able to secure a Bank certificate from any BPI branch for a fee of 100 Pesos. i was able to get it right away also.

the next question would be, how much amount should be reflected in the bank certificate? well for me, i acknowledge the significance of the bank certificate as a requirement for Visa so, that would mean the amount should also be, well, significant. 30,000P is acceptable i guess (but a few of my friends who have gone to S.K. had as low as 12,000P in their bank certificates nonetheless their Visas were approved).

6) BIR form 2316 should reflect your TIN number. good thing all our BIR forms are downloadble through our company console. no need for us to visit BIR.

Visa Submission Day

1) Visa Application submission only runs from Monday to Friday (closed on Korean Holidays so better call the S.K. embassy beforehand to check the dates you intend to go if they’re open or not) from 9AM to 11AM ONLY.

2) Visa application and Passport retrieval is from Monday to Friday from 2PM to 4PM ONLY.

3) Please wear somthing presentable. slippers, sleeveless and shorts are not allowed inside the embassy.

4) Processing will take 5 days. you will be given this claim stub w/ the date of claim.

p.s.

if you dont really want to undergo all the hassle for visa application, then you may opt for travel agencies w/c can charge you to around 1000P for the whole processing (pero kayo pa din mag gather ng requirements, sayang din yung 1000P pinambayad nyo lang sa pila)

Wakeboarding at Camsur Watersports Complex – epic!

Menu from their cafe…

This was exacty what’s on my mind the whole time I was travelling in Bicol (the only thing actually) – I must need to learn how to wake board (i had to travel miles away not knowing that shortly after my Bicol trip, Cebu will have its own wakeboarding facility at Danasan Eco Adventure Park! crazy but well, it will work on my advantage, when the time comes i will visit this place, yakang yaka ko na ang wakeboarding. lol).

4 hours of wakeboarding (for the price of 2, thanks to the bisaya trainors and my very congenial haggling talent) in photos:

Matteo Guidicelli… again?! well actually this was the first time i saw this guy, the Anawangin encounter was the 3rd, second was in Cebu.

skaterboi goes wake boarding…

wakeboards abound…

there goes the ‘kanyon’ lens again.

Mt. Mayon was somewhere out there…hiding.

getting ready… kuno. and did you notice the color blocking? haha….

great things start from floppy, slappy and crappy beginnings

will perfect that ‘angas wakeboarder’ look really soon…

char.com

All Cebuano wake board team…naks.

wakeboarding rates taken from the CWC website: http://www.cwcwake.com/