Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 November: South Korea: Gwanghwamun Square

The road in front of Gwanghwamun had been referred to as Yukjo (six ministries) Street as it was lined with buildings of six ministries along with others in the Joseon period. Under Japanese rule, all the buildings were dismantled and the road lost its symbolic significance. With the creation of Gwanghwamun Square, Yukjo Street has been restored and various symbolic features (statue of King Sejong and Sejong Story Exhibition Hall, Haechi Madang, Waterways of History, and Haechi statue, among others) are on display, establishing the square as a restored historical site. [Reference]

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 November: South Korea: BCJ Garden

That day’s challenge is to find where 49 days (Pure Love) and City Hunter were filmed.

From Myeongdong, it is around 80 minutes by train to reach Wollong Station.  If you notice, Paju is the address of my next destination but as advised in Trip Advisor, Wollong Station is closer to the garden.  After the station exit doors, on your left, you will see cabs on queue.  I gave to the driver the address I found on the internet.  It took him around 10 minutes to figure out with his GPS on where we are going.

Good thing he has GPS, or else it will make me freak out.  We were driving 30 minutes on the road with the thought of – Is this right? Is this safe? Will I still be able to get back?  There are very few buildings, huge area for fields, far-away mountains, less vehicles around and from very wide highway, we ended with two-lane road.


Monday, December 26, 2011

South Korea: Myeongdong Cathedral

Another plus on the location of my accommodation is it so close to Myeongdong Cathedral.  I can actually hear the bells ringing for its first mass.  Good thing that it is only drizzling that morning and I finally had a chance to take a photo of its façade - the church looks like a castle from outside, but feels old from the inside.

2011 November:



2016 November 13:






How to get there?
Line 4: Myeong-dong Station Exit 9, 10; Line 2: Euljiro 1(il) ga Station Exit 5, 6; Euljiro 3 (sam) ga 
Reference
 Mass Schedule
Reference

Sunday, December 25, 2011

2011 November: South Korea: Coffee Prince

In acknowledgement to the site that is so helpful for making my journey possible, I’m sharing you this post: http://www.squidoo.com/coffee-prince-coffee-shop .

But I just want to add some corrections or possibly updates on the markers.  It is better to take Exit 8 (Hongik University Station), for you will see the Seven Springs restaurant which means you are on the right path.  Those I asked to help me find my way are not familiar on where the Coffee Prince is even if I show them the map.

2011 November: South Korea: Four Season's House

Four Season’s House also known as Yoon’s Color is a place dedicated by the director to his drama series.  It is inspired by Autumn in My Heart (Autumn in Love), Winter Sonata, Summer Scent and Spring Waltz.
Before you visit the place, make sure that you book your request on their site, http://www.yoonscolor.com/.


I studied how to get there, but I still get lost.  So I’m sharing the photos below to serve as markers.

1. Take line #6 subway to Sangsu station.
2. Use Exit#2 of Sangsu station and turn left at the top of the stairs of Exit #2
3. Walk straight for 4 mins, 250 meters to Far-East Broadcasting St. and Regina Wedding building.


See the green telephone booth, after that there is a street with a signage of “Four Seasons”.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

2011 November: South Korea: Korea Pass

Surprise Event for Travelers to Korea!

Korea Tourism Organization is giving away 3,000 Korea Pass cards on a first-come, first-served basis to international visitors arriving in Korea between November 7th and December 15th, 2011.
The Korea Pass cards, each worth 20,000 won, can be used anywhere except for transportation and at Shinsegae and Hyundai Department Stores, E-Mart and Homeplus. [
Reference]

2011 November: South Korea: Green Residence

I arrived at Gimpo Domestic Terminal, Wednesday, Nov 16 2011 11.55 am. I asked the information counter on which parking area will I be able to take bus 6001. It is on area #4-5 and was able to catch it after waiting for 10mins. The fare is 13000won (520php) for almost an hour travel time to Myeongdong (Stop: Sejong Hotel). On the street near Exit 8, I walked straight until I reached ABC shop. Behind the bank is a double glass-door, inside is the elevator going to 17F for the Green Residence.




Green Residence
Location: 17F Tae Heung Building, Myeongdong, Seoul
Website: http://www.seoulgreen.com/index.html


I started my inquiries with them by July and finalized my booking on the same month for my stay on November. They also agreed that I can pay on cash upon arrival and there is no need to provide the credit card details. I again reminded them of my booking a month, then next, a week before my arrival.


Shoes are not allowed inside the hostel, so you have to change to their provided slippers. The lady was very good in letting me know their facilities, she tour me around and discussed some ground rules.


This hotel has very negative review on Trip Advisor but I still decided to book here because of:
1. weather: I think, since it is a cold Autumn, I don’t think I would need an air conditioner or fan; and
2. location: it is not on an elevated area and is on the center of Myeongdong
Good thing I did not feel suffocated on this very small box.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2011 December: Philippines: Bohol: Metro Centre

From Panglao, we decided to have an overnight stay at Tagbilaran - we booked for a Superior B room at Metro Centre. We had a very good stay here.

Place: MetroCentre Hotel and Convention Center
Address: C.P.G. Avenue, Tagbilaran City Bohol 6300, Philippines
Website: http://www.metrocentrehotel.com/

The hotel lobby is well lighted, they already have Christmas decorations.
The room is clean - with soft bed, clean curtains, carpeted floors, television (over 75 channels), refrigerator bar, telephone, cabinet with hangers, complimentary peanut cookies, and bottled water.



The bathroom door is a full body mirror. It has shower area and they provide towels and basic toiletries.


Their other facilities in the hotel are gym area and a wide swimming pool (4 feet deep).


They also provide free continental breakfast (bread rolls, etc) but can be upgraded to a Filipino or American breakfast for additional 135php.

Guests of Metro Center are also provided with discount coupons that can be used on buying souvenir products from BQ (Bohol Quality) Mall.

As for the location, there is a close small BQ convenient shop, near to 3 pharmacy, close to restaurants (Andoks: 24hrs, Jollibee, Pizza Hut, etc) and walking distance to the Cathedral.

What they can add on their sevice is a tabo - a local thing for the Filipinos.




Saturday, our last day in Bohol. But before we hit the airport, its time for us to go to Catigbian.



Contact Name: Jesser "Tatsky" Cubero


Smart: 0912-747-2737


We rented a car and we were picked-up from the hotel by one of the drivers of Tatsky. After 1.5hr drive, we still have to walk about 20-30 minutes on the muddy rice fields before we could reached my grandmother's house. We did chat, catch up with each other and had lunch.


Fourty-five minutes passed 12nn, we started walking at the fields again to reach the main street. After bidding goodbye, we started our road trip and finally reached the airport.



Thank you to all the Boholanos, its time to go back to Manila.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

2011 December: Philippines: Bohol: Botanika Tarsier

Destination: Tarsier Botanika (Philippe Tarsier Recreation Inc.)
Location: Km.16 Hoyohoy Tawala, Panglao, Bohol
Website: www.philtarsier.com

From Alona, we took a tricycle (150php) for a 15 minute ride going to Tarsier Botanika.

The entrance fee for non-Boholanos is 500php, then it is 300php for the locals. We got a discount for my mother since she was born in Bohol. The fee includes a 2 hour guided tour over the featured sites of their 7 hectare farmland.

First attraction is the line of flowers, orchids and bonsai collection.












Next, the animal area - they have monkeys, a lot of species of birds and some reptiles. They also have a horse training area, but the rider should provide himself full gear before they can rent a horse.


I like their small reclining Buddha surrounded by a small pond, water lily and hyacinth – feels like I’m in Bali or Thailand.



Their Grotto is so unique for me, it is made of shells.



They also have conservatory with paintings, plants and café in one.



Another thing I’m proud of this place is the very well maintained art gallery – that is divided to Asian, European and Modern or Futuristic themes.



They are still constructing the ocean view restaurant upon this writing. But food at that their small cafe is very delicious - we ordered spaghetti bolognese and margarita pizza.



The reception room also offers products that are locally made with export quality.



There is no other way out, and we already requested our tricycle driver to pick-up us to go back at Alona Beach.

2011 December: Philippines: Bohol: San Agustin Church

Destination: San Agustin Church
Location: Panglao, Bohol, Philippines

It is December 08, Feast Day of Immaculate Conception. From Alona Beach, we took a van (200php) going to the church. The 6:30am mass is in vernacular language. The church has very beautiful ceiling, but I cant deny that these now looked old by time.


Going back at Alona, we hailed for a tricycle at the street (100php). If it was not available, we can opt to go first to the mercado (wet market) to find the tricycle.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

2011 December: Philippines: Bohol: Bee Farm

From Alona Beach, we took a tricycle and ride for less than 20 minutes (400php), it is a smooth ride at first while we are in the main street, then had this shaky ride on the very rough road.

It is raining that afternoon and there are no guided tours available because of the rain - too bad! But since there is no tour, there is also no entrance fee - yehey! But, the entrance fee is just 30php, its affordable for the tourists.

They have rooms available for accommodation which range from 2500-9000php per night. They have several locations for cafes and restaurants. Some were overlooking and some can be on a small banca.

Here we tasted their Champorado with Carabao's milk (80php)



and the organic ube and mango ice cream (80php) - which I really love.



Do not under-estimate the place, we had a long walk, stiff stairs and ended a bit tired.



Before we leave the place, we spent sometime on their shop and they have this sample comfort designed with bee theme.

On closing, we visited a Bee Farm without seeing the bee - as the care taker said, bees are more aggressive and would likely to bite people during rainy weather.

2011 December: Philippines: Bohol: Alona Beach

Our flight from Manila is delayed by around 30 minutes due to busy departure schedule. Travel time going to Tagbilaran is 1 hr and 5 minutes. "Your flight is not complete, without the Fun Games," - I won a tumbler for being the first one to raise a family picture.

We already booked the airport transfer from the hotel, it is 500 php from the airport to Panglao for about 30 minutes without traffic.

On our previous trip, we stayed at Dumaluan beach. Now we are staying at Alona beach – specifally at Lost Horizon Hotel. We booked the Modern Standard room for 2500php/night, plus 400php for the additional person. We opted not to get the extra bed as the queen size bed is enough for the three of us. I'm very satisfied with the place, good sea and pool view from our room. It is well lighted and I like the glass wall. The bed is soft and with clean sheets. The room has electric thermos, cups and complimentary coffee set and bottled water. Also, has a television with less than 30 cable channels (diversed from English, Korean, Macanese, etc.). They also provide a cabinet with hangers, table with monoblock chairs, refrigerator and full body mirror. The bathroom is spacious, well provided hot and cold water, and offers basic toiletries and towels.

Lost Horizon Beach Resort
Location: Alona Beach, Tawala, Panglao, Bohol, Philippines
Email:losthorizonresort@gmail.com
Website: http://www.losthorizonresort.net/
What they can add on their service is having a foot rug either at the room or bathroom door step and room slippers.

The swimming pool is bit small for the range of 3ft-7ft deep.

The bar/restaurant has expensive menu and has no service water.

For lunch, we paid 490php for sinigang na hipon, pork meat balls, rice, and 1.5L mineral water.

For dinner, we paid 295php for barbeque, grilled hotdog and cheesedog, rice and corn.



Alona Beach is like a very small Boracay. At least lively than Dumaluan and Bohol Beach Club area. There are small stores and a mini grocery that is 24hrs open and lot of restaurants which you can choose from. Just in front of the main street there is bakery and a Korean Restaurant. At the intersection is a club sandwich (90php a la carte, 320php for set meal) and coffee shop.



At the end area of the Alona beach is a Thai Restaurant owned by Ibis Bungalow Resort.

Isis BungalowLocation: Alona Beach, Panglao Island

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

2011 November: South Korea: Jeju: Joongang Cathedral

Destination: Joongang Cathedral of the Jeju Diocese
English Address: JoonAng Cathedral of the Jeju diocese, 114, Samdo2-dong, Jeju-city
Website: http://www.diocesecheju.org/


The closest Catholic church I found near Yeha Guesthouse and the airport is Joongang Cathedral of the Jeju Diocese. This is just about 10 minutes away by taxi from my accommodation.Thanks to the person who allowed me to leave my luggage at the lower ground floor – it is now easier for me to take the stairs going to the church. I love the façade of the church, it felt like the architecture is so different compare to what we have in Manila.

After my visit, I still have to walk a few blocks to look for a cab going to the airport.


Read discussion on English Mass in Jeju.

Monday, December 12, 2011

2011 November: South Korea: Jeju: Manjanggul Cave

Destination: Manjanggul Cave [UNESCO World Heritage]
Location: Donggimnyeong-ri, Gujwa-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
Travel Date: November 15, 2011

Manjanggul Cave (만장굴) is one of the finest lava tunnels in the world, and is a designated natural monument. A lava tunnel is formed when the lava that was deep in the ground spouts from the peak and flows to the surface. Manjanggul Cave has a variety of interesting structures inside including 70cm lava stalagmites and the lava tube tunnels. Only 1km of the 13,422m Manjanggul Cave is open to the tourists. The inside of the tunnel sustains at a temperature of 11~21C. [Reference]


Tourists are being warned upon entering the tunnel:
  • The stairs inside the cave are steep
  • The floor is uneven and puddles are formed
  • The light in the cave is relatively dim
  • There are no rest rooms inside the cave


It was truly an experience to me, to walk on a cave-like, but actually a lava tunnel. A little bit frightening to walk on this very long dark alley, but I just cant wait to see the end for me to finally to back on the same path as there is no way out but to exit from the entrance.
There are few emergency telephones along the way for those who need medical attention while you are inside the tunnel. They also setup only few lights and most of the area are pretty much dark.
The 7.6 m-high lava column is known to be the largest lava column in the world.

We are only given 40 minutes to walk on this 1 km stretch of very rocky and wet floor – and glad I made it. I saw the rock formation they are saving to the tourists to see at the end of the tunnel.