Sunday, March 23, 2014

2014 Feb: South Korea: Secret Garden

"Secret Garden" is a special part of Changdeokgung Palace.  

Huwon Tour (Secret Garden)
Location: 99, Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Adults (ages 19 and over): 5,000 won
*To participate in the Huwon tour, both regular admission (3,000 won) and admission to Huwon (5,000 won) must be purchased.
Walking Tour: Around 3.1 Km 
Time required: about 2 hours

The course is to watch the previously off-limits area, but now open to public in still limited thrice a day visit with 50 persons in a time, all guided.  This area they say has very special meaning in ecological preservation as well as cultural
properties protection.  We were guided to walk along the grounds, except main building parts of palace.



If you are planning for a visit, make sure to book your reservations online pre-handled: (Forty persons limits at one time by internet reservation/ Ten admission ticket sales limits at one time on the ground from 9:00 a.m. for 10:00a.m.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

2014 Feb: South Korea: Petite France

Famous filming location as seen in Secret Garden, Petite France (Running Man Episode 40, guests: Taecyeon and Nichkhun), others.


For early 2014, hot topic are the scenes filmed by Sassy's (Jun Ji-hyun) comeback project - You Who Came from the Stars 

Photos taken from my trip:

2014 Feb: South Korea: Jade Garden

The reason I wanted to go back to Korea, to see this place from That Winter, The Wind Blows, SBS and Love Rain, KBS.

On my way to Incheon last month, I was able to finish the movie, You are My Pet (last scene is also taken there).  


English Boarder and Italian Garden:
Love Rain - KBS 2012; That Winter, The Wind Blows - SBS 2013


2014 Feb: South Korea: Everland

Due to sudden left and right turns in the morning, we left Seoul very late in the afternoon for Everland. 

How to get there?
Bus 5002
Take Subway Line 2, alight at Gangnam Station, Exit 10 [2014].  Walk forward for more than 5-10 minutes (passing Giordano, Krispy Kreme, until Who.A.U.), take Bus 5002.  It will take more than hour to reach the bus terminal for the Everland shuttle service.


Upon checking Google Maps (Jan 2017), not sure if there is road construction near Exit 10, you may want to move to validate first, before moving to bus station between Exit-6 and Exit-5 (in front of NH Bank, Kookmin Bank).  It will still be the same Bus 5002 (heading to Everland).
From there, wait for the shuttle service, travel time will be another 5-10 minutes, before you can reach the Everland gates.

2014 Feb: South Korea: Former Seoul Station

Former Seoul Station





 


How to get there


2014 Feb: South Korea: Yakhyeon Church

Do you still remember Father Adriane from Love Letter (Jo Hyun-jae as Lee Woo Jin) in 2003 MBC series?  He shed a tear during his ordination in Episode 1.


Before leaving for this trip (Feb 2014), I bump into Yoona’s series Prime Minister, it is her wedding scene, and I suddenly remember the church – I said in an instant, I’ll find it and will be there in case it happened to be in Seoul.


Yakhyeon Catholic Church (Yaghyun Parish Church) was the first Catholic and western style church ever built in Korea in 1892. Designed by Father Eugene Jean George Coste (who had also designed Myeongdong Cathedral) is an example of Gothic architecture.

Yaghyun means a hill of herbs and is named because the area was filled with many herbs.





This weekend I happened to finish the series, there are other scenes taken from this drama:



How to get to Yakhyeon Church?

  • Take Seoul Subway Line 2, to Chungjeongno Station (Green), take Exit 5. 
  • Walk 5-10 minutes, you'll see banners with priest's photo (this is the back entrance).  
  • Take the uphill road going to the church. [map]
Yakhyeon Catholic Church (Jungnimdong Catholic Church)
서울 중구 중림동 149-2 Jungnim-dong 149-2, Jung-gu, Seoul, Seoul
(서울 중구 중림로 27) 27 Jungnyim-no, Jung-gu, Seoul



Looks like there is no Sunday English mass in Yakhyeon.
[Mass Schedule - http://www.yakhyeon.or.kr/app/intro/mass.html]
Request: If you can read Korean, please comment in English on when is the mass held on this church.  Thank you.

Other Catholic Churches in Seoul: http://www.korea4expats.com/article-catholic-churches-seoul.html.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

2014 Feb: South Korea: Seoul Food

There is nothing to worry when it comes to food – I did not plan anything for lunch or dinner, since good food is anywhere in Seoul.
  
Restaurant found on the second floor open until 2am (near GS25, Myeongdong Exit 8)
Food: 9 out of 10
Value: Affordable
Atmosphere: 9 out of 10
Location: near GS25, Myeongdong Exit 8

Glad that this decent restaurant is still open to welcome us on our first midnight in Myeongdong.  I love the man-made cherry blossom tree inside. 




Underground Hole in the Wall Japanese Restaurant
Food: 9 out of 10
Value: Affordable
Atmosphere: 9 out of 10
Orders:
Location: Seolleung station Exit 1, turn left before Posco, on the third block, take the stairs to go underground of Italian Bistro (along Teheran-ro 78-gil, Daechi-dong, Gangnam-gu) 

Unique experience that reminds me of Gion, Kyoto - we were actually seating on the floor while eating.  I miss it.



2014 Feb: South Korea: Seoul: Drama Cafes

It’s been two years when I last stepped at Korean peninsula, and with that I have gathered the places I wanted to visit from the dramas and realities I have been watching.  Let’s start with coffee shops I wanted to try.

Café De Chocolate
Food: 9 out of 10
Value: Average
Atmosphere: 9 out of 10
Orders: Orders= White hot chocolate (5200), Real dark hot chocolate (5800), Hotdog (7600) = (745php, 2014)
Location: Chungmuro Station Exit 3
Drama: That Winter, The Wind Blows (2013).



I did not bother to research on which store they used on the drama, but the one I visited is in Chungmuro Station Exit 3.  We got inside still a bit dark, welcomed our orders and but the service strictly started at 9:00am. 

Cozy and offers a lot of magazines and books to read.  They also have a separate room for the smokers.




Sunday, March 9, 2014

2014 Feb: South Korea: Seoul: K-pop Residence

My fouth time in South Korea, third time in Seoul and third time to have the base camp in Myeongdong.

Taking an AREX for the second time is less expensive than taking a bus, but I personally prefer the bus since I don’t want line transfers and its hard to bring luggage in stairs (2011-2012).  Unexpectedly, the plane is delayed on its arrival fro 2 hours to pick-up passengers in Manila hub.  That makes our arrival in Incheon delayed from 20:05 to past 22:20.  We still need to take the shuttle train going to main terminal, queue at the Immigration, wait for the luggage, and we can no longer take the airport bus 6015 going Myeongdong.

I still wonder for a while if there is a possibility to take a night bus, until with a snap I got to process my thoughts immediately - "I need 10000 each (thanks to the extra won we have from our previous trips), I need our old T-money." Rushed to 7-11 to top-up, get down to lower ground take the connecting walkalator, rushed to the train entrance (not sure if I did take AREX, but looks like not, it is an all-stop train going to Seoul Station.  We were able to find our way out and we were literally running, Im pushing our 2 4-wheel luggage to speed us up.  When we get on the station entrance, there are already guards, I said "to Myeongdong Station", and they let us pass - this is the last trip from Seoul Station for Line 4 going to Myeongdong.

This year (2014) on Exit 8, there is already an escalator, but because it already passed the operating hours it is no longer moving, we still have to take the stairs.  After crossing 3 sub streets, we were able to find our hostel.


K Pop Residence II Myeongdong
Reception hours 07:00~23:00
4-2, Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul

Price: Average for an accommodation in the middle of Myeongdong.  If you prefer cheaper accommodation outside shopping district, there are lot to choose from. 

Location: Good – On the side street of Myeongdong, it is the 4th and 5th level of the building, just above Kang Ho Dong’s Baekjeong BBQ restaurant.  Just outside the main street, you’ll immediately see Etude, Face Shop, farther left, you have Forever 21, and GS25 (25-hour convenient store).


In terms of accessibility to subway, it is 5-8 minutes walking distance from Line 4 Myeong-dong station and Line 2: Euljiro 1-ga station; and 8-12 minutes walk to Line 2 Euljiro 3-ga station.

What might be off to your sight is that every morning, pile of trash is along this street since it is not a main road, or considered back door for restaurants (so this where their stuff are being prepared or delivered).



Check-in Experience: Fast and easy.  I missed to prepare my printed booking so I was supposed to still open my luggage.  When I approached the desk I told them, “I booked from agoda”.  She cut me off “I know know, fill this up, here is the key”.  Arriving passed 1 am, tired and freezing, I appreciate much the process to be easy, quick and very helpful.



Room: Clean and bright.  I booked for a queen bed, but good thing that I checked and we got an extra pull-out bed.  The same as other reviews it is small but breathable.  There is just a small chair, no table.  There is air-conditioner and lcd tv controller.  The bathroom has good hot-water. 

Housekeeping: Available upon request.



Culinary Experience: We have not tried it, but they offer simple breakfast.  I always get hot drinking water from the kitchen which is also available in 5th floor.  Basement and ground floor has restaurants.




Final review:  On my return to Seoul, I can still stay on this place again.  Quick access to church, stores, airport bus, 2 train stations, cafes and restaurants.    

But if given enough time for me study on the possibility of staying near a university (Hongkik Station), I’ll also give it a try.

2014 Feb: Philippines: Manila: Travel Expo




2014 Jan: Philippines: Manila: Wicked

I learned Wicked from Chico who flew to Singapore just to watch the musical sometime in its showing dates on Dec 6 2011 til Feb 26, 2012.

As it is in Manila this early 2014, we bought in at an early bird discount and able to watched it on its first weekend.  Tomorrow is the last night of its showing, be Galindafied with the Ozians!






"Defying Gravity" 
– Elphaba, Glinda, Guards and Citizens of Oz
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes: and leap!
...
So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky!
As someone told me lately:
"Ev'ryone deserves the chance to fly!"
And if I'm flying solo

At least I'm flying free


"As Long as You're Mine" 
– Elphaba and Fiyero
I've lost all resistance
And crossed some borderline
And if it turns out
It's over too fast
I'll make ev'ry last moment last

As long as you're mine





"For Good" - Galinda
I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you:

Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good


A story of friendship, love and forgiving - a must see musical!

Today, March 9, is the last showing day of Wicked in Manila.  On my recent trip to Korea, it is also being shown in Charlotte Theatre (http://www.wickedthemusical.co.kr/).