Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Philippines: Manila: Christmas Around the City

Come and enjoy the Christmas festivities, towering trees and glittering lights in the City of Lights in the Philippines!

Hyatt City of Dreams Manila
Belle Avenue, Entertainment City, Paranaque City, 1700 Metro Manila

Philippines: The Taste of South (2017)

Another year of tasting classic, fusion and amazing edibles served in the southern restauarnts of the metro!

Las Pinas

Another Story
Cuisine: American Asian
Food: Paella (395ph), Feta Cheese and dried berries (Feta Cheese and dried beriies with a balsamic viniagrette dressing and tossed assprted lettuce salad drizzled with candied walnuts. 295ph for solo serving can already be shared), Roast Pork Belly (Roast Pork Belly with mushroom gravy and applesauce with potato au gratin or buttered rice or mashed potatoes, 495ph)
Personal Preference: 10 out of 10.  The food is tasty.  The sauce used in pork belly, vegetables and salad are in rich flavor.  The ambiance the best!
Location: 2F inside Evia Mall, Daang Hari Road, Almanza Dos, Las Piñas, 1750

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Philippines: Flavors of Pasay

Philippines has been a fusion of Western and Oriental restaurants.  Enjoy those that listed below as seen in SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Complex.

Cuisine: Japanese
Food: takoyaki, grilled pork
Personal Preference: 7 out of 10.  The taste is good.  However, the location is on the secluded newly open area (might possible be lively as soon as the Galleon Museum becomes open).  Sanitation of the area is a concern.

The Cafe at Hyatt City of Dreams Manila

The Café at the Hyatt City of Dreams Manila has been open to the public for quiet sometime now. But it was only recently when we had a chance to try it’s lunch buffet, thanks to the metrodeal coupon! From P1638 to discounted promo rate of P1105 net is quite a catch!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

2017 Nov: Autumn Itinerary to Seoul, South Korea

Note: If first time traveler to Seoul, please visit the detailed entry and guide on Itinerary for First-time Visitors

2017 Nov: South Korea: Incheon: Cafe Valor

Cafe Valor by it's name is a coffee shop, but is actually a furniture display shop.  It is located in Incheon and was used as a setting in the movie The Beauty Inside.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

2017 Nov: South Korea: Incheon: Inha University

Inha University is an off track destination and is about 90 minute subway train ride away from central Seoul.  But since I'm fascinated with the lake view as seen in Bok-joo, thus I have decided to visit the place on my way back to the airport.  

2017 November: South Korea: Sungkyunkwan University

Hidden from the main road of the school, there is this perfect spot to catch autumn changing colors in Sungkyunkwan University.

2017 Nov: South Korea: Seoul: Choong Ang High School

Choong Ang High School is one of the old filming location site from previous dramas (i.e. Winter Sonata), but gain again its popularity from Goblin (2016-2017).  Unlike the universities that is open to the public where visitors can roam around the campus, here you need to be more discreet since this is a high school.  I read somewhere that they allow visitors during weekends when there are less or no students on the area.

2017 November: South Korea: Seoul: Sights to See in Konkuk University

University Museum
More than what we see in Goblin, the building behind Kim Shin is Konkuk University Museum.

South Korea: 2017 Seoul Lantern Festival

This is my 3rd visit on Seoul Autumn Lantern Festival since 2011, sadly this year is not the best for me.  It seems like some lanterns were unfinished yet (I have excluded them on this post).  Below are some of the better colored lanterns dedicated to Pyeongchang Olympics.

South Korea: View from Seoul Sky Tower

If you crave for more view of Seoul from the top and you have the money to splurge on, you might want to experience it from Seoul Sky Tower. It's another business venture of Lotte Group.

Going up here is a bit expensive at the price of 27,000 KRW (1080 PHP, 2017), yet with limited attractions they can offer at the top. Since it was just open to the public early 2017 expect for long queues before you can reach the observation deck. It is suggested to visit during early morning for shorter queue.  Or you may want to visit by late afternoon to experience both day and night with sunset on the background.

South Korea: Seoullo 7017

Another walking path build by the government for the locals and tourists, opened on May 2017.  A little bit dull during cold nights of autumn.  But maybe more lively when there are street performances.

2017 Nov: South Korea: Things to do in Digital Media City

1. Art Appreciation (Sculpture and Building Architecture)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

South Korea: Seoul Museum of Art

One of the many free-entrance museums that you can find in Seoul.

South Korea: Seongdong-gu: Things to do in Seoul Forest

Seoul Forest, where most locals go.  Where students not just kids doing their outdoor class, but there are also high school students doing their artwork under the ginkgo trees.

2017 Nov: South Korea: Seoul: Bukhansan

The weekday hike at Bukhansan was serene, quiet and still challenging.

South Korea: Yakhyeon Church

2014 February Visit
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.

Monday, November 20, 2017

South Korea: Seoul: Places to see in World Cup Park

You have probably seen that the World Cup Park has become famous from the posts of the Philippine local celebrities.  And some would say that “they are only grasses”, it just so happen that it was taken in Seoul.  But more that those silver grass known as Eulalia grass, there are about five smaller parks that we can visit on this area - Pyeonghwa (Peace) Park, Haneul (Sky) Park, Noeul (Sunset) Park, Nanjicheon Park, and Nanji Hangang Park.

Friday, November 17, 2017

2017 Nov: South Korea: Seoul: 5 Things to do in Samcheong-dong

5 Things to do in Samcheong-dong

1. Taste the Sight
Tea House White Birch Story
Enjoyed the hot Korean Herb Ssanghwa Tea (6000KRW = 240PHP) and Tangerine Cookie from Jeju Island (2,000KRW = 80PHP)

2017 Nov: South Korea: Seoul: Hongdae: Picture Book Cafe for Adults

Looks like a library, but this is a picture book cafe for adults and kids too.

2017 Nov: South Korea: Seoul: Queen Mama Market

If you are fond of buying furniture, natural-made perfume,scented candles, designed ceramic plates - you can find some of there rare items at the ground and mezzanine floors of Queen Mama Pop-up Market.

2017 Nov: South Korea: Flavors of Seoul

W Hand Steak 
Food: sirloin and lemodae (8900 KRW = 356 PHP)
Personal Preference: 9 out of 10

2017 Nov: South Korea: Seoul: Arriate Fresh Herb Tea House

Another flower themed cafe in Seoul can be found in Yeoksam (within Gangnam-gu).  Known as Arriate Fresh Herb Tea House, they offer drinks and flower bouquets.

2017 Nov: South Korea: Seoul: Pork Restaurant

Who would miss this famous pork restaurant (named: 쌍대포-본점, ssangdaepo-bonjeom) that is always seen in Korean drama scenes.

2011 November: South Korea:Seoul: 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”.

2017 Nov: South Korea: Seoul: Blute Garden Cafe

Not your regular cafe, but this is another flower garden themed cafe in the heart of Hongdae.  This is the previous location of Four Season's House (Yoon's Color), that is now converted to a garden coffee shop.

2017 Nov: South Korea: Seoul: Visiting Alver

Found in the heart of Gangnam.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

2017 Nov: South Korea: Seoul: Things to do in Miss Lee Cafe

1. Enjoy dosirak
Olden times in Korea, lunch boxes are prepared using a silver metal box.  Apart from rice, there are already sausage and egg, plus side dishes (seaweed, kimchi) inside and you just have to shake it before eating.

2017 Nov: South Korea: Drama Cafes Brewing in Seoul

Miss Lee
Food: dosirak or Byeoldabang's memorial assorted box
Location: Miss Lee Cafe in Insadong 144 Gwanhun-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Train Station: Line 3, Anguk Station Exit 6
Open: Monday-Sunday 10a-12am.  I came here on a Saturday morning at 10:45am, but was told that they are still closed.  They have requested me to come back by 11:00am instead. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

South Korea: Seoul: Hongdae: Cocoon Stay Guesthouse

Cocoon Stay Hongdae Guesthouse 코쿤 스테이 홍대 게스트하우스
34-4, Yanghwa-ro 18an-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
서울특별시 마포구 양화로18안길 34-4 (동교동)
Facebook | Website | Agoda

Sunday, November 5, 2017

South Korea: Everland

2014 Feb: First encounter on 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.

2017 Oct: South Korea: Seoul: Chrysanthemum Festival at Jogyesa Temple

2017 Oct: South Korea: Seoul: Chrysanthemum Festival at Jogyesa Temple

At the time of our visit, Jogyesa Temple Chrysanthemum Festival is being held. Different figures were displayed using various colors and sizes of chrysanthemum. Little did I know that Chrysanthemum is a classic autumn flower, good thing events like this exists so that people can enjoy the beauty and scent of autumn chrysanthemum in the middle of urban city.

Friday, November 3, 2017

2017 Oct: K-Pop Travel Itinerary to Seoul, South Korea

A fusion of tradition, culture and k-pop experience. This itinerary is to cater first time travelers who are too fond of k-pop and idols over the traditional places to see in Seoul.

Accommodation:  Where to stay in Seoul?
If looking for an affordable (roughly 3,600 - 4,000 php/night) room for 5 persons, check out airbnb.com.
Guest House: "Good Morning Korea,HongDae." 
Host: JoongKeun(John)
Location: The exact location will be disclosed upon your reservation. May not  be located in the middle of the busy streets, but instead on a quiet back road and a long walking distance from Exit 5 or Exit 6.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Korean Demilitarized Zone

We booked the DMZ Tour thru sunburstkorea. Pick-up is at Hongik Univ. Station, Exit 3, there we joined other individuals joining the tour. We took a mini-bus all the way to Paju area.

First stop, Imjingak and Freedom Bridge, here one can see a lot of photos and articles showing life in North Korea. If includes ware fare and other remnants of the war. [Reference]

South Korea: Shopping Zone

Aside from Myeongdong and Namdaemun markets, finally was able to visit other places on this trip.

Include visit to underground shopping stalls, street food, Doota Mall, etc.  
DDP (Dongdaemun Design Plaza) offers exhibit who can see arts.  It may be expensive, but items extremely depict art on it's own.

South Korea: Seoul: Namsan Tower (N Seoul Tower)

Cable Car
Others will prefer cable car to oversee the mountains and trees.  I tried it on 2011, but seems like the distance from the ground is not that high.  If you don't care about the budget, you can opt for this transportation.

South Korea: Seoul: Insadong

Insadong is very close to Changdeokgung Palace, it a good stop for a market happening and for those who like to experience culture and buy traditional goods.

Monday, October 30, 2017

South Korea: Deoksugung Palace

2014 Oct: Deoksugung Palace Night Lights

During spring and autumn, 2 grand palaces in Seoul offers special open night tickets, where tourists and locals can get inside until late night.

South Korea: Gyeonggi-do: Gapyeong-gun: Petite France

In reality, Petite France is a historic city in Strasbourg, France.  But it Korea, it is a famous filming location as seen in Secret Garden, Petite France (Running Man Episode 40, guests: Taecyeon and Nichkhun), others.

South Korea: Gyeonggi-do: The Garden of Morning Calm

The Garden of Morning Calm
Location: 432, Sumogwon-ro, Sang-myeon, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do (경기도 가평군 상면 수목원로 432)
Link: http://www.morningcalm.co.kr/_ENG/html/main.php

South Korea: Gangwon-do: Chuncheon: Nami Island

Options on how to reach Nami Island

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Manila Art 2017

An art fair showcasing the local and invited artists with their contributions to arts and culture.  Below are some that caught my attention.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Budget Travel: How much does it cost to travel to South Korea

Hi traveler!  You may be asking - How much does it cost for a trip to South Korea?  How much does it cost to eat in South Korea?  How much should I budget for a trip to Korea?  What would probably be your spending pattern in your upcoming Seoul Trip?

If you are in the middle of filling-up your visa application on Page 4 Section 10.1 Estimated travel cost, the quickest answer would be a safe estimate of 5,000php (100 USD) per day. With minimum of 500-600USD for the trip.

If you would like to know more details on budget planning, continue reading.  This will not promise you the cheapest value of the trip, but a smart spending when travelling abroad.  This entry was inspired by the recent inquiry in Trip Advisor.  Hopefully this can help you plan your budget for your trip.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

South Korea: Seoul: Folk Miniature Museum

Folk Museum, is a miniature of old villages and a total package that shows Korean history. I must commend this place as they were very good in creating those miniatures as the details are so intricate. The place is so huge, a lot of things to see, I think we had it for an hour and a half and ended like an ‘overload’ of miniatures and history in mind – but the artistry in this place is so amazing! Wow!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Itinerary: South Korea: Busan

Route: Manila, Philippines - Busan, South Korea (PUS)

Transportation Card:
You can still use your Seoul City Pass/T-money card in Busan.  In case you have a problem on re-loading the card, you can go to the nearest 7/11 or CU convenience store. However, more favorable is to use Bee Cash.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

South Korea: Seoul Insider

Note: If first time traveler to Seoul, please visit the detailed entry and guide on Itinerary for First-time Visitors

Are you looking for destinations in Seoul that are considered on the next grid or those places that are less visited by the tourists.  Here's the list of rising places suggested by the group of local students behind Seoul_Insider.  They have categorized the places into 8 themes and you can contact them if you want local guides, visit their blog and instagram account for more information.

Friday, September 8, 2017

2017: Philippines: Korean Film Festival

Thanks to Korea Cultural Center (KCC) Philippines, as they celebrate this year another Korean Film Festival. Six films will be seen in selected local cinemas for free. For complete event details, click here.