Korean Escapade 2010: Last day in Korea

October 25 was our last day in Korea. We left the hotel at around 9 in the morning and took the subway going to Ilsan. It took us more than an hour to get there. In Ilsan, we had a bit of difficulty looking for Misarang Pizza. We walked several blocks away from the subway station and after 30 minutes or so found what we’re looking for.

Establishments at Ilsan, South Korea, October 2010

When we finally got there, we decided to have lunch. We ordered chicken wings, bulgogi pizza and French fries.

Misarang Pizza, Ilsan, South Korea, October 2010

Bulgogi Pizza, Misarang Pizza, Ilsan, South Korea, October 2010

Then we decided to split up because some of us needed to buy some stuff to bring home to the Philippines. My friend and I went to a public market near our hotel to look for a hanbok (traditional Korean dress). It was our ultimate dream to own one.  However, we had a major problem. Even though, we studied basic Korean language, Hangul, we still had difficulty communicating with the locals. We had trouble understanding when they were speaking rapidly. It was a good thing that they had calculators to tell us the amount of an item.

In the first store that we visited, the hanbok is made to order and we cannot possibly wait because we are already leaving that night. In the second store, a hanbok costs 150,000 won. We decided to look deeper into the market. And so we visited a third, a fourth and a fifth store. And then we chanced upon this ajuhssi (uncle/mister) who was busy arranging his merchandise. We asked how much a hanbok costs and I literally jumped when I heard that it’s lower than 100,000 won. I forgot that I was to ask for a discount but…yeah, I was so excited that I found a hanbok that is within my budget. I would have loved a purple hanbok but the design that was there did not match my taste. I chose a hanbok which has bright colors – green and red. My friend was able to find a hanbok too – a red and blue one.

My hanbok which I bought in Korea

When we got to our hotel, our driver was already there to pick us up and drive us to the airport. On our way to the airport, I was fortunate enough to take this photo of a Korean sunset.

Sunset, South Korea, October 2010

Our flight was at 9:35 in the evening and so we had time to roam the shops. Moreover, I had the chance to see Kim Myung Min’s Oral B advertisement. Yay!

Kim Myung Min's Oral B Advertisement, Incheon Airport, October 2010

We left Seoul before 10 in the evening. Again, like in my previous travels, I had difficulty getting some sleep. I was more than relieved when we landed in Manila. I love Korea but there is no place like home.


Korean Escapade 2010: Exploring Seoul in a Day (Part 1)

October 23 was the day we went around Seoul. We left the hotel and took the subway going to Gwanghwamun station. There we walked towards the first stop for the day.

First Stop: Gwanghwamun Square was the one of my favorites during the city tour. The square was 557meter long, 34 meter wide. It is considered to be the “heart of Seoul with 600 years of history and was transformed into a human focused space that harmonizes with the beautiful sceneries of Gyeongbok Palace and Bukak-san, which completed the rebirth of Sejong-ro for historical and cultural experiences,” (http://www.lifeinkorea.com/travel2/448).

Gwanghwamun Square, South Korea, October 2010

I really loved the monument of King Sejong, or popularly known as the Great King Sejong, who reinforced Confucian policies and executed major legal amendments. He also used the creation of Hangul and the advancement of technology to expand his territory.

Great King Sejong, South Korea, October 2010

Another favorite is the statue of Admiral Lee Sun Shin/Yi Sun Shin, whom I consider as one of the greatest heroes of Korea. He was known for his 23 victories against the Japanese navy during the Japanese invasion of Korea and was famous for his creative use of turtle ships against the enemies.

Admiral Yi Sun Shin, South Korea, October 2010

And then we took the Seoul City Bus Tour at the nearby Donghwa station to get to some of the tourist attractions located in the city. The Seoul City Bus Tour is the fastest and economical way to go around the city. We just hopped on the bus and then hopped off to our chosen destination. After which, we wait again for the next bus (there is a 30 minute interval) which would then lead us to our next destination. One ticket, which costs 10,000 won, will take tourists around Seoul. There are about 36 sites which tourists can visit.

Second Stop: Seoul Station is the major railway station in the city. We experienced the hustle and bustle of Seoul’s busy life.

Seoul Station, South Korea, October 2010

Third Stop: National Museum of Korea covers137,201 square meters (1,480,000 sq ft) and is considered to be the sixth largest museum in the world. The first level houses relics from the prehistoric, ancient, medieval, and early modern periods. The second level, in turn, showcases the calligraphy and painting galleries while the third level has the sculpture, crafts and Asia galleries. Visiting museums is one activity that I really love. I wanted to spend the whole day exploring the place but I did not have the chance to do that due to lack of time.

National Museum of Korea, October 2010

Headdress used in Shilla period, NMOK, October 2010












Passed through: Korean War Memorial Hall. We just passed through this monument and was able to take a photo from the bus.

Korean War Memorial, South Korea, October 2010

Fourth Stop: Namsangol Traditional Hanok Village is a “Korean village located in the area of Pil-dong neighborhood in Jung-gu, a central district of Seoul, South Korea where hanok or Korean traditional houses have been restored to preserve the original atmosphere of the area. The Namsangol Hanok Village offers one the opportunity to experience a wide cross-section of Joseon-era citizenry and activities, from royalty to commoners. A great effort has been made to accurately furnish each dwelling with appropriate era and social status appointments.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namsangol_Hanok_Village). We were lucky to have witnessed a presentation by children who were in their costumes and were dancing some of the traditional dances.

Performance at Namsangol Hanok Village, October 2010

LUNCH: Korean food is really awesome even though some of it are too spicy for me. As I have written earlier, DIET was a forgotten word during this Korean trip. Korean food is really YUMMY!

Lunch at a Korean Resto, October 2010

Another yummy dish at a Korean resto, October 2010

Fifth Stop: Changgyeong Palace was the third palace compound built in the Joseon era. It was built next to Changdeok Palace to serve three queen dowagers (who had been queen during the reigns of Sejo, Deokjeong and Yejong). It is also referred to as one of the “eastern palaces,” along with Changdeok Palace. (from brochure given at Changgyeong Palace)

A live performance at Changgyeong Palace, October 2010

Changgyeong Palace, South Korea, October 2010










To be continued…

Missing my Korean Language class

image from expats-lifestyle-in-korea.com

I woke up this Saturday morning feeling a bit different. I realized that today I won’t be going to Palma Hall at UP to attend my Korean Language lessons. You see, for the past two months (April-June), I’ve been attending Module 1 of Korean or Hangul Language lessons. Last Saturday was our last meeting. I was feeling a bit nostalgic, I guess. Plus the fact the Module 2 also starts today. As I earlier wrote, I don’t have the luxury to attend the 2nd module because of other priorities. I hope that the department will offer it either November this year or summer next year.

Oh, did I mention that I placed 4th highest in our final exam? And I was awarded Most Active Student and the 2nd Best Student? *grins* I wasn’t expecting such recognition but I’m thankful that my efforts reaped results. I hope that what I learned, I ‘d be able to remember and apply when it’s time.

I miss my classmates in the class. I miss having lunch with my girlfriends who were also my classmates. I miss the fun.

Learning Korean: Session 10

Yes! I passed the Korean Language Exam. Which means that I passed the Basic Korean Language Course. I am really happy that I got to enroll and eventually learn Hangul. It gives me great pleasure that I know now the basics of at least one foreign language.Module 1 (which I took) is followed immediately by Module 2 which will start in July. I’m feel kind of sad because I will not be able to continue with it because I have other priorities. Plus the fact that I might be traveling soon.

After the short review session, the class had lunch in Woorijib, a Korean restaurant in Kalayaan Avenue in Quezon City. Seonsaengnim also gave our certificates of completion and also he gave some special awards. Pictures to be posted on my next entry.

Overall, I’m really happy with the outcome of the Korean language sessions. I would love to continue learning Hangul, if time permits. Moreover, I would also love to learn Chinese and Japanese. 🙂


Learning Korean: Session 9

It was our second to the last session. Our final exam was also scheduled this meeting. The first part of the exam was the interview. It was quite nerve-wracking because when Seonsaengnim spoke in Hangul, I was dumbstruck. I guess, I was hit by what they call mental block, eh? However, I was able to answer his questions satisfactorily, I think. 😉

The second part of the exam was the written part. It was not hard but it took me a while to get through the test. Although I can read Hangul, it still takes me awhile to read and understand the sentences. I just hope that I’d be able to pass the exam.

For our last meeting, Seonsaengnim will give us the results and we will have some enrichment lessons. We will also have lunch together as a class for our culminating activity.

Learning Korean: Session 8

It’s the 8th meeting! I went to class feeling sick. Actually, I feel that I’m going to have a cold. Anyway, I’m such a bad student because I crammed studying and doing my assignment. I woke up at 5 in the morning to finish all the stuff that I have to finish. The term photo-finish really applied in this case.

In class, we had exercises in reading and listening. However, I really had difficulty concentrating because I was not feeling well. Seonsaengnim also announced that for our 9th meeting, we will have our final exam. Good thing, it is scheduled on the 9th. We have at least 2 weeks to review for it.

But for now, I’m going to rest and drink lots of fluids. I’m sick. 😦

Learning Korean: Session 7

I went to today’s class so weary. I’ve been under tremendous stress for the past few weeks (seems I’m always stressed) and I feel so drained and tired. Anyway, for the Korean Language class, I only managed to leaf through some pages of the handbook and answered the homework on verbs and conjugations.

I wasn’t sure if I answered it right. I just answered it for the sake of accomplishing the assignment. I only had the chance to quickly review the contents of the quiz today while I was riding the jeepney going to UP. Oh well, I feel sad that I wasn’t in my element this morning but I guess my energy is zero.

Seonsaengnim asked us to do an interesting assignment. I think it would be cool but the contents will be boring. I will post the assignment before I submit it on Saturday. I’ll try to be as creative as possible. I hope I still have my creative juices.

Learning Korean: Session 6

Session 6. Again, we had a quiz. I was able to answer all questions. BUT I’m not sure whether I got them all correct. I got abit confused in writing characters in Hangul. I should pay more attention on how each character is written for a particular word.

Anyway, we had a review of the number system. How to write/say one’s birthday and one’s phone and mobile number. We were really surprised that telling the time is THAT COMPLICATED. I have written that there are two Korean number systems and each is used in a particular way. However, both Pure Korean numbers and Sino-Korean numbers are used in telling the time. For the hour, Pure Korean number is used while for the minutes, it is Sino-Korean number. It can really be confusing and complicated. Below is a Romanized table of the Sino-Korean numbers so it can be quite tricky. One might think that it is easy. But when it’s in Hangul already, it’s another story. Just click on the image to enlarge.

image from sungwh.freeserve.co.uk

Seonsaengnim also introduced how to conjugate words from their dictionary forms to informal or formal endings. We were also given an assignment on how to conjugate words. For the next few meetings, I think we will concentrate on grammar and sentence construction. Aja! Hwaiting!

Learning Korean: Session 5

Korean consonants (image from wiki.galbijim.com)

Yes, I’m halfway through my Korean language lessons! Five more meetings to go!

We had a quiz on the Korean number system, which I think I failed. Ha. ha.  It was easy enough but I got distracted. Instead of writing my answers in Hangul characters, I wrote it in Romanized version. I only realized the blunder I made when there was a few minutes left before submission. I was able to alter my answers into Hangul but there were a couple of items left that I wasn’t able to answer anymore. Oh well..

As I wrote in my previous entry, the lessons get more complicated and difficult. I just have to put in my best effort with the remaining 5 sessions.  Aja! Aja! Hwaiting!

Learning Korean: Session 4

After an almost two-week break, my basic Korean language class met again. This time, for the fourth time. And my goodness, it was quite difficult getting the groove back. I had difficulty answering and finishing the assigned pages because work has been piling up one after another. I go home dead tired and unable to study well the assigned topics. I’m not justifying why I cannot study well. It’ my responsibility.

We had a quiz. I’m not sure if I answered the questions correctly. He he. Oh well, that’s a student life.We also learned how to use numbers. So next meeting, we will have a quiz again, this time about numbers.

I’m just thankful that our Seonsaengnim uses humor when he teaches. We have some funny moments in class. Learning is still fun. 😀