Friday, December 06, 2013

Annyeong Haseyo: Seoul, South Korea

(Long Overdue post series)
(October 2013)
(Disclaimer: Photo heavy blog entry)

Korean culture was close to my roots since there were a lot of Koreans in the Philippines.  I've had
a Korean classmate in my Anthropology class and I was once supposed to teach Koreans as well.  KPOP seemed to be a trend as well in my home country.  Teenagers went gaga to Korean groups and Koreanovelas for a few years already. 

My ICN (Incheon Airport) flight was my chance to experience Korean Culture in its motherland.  It was such an exciting 2 legs trip for me because it would be my first time to eat "authentic" korean food and a side trip to a palace which I only see on telenovelas. 

We stayed in a hotel which was near the popular Gangnam District.  I, together with another Filipina crew went straight to Gangnam after we arrived at the hotel. We had dinner first before we proceed to our goal for the night: make-up/skin care stuff shopping.  We were delighted to see the word SALE flashing on almost every make up stores. Korean beauty products were really popular because of its quality.  I've read a lot of good reviews of Korean-made BB creams and even other products such as eyebrow make-up, mascara, facial masks etc. Seoul was indeed a shopping haven for all the "kikays" around the globe. I bought a few beauty products: Missha M Cover BB Cream, Etude Eyebrow Pencil, Etude Shockara, Missha Cologne, Holika Holika Green Tea Facial Cream Cleanser, Tony Moly Milk Lotion.  Wish I had the time to make a review of Etude's Eyebrow Drawing Pencil which was my favorite among my finds. 

Come the next day, I met my friend and we went to Gyeongbokgung Palace (one of the 5 palaces and was built during the beginning of Chosun Dynasty). It was (according to my friend) the location of Korean dramas Secret Garden and Moon Embracing the Sun and Dae Jang Geum.

 When my friend and I went inside, I felt like I was a character in a Korean drama, minus the hanbok of course. Let me share with you the photos I had on my palace visit:

Main Hall

Gyonghoeru Pavilion, venue for formal events and banquets
You could also change into hanbok and have your picture taken in Gyeongbokgung Palace but due to the Changing of Guards Ceremony, the former would not be possible for all visitors. The ceremony was like a scene in Korean Dramas, (never thought I could see it personally). I might not able to wear their traditional costume but it was fine since, at least, I was able to watch the ceremony. 

My friend and I also had a quick visit to the museum which was beside the palace.  It was good to look at everything inside but if you don't know how to speak Korean, you wouldn't understand every single description of the items inside as there was no English translation. 

Aside from knowing the country's heritage, the thing about paying a museum tour was experiencing the richness of every culture by just looking at objects displayed inside.  I might not able to understand every description but at least I knew that everything there played a significant role in Korea's history. 

My Korea flight was "BITIN" or short for me. I haven't explored a lot of shops along Gangnam District, a lot more food to try and I have yet to see Hello Kitty Cafe and etc. I just hope to be given another flight to Kimchi Land very soon! Needless to say, every trip is worthwhile when you go out and learn from the things you experience.  Kamsahamnida Korea!



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