Tuessies: The Power To Change

‘Tuessies’ is a group of young professionals who share and study the Word every Tuesday after their regular work. I joined this group in 2013 for the purpose of spiritual edification and friendship. As a new employee of the institution, I was seeking for sense of belongingness and I am blessed knowing that God has already prepared everything for me even before I came to this place. As series of fellowships have gone through, people come and people go.. but one thing is constant.. I am awed by how God works uniquely in everyone’s life in the group.

Ms. Irene also known as ‘Ate I’ is the best example of a cheerful giver. Knowing that we all have similar basic needs, she is well-known to be extra thoughtful. Without any second thoughts, she sacrifices her own wants for the needs of significant majority. I pray that the Lord will bless her mightily and abundantly as she presses on the upward call for her heart is full of love.

Nehem is an example of a young man with a big heart for out-of-school youth in his hometown. There are  many little children who has been abandoned by their parents because of poverty. He pours his love by dedicating his time as a Sunday school teacher/helper to his church for God’s glory. What a joy to serve the Almighty. God knows his heart’s desires for the young people to have good shelter and good education and He will reap what he has sown whatever those are.

Xarin is a pastor’s kid who is making a mark in her early 20s. Her strong spiritual foundation led her to be a cell group leader to certain group of college students at a state university. Many young people nowadays are prone to go astray without proper guidance or no group with good influence to belong with. Her passion to lead young people to Christ has been remarkable journey of her life. With many other cell group leaders, they continue to pass on the light to more generations to come. Every week she schedules to meet her Cell Group (CG) to share and care.

The names are just a few to represent everyone in the Tuessies but the message is, more than the tedious work in the workplace, one can still devote time for a purpose-driven life because God uses ordinary people to do the extraordinary. Tuessies influence. Tuessies shine light. You, too can.


Paseo Habida Resort is located in Sto. Rosario, Sto. Domingo Nueva Ecija. It was the venue for the year-end Christmas activity of the group.

Entrance Fee: Adult -Php 80.00 (USD $1.90)
Child -Php 60.00 (USD $1.80)

👣 The Official Traveler

Traveling Has Made Me Learn A New Hobby!

I love traveling but I’ve never thought I would be learning a new hobby because of this–guess what? It’s travel photography. I used to ‘just’ capture photos for memories but my recent travel to South Korea made me realize that there are rare but beautiful things all around us waiting to be captured and appreciated for a lifetime. So while the other tourists were still sleeping, I got up early and headed to Namsan Park to catch the sunrise and capture my first shots.

As I returned home from the trip, I smiled of the thought that I am a newbie travel photographer who wants to keep her portfolio alive. I walk, I look. I stop, I photograph!

I walk, I look. I stop. I photograph 📷
 
The Official Traveler

I’m not really sure if I did the capturing right but I’d love to hear and learn from professional photographers  or other photography learners for tips as I harness this new skill. Help me.. Yeyyy learning 🙂

1. N Seoul Tower

dscn4034_1

If you feel like a character in “My Love from the Stars” or you want to trace the footsteps of K-pop queen Boa, and the Korean heartthrobs “Boys over Flowers,” then hop on a cable car, after a short walk from MyeongDong.

Along with the spectacular view, you can make a love pact at the “Locks of Love” area, a spot that has witnessed numerous proposals and pledges of love—real and the reel. You can also drop by the Teddy Bear museum shop for cute souvenirs, get high at the tower’s observatories, or try the unusual Sky restrooms! We’re not wondering why Namsan tower is a favorite shoot location of Korean shows: it is picturesque, romantic, and worth every penny.

dscn4026_1

2. Gyeongbokgung

dscn4058_2

If you want to see historical palaces and feel like you were part of the Joseon dynasty, head to Gyeongbokgung Palace, the largest of Korea’s Five Grand Palaces. Gyeongbokgung Palace housed Korea’s early rulers, and every part seems to tell a story. You can also witness a re-enactment of the traditional change of guard ceremony and have your photos taken with palace guards, as long as you treat them with courtesy.

3. Nami Island

img_0271_1

Even if is almost two hours by train from Seoul, Nami island is worth the long commute. For your ultimate Korean-drama experience, Nami island offers a lot of picture-worthy spots, including the Metasequoia footpath, an aisle with perfectly-lined trees where stars of “Winter Sonata” professed love for each other. img_0204_

dscn3988_1

At Nami island, you can also ride a couple bike for hours or go on a simple picnic while enjoying the cool air. See squirrels freely interact with visitors—interacting with nature at its finest.

Camera Used: Nikon COOLPIX S7000, IPhone 4

This post is inspired by the Daily Post Photo Challenge: Rare.

BaguioPH: Spelunking at Aran Cave

From the mountains, to the land, and to the body of water, Benguet has a lot to offer. Wanna try something different this summer? If you are perfectly physically fit, how about spelunking, rappelling, and diving? Aran Cave is a perfect spot for spelunking and is only 40 minutes away from Baguio. Located in Camp 3 (Tukang) Tuba, Benguet, it is indeed a great summer experience.

As early as 7AM, we headed to Baguio City to take out food from Good Taste –the Igorot Brand. ^_^ My group reached Camp 3 at 9AM. We waited for other members of the group to arrive for a couple of hours. After the orientation, we headed to the cave by 11AM. Praise God, we came out ALIVE at 3PM. 🙂


WHAT TO BRING

1.Cash

2. Extra clothes, footwear (preferably crocs or something similar)
You will get wet. Rocks are sharp. Make sure you wear appropriate clothing.

3. Footwear. Crocs-type of footwear can be rented on site (sizes vary).

4. Food. After the 3 or 4-hour activity, you will surely be craving for food 🙂

5. Water/water bottle. There is water safe for drinking inside the cave.

5. Camera (bring your camera inside the cave AT YOUR OWN RISK).


HOW TO GET THERE

Option 1:
Ride a jeepney (Camp 3) in front of Shopper’s Lane along Magsaysay Avenue. The terminal is just several meters away from Jollibee Magsaysay. Fare: P35 (1st trip: around 7-9AM)
Option 2:
Ride a bus that passes through Kennon Road. Just make sure to tell the conductor that you will be alighting in Camp 3/Twin Peaks near the entrance of the cave. Fare: P50-60
Option 3:
Take private vehicle going to Camp 3 (boundary of Camp 2 and Twin Peaks). There is a small green sign board ‘ARAN CAVE’ on the right (if you are coming from Baguio City).

QUICK TIPS

1. Go early. The cave can only accommodate a few groups at a time. This means that you and your group will have to wait for your turn.
2. Bring underwater gadget protector. This is if you plan on bringing gadgets like phones and cameras inside the cave. You will be passing through a lot of water and muddy rocks inside the cave.

3. Listen to your guide. Before you enter the cave, you will be oriented on what to expect inside the cave, what to do and not to do inside the cave, and other important matters. For your safety, pay attention to what the man in charge of the orientation has to say.

4. Bring your courage. Once you get inside, there’s no turning back. Have fun! 🙂


EXPENSES 

Entrance Fee: P125 per person (as of May 2016)
Tour Guide Fee: P120-150 per 5pax (inclusive of the entrance fee if in group)
Swimming Pool: P70 per person
Shower (without bath soap or anything 😦 ) : P35 per person
Cottage (Communal): P150 per group (:()

*The tourism in the area is still under development so do not expect a ‘Sumaging Cave’-type.
Aran Cave is beautiful on its own. Wait and see.

Happy Summer,

 👣 The Official Traveler

Spring 2016: Travel Seoul from Philippines

While it is super hot summer in some parts of Asia, it is also my most awaited beautiful season in South Korea–SPRING❀❀. I had a chance to have a 2-Day trip to Korea recently. It was a sudden and unplanned trip. Traveling solo, I brought with me my most valuable possession– COURAGE.

This trip left me one impression: Spring is indeed a beautiful season


I love the imperfections and spontaneity of this DIY travel.

Going to Manila Airport
I never wanted to travel in Manila alone (just!). But I had no choice but to face everything on my own this time (fighting!). From Region 3, I took a bus going to GMA Kamuning then went to MRT station. It is the surest way I know to get to Taft Avenue. From Taft Avenue Station, I didn’t know exactly where I would go next. For some reasons, I hardly give my trust to strangers especially #WhenInManila so I just followed the crowd as well as my instinct. I kinda’ got lost but I did not mind since I had the luxury of time before my departure. I guess this is the most exciting part of every adventure: going somewhere you do not exactly know how to get there.

Fortunately, I saw a security officer in uniform. This is the only time I peacefully ask the best way to reach the airport on time. Thank you Officer! 😊  Down the overpass beside Mc Donald’s,  I rode a jeepney bound for Nichols (instead of the Airport Shuttle Bus). I, too, did not know why I did that haha! I did not know where I was supposed to say, “para” and how much is  but it was a sure relief to see a lady wearing Cebu Pacific Airline uniform just in front of me 😀 When she got off, that’s my cue to get off as well. Unfortunately, her destination was different from mine 🙂 So I had to walk a few meters more to get to NAIA.
Lesson: Ask

At the Incheon Airport
I did not arrange with someone to fetch me at the airport. I had to make it to Seoul station on my own 🙂 We arrived late at night. Everyone is expected to go through the immigration process. Since Korea is popular place to visit for many reasons, passengers (mostly tourists) are swarming the hall. It took almost two hours for me to stand on the line and wait for my turn. My experience at the immigration area was my not-so-outstanding experience on the entire trip but at last, I’m done. I’m safe. Apart from it, everything was awesome.

airport-map

From the plane, you will use a train to go to the immigration hall

After the immigration, I just walked my way to the train station. It was not hard to find where it is. But to save time, there is an information desk nearby if need for help may arise.

rimousine

If you take the bus, check the map. In my case, I preferred the train because of higher guarantee that I stop at the exact location. There are two types of trains: a commuter train (no reservations necessary) and an express/non-stop train. It takes 1 hr and 20 mins to get to Seoul station using the commuter train (all-stop train) while only 45 minutes for the Express train.
sub06_02_img03

I took the commuter train (all-stop) train using a single journey ticket which can be purchased from the ticket machines near the entrance of the train station. The price for a single journey ticket from Incheon to Seoul Station is KRW 4150. Visit this useful link for up-to-date information.

IMG_1442.JPG

and another beautiful journey has began! 😊 Hello 안녕 Korea!~ It’s me again!
👣The Official Traveler

Mt. Yangbew (Mt. Jumbo): A Family Adventure

Wanna gear up for another summer adventure? Of course, you can never go wrong with mountain climbing as one activity. It’s time to spend some quality time and have FUN with FRIENDS & FAMILY. With a group of 14 people (age range: 5-58), my happy family went to Mt. Yangbew located in the Cordillera region. The climb to the top is pretty easy 🙂 Here’s how to get there.

One quick trivia. The name of the mountain is quite confusing because it goes with many names– Mt. Jumbo, Mt. Yangbo, Mt. Yangbaw, Mt. Jambo, and now it’s officially called as Mt. Yangbew. “Jambo”or “Jumbo”used to be a place for Scout Jamborees during the American regime in Benguet, hence the name but locals enunciated it as Yangbo/Yangbaw.

I’ve been here thrice this year (January–with my batch mates, February–with my college roommates, and March–with my family ) and I attest that every climb is totally a different story. There is more to La Trinidad Valley, strawberries and veggies.

WHAT’S NEW?

With the fees being collected, I noticed that it is being developed progressively ◕◡◕

1. Good thing! The signage are already visible. (Mt. Yangbew)

2. The rates and fees are also posted on the right side of the road (Mt. Jambo)
(although I wonder if it is visible during dark hours/dawn since the electric post was not functional when we got there during the wee hours)

3. All hikers/campers need to register and pay the necessary fees. A stub/ticket will be given in return. (I am not quite impressed with the system though because of inconsistencies that I observed. There’s still a big room for improvement.)

4. Horseback riding and cycling are can-do activities. Meet Tucker–the white horse. He’s gorgeous, shy and adorable. When you ride the horse to go around for an hour, it costs around $2-3; when you just sit on it, it costs about $0.45. The price is not fixed (yet?) 😦 I guess it’s the law of demand and supply.

(+) What Keeps Me Going Back?

Proximity. It takes only less than an hour to get there from the town proper. It is an advantage for those who just want to spend more quality time with friends and family rather than spending much time walking. More so for amateur hikers like my little nephews and the junior youth in our community church. It’s indeed family -friendly adventure experience!

By the way, if pets are part of your family, you can bring them too!! ..as long as you take full responsibility of it.

Pack light. Without carrying too much weight on your back, you can reach the top and see a good view of the city valley, the sunrise, the clear blue sky or the beautiful clouds.

Quick Tip: Based on personal experience, it is way colder in December-February. It’s warmer in March-April. Consider your comfortable wardrobe accordingly.

Provision for Camping. If you are planning for a youth camp or family activity, go for it. With a certain fee for overnight stay, YES it’s possible to do camping on site. Some men are guarding the area even at night. Even so, take extra precautions.

Photo Memories. For people who love travel + photography (or selfies), I cannot emphasize this further. ^_^ You don’t need the most expensive camera. You just have to pick the right travel buddies, take a good spot, and wear that irresistible wacky smile! 🙂

For more details: Check how to get there.


Every family has a story…
..and every climb has a special share in a mountaineer’s history.

Happy Trails,
👣 The Official Traveler

Visit Malaysia: 👣 Travel & Learn

There’s always a first-time for everything–First blog. First love. First success. First failure. Now, first travel. Malaysia is on my first list of travel goals in 2010. I was looking forward to learn many things from this quest.. and I did. So let me share.

As I recall, I was bombarded with work, school, and personal matters so I decided to detach myself from them for a while and embrace the tranquility of nature, to enjoy His magnificent creation, to immerse myself and appreciate different culture, and to create a story to tell to my children and grandchildren in the future. So how did I spend the 3-day vacation?

  1. Manukan Island

    Day One. This is a private island is famous for coral reefs, pristine rainforest, and beautiful white sand beaches. Apart from these, remnant of World War are also displayed around. To some, this is paradise. There were a lot of people having fun when we got there. Although it offers plenty of activities, my friend and I went here just for island hopping and snorkeling.

  2. Mari-Mari Cultural Village
    Our second destination. It is a unique opportunity to see and experience indigenous ethnic culture and lifestyle. It is a village with five different ethnic tribes. What made it more unforgettable is the entertainment it offers. MMCV has very knowledgeable, friendly, and extremely funny yet entertaining tour guides. 😊 😊 😊 This is the highlight of my Malaysia Travel Experience.
  3. The Green Connection Aquarium
    Day 2. The Green Connection is an excellent local opportunity to interact and learn more about the environment and the world around us.  The edutainment starts off with an introduction to the precious water cycle and introduces you to frogs, cave dwellers, turtles, a variety of fresh water fish, and snakes that you can stroke if you dare. 👌 (My friend is a pro! Snake is her pet. Me, I’m friend with the starfish).
  4. City Tour
    This is an unplanned part of our itinerary. All we wanted is to maximize our trip so we ended up exploring the city after the Green Connection Aquarium. We still had ENERGY to go around and spend some friendship time together.
  5.  Lok Kawi Wildlife Park
    Day 3. Lost.
    This family-oriented park offers visitors the opportunity to go jungle trekking along the botanical trail. It also has a zoological component with different species for animal lovers. (We enjoyed this place too much that we even missed our flight! 🙈 Lesson: Plan. Check your time).

My first international flight taught me several lessons/experience:
✔ Malaysia (KK) is truly Asia
✔ Budget for the Travel: $315 (if you can save up an amount higher than this, go ahead..)
✔ Actual Expenses: $150 (+ plane ticket on sale: $30 return trip)
✔ Days of Travel: 3 days
✔ Travel month: December
✔ No Visa needed for Filipinos.
✔ Be prepared for some uncertainties:

a. At the Immigration. Even if no visa is required, you may be asked to pass through the immigration process (this part makes every first-time travelers nervous. I know the feeling haha!). You’ll survive as long as you are prepared and consistent when an immigration officer interrogates you. If you travel for leisure, say so and show proof of your itinerary and accommodation. Add a little of confidence and you can make that one small dream come true.

b. Language Barrier. Although English is not a measure of intelligence, it is a language commonly used to communicate internationally. It’s a good thing if you can use the language but there are some people in non-English speaking countries who cannot understand or communicate well in English. So if you can use their local language, do so. If not, you have to use body language. 🙂

c. Missing the Flight. Even if you have a very smart travel plan, bad things can happen anytime. Be flexible. On our schedule of going back to the Philippines, we spent a night at the airport for the first time. We had to rebook our flight and fly the next day because we missed the check in time although the aircraft hasn’t taken off yet. The staff was not so helpful at that time. So we just bought new ticket from another airline.

So, this is where I got my first passport stamp (thanks to a friend who bugged me & tagged me along!). My first international flight has been unforgettable and a great learning experience for my succeeding flights. Thank you Malaysia for all the FIRSTs!

👣 The Official Traveler

Japan Autumn Diaries (#1): 👏 Nabana No Sato

Darkness cannot drive out darkness..Only LIGHT can do that;
Similarly, anger cannot drive out anger with hate..Only LOVE can do that. ❤ From my one Little Heart, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!
-👣 The Official Traveler/HistoryMaker

I am privileged to witness a winter illumination in Japan. ^_^
Special thanks to a dear friend, Nona for taking me there. I wish we had more time. Nabana no Sato (なばなの里) is a theme park on the island of Nagashima in Mie prefecture, which is located outside Nagoya. It is famous for winter illumination that runs from October to early May featuring the moving pictures of Mt. Fuji and the illuminated autumn flowers at the large park. Here are some snap shots in Autumn-Winter 2015.

Quick Tip: Visit the place in the afternoon to see the flowers during the day and illumination at night. It’s a totally different scenery!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Location: Nabana No Sato
Travel Date:
November 2015
Season:
Autumn-Winter
Time:
5:40pm-8:40pm

HOW TO GET THERE?


 

From Nagoya

From the Meitetsu Bus Center next to Nagoya Station, take a bus bound for Nagashima Onsen and get off at either Nabana no Sato (870 yen, 30 minutes). Buses depart every 20 to 30 minutes. My friend took the Meitetsu bus.

From Kuwana (or Nagashima) Station

Kuwana Station and Nagashima Spaland are connected by 2-3 buses per hour (510 yen, 20 minutes). A different bus connects the station with Nabana no Sato (250 yen, 10 minutes, 1-3 buses/hour). During the winter illuminations from late October to early May, the bus to Nabana no Sato departs from Nagashima Station instead of Kuwana Station.

How to get to and around Nagoya


Nabana no Sato

Hours

9:00 to 21:00 (until 22:00 during winter)

Closed

Irregular closing days, typically a couple of days in July

Fees

1600 yen (spring and autumn)
1000 yen (summer)
2100 yen (winter) -the 2100 yen is inclusive of 1000 yen worth of items or food inside.(c) http://www.japan-guide.com

Visit Japan: Lesson Learned

I am privileged to have my Autumn trip successfully this year. This is one of most remarkable travel experiences I’ve had. I fell in love with Japan. I’ve discovered culture and differences, and most importantly, I’ve learned a lot from this 10-day trip.

Trip to Japan: November 2015
Duration: 10 days
Places: Nagoya, Kyoto, Shizuoka, and Tokyo
Super Likes: Food, people, transportation system, Mt. Fuji, Autumn colors, a lot more. 🙂

Little by little I will share them more of my Japan experiences in my succeeding posts.

When you travel, you will see many things. Your perspective may change. Your passion can be redirected. You will even see a clearer picture of yourself and the future you wish to have only if you sincerely search for it while you are traveling. You will begin to expand your horizon. You just have to figure out how to start and how to keep going. Don’t stop. Research. Plan. Act. Do. Outsmart it.

IMG_9765

It’s my first time to travel to Japan.  I cannot deny but I am quite amazed at how Japanese creatively devise mechanisms to innovate and create jobs for people not only for local citizens but also for other nationalities. I wish someday I can learn some technology, innovate my own, and create jobs for my fellowmen. I hope to share the same vision with other young Filipinos who are aspiring entrepreneurs.


 

👣 The Official Traveler/HistoryMaker

Visit South Korea 👣 Seoul Itinerary (#3): Chasing the Cherry Blossom [Spring 2015]

Have you ever thought of your simple hopes and dreams when you were young(er) and you had no idea how to make them happen because you think/thought you have no means to realize them?? That was me at 13. I have dreamed of experiencing winter, fall, and SPRING in real life since I could only watch them in movies but not to experience them in my country! Soon enough I realized that if you don’t chase your dreams, you will never catch them 🙂 After doubling the number, I finally made it! Who says it’s too late?  🙂 IMG_0356CHILDHOOD DREAMS DO COME TRUE ^_^ [Psalms 37:4]


Travel Date: April 2015
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Travel Buddy: None



Spring is my season and this is my story ^_^



Namsan Park 남산공원
Namsan Park is the largest park in Seoul attracting a lot of people who visit here to experience a little slice of nature in the middle of the urban city. What I like best about this park is the beauty of the season itself. The serenity of the place in one blissful morning is just so perfect for soul searching. The Cherry Blossoms are so alluring and irresistible. To be honest, this itinerary was unplanned but I enjoyed it so much. I already visited Namsan Tower the other day with a friend but I didn’t know I would be led here again–but this time, it’s a DIFFERENT experience.

I booked a 2-days stay in Aroha Guesthouse, two-minute walk from the Seoul Station. I really didn’t have any idea where it is exactly. Fortunately, I found out it is very accessible to most major tourist spots in Seoul. Although the staff assigned during my stay was not really accommodating and looked sooo dizzy. I didn’t bother much since I’d leave the place the next day anyway. I just needed a place to stay for the night.

Quick Tip:  If you want to include this kind of experience in your itinerary, choose a place to stay near Seoul station

On that morning, I bravely, went out from the guesthouse and followed a path (I didn’t know where it would lead me to). At the intersection, there are several signposts. As I went up the hill, I saw locals–young and old– jogging or walking with someone, with their cute pets, while some were walking alone (just like me). Everybody seems to be enjoying Sakura in full bloom. As I made my way up, I realized I haven’t really walked that far without any purpose 😀 Until it occurred to me that I really had to do some soul-searching because I had to ponder and decide on something MAJOR 💔 haha~.

It was an incredibly meaningful ME-time.I didn’t even notice I already spent almost 4 hours touring the place/mountain/park 😀 Then I had to figure out my way back to the guesthouse. I didn’t actually recognized I got lost. All I knew is… I enjoyed my journey.

Quick Tip: Don’t worry if you cannot understand Hangeul, English signposts on major spots are also available (especially in the city).

NAMSAN PARK, SO WHAT?Token of Spring

Yes, it’s also true that there’s nothing much you can see in the park apart from beautiful cherry blossoms trees.Others are just typical flowers of varying colors, herds of people, dating couples, statues, Namsan Tower, Locks, etc. But my ultimate point is.. if you have the chance, devote a day of your travel without any concrete itinerary. Screw the map and get lost for at least a day. BREAK FREE!  IF you do this wholeheartedly, you’ll discover and understand what I mean.

Quick Tip: Screw the map and get lost for a day. BREAK FREE! If you do this wholeheartedly, you’ll discover and understand what I mean. Although I do not recommend this for first-time travelers who have weak mind when it comes to taking the risks of traveling solo. It is by getting lost that you find yourself.
-The Official Traveler

Spring 2015Namsan ParkThe Namsan TowerHello Sunshine!


Ways To Get There


  1. Walking
    There is a pedestrian walkway across the street from the Namsan Cable Car lower station.
    (+): You will beautifully appreciate nature
    (+): Perfect for soul-searching
    (+): Take memorable pictures with Cherry blossoms in the backgroundThe hike up the stairs to the base of N Seoul Tower takes at least 30 minutes. From the cable car station parking lot, turn left and walk for about 50 meters. The stairs are located across the street.
  2. Namsan Cable Car
    The cable car is the easiest and most convenient way up to the N Seoul Tower.
    (+): See a good view of the city;
    (+): Free from feet sore/cramps;
    (+): No sweat, you’ll reach the top in few minutes.From Myeongdong Station go out of exit 3 and continue south on Toegye-ro 18-gil street. When you reach the Pacific Hotel, turn left onto Toegye-ro 20-gil street. When you see the Ministop, turn right onto Toegye-ro 20-na-gil street. At the end of the street is the lower cable car station. The ride only takes about three minutes to the top but you have to queue since there’s just 1-cable car operating at that time.
  3. Bus:
    (+): See a good view of the city while going up;
    (+): Free from feet sore/cramps;
    (+): No sweat, you’ll reach the top in few minutes.Buses are regularly boarding to the peak of the mountain. You can board the Yellow Bus outside Chungmuro Station (Line 3 or 4, Exit 2) or Dongguk University Station (Line 3, Exit 6). The fare is 500 (metro card) or 550 won (cash).

Visit South Korea 👣 Seoul Itinerary (#2): History & Culture Day [Spring 2015]

To DISCOVER CULTURE–if this is one among your reasons for traveling then..YOU ARE AWESOME. 🙂 Some people travel because they want to discover, learn and experience various cultures. If you are planning to travel to Korea, why not consider the theme, “History & Culture Day” in your itinerary? In this post, let me share my experience regarding this theme. I found them easily accessible, cheap (even free!!) and worth the experience. 6 spots-in-one stop. Half-day. Can you believe it? 🙂

1. Grand Royal Palace: Gyeongbokgung (경복궁)
Cost: 
Adults (ages 19-64): 3,000 won / Group (over 10 years): 2,400 won
          Children (ages 7-18): 1,500 won / Group (over 10 years): 1,200 won

This is something you should not miss in your History and Culture Day Itinerary! 🙂
There are Five Grand Palaces in Seoul,Korea namely, Gyeonghuigung Palace, Deoksugung Palace, Changgyeonggung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, and Gyeongbokgung Palace which are located in different locations. You don’t need to go to all of them if you do not have enough time. I went to Gyeongbokgung Palace since it is closer to Seoul station. Surprisingly, I found out that it is the largest among the palaces. It served as the main palace of the Joseon Dynasty.

20150413_10091520150413_100702

Make sure you catch the reenactment of the Changing of the Royal Guard and the Patrol Ritual are performed every day between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in front of Heungnyemun (Gate).

The guardsmen perform several ceremonies including the opening and closing the royal palace gate and the changing of the guard.

Address: 161 Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel.: +82 2-3700-3900

Closed on Tuesdays

IMG_6090


2. King Sejong Statue (세종대왕 동상)
Cost: Free
At the entrance of the palace you can see a huge statue. Say “Annyeong hasaeyo” to 세종대왕. King Sejong is best remembered as the inventor of Hangeul, the Korean alphabet.

I’ve often heard Korean students talking about his notable contributions to Korean society. During his reign, he consolidated the basis for ruling the Joseon Dynasty by
incorporating Confucian philosophy of politics. Furthermore, he led the nation’s great strides in agriculture, literature, science and technology.

3. National Folk Museum
Cost:
Free
The museum is just located inside the palace. IMG_6116Here you can fully immerse yourselves in traditional, domestic and agricultural lifestyles, and learn about Korea’s cultural beliefs. Admission is included in the Palace’s Entrance Fee.


4. Blue House (청와대)
Cost: Free
If USA has White House, Korea has Blue House. 20150413_104118This is the executive office and official residence of the President of the Republic of Korea. Surprisingly, the Blue House is just few minutes walk away from the palace. 🙂 The unique buildings are covered with Blue-tiled roofs which blend beautifully with Mt. Bugaksan in the backdrop. The paths just outside the Blue House grounds is a pleasure as the surroundings are peaceful and beautiful.

Closed 
Every Sunday, Monday and National holidays

5. Mt. Bugaksan20150413_110614
Cost:
Free
While at the Blue House , take time to take a peek on the Mt. Bugaksan from afar. If you are not satisfied, you can go hike. It is a 342-meter high granite mountain in the middle of Seoul. It is home to Gyeongbokgung and a Joseon Dynasty fortress.

6. Wear Hanbok for FREE
Cost:
Free
Korean wanna-be? Yes, you can also try on Hanbok for free. In front of  the King Sejong statue, you can see a small booth nearby. People flock in the area so you can easily spot it. A friendly Korean staff will ask you to write your name and other details on a paper provided. She will then ask you to take your pick from the Hanbok hanged on display! ^_^ (I wanted the green and red one but someone didn’t want to take it off so.. I just had to get this color..Hmm.. quite big for my size though (yay! but lucky to have this last one).
You can now walk along the runway and smile on to every paparazzi 🙂

Grand Royal Palace20150413_115643Hanbok is the traditional outfit for Koreans. They normally wear this outfit only on festive days or special anniversaries, however it was worn daily up until just 100 years ago. Although this norm has slightly changed through the years. Nowadays, children wear hanbok on their first birthday and adults wear it for their wedding ceremony and on their 60th birthday. The Hanbok is also worn for funerals or religious services, and is still used as casual wear in villages or districts where the traditional ways of life are still maintained. Indeed, 6-in-1 spot 🙂

Duration of the itinerary: 9:00AM-12:00NN
Summary of Cost: 
I got it all for FREE ^_^ Lucky Me.
I had an awesome photographer & tour guide 🙂


Next Theme to be featured: Chasing the Cherry Blossoms

For the next series, Follow Me! 🙂

👣 HistoryMaker/The Official Traveler