My Life My Race

My Life My Race

Thursday, May 22, 2008

One day in a drama (Part 5 to I Love Korea)

My Jeju Tour would be useless if i would not have a look at the places where my favorite Korean dramas were shot. After all, i wouldn't be aware of the place if not for Koreanovelas.

When i first went to Seoul last year, i had the chance to see the shooting location of Jewel in the Palace, which is now a theme park "Dae Jang Guem. I had a great time reminiscing the drama while walking around the park. It was a great experience because I could imagine how Lee Young Ae (Jang Guem) acted in each drama scene.

While in Jeju, i recalled the scene where Jang Geum was exiled in Jeju. So i grabbed the chance to see the place where she was "exiled". is not as gruesome and scary looking place just like in the drama, instead it is well taken care of with waterfalls and some pretty flowers on every side. But of course, it will be different since it is no longer used for the drama anymore but as a tourist spot already. It's a big place, so again a comfortable shoes is a must. I defintely appreciated some posters with "drama captions" explaining the scenes of the drama that was shot there. While in the place, we also visited an "Old Korean Folk Village". Would you believe that Koreans before were not tall. The houses were very small. The bedrooms were built for a normal height of an 10 year old kid and with minimal space. As i listened to the guide, I learned so much about Korean culture and marriages. Men are regarded as superior than women. In history, husband walk through the front door while the wife should pass through the back door which was a feet or two lower than the front door. Reason? So that the wife would be bowing down to her husband as she enter the house. Very interesting...but as what i noticed in today's Modern Korea, wives now are given importance as well. Also, Korean are a lot taller these days. Most of the guys are six-footers.

Right after that, i went to see "The Legend's" drama location. Honestly, I am not a fan of Bae Yong Joon (but my cousin is). I went out of curiosity since the drama is very popular. I watched "Jumong" and knowing that Legend is the continuation of the story built my interest to see the place where the shooting was done. Compared to Dae Jang Geum, it is a lot bigger. The place is really HUGE! In fact, my cousins and i were not able to have a look at the whole park. The place is unbelievable, just like a real city. It has a palace, a village, a market and a battlefield. I felt like i travelled in a certain "war era". Hands down to all those who contributed in building the set. You wouldn't know it was just a set if you have not touched the walls. I don't know what material was used, but not concrete. Also, we totally had a blast because there are no restrictions such as "no touching" or "no sitting". I even had a chance to sit on Damdeok's bed and look at his closet. ^^ what an experience! I guess it's commonsense that the only restrictions though are: no vandalism, don't damage anything and don't leave your trash. Other than that, you can even eat ice cream on Damdeok's dining table ^^ (By the way, have i written how great Korean Ice creams are? It is! Was able to eat two cups of vanilla ice cream regardless of how cold the weather that time)

To complete, my drama experience...we went out to see some "Canola Blossoms". Just as i imagined, they are very pretty! Just standing there would give you goosebumps and dramatic feeling. I felt like i want to play piano right there and then. hahaha ^^ or am i just being in a "senti mood" that time since i was able to share the moment with those I love. I suddenly remember the scene from "Spring Waltz".

I have mentioned in my previous entry (part 2) that i went to see Seongsan Sunrise Peak. It is where a scene from "My Girl" was shot. The one where Joo Yu Rin was being chased by a gang. Another "must see" in Jeju Island. Then I also went to Hallasan National Park. Oh my, hiking that place was really hard! I thought i would not reach the top. But i did! I am just not too sure now if i would climb that mountain again. I was so tired! No problem with the "going down". It's the "going up" that's too hard. I think i have used up all my energy just to climb the mountain and reach the peak. Anyway, being at the top was not that bad. ^^ I got to wave at those who gave up and stayed at the bottom (haha) Hallasan National Park is where Mt.Halla is. A scene from Kim Sam Soon was shot there.
Wooo.....being in a "drama" could be so tiring! I felt like i traveled from one century to another...;)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I love Teddy Bear! (Part 4 to I love Korea)

I love Teddy Bears! I think every kid and even adults love Teddy Bears! Who would not? Teddy Bears are cuddly, soft, huggable, cute and best of all...they are good sleeping companions ^^

My trip to Jeju Korea, would not be complete and as meaningful without stopping by and visiting the popular "TEDDY BEAR MUSEUM".

I lost myself to the place. I definitely became like a kid again! I gave out "shrieks" of delight at every bear i see. The place is awesome that every "glass" showcased bears imitating popular themes, celebrities and important events that happened or still happening in the world such as: Tarzan and Jane, Michael Jordan, Ali vs. Frazier, Marilyn Monroe, the Beatles, Titanic (yes, you'll see Leo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet bear version ^^), Celebration of Chinese New Year, An Old Korean Folk Village, Korean Warriors, and of course the Bear Version of Ji Hoon and Eun Hye from Princess Hours. Visiting Teddy Bear Museum is like traveling back in History and meeting Icons too. Just like Marilyn i know what she looks like when she became a teddy bear ^^ Seriously, the place is great. Very cute!
Of course, Winnie the Pooh and Care bears are present in the museum. I would be very sad if I found out they're not included. But i have not seen Yogi Bear...i wonder where was he?
To enjoy the place, a person should allot at least 2 hours. There is a park for more "picture taking" with the bears and a snack corner just in case you get hungry after looking around. I am sure young and old will have a great time at this museum.

I also had a great time buying my very own "teddy bear" from TBM souvenir shop down below. I think I spent a lot of time at the shop that at the gallery because i had a hard time "choosing" which among those "teddy bear stuffs" should i buy. Everything is just so cute! If i have a choice...i want to but them all. Another choice is: To live in the museum! haha ^^

Souvenir items are pricey. But if you rarely visit Jeju and TBM, a souvenir is a must. A small bear is about P600.00, a medium one ranges from P800-P1,000.00 while a really big bear would cost you P1,500-P2,000. Souvenir items are not limited to "stuffed bears". There are TBM bags, wallets, umbrellas, picture frames, keychains, stationaries and postcards.

Am i too obvious in promoting TBM? Well, this is a free ad^^
more photos at my friendster page.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"Water lover" (Part 3 to I Love Korea)

Spending vacation in Jeju is like a "breath of fresh air" to me. Literally..."fresh air"(clean and cool). Actually...although i was born and raised in the Philippines, which is known for having "hot" weather, i am more comfortable when it is cold. It's easier to move around during cold weather. I hate summer. If you are my "friendster friend", you will not see a photo of me "in a beach" during summer time. I would rather stay inside my air-conditioned room and sleep rather than walk under the sun. I love sea though...I am a "water lover". So avoiding the beach during summer time is such a difficult situation for me. But i would not have second thoughts coming to the beach when it's December...because it's the month of "cold days". Anyway...coming to Jeju is really a gift to me. Because i was able to enjoy the sea, cold weather and fresh air all at the same time!

I went to Jushangjelli, Yongduam Rock and Seopjikoji...three places that gave me the chance to be a lot closer to the sea. My eyes had a feast also at the wonderful rock formations in these three places. I wonder how it was made...or how God made it. Eventhough there were some historical explanations still did not erase the thoughts in my mind on how God marvelously created those big rock formations. Thinking about the even expands my thought of how great God is in providing sights such as these. If possible, i would love to stay there for several days and just be awed by the beauty of the sea and the rocks. I have some tip though...walking in rocks can be a bit difficult and slippery if you'll be wearing sandals or slippers only. A pair of rubbershoes would be very helpful.
Everytime i hear "Jushangjelli", a picture of a cliff (somewhat dangerous looking) enters my mind. It looks scary if you will imagine that you are on it. But if you are just on the side, you will definitely appreciate the details of the rock. The splashing waters beneath it gives the place an even scarier thought. I just imagine what would happen if a person fell down on it. He will fall down straight to the waters or hit his head on the rocks beneath. Anyway, it still does not change the fact, that Jushangjelli is a must see place. Just don't create any scary imaginations and you will defintely enjoy the view. Another way to better enjoy the view is to ride a yacht and embrace the feeling of being in the sea. ^^
Seopjikoji is the place where "All in" the Korean drama that featured Song Hye Kyo and Lee Byung Hun was shot. A beautiful church can be found there. So beautiful that if you will take a photo of it, it will look like you took it from a painting. It will be nice having a wedding there. It is situated in a high place, giving it a more "dramatic" effect. Seopjikoji is my 2nd best favorite place in Jeju, next to Hallim Park.
Yongduam Rock is more popularly known as "Dragon Head". As the name implies, you will certainly see a rock formation shaped like a Dragon Head. Again, another question popped: How did it happen? Well, more often...nature cannot be perfectly explained. But it is there to remind us that there really is God who created the earth. So many questions...few answers. So when there are no answers, all we can do is "stare." I defintely stared at the dragon head... amazed with its "uniqueness"

To complete my "water tour" of Jeju, i also went to see Chenjiyeon Waterfalls. It's not as grand as Pagsanjan Waterfalls in the Philippines, but still, this Waterfalls is also a breath-taking sight. The water is clean and clear. If there were no other people there, i would love to have a quick dip and feel the water under my feet. Seeing the wateralls is a long walk from the parking lot...but it's worth it because i see several interesting sights on the way...such as a lake, a bridge, a wood raft, a duck and also a souvenir shop which makes the long!
To end this "water lover" entry....i would also like to share that I had a great dinner by the sea while in Jeju. It's totaly great..."eating samgyupsal while listening the waves crashing on the rocks surrounding it". It made my dining experience more special. ^^
For a busy person like me...being in the sea relaxes my mind for awhile. I see it as a "great medium" wherein i can pour all my thoughts and let it sink down the deep sea. The wind carries all the troubles while the waves crashes all worries. As i leave the place, i feel refresh.
Next time I feel like going to the sea and enjoying cold weather at the same time...i will remember Jeju, Korea. I will definitely come back...again and again...
To be continued.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I wait...i am waiting...i waited

I hate waiting...
I always value TIME
for me it is precious and my life depends on it.

Waiting is a waste of time
I could have done so many things in those minutes i spent in waiting

But here i am...waiting...anticipating
For an answer...for something
For someone...

I hate waiting

But then, i realized i have done so many "waiting times" in my life

Waiting in line
Waiting for my name to be called
Waiting for a parking space
Waiting for the bus to arrive
Waiting at an embassy

Waiting for my future...

So can i hate waiting? is not the waiting that i hate
But the answer that will come after waiting

Will it be yes or no
It all depends on it

Having a "yes" answer will make the long wait "worth it"
Having a "no" answer is nothing but a waste of time and effort

Worst thing is: receiving a "maybe" answer
For it would only mean....i have to wait again

But what will you call a waiting that will not have any answer...
"no answer" at all

I have been waiting....anticipating....then at the end of the day....still no answer...

So sad. But then in life, things are uncertain.

The greatest thing in waiting though...
Is it gives you hope...
of something to look forward to...
of longing for someone
of waking up to another day

So no matter how i hate "waiting"

I will still be here....
Anticipating for the moment
Whatever the answer will be

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

I love nature (part 2 to I love Korea)

Several days have passed…still, my mind is swirling with thoughts of tulips and cherry blossoms. Of course some people might tell me that "hey we also have pretty flowers in the Philippines." Why, yes of course! But i admit, due to my "busy-ness" i am having a hard time stopping and smelling the flowers around me...if ever there are some, because I am not even noticing it. Being busy chasing the future has its downfall too. Being chased by "father time" almost everyday prevents me from seeing and enjoying the simple things of life. I have been to other countries, admiring several cities but, it was my first time (after a long time) of visiting a city that abounds with nature's gifts while still having that "modern image" and that is Jeju-Si (Jeju City). What i mean is: Jeju City is modern yet "very close" to nature. As you probably know, Jeju is a place where all “Korean drama fanatics” wish to visit. It is also a nice place for “honeymooners” (and yes, I did see several “honeymooners” wearing matching clothes, while I was there)

Here's an account of the places i visited in Jeju. (Mostly nature parks)
Hallim Park

This park abounds with Tulips, Roses, Cherry Blossoms (Spring Time) and almost all types of flowers. The place is like “a heaven’s garden.” I wanted to touch them but I know I could only stare, thinking that my mere hand-touch could ruin the beauty of those flowers. Now, I am having second thoughts receiving bouquets of flowers because I could imagine the pain those flowers felt when some human hands picked them up from the rich soil. I know I’m over reacting but this was what I felt when I saw those flowers. It seems that they belong nowhere else but in that garden.

Hyeopjaegul and Ssangyong Caves

I have never been inside a cave so visiting this cave gave me a thrilling excitement. Actually, like in the movies, I expected this cave to be dark, mysterious, slippery, dangerous and with BATS hovering past my head. Well…unfortunately, this cave was already made “tourist friendly”. But it’s still a very thrilling experience for me though. I saw some stalagmites and stalactites which I just often read in books or see on T.V. Inside, the pathway leading to the end of the cave was already cemented (even in your high heels you can enjoy touring the cave) so you can walk easily while looking up and down the cave. You don’t have to bring flashlights also since it is already lighted with lamps and some spotlights (for you to read the stone where the history of the cave was posted). When looking up, you will see shapes of two dragons. Well of course, you have to use your imagination because if not you might think it’s just some rock patterns inside the cave. The hardest part though is telling which of those two is a male dragon. Haha Don’t be shocked when some waters dropped on your head. It’s part of the “cave experience”. The water is a bit cold so it will also give you a “tingling” feeling. Although the cave was already “cleaned up” for the tourists, you can still feel real excitement of being inside a cave except that there are no bats.

Trivia: These caves were formed when Mt. Halla erupted sometime ago.

The normal temperature of the cave is 17 degrees.

Keumrung Sculpture Park

This park is truly admirable. A Korean man spent his days sculpting several images such as old Korean village, animals (horses, pigs), man, woman and others. Later on, his hobby and collection of his sculptures located in a somewhat isolated area became a popular tourist spot. Well, you may think there’s nothing special about it because there are other talented folks who can also sculpt a human form. The difference lies on the way this man created his sculptures. He added “emotions”. Mostly, his sculptures provide a humorous appeal. I could not help but laugh and join in the fun (as if I was talking to a bunch of stone people). When you see his sculptures, you might think those people or animals were really alive when a bad witch turned them into stones. (Now my imagination is really running wild^^)

Seongsan Sunrise Peak

The place speaks for itself. If you want to reach the top, you must have strong legs! Make sure not to have long walks the day before or you might give up while reaching the peak. (Depends on your body resistance…I am speaking in my case ^^). But reaching the peak is all worth it…the view is wonderful. Going up…you’ll see some horses (and how beautiful they are) Too bad, I didn’t see the sunrise while I was there…instead it’s the setting of the sun that I saw. Honestly, I didn’t reach the peak. I was trapped on the souvenir shops down below. But my companion said it’s great up there.

To be continued (part 3)

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