December 31, 2012


Maybe it comes with age but as you grow older, celebrating your birthday seems not that important anymore.  Being thankful for the life you've lived and the blessings you've received is already enough.  Nevertheless, I did celebrate a little. :)

Birthday surprise during Angelito's Thanksgiving and Christmas Party

Birthday lunch at Romulo's with my two closest friends and housemates

Instant karaoke night with friends

Surprise birthday merienda at work

KFC treat for my relatives in Bulacan but I definitely got a treat seeing the wide smile of my favorite nephew when he received my Christmas gift

More birthday pictures on Facebook!

December 28, 2012

Angelito Christmas Party 2012

Who would have thought we'd celebrate 2 Christmases together?! Despite everything that happened, Angelito family is still LOVE! :)

With cast member and fellow SUHS alumnus Bret Jackson

Tita O and Jason laughing at Raffeny's thank you speech

With the Creative team of Angelito

JM giving his thank you speech

Team Angelito with our big boss Direk Lauren

With Tol Jason, one of the reasons why our set was relatively stress-free

You may view the rest of our Christmas party pictures on Facebook.

December 26, 2012

Seoul Trip 2012

I know I wrote that I will photoblog our Seoul trip after I finish the soap but then Christmas came so it's only now that I get to document it.  First, let me just say that sans the weight gain and very cold weather, I had an amazing time in Seoul!  It was the perfect break from work-related stress.

It was actually my second time in South Korea but my first as a tourist. The last time I went there, we were shooting for Sandara Park's youth oriented Philippine drama SCQ Reload.  Now, Sandara Park is already a big celebrity in South Korea.

November 25, Sunday

We arrived Sunday night at Incheon.  The travel going to our hostel is something for the books. :) My friend Mark had LBM that delayed us and we weren't able to make it to the train transfer from the express train.  This was when we got our first taste of South Korean hospitality.  We chanced upon a local commuter who found us a cab and gave the driver directions to our hostel.  South Koreans are the friendliest!

November 26, Monday

This is the Homo Hill where our guesthouse SP@Itaewon is situated.  We started each day by posing for a picture on this same spot.  After all, everyday was like a costume party for us.  We don't wear winter clothes in the Philippines!

We had our first Korean lunch at Don Valley Korean barbecue in Itaewon.  This was the start of my weight gain.:))

We went to Nami Island for our first tourist spot.  Nami Island was the shooting location of the famous Korean soap opera Winter Sonata. 

We were "photo-oping" all over Nami.  This is one of my "hey, i'm in a foreign country" pictures. :))

After Nami, we went to Myeong Dong Theatre to watch the famous musical Cookin' Nanta. 

Cookin' Nanta is one of Seoul's top attractions.  It's a non-verbal musical play that's universal, you can understand and enjoy it without learning a specific language. :)) I thoroughly enjoyed the musical.

This is MyeongDong on a winter night while I was waiting for my friends who were shopping for beauty products.  Beauty products in South Korea are very affordable. After this, we went to Dongdaemun night market for more shopping.

November 27, Tuesday

We had turkish lunch for Day 2 at Pasha in Itaewon.  I still prefer Philippines' Mr. Kebab. I'm cheap like that. :)

We then went to South Korea's version of Disneyland, which is Everland.  I prefer Disneyland.  If you enjoy scary rides though, you'll prefer Everland more.

Surprisingly, the SkyRide in Everland wasn't that scary compared to the one in Sentosa in Singapore.

One of the highlights of our Everland adventure would have to be seeing a polar bear for the first time.  It was also my first time seeing a Siberian tiger and some seals.

While my friends rode the world's steepest roller-coaster, Miss Mavic and I chose to ride the Flying Rodeo.  We thought it would just be like riding a bump car but no, it was also scary!  We both got dizzy after the ride. :))

Everland at night!  We then went to Nandaemun Market for more shopping. 

 November 28, Wednesday

Morning of day 3 was spent in Gyeongbogkung Palace.  My friends say the famous Korean soap opera Jewel in the Palace was shot here.

We were able to see the Changing of the Guards ceremony when we were there.  The palace changes guards every hour.

Here's our customary group picture in front of the palace.

The palace has picturesque grounds, which means more "hey, I'm in a foreign country" pictures for us. :))

We went to Insadong after where we had a sumptuous late lunch.  You can also buy local souvenirs in Insadong.

In the evening, we went to the Trick Eye Museum.  This place is perfect for camera-hogging people like my friends and I. :))

The painting is 2D, believe it or not!

After the museum visit, we went to Hongdae where we got to eat dinner in a local eatery with no English menu.

The highlight of the night would have to be experiencing the K-Pop scene in Club Cocoon with uni students.  It was like being in a live K-Pop music video! :))  There, I discovered South Korea's love for shuffling.

November 29, Thursday

On Thursday, I met Ki Yun Kim, my Couchsurfing host, for lunch.  Ki Yun is an overall nice guy who helped me a lot in planning for Seoul.  During lunch, we talked about his life in South Korea in general.  His story about his time in the required military service was an eye-opener.  Ki Yun had already been to the Philippines.  He showed me his pictures when he was here last year, which showed me a foreigner's perspective of our country.  Ki Yun is surprisingly familiar with OPM music.  His favorite Filipino singer is Juris.

Ki Yun and I then met my friends in Namsanggul Traditional Folk Village.

We got to wear the "hanok" or South Korea's national costume in Namsanggul!  Here, I was wearing the Prime Minister costume.  Mark was wearing the costume of the King.  Tey's costume was that of a peasant.

Wearing hanok was cool but dancing Gangnam Style in our hanok was way cooler! :))  Funnily, a few Caucasian tourists thought we were part of the attraction and took pictures & videos of us.  :))

Thanks again Ki Yun for your hospitality and for coaching us how to dance Gangnam Style! :)) 

In the evening, we went to Namsan Tower.  First stop was the Teddy Bear museum. I got so tired though, from the dancing and hiking up the mountain to reach the tower, that I didn't go inside the museum so I could rest.  I think this lobby picture will suffice. :)

Finally got to see a birds eye-view of Seoul at night in the observatory of the Namsan Tower.  Beautiful!

After four days of eating oriental or mid-eastern food, we settled at Outback Steakhouse for dinner.  American food had never been that delicious.

November 30, Friday

We got lost in Day 5.  We were supposed to go to Shindo island to see the set of the famous Korean soap opera Full House.  However, finding the bus that would take us to Sammok Dock Ferry Terminal ate our whole morning.  It was already noontime when I realized that the contestants in the Amazing Race usually go to a hotel to ask for directions if none of the locals speak English.  We did find the right bus and got to Sammok as pictured, but that was just the beginning.
We then rode the ferry to Shindo where we were the only ones aboard. Uh-oh! :))

Remembered the B-movie I Still Know What You Did Last Summer when upon arriving at Shindo, there was no one in sight.:))

Still, we hiked to find the Full House set...

... to no avail.  It was already 5pm and the ferry for Seoul would leave at 6pm so we had to stop the search.  We then hitchhiked so we can reach the bus stop in time.  Luckily, a pick-up truck stopped and brought us not only to the bus stop but straight to the ferry terminal.  The South Korean couple driving the truck were our angels! :)  They didn't speak a word of English and yet they helped us.  That for me was the highlight of the entire vacation.

This was in the ferry station. It wasn't a tourist spot but we were just so happy we had to take our picture! :))  The local on my left couldn't believe we traveled that far just to see a house. :))

Upon arrival in Seoul, we went straight to Queens bar in Itaewon to dance the day away! :)

December 1, Saturday

We went the historical route on the 6th day.  We went to the demilitarized zone where we got to know the history of the Korean War.  This is a picture of the 3rd tunnel built by the north to invade the south. 

This is a view of North Korea from the allowed standpoint to take pictures.

This is the Dorasan train station.  This is the station that links South Korea to North Korea.

This is how Dorasan station looks like from inside.  The station, by the way, is almost empty except for the tourists on tour.  The tour guide said they hope the station will lead the way for the north and south to peacefully co-exist.

After the tour, we had late lunch at a Travel Advisor recommended African restaurant Braai Republic.  We chanced upon a Filipino American soldier stationed in Seoul while eating there.  You know Filipinos, always friendly to fellow Filipinos even if strangers, so it called for a photo op. :))

At dinner, we ate in another Travel Advisor recommended Italian fusion resto OKKitchen.

OKKitchen's chef that night is Filipino.  No, he's not a Filipino.  He is a South Korean called Filipino by his workmates because he looks Filipino.  

December 2, Sunday

My last day was spent at the Seoul Arts Center...

...where I was lucky to see original Van Gogh paintings currently in exhibition until March of this year.  The exhibited paintings were the ones he made in Paris which was the transitional phase of his career from being a realist to being an impressionist.  My favorite painting was the one used in this billboard "Self-portrait with grey felt hat".

On my last night at the hostel, I also got to bond with other guests.  They're foreigners from USA, South Africa, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, some of them are English teachers in Incheon staying for the night in Seoul to gimmick.  What I really love the most about staying in hostels is the part where I got to talk with other nationalities and know their perspective in life cause it always ends with me having a broadened perspective of my life.  That's what travels like this are for.

I will definitely go back again in South Korea. Not on winter, though. My body is made for the tropics. :))

More pictures can be found in my Facebook album.