Wednesday, December 23, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Merry Christmas to all of you!!!

Thank you for taking time out to read my blog.

Been quite busy with work for the past months.

Will be out for a short vacation... hopefully to recharge....

I'll be resuming my blog by January... till then, hope you can still read my old posts... and again....

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO EACH AND EVERY ONE!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Makgeolli




While watching Channel News Asia’s “A Taste of Asia” last month, I remember they had a feature on a Korean drink which is a hit among young Koreans, and the drink is called Makgeolli.

But what exactly is Makgeolli?

Makgeolli is a traditional alcoholic beverage and is said to be the oldest liquor in Korea. It is made from rice, thus it is also referred to as Korean rice wine. It is korean’s version of the Japanese sake, the Philippines tapuy, and Thailand’s sato. Since it is made from rice, it has a milky, off-white color and sweetness.

A popular drink since the Joseon Dynasty but saw its popularity dwindle due to its replacement by soju, beer and wine. However, since 2005, a new version of Makgeolli called the Makgeolli cocktail has been introduced and is responsible for the revival of the drink and, is also turning out to be a hit among young Koreans. Makgeolli cocktail is makgeolli added with fruits such as kiwi, peach, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, and, now they even mix it with ginseng.

Makgeolli is also a health drink, because of its low alcoholic content, around 6%, it does not harm the body and it is said to relieve stress. And because of the yeast and lactobacillus microorganisms that are produced during the fermentation process, it is said to contain anti-cancer agents.

Samgyeopsal





Besides bulgogi and galbi, samgyeopsal is another meat dish which I enjoy eating at any Korean restaurant.

Samgyeopsal or uncured pork belly is sliced very thinly and then grilled (you actually grill your own meat. As in any Korean restaurant, its either the tables are equipped with gas grills or a portable gas grill will be given to you for your use). 

This how I actually do my samgyeopsal:

1. Take a leaf or two of either lettuce or perilla.

2. Dip the grilled pork belly in a mixture of salt, sesame oil and 
    black pepper for added taste.

3. Place the meat on the leaf and then add a little rice, a dab of 
    ssamjang(fermented soy bean paste mixed with a bit of sweet 
    chilli paste).

4. You may also want to add a little kimchi or seasoned green 
    onion (shredded green onion mixed with sesame oil and red 
    pepper).

5. Wrap it up into a neat little packet.

6. Then bite in.

I enjoy eating it with a can or two of Coke. 

 

Monday, November 2, 2009

Asean Handicraft Promotion and Development (AHPADA)

I just had the chance to visit the Asean Handicraft Promotion and Development Trade Exhibit (AHPADA) which was held in Manila, Philippines from October 26 - 28. Although it was supposedly meant for Asean countries only, non-Asean countries such as Japan, China, and Korea were invited to have a booth or pavilion to showcase their products and services. This year's product focus is fiber.

Here are some of the photos I took during the Opening Ceremony.

 
 







Hope you like the pictures...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Must try foods while in Jeju

If ever you go to Jeju Island, you might want to try the following native dishes:

Heuk Dwaeji (black pork meat)

Said to be one of the most famous food in Jeju, more tastier than regular pork, and of course more expensive.

Ok-dom (Sea bream)

A small red fish that is known for its delicate taste
and texture and is usually served broiled.




Haemul Dukbaegi (Seafood Hotpot)



A special treat for all seafood lovers.  This is a stone pot filled with all kinds of seafood, usually consisting of shrimps, clams, octopus, squid, crabs cuttlefish, and abalone.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Jeongbukjuk: Abalone Porridge





Porridge is a delightful food to eat. I always consider it as a “home” or “family” food. In Jeju Island, they have what you call Jeongbukjuk as a specialty.


Jeongbukjuk is rice porridge cooked with minced jeonbok or abalone, thus Jeongbukjuk is abalone porridge. It is not only known as one of the specialty food of Jeju Island but is also known for its nutritional value and digestive aid especially for the sick and the elderly.


You might want to try cooking jeonbokjuk, here’s the details.


Servings:  2 - 3


Ingredients:


2 small size ablones
1 cup of rice
7 cups of water
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp fish sauce
3 cloves of garlic
a stalk of onion leeks or 2 green onions
¼ cup of chopped carrot,
sheet of roasted laver (edible seaweed)


Directions:


1. Wash 1 cup of rice and soak it in cold water for 2 hours then drain.


2. Clean abalones by using a brush in cold running water. Chop it up and put it aside.


3. Chop some carrot, stalk of onion leeks or 2 green onions, and set it aside.


4. Mince 2 cloves of garlic and set it aside.


5. Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add 2 Tbsp sesame oil.


6. Add the minced garlic, abalone, and chopped carrot to the pot. Stir it for 30 seconds.


7. Add the soaked rice to the pot. Keep stirring for a few minutes until the grains of rice look half translucent.


8. Pour 7 cups of water into the pot and lower the heat to low heat. Close the lid and cook it for about 30 minutes. You might want to open the lid and stir the porridge every now and then to avoid the burning the rice on the bottom of the pot.


9. Open the lid of the pot and add 1 Tbsp fish sauce and 1 tsp salt. The amount varies depending on your taste.


10. Roast a sheet of laver and put it in a plastic bag then crush it by rubbing the plastic bag.


11. To serve, ladle the porridge into a bowl and sprinkle the crushed roasted laver and chopped green onion over top.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Jeju Island's Teddy Bear Museum: A place for the young, the young once, and the young at heart




Teddy Bears have long been cherished items since they were introduced more than a century ago. It has served as a constant companion for many of us at one point in our lives. Whether it be a sleeping buddy when we were toddlers; a best friend when we were kids; a favorite gift item to friends or loved ones; or simply a favorite decoration on ones car dashboard. The teddy bear has been part of our lives one way or another.

In Jeju Island, they have a Teddy Bear Museum where you can find everything you want to know about Teddy Bears. It contains a multitude of teddy bears from all over the world. It was opened to the public on April 24, 2001, and has since been one of the tourist attractions of this lovely island.
The museum contains two (2) galleries, a museum gift shop, and a museum café. The Museum gallery is subdivided into 3 parts: the History Hall; Art Hall and the Project Exhibition Hall. Some of the bears on display are the Mona Lisa bear, Louis Vuitton bear (said to be the world’s most expensive bear), Snow White and the 7 bears, Marilyn Monroe bear, and Elvis Presley bear, and , they even have the bear's version of the Qing Emperor's Terra Cotta warriors, just to name a few.




The garden area of the Jeju Teddy Bear Museum displays teddy bears in sculpted forms. It also has a shop from where you can buy your favorite teddy bear.

Another must-be included in your itinerary when going to Jeju Island.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Hallasan: Jeju Island's Towering Attraction


Mount Halla or Hallasan (“san” in Korean means mountain) is an extinct volcano which stands at the center of Jeju Island. At 1,950 meters, it’s the highest peak in South Korea. Known as one of the Samshinsan (Three Mountains where God Lives), is home to alpine plants and houses more than 1800 species of plants. It also boasts of abundant natural forests and vast grasslands. Its steep cliffs and slopes together with its unusual rock formations along its valleys produces magnificent scenic views. The community of azaleas also adds to its breathtaking scenery. Because of its towering presence, Hallasan can be seen from all places on the island, but its peak is often covered in clouds. There is even a local saying stating that “Jeju Island is Hallasan; and Hallasan is Jeju”. The mountain has been designated as Korea’s Natural Monument No. 182.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Dolhareubang of Jeju Island




Dolharubang or Stonegrandfather is one of Jeju Island’s unique feature. Dolharubang is a statue sculpted out of volcanic rock that looks like an old man. These statues can be seen almost everywhere in Jeju Island. They come in all sizes. 




Replica of this beloved statue is a favorite souvenir item of visitors to Jeju.



My dolharubang replica holding a gamgyul ( a type of orange)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Haenyo: Lady Divers of Jeju Island



Jeju Island is considered as the premier tourist destination of Korea. It is the largest island as well as the smallest province of South Korea. Located south of South Korea, about an hour flight from the capital Seoul, this volcanic landmass whose unique scenery of black lava rock walls, verdant hills covered with evergreens and palms, sandy beaches coupled with its warm, subtropical climate have made it a favorite honeymoon destination for newlyweds.


Another attraction of Jeju is its lady divers, the mermaids of Jeju known as Haenyo. If the weather is calm, you might be lucky enough to see these women in wetsuits clambering across rocks with nylon nets, called mangsiri, and drum-like floats called taewak, over their shoulders. Diving without the aid of a breathing apparatus and reaching depths of about 15 – 20 meters, this extremely dangerous occupation is not popular among young Korean women, thus it is dominated by women aged over 40, some say that there are divers who are more than 70 years old. The haenyo make their living diving for octopus, abalone, sea urchins, sea slugs, cucumber and seaweeds. Mainstream Korea is considered as a male-centric society but the haenyo of Jeju is a representative of a matriarchal family structure (that's what you call girl power).


Monday, September 21, 2009

Japchae (stir fried glass noodles with vegetables)




Japchae, Chapchae, or Jabchae, is a very popular korean dish made from cellophane noodles called dangmyeon  (the type of noodle used is made from sweet potato starch and becomes transluscent when cooked, hence it is sometimes called glass noodles), stir fried in sesame oil and a lot of vegetables such as carrots, mushrooms, bell pepper, and spinach and flavoured with soy sauce and sugar. This dish is very versatile that it can be served as a meal by itself or it can be served as a side dish or a snack.  It can also be served either hot or slightly chilled.

This is my simple cook-it-yourself japchae.

Ingredients:

1/2 pound dried Korean sweet potato noodles
2 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
1 tablespoon cooking oil
3/4 cup thinly sliced onions
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 stalks green onions, cut into 1″ lengths
1/2 cup shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 lb spinach, washed well and drained
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Procedure:

Fill a large pot with water and boil.
When water is boiling, add the noodles and cook for 5 minutes.
Immediately drain and rinse with cold water.
Drain again and toss with only 1 tsp of the sesame oil.
Use kitchen shears to cut noodles into shorter pieces, about 6-8 inches in length.
Set aside.

In bowl, mix soy sauce and sugar together.
Add the cooking oil in a wok or large saute pan on high heat and swirl to coat.
When the cooking oil is hot but not smoking, stir fry onions and carrots, until just softened, about 1 minute.
Add the garlic, green onions and mushrooms, stir fry for about 30 seconds.
Then add the spinach, soy sauce, sugar and the noodles.
Saute for 2-3 minutes until the noodles are cooked through.
Turn off heat, toss with sesame seeds and the remaining 1 1/2 tsp of sesame oil.

Prepare a platter lined with banana leaves before pouring your japchae.  Just for presentation purposes.  That's how i usually serve my japchae.

You may also add beef strips if you so desire. Just saute it until tender and then stir in the other ingredients.  But i prefer my japchae meat free.

Just like cooking your ordinary stir fried noodles.

Friday, September 11, 2009

This is the Moment (지금 이 순간)

This is the Moment" is my favorite song from the musical Jekyll and Hyde. The song was interpreted by a lot of singers such as Anthony Warlow, Rob Evan, Jack Wagner, and even David Hasselhoff. The musical also had a korean staging starting in 2004 with Jo Seung-woo and Ryu Jung-han in the lead.

If you have the time to watch the korean version of the song on youtube, aside from Jo Seung-woo and Ryu Jung-han, you might also want to check the version of Im Tae-kyung.

Here's the lyrics (english and korean) of the song just in case you would like to practice your vocal prowess. For those who would like to practice reading in korean, you might want to try singing with it. 


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KiX2Wgo7hg

This is the moment, this is the day.
when i send all my doubts and demons on their way.
Every endeavour I have made ever, is coming into play, is here and now today.
This is the moment, this is the time.
When the momentum and the moment are in rhyme.
Give me this moment, this precious chance. I’ll gather up my past & make some sense at last.
This is the moment when all I’ve done.
All of the dreaming, scheming and screaming become one!
This is the day, See it sparkle and shine, when all I’ve lived for becomes mine.
For all these years, I've faced the world alone,
And now the time has come to prove to them I've made it on my own.
This is the moment. My final test.
Destiny beckoned, I never reckoned, Second Best.
I won't look down, I must not fall. This is the moment, The sweetest moment of them all
This is the moment. Damn all the odds. This day, or never, I'll sit forever with the gods.
When I look back, I will always recall, Moment for moment, This was the moment,
The greatest moment of them all

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jCRYD-7EkQ

지금 이 순간 지금 여기 간절히 바라고 원했던 이 순간
나만의 꿈이 나만의 소원 이뤄질지 몰라 여기 바로 오늘
지금 이 순간 지금 여기 말로는 뭐라 할 수 없는 이 순간
참아온 나날 힘겹던 날 다 사라져간다 연기처럼 멀리
지금 이 순간 마법처럼 날 묶어왔던 사슬을 벗어 던진다
지금 내겐 확신만 있을뿐 남은 건 이젠 승리뿐
그 많았던 비난과 고난을 떨치고 일어서 세상으로 부딪쳐 맞설 뿐
지금 이 순간 내 모든 걸 내 육신마저 내 영혼마저 다 걸고
던지리라 바치리라 애타게 찾던 절실한 소원을 위해
지금 이 순간 나만의 길 당신이 나를 버리고 저주하여도
내 마음속 깊이 간직한 꿈 간절한 기도 절실한 기도
신이여 허락하소서

This would be a nice piece to try at your favorite noraebang. Happy singing!!!




Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sijo: Korean Poetry

You ask how many friends I have? Water and stone, bamboo and pine.
The moon rising over the eastern hill is a joyful comrade.
Besides these five companions, what other pleasure should I ask?

...Yon Son-do (1587-1671)

Similar to the Japanese poetic form Haiku, Sijo is a Korean form of poetry, traditionally consisting of three lines of 14 – 16 syllables each with a total of 44 – 46 syllables per poem. Line 1 usually presents the problem or theme; Line 2 presents the turns of thought; and, Line 3 resolves the problem or concludes the theme with a twist or a surprise. Sijo began as a song form and was popular amongst the upper classes in the past, although a similar form also became popular with the commoners. Sijo poems are rarely titled and they may be narrative or thematic, serious or humorous, and evokes human emotions.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Thanks

I would just like to thank everyone for reading my blog.  I actually made it to the Top 100 blogs of the Blog Korea! Visit Korea! competition of the Korea Tourism Organization and VANK. I won an mp3 player. Again, thank you very much !!!

Samulnori: Korean traditional percussion



Having had the chance to watch some Korean traditional performances in the past,  I think I am most familiar with the Samulnori.

Samulnori is a type of percussion music from Korea. A combination of the Korean words “samul” which means four objects and “nori” meaning to play; samulnori is always played with four instruments, namely the kkwaenggwari, ching, changgo, and buk, the same instruments used in pungmulnori. Each of the instruments represents different elements in nature: kkwaenggwari is thunder; ching is wind; changgo is rain; and buk is the clouds. Samulnori performances more often than not are done indoors and are tailored as a stage art. Because of the extremely complex and technically difficult patterns,  it does not call for audience participation in the dancing unlike the pungmulnori.  

Samulnori can be considered as a derivative of pungmulnori. In the late 70s, a group of pungmul players headed by Kim Duk Soo formed a group called SamulNori. The group is credited not only for reviving this art form in Korea but in garnering worldwide acclaim and acceptance for this Korean art, music and dance . The fusion music created by the combination of Samulnori with western music has added to the mass appeal of Samulnori.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Bibimbap

I cooked bibimbap last night for some friends.  I thought it would be a nice alternative to the pasta dish which i usually prepare especially on a short notice.   
 
Here's how I prepared my bibimbap.

Ingredients:

• Cooked rice ( good for 4 – 6 people)
• 7 pcs Shitake mushroom
• 1 medium-sized Zucchini
• bunch of Spinach
• 1 large carrot
• Turnips (just added this)
• Bean sprouts
• Egg
• ¼ kilo ground beef
• Soy sauce, hot pepper paste (gochujang), sesame oil, sesame seeds, sugar, salt vegetable oil, ground black pepper

Recipe:

1. Cook rice.
2. Prepare a large platter, one that can accommodate all your cooked ingredients.
3. Prepare the vegetables. Cut the mushroom, zucchini into strips and julienne the carrots and turnips.
4. Rinse the bean sprouts and cook it (place it in a pot of boiling water and add salt. Leave it for about 15 – 20 minutes, or until cooked). Once cooked, drain water and mix it with minced garlic and sesame oil. Put it on the platter.
5. Rinse the spinach and put it on a pot of boiling water for a few minutes then drain. Squeeze the water out lightly and season with a pinch of salt, soy sauce, minced garlic and sesame oil. Put it on the platter.
6. In a pan, put vegetable oil and sauté mushroom and season it with a pinch of soy sauce, salt, sugar and pepper. Put it on the platter.
7. In a pan, put vegetable oil and sauté zucchini in some salt and sugar. Cook till translucent. Put it on the platter.
8. In a pan, put vegetable oil and sauté carrots and put it on the platter.
9. In a pan, put vegetable oil and sauté the turnips and put it on the platter.
10. On a heated pan, put some oil and the ¼ kg of ground beef then stir. Add minced garlic, 1 Tbsp. soy sauce, ½ Tbsp of sugar, black ground pepper, and sesame oil. Put it on the platter.
11. On a heated pan, put some oil and 200 grams of ground beef and stir it. Add 4 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tbs of soy sauce, 1/2 tbs of sugar, a little grounded black pepper, and sesame oil.
12. Cook the egg (sunny side up).
13. Put the cooked rice in a big bowl, then arrange your cooked vegetables and meat on top. Place the sunny side up egg on the center.
14. Serve it with sesame oil and hot pepper paste.
15. Mix it up and eat.
Simple meal yet friends enjoyed it.  I guess that means I'll be expected to cook some more.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Delphic Games 2009


A friend of mine will be joining the Philippine delegation to the III Delphic Games 2009 to be held in Jeju Island, South Korea on September 9 – 15, 2009. I have fond memories of the last Delphic Games because the 2007 Junior Delphic Games was held in my hometown, Baguio City in the Philippines, it was here where I got the chance to experience first-hand some Korean cultural performances. Here are some photos of the event.
 
 
 
  
 


Delphic Games brief backgrounder
The Delphic Games which was previously known as the Pythian Games, started in Greece in 582 B.C. together with the Olympic Games. It was a competition of culture and arts among ancient city nations of Greece. However it was discontinued for more than 1600 years and was only reborn at the beginning of the 20th century: from 1927 to 1936, it was held regularly, once in every three years, in Greece and was called Delphic Festival, it became the cognate of the ancient Pythian Games.
Modern-day Delphic Games are complex competitions of young professional in the field of art. It now combines all types of arts like performances, literary, social, and ecological arts.


Delphic Games 2009
The 3rd Delphic Games 2009, in Jeju, will see art competition in six art categories and 18 disciplines ― Music and Acoustics arts, Performing arts, Craft, Design & Visual arts, Lingual arts, Communication and Social arts, Architecture and Ecological arts ― under the motto ``Tuning into Nature''.


Jeju Island
(A little backgrounder on this Island Paradise of Korea, I will be talking more about Jeju in my future blog posts).
Considered as the premier tourist destination of Korea, Jeju is also the largest island and at the same time the smallest province of Korea. It is located 130 kms from the southern coast of Korea and about an hour flight from Seoul. Known as Korea’s version of Hawaii because of the island’s unique scenery of black lava rock walls, verdant hills covered with evergreens and palms coupled with its subtropical climate. Jeju is also known the country’s prime spot for honeymooners.

The island offers a wide range of activities for every type of visitor such as hiking on Mount Halla, the highest peak of South Korea; hiking and cycling are also popular on the island; equestrian activities including horseback riding and watching horse races; and golfing, are just but some of the things you can do while in Jeju.

Jeju is also home to the “Seongsan Ilchulbong” a UNESCO World Heritage site. Another must see place in the island is the Jeju Folk Museum which gives a nice overview of everyday life on the island, with exhibits of useful items made from bamboo, rice straw and black lava rock. The outdoor exhibition area displays 143 signature unusual stone carvings called Jeju Mushin Gung statues.

The Delphic Games 2009 will not only offer an art and cultural feast but coupled with the gems of Jeju Island, this event will certainly be a trip worth remembering for all participants and spectators.  

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pungmulnori: Korean folk music


One of the representative dances of Korea is the Pungmulnori. Not only is it considered as one of the oldest and most popular folk arts of Korea but this is one art which is deeply rooted in its farming lifestyle and culture. Pungmulnori is a type of art which includes drumming, dancing and singing and was originally played to wish for a good harvest of the year and other collective farming operations of the community as well as in various occasions, celebrations, festivities, and during planting and harvesting seasons.

Pungmulnori is traditionally performed outdoors and drumming is the fundamental element. The basic instruments used are the kkwaenggawari (small gong), changgo (two-headed hourglass drum), ching (large gong), and puk (barrel shaped drum). In some instances, wind instruments are included such as the nabal (long trumpet), or the taepyongso (conical oboe). Aside from the drummers the dancers often play the sogo (tiny drum) and perform acrobatic movements. All the performers are dressed in colorful costumes. Some would even wear hats with a long ribbon attached to it that would create elaborate patterns whenever the performers move their head while spinning and flipping.

While court music faded with the dynasties, Pungmulnori to this day, still lives on in Korea.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Talchum: Korean Mask Dance


Have you ever wondered what they call the Korean dance where performers are wearing a mask while singing? That particular art form is called TALCHUM. If my memory serves me right and with the limited Korean movies that I’ve watched (around 4 to be exact), I think it was in the movie “The King and the Clown”, which I saw about 4 or 5 years ago where I saw this particular art form. I remember the actors wearing masks dancing and singing while performing a skit mocking members of the Royal Court as well as the king.


Talchum is a mask drama wherein characters talk, sing and dance wearing masks. Performers not only portray persons but also supernatural beings as well as animals. Audience participation is a distinctive feature of this Korean art form, as they are asked to join in the community dancing. Because of the social classes that existed in early Korea, the drama was a way for the commoners or the ordinary people to relieve themselves of the stresses of their everyday life as well as a means of showing their bitterness towards the noblemen or the privileged class of society. The play often lampooned the upper classes by using masks with deformed faces. The commoners were also portrayed as clumsy fools.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Changgo: Korean double-headed hourglass drum

Changgo or changgu is a double-headed drum with a body shaped like an hourglass.  It is used to accompany almost all genre of Korean music from court music to shaman ceremonies. Its body is usually made of paulownia wood, although there some may be made of ceramics, metal, as well as pottery.  Its heads are made of animal skin; the left head is made of cowhide or deer hide, which produces a low tone; and the right head has a thinner skin and is made from either doghide or horsehide, and usually produces a higher tone.  Both heads are held together with rope cords that crosses between them and can be adjusted for tuning.
To use the changgo, a bamboo stick called ch'ae strikes the right side of the drum making a tak sound and the palm of the left hand strikes the left head making a kung sound.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Danyang and Damyang

Funny how in some instances one letter in a word can spell a whole lot of difference in your search, I was looking for some info on DaNyang which I thought was Korea’s bamboo center but I accidentally typed in DaMyang in the search bar. Much to my surprise, there is a county in Korea named Damyang and while reading thru the search results, it is actually Damyang which is considered as the center for bamboo cultivation and craftsmanship in Korea and not Danyang, as I initially presumed. Danyang is located in North Chungcheong Province (Chungcheongbuk-do) while Damyang is located in Jeollanam-do.

Here are some info I got to know of the similar sounding counties in Korea:

Damyang-gun, Jeollanam-do is located around 22 kms north of Gwangju. A picturesque lush green county, thanks to the bamboo forests and gardens that abound the area. Its Bamboo Museum is the only one of its kind in the world. For those wanting to commune with nature and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday living, Damyang is the place for you. Spectacular Soswaewon garden complex offers a sanctuary for the tired individual offering a serene atmosphere where only the music created by nature are the only sounds you can hear. Jukhyang-ri village right beside Jungnogwon bamboo forest is the perfect place to experience Korean-style lodging. A climb atop Mt. Sanseong-san will reward you with a view of a mountain fortress which is believed to be built during Korea’s Three Kingdoms period. After the climb, you can enjoy yourself with some pampering at the luxurious spa at the Damyang Resort. And since your in Korea’s bamboo land, a representative food of the region is daetongbap, rice cooked in bamboo. It is made by filling a bamboo stalk with rice, dates and other ingredients and covered with hanji paper and steamed for approximately four hours. After eating the dish, you can keep the vessel as a souvenir.

Danyang-gun, Chungcheongbuk-do, is about a 2.5-hour drive from Seoul. Resting next to the Chungjuho Lake and surrounded by three national parks, namely, Sobaeksan National Park; Chiaksan National Park; and Odaesan National Park, it also has numerous caves (Gosu, Nodong, Ondol, Cheongdong) scattered throughout the area, Danyang is considered as North Chungcheong’s top attraction. Danyang is touted as a complete tourist destination since it not only offers cultural and natural sites, it is also a haven for the active individual, one can actually do paragliding, motorized hang-gliding, rafting, boating, and clay shooting there.

If Damyang is known for its bamboo, Danyang’s major products are cement and garlic.

A simple case of typographical error with a happy ending.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Soju

Soju is probably the best known liquor from Korea, with its distinctive green bottle, it is said to be a favorite dinner accompaniment of Koreans. Soju is distilled liquor traditionally made from rice but is now being combined with other ingredients such as potato, wheat, barley, sweet potato, or tapioca. Soju is a clear-colored drink and typically varies in alcohol content from 20% to 45% alcohol by volume. My friends say its taste is comparable to vodka although a bit sweeter.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Jeollanamdo’s Newest Attraction: The Formula One Grand Prix of South Korea

I've always considered Formula One as the pinnacle of motorsport and as an avid fan, I follow all races live on TV, even if it means waking up at 2 AM just to catch the Brazilian Grand Prix and Canadian Grand Prix live. And while watching the just concluded Telefonica Formula One European Grand Prix the other night, it came to my mind that Korea will be playing host to one of the races in 2010. The Korean International Circuit will be the newest leg to be included in the 2010 F1 calendar and the 5th circuit in Asia after Japan, Malaysia, China, and Singapore.

About the circuit
The Jeonnam Circuit features a lot of pioneer features in race circuit design: First, it has been conceived as a dual-structure track, it has 2 inter-changeable tracks or two tracks in one venue. The 5.6 km track is intended for international motorsports events such as F1 Grand Prix, while the permanent track which is 3.04 kms in length will be used for domestic races for automobile and motorcycle races. Second, it is the only track in Asia which will run counterclockwise. Of the 17 races in the F1 calendar this year, the tracks in Turkey and Brazil are the only circuits which were designed as such. Third, the Jeonnam Circuit will have 2 separate sets of pits and paddocks for the F1 and the local events, the very first circuit to ever have different facilities within the same circuit. And finally, the Korean circuit will be the only track to have the ocean in the background. A lot of first in formula one.
Of course, lest I forget, the track was designed by no other than Hermann Tilke, the person responsible for designing majority of the F1 tracks.

A glimpse of the track 


The host
Yeongam County in Jeollanam Province will be the newest host of Formula One starting 2010. It is near the town of Mokpo and roughly about 240 miles south of Seoul. Home to various attractions of Korea such as Mount Wolchul otherwise known as Soguemgang or Little Geumgang; Dogapsa Temple; and Gurim Traditional Village the birthplace of loess pottery.

With its numerous tourist attractions and the addition of the Formula One race, Korea is definitely proving itself as a destination of choice for international travelers; a major player in the tourism industry.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Korean rice cake

Rice is a common agricultural product of Asian countries. Asians are known as rice eating people. It is a staple food that is a mainstay in almost all meals in the region. It is also a versatile produce being served not only as the traditional boiled rice and porridge, but it is also used in wine making, desserts, snacks as well as specialty food for particular occasions. Rice in any form has been part of the rich culture and tradition of Asians.

In Korea, they have the traditional rice cake which is called “tteok”. Koreans prepare them for various occasions such as birthdays, weddings, special holidays, as well as ancestral offerings. It is also served as a healthy snack.

Different types of rice cakes are prepared for specific occasions, and here are some of them:

Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day)
songpyeon (crescent-shaped rice cake) is the representative food during this holiday. It is rice cake filled with jujube, red bean, chestnut or sweetened sesame seeds steamed over pine needles.

Seollal (Lunar New Year)
tteokguk (white rice cake soup) a favorite food served during this time of year. It is believed that the first day of a year is supposed to be holy and clean like the white color of the rice cake. And tradition has it that you can not grow a year older without eating tteokguk on Lunar New Year’s Day.

Honryae (Wedding ceremony)
bongchae tteok(steamed glutinous rice sprinkled with red beans) made from 7 jujubes, red beans and sticky rice. The ingredients used to make this cake have their own significant meaning: the sticky rice signifies the inseperable love of the couple; 7 jujubes represents a hope for 7 sons; and red beans are for dispelling evil spirits Other rice cakes served are moon rice cake (symbolizes the moon shining over each one’s life) and 2-color rice cake (representing 2 chickens which symbolizes a couple).

Tol (1st year birthday)
There are many types of rice cakes prepared during a child’s first birthday and one of them is paekseolgi (white steamed rice cakes) which symbolizes a pure and divine clean spirit and long life.

Tteok has become a favorite recipe for the korean palate. It plays a special part in every stage of Korean life.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Korean Tea Ceremony

Tea has evolved to become one of the more popular beverages worldwide. More and more people are becoming tea drinkers because of the health benefits derived from tea and it has also become a way of relaxation for many.

Tea is called “cha” in Korean. It is said that “cha” was introduced to Korea from China sometime in the 6th or 7th century by Buddhist monks or Korean scholars who traveled to China, they eventually brought home with them tea, and that’s how tea made its way to Korea. Buddhist monks drank tea to avoid sleeplessness and purify their minds. With Buddhism flourishing in Korea, tea has gained more popularity but when it was replaced by Confucianism, tea culture was repressed. It was only in the early 19th century when the Korean Way of Tea Life was revived.

Korean tea ceremony is called “Dado”. The focus of Korean tea ceremony is the enjoyment of tea in an easy, formal and natural setting. Its simplicity is what differentiates it from the complexity of the Japanese tea ceremony, were it is bound by formal rituals.

Green tea is most often served in tea ceremonies. In order to prepare green tea the Korean way, a tea set is recommended (if I’m not mistaken, they call it cha-kee). A tea set is basically a small tea pot for brewing; a small tea bowl for water cooling; and tea cup/s. Now that you have the tea set, this is how the actual ceremony is done:

1. Boiled water is poured into the tea set (tea pot, tea bowl and tea cup/s) to warm the utensils. The water is then discarded.

2. The right amount of dried tea leaves are placed in the pot.

3. Hot water is allowed to cool in the tea bowl.

4. Warmed water is gently poured into the pot with the tea leaves and allowed to brew for about 2-3 minutes.

5. Water from the teapot is then poured back to the tea bowl to mix it evenly and is poured into the cups.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Taekwondo: An international sport made in Korea


I’m not much of a martial arts fanatic, I do love watching sports, but the sports in my menu are basketball, formula one, tennis, golf, a bit of soccer and baseball (a bit seasonal though, only during world cup season and world baseball league period). But after writing about the Taekwondo Peace Corps (you might want to read my blog dated August 18, it talks about the group, the concept of which was espoused by a Korean, the president of the World Taekwondo Federation, Dr. Chungwon Choue), I guess writing about the sport would be a nice sequel, so to speak.

Taekwondo is a form of Korean martial art and at the same time the national sport of South Korea. Considered as one of the most systematic and scientific Korean traditional martial arts, taekwondo is a method of self-defense that uses both the hands and feet. Taekwondo goes beyond punching, jumping, kicking, and breaking boards. More than developing physical fighting skills, it develops the character and personality of an individual through physical, mental and spiritual discipline.

Taekwondo is deeply rooted in Korean history, starting out as a defensive martial art and later developed as a recreational activity, it was then transformed into a way of training the body and mind. Even its name has undergone different changes, from Taekkyon or Subak, Sunbae, Tae Soo Do, and eventually Taekwondo.

Taekwondo has three basic components: pumsae; gyeokpa; and gyeorugi. Pumsae is consistency of defensive and attacking movements against an imaginary opponent or opponents. It is a practice which is devised to be performed in following the Lines of Movement in a systematic and consecutive way against an imaginary opponent or mulit-opponents by using various Taekwondo techniques of hand and foot. Gyeokpa is the so called power test - breaking of tiles, bricks, boards etc. by different parts of the body and specific techniques. Gyeorugi or sparring, is when two people gain attacking and defensive skills through close combat.

Taekwondo has undeniably evolved from being an ordinary form of martial art to a popular international sport. As evidently shown with the results of Taekwondo in the Beijing Olympic Games, of the 32 medals up for grabs, 22 countries won at least one medal. As expected, Korea took home 4 golds out of the 8 up for grabs, to reaffirm its supremacy in the sport. Surprisingly, there were some winners whom you might not have expected to excel in taekwondo, countries such as Iran (a female athlete at that) won a gold; Dominican Republic went home with a silver, and so did Thailand, Greece; Italy, and Norway; while Brazil; Cuba; Kazakhstan; Nigeria; Venezuela; and even the war-torn country of Afghanistan were just some of the winners of a bronze medal. These results are a living testament to the popularity and universal appeal of taekwondo.

Now-a-days, taekwondo is used as a medium to spread peace, thru the Taekwondo Peace Corps.

Taekwondo, more than a sport, it is a way of life.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Korean Festivals: An Excellent Way of Experiencing the Many Faces of Korea

To understand the culture of a particular country, one must see and experience its festivals. Festivals mirror the rich culture of a country. Through these events, one can appreciate the uniqueness of its people, culture and heritage. Festivals are also conducted to promote almost everything, not only culture and arts but they are celebrated to promote agricultural products, food, crafts, and a lot more. And Korea is no different from the rest, for festivals are aplenty in Korea. To maximize your visit to the country, it would be a good idea to plan your visit to coincide with some of the festivals. With this kind of arrangement, you will not only enjoy the sights and sounds of the country, as any regular tourist does in any trip, but you will experience and be mesmerized in the unique festivities which will take place.

Since the last quarter of the year is just around the bend, I’ll be featuring some of the festivals of Korea starting with those to be held in the month of October. Aside from the festivals, they say that Korea during this time of year is lovely with the sparkling scenery created by the vivid colors of autumn.

Andong Intenational Mask Dance Festival
This festival not only showcases the different mask dance of Korea but also the mask dance of invited international mask dance troupes. Aside from the performances, visitors will have a great time taking part in the various mask dance lessons offered during the festival which will be held from September 25 till October 4.

Jinju Namgang Lantern Festival
A festival which will be held from October 1 till the 12th commemorates the anniversary of the Jinjuseong battles. The significance of the lanterns during that time in Korean history takes center stage, as activities all zero in on lanterns, from wishing lanterns being floated in the water after sunset, which creates a spectacular night scenery; to the exhibition of traditional lanterns and hanging of wishing lanterns. The lanterns hold a special place in Korean history since it was used by General Kim Si-min to delay the crossing of Japanese soldiers at the Namgang River during the Japanese Invasion. The lanterns were also used as a means of communication by the soldiers with their families during those dark days in Korean history.

Pusan International Film Festival
The foremost film festival in Korea will be held from October 8 till the 16th. This is Korea’s largest film festival and is considered as the “film festival” of Asia. Numerous movies from all over the world will be screened during the festival giving visitors a chance to enjoy various movie genres.

Baekje Cultural Festival
The Baekje Cultural Festival will be held from October 9 till the 18th. Among the many events during the celebration is the re-enactment of various royal court ceremonies as well as a memorial ceremony for the 4 kings that reigned over the Baekje Dynasty and also other cultural events that will surely captivate all visitors.

Youngju Punggi Ginseng Festival
Ginseng is known as a natural medicine and ginseng from Korea is considered to be the best in the world. Yeongju is a major ginseng producing area in the country and it will hold its Ginseng Festival from October 13 – 18th to showcase the local food made from ginseng. Visitors will be treated to a variety of activities focusing on ginseng.

Jarasum International Jazz Festival
This international jazz festival will be graced by 30 jazz groups from 12 different countries and will be held on October 15 – 18. Every year, this festival is visited by more than 100,000 people.

Busan Jagalchi Festival
Jagalchi Market is one of Busan’s most famous tourist attraction as well as the largest seafood market in Korea. During the festival, unusual types of fish as well as excellent sashimi at bargain prices are in store for visitors. The festival will run from October 21 -25.


Icheon Rice Cultural Festival
Icheon is said to be the producer of the best rice in Korea, thus, to celebrate not only their famous rice produce but also their various agricultural practices, the Icheon Rice Cultural Festival is held annually, and this year it will be conducted from October 22 – 25.

Gwangju Kimchi Festival
What will Korea be without kimchi? The Gwangju Kimchi Festival which will be held from October 23 – November 1, celebrates the most popular dish associated with Korea. Visitors will be able to learn how to make kimchi and will also be given the chance to sample the different types of kimchi as well as other dishes. For people who are interested in Korea’s traditional food, this is a must festival for you to attend.

Ceramics Festival of Gimhae
To be held in Korea’s most famous ceramic village, Gimhae, the festival will be held from October 23 – November 1. For ceramic lovers, not only will you have the chance to join programs that will allow you to make your own ceramics or execute your own artistic designs but you can also buy special ceramic wares which will be on sale at discounted prices.

October seems to be a jam-packed month of activities in Korea and it is a perfect time to explore, experience and enjoy the many facets of the country, from its natural wonders to its colorful festivals as well as its delicious delicacies. Indeed, limitless possibilities awaits everyone in Korea.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Yang Yong-eun: Bolting From the Blue to Become Golf's Newest Sensation


As a golfing fan, I try to follow the games live on TV as much as I can, especially the Majors, and, whenever my favorite players are in the tournament. Like many golf aficionados, I was more or less expecting Tiger Woods to win the just concluded Major tournament, the US PGA. He has been playing one heck of a game since his return to the golfing world this year after more than 10-months of hiatus due to his surgery. And he returned as a better version of the old Tiger, I should say. Every time he plays, the feeling is like no amount of lead is safe as long as Tiger is around and lurking behind the leaders.

Another reason why I expected Tiger to win is that he has a perfect record on US soil of winning every tournament where he enters the final round on top of the leaderboard. So, when his game collapsed on the final round of tournament, the record was broken and it was really a huge surprise. So who tamed the most formidable golf player in the world? Well, the guy is virtually unknown as he is ranked 110th in the world. The lucky guy is a 37-year old Korean who goes by the name Yong-eon Yang.

With Y.E. Yang’s win, he not only moves in the world golf ranking from 110 to 33 (what a win in the Majors can do to your ranking; and of course the win is worth US$ 1.35M) but he also became an instant superstar, catapulted to the limelight of the golfing world. Furthermore, he set the record as being the very first Asian born player to ever win a Major.

Looking through his golf resume, in 2006 he won the Korean Open and in 2009, he won the Honda Classic and of course the just concluded US PGA .

Golf is a learning curve, whenever you play with the best players; your game also develops and improves. The earlier wins of Yong-Eon were baby steps that have prepared him to win a Major. His focus on the game during the last round was something that is evident, scoring eagles and birdies especially in the back nine. And he never showed any signs that he was intimidated at the sight of Tiger, more so being paired with the World’s Number 1. As in the case of even the seasoned players in the league, whenever they are paired with Tiger on the final round, their game more often than not goes south. But not in the case of this overnight sensation, while he was making birdies and eagle, Tiger was making bogeys in the last round that will leave you dumbfounded and in total disbelief.

With this win, Yeong Eon has restored not only Korea’s, but Asia’s place as well, in the world of men’s golf. He is now ranked 33rd in the world, and if he sustains his winning form, climbing the ranks would be no problem. KJ Choi has made it to as high as 6th in the World Golf Ranking, proof that Koreans have what it takes to slug it out with the best golfers in the world. This win also meant, he has booked himself a place in the President's Cup this coming October in San Francisco.

I do hope that Yong-Eon wins more tournaments particularly in the US and European circuits to prove that his winning the PGA Masters is no fluke. But for now, I’m just happy that finally an Asian has won a Majors, and that Tiger is human afterall.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Korean Celadon: Pottery of the Royals



Korean celadon is well known for its beauty and its artistic tradition.

The word celadon usually means green but it has been widely accepted as the term used for Korean pottery. Korean pottery is known as Korean celadon or Cheong-ja. Korean celadon is an art form that is rich in history. To distinguish it from the other types of pottery, they actually name it after the color of the pottery. Cheong-ja is of course the jade green pottery, it is called either celadon or green celadon. Bun-cheong is brown or light brown pottery and is sometimes called brown celadon. Baek-ja is white porcelain and is sometimes called white celadon just.

In the past, the color of the pottery was used exclusively by people of certain class. Cheong-ja was used by royalty, aristocrats and Buddhist monks during the Goryeo Dynasty. Bun-Cheong or brown porcelain emerged during the middle of the 15th century and was used by all classes of society. Needless to say, because it was used by almost everybody, it did not possess the delicate beauty nor the elegance that was associated with the Cheong-ja. The Baek-Ja or white porcelain appeared during the early part of the 16th century, and, like the Bun-Cheong, it was also used by the common people.

Korean pottery as an art was almost lost during the Japanese colonial period. Yes, pottery was still produced but it was of lower quality and was only meant for daily use and not as an art as it was known during the earlier days. During the Japanese colonial period, it was said that the Korean artisans were forcibly moved to Japan. These relocated artisans were partly responsible for the development of the art form in Japan. It was only during the mid-1950’s that the lost art of the Goryeo celadon was rediscovered by a group of Korean artisans.

Korean celadon will always remain as one of the best pottery or maybe the best in the world. Thanks to the revival of this once lost art, the world can still enjoy the beauty and magnificent craftsmanship and artistic designs enjoyed by the royals in history.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Taekwondo Peace Corps

I first heard of the Taekwondo Peace Corps (TPC) while watching a special feature on cable TV a few days ago. Out of curiosity, I tried to find out a little bit about the organization and as I expected the concept was espoused by a Korean, as Taekwondo is very much Korean.

The idea of a Taekwondo Peace Corps was first raised by World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) President Chungwon Choue at an international workshop on sports and peace in Leuven, Belgium on September 2007. Then again, in another international forum on sport and peace held in Monaco in December of that same year, WTF President Choue again raised the same concept, but these time expanding it to involve all the summer Olympic sports, and called it “Sports Peace Corps”.

Launched by the World Taekwondo Federation in Suwon, South Korea on July 5, 2008, the Taekwondo Peace Corps is promoted by the World Taekwondo Federation and organized by the Goodwill, Cooperation and Service (GCS) International, a United Nations-recognized non-governmental organization, both organizations headed by Dr. Chungwon Choue. TPC’s goal is to bring peace through sports. Not only will TPC provide technical enhancement of Taekwondo to WTF member associations but it will also enhance the over-all image of the sport in the international sport community.

The TPC initially dispatched 27 members to five countries, namely, Russia, Paraguay, India, Pakistan and China, during the summer of 2008. The second dispatch was made during the winter of 2008 where 32 members were sent to eight countries: China, Russia, Pakistan, Paraguay, India, Egypt, Morocco, Bolivia, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. This year, the following are the dispatched countries: El Salvador, India, Isle of Man, Samoa, Bhutan, Nigeria, Mongolia, Angola, Philippines, Poland, Azerbaijan, and Mexico.

If TPC will be carried out successfully, Dr. Choue envisions of expanding the program to involve all Olympic sports into a “Sport Peace Corps”, in cooperation with the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee.

Spreading peace thru Taekwondo, that’s the Taekwondo Peace Corps.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Daegeum: Korean Bamboo Flute

Daegeum is a Korean bamboo flute and is the largest in a family of three-bamboo flutes known as samjuk (three transverse bamboo flutes), the other two being the junggeum (medium-sized flute) and the sogeum (small flute).



The daegeum is made from yellow bamboo and has eight holes; one blowing hole, six finger holes and an extra hole covered with a thin membrane called “cheong”, which is located between the blowing hole and finger hole. An additional hole, a tuning hole at the end of the instrument is also present.

There are two types of daegum, depending on what type of music it is played; the jeong-ak daegeum is used for classical or court music and usually is the larger instrument (around 85-90 cm); and, the sanjo daegum which is used for folk music and measures about 75 cms.

One of the Korean businessman in our place has a bamboo flute conspicuously displayed in his office. The flute was displayed in a glass casing and is the first thing that you will see when you enter the room. Out of curiosity, I asked what they call the instrument in Korean, and he said that they call it daegum, that was how I was introduced to this Korean instrument.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Grand Palaces in Seoul

More than six centuries ago, Seoul was made Korea’s capital by King Taejo, the founder of the Joseon Dynasty. Becoming the capital meant being transformed into the country’s hub for politics, economy and culture. In short, Seoul became the soul of Korea, a role it still retains to this day. With the passing of time, Seoul has undergone so much development and transformation attributed to the success of its economy. But amidst the glitter of its skyscrapers, high tech and modern structures, the legacy of its previous era has been well preserved. Numerous mega buildings towering above elegant and opulent Korean architecture of palaces and temples are a testament to the perfect blend of the old and new that makes the city enthralling.

The palaces in Seoul are incomparable; nothing comes close to their majestic and magnificent designs. Steeped in history these grand palaces namely, Changdeokgung; Changgyeonggung; Deoksugung; Gyeongbokgung; and Gyeonghuigung, were all built during the Joseon Dynasty. These palaces were built as monuments of the greatness of the various kings during their reign. Although some have been rebuilt and undergone a few renovations, the unique charm and beauty of Korean architecture as well as its rich heritage is still very much evident in these structures.

Changdeokgung
Changdeokgung or Changdeok Palace (gung in Korean means palace) which literally means “Palace of Prospering Virtue”, covers an area of 58 hectares and is the largest of the five royal palaces. It is also referred to as the East Palace because it lies east of another main palace, Gyeongbok Palace. Considered as the most Korean among the palaces, this is the only palace that preserves the architectural style of the Joseon Dynasty. A distinctive feature of Changdeokgung is that it was built to harmonize with nature as completely as possible and with minimum effect on the natural environment. Built in 1405 and was completed in 1412, the palace was burned down during the Japanese invasions and was partly rebuilt in 1611. Changdeokgung was inscribed in the Unesco World Heritage List 1997.

Changgyeonggung
Changgyeonggung or Changgyeong Palace was originally the Summer residence of the Goryeo Emperor and later included as one of the Grand Palaces of the Joseon Dynasty. Originally built as a “Suganggung” by King Sejong for his father Taejong, it was renovated in 1483 by King Seongjong, and was also renamed Changgyeonggung, a name it carried from then on. During the Japanese colonial period, the once royal palace was demoted to a mere garden and became part of a zoo. Moreover, the Japanese also decorated the ridge’s roof of the Injeongjeon (the royal audience chamber) with flower patterns; a very unusual pattern which they say was included by the Japanese to disgrace the royal family. The palace underwent renovation in 1987 to remove any traces of the Japanese colonial rule and to restore the old glory of the palace.

Deoksugung
Also known as Gyeonggungung, Deoksugung, or Deoksu Palace, was originally the residence of Prince Wolsan and became a royal residence during the Seven Year War, when the Japanese burnt all the other palaces to the ground in 1592. Deoksugung is a compound of palaces and is famous for its elegant stone-wall road. Its name, Deoksugung, literally means “The Palace of Virtuous Long Life”.

Gyeongbokgung


Gyeongbokgung or Gyeongbok Palace was first constructed in 1394, and served as the primary residence of the royal family. It is the largest of the Five Grand Palaces of the Joseon Dynasty. Also referred to as the Northern Palace because it is located in the northern part of the city, its name, Gyeongbokgung, literally means “Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven”. Because all of the palaces were burnt to the ground during the Japanese invasion at the end of the 16th century, Gyeongbok was left neglected for the next 250 years and was only rebuilt in 1867, only to be destroyed again by the next Japanese invasion, of the 330 original buildings, only 10 were left intact. Since 1990, efforts to fully restore Gyeongbok to its former beauty and glory have been on-going.

Gyeonghuigung
Gyeonghui Palace or the “Palace of Serene Harmony”, is situated on the west side of Seoul, thus it was called Seogwol (a palace of the west) and served as the secondary palace for the king. A secondary palace usually serves as the King’s residence in troubled times or in time of emergency. Like many of the palaces in the past, Gyeonghui was also destroyed during the Japanese invasion and was rebuilt in the early 1990s.

Palaces may just be a boring structure for some, but, for most, just having the chance to experience and have a glimpse of the glorious past of the country is reason enough to trek to these places.

So, if you have the chance to go to Korea, aside from visiting the must see sites, why not include a stop-over to these palaces and be overwhelmed by the charm that bestows this Sparkling City, truly... Limitless Possibilities... that's Infinitely yours, SEOUL!!!