03 April 2012


Kimchilandia Chronicles – Chronological recounting of Lonewulf’s great Korean adventure.

Lonewulf, Shortstride*, and Arigato*
For the next few entries, allow me to recount my experiences in South Korea. I’m doing this for three reasons: (1) I was extremely awed by the beauty of this country and its culture, thus my strong urge to write about it; (2) I want to provide as much tips and other info as I can to those who are also interested to visit Korea; and, (3) That weeklong vacation we spent overseas was one of the greatest experiences of my life, and looking at our pictures never fails to make me smile (or laugh at times). =)

Okay, so let me start by recalling our Day 1 activities.


Friday, 9th of March 2012. Straight from our respective offices, Shortstride, Arigato, and I dashed to our respective homes to get our respective baggage, and went straight to the airport, all giddy about the coming adventure. Four hours after take-off from Manila, with less sleep, we treaded on Korean turf for the first time in Incheon International Airport. YAY!

cute toilet bowl for kids - airport washroom

And then we boarded an airport bus heading to Suwon station where our friend, Dale, will fetch us. Dale, who is currently working and residing in Korea, is renting his solo flat in Hwaseo-dong, Suwon. Just to give you an idea, Suwon is part of a region called Gyeonggi, which is south of (and adjacent to) Seoul. So in Philippine terms, we can liken Seoul to Metro Manila, and Gyeonggi to either Laguna or Cavite.


Korevia #1: /* From time to time, I will throw in random information, could be facts or observations, about Korea, and we shall call these Korean Trivia a.k.a. Korevia <- lol */  Korea is one of the safest places I have been to. Evidence 1 – All the streets we went to are safe, full of warm & friendly people, and even the dingiest corners are free of vagrants, crooks, or any type that you wouldn’t want to come across alone in the middle of the night. I only managed to spot one sole beggar in my entire stay there, and he was peacefully crouched in one part of the subway, carrying a signage in front of him that I guess would read something like “Please give me some help”. There is an Evidence 2 of Korevia #1, which is best explained immediately below.

When we arrived at Suwon, we met Dale’s Pinoy neighbours and we joined them in their weekly get-together breakfast. We had our first Korean meal and we learned how to read Korean. This is the exact time when Arigato realized that one of his bags was missing. Knowing this guy for almost a decade now, I am sure he would have just shrugged the thought off and carry on with his life, just like with any other objects he lost in the past. However, this one was a little different. The bag did not only contain his state-of-the-art DSLR, it also has all his Korean Won, as well as his passport! Passport for chrissake.

Arigato turned blue almost literally and fell silent, even while we were excitedly changing into our snowboarding outfits. None of us could console him. Not even the reassuring words of the other Pinoys who swore that bag would still be where he left it, with all its contents untouched.

So anyway, we left and hurriedly drove back to the bus station. I reckon it’s the longest ride Arigato had in Korea. The moment the car halted, we got off instantly to search for the bag. And, lo and behold, the small bag was indeed sitting nicely on the cold bench, exactly where Arigato left it. The man at the station, honest enough not to touch it, even furthered his goodwill by asking us for proof that the bag was indeed ours. This was easy though as Arigato’s passport was insidethe bag, and the man gladly handed the bag over to us. =) Anyway, this here is Evidence 2 of my claim that you, and your things, will be safe if you go to Korea.

At Suwon Castle Hotel bus station - That blue bench behind us is the exact spot where Arigato had a mini-lapse and forgot about his essentials (peace Xan!)


As if we weren’t lucky enough that our accommodation in Korea was for free, courtesy of Dale, we also got our snowboarding outfits for free. That’s because Dale & friends got a stash of these stored for the season (Shortstride was a bit unlucky though. None of the pants would fit her). On top of that, we had free snowboarding lessons, again, courtesy of Dale & friends (Kamsamnida Dale, Kuya Gem, Kuya Arn, and JP!).


But wait, our luck did not stop there. When we got to the resort, we learned that it was the last weekend that Jisan Resort opens since winter was about to end. What a perfect timing! Also, they give 50% discount on the ‘lift’ fees if we use a Citibank credit card to transact. Lucky for Arigato, Shortstride, and Dale & friends, I own one. Yippee!!

choose your board
Find the boots that fit perfectly
Lonewulf all set!
Arigato & Shortstride all set as well
first Korean lunch - inside the resort
Hrmm, I think there are too many pictures of our snowboarding activity. I am thinking of creating a separate entry on this snowboarding endeavour to avoid cluttering of pictures. Hmmm... Okay, I’ll do that!

For now, let’s proceed to the next part of the day.


After Jisan closed and shooed us away, we went back to Dale’s flat. We were not bound to rest, not just yet. We just changed into our city clothes since we were heading to Myeongdong, Seoul. Agenda: Look for foreign exchange booths and purchase Korean wons, window shop in Myeongdong market, have dinner with Carlos. Carlos who?

A few weeks before our trip, we discovered that my high school classmate Juan Carlos Quinto will also be in Korea for a vacation. Thus, Dale and I will be meeting him and his older brother Kuya Booboy for a dinner. Shortstride and Arigato went to a different high school so they barely know Carlos. Anyway, we had dinner at Han’s Deli.

At Myeongdong Cathedral
Note: Never order "spicy" if you still want to live after your meal.
au gratin
(L-R) Carlos, Kuya Booboy, Arigato, Lonewulf, and Shortstride

Han’s Deli! I can safely say at this moment that, just as I asserted back then in Myeongdong, dinner at Han’s Deli is the best I had in the whole trip! The food was just superb. =)

*see link for etymology


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