[뉴스] Pinoy tourists to South Korea expected to increase following relaxed visa rules

Pinoy tourists to South Korea expected to increase following relaxed visa rules

 (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 25, 2013 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – When the South Korean government relaxes its visa rules starting Sept. 1, the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) Manila Office expects more Filipino tourists to Korea.

Filipinos who have visited Korea at least once are now eligible for a one-year multiple-entry visa under the new rules.

Those who have visited Korea more than twice are eligible for a three-year multiple-entry visa.

And visitors who previously held a three-year multiple-entry visa can now obtain a five-year visa.

Rules have been relaxed for Chinese and other Southeast Asian nationals, too.

Sangyong Zhu, director of KTO Manila, is positive that easing visa rules will translate to more visitors to Korea.

“Korea is always ahead in visa processing compared by other countries. We are confident that visitor arrivals to Korea will surpass more than 12.5 million visitors again this year, “he said.

From January to July, Korea welcomed more than 6.3 million visitors.

This year, tourists from Philippines alone increased by 61.5 percent in March, 8.5 percent in April, 12.1 percent in May, 47 percent in June, and 74.4 percent in July compared to 2012.

For information, call the KTO Manila office at 880-0312 to 0313 or e-mail

꺄악!!!!!! This is good news! Getting a tourist visa to South Korea has always been a struggle for many Filipinos. I’ve been there. Done that. It’s NOT EASY! And now… now… I may be able to get a 3-year multiple-visa entry???!!!!! 꺄아아아아아ㅏㅏㅏㅏㅏㅏ!!!!! Thanks to this news my mood got better. I was, yet again, on a sour mood since yesterday… but now I can finally smile and have something to look forward to…. ^^

한국콘텐츠진흥원 Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA)

Trying to continue my then abruptly interrupted quest of I Do I Do‘s origin, I’ve spent my afternoon reading Korean articles about KOCCA 한국콘텐츠진흥원 (Korea Creative Content Agency) and their contest history. The first article I read (about the contest, contestants and winners last 2010) was difficult. But the more article I read the easier it becomes. Because the words just keep repeating (since I’m reading about just one topic). I should really read a lot!

Anyway, aside from learning Korean, I did not only find out what I was looking for, I also got some additional information here and there.

First, KOCCA is a government agency that supports the multimedia cultural industry of Korea. And yearly they held writing competition for underground creators/small production companies/amateurs in various media (drama screenplay, movie screenplay, manhwa, video game). And they finance them and connects them to production houses in the aim of having the work produced/broadcast/screened/published.

So, I Do I Do was a TV Drama screenplay entry by a small production company 김종학 Productions (I think headwritten by Jo Jung Hwa). Contrary to the articles that came out, it was last 2009 and NOT 2010 (and I had to suffer reading all throughout 2010 related articles!). They only won 장려상 (participation/consolation prize) but it’s something big since there were thousands of entries (literally – but for all categories). I am not 100% sure because I am not that updated to ALL K-dramas. But the other winners for TV drama screenplay are not familiar to me so it seems like I Do I Do was one of the first one to get produced.

The thing is, the summary of the screenplay goes something like a fake marriage of 2 individuals to get to where they wanted (richness, fame, success) fast. There were no marriage, fake or real in the drama. Was it revised? Would the drama have been better if it wasn’t revised? I dunno…

Now one thing I discovered, Kim Sun Ah’s upcoming movie The Five is also a product of KOCCA!!! It won one of the many 우수상 (second places) in 2010 and was immediately published as a webtoon the following year. And was published as a comic book later that year. And now, will be adapted into a movie!

What’s with Kim Sun Ah and KOCCA winners? 🙂

K-pop on TV?!!!

Can’t believe that I’m actually seeing a K-pop girl group (Tahiti?) performing on a local Sunday program!

Some 6 or 7 years ago, with the exception of Filipino-dubbed Korean dramas on primetime, Sandara Park is the only Korean you can see on live Philippine television – and she’s not talking, singing or even dancing in Korean!

But a few years ago Korean songs started playing on radios, K-pop artists also started having concerts here once in a while, and of course Gangnam Style – THE Gangnam Style also invaded the Philippines. And now we have… a K-pop performance on TV!!! Someone please confirm that I just watched ASAP and not Music Bank or something. Hehe. 🙂

What is your number 18?

I was googling some Korean song lyrics yesterday when I first encountered “This song is my # 18”. Does it mean my 18th favorite song on my top 20 fave list? And what’s the big deal if it’s the 18th? It’s not like your number 3 or 2 or 1. I later learned that “My # 18” means the song that I can sing the best.

And this morning, as I was watching Episode 5 of Ohlala Couple, I encountered that expression again. Soo Nam (on Yeo Ok’s body) was blurting some classical song when his mother (Yeo Ok’s mother-in-law) asked him (thinking it was her daughter-in-law) to turn the radio off.

니 18번이 ‘밤 비 내린 영동교’잖니!

Isn’t your # 18 “Night Rain Falling on Yeong-dong Bridge”? How come you are suddenly on classical music?

But why 18? What’s with the number 18?

A Korean friend briefly told me the expressin originated from Japan and later on spread in Korea as well with a slight modification on the original meaning (and he didn’t elaborate further! :p).

I found THIS on Daum 지식. And according to the answers, it has something to do with Japanese culture. One explained it further saying it has something to do with Kabuki – a classical Japanese dance-drama. Though # 18 means one’s favorite song, usually it also has the meaning of the best and most interesting thing. And the latter meaning is the one that originated from Japan. Anyway, in Kabuki theaters there is usually an intermission in between scenes. The intermission is a popular one-act play that are separated into 18 parts distributed all throughout the kabuki performance. And usually the last part of these one-act plays, the 18th, is the best, most interesting and most popular. Therefore these meanings (best, most interesting) is attached to the number 18. And probably where the expression “What’s your number 18?”, which is frequently used in noraebangs, originated from.

I’m not sure about the accuracy of this information though. I don’t know much about Kabuki either. I just relied on the answer I found on Daum. I am not even sure whether my understanding is 100% correct or not. If you know more about this expression and why and how it started, leave a comment below. 🙂

Sadly I don’t think I have a # 18. I don’t sing very well. 😦

How about you guys? What’s your # 18?

The Sounds of Korea: What I want to Hear

♩♬♫♪ opp-opp-opp-opp-oppan gangnam style~ ♪♫♬♩

While the whole world is fervently listening to Oppan Gangnam Style, I would like to take a moment and remove my earphones (and attempt to get rid of my current earworms of Oppan Gangnam Style and Korean drama OSTs) to listen to the rich sounds in Korea – because, after all, there’s more (so much more!) to Korea beyond K-pop and Hallyu.

I like how strong sounds are connected to one’s emotion. Hearing a song or someone’s voice or a familiar tune, rhythm or beat can instantly trigger an emotion and reminisce a memory. Sounds can capture some unique moments that cannot be seen or touched. I love the power of sounds that’s why I love listening to my surroundings.

The sounds of Korea.
From sounds that represents great traditions to the sounds of everyday lives; from the sounds of nature to the faintest sounds of one’s heart. Korea, being a diverse nation where rich culture and traditions meet modernity; a dynamic country where there’s harmony between nature and technology- is indeed a world of sounds!

Thus, I want to hear the different sounds of Korea… and store them in my heart forever.

I want to hear the sounds of Korea’s rich culture and tradition. I want to hear Korean music – from pansori to trots on rest stops; from samulnori to Kpop blasting from the speakers around downtowns. I also want to hear performances be it in theaters or on the streets.

I want to hear the language. With the Korean language being strikingly different from my own mother tongue I had always been curious about it and take it as an opportunity to learn more about Korean culture. After all, language and culture are tied together. I would like to explore as well the different dialects or satori in the different provinces and not to mention, the rich collection of onomatopoeias! I would love to attempt conversation with the friendly people – the strong and ever-helpful ahjummas, the warmhearted ahjussis, and the lovely little kids.

I want to hear the sounds of fun. From the thrilled screams of Gyro Drop riders in Lotte World to the late-night singing in noraebangs.

I want to hear technology. From the talking machines like the elevators announcing that the door is opening; or the T-money reloading machines; or the ATM machines; or the bus, subways and train announcements; or the T-money card readers that either thank you or nag you to swipe your T-money card again; to the different ringtones of smart phones and the 칙칙폭폭 (chikchikpokpok) of the Mugunhwa or KTX.

I want to hear nature. From the seagulls in Ganghwado to the 구구 (gugu) of the pigeons in the parks. From the sounds of water flowing in Cheonggyecheon stream to the cicadas at night. I want to hear the waves hitting the shores in Sokcho and Haeundae beaches.

I want to hear the sounds of Korean food. From the 부글부글 (bugeul-bugeul) of a hot sundae soup from an eatery to the faint 지글지글 (jireul-jireul) sizzle of dakgalbi in Chuncheon. From the sound of cracking a chestnut open, to the slight drizzling of oil while grilling samgyupsal.

I want to hear the sounds of everyday live. The call of the vegetable truck owner. The sounds from the markets. The sounds of the crowd in the shopping districts. The laughter of kids in the parks. The rustle of leaves. The 멍멍 (mongmong) of a street dog. And the 추록추록 of falling rain.

Given a chance to be in Korea again, I would love to hear all of them and keep them all in the musicbox of my heart.

But for now, what I am really dreaming to hear the most is the cheerful music of the Seoul Metro… and… hopefully it will go like this:

♫ Tan-ta-ran-ta-tan… ta-ran-ta-tan-ta-tan… ta-ran-ta-ran-ta-ran… tarararantan… ta-ra-ran-tan ♫

이번 역은 한국, 한국 역입니다. 내리실 문은 오른쪽입니디.
(ibeon yeokeun hanguk, hangukimnida. nerishin muneun oreunjjokimnida)

This stop is Korea. The doors are on your right.


The post above is my official application to the Asian On Air Program brought to us by Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), together with Korean Air.

Photos on this post are from the personal file of the blogger. All photos are used with no intention of piracy or commercial intent.

Whew! I’ve finally submitted my entry. Have you sent yours?

More Info

< Asian on Air Program >
☞ Application Period: September 10 – 23, 2012
☞ Eligibility: Bloggers living in Asia
☞ Application Method: Buzz Korea Event Page
☞ Number of Winners: 20
☞ Winners Announcement: September 28, 2012 on Buzz Korea Homepage
☞ Homepage: (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
☞ 1330 tt call center: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

What is expensive?

I woke up hearing Koreans talking. Suffering from bad withdrawal syndromes since the day I returned home from Korea (yesterday), I thought I was just dreaming. But apparently it’s true. A group of Koreans were sitting on the cold floor of NAIA terminal 3, a few meters away from me. There were too far for me to decipher what they were talking about though.

Three of the girls from the group started walking away. One of them looks like my Korean-American friend from the International Summer Session of CNU. Still half-asleep, I really thought it was her so I followed them (I realized now that it is just impossible that  it’s her since she never mentioned anything about visiting the Philippines before going back to Missouri). After all I also want to head to the same direction they were all heading to – the airport convenience store – to get another cup of hot coffee because I’m freezing to death. The airport’s air conditioner seems on full blast – on a rainy day like this! >.< It’s funny how just 2 days ago me and my friends almost “died” from the heat while trying to squeeze in some last-minute sight-seeing in Seoul before I leave (literally a few hours before my flight).

Anyway, as expected the girl is not my Korean-American friend.

I passed by them and I can’t help but smile after hearing them convert the prices to 천원 or some 백원 and all together squeal “싸다 싸다” while checking the prices of items. It brings me back to the day I first arrived in Korea a little more than 40 days ago (was it really more than 40 days ago already?). Like them I went to a G25 convenience store in the airport, converted the prices of the items to Philippine currency, but ended up putting things back on the shelves while muttering “너무 비싸요!”

Now they are back with the items they’ve hoarded from the convenience store and happily munching on some snacks. I wish I can see and hear their reactions when they get out of the airport and see the real prices of stuff here in the Philippines. The airport prices, just like on any other airports, are a bit more expensive than outside shops/markets.

I’ve been staying in NAIA airport for more than 24 hours now because of floods everywhere and I’m running out of money. I only prepared enough cash for a direct travel back home from the airport – not for camping out in the airport (plus I have to get hot coffee every hour else I’ll freeze to death). When my wallet’s gone empty (except for a few coins both in won and peso), I realized that I can still withdraw some money from my ATM. An amount that all Korean ATMs ignore can be withdrawn from any Philippine ATM machine. And it could still get me a couple of decent meals (or even 4~5 for-survival food). I was also wishing there’s some instant rice too in the convenience stores here because I have some canned chicken with me. Then I realized that fast food stores sells what we call “extra rice” which were half the price of the cheapest (on sale) instant rice in Korea.

If there’s one thing I like in the Philippines more than Korea, it’s the cost of living.  In Korea the money I brought with me suddenly lost it value. Now that I’m back in the Philippines the coins that I got used to ignore in Korea is enough to feed me and keep me warm for more than 24 hours now.

Nonetheless, I still miss you Korea. ㅠㅠ


Fans of Kim Sun Ah would know that for years now, our dear Sunny loved Vitamin Water. You can often see her holding a bottle of it.

So whenever fans prepare snack support, they make sure they send her Vitamin Water. Just like here on Scent of a Woman and what they sent on the press conference of I Do I Do (and what we are going to prepare on the upcoming snack event too).

Vitamin water are easy to find in Korea. Any convenience store has it and is also available on vending machines. Prices range from 1,600~1,900 depending on the location of the store (In Seoul and at Incheon airport it’s 1,900. I can see some convenience store that sells it for 1,800, and it’s just 1,600 here in Gwanju).

Take note that there are lots of different Vitamin Water brands here in Korea. What Kim Sun Ah drinks is the Glaceau brand (You can see it written on the cap) – the most expensive among the vitamin waters.

It was my first ever purchase in Korea. It’s kinda expensive for a drink (I think) so I said I’ll only get one and stop. I got the pink one first – kiwi-strawberry (focus: vitamin a+b) and it was good. However I want to try the black one too acai-blueberry-pomegranate (xxx: triple antioxidants) which Suna Unnie often drinks and I like it so much (not because Suna Unnie drinks it, but because it taste really good!). Then I bought another one – the red one dragonfruit (power-c: vitamin c + taurine). Now I want to try every flavor!!!


[Learning Korean With Kim Sun Ah] 산딸기 무스 케이크

I’ve always been curious regarding the cakes used in the drama My Name Is Kim Sam Soon and we basically have information about most of them, except for one used, not on the drama, but on the photo shoot.

I want to get some photos of the exact cake that Sam Soon was holding in the poster of My Name Is Kim Sam Soon but I don’t know what’s it called even in English. So I googled some Korean keywords until I came across some Korean blogs and I found out what kind of cake it is.

It’s called 산딸기 무스 케이크 (Raspberry mousse cake). It’s fun being able to get the information I needed by using Korean keywords. Today I learned what raspberry is and probably will never forget it (because at first I thought it was some sort of a strawberry 달기 that grows in the mountains 산 O.o)

I miss Kim Sam Soon. 😦 I want to eat this cake now!!!

How to say “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe” in Korean

When you are given options and you are stuck and can’t decide what to eat, where to go, which road to take, which food on the menu to order, what to choose, what answer should you pick on a multiple choice exam, do you let fate decide and use “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.”?

I remember asking my Korean teacher, during one of our classes months ago, if there’s a similar rhyme in Korean and how to say it. But I can’t remember the exact words. I just know it starts with 어느 or 어떤 _____ and ends with a 딩동댕.  So, I googled and found some interesting variations. The content of the rhyme depends on the situation, but it always end in 알아 맞춰보세요. 딩동댕 (or 딩동댕딩동).

Photo from: 크리스천 라이프

어느 것을 고를까요? 알아 맞춰보세요. 딩동댕!

어떤 것을 할까요? 알아 맞춰보세요. 딩동댕!

어느 것이 맞을까요? 알아맞춰보세요. 딩동댕!

어느 쪽으로 갈까요? 알아 맞춰 보세요. 딩동댕!

어떻게 할까요? 알아 맞춰 보세요. 딩동댕!

어느 것이 좋을까요? 알아맞춰 보세요. 딩동댕!

어느 것을 먹을까요? 알아맞춰보세요. 딩동댕

I love being able to google/naver (naver should be used as a verb too!) questions in Korean now and find the answers I need.