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2019 BTS Summer Package Vol. 5 (Korea Version)

Featured Posts

9.10.2019

Seoul Searching | What to Do in Seoul During Chuseok.

Chuseok 추석 is one of the biggest and most-awaited holidays in South Korea. Also known as the mid-autumn / harvest festival, Chuseok is the equivalent of Thanksgiving Day in America and is usually celebrated for three days. However, this year's Chuseok holiday will be observed for four days - from  Thursday (September 12) all the way 'til Sunday (September 15).

Chuseok is one of the few times of the year when Koreans take time off from work, travel to their respective hometowns to spend time with their families, and hold memorial services for their ancestors and deceased loved ones. Many business establishments will close down in observance of the holiday, so expect Seoul to be a bit more tranquil and peaceful during this time. However, there will still be a handful of places to visit and lots of things to do for the expats and tourists who will be coming to Korea during the Chuseok holiday.

Visit a heritage site. 
Korea is world-renowned for their cultural heritage sites, and a great number of them can be found in the Seoul metropolis.

One of the more popular heritage sites is Jongmyo Shrine, the royal shrine which houses the 'spirit tablets' of the deceased kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty. On regular days, visiting Jongmyo Shrine would require a reservation. But on Chuseok, the shrine will be open to the public, with free admission at that.

Ancestral rituals will be held at the shrine during the holiday, and visitors can get the chance to witness these first-hand.
Yue at the entrance to the main hall.
Jeongjeon, the main hall of Jongmyo Shrine.
Tour the Grand Palaces of Seoul.
Like Jongmyo Shrine, the Grand Palaces of Seoul will remain open during the Chuseok holiday, free of charge. However, you have to pay the regular rates should you wish to visit the Huwon (Secret Garden) in Changdeokgung or join the nighttime tour of Gyeongbokgung.
Changing of the guards at Deoksugung Palace.
Plenty of cultural experience programs await visitors during the Chuseok holiday. Musical performances and a tasting of royal tea and snacks will be held at Gyeongbokgung, while traditional mask dances and tightrope walking will be done at Changdeokgung. Musical performances will also take place at Changgyeonggung. Deoksugung, on the other hand, will present a re-creation of the welcoming ceremony for foreign envoys by Emperor Gojong of the Joseon era (1392-1910).

Get a great view of the city.
Standing 555 meters tall with 123 floors is the Lotte World Tower - the tallest building in Korea and the fifth tallest building in the world. This majestic tower houses galleries, cafés, and a luxury hotel, in addition to a skywalk and an observation deck.
Come on up to Seoul Sky!
Lotte World Tower.
The view from above.
Going all the way up to Seoul Sky is one of the best ways to get a clear, breathtaking view of the city. The cityscape becomes even more majestic by sundown, with the glittering city lights and all.

Check out a non-verbal performance.
Spice up your holiday by going to a cultural/musical performance. It doesn't matter if you're well-versed with Hangeul or not as these shows are non-verbal, and will only require tickets, your enthusiasm, and your attention.
The cast of Jump.
Photo credit: Jump official site.
If you're a martial arts enthusiast like me, you'll definitely enjoy 'Jump' an award-winning performance packed with humor, taekwondo, and other forms of martial arts. Since 2003, the show runs everyday at Myeongbo Art Hall in Jung District, Seoul

Another noteworthy non-verbal performance is 'Cooking Nanta', which runs everyday at Myeongdong Nanta Theatre and Hongdae Nanta Theatre. This show incorporates traditional percussion and humor , and has long been a popular staple since 1997.

Enjoy the great outdoors. 
Because most of the locals leave the city to travel to their hometowns during Chuseok, Seoul becomes less crowded and blissfully empty. This makes hiking trips more enjoyable and less stressful, and cycling routes become easier to navigate. Go on a bike ride along Han River, take a stroll at Seoul Forest, or if you're traveling with kids, take them to Seoul Grand Park for the Seoul Zoo Korean Thanksgiving Festival.
Autumn colors at Seoul Forest.
Seoul Grand Park.
Children's Park.
Chuseok jal bo nae sae yo! Have a wonderful Chuseok!
Here's hoping that you'll have many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Enjoy the holidays!


9.08.2019

A Trip to JASIF (Joni and Susan Agroshop and Integrated Farms).

Two weeks ago, Yue's schoolmates went on an exposure trip to Joni and Susan Agroshop and Integrated Farms (JASIF) as part of the course requirement in their EPP class (that's Edukasyong Pantahanan at Pangkabuhayan or in English, Home Economics and Livelihood). Yue wasn't able to join the trip because he was still recovering from pneumonia at that time, so I promised him and his teacher that we'll go on a trip to JASIF as soon as his pediatrician permits.

After his follow-up check-up, Yue got his medical clearance from his pedia which allowed him to go back to school, and go out and be 'exposed to the elements' (haha). And so last Friday, we finally got to visit the Joni and Susan Agroshop and Integrated Farms and experience their DOT-accredited (that's Department of Tourism) Sunflower Maze.
Welcome to Joni and Susan Agroshop and Integrated Farms!
Don't be fooled by his 'Instagram pose'. He's actually thrilled to be here. :)
Joni and Susan Agroshop and Integrated Farms started its construction in August 2018. The farm is located along Maharlika Highway, Barangay San Ignacio - just ten minutes away from the San Pablo City Plaza.
JASIF also offers seminars on Hydroponics, backyard gardening, and mushroom cultivation.
The development of this 2-hectare farm was spearheaded by Mr. Joni Sanchez, owner and CEO of the Joni and Susan Agroshop, with the help of his wife Susan, his children, and their spouses. For several years, the company has been planting corn as its main crop. They even offer partnerships to help others generate income through corn plantation, urban and container gardening, land conversion and mushroom plantation.
Inspecting the seedlings.
As the company started to grow, so did the crops, and more varieties were then included in the Joni and Susan Agroshop inventory. As such, the Joni and Susan Agroshop and Integrated Farms was established to create a tourist attraction focused on farming and gardening.

Here's our JASIF experience in photos:
(Sunflower Maze and more after the jump!)

8.29.2019

Fun Things to Do When Traveling to Asia.

Asia is becoming an increasingly popular vacation destination for travelers from all walks of life. Here are some entertaining activities to try if you are planning a trip to Asia.
The Golden City of Jaisalmer, India.
Get in Touch With Nature in India
When thinking of India, the mind immediately jumps to bustling cities and the Taj Mahal. However, the country has a plethora of other options to explore. From snow-tipped mountains to lush forests and valleys, there are endless natural destinations to tour. India also offers majestic wetlands, colorful coral reefs, lagoons, waterfalls and the Ganges River, which is over 1,500 miles long. India certainly has plenty to offer in terms of its natural beauty.
Cai Rang Floating Market, Vietnam.
Take a Tour of Vietnam
With an attractive location next to the South China Sea, Vietnam is an ideal place to travel for those looking for a rich tour of southeast Asia. Vietnam tours take the guesswork out of planning a trip to this stunning country. The tours come in a variety of locations and price points, with options for every type of traveler. Sample Vietnamese cuisine and culture in Ho Chin Minh City, or take walking tours of ancient archeological sites, such as peaceful temples and pagodas.
Camel Ride Safari Tour in Dubai.
Traverse the Urban Jungle of Dubai
If you are looking for a more metropolitan destination, the famous city of Dubai, located in the United Arab Emirates, provides a rich and modern cultural experience. Dubai is most well-known for its thriving nightlife, sleek, modern buildings, amazing shopping malls and pristine beaches. If you are traveling with children, there are also many kid-friendly parks and beaches, with activities especially geared towards youth. With the variety of places and sites to explore, there is plenty to do in Dubai to fill up your calendar.
Park Bo Gum in Cebu, Philippines.
Play in the Sand in the Philippines
The Philippines is famous for its vast array of beaches. The nation, made up of thousands of islands, features a huge variety of beautiful and unique coastlines, from one of the world's longest white sandbanks to a pink sand beach on Great Santa Cruz island. Many of the beaches feature amazing sea life, making them ideal for activities such as snorkeling. Consider visiting the Philippines if your ideal vacation involves splashing in crystal clear waters and lounging on warm beaches.

Asia is such a diverse continent that it is incredibly easy to find a vacation spot that you will fall in love with. Whether you are looking for an urban getaway or a secluded spot in nature, you are sure to cultivate an unforgettable travel experience.

8.22.2019

Budget-Friendly Dinner Ideas to Keep Your Family Healthy.

A new fall routine can wreak havoc on your family life, not to mention your finances. When you’re juggling school schedules, after-school activities, a heavier post-summer workload or all of the above, it can be easy to fall into less-than-ideal routines. Frequent fast-food pickups are hard on your wallet, and becoming a regular at your favorite takeout restaurant can do a number on your healthy lifestyle.

Before you get stuck in a new rut, try these budget-friendly dinner ideas to keep your family healthy and your bank account happy.
Ryan Gold (Kim Jae Wook) is love!
Her Private Life, 2019.
Discover the Instant Pot
Your friends won’t stop raving about it for a reason: this new-on-the-scene kitchen gadget is a one-stop shop for easy, fast meals. Like a slow-cooker, you can simply pour in ingredients, turn it on, and forget about it: but unlike a crock pot, you don’t have to remember to prep meals 8 hours in advance. An Instant Pot gets its name for a reason: it cuts the cook time of a traditional slow-cooker nearly in half. You can use it to cook a wide variety of foods, from potatoes to meat to rice and more. Dinner ready in under an hour? Sounds like a plan.

Browse for Coupons
You probably get the weekly grocery circulars delivered in your mailbox every week, but how often do you actually look at them? If you spend a little time, you can scout out the best deals for the coming week on your family’s favorite snacks and dinner foods, and you’ll save yourself some money in the process! Best of all, you can even find coupons online to save even more.
So Ji Sub and Jung In Sun in Terius Behind Me, 2018.
Buy Family-Sized
It’s an age-old adage, but buying in bulk can save you big bucks down the line. Whether you choose to shop in the family-sized section at your usual grocery store or invest in a big-box store membership, you can find bulk dinner ingredients at much lower prices than individual servings. While a Costco or Sam’s Club membership might seem like a pricey investment at first, with only a few uses, your membership will end up paying for itself in no time. Budget-friendly meals to the rescue!

Order Groceries Online
If wandering grocery aisles is a daunting task, check to see if your local grocery store offers online ordering. You’ll save time by ordering from the comfort of your home, and all you’ll have to do is pick up your order at your assigned time. If you want to skip the store entirely, you can even see if your local store offers grocery delivery, and you can have your weekly dinner ingredients brought directly to your front door.
Chae Soo Bin and Go Kyung Pyo in Strongest Delivery Man, 2017.
Try Out a Meal-Delivery Service
Don’t feel like you have time for grocery shopping, much less meal prep? Meal-delivery services are here to save your family dinners. You have a host of brands to choose from, including Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, GreenChef, Farmbox Direct and so many more. Each has options to suit your family’s lifestyle, no matter your preferences or dietary restrictions. You’ll receive prepped ingredients in a box, ready for quick, healthy cooking. Plus, it’s easy to find discounts to try out the services until you find one that fits your family!

Plan Ahead
When life gets busy, dinner can seem like a daunting task, but if you spend the time to plan ahead, you can keep your meals healthy and on budget even in the busiest of weeks. Don’t be afraid to change up your routine to find something that works for your family’s schedule—meal delivery one week, online grocery ordering the next. If you set aside a few minutes on the weekend to plan your meals for the coming week, dinners won’t seem so stressful after all.

8.21.2019

Social Media Photography Tips.

When you travel and take photos for your social media, you can have more fun by capturing the beauty of the moment. Here are some tips to help you preserve those wonderful memories and leave captivating imprints on your social media feed.

Do you remember the time when people are not yet into social media? Probably not – seems like a really long time ago, right? Today, everyone just loves posting online everything that happens in their life minute by minute, especially when they leave the house and go somewhere nice. Although this is somehow sad news for the older generation who couldn’t relate, the good thing is that good memories are preserved through photos. Social media photography makes life more exciting, colorful, and adds fun to travels.

However, not everyone has already mastered the art of social media photography. Just like any hobby and activity, there are some skills you need to learn to do it really well. Who doesn’t want their Facebook or Instagram feed to look as beautiful and exciting as their last trip to Maldives? We all love beauty. So, for you just starting to get on to this hobby that is social media photography, here are some tips to take good photos:
Her Private Life, 2019.
Good lighting
The very first thing you need to take into consideration is good lighting. Choose a place that’s naturally bright, lively, and highlights the subject you’ve chosen. This way, you wouldn’t have to adjust the photos brightness and contrast. Show nature, the sky, show just how the sun lights up everything under it. When you’ve finally taken the photo, make sure that it is not against the light – this is one of the rules in basic photography.

Define the subject
A good photo has a well-defined subject. When you’re at the beach, a good subject could be you with the sea at the background. If you’re at a busy street, it could be the teenager helping the old woman carefully cross at the pedestrian lane. Your subject should tell the story. It has to be something interesting and eye-catching. When you’re taking a photo in your favorite restaurant for instance, your subject can be your most favorite thing in that establishment, say your spot?
Thirty But Seventeen, 2018.
Rule of Thirds
After choosing a good subject, the next thing to consider is following the Rule of Thirds. This is taught in any photography class. Look at your camera, mobile phone, or whatever device you use to take a photo and look it up at the settings. Turn it on – the three lines that intersect each other. Then, put your subject within the frame, at the intersection points of these lines. Not at the center, okay?

A little filter
Some people are not into filters and that’s completely understandable, especially professional photographers. But if you’re into it, make sure that you go easy on it. Too much is not good and it only ruins the natural beauty of the place and the subject. There are many apps you may use online if you need filters, like VSCO. Again, just remember not to overdo it.
Hotel del Luna, 2019.
Good caption
Now we’ve come to the last, but equally important element of a good photo for your social media – the caption. Go back to the story you’re telling and use that. What do you want to say? Keep it short, simple, and straight to the point. Unless you want to be a little mysterious, let the photos speak for itself, and forget the caption, or just use an emoji.

Still having fun? It could seem challenging at first if you’re just starting out. But, it doesn’t have to feel like work. Take it easy and start by following accounts on social media that feature good photos. In this way, you’ll naturally have an eye for good photos and subjects.
Take (lots of) photos, but don't forget to enjoy the moment.
Too much social media is bad, so you have to make sure that you scroll on your feeds in moderation. When you travel and take photos for your social media, there’s nothing wrong when all you want is to capture the beauty of the moment. Preserving happy memories is an absolute healthy thing to do. So, take as many photos as you can and follow these tips to ensure quality photos for your social media.

Your friends would surely love to see the beauty of the place you just visited, and most importantly, how happy you are to be there. For your haters, if you have some – never mind them!