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2019 BTS Summer Package Vol. 5 (Korea Version)


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!


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!)