Dinagyang 2018: 50 years!

Dinagyang Warriors (c) Banggi Cua

Hala Bira Iloilo! Dagyang Kita!

The first quarter of the year, the months of January and February especially, are the busiest months in my city. We got lots of festivities installed for local and foreign tourists. In January, we start our year with Dinagyang festival, and it is followed by Paraw Regatta, one of the oldest sailing competition in the Philippines, in February. For this post, let me talk about the best festival in the Philippines. Yes, you heard it right! I’m sorry if I may be offending others readers for this but I am just one proud Ilonggo here. ^^

Dinagyang is a major festival in Iloilo and perhaps in the whole Philippines. In fact, it is a Hall of Famer in Aliwan festival which is a competition of all festivals in the Philippines. This world class festival is often sent abroad to represent the Philippines and invite more tourists. It  is usually celebrated in honor of Senior Sto. Nino.

This year marks the 50th year of the Dinagyang Festival. The main activities are set from January 26~28, 2018.

To know more about the Dinagyang history, I will link you to the Dinagyang Festival Official website.


Got this photo when I had a chance to have a seat on the stage in one of the judging areas.


Days and even months before this festival, we could hear drum beats even up to midnight in Plazas and schools. We can see how much love and effort are put into the preparation of this festival not only by the organizers but also by the tribe participants.

Dinagyang is also known to be the time for family reunions as a lot of people from abroad go home to join the celebration. There are parties everywhere, and road closure too! hehe ’tis the season of walking for those who want to witness the competition up-close. Nevertheless, there is no tiring walk for a bunch of friends who never seem to run out of chitchat topics.

Those who are interested to join the fun, below is the schedule of activities which I got from Dinagyang FB.



My Summer Story: Ilocandia Tour

Package Tour

My Ilocos tour was basically crafted with the dream of going north. I’ve always dreamt of exploring Ilocos for two reasons: 1. the challenge of going up north for an enduring 9-hour ride (I know it’s crazy.) 2. the rich history and beautiful nature of Ilocos.

This is not a recent trip. Actually, it was way back in May 2014 when my high school friends and I (four of us) decided to take a package tour to Ilocos. I just want to take it out from my memory box and share my experience to everyone here.

As I’ve said, this is a package tour and below are the inclusions:

  • 3 days 2 nights hotel accommodation with breakfast
  • Complete Ilocandia tour of Laoag Vigan and Pagudpud,
  • A night tour in Laoag,
  • Van for four,
  • Driver-Guide,
  • Terminal pick up and Drop off

Hotel Accommodation: UKL Ever Hotel, Airport Rd, Barangay 46, Laoag City, 2900 Ilocos Norte

Contact (not the driver): Jan-Carlo Caldito  09175954715
I’m not sure if this is still his number. (Not paid to advertise. I just want to share it with others)

Cost: Php13000 (4 pax), Php3250/pax (This data is not updated.)


Going to Ilocos

To get to Ilocos, we took the 11:00PM trip on our own expense, Farinas Bus (First class, aircon bus with CR). At that time it cost around Php700 (checking from their website, the fare is still the same). It was really a long drive and we took the wrong seat in the bus. (NOTE: do not take the last row because you will feel all the movements of the bus.)

Below is the itinerary given to us. We were not able to accomplish everything due to time constraint. Plus, this travel was very overwhelming. Too many destination and activities! LOLI will be highlighting those we were not able to do in red.


Day 1 – Vigan-Laoag Tour


  • Baluarte ni Singson
  • Burgos Museum
  • Bantay Church and Bell Tower
  • Crisologo Museum
  • Jar Making
  • Syquia Mansion
  • Heritage Village
  • Heritage Village Walking Tour (Pasalubong Souvenir & Snack)
  • St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral


  • Juan Luna Shrine


  • Marcos Mausoleum


  • Malacañang Ti Amianan
  • St. Augustine Church
  • Sand Dunes
  • Fort Ilocandia Resort (optional)

Check in Hotel

City Night Tour (7pm)

  • Laoag Sinking Bell Tower
  • Pamulinawen Clock
  • Ilocos Norte Capitol
  • Aurora Park
  • Tabaco Monopoly
  • Museo Vivo Ilocos
  • Tabaclera


Day 2 – Laoag Pagudpud Tour


  • Museo Diocesano de Laoag


  • Sta. Monica Church
  • Marcos Museum (Birth Place)


  • Café Bojeudor Light House
  • Kapurpurawan Rock Formation


  • Bangui Wind Mills


  • Saud Beach
  • Kabigan Falls
  • Patpat Via Duct
  • Agua Grande
  • Paraiso ni Anton
  • Bantay Abot
  • Blue Lagoon (Swimming)

Head Back to Laoag Hotel


Day 3

Free day/ City Walking/ Shopping

Check out 12nn

Drop off Bus Terminal

That’s all folks! (^_^)

It is literally a long list for me. To be able to give a better discussion, I will be discussing our tour on separate posts. I hope you could check them out.




Iloilo My Love – Isla Gigantes & Sicogon Island Tour

ISLA GIGANTES is a group of islands found in the north eastern part of the Province of Iloilo. It is part of the Municipality of Carles, Iloilo. However, it can also be accessed through the Estancia Port, as well. Some of the popular islands in the area are: Cabugao Gamay Island, Tangke, Antonia Beach and Bantigue Island.

The place is not as popular as the well developed Islands of Boracay and Panglao but it boasts a beautiful seascape, clear waters, white sand beaches and fresh seafood.

Travel Time: It took us around 3 hours to get to Carles by bus. Then another 30 minutes to one-hour boat-ride to reach the Islands.

Accommodation: New Beach Head Resort, Barosbos, Carles, Iloilo

Friday Night: Dinner and overnight stay at New Beach head

Island Hopping at Isla Gigantes
– Tangke Lagoon
– Sand Bar
– Isla Antonia (lunch buffet)
– Cabugao Gamay

Sicogon Island

Port of Entry: Bancal Port, Carles, Iloilo
Port of Exit: Estancia Port

Ferry Boat Rent: Php7,000 (Sicogon trip included)
Maximum passenger: 20pax

Lunch buffet c/o Mr. Christopher Salao: Php150/pax

Environmental fee: Php75.00

Entrance fees:
– Tangke: Php20.00
– Cabugao Gamay: Php50.00
– Isla Antonia: Php40.00

Bus Fare:
Iloilo City to Carles : Php206.00
Estancia to Iloilo City: Php160.00

Alternative Route: Iloilo City to Balasan: Php160.00

Balasan to Carles – (No Data. My group was picked up from Balasan)

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On our way to Tangke Langoon. This small boat was too fast flying in between waves.


At the entrance of the Lagoon


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Taken while swimming in the middle of the Lagoon.
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Friends enjoying the water inside the Lagoon. Sorry for some distortions. I used an underwater camera and I was not able to clean the lens before taking this picture
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Approaching Isla Antonia. What a beautiful sight!
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Colors of Nature. Still at Isla Antonia. I’m loving the sky and the very summer-y shot.
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Overlooking the sandbar! Here you could eat scallops at an affordable price!


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At Cabugao Gamay. The emerald sea never ceases to amaze a nature lover in me.



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Stone stacking everywhere. I wonder who started it. They just did another beautiful site.



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The Ayala Properties reviving the old airstrip. This picture was taken on our way back home. This is one side of Sicogon Island.

Sigocon Island is the place where the classic Filipino movie ” Ang Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa.” was filmed. In the recent year, Ayala Properties purchased this Island to develop resorts. I think they are also developing it to be self-sustainable. When we went there, we learned that there is already an air-conditioned resort which consist of less than 10 cottages. Mind you, they are fully booked! And the rooms I think is very expensive. According to source, it’s about Php6, 000.00 per night. hmmm…





2017 South Korea Tour Day 7 & 8. Friends, Cheonan, Goodbyes

I’ve always loved learning different kinds of culture. You must be surprised but because I am a sageuk (historical) drama fan, I came to know many of the historical figures in Korea.

For this post, let me show you my last two days in SK.

Day 7
– Visited my friends in Cheonan
– Independence Hall of Korea

Day 8
– Jongmyo Shrine
– Ginseng at Lotte Mall Duty Free Shop


Day 7

Independence Hall (Cheonan, South Korea)

It was literally a long walk but a good one. I was in awe and I felt how grand it was. This place is too big to walk around. There are 7 exhibition halls and I got to enter each one of these halls. It was an educational walk starting from the pre-historic Korea up to the liberation from Japanese regime. It was very organized that I wish I could see one in my country.

The Grand Hall.

The Independence Hall of Korea displays Korean historical documents and relics from the past to the present, focusing on the independence movements of the Japanese Colonial Period. Originally the interim Government Building of Korea in China, the building was brought over to Korea after the nation was liberated from Japanese colonial rule on August 15, 1945. The Independence Hall officially opened on the anniversary of Independence Day on August 15, 1987 and now boasts seven exhibition halls, the Circle Vision Theater, and other facilities commemorating Korea’s struggle for freedom. (Source: Visit Korea website)

Monument of the Nation

The monument to the nation which expresses the soar of the nation resembles the wings of a bird flying up in the sky and the hands folded to make a prayer. It expresses the perpetual spirit of the nation in the past, present and future. It also holds the will towards sovereignty and independence of the nation. There is a sculpture carving of the althea and Taegeukgi on the front and back. There are mosaic pieces that symbolizes the four faithfuls, Cheongryeong, Baekho, Jujak and Hyeonmu, on the four sides in the monument. It is a large structure that is 51m high. (Source: Independence Hall of Korea website.)



The Statue of Indomitable Koreans


Meeting friends

It has been 10 years since I last met them. It’s always amazing to have friends from other parts of the globe. I love them both! Meet my friends Freddie and Joanne. They were very supportive and I found out we are recently crazy about one Korean TV drama: Goblin. She gave me a photo book!*cries*



Day 8

Jongmyo Shrine

My flight back home was 4:00 in the afternoon. I still have half a day to go around. Plus, I had to go back to Lotte Duty Free in Myeongdong to buy fresh ginseng for my parents. Since the store opens a bit late, I decided to go to Jongmyo Shrine. I was lucky to witness a ceremony.

Jongmyo is the supreme state shrine where the spirit tablets of the deceased kings and queens are enshrined and sacrificial rites are performed for them based on Confucian principal.

Hall of Eternal Peace
Fish Head protecting the houses and buildings
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King’s carriage. I am not quite sure if it is a real one. When I looked at it closely, I just thought it was too small… hehe
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Walking around Jongmyo.  I love the colors. It’s just spring so I wonder how it looks in fall.
Things used during the ceremonies

Travel tips:

1. I didnt know I could get to Cheonan for a lesser cost. I worried that my T money was not enough to cover for my fare so I reloaded. Then after reloading, I’ve learned that I could go to Cheonan without using the KTX! In fact, it was just one ride without transfer from my hotel. Cool~

2. It was a relaxing trip. By the way, I didnt buy any agency package. I planned and researched all the places I went to. So, I didnt have to force my self to wake up very early. I can travel at my own pacing.

3. I am a regular viewer of a top Korean travel variety show 2 Days 1 Night so I already have ideas on which places i’d like to go to.

4. My flight back to Aklan was 4:55 in the afternoon Philippine time. I took the subway to Seoul station. By 1:00 I was already traveling back to the airport. It was my first time to be in SK and the airport is too big that I had to take shuttle train inside the airport. I was just right in time because I just waited for around 30 mins before the boarding.

5. The decision of taking Aklan International Airport instead of going to manila was for convenience. First, the queue in the immigration is not that long compared to that in Manila. You can check which departure point is convenient for you. Second, it’s cheaper! I had more or less 3k CEBPAC promo fare going to SK (cheaper than flight Manila-Incheon), and a bit over 7k back via Airasia (It’s summer in the Phils that’s probably the reason why the fare back is more expensive.)

6. I just dont like airbnb because it is expensive. Their site didnt give me exact amount in the search. I learned that they are adding more charge if you are traveling with others. Agoda.com gave me good deals.

7. Agoda mobile app is better than the PC version. There are some deals which are cheaper in mobile app but expensive in web version.

Useful Sites:
https://www.agoda.com/ ( As I know Agoda has special arrangements with hotels.)

2017 South Korea Tour Day 6. Palaces Tour

My whole day was spent walking because my hotel was near Gwanghwamun square.

– Sejong Dae Wang Monument
– Sejong Dae Wang exhibition hall
– Gyeongbukgung
– Cheong Hwa Dae (Blue House, Official Presidential Residence)
– Changdeukgung
– Changgyeonggung
– Cheongyejeon

Cancelled Tour:
– DMZ & Joint Security Area Tour
– presidential Rresidence Tour


Sejong Dae Wang Monument (King Sejong’s Monument)

King Sejong Monument

Above is King Sejong’s monument with his distinguishing achievements during this reign. Some of the changes he initiated during his reign was the 1.) Ban on lawsuits against public administrators; 2.) Maternity Leave on Bondwomen 3.) Opinion Survey on Farmland tax system 4.) Financial Aid to Poor Bachelors to Help with Matrimonial Prospects. (Isn’t that amazing?!) Underneath this monument is a museum where one can learn more about this great King.



He is best remembered as the inventor of Hangeul, the Korean alphabet. It is one of the most scientific language/system of writing. I remember the historical drama “Tree with deep roots.” A heart-warming story of how the King came up with the idea of creating Hangeul.


The screen which shows the sun, moon, 5 peaks and waves is generally placed behind the throne during the Joseon Dynasty period.



Gyeongbukgung is the main palace. It literally means “The new dynasty will be greatly blessed and prosperous.” It is a heaven for photographers. I’ve taken lots of pictures but it cannot fully tell the awesome feeling i had when I walked through the area. It was like walking through the same path the people in Joseon era did.  I just love it!

I remember the drama “The Great Seer”, which retells the story of the great King Taejo (Lee Seong Gye), the first King of Joseon dynasty. If my recollection is correct, Gyeongbukgung is built based on geomancy. So, it is perfectly situated where it is. The beautiful view of the mountain and the sky was just splendid to my eyes. It was a feast!




It is the most unique of the palaces as it was built in harmony with the landscape. It is very spacious. It is used a secondary palace during the Joseon Era




This palace is built for the elders of the Royal Family to live. I remember that it has a beautiful garden and a pond inside. The Grand Greenhouse inside this palace is Korea’s first modern conservatory built in 1990.


Cheon Hwa Dae

Since I am around the area, I did not miss a chance to pass by the Cheon Hwa Dae. Known as the Blue House, it is the residence of the Korean President.



Tongin Market and Doshirak Cafe

Facing Gyeongbukgung, you can walk towards the left of the palace to the direction of Cheon Hwa Dae. I think it was around midway that I asked people around of Tongin Market. I had a lot of walking. There were many cafes and restaurants around the area because there were many public and private office there. However, I decided to look for Tongin Market to experience doshirak cafe. “Doshirak” literally means lunch box. You can exchange your 5000won to some brass coins to experience buying the traditional way. Well, there are lots of selection there but I only had what my stomach can handle.

Cheonggyecheon Stream


I got lost in Seoul that evening. But, I ended up passing by the beautiful Cheongyecheon stream. I just wish I had better camera to capture it.


Another discovery when I got lost is the Boshingak Bell Pavilion.





Travel tips:

1. Wear a comfortable shoes these places take a lot of walking. I basically visited almost every area of the 3 palaces. Sorry but you’ll see lots of houses because i love them. These are major palaces so I could not imagine how I managed to do it.

2. I paid for a combined palace tour so I didnt have to wait in line whenever i go to other palaces. It also saved me money.

3. There is Tongin Market on the (viewer’s) left of Gyeongbuk Palace. (just wall and ask people) There you could experience buying using the traditional brass coin, and eating at Doshirak (lunch box) cafe. There were many students during my visit. The food was very cheap. It’s my first time visiting a traditional market and eating there..

4. There is a tour at the Blue House. I even managed to book for my cousin and I on April 8. However, we were not able to attend it due to conflict of schedule. I tried booking again around 2 weeks before my flight to Sk but there is no slot anymore. If you plan to go there, better manage your schedule well.

5. April 13 was supposedly a DMZ & JSA tour. My tour agency has already confirmed and it is with Cosmojin (http://cosmojin.com/). Blame it to North Korea, the UN decided to ban all tours temporarily. I was so excited but maybe that was not the time for it. This gives me reason to go back.

6. I booked a tour inside the Presidential residence but was not able to make it there. If you are interested to visit, you can check http://english.president.go.kr/

7. My last place to visit was Changgyeonggung, from there I learned how to commute by bus. Bus No. 150 passes through Jongno 3(sam)ga and the Sejong Daero area.

8. If you are planning to visit Secret Garden you have to book early. They only sell 100 tickets.

9. Rent a Hanbok, if you really want to feel how it is living in the past

10. There is a locker inside Changdeukgung where you could leave your heavy luggage. You just need to insert 100W coin to lock it.

My South Korea Tour Day 4 – Seoul City Tour


Busan ==> Myeongdong ==> Lotte World (Duty Free) ==> Heo Joon Jae’s House (Lee Min Ho’s house in Legend of the Blue Sea) ==> N Seoul Tower ==> Myeongdong Street Food & more shopping ==> Jimjilbang experience


Accommodation:  Khaosan Seoul Insadong Guesthouse. 56 Gwansu-dong, Jongro, Seoul, South Korea.


Fresh Ginseng and Souvenir at Lotte Duty Free

We left Busan with a heavy heart. We felt that we could have had more fun had it not for the weather. After breakfast, we fixed our things and went to Busan KTX station. We arrived earlier than our schedule in the station so asked the ticketing officer if we could change it for an earlier schedule, and they allowed. By the way, we booked our hostel (Khaosan) for April 10 and 11, 2017, thinking that we have enough time to leave some of our luggage but we were not able to do it as we went straight away to the Seoult KTX station to wait for our train to Busan.

This is basically our first day around Seoul because we mostly went to places outside the metro. Our first stop of the day was in Myeongdong tourist information center. Hehe  We were not very familiar with the area, and we didnt want to waste time searching for places without any hint. In the tourist information center they gave us instruction and map… several maps of Seoul and Myeongdong, actually.

Myeongdong was like a wonderland to us. Indeed, it’s a shopping haven.  There’s sale everywhere! (However, my student told me that products are always on sale there.)  LOL The shopping district was still busy despite the news on fewer number of tourist after the ban on group packages from China.

To be able to explore this urban jungle, we filled our stomach with several servings of samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly) and some soondubu jjigae (soft tofu stew). Then, we went around to look for a ginseng store but we could not find a store that sells ginseng in the bottle. Then we headed to Lotte Duty Free… and we found a ginseng store. It’s just that it’s not in the bottle. The sales manager instructed us how to make our own ginseng inside a liquor bottle. I did not buy anything yet as I will be staying longer than them. Plus I’d like to stroll around with my hands free. My phone, camera and shoulder bag was enough. I bought my ginseng on my 7th day. I placed it in a bottle with wine instead of soju and gave it to my parents. I’ll take pictures of them when I go my parent’s house.


Heo Joon Jae’s House (Legend of the Blue Sea)

Did I mention that my cousin is an avid Lee Min Ho fan? Well, she is and she is recently watching LOTBS. I remember I was tagged by my younger sister of a blog. This was seen by my cousin and she particularly saved it. Thanks to it, we were like teenagers in front of their crush’s house. It was very accessible. It’s just on the nearest stair on your right when you go to Namsan Tower.

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Namsan Tower (N Seoul Tower)

We reached N Seoul Tower by cable car. But, going up to the cable car station was like a Holy Week hike. It was a tough climb for us who are not used to hilly places. However, the perseverance paid off because we were just right before the time the influx of tourists arrived. There was a queue but it moves fast. After few minutes, we were already on top…to be surprised of several more climbs. LOL

The temperature was dropping, added to the fact that we were on a higher altitude.


Myeongdong Street Food

My being foodie enjoyed exploring Myeongdong Street food. My friends loved it too. In fact, we didn’t get to have dinner because we stuffed ourselves a lot from fruits to bread and spicy stuffs. I did not and I could not take pictures because my hands were full. While my friends were looking for more souvenirs, I stopped over several stalls and bought snacks for us. I love the bread with egg on top.

Some of my favorite Korean food. Fish cake & Fried Dumplings
We had a chitchat with the ajusshi selling fish cake and dumplings. It was fun and our laughter added to the noise of the district. The ajusshi was actually teasing me that I should not eat there with my friends because I bought my fish cake from another stall. LOL


Jimjilbang Experience

Tada! We just became a certified Korean fan.

When you finally had a chance to visit Korea as your dream tourist destination, you’ll probably regret not being able to visit a sauna. At this point in time, it was already like 11:30 in the evening. But, it was my cousin’s last night (My other friends already left for the airport. They had early morning flight and they could not risk missing the plane.) We decided to ask out hostel employee if there is a nearest sauna. We were just happy to know that there was one nearby… and so, off we go!

Philippines do not have a public bath culture. More so, naked people in the same place. I have expected this but still it shocked me. We just want to experience the culture. However, since it was already late at night, some places were already dark, the lights were turned off. So, kept on looking for a good place just to have our picture taken. We also searched Youtube for a video instruction on how to fold the towel. LOL

Korean Sports Massage

It was one of the most memorable experience I had in Korea. I love having a massage. In fact, I make it a habit to have it at least once a month. Massage is perfect to loosen up our muscle. And sports massage was perfect for me that that time. My entire body, particularly my feet were basically tired. The massage therapist was very good at hitting the right point. It felt really relaxing that I was able to sleep well. I’m definitely going to try it again when I go back. (I just wish I can find it here in my City.)


Travel Tips:

1. From our guesthouse we took the subway to Myeongdong. We went to Lotte Duty free to buy Ginseng and “pasalubong”. To get there, we went to a tourist information office and got free maps. Yes, maps are free and detailed. I got plenty of them. Myeongdong’s pretty big and there are many cosmetics shops. Actually, there are similar shops in every corner. Tourist information offices made our tour a bit easier.

2. Since we want to go to N Seoul Tower while there is still sun, we decided to stop shopping first and walked from Myeongdng to N Seoul tower cable car station. Just head to the direction of Pacific hotel. There is a bus going there from Myeongdong but since we were short of time, we just walked uphill…It was like a Holy Week sacrifice for us! LOL

3. Our exhausting climb seemed nothing when we came across Heo Joon Hae’s house. Yes, you read it right! it’s just near the stairs before you reach the N Seoul cable car station.

4. Since this is a popular tourist destination, expect long queue. We just got lucky because when we arrived there weren’t much tourist before us. But after few minutes, the station was already full.

5. If you expect all the climbing stops when you take the cable car, forget about it. LOL. There’s more climb to the get to the top. Plus, it’s unexpectedly chilly too.

6. Back to Myeongdong, we didn’t have dinner because we had so much of gastronomic delight from all the street foods.

7. There is tax refund. So, if you want to get it, you have to make sure that you inform the salesperson and request for a receipt you can use to claim it in the airport. In my case, I had regular receipt. I wasn’t aware that I had to exchange it for another one. So, it cant be scanned in the airport.

8. There was a jimjilbang near our guesthouse so, of course, my cousin and I took chance to experience it.

9. We had sports massage there for like 30,000W. I am not sure if it is cheap or not. hehe all I know was that it was a relaxing experience after all the walk.

My South Korea Tour Day 3. “2D1N in Busan”


 Pyeongchang ==> Seoul KTX Station ==> Train to Busan ==>  Jagalchi Market ==>  BIFF Square ==> Yongdusan Park ==> Gwangan Beach & Bridge


In the original plan, we should leave Pyeongchang before 7 o’clock in the morning. But, it would be rude to just leave the deliciously prepared breakfast by our lovely host couple.  Look at those beautiful colors! We were definitely full and ready for the long trip down south. We left our holiday home later than expected.


Busan Tour

To complete our Korea tour, we decided to take KTX train to Busan. Nope. We did not have zombies on board. But, surely we had a lot of funny, memorable and not so memorable experiences on this trip.


KTX to Busan.



KTX to Busan. We booked our Korail Pass night before our trip. Since we are traveling in group we decided to book a 2-day flex group saver pass so we could save from our transportation expense.

We were pressed with time to redeem our voucher for the KTX ride. We kept running here and there. My cousin and I were the younger ones that could move fast so we decided to facilitate everything. We knew that tickets should be printed but still we took our chance to just show a soft copy along with our passport and credit card used to book it. When we arrived at the KTX station to redeem our reservation, we were advised to have it printed. Good thing there is a public computer that gives access to internet and printer inside the Seoul KTX station. We used our tap card to pay for it.

We had a bad experience on this machine station though. Ahead of  us were 2 Thai males who didn’t seem to figure out how to use the machine as well. Realizing that the queue was already long, they stepped aside. When we took over and paid our part. Then, they offered to “help” us. Unfortunately, they just tricked us! They used our money and time for their own use, printed their own ticket and left. Charged to experience. Thank goodness we made it in time. It was crazy! Come to think of it. We finished everything in less than 30 minutes and we had still 15 minutes before our train arrives.

TIP: We confirmed our ticket back to Seoul in Seoul KTX station so we didn’t have to take the queue in Busan KTX station the next day.

Assigned Seat. KTX has pre-assigned seat. It was funny but probably due to excitement to take our seat and eat our kimbap (it was past 1 o’clock in the afternoon, by the way.), we didn’t even remember to check our seat number. When we saw four seats facing each other (and with a table) I know our eyes dazzled as if we found a treasure. LOL! We did not hesitate to take it. It was until our first bite, when the ticket inspector asked us, that we wished we could hide ourselves from embarrassment. (^_^) Good thing my cousin took the tickets with her in the toilet. We made an excuse and he left. We surreptitiously moved to our assigned seat laughing.

Internet. Yes. Our fingers have been itching to post an update in social media site. We were finally on board train to Busan! Thankfully, we had good access of free internet en route to our destination.

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And we were finally here! #BusanKTXStation

When we thought that Busan is warmer because it’s in the south, we were actually caught unprepared. The weather was rainy so the wind was chilly. Later on, my Korean friend who grew up in Busan told me that it’s actually a “rain city” because it often rains there. (Just like my hankies, I think I lost 2 umbrellas with me here. LOL).



Popcorn Hostel Nampo

South Korea, Busan, Jung-gu, 자갈치로47번길 6-1.

This hostel is very cheap and ideal for backpackers. I booked it through Agoda. We paid like 550pesos each. Not bad for overnight stay. (Upon updating this blog, I saw the website of Popcorn Hostel. It’s a great improvement because I think they didn’t have it when I booked it (or did they?)


BIFF Square


Our hostel is located conveniently within the city center. It’s pretty near the Jagalchi Market (smaller arc behind me) and the BIFF Square.


BIFF Square is just right across our hostel. At the entrance, we were welcomed by these food stalls. It was rainy yet many people were still strolling around. While taking pictures of each other, one ajumma called our attention and told us to move while murmuring. It turned out that were covering her stall from prospective customers.


Going around BIFF Square

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Yongdusan Park (Busan Tower)

A lot of our plans in Busan got cancelled due to rain. So, we just decided to explore nearby tourist attractions. A leisurely walk brought us to a Buddhist temple beneath a hilly slope, then we found a stair, which seemed to be never-ending. Our curiosity on what’s there to see brought us on top of Yongdusan Park. We only realized it when we’re already up there.



Few steps more to Busan Tower. On this day, my phats were crying. LOL
Citizen’s Bell




This could have been a better view had we gotten a chance to enter Busan tower. The place was already close when we arrived. The buildings behind us were actually skyscrapers, but we only got this view.
Flower clock, General Lee Soon Shin’s Monument and Busan tower in my background.



Busan Tower Upclose




Gwanganlli (Gwangan Bridge)

When in Busan, one should not miss to see the waters. Either you go to Haeundae or Gwangan Beach or both. In our case, however, we just visited Gwangan Beach. Aside from the fact that we could see the beautiful diamond bridge, we wanted to have seafoods for dinner too, but we just could not find one because it’s hard for us to navigate our location.


Gwangan Bridge at night.


Gwangan Bridge (popularly known as Gwanganlli to many tourists), is a suspension bridge located in Busan, South Korea. It connects Haeundae-gu to Suyeong-gu. The road surface is about 6,500 meters long, with the bridge as a whole spanning 7,420 meters. It is the longest bi-level bridge over the ocean in Korea. In addition to providing a quick way to get around, the bridge offers breathtaking views of nearby attractions such as Oryukdo Island, Hwangnyeongsan Mountain, Gwangalli Beach, Dongbaekseom Island, and Dalmaji Hill.

We were able to witness a firework’s display when we got there. It was just short as it was almost ending when we got out of the restaurant.


Samgyetang.  It means ginseng chicken soup. It is consists primarily of a whole young chicken – filled with garlic and rice, scallion and spices, among them jujube and Korean ginseng



Our exhaustion searching for Korean seafoods restaurant in Gwanganlli brought us in this restaurant. There were actually many restaurants in the area but they were Japanese. The Korean restaurant we saw had many people drinking and they don’t serve dinner. Personally, I was glad to have been here. I’ve always wanted to try eating samgyetang. It was very delicious. It seemed to rejuvenate my tired body from walking. It was my first time eating something with ginseng. (When I got home, my mother was laughing whenever I talk about ginseng because she said we have a ginseng plant at home. She even showed it to me. Oh well, Korean ginseng is different from our ginseng. hehe)

On my 3rd day traveling around Korea, I realized that the side dishes vary according to area. While we were served mountain vegetables in Pyeongchang, we were served seaweeds, and I think spicy fish anchovy, in Busan. The owner probably realized that I was curious about ginseng so she gave us 2 baby ginsengs to be eaten fresh. It’s my first time so it tasted weird to me but it was not bad, and I finished it



After eating, we decided to go back to our hostel in Jagalchi. We asked for direction from the restaurant owner. We had 3 options, subway, bus and taxi. We took the easiest and fastest: taxi. There’s a very little difference in terms of cost since we are four, and we can divide the cost. It was a good decision, and our driver was very trustworthy, only that he drives really fast. He went over 100kph so I had to tell him to reduce speed. Thanks to my limited Korean, he was able to understand me.
Taking the taxi was a very good decision. We were able to see the downtown of Busan at night. We also used the beautiful Bukhang Bridge. It was another new information to me.
Bukhang Bridge is the 2nd longest cable-stayed bridge in Korea. It was completed last 2014 so it’s a new attraction. It would have been nice if we were able to see the daytime view of the sea from there.


Breakfast at Jagalchi Market

We woke up early with hope that the rained had stopped but unfortunately it didn’t so we had no choice but to just have breakfast and prepare for our trip back to Seoul. We decided to go to Jagalchi Market for some local food. The marketplace is perfect to experience local culture.

Jagalchi Market, located on the shoreside road in Busan’s Jung-gu, is Korea’s largest seafood market, selling both live and dried fish. After the Korean War the market solidified itself as a fish market. Most of the people who sell fish are women, so the vendors here are called Jagalchi Ajumma, “ajumma” meaning middle-aged or married woman in Korean.


This market represents Busan and is famous throughout the country. If you visit you can eat fresh raw fish right at the market.

We did not walk further as the rain was pouring.  When an ajumma called us to eat at her restaurant, we checked and decided to have our breakfast there. She was kind enough to offer fresh towels to us. It was sealed. Good service! Anyway, since it’s rainy we opted for something with soup. She offered a hot-pot of eel soup and we went for it. I love spicy food so it was perfect for me!

While waiting for our food to be served, it felt like I was in a Korean drama. LOL! There were several regulars (probably). There was also a big TV monitor showing a replay of Korean dramas. She also offered us pajeon and, later on after meal, a cup of coffee!




Travel Tips:

1. If you are traveling in group, I suggest making an online reservation through your credit card for a Korail Group saver pass. You wont be deducted until you redeem it. In our case, we are 4 so we booked at least a day before. We bought a 2 day flex pass. (http://www.letskorail.com/ebizbf/EbizBfKrPassAbout.do) from 102,000W to just paid 91,000W each. Ok, so basically we spent more money in Busan just to experience KTX ride ^_^.

2. Have your Korail pass printed. If you were not able to do it, there is a machine for printing in Seoul KTX station. We had a bad experience from Thai travelers though. We thought they are going to help us but instead they printed their own, and I paid for them. Let’s charge it to experience.

3. Be at the KTX station at least 30mins to 1 hour because the queue may be long.

4. Don’t forget to check the weather. It was raining when we arrived in Busan. On our way, we just checked the sunset because we were planning to go to Gamcheon Culture Village but we failed to check the weather. Days after, my student said it always rains in Busan TT TT.

5. The downtown Busan is like a typical city in Seoul with many cosmetics shop too. As for the weather, it was pretty cold because it was raining.

6. Gwangan is famous for its diamond bridge and its beach. However, the area is less busier than Haeundae beach which is also a famous tourist place in Busan. We want to eat seafood that time but it’s too late so we just had Samgyetang in Busan! -_- It was delicious though. One whole chicken for each of us. 

7. We used our tapcard for Taxi! it was like 10~12000W from Gwangan beach to our hotel in Nampo. Not bad for the 4 of us chipping in.

8. If you want to Go to Gwangan beach, don’t go to Gwangan station because it’s far from the beach and takes a lot of walking. Instead get off at Geumnyeonsan Station. It’s much nearer.

9. By the way, in KTX Station in Seoul we already booked our return ticket so we didn’t have to wait in line in Busan. Also, when we arrived at Busan KTX, we were able to change our travel time to a much earlier one. This is possible.

10. Subway Korea app also has a map for Busan. ^_^