My South Korea Tour Day 2 – Bukchon Hanok Village and Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do

 Itinerary

Bukchon Hanok Village ==> Constitutional Court of Korea ==> Baek In-je House Museum ==> Pyeongchang, Gangwondo ==> Yongpyong Ski Resort ==> Alpensia Ski Resort

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Bukchon Hanok Village

This day started with a short visit to Bukchon Hanok Village.  According to our hostel staff it is just near our place. We can just take around 20 minutes walk to go there. However, since we were not very familiar with the place and we didn’t want to be too late for the bus trip in Gangwon-do, we took the subway from Jongno 3(sam) ga to the next station, Anguk station. Just take a walk for few meters. You can ask people around where Bukchon Hanok Village is and you will know it’s pretty easy to find. There were also some brass signs giving direction on the pavement. We didn’t see it until we stepped on it on our way home. So, don’t just look up for direction, try to look down (literally!). You might have stepped on it already.

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“Court” Ladies from Philippine SC to the Constitutional Court of Korea.

The Constitutional Court of Korea. In search for Bukchon Hanok Village, we took the street along the Constitutional Court of Korea. They say that lovers who pass this area end up being separated. (This is because this is the place where people get final judgement for divorce.) I have noticed that government offices in Korea have plenty of flags surrounding it. (Well, in the PH we mostly have just one, unless it’s independence day.)

What is Bukchon Hanok Village?

The word Bukchon literally means “north” in Hangul. It was named as such for being the northern village of Jongno and Cheonggye Stream. This is a residential village of the high-ranking officials during the Joseon Dynasty. Bukchon has several neighborhoods Wonseo-dong, Jae-dong, Gye-dong, Gahoe-dong and Insa-dong.

Bukchon Hanok Village represents the 600 years history of Seoul. It lies between Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung. This area was not created for tourism. It remains to be a residential village. However, with features from TV shows and dramas like Personal Taste, it has become a top tourist destination for many. In fact, there has been a rapid increase in coffee shops, galleries, restaurants and other tourism facilities in the area. People are advised to tone down their volume when walking on this area because it is the home of many Seoulites.

Baek In-je House Museum

Baek In-je House Museum. Baek In-je’s house is a representative hanok during the Japanese occupation. It reflects a modern hanok style house. It has a land area of about 2460sqm. The house is composed of sarangche (men’s quarters), anchae (women’s quarters, and byeoldangche (detached quarters) It is said that unlike the old hanoks, this house has unique attributes such as that the men and women’s quarters are not detached. Also, the anchae rooms  was built in two-story structure.

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Anchae (front)
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Byeoldangchae (Detached Quarter)

 

 

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At the back of Anchae

 

 

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A closer look at Anchae

 

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Empty condiment jars.
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A typical kitchen

 

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At the garden

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Living room inside sarangchae (men’s quarter)

 

Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do Tour

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With out host, Howard.

Holiday Home. Terrace on the Cloud.  (5413, Gyeonggang-ro, Hoenggye-ri, Daegwallyeong-myeon, 25341 Pyeongchang , South Korea).

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Photo © Terrace on the Cloud

It took us about 2 hours and a half to get to our destination in Pyeongchang. However, as it was our first time to have an out of town tour, it was full of excitement and anticipation. As Philippines is a tropical country, we don’t have a chance to enjoy cold weather. We left the Philippines in the middle of summer so going to a cold country such as Korea is a good escape. Yes, when everybody took a picture of their summer bods in the beach, we bundled up and went to Gangwon-do.

Before our trip to Korea, we kept constant monitoring if, really, there is still snow in Pyeongchang. We used the webcam of Yongpyong ski resort to monitor it.

Alpensia Ski Resort

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Our First stop was the Alpensia Ski jump. For  KRW15,000 fare, Howard offered to take us to our destination. On our way, we passed by Alpensia Ski Jump stadium. Alpensia will be the host of this incoming Pyeongchang Winter Olympics 2018. 

 

Yongpyong Resort (Dragon Peak)

Our holiday home is well situated near Yongpyong and Alpensia Ski Resorts. When we arrived at Yongpyong Ski Resort, Howard brought us to the ticket counter for gondola ride. At that time Yongpyong gave discount to VISA card holder. However, they only accept certain cards. We were so lucky because our host lent his credit card to us and we got around 30% discount. We paid only KRW48,000 for four (4) pax! We just carried over the expenses to our billing. He was the best! He made everything convenient to us.

 

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Taken from our gondola going up.

It was April 9, 2017 when this photo was taken. The snow was already melting so we were so happy to see it before it’s all gone. Our fear of heights was overpowered by happiness brought by the beautiful view we saw.

 

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View from the top.

It would be really stunning to see this in winter when the area is painted white by nature or spring and fall when it is painted with different colors.

 

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Smile though your hands are going numb.

 

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Pardon my scarf. I didn’t really know how I was wearing it. I just need to keep my self warm in any way because my hands were already going numb.

 

 

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To end the day, we had a sumptuous early dinner at Yongpyong Dragon Valley hotel. It was a bit pricey because we chose grilled beef. Gangwon-do is known for Hanwoo beef, the best quality beef. (I will have different post for the food I’ve had during my trip.)

 

K-drama Moments

At this point, only K-drama fan of my generation could probably relate. LOL! So… our gondola ride took us to Mt. Balwangsan. Here, you would see Yongpyong Dragon Peak which is a famous site for many Korean drama series such as Winter Sonata, and most recently, Goblin. My cover photo for this blog post actually shows the fence near the area where Kim Shin hugged Eun tak.

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#WinterSonata
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#JunSangMyLove

 

Going Around Yongpyong

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Travel Tips:

1. Hanok Village. There are so many places to experience Hanok Village. I can think of Jeonju and in Korean Folk Village in Yongin. However due to time constraint, we decided to go to Bukchon Hanok Village.

2. Winter Olympics 2018. Pyeongchang is the host City for the 2018 Winter Olympics. It is said that by the end of the year the railway connecting Incheon International Airport and Pyeongchang (and Gangneung) will be completed.

3. Activities. Pyeongchang is home to Samyang Ranch (Asia’s largest green pasture) but we were not able to go there. 

4. Side Trip. You can also have a day tour to Gangneung which is a city facing the east sea.

5. Hanwoo Beef. When in Pyeongchang, don’t forget to try Hanwoo beef, Korea’s best quality beef from the cattle raised in the highlands of Gangwon Province. It’s a bit pricey but it’s worth the taste and experience.

6. Bus Fare: as I can remember I think it’s just 12500W (one-way)

7. Terrace on the Clouds. Howard, our host picked us up from the bus terminal in Heonggye-ri to the hotel for free but we paid him around 15000W to Yongpyong resort. From Yongpyong to Alpensia we spent KRW13000 for taxi fare. Tap card is accepted. Also, you can ask the taxi hotel lobby if you want to get a cab.

8. Gondola Ride. If you have VISA card you can get 30% discount for gondola ride… so we paid only 48000W for the Gondola ride. By the way, Howard used his card to pay for us and we just added it to our bill ^^.

9. How to get to Hoenggye: From Jongno 3(sam) ga, take a subway to Gangbyeon Station. Upon arriving in Gangbyeong station, walk across to Dong Seoul terminal Platform 1-3. You can tell the driver to drop you off at Hoenggye-ri /hwing-gyee-ri/.

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My South Korea Tour – Day 1 Suwon & Yeouido)

Itinerary

Arrival   ->  Suwon Hwaseong Haenggung   -> Yeouido Cherry Blossom Picnic Festival  ->  LG Headquarters (LG twin Towers) -> Han River

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Touchdown at Incheon International Airport. Cannot contain my happiness ^^.

Philippines and South Korea has 1 hour difference. We left Kalibo International Airport (KLA) in a red eye flight (around 1:50am) Philippine time and arrived at Incheon International Airport a bit earlier than scheduled. Unfortunately, this was also the time when the influx of international tourist arrived so we spent over 30 minutes to around 1 hour in the immigration.

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Incheon International Airport Jongno 3(sam) ga via Gongdeok Station

HOSTEL. Khaosan Seoul Insadong Guesthouse, Gwansu-dong, Seoul, South Korea. According to the instruction sent by our hotel it is just 30 steps away from Jongno 3(sam) ga station, which is true indeed. From the airport, we went to our hostel directly. We have contacted them for early check-in and they were OK. However, as it would be Saturday morning, our hostel emailed us that it’s going to be difficult to have a vacant room to leave our luggage.. They told us to just leave our luggage in the receiving area, and the valuables in their office. (With emphasis on “We have CCTV.” LOL) And, it was safe indeed. The Staffs were very accommodating. In this trip, we basically planned to spend most of our time outside and just go home to sleep. Our room was comforting for me so I have no complains.

Suwon Hwaseong Haenggung

Jongno 3 (sam) ga to Suwon Station
Jongno 3(sam) ga going to Suwon Station

Traveling to Suwon City. From our hostel, it was very convenient to go to Suwon because it took us only 1 ride.

Please see below for more information from Subway Korea Mobile Application.

Fastest Route: Line 1, Blue Line
Time Required: 1hr 9mins

Stations: 25 stations
Transfer: None
Fare: 1950 KRW (Tap Card); 2050KRW (Cash)

Suwon is a beautiful City located in Gyeonggi-do (Gyeonggi-Province), and there are so many places to visit there but we were only able to visit the Hwaseong Haenggung.

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At AK Food Hall we had Bokkeumbap with beef patty on top (I forgot the exact name.)  for KRW9,000

Lunch at AK Food Hall. We arrived in the Suwon around lunchtime so we were limited in our activities. Plus, we were also thinking of going to Yeouido afterwards so we can’t really stay longer. Meanwhile, we opted to have a lunch at AK Plaza. The food hall of this shopping center can be accessed from the Suwon Station.  There are a lot of food selection but it was hard to find a table for four of us.

Bus to Hwaseong Haenggung. After lunch we decided to go to Hwaseong Haenggung. From Suwon Station, don’t forget to go to the tourist information center. They have a very helpful tourism officer there. He advised us to take bus numbers 11, 13, 36 or 39. The fare was around 1300KRW
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What is Hwaseong Haenggung?

Hwaseong Haenggung is the palace where King Jeongjo used to stay when he paid respects at Hyollungwon (Present day Yungneung). It is the largest Haenggung (Temporary palace) in the Joseon Dynasty with 576 rooms, and was normally used for government office. We went to every nook and cranny inside partly out of curiosity and partly looking for our friends ^^. Prepare your feet.

 

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(Top) Park just in front of Hwaseong Haenggung (Bottom Left) Front gate of Hwaseong Haenggung (Bottom Right) A picture with some Korean students.

 

I love that the park was filled with families enjoying their time together in a beautiful spring weather. This was the first historical landmark that we visited so I was very amazed. The busy people in the palace rehearsing for the next day’s activity, and these beautiful ladies in Hanbok here brings me back to the past. For sageuk drama fan, it was really an achievement for me.

 

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Remembering Prince Sado

While strolling around the palace, I came across this rice chest. It instantly reminded me of Prince Sado who was imprisoned and made to starve by his father (King). He died inside this chest. It was too small that I wondered how he could fit in here. Such a sad story of an estranged father and son relationship.

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Make A Wish.

Zelkova Tree. Don’t forget to make a wish.  According to them, this tree is more than 600 years old and very sacred. It has stood and protected Suwon City since before the construction of Hwaseong Fortress.

 

 

Yeouido Cherry Blossom Picnic Festival

Yeouido Cherry Blossom Picnic Festival. This was one of the most culturally shocking experience for us. We are used to enjoying festivals in my country but this one is different because the main and the most convenient (inconvenient at that time) form of transportation was subway. We took the Yeouinaru Station route from Suwon so we could get to the festival much closer but we didn’t expect the number of tourist in the area.  The place is enough for the number of tourist but the entry and exit points of the subway were not. We were shocked and scared that there might be a stampede as it was very difficult to exit on the subway stairs and people keep pushing us. Good thing I had enough strength against falling, otherwise people might just step on me. Nonetheless, it was a memorable experience for us.

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Cherry Blossom Picnic Festival, April 8, 2017

Yeouido is home to KBS station, National Assembly, IFC Mall and YG Republique restaurant but I was not able to go there.  We arrived in the area around 5:30PM and the temperature was dropping. We opted to enjoy the street food, cherry blossom and the Han River.

For this day, we also found a sort of traveler’s treasure (well, that’s just for me)… the LG Twin Towers (LG Electronics Headquarters!) We were just in search for a place to freshen ourselves. At first, I was hesitant to ask if my friends and I could use their toilet. Gosh! It’s for our survival, unless we want to embarrass ourselves in the crowd. Anyway, upon entering the building, we found a big LED monitor advertising LG. We didn’t mind it because after all LG is a Korean brand. However, I just could not stop wondering. I thought I had to speak my mind and and ask my question to the security so I could sleep well.  LOL Indeed, it was LG’s building… and we were at the back (^_^) So, we didn’t miss a chance to take pictures.

 

 

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A sculpture (left) and a bas-relief (right) at the back of LG Twin Towers.
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In front of LG Twin Towers

Han River Experience

I Seoul U ❤

To complete the evening, how about a walk in the area and be amazed by the different randoms street acts of aspiring singers and dancers… maybe future K-pop stars! Who knows you could also experience the fireworks display we saw ala Cheong Song Yi style. LOL

Travel Tips:

1. We bought T money Card for 4000W and have it reloaded with 50000W. We paid a total of 54000W (This is refundable) It saves time from reloading. You can use this tap card when taking a subway (Seoul & Busan) & Taxi.

2. Download Subway Korea App. It’s very helpful!

3. SK is tourist friendly. There are many tourist information centers in the area. Never hesitate to ask them questions.

What do you think of this post? I hope it could help you. Just message me for questions!

2017 South Korea Tour Day 5. Bonding with Korean Friends

Itinerary

Shilla Stay Hotel ==> Shinsegae Department store ==> Hadongkwan Restaurant ==> Deoksugung ==> Myeongdong Gyoza ==> Dinner at Jokbal Restaurant

 

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Copyright. Shilla Stay Gwanghwamun

Accommodation: Shilla Stay Gwanghwamun, 71 Sambong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

– Shinsegae Department store
– lunch at Hadongkwan – (www.hadongkwan.com)
– Deoksugung Palace
– walk along Seoul City Hall Area
– meal at Myeongdong Kyoja (www.mdkj.co.kr)
– Dinner at a Jokbal restaurant

I can say that on this day I had a gastronomic adventure. I always eat Korean food in the Philippines but on this tour day I satisfied my cravings for traditional Korean food from 40 to 70 years old restaurants.

I started this day transferring from my hostel to my hotel in Gwanghwamun area. I had to do it because my friends told me they are going to pick me up around 11 o’clock in the morning. Actually, my check in time was 2 o’clock in the afternoon but upon calling Shilla Stay they allowed me to just leave my luggage on their care.

 

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Shilla Stay Gwanghwamun (c)theygetaround.com

Shilla Stay Hotel (Gwanghwamun)

I had a very comfortable stay in this hotel. This is in a very good location. I can walk to Myeongdong, Cheonggyecheon stream, Jonggak station, Insadong, etc from here. Also, it is very near the palaces and Gwanghwamun Square. The staff were very helpful as well. The area is very safe that I can just walk comfortably alone in the evening.

 

 

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Shinsegae Departent Store

I’ve always been curious about Shinsegae because I always hear this from my students and some Korean dramas too. So, I was speechless when my friends brought me there. Actually, it was one of the nearest place to park my friend’s car to Myeongdong. We got a chance to go around its farmer’s market, and I loved it. I get to have dried persimmon and Jeju oranges from there. Bucket list checked!

 

Hadongkwan Restaurant

If you are interested at traditional food which are not spicy, please take note of the following:

a. Hadongkwan. This 70-year old restaurant is a must-try for tourist who do not like spicy food. It’s a popular Gomtang Restautant that you have to line up during lunch time. They  sell only 2 items – Gomtang and Suyuk in their menu and when the food they prepared were all served they close the store. We were lucky to have chance to eat there. It was said that the ingredients is top secret to the family. In the past, their Chef asked for their recipe but they did not give it. One of their chefs tried to copy the recipe and open a resto in Gangnam but people still go to the original for it has a distinct taste.

b. Suyuk. My friends were surprised that I could eat this food. So, I told them in the Philippines we also have this. From dinuguan to callos.

 

 

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(c)hadongkwan.com
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(c)hadongkwan.com

 

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Suyuk

 

 

Deoksugung

This palace is very near the Seoul City Hall. In front of it is a beautiful fountain. It’s pretty near a very busy intersection. Literally, Deoksugung means “palace of virtuous longevity”.

 

 

Myeongdong Kyoja

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Kalguksu and garlic kimchi

This is a 40 year old restaurant near Myeondong Cathedral. They are famous for Kalguksu which is a knife-cut noodles. Their serving is too big (maybe normal for Koreans) that I could not imagine how I could finish my food. They serve garlic kimchi, which is new to me so how could I say no to a new taste of Korean food? hehe (It’s like an oversize lomi which is a noodle dish in the Philippines. It’s bigger than the biggest serving of batchoy in Iloilo)

 

Jeokbal

I’d like to introduce my friend Joe. Ok, so we both gained weight. It has been years since I last saw his face. We’ve grown matured. Now, we are really adult. He is still as cool as he was. We met in the evening because he had work. I wish his wife was with us but he said she’s shy. He brought me in this jeokbal restaurant. He thought I dont eat pig’s feet. LOL. This was very delicious. It tasted like pork asado.  I had dinner with him and we had some suju. I told him I can drink but not that much because of my allergy. I believe we had dinner somewhere in Insadong.

It was definitely a day worth reminiscing. I had a lot of fun. More than that, I was so happy to meet my friends.

 

Travel tips:

1. Get your hotel’s phone number. You can ask if you could do early check in. My friends said they will pick me up from my hotel at 11am. So, I had to call my hotel. The earliest they could give me was 1pm but they told me I can leave my things to them for safekeeping if I arrive early. So I went there around 10am.

2. A pair of comfortable walking shoes is a advised. Seoul takes a lot of walking.

My South Korea Tour: Pre-departure

Point of Departure: Kalibo International Airport (KLA), Kalibo, Aklan

Prepare for Terminal Fee (Php750) and Travel Tax (Php1650).

My friends and I live in Iloilo City, the City of Love. It takes about 4 hours to go to Kalibo, Aklan by bus. We decided to take the KLO because it’s cost-saving!

Convenient. This airport is a gateway to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Boracay Island. It has direct flights to Incheon, South Korea so we didn’t have to go to Manila and cost another plane fare. Yes, for us who live outside the mainland Luzon, we have to take another plane ride. We do have an airport of international standard but it only serves Hong Kong and Singapore flights for now (I heard we will soon have direct flight to South Korea!).

Cheaper Fare. The fare is much cheaper than direct flight MLA-ICN. Plus, we were able to stumble upon a promo fare KLA-ICN last January. (Start your own monitoring now!) With additional 20kgs baggage, I paid Php3719 (Cebu Pacific).* However, it’s a red eye flight, 1:50AM. We left Iloilo for Aklan April 7 at 4:00PM and arrived around 9:00PM. (We had a lot of waiting time. I have no complaints though. I can do it again.) For our return flight, there are several options: PAL, CebPac, AirAsia. My friends grabbed the 7:00AM ICN-KLA, (Cebu Pacific) but I took 4:00PM ICN-KLA (Air Asia) because it’s hard for me to wake up early. I spent about PHP7,230 back to PH.

*MLA-ICN fare at that time was about Php6000 – Php7000 (Cebu Pacific).

Please see below for the pre-departure expense:

Bus from Iloilo to Kalibo (est.) with return Php 700
Terminal Fee Php 750
Travel Tax Php 1650
KLO-ICN (CebPac) with 20kgs baggage allowance Php 3,719
ICN-KLO (AirAsia) with 20kgs baggage allowance Php 7,230

Total

Php 14,049.00

I booked this ticket long before I applied for a Visa because I want to save. So, it’s definitely a risk. But, it was worth it when I got my Visa!

IMMIGRATION. I traveled with 2 other co-workers. Only 1 of us has international travel. Added to the fact that I am a civil servant, it took me a little longer in the immigration. I showed the officer my travel authority but it was only a photocopy because the original was attached to my Visa application. Good thing my co-worker has the original copy of her document so it was compared. We also showed our office ID to support. Thank God, I was able to convince the officer that I am not escaping anything in the Philippines. hehe

I hope this helps you think about your preparation. If you have questions, feel free to comment or send a private message. (^_^)

How to Fill out Korean Visa Application Form

Below are some common confusion points when filling out the Korean Visa Application form. Please read through this post to guide you in completing the Form.

 

General Instruction from the Embassy

  • You must fill out this form completely and correctly.
  • You must write in BLOCK letters either in English or Korean.
  • For multiple-choice questions, you must check [√] all that apply.
  • If you select ‘Other’, please provide us with more information in the given space.

1. Personal Details

  1.2 Chinese Name.

Write N/A if not applicable to you.

  1.4 Date of Birth. Take note of the order in writing dates.

Korea has a different system in writing dates. This is because in their culture they write the most general first and the specific last (Year/month/date). This unique system is also visible in writing address (e.g. South Korea, Gyeonggi-do, Yongin-si, Giheung-gu~ etc)

  1.7 National Identity Number.

      Philippines has no National ID system yet. However, for my application, I used my Social Security System (SSS) Number. My other colleague used her Driver’s License, while my cousin did not write anything. All of us got our application approved. So, I guess it doesn’t really matter.

2. Details of Visa Issuance

As I have mentioned before I didn’t have other passport or prior approved Visa so I just wrote N/A for all the space that needs to be filled up.

3. Passport Information

       3.5 Date of Issue and 3.6 Date of Expiry.
          This part didn’t require any format. So, I just followed how the dates were written in my Passport.

4. Contact Information

       4.1 Current Residential Address.
I believe this part of the form is not that difficult to understand. However, please take note that if your Current Residential Address is the same as the Address in Home Country, you do not need  to write it on 4.1 anymore.

5. Marital Status

       Funny but based on experience, this is the only form so far where I don’t have to say I am single, rather it is ‘unmarried’. Anyway, if you are also unmarried, just tick that option and put N/A for the other details.

6. Education

       6.2 Name of School.
I actually have 2 majors. I used the name of the last University I attended to.

7. Employment

       7.1 Current personal circumstance.
       I am a civil servant. I had to check that option. Consequently, I also provided travel authority to support my documents (Our agency said it is not part of the requirement but they took it anyway just in case it will be needed.)

       7.2 (d) Telephone Number.
       I wrote the phone number of our Human Resource Department.

8. Details of Sponsor

       8.1  Do you have anyone sponsoring you for your visa?
       My answer was NO. Actually I have my invitation letter from my Korean friend but she is not sponsoring the trip. I paid for all the travel expense.

   Although I traveled with friends, we applied separately. They did not have invitation/sponsorship from any Korean or anyone residing in Korea.

        If somebody is sponsoring you, I believe you should show the Visa Officer that the person paying for all your travel expense is financially capable of doing so.

9. Details of Visit

     9.1 Purpose of Visit to Korea. 
At some point, I got confused because I have invitation letter from my Korean friend attached. I don’t know whether I should check Tourism/Transit, Visiting Family/ Relatives/Friends, or BOTH . In the end I just ended checking Tourism/Transit option.

By the way, you have to know what is written in the invitation if the content was written in Korean.

    9.2 Intended Period of Stay. 
I stayed for 8 days while my friends stayed for 5 days. We initially planned to stay for 8 days but some of my friends decided to just stay for 5 days. I already received the invitation letter and I was hesitant to ask my friend to change it so I just decided to stay for 8 days. This is to match the data in the invitation and my application. I thought it’ s going to be exciting too!

     9.4 Address in Korea.
     We had several hotels but we only wrote the first hotel we were going to check in.

     9.5 Contact Number in Korea. 
We didn’t have Korean number. My friends wrote the hotel’s phone number. My cousin did not write anything. In my case, I wrote my friends contact number as visible in the invitation letter (My friend’s contact number/Her name).

      9.6 and 9.7. Travel to Korea and other International Travels.
     As I’ve mentioned in my earlier post, I didn’t have any international travel. Hence, the N/A.

     9.8 Travelling with Family Member.
     Although I travelled with my cousin she is not one of those listed as family member in the form. So, we cannot write each other’s name.

10. Funding Details

    10. 1 Estimated Travel Costs.
     How much is enough to convince the Visa Officer? That I don’t know still. But, let me share that I wrote $1000 for 8 days. My friend also wrote $1000 but the agency advised her to reduce it. This is because we cannot write amount that is almost equal to the money in our bank account. It has to be less than the money in the bank statement. (The agency also mentioned that $600 is good enough. However, since we will be traveling outside Seoul, she wrote $700)

10. 2 Who will pay for the travel expense?
a. I wrote my name.
b. I wrote N/A for relationship.
c. I wrote ALL TRAVEL EXPENSE  for the type of support.
d. I wrote my contact #.

11. Assistance with this Form

I did not receive any assistance so I just checked NO and put N/A for the other boxes.

12. Declaration

I just wrote my signature just beside the date of completing the form.

I hope this could make your application process a bit easier!

Getting Korean Visa

Yes right. Let me join the bandwagon, too!

Before you reached my page, you must have read other popular blogs already. Well, hope you wouldn’t mind reading mine, too. Let me start this with some of my background information. Who knows! Maybe we are in the same situation.

  •  Filipino, living in the beautiful Island of Panay, Philippines!
  • Currently employed (regular employment)
  • BPI (Savings Account)
  • Zero (nada!) experience traveling abroad.
  • Planned for April travel, started being determined about saving money for Visa Application since September (little by little… I had to take the first step!)
  • Applied Visa through agency (I didn’t take package tour.) I made my own itinerary considering the location, travel time, budget and convenience.

Based on the information above , please read through the VISA requirements as provided by the Korean Embassy website:

For this blog, I will focus on those who are employed.

TOURIST/BUSINESS VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR EMPLOYEES

1. Application Form.

Kindly refer to this post to see how I completed my Visa application. It basically focuses on the confusing points.

2. 1 piece of Passport size colored picture (Please attach on the application form)

Yes. We glued it on our application form.

3. Original Passport (should be valid for more than 6 months)

They have to keep your passport. So, make sure you have no conflict like international travels while your passport is with the embassy. My cousin personally processed her Visa and it took her 5 days. In our case, since my colleagues and I live in the province outside Manila, we waited for 3 weeks to a month. This is because we coursed it through an agency. Instead of paying for the plane fare and accommodation in Manila while waiting, we decided to use an agency. It costs less as we only paid around 1300 to 1500 all in all (Sorry, I can’t remember the exact amount anymore).

4. Photocopy of Passport Bio-page (page 2)

5. Original & Photocopy of valid visa/s and arrival stamps to OECD member countries for the past 5 years (If applicable only)

6. Original Certificate of Employment  (must include applicant’s position, date hired, compensation, office address, HR landline number(cell-phone number is not allowed), HR e-mail address)

Just follow what is being asked. However, double check the signature of your HR and whether their phone number is also written in the COE. In our case, the agency was very strict, they questioned the signature of the HR. They said, the Visa officer would sometimes question the authenticity of the signature by reason of the stroke of the pen.
By the way, our HR landline was just inserted through typewriter (beat that!) because it wasn’t included in the COE. It’s very analog, I know. It’s just that it’s difficult and risky to insert using a computer printer. We only had 1 copy and it would be hard to request for another document because we had to ask it from the national office.

7. Original Personal Bank Certificate   (must include account type, current balance, account opening date, ADB)

Please note that Bank Certificate is different from Bank statement. Banks surely know what to do but just give them this information still.

For LANDBANK users, they don’t issue ADB as per bank policy. I think the embassy already knows that. My friend just submitted the document issued by Landbank of the Philippines. She got approved!

8. Bank Statement (original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months)

How much do we need in our bank statement? Well, it depends on how much you are willing to spend. That is why if you worry about how much is necessary, have a rough plan of your itinerary at least. I have a discussion about it in my other post. By the way, my banker friend told me that it’s better to request for the bank statement few days before your application date. This gives the Visa officer an idea that there is still money in your bank account.

9. ITR(Income Tax Return) or Form 2316 Copy

I am a government employee receiving meager salary. I don’t really think it mattered a lot because I got my Visa but still it is a necessary requirement.

10. Copy of PRC Card or IBP Card (If applicable only)

* If personally invited by Korean
. Invitation Letter
. Photocopy of invitor’s Passport or Identification Card
(authentication not required)

* If invited by Company in Korea
. Invitation Letter
. Photocopy of Korean Company Business Permit
(authentication not required)

* Frequent travellers who have travelled as tourist to OECD member countries within 5 years are exempted from submitting ITR.

UNWRITTEN REQUIREMENT:
Please bring your Birth Certificate issued by the National Statistics Office.

NOTE:
Do not submit your flight tickets.

■ Processing Time:
3 working days (for those who have been to OECD member countries within 5 years as tourist)
5 working days (for those who have not been to OECD member countries within 5 years)

■ Visa Fee: 59 days (or less) stay in Korea — GRATIS
60 to 90 days stay in Korea — PHP1,800.00

My South Korea Dream

Let me start this blog with this beautiful quote from the drama series Goblin.

“Your choice is the only answer in your life”  -Kim Shin, Goblin: The Lonely and the Great God (2016, Korean Drama)

This quote struck me, and made me reflect on my everyday life.

I am admittedly a long time Kdrama fan. I spent my adolescent days (*cough* maybe until now *cough*) enjoying Korean drama series. Ohh please don’t misunderstand me. I believe I did well in my studies and managed to get my dream job. (^_^)

My South Korea dream probably started long before I realized I was already dreaming of it. Due to financial constraint, I had to set it aside temporarily for my other equally important goals. Nevertheless, it served as my inspiration to aim higher. I worked hard, maybe failed in the middle, and hit my goal. This is all because I made my choice to pursue my wishes in life.

“Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.”

I created this blog to take account of my memories. I’d like to share this to dreamers like me who wished to have their dream travel in life. I’ll start with my South Korea tour, how I managed to get my Korean VISA application approved and how I planned this travel… I will also update this with my past (I’ve been keeping them in my FB. I think they deserve a blog post too), and future travels.

My dears, this is my appreciation of how beautiful life is… that despite all the odds I’ve gone through, life never fails to amaze me.