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During my last month stay in South Korea, I had this opportunity to join a scavenger hunt game in Seoul organized by Soul of Seoul. Our group, composed of four Filipino expatriates in South Korea, had competed against other groups coming from different countries, mostly working as English Teachers in South Korea. We've done several tasks to earn points which was the basis for winning. We cooked Korean pancake called Pajeon in a local  restaurant, visited a photography studio for some fun photo session, located several tourist spots in Seoul like Han Gang River and interacted with the locals to do some challenges, all for the sake of points. Well, we didn't win, but what we realized about that game was, we got to know more about Seoul. It was a fun way of educating ourselves about the culture of Korea and the hidden gems of Seoul.

Now, here's the news! You can now tour Seoul in the most unconventional but exciting and fun way! Introducing the Mission Run, a program formulated by the newest and most reliable travel organizer called TRIS. TRIS is a tour company in South Korea managed by talented locals of the country. It's a platform where you can request a proposal to tailor your travel in South Korea the way you want it. One of the services they offer is to organize a Scavenger Hunt-ish way of discovering the beauty of Seoul under the program called MISSION RUN. If you want to know more about TRIS, you can CLICK THIS LINK for more information.





If you are a fan of South Korea, as influenced by HALLYU, you maybe familiar with a TV program called “RUNNING MAN”.  Well, you can be a star of your own show if you will subscribe to the Mission Run program of this company. You will go complete different missions a la Running Man. This mission is composed of challenges as setup by TRIS staff, and while you do complete the challenges, you actually get to know Seoul better as part of your tour. TRIS will not only provide the mission set up but they will also send camera crew, producers and editors that will document your mission. The video below is a sample of what will you about to embark if you will choose Mission Run as your tour program in Seoul.

The First Mission Run in Seoul - YouTube





If you are up for a challenge and if you want to know Seoul better in a fun way, let's talk and I will help you connect with TRIS to make all these things possible. You can send me email at saranghaekorea0824@gmail.com or drop a comment for your inquiries.
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I've never shared anything yet about my trip to Hyangiram in the southern part of South Korea. It happened more than one year ago already but I can still smell the place, I still have vivid memory of the beautiful view I witnessed while I was up there and I can still hear the busy noise of food vendors and locals who flocked to this infamous tourist spot in Yeosu in Jeollanam-do province.

Hyangiram Hermitage is one of the four Buddhist hermitages in South Korea. It is located 30 km away from the main city of Yeosu. I hesitated at first to go there because it's so far, and for somebody who is new to the place, without any local to guide me, going there was a little bit of a challenge. It was a one hour long and winding journey via bus Number 113. It was not a boring ride though because the views while on the road are spectacular. The wide blue sea, the green trees and the mountains assured me that I'll be fine on my own and I am on the right track.



When we arrived at the area, I was so sure that I'm on the top of the mountain because I was overlooking the sea. However, because there are establishments up there and pretty big community, it doesn't feel like a mountain. A small village welcomed us. At first look, it's jut like any other villages in Korea, except that the area is on an uphill. The smell of kimchi and other seafood filled the air as I passed by the food stalls at the sidewalk. I blindly followed the crowd towards the location of my target destination, the Hyangiram Hermitage.



Just when I thought I have already reached my destination, oh boy I was so wrong. I found out that in order to reach Hyangiram, I must climb a steep concrete stairway. In short, I have to do something I didn't sign up for, a mountain climbing. As much as I want to romanticize it by saying that the road up there is concrete, well constructed and convenient,  I could not deny the fact that it's like climbing a mountain.





I knew I was in for a spiritual treat because statues of “little Buddha” (I don't know how to call it), displaying different emotions, are set to welcome and maybe encourage the visitors to keep climbing. The uphill climb was indeed challenging and at the same time fulfilling. I could easily forget the burden of going up there because the air was so refreshing, thanks to the abundance of camellia trees, and the panoramic view of the sea.



As I continued to walk uphill via the concrete stairway, I saw  plenty of carved stones and temples of some sort. These are the symbols in Buddhism and are maybe conveying important messages that only the believers of Buddha can understand. I also saw some of the patrons praying and/or giving courtesy to the statues built in certain part of the mountain.






Generally, it was a fun and memorable trip. Although I am not a believer of Buddha, I appreciate how followers showed their loyalty and respect to him. Whether you go there to worship or to have leisure time, you would definitely enjoy the trip to Hyangiram Hermitage.

The entrance fee to enter Hyangiram is only 2,000 won for adult, 1,500 won for teenagers and only 1,000 won for kids. In order to reach Hyangiram via public transportation, you can take Bus 111 or Bus 114 and get off at  Impo (임포 (향일암)) bus stop. Please also take note that there's a bus schedule for this route, so you'll know what time you should return to the bus stop because it's a little bit far from Hyangiram and requires hiking.
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I woke up one morning to Momoland's famous song Boom Boom. It was loud, louder than 10 alarm clocks combined. I calmed myself out of my stupor and realized that the song was tagalized. I listened eagerly and later on found out that it's actually repeating a surname in the lyrics. Now that explains it, it's campaign period all over again, and the politician is wise enough to use a famous song like this for their jingle.

Not too long after that, another vehicle with a sound system passed by with another K-pop song campaigning for another candidate. I don't know how music copyright works, but I wonder if agencies of this K-pop songs are aware that somewhere in the province of Philippines, some politicians are using their songs to gain voters. I guess the politicians in the Philippines are capitalizing on the idea of “Kinain ng sistema ng K-pop” to gain support especially the millineals.

If you are a voter and a hardcore K-pop fan, would you vote for a candidate just because they're using your idol's famous song? On the contrary, would you not vote for the politician for murdering the fandom's anthems? Whether it has positive or negative effect, only one thing is for sure, the politician was able to advertise its profile and platform in the most creative and annoying way.

I just find it funny though that although there's a massive alteration to the lyrics of the song, and by alteration I mean replacing every single word into political message, I still see kids dancing to the tune. So I guess that's the advantage of using such familiar music for political campaign, people will listen to it, and at the end of it all, the campaign has penetrated into every listener's subconscious.

I wonder how Kpop fans in the Philippines react to this. Are you annoyed by how the politician tweaked the lyrics of your favorite K-pop song?
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SM Entertainment and JYP, agencies of EXO and Twice respectively, threaten legal action for those who spread rumors linking a “hot Kpop male idol” from EXO and a kpop girl group TWICE to the sex video scandal involving two K-pop idols Seungri and Jung Joon Young.

Seungri and Jung have reportedly retired in the music scene following their involvement in the controversy and are now under investigation by the authorities. However, rumors online spread like a wildfire that aside from the two kpop idols, member of popular boy band EXO and girl group TWICE are also involve in this issue.

However, agencies of the respective bands are quick to deny the rumor and came to the defense of the questioned artists. Here are the Official Statements from both agencies.

SM Entertainment for Exo,:

“The rumours about our artiste that are being spread online are groundless rumours, and the expansion of this false information is causing serious damage to the artiste and agency.”

“We therefore announce that we will take strong legal action against those who have engaged in such illegal actions (writing, posting, and spreading false rumours).

“We will continue to take strong legal action against such malicious rumours and ask you to actively report to us (protect@smtown.com).”

JYP for TWICE:
                            
“Regarding rumours related to our artiste that are currently spreading on online communities, the judgment was made that the severity and contents of the rumours can cause serious damage to the artiste's image, honour, and character.

“As a result, we are announcing that we will seek out all possible legal actions against those who initially posted and spread (the rumours).

“We are currently collecting evidence about this matter and are discussing plans for action with internal and external law firms.

“We request that fans send in tips to help take quick action on this matter. We are once again announcing that as an agency, we are considering all possible measures and actions for the rights and interests of our artiste.”
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Christian Saraos at MBC's Under Nineteen Show
Christian Saraos is the one and only Filipino contestant in MBC's new TV audition show called “Under Nineteen” (언더 나인틴 ). The aim of the show is to select new members of the next generation K-pop idols. There are about 57 aspiring contestants who will compete  to get a spot in the new K-pop idol group. There are three categories to show off their skills, the contestants must be able to showcase their talents in terms of vocals, rap and performance.

Out of 57 contestants, Christian Saraos is the only Filipino. He is 18 years old and he came from Marikina Philippines. Prior to joining the show, Christian was already doing a lot of K-pop covers in his Youtube Channel under the name Chunghee Saraos. Not only that, Christian has already won several K-pop competitions not only in the  Philippines but also in the international stage like the United States.

Under Nineteen has already started last November 3, 2018. Christian was one of the aspiring idols introduced in the show. There's an on going online voting that will end on December 1, 2018 at 9:00 PM. In order to vote, voters must register at the 11 Street website under the Korean language. Global registrants are not accepted. You also need to have a phone number in Korea to vote. Here's the process on how to cast your online vote for Christian.

1. Register at the Membership page of 11 Street website. Click the link below and click "희원가입" as shown in the image.
http://www.11st.co.kr/register/memberSubscribeOneIDForm.page



2. In the “개인 구매회원” tab, click “가임하기” button




3. In the next page, tick the “모두 동의” checkbox then click 다음 button at the bottom of the page




4. Fill up the form as shown in the image below. After filling up the form, click the “회원가임” button at the bottom of the page.






5. Then you will get this confirmation



6. Check your email address and click “11번가 가입” button.




7. Now, go to the voting page.

    If you are using PC to vote, use this link:

    http://www.11st.co.kr/browsing/MallPlanDetail.tmall?method=getMallPlanDetail&planDisplayNumber=1976803

    If you are using MOBILE, use this link:
http://event.11st.co.kr/promotion/mw/eventMwMain.tmall?eName=20181103_underNineteen

8. Select your 9 bets. Make sure that Christian is included in your selection. You can randomly pick the other 8. Christian is using the Korean name “크리스티안” and he is the last picture under the Performance(Blue tab) category.

    NOTE: If you haven't login yet, a pop up box will appear asking you to login first before voting. Just click it and login using the ID and password you registered in Procedure number 4.





9. After logging in and selecting your 9 votes, click “9명이게 투표하기” button.
10. You will get this pop up. This is asking you to verify your participation. Just Click 분인인증하기








11. In the next page, you need to fill up the form, this is to verify your vote via Mobile Phone. In the form, enter your name, birthdate, sex, your citizenship, select your carrier and your phone number.







12. After entering the phone number, you must click “인증번호 전송” button. This will send a code to your mobile number.
13. Enter the code you received in your mobile number
14. Tick the checkboxes at the bottom and click “휴대폰 본인인증” button


You should be able to receive confirmation that your vote has been accepted.

To follow the journey of Christian Saraos along with other 57 boys in Under Nineteen, you can watch the show on MBC every Saturday at 6:25 PM KSTwill have 14 episodes.
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The Great Korean Beer Festival participants
For 3 days from October 26th to October 28th the 11th GKBF (Great Korean Beer Festival) — South Korea’s first and largest craft beer festival — will take place on the 8th floor rooftop of Yongsan I’PARK Mall.

Co-hosted by Media Paran and CJ ENM and sponsored by Hyundai I’PARK Mall, this year’s festival will see 20 different international and domestic craft beer brands and 9 global food companies participating.

Befitting the location of Yongsan — the mecca of both Halloween and craft beer in Korea — the festival will be centered around the themes of “Halloween” and “craft beer”. Various programs will be organized including live music performances, Halloween costume contests, a Halloween makeup zone, a photo zone and more.




Halloween Costumes at GKBF


◇ Drink international & domestic craft beers all in one place at the ‘Craft Beer Zone’
Not only will craft beers from Seoul be represented, but also craft beers from various regions in Korea including Chungcheong, Busan, Jeju, etc., in addition to international craft beers from the U.S., Czech Republic, and Germany. Festival-goers will also be able to learn information about each of the beers directly from the brew masters themselves.

◇ Pair your craft beers with delicious global foods at the ‘Global Food Zone’
Foodies will get to pair their beers with various global foods including an assorted sausage plate from premium sausage brand Jinju Ham, jamon and paella from Spain Club, as well as delicious bites from New York’s representative halal food Jil’Hal Bros, California Pizza Kitchen, On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina and more.

◇ Partake in the Halloween spirit with ‘Halloween Costume Contests’
Festival-goers will get to show off their Halloween spirit by participating in the daily Halloween costume contests. Those with the most creative and original costumes will have a chance at winning one of many prizes including hotel stay vouchers for Korea’s biggest “hotelplex” Seoul Dragon City, I’PARK Mall gift certificates, restaurant gift certificates and more, valued at over 7 million won. For more information about the Halloween costume contests, please visit the GKBF website.





The Great Korean Beer Festival can be enjoyed from 1pm to 10pm during the 3-day festival period, with no admission fee.

For event information: www.greatkoreanbeerfestival.com
For detailed inquiries: pr@mediaparan.com
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The Busan International Film Festival is considered to be one of the most significant film festivals in Asia. In fact, in Busan, they have dedicated one street for the film festival eventhough it only happens once a year. This year marks the 23rd year of the BIFF and it continues to honor great films from different parts of Asia.

A total of nineteen films from the Philippines will be featured in the said festival. The event will run from October 4 to October 13, 2018 and the country of focus for this year is the Philippines. Out of nineteen Filipino films to be featured, 10 of which are for special retrospective program  which will features the greatest films in the Philippines cinema. The lineup includes ”A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino”(1965) by Lamberto V. Avellana, “Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon?”(1976) by Eddie Romero,”Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos” by Mario O’Hara (1976),”Ang Panday”(1980) by Fernando Poe, Jr.,”Cain at Abel”(1982) by Lino Brocka,”Moral”(1982) by Marilou Diaz-Abaya,”Himala”by Ishmael Bernal (1982),”Bayaning 3rdWorld”(2000) by Mike de Leon,”Dekada ’70”(2002) by Chito S. Roño, and ”Ang Damgo ni Eleuteria(“2010) by Remton Siega Zuasola.

The other 9 Filipino entries are to be featured in the festival’s “A Window on Asian Cinema” Section. The lineup includes “Citizen Jake”(2018) by Mike de Leon, ”Alpha: The Right to Kill”(2018) by Brillante Ma. Mendoza, “The Eternity Between Seconds”(2018) by Alec Figuracion,”Gusto Kita with all My Hypothalamus”(2018) by Dwein Baltazar,”Lakbayan”(2018) by Lav Diaz, Brillante Ma. Mendoza and Kidlat Tahimik, and “Signal Rock”(2018) by Chito S. Rono.

Aside from the 19 Full Featured Films, two short films are also included in the festival’s Wide Angle Short Film. The list includes “Last Order”(2018) by Joji Alonso and “Manila is Full of Men Named Boy”(2018) by Stephen Lee. One more Filipino entry is also included for the category Wide Angle Documentary entitled ”Land from God”(2018) by Stephen Lee.
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