South Korea April 2016 Part 1 (Arrival + M Countdown experience)

This blog post is actually more than a year late. Anyway I’ve finally decided to write about this trip to commemorate my first music show, first time seeing GOT7 and most importantly my first GOT7 concert which all happened in April last year.

DAY 1 – April 27
I took the Air Asia flight from Manila and arrived at Incheon airport at around 12MN. As usual it took me more than 1 hour at the immigration/claiming baggage area. I was also expecting for the weather to be much colder but it wasn’t.

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I arrived at Orange Guesthouse at around 3PM. I really like the home-y vibe of this place. I was welcomed by the owner who’s really really nice and friendly.
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Aside from the fact that Orange Guesthouse is a cozy place, they have the cutest pets too. Anyway I’ll try my best to write a separate blog post for the review of Orange Guesthouse.
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After I checked in and settled my stuff, I met up with HJL언니  for my pocket wifi(I will write about this too). After that I went to Yeoungdeongpo to get our concert tickets which I bought from a Korean Ahgase.
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I then went to Myeongdong to exchange some cash and buy Twice albums. Twice’s comeback was also at the same time as GOT7’s concert that’s why I decided to open a group order which I regret. K  Twice’s Cheer Up album was really huge compared to other kpop albums and I got 40+ orders so the struggle was indeed so real.  In addition to Twice albums, I also bought GOT7 albums.

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I also spotted two birthday ads of Sehun; first one in Hongdae station and second one in Myeongdong station.
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I went home, unboxed my albums and got JB’s photo card first!
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After the unboxing, I went to Hongdae to walk around and had Spicy Chicken Skewer for dinner.
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I went back to the guesthouse and washed up and just I’m about to enter our room, I saw two girls at the common area using the computer and one of them was wearing Mark’s Just Right jacket. I actually thought at first that they are GOT7 fans and like me also went to Korea to watch the concert. I ask them if they’re GOT7 fans and well as expected they were. That’s  how I met my very first Thai friends(special shout out to Miew!). I asked them what are they doing and they said they’re were checking the list of those who made it to the MCOUNTDOWN “This Love” prerecording.  Turns out there was a sign up for a pre recording that I wasn’t informed about. I was originally planning to go to COUNTDOWN live show for Twice but since I found them I decided to try to get into the pre recording. Miew(and her friends) and I agreed to leave the guesthouse  at 5 am. They told me to bring one of my albums since it’s one of the requirements to enter.
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Day 2 – April 28
Digital Media City, the place where CJ&EM is located(the venue for the prerecording)  is just a 20 min away from our place in Hongdae(via taxi).  As soon as we arrived, we were greeted by other Thai fans who were also waiting for the prerecording. I was actually not sure whether I will make it or not because Miew, Nan and their friend were able to sign up and I wasn’t.
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Call time for the fans was at 8AM and while waiting in line, I was able to find other Thai Ahgases(who later on became my friends too) who also weren’t able to sign up but we all brought our albums so we were just hoping that there are people who won’t show up in order for us to get in.
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The English speaking 언니  (the one who usually handles fans)  finally showed up and cross checked those who were on the list and those who are at the waiting area.
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Luck’s really on our side because there are lots of fans who didn’t show up. All of us were able to get our number stamp which means we’re finally allowed to enter the venue and watch the prerecording!
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We waited for hours before they allowed the gold members to enter, followed by silver members and finally our group.

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It’s my first music show experience and I really have no idea what to expect aside from mobile phones and cameras are strictly not allowed and should be put inside the bag ALL THE TIME or they might kick you out. English speaking 언니 reminded us about this over and over again the moment we enter the studio. Contrary to what we see on music shows, the stage isn’t actually that big and it was just thank-you-camera-effect. Inside the studio, I saw them playing GOT7’s previously recorded performance. They probably recorded the boys without the fans first and another one showing the fans. We waited for 5 minutes before GOT7 appeared and I honestly totally lost it! Aside from the fact that this is my first music show performance, it was also my first time seeing them in person! The experience was so surreal. The guys that I’ve been admiring for the past few months are breathing and dancing in front of me. I just can’t put into words the feelings I had that day. They were all really handsome like seriously! I will never forget Youngjae’s black hair and  amazing vocals, Yugyeom’s red hair amazing dance skill, Mark and Jinyoung’s godliness(I also witnessed a MarkJin monet at the end of the recording). If I remember it correctly, they recorded three times; the first one was a complete performance, the second one they had to cut, and the third one is when they asked us to shout louder. It was really a fun experience! It’s too bad JB’s not around. That time he’s my fave next to Yugyeom.

After that amazing experience, Miew, Nan and the other Thai Aghgases and I went to Ehwa University/Edae which I’ve always wanted to visit but never got the chance. We first had brunch  and went shopping after that. They have really nice and cheap clothes and shoes but it’s hard to find something that will fit me. LOL.
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We went inside the campus and was totally amazed by how pretty this university is.  I bet this place is 1000000x better during Autumn just like what I’ve seen on travel blogs.
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After our quick Edae tour, all of us went back to our hotel and sleep more. I was able to sleep for two hours and I woke to the news of JB not attending the first concert because of his herniated disc. I was so devastated that time. I went to Myeongdong again to buy second batch of albums and went to Myeongdong Cathedral first to pray for JB’s speedy recovery.
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I was walking around Myeongdong when I spotted the cat café mascot and it reminded me how much Jaebum likes cats and that’s when I ended up walking in Myeongdong..crying….I had to buy the 32cm ice cream to cheer myself up.

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Anyway, after I bought the Twice albums at Myeongdong subway, I got a DM from Miew asking me where was. I told her I’m in Myeongdong and she told me they’re on their way to Myeongdong too to buy some merchandise. I waited for them at the subway, and we went to the Kpop store together.
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After they bought everything, we decided to go to JYP to see if there’re any JYP artists at that moment. When we arrived, Miew’s Thai friend(If I remember it correctly it was Naniluz) ­­­­told us that they saw Day6 left JYP building to have dinner. Just the thought of finally seeing Day6 for the fisrt time made made me excited and happy. We waited for like 30 minutes before Day6 left the restaurant.
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We first saw  YoungK, Jae, Dowoon followed by Wonpil and Sungjin. It was Wonpil’s birthday that day so he stayed a little longer to take a photo with his birthday banner outside of the building.
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After that am­azing experience, we then went Hongdae and had Korean BBQ for dinner. My friend made try the rice wine for the first time which well actually good but I don’t drink that much so I only had 2 sips.
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<to be continued>

 

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Jeju August 2016 Vlog

Last year for my 25th birthday, I went to South Korea for 2 weeks and decided to go to Jeju Island for 3 days. Here’s a “not so short” video of that. 😛 Shout out to all the amazing people I met during this trip! Also thank you to Yeha Tour for the amazing Jeju experience!

Korean Visa Application (For Filipinos)

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FIRST VISA APPLICATION – NOVEMBER 2012

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I graduated from college in April 2012 and my scheduled trip to Korea was in December 2012. That time I wasn’t sure whether or not the Korean Embassy will approve my request because 1) I don’t have that much savings yet for the bank certificate requirement 2) I don’t have ITR which is another requirement 3) I’ve never been to any country before.  I won’t put into the details the requirements I submitted that year since the Korean Embassy already changed those anyway. What I remember is that, for the ITR requirement, I only submitted a letter explaining why I can’t provide it along with my Certificate of Graduation which includes the date of my graduation. For the “show money” I only have around 40,000Php on my bank account. As for my father’s case, he also submitted all the requirements for business man and also had around 80,000Php in his account. Aside from the usual requirements, he was also scheduled for an interview with the consul. This is actually not the usual process and just a “special case” it’s because he’s traveling without my Mom which is well “unusual” for them. I told the consul that it’ll be hard for my parents to travel together because we have a family business and one of them should be left to handle it. In the end, the consul understood our situation and both gave us single entry visas which were valid for 60 days.

 

SECOND VISA APPLICATION – APRIL 2014

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My second visa application is the easiest. I still submitted the same requirements I submitted on my first application(with ITR). My money on my bank account was around 33,000Php. I was still nervous but wasn’t as nervous as my first time probably because I already have an ITR and also I already traveled to Hongkong, Macau, Singapore and Malaysia. That time I got a multiple entry visa which was valid for a year. My other friends who applied for the first time got a single entry visas which were valid for 60 days.

THIRD VISA APPLICATION – OCTOBER 2015

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Korean Embassy changed the requirement in March 2015 and my scheduled travel to Korea was in November 2015. My second visa, which is a multiple entry visa but only valid for a year expired in April 2015.  So here are the documents I submitted for my 3rd visa application.

 

Korean Tourist Visa Requirements

  1. Application Form
  1. Passport size colored picture [1 copy] (Make sure to attach this on your application form)
  2. Original Passport (Should be valid for more than 6 months)
  3. Photo copy of Passport Bio-page (The page with your photo, birth date, passport number and etc.)
  4. Original and photocopy of valid visa/s and arrival stamps to OECD countries (Kindly refer to this link for the list of OECD countries)
  5. Original Certificate of Employment
    • Important details that should be included
      • Applicant’s position
      • Date Hired
      • Compensation/Salary
      • Office Address
      • HR landline number (cellphone number is not allowed)
      • HR email address
  1. Original Personal Bank Certificate
    • Important details that should be included
      • Account type
      • Current balance
      • Account opening date
      • ADB
      • Bank Statement
  1. Original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the past 3 months
  2. ITR [Income Tax Return] or Form 2316

 

Application Procedure

  • Unlike other embassies in the Philippines, Korean Embassy made the tourist visa free  if you will only stay in Korea for less than 59 days. If you plan to say longer than that, there are certain fees that you need to pay.
  • There’s also no need for appointment. You just have to visit the Korean Embassy at Upper Mckinley Road in Taguig. They accept visa application from 9:00AM-11:00AM ONLY from Monday to Friday. Please check the Korean Embassy website for holiday notice prior to submission.
  • Upon arrival, you have to write your name on the log sheet before the guard gives you the gate pass. They will ask you to enter the visa processing area and once inside, someone will double check your requirements and will give you a queue number(for either window 1, 2, or 3.) Windows 1 and 2 are for first time travelers and Window 3 is for frequent travelers and for those travelers who have a valid visa from any OECD countries.
  • At these windows, your requirements will be checked and once verified complete, you will be given a claiming slip which includes the date when you can claim your passport. Please make sure that you will not lose this slip.
  • For first time travelers, processing will take 5 days and for frequent travelers/OECD visa holder travelers processing will take 3 days.
  • Releasing time is from 2PM-4PM. They will then ask you to fall in line on windows 1, 2, or 3. They’re also not strict with the releasing date. If you weren’t able to go to the date that they indicated on the slip, you can still claim your passport on other days.

FAQs

What should be the exact amount of my savings? How about the ADB (Average Daily Balance)?

There’s actually no exact amount for the bank certificate. I remember someone from Pinoy Exchange who only had 15,000Php on his account but still got approved and there’s also someone who had 250,000Php on his account but still got denied. Based on my experiences and as well as my friend’s experiences, I think any amount  greater than 30,000Php is a safe amount.

 

Why are applicants getting declined?

I actually have no idea what is the Korean Consul’s basis for declining visa applications. Based on what I read before, some applicants get declined PROBABLY because of the following reasons:

  1. Your current job is related to teaching. Due to lots of Filipinos illegally teaching in Korea, they became more strict to those applicants who are currently working as teachers/professors.
  2. They weren’t able to contact your company HR and verify your employment details.
  3. You don’t have enough savings on your account or your savings/bank transactions are too sketchy for them

As long as you can prove your economic ties and as well as you can prove to them that you have no intention to work illegally, yo’ure good.

 

How many days before our trip should we apply?

The single entry visa is valid for 60 days. It’s safe to apply one month to two weeks before your trip.

 

More details here:
http://embassy_philippines.mofa.go.kr/english/as/embassy_philippines/visa/requirement/

List of OECD countries:
http://www.oecd.org/about/membersandpartners/list-oecd-member-countries.htm

 

 

 

171116 Project Give Love

Last December I had the chance to join my friend’s organized outreach program. Along with other volunteers, we visited a Tagbanua tribe somewhere near Napsan.

We started the activity with several games for the kids and adults.

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Every winning team were given snacks as prize.

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After the games, we proceed with giving grocery packages to every family.

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For the last part of the event, we had a delightful which was prepared by the volunteers.

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Watch the video here:

 

Breaking the very long blogging hiatus

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Photo taken by Pops at Nami Island back in December 2012

t’s been yearsssssss since I last wrote something. To be completely honest I really do want to update regularly and post all my past travel photos/experiences probably one to two months after I completed those trips but I’m just too busy with work and other things. This year, as part of my new year resolutions I’ll try to my best to religiously update this blog.  🙂 As the saying goes, “better late than never” so even though decades have passed, I will still be posting everything about all the places I’ve visited for the past 5 year. Anyway, I keep journals of my travels so I’ll basically rely on those for the details that i’ll be posting.

P.S. I just started vlogging too! I still have 72678264728 videos to edit though. Anyway here’s my channel >>>  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaIK08Niq4LpgTu15zgt0XA