(My favorite kare-kare in the bowl
made by Teresa!)
And luckily this year, everyone has an easy task: a Christmas carol costume! And even luckier for me, the toy alley at the Dongmyo Station was very helpful! (Actually, most of us at the party were able to find our costumes here!).
And every year, before everyone flies out of Seoul to spend their Christmas vacations elsewhere (Manila-Bacolod-Iloilo for me), we made sure we are all gathered for the last time before the year ends.
(Suman wrapped in banana leaves!)
(Fruit salad and ginata-an!)
This year, Joy and Archie hosted again at their home in Seongbuk-dong, which has always been tricky for everyone to find. Their neighborhood, for everyone who knows the area, is a labyrinth of twists and turns where getting lost always happens before being found. Ha-ha-ha! Unless you have a navigator, be prepared to do some sightseeing at some huge houses (I heard Bae Yong-Joon has a house here) first before you finally find your correct destination.
(A special cassave cake flown in from Manila!
I wonder where Loren bought this? It was so good!)
Me? I always take the easiest route: getting off at Hansung Station and taking a cab with the address written in Korean backed up by a series of photographs I took from my cellphone the last time I visited, showing the streets, landmarks and the corners leading up to their home. With these, I am always able to find Joy and Archie's residence. I guess, with my perfect sense of direction, I am better than a compass. Ha-ha-ha!
Our party this year was more special as old friends, Loren and Arlene, who used to live in Seoul, came to Seoul to visit friends and do some shopping. And before they flew back to Manila, they both joined us to celebrate an early Christmas party in Seoul.
And since we are a Pinoy family, the party wouldn't be complete without the Pinoy cuisine everyone enjoys. Pinoy favorites like kare-kare, pancit, lumpiang prito and caldereta, plus lasagna, roast pork and chicken were all laid out on Joy and Archie's buffet table like a perfect reminder that within days of our Christmas party in Seoul, we all will be enjoying more Pinoy dishes at our noche buena with families and relatives in the Philippines.(My exchange gift from Arlene!
Scented candles from Faceshop!)
And as tradition, we exchanged Christmas gifts and had our annual Christmas carol sing-along, which was videod for posterity!
To make things more fun, we played our 'Wear your Christmas costume' game as planned, where everyone had to name another's Christmas carol based on his or her costume. Well, some were very easy, and some, like my costume, was tricky! Nobody was able to guess mine; nobody knew 'Good King Wenceslas' until Vangi sang it for everyone.
We also played 'Wrap me a Christmas gift', where two teams had to wrap someone and turn her into a Christmas gift! Yes, two ladies were turned into gifts as the wrapping papers wouldn't have sufficed to cover up the tall guys. Ha-ha-ha! This was fun actually, but demanded a lot of creativity. But since it's all about Christmas gifts, we had the three most objective judges who chose the winner: Ethan, Charlie and Patrick, the youngest members of our family!
Most of us have flown out of Seoul by now to spend our Christmas holidays with families, relatives and friends at our respective hometowns. But early next year, as we fly back to our second home, Seoul, we bring back memories of our holidays and perhaps, extra poundage from all the Christmas parties and get-togethers, not just in the Philippines, but also at other countries some of us call home.