Sunday, 25 August 2013

Utang Na Loob! Scrap Da Pork!

If I were in Manila, I would definitely join more than a million disgusted Filipinos at tomorrow's march at Luneta Park!  

But I am in Seoul and have to make a living tomorrow, just like the millions of other OFWs around the world, who are just as disgusted as I am about this scam, na nakakasuka talaga.

No wonder all these years tuwing uuwi ako, parang walang kaunlarang nangyayari? With all these good news about the Philippine's GDP growth rates, ang tanong palagi ay "Ito ba ay nararandaman ng ordinaryong Pilipino?"

Halos lahat yatang umuuwing Pilipino ay palaging na-di-disappoint at na-didismaya na ang sumasalubong na tanawin pag galing kang NAIA ay puro squatters area at maduming ilog diyan sa Baclaran at sa Tambo, Paranaque. Diyan ako dati nakatira, sa Tambo. I lived there for more than ten years. I was hoping all these years that I have been away, may makita man lang sana akong pagbabago tuwing umuuwi ako. Pero wala, eh.

At sa sinasabing ten billion pesos na nanikaw sa scam ni Napoles at mga kasabwat niyang mga kongresista, senador at opisyales ng pamahalaan, marahil siguro ang dami nang nagawang development at asenso man lang sana, hindi lang sa Tambo at Baclaran, kung hindi pati siguro sa barangay namin.

Marami akong nakaka-usap at nakikilalang mga OFWs dito sa South Korea na ang mga kuwento ay halos pare-pareho: nagta-trabaho ng marangal para kumita at makatulong sa pamilya. The operative word is...MARANGAL!

Ang mga OFWs dito ay tinitiis ang init tuwing summer at lamig sa winter. Pumapasok kahit may sakit at minsan ay sinisikmura na lang ang pang-aabuso ng employer nila. Yung iba ay hindi pa nasu-suweldohan on time. Hindi nagrereklamo kahit panay overtime at minsan pa nga ay pumapasok kahit Sabado at Linggo, at walang pahinga. Ang iba ay nagpa-part-time work pa para madagdagan ang kita. Ang iba ay nagtitinda ng call cards at kung anu-anong paninda sa Pinoy market sa Hyewha-dong dito sa Seoul tuwing Linggo. Lahat ay ginagawa para kumita ng extra at madagdagan ang ipapadalang pera sa pamilya.

Tapos, yun pala, ang iba diyan, nagpapakasarap lang pala sa pera ng bayan?!

Ten bilyon pesos?!  Baka sobra pa nga diyan ang ninakaw nila kung bilangin natin yung mga scam na hindi natin alam mula sa panahon pa ni Gloria. Isa pa yun. Buhay pa ba siya?

Noong buhay pa si Lola Tinay, when I she was mad, I would hear her exclaim in disgust 'yawa'! (Ilonggo for devil), and 'linti!' (another Ilonggo curse). But these angry words are not enough to vent my anger at what these people have done. Napoles and these so-called congressmen and senators are no different than common thieves. When I was still working in Manila during my junior days, my friend Estrelle and I were in a jeepney when three robbers declared a hold-up. After everyone in the jeepney had contributed to their loot, one of the robbers gave Estrelle back her twenty pesos so that she could have jeepney fare going home. At least, those jeepney robbers had a conscience. Napoles and her fellow kawatans were robbing the country without any guilt nor any thought that perhaps, some poor Filipinos have no money for their medicine, kids' education, or even a few pesos para ipangbili ng bigas.

Ano ang tawag sa mga itong mga walang konsiyensiya o budhi? 

Nagpapakasarap sa kanilang mga malalaking bahay na hindi lang pala isa o dalawang...dosena?

Nagpapaksarap sa kanilang mga magagarang sasakyan na hindi lang pala isa or dalawang....dosena?

Nagpapaksarap kasama ng kanilang mga pamilya? Na yung iba diyan ay hindi lang pala isa o dalawa?

Samantala, tayo mga Pilipino, at tayong mga OFW ay nagpapakahirap kumita para mabuhay. 

Sana nandiyan ako kasama ninyong lahat sa Luneta Park bukas para ipahiwatig kay Pnoy, sa pamahalaan at sa mga politiko na tanggalin na yang pork barrel na yan na pinagmulan ng corruption. Utang na loob, Pnoy, tanggalin mo na yang pork barrel. By the way, binoto kita dito during the overseas absentee voting sa Philippine Embassy in Seoul.

Sana ang lahat ng mga kawatan na yan ay mahuli at makasuhan para maparusahan, maski sila ay mataas na opisyal, kongresista or senador man. Ang kapal ninyo! Yung mga yan, tuwing mababasa ko sa online news, nakakarindi, nakakasuka at nakakasuklam.  Yung ibang senador diyan, minsan, pa-ingles-ingles pa, bobo naman. Alam nating lahat na yung mga senador at kongresistang dating mga artista ay tumakbo dahil laos na. Nananalo lang mga yan dahil kilala sila ng mga botanteng hindi marahil alam kung sino yung binoboto nila. To be fair, merong mga dating mga artista na maganda naman ang performance sa kanilang tungkulin. Pero yung iba diyan, ipakain na yan sa kapwa nilang buwaya sa crocodile farm sa Palawan. Kaya lang baka ma-insulto or ma-food poison pa yung mga reptiles. 

Sa mga nagpasimuno at nag-o-organize ng Million People March, salamat at good luck bukas!

Sa mga kapwa kong Pilipino, makikisama na lang ako sa inyo in spirit bukas kahit wala ako diyan.  
At sa mga kapwa kong OFW, dito sa South Korea at sa ibang sulok ng daigdig, nakiki-isa ako sa inyo sa pagpahiwatig ng mensahe sa gobyerno natin...

UTANG NA LOOB! SCRAP DA DAMN PORK!

Time To Enjoy Korean Performances! Time for KOREA IN MOTION!

Last September 2012, it was my first time to watch the launching for the Korea In Motion (KOINMO for short), where excerpts of Korean performances were featured at the show at Cheonggyecheon. Prior to the launch, as a member of the K-Performance Supporters group, I was able to feature the 'behind-the-scenes' story of the KOINMO flashmob at Insa-dong. Although it was a bit hot that weekend, everyone had fun!

At the KOINMO launch last year, some interesting non-verbal performance shows were featured, and as always, they were popular among the crowd. But what was unique among the shows was a Korean musicale titled Hwarang. It stood out among the featured shows because it was a musicale, and the Hwarang actors were exceptionally good singers!

KOINMO aims to promote tourism through the Korean performances in Seoul, where locals and tourists get to enjoy the shows at discounted prices.

                           (The K-Performance Supporters dancing 
                               at the KOINMO opening)
And to kick off the 2013 KOINMO, another a launching event will be featured at the Cheonggyecheon featured selected Korean performances this weekend. 

Non-verbal performances are popular, and I wish they would feature more Korean musicales like Hwarang, which by the way, I recommend to everyone to watch. Here's a link to Hwarang's Korean website:

 http://cafe.naver.com/hwarangmjcompany



                        (The cast of the Korean musicale, Hwarang)



Last year, the K-pop boy band ZE:A was appointed the KOINMO ambassador. This year, MBLAQ will be the new KOINMO ambassador.
 (ZE:A receiving their appointment as KOINMO ambassador)
I wonder what's in line at this year's Korea In Motion events. Maybe there'll be another interesting show that I would discover...

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Thanks To buzz KOREA and Shilla Duty-Free Shop For My Korea Tumbler!

This is what I love about buzzKorea!  They know how to show their appreciation to the fans, to the followers and to the bloggers like me who help promote Seoul and the whole of South Korea to the world!

So, who wants a tumbler decorated with images of Korea? I do, of course!

So, one early evening, I made my way to the Dongkuk University Station of Line 3 to get to the Shilla Duty-Free Shop. Since the closest exits to the Shilla Hotel are under renovation, I got out of Exit 4, where a Shilla Duty-Free shuttle bus was waiting. How convenient!  In case you miss the earlier shuttle bus, another one comes along every few minutes. And don’t forget to fasten your seatbelt, as the driver would advise everyone on the bus.

And when I arrived at the Shilla Duty-Free Shop, I made my way to the Basement 1 and looked for the Customer Service Desk and waited for my turn.

It was so easy! I just presented my printed voucher, which indicated my passport number; I also brought my passport for verification. After that, the lady gave me my gift!  For those living in Korea, you can use your alien card instead of your passport.

So, thanks to buzz Korea and Shilla Duty-Free Shop! I can now have warm coffee using my new Korea tumbler!


And if you want one, too, do click this link to get your gift voucher:


Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Win Free Plane Tickets To Korea Through The K-Performance App!

Do you want to win free plane tickets to Korea?

Just participate in the Korea Performance Digital Book App launching event. Here's how:

1. On your iPad, iPhone or Galaxy Note, download the Korea Performance app. You can just google "Korea performance app download" and it will lead you to an itunes.apple.com link.

2. Click install on that page and wait for the download.

3. After downloading, watch the interesting Korea Performance Digital Book, which features Korean performance which are available to be enjoyed when you're in Seoul.

4. Fill up the 'review' page (your name, answers to the questions, email address, etc) of the app and you're included in the draw!


I have already downloaded the Korea Performance app in my iPad-mini, and I'm crossing my fingers, too!


Good luck!
For more details, do click this link:

http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/HD/event/enu_20130712/eng.html



Saturday, 17 August 2013

Giving Blood. Gangnam Style.

I had to look for a new blood donation center when the only English-speaking staff at the Red Cross blood donation center at Seoul Station left. Min-Jun became a friend after my several visits to this center as he always helped me with the English translation during the screening procedures.
With no English-speaking staff to help me at the Seoul Station center, I sent a message to the Korean Red Cross through its Facebook page asking them for help. They suggested the center near Gangnam Station. So, I called that center and finally visited it last week!
                            (Exit 2 of Gangnam Station)

The blood donation center is just a few meters from the Exit 2 of Gangnam Station. Right after the Meritz Tower, you will see Dunkin' Donuts. Get inside the Dunkin' Donuts building and take the elevator to the 9th floor, where the blood donation center is. It's so easy to find, actually.
        (Dunkin' Donuts is at the ground floor of the building)
                                    (Head to the 9th floor)

The screening procedures are basically the same: register your visit through the Red Cross portal using your Alien Registration Card, read the questionnaires for any conditions that would disqualify you to be a donor, a test on your blood coagulation thingy, blood pressure test, and the filling up and signing the blood donation form signifying the veracity of your representation. 

I was glad most of the nurses could speak basic English, and Miss Park, who helped me through all the screening procedures, was very accommodating. I told her I used to go to the Seoul Station center and why I had to switch centers. I also told her the view from the center was quite interesting as one was looking down on the very busy Gangnam area, where priciest real estate in the whole of South Korea could be found.
                                               (The center's lounge)

The actual extraction of about 400 milliliters of my precious Type-O blood took only about five minutes, after which I was told to rest for ten minutes at the lounge and observe any change in my condition. I was also told to drink three times my normal water intake. They had iced cold water, juice and choco pie by the television where other donors were either waiting for their turn or taking the required ten-minute rest. I thought this experience in the Gangnam Station was more fun than at the Seoul Station location. Why? At Seoul Station, there were always some drunk ajussis milling around the area, usually holding a soju bottle and talking to themselves. And although I would always ignore them, walking past through that area wasn't always pleasant. If you've been there, you'd know what I mean.

And here, well, what can i say? It's Gangnam! 
                                           (It only took about 5 minutes!)
                    (A token from the Korean Red Cross)

By the way, every donor always receives a gift from Red Cross, ranging from coffee coupons to movie tickets, to BB creams. I would have wanted a movie ticket, but there isn't any Megabox cinema in Yongsan-gu. I opted for that nail cutter set, which I can always give away.

The Gangnam Station center is open from Mondays to Fridays from 10AM to 7PM. But you need to call them before coming over to make sure about their schedule: 02-564-1525.

I plan to donate again after two months, the proper interval between full-blood donations. And when I do, it will giving blood again, Gangnam style. :-)
                              (The view from the center)

Thursday, 15 August 2013

August 15: Liberation Day and The Midday Korean Dance

I would have wanted to sleep longer this morning. It's Liberation Day in Korea and everyone could sleep longer because it's a holiday. But since I signed up to watch the Midday Korean Dance perfomances scheduled for 11AM at the National Theater of Korea located at the other side of Nam-san, I had to drag myself out of the bed to hit the gym first before breakfast, and before I head to the venue, which is just about 5 minutes by bus from Hannam-dong.
                            (The National Theater of Korea)

The show we saw today was a compilation of excerpts from full-length shows of traditional drum dances performances using small drums, Jin-do drums, double-headed drums and dances. But as usual, the audience was not allowed to take pictures during the show. If you're caught taking photos, the ushers would tell you to stop, although the Korean woman in front of me was taking photos all throughout the show. She was stopped a couple of times, but she continued anyway.
                           (The KB Haneul Youth Theater)

As I said, there were lots of drums, which meant that the show was loud and noisy with all the drum banging, but I wondered why the ushers told the parents and their kids to stop talking during the show. Kids will be kids. They will talk because of their curiosity. This wasn't a play or a musicale or a movie, where keeping quiet would be the etiquette. I realized this venue was NOT CHILD-FRIENDLY, and to think that about 40-50% of the audience were kids. 
     (Essentials for the day: a free ticket, a brochure and a fan)

To be fair to the performers, their execution and showmanship were very good, interpretation interesting, costumes glittery and well, since this is the land of BB cream, everyone was very well made-up. Too bad, I wasn't allowed to take pictures. I would have written more to describe each section of the show but I have no photos to go with the description. Two months ago, I saw the Drumcat performance at another venue. I wasn't impressed with that show. This Midday Korean Dance show, however, was way better.
                             (Before the performance)

The show lasted for about an hour, after which Outback Steakhouse gave away bread and butter outside of the KB Haneul Youth Theater. Thanks, Outback Steakhouse! I still could not forget that packed lunch you guys delivered a couple of years ago for everyone at the BBB trip to Nami Island. At Nami Island, the highlight of the Winter Sonata fans' trip was seeing the bronze statue of Bae Yong-Joon. But for me, the highlight of my trip was the Outback Steakhouse packed lunch. Ha-ha-ha!
                    (Happy Liberation Day, everyone!)

So, far I spent my holiday at the gym and at the dance theater. Now, time to spend more of it in bed. Time to take a nap. It's still scorching outside. Enjoy your Liberation Day holiday!


Zzzzzzzzz.......