Kpop Lovers Unite at 2017 Pinoy Kpop Star!

The annual Pinoy Kpop Star once again filled SM North EDSA with loud cheers and screams from Kpop enthusiasts as they root for their favorite cover group dancers and singers last July 1, 2017.

Among numerous aspirants of the audition, only 20 teams (10 vocal and 10 group performers) were able to show off their talent at the yearly competition organized by Korean Cultural Center (KCC).


As KCC director Lee Jin Cheol said in his opening remarks, there are a growing number of people who appreciate Kpop. This is proven by the hundreds of people who still wanted to be part of the competition venue. In addition, Director LEE also mentioned that Kpop unifies and inspires everyone, including the Filipino people.

Indeed, you can feel everyone’s excitement through their banners and as the crowd jumped along to the tune of various songs. Honestly, it felt like a real live Kpop concert, that’s how awesome this year’s event is.

And as the performances drew to an end, emotions were in full swing as the results were announced. Volo Pro Veritas, who made the audience feel an adrenaline rush as they danced to the beat of BTS’ Blood, Sweat, Tears, won the grand prize in the performance category. PHP, who staged a concert-like rendition of Bigbang’s Bang Bang Bang, won the grand prize for the vocal category. Both of these groups received Php 20,000 cash prize and gained a spot in representing the Philippines in the 1st round of Semi-Finals of the 2017 Kpop World Festival which will be held online.


Volo Pro Veritas



Placing second in the vocal and performance category, were MiU and Fatal, respectively. Both took home, P15,000 cash prize, respectively.





Grabbing the third spot for vocal and performance category, were Venisse Siy and So Nice, respectively. Both took home P10,000 cash prize.


Venisse Siy


So Nice

The three-hour program was jam-packed with amazing performances from the participants as well as guest performers. It started with Val John’s performance, the Philippine representative last 2015 KBS Kpop World Festival, followed by the sexy and extremely hot performance of As If It’s Your Last by Black Pink of Dasuri Choi, KCC’s K-Pop dance instructor and Eat Bulaga’s Korean Dancing Diva.


As a closing act of the event, Hwang Yohan, the Grand Touristar of ABS-CBN’s I Love OPM serenaded the fans with his wonderful rendition of Beautiful Life by Crush from the hit Korean drama television series Goblin.


Contestants for the vocal category were: Queen Mia – I’ll Be Your Man (BTOB), Yara – Whistle (Black Pink), MiU – Re-Bye (AKMU), PHP – Bang Bang Bang (Bigbang), Joy Locsin – Whatta Man (IOI), Venisse Siy – I Will Go To You Like The First Snow (Ailee), Dynamix – You Are The Best (Mamamoo), Ma. Soraya Salvador – Fire (Taeyeon), Rich Yap – Playing with Fire (Black Pink), and Paradox – B-day (IKON).

Contestants for the performance category were: Campus Royalties – Boombayah (Black Pink), GFries – Fingertip (GFriend), Fatal – Blood, Sweat, Tears (BTS), Indigo – My First and Last (NCT Dream), Class B – Playing with Fire (Black Pink), Saturn9ne – You Think (SNSD), Volo Pro Veritas – Blood, Sweat, Tears (BTS), Xyndra – Wee Woo (Pristine), So Nice – Signal (TWICE), and Whistlers – Black Pink (Playing with Fire).


The judges for the competition were KCC Director Lee Jin Cheol; Choi Daesul,  KCC Dance Instructor; Hwang Yohan, I Love OPM winner; Gigi Yia of Sparkling; and Jessica Juan, President of Philippine K-pop Convention, Inc.

All in all, the event was spectacular and I’m sure everyone is looking forward to the next annual event of Pinoy Kpop Star!

Written by Krew Member Jean Singian


Black Day: Jjajangmyeon for Singles


Are you single?

If your answer is yes, then maybe this article is for you! (ㅠㅠ)

In Korea, they have a day especially made for single people (hooray!) Now, you don’t have any reason to frown or be jealous at couples during Valentine’s Day and White Day.

Mark your calendars, single women and men out there, Black Day is observed every 14th day of April in Korea. It comes one month after White Day — where men give special gifts to the special women in their life.

During this day, most articles and Korean shows portray individuals eating miserably while eating jjajangmyeon – noodles drizzled with a thick sauce of black bean paste and garnished with cubed pork and assorted vegetables. Some people eat this while donning a black outfit — they are described as people who have yet to find love in this world. (ㅠㅠ)

Jjajangmyeon Korean Noodles With Black Bean Sauce

After enjoying their jjajangmyeon, sometimes people even drink black coffee after.

** Be warned! Couples are told not to eat Jjajangmyeon together or they will break up. (o_o)

Are you scared of going outside and announcing to the world that you are single? It doesn’t have to be that way because even though such day was made for single people, there are three things you can do to get the wonderful experience when Black Day comes.

1. There are TONS of matchmaking service

If you’re not comfortable enjoying your jjajangmyeon alone, you can have a number of ways to meet someone who can possibly be THE ONE. There are variety of speed dating events, mobile apps that you can check online.

See? It’s not that bad when you announce that you are available. ㅋㅋㅋ

Online Dating

2. Single friends gather together 

The lack of romantic partner doesn’t have to be a sad reality for you. You can invite your friends and just like a normal bonding time, you get to enjoy each other’s presence.

Lee Hyori visits Seoul with SPICA's Bohyung

3. Free Food! Speed eating competitions

Free food? Channel all your depressive thoughts by winning an eating competition. Some stores may hold other games, so get all the information you need before the D-Day comes.

Embrace your “singleness.” Being single is not a curse and for those who are not yet convinced, there’s a famous saying that states, “True love waits.”

The right person for you will come. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. Yes, it’s going to take time. But when it comes, you’ll know and you’re more than ready. ^^



What is Black Day in Korea?


Written by Krew Member Jean Singian

2017 Korean Culture Caravan at LPU Manila



The Korean Cultural Center (KCC) in the Philippines once again hosted another Culture Caravan at Lyceum of the Philippines University, Manila last March 22, 2017.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Korean Culture Caravans – it is an opportunity to experience Korea and learn firsthand about its history and culture. This activity is motivated to thoughtfully cultivate the Korean activities and to ensure that faculty and students are given a chance to embrace the most unique and meaningful elements of Korea.

The whole event was divided into three parts: 1) Sagunja or the Korean Traditional Painting Class, 2) Film Screening of the movie, “The Beauty Inside”, and 3) 2017 LPU K-pop Idol.

Sagunja was held simultaneously with the K-film Screening event. At the same time, a photo exhibit, hanbok experience, Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) booth, and KCC booth, which were all located at the Mabini Hall, were flocked by students.


Sagunja Class


Sagunja Class


Sagunja Class


Sagunja Class participants with their creations


K-Film Screening of  “The Beauty Inside”


Hanbok Wearing


Hanbok Wearing


LPU Students playing Tuho at KCC Booth


Even the faculty enjoyed playing Tuho


She won a Lee Minho photo card!


She’s so happy she got a planner!

Director OH Choong Suk of Korean Cultural Center formally graced the afternoon program, ‘2017 LPU K-pop Idol’. During his speech, he explained the activities offered by KCC in the country as well as the classes offered to the people who want to learn Korean language, K-pop dance, and other cultural classes such as Sagunja, Salmunori, Hansik etc.


[Director OH Choong Suk]

It was followed by a talk from Ms. Katrina C. Catajay, Assistant Manager of Korea Tourism Organization. She introduced the different activities people can do when they visit Korea.

And just before the highlight of the program, Salmunori team of KCC gave an outstanding performance with their traditional and modern infused presentation.


[Ms. Katrina C. Catajay of KTO]


Salmunori Performance

Three groups participated in the competition and the Little Theater was filled with excitement as students’ cheer for the groups they support. And while everyone got to enjoy the different showcase of the three groups, KCC also gave raffle prizes like power bank, KCC flash drive, KCC gift pack (bag, tumbler, pen), K-Pop: Beyond Asia book and so much more!


Dance Competition


Dance Competition


Photo Op of Participants and Organizers


Winners of the Dance Competition 

Interested to have this one-of-a-kind experience? Email KCC at or call at 555-1711.  Your school might be the next stop for our unforgettable caravan!

Written by Krew member Jean Singian

Celebrating Seollal (설날) or Lunar New Year’s Day in Korea

Seollal (설날), one of the most celebrated holiday in Korea, is just around the corner. Unlike the Solar New Year or Sinjeong which is celebrated every January 1st, Seollal is observed according to the lunar calendar — for this year it falls on January 28.

The celebration of the Lunar New Year is important to Koreans because they believe that good luck comes this time and bad spirits are repelled all throughout the year.  In Korea, the Seollal will be celebrated from January 27 until January 30, 2017.

Before the celebration officially starts, there are a lot of things Koreans prepare. Gifts are given during this occasion that’s why shopping can be stressful for everyone. Aside from that, people must prepare their travel arrangement ahead of time because of the heavy traffic in Korea during this season.

This is also the time when Koreans honor their ancestors through a ritual cha rye  (차례). Variety of foods such as vegetables and fruits are prepared for the ritual but the main dish is the tteokguk or rice cake soup. The rice-cake soup is usually made with beef leg bone and brisket which has been stewed and garnished with tube-shaped rice cakes, eggs, and green onions. Tteokguk or rice cake soup is the first meal of Koreans during seollal and it symbolizes long and continuous happiness, joy and richness.

Rice Cake Soup(Tteokguk )

Also, the younger people show their respect to their elders through a deep bow called sebae and present them gifts. In turn, the elders bless them and wish them a prosperous new year. Children also receive sebaetdon (New Year’s money) as their gift during Seollal.


Another fun thing to do during Seollal is when people gather to play traditional games like ‘yutnori.’ Yutnori is a board game that involves of throwing four wooden sticks. This can be played in teams so every member of the family are encouraged to join and engage in an exciting competition.


Other families also love to do kite flying (yeon-naligi) during this time.


If you are a tourist, this may be the best time to visit the attractions in Seoul because almost everyone leave the city and go to their provinces. You might want to re-schedule going to other places beyond Seoul since the streets will be really busy and it might be a hassle for you to push through since everyone is trying to book train and bus tickets. To help you, below are the list of popular attractions open during the Seollal this 2017:

  1. The Independence Hall of Korea
  2. Korean Folk Village
  3. National Museum of Korea
  4. N Seoul Tower
  5. Namsan Cable Car
  6. Hangang River Ferry Cruise
  7. Gyeongbokgung Palace
  8. Lotte World
  9. Everland

To see the complete list of attractions and shops open during the Seollal, visit:

Korea Tourism Organization

Photos are taken from Flickr Commons

Written by Krew Member Jean Singian


Ever heard of The Krew? If you’re an avid follower of the Korean Cultural Center, you’ve probably heard of this term a lot of times.

A Krew member means being a volunteer for the Korean Cultural Center, but it means so MUCH MORE. The 2nd term for 2016 just ended and the recruitment for Krew Batch 5 is ongoing. So, for those of you who love Korea and is absolutely thrilled about the idea of being a promoter of its culture and tradition, being part of the KREW maybe the right thing for you.

Not yet convinced? Check out how my life changed after I became part of the Krew.

  1. You’ll meet a lot of people who can become your CLOSE FRIENDS


Introvert? Extrovert? Ambivert? It doesn’t matter. Once you are part of the Krew, you’ll be surprised at how many friends you’ll gain in every event. Though there will a be a lot of work, there will always be an opportunity to get to know many people.

I promise you, no matter how anti-social you think you are, things will be just fine once you let things go its natural course.

Shout Out to Dawn, who talked to me first because I was like a frightened cat during the orientation!

  1. It’s SUPER HARD to give flyers to people


I was tasked to give out flyers… I mean, how hard can it be? But boy, I was wrong about my assumption. Every flyer I successfully give out is an accomplishment. Now, I try to be nice to those who give out flyers and receive it willingly, unless I know it will just be a waste of paper If I receive it.

Giving out flyers will make you NICE.

  1. Wishing for the bus to come late at night after an event is like waiting for forever


You probably felt this before. You stayed late in your school or work, but your ride home just won’t arrive. Every Krew member knows this feeling. But, hey, even if the bus will make you wait for a really really LONG TIME. It’s a chance for you and your co-volunteers to chit-chat about the latest happenings in your life. Riding a cab with friends is also not a far-fetched option.

  1. Or if you don’t want to wait for the bus, you can always eat out before going home


There are many Korean restaurants nearby, but for a sweets-lover like me, Hobing Korean Dessert Café is my jam! Not only do you get to enjoy Korean food, you also get good company if you manage to invite other volunteers to stay and eat out.

  1. You’ll get to try out Korean dishes, for FREE!


Yes, yes, and yes!!! I guess everyone’s excited if there’s a free item, especially if it concerns food. There will be events featuring Korean dishes and you get a chance to observe how the chefs cook it or at times, you even get the chance to chop the vegetables and meat. You’ll really have an awesome time and maybe find the inner chef in you. It might just convince you to take Hansik lessons at KCC!

  1. You can watch CONCERTS, for FREE!


Say what?! Yes, you heard it right! But before you get pumped up, you need to be chosen as a writer/photographer for that event. So, if you have what it takes to write and take excellent pictures during events, this is a strong possibility! Sometimes you’ll also have the chance to watch groups even if you’re not a writer or photographer, just like the recent PHIL-KOR Cultural Exchange where I got to meet The King backstage!

  1. In good times and bad times, KCC is your family!


The relationship doesn’t end after events; it goes beyond that. You’ll have a special bond with your co-volunteers and even KCC coordinators.

I want to take this opportunity to thank my friends at KCC who have been supportive (eek, cheesy) of my recent condition. Thank you for all your messages and for making me realize how truly blessed I am to be part of The Krew!

I hope you at least got slightly convinced of the things I shared. There are more things you can experience at KCC and I won’t share them all because it eliminates the fun out of things.

Watch out for the application announcement and I hope I get to meet you in the next term!

Written by Krew member Jean Singian

Useful Apps You Need When You Visit Korea


Planning a trip to South Korea?

In a world where almost everything relies on technology, let me teach you how to maximize the use of your smartphone and internet on your next trip to South Korea. Check out below the list of phone applications that will surely help you make the best out of your trip.

  1. Visit Korea App / iTourSeoul


Visit Korea is the official app created by Korea Tourism Organization. This app contains themed travels and individual information about attractions you can visit. If you’re going to organize your itinerary or have no idea where you really want to go, this app can help you.

Not only that, there’s also list of hotels, shopping areas, restaurants, and transportation information you can rely on – plus it is possible for you to have discount coupons for all of these. Just check the dates where the coupon is applicable.

iTourSeoul has the same qualities as Visit Korea App but as its name implies, it only has information about Seoul. This might be a better app for you if you’re only planning to stay in Seoul.

Download them at:

a) Visit Korea

Play Store (Android) 

App Store (iPhone)

b) iTourSeoul

Play Store (Android)

App Store (iPhone)

  1. Naver Map / Naver Korean Dictionary & Translate App


Rather than Google Map, this app is more detailed when it comes to accurately knowing where you are and identify the best way you can take in order to get to your destination.

You need to learn basic Korean If you’re going to use this app. So, if you’re not willing to learn the basics, Google Map is your second choice.

Together with this app, Naver Korean Dictionary & Translate App also comes in handy. The translation is much better than Google translate and you will easily spot where to input the characters and translate them into English. The translated sentences or phrases might not be the exact meaning but you will still get the idea about what it is all about.

Download them at:

a) Naver Map

Play Store (Android)

App Store (iPhone)

b) Naver Korean Dictionary & Translate App

Play Store (Android)

App Store (iPhone)

  1. Subway/ BusApp


Once you open Subway app, you might be overwhelmed by the number of routes and destinations where you can go. At first, I also got dizzy just by looking at their system but as I plot the stations where we are headed for our trip, this app really helped a lot.

Just input where you are coming from and where you want to go, this app will give you the fastest way to go to your destination.

In the same way, BusApp also works that way. However, at the moment they are still working on the English version. But if you’re adept at Korean language then this will help you track of the time when the bus will arrive and depart from the station.

Download them at:

a) Subway App

Play Store (Android)

App Store (iPhone)

b) Bus App

Play Store (Android)

App Store (iPhone)

  1. Coursera


As I mentioned earlier, Naver Map requires you to be familiar with basic Korean. But if you do not have the capacity to take formal courses, Coursera is your answer.

I’m currently registered on Basic Korean Language class and will start learning how to converse in Korean starting October 3. You can register through your desktop, but it’s also available in both iPhone and Android.

What’s the benefit?

Right now I can read Hangul characters but I’m still on my way to fully understand the words. My online professor from Yonsei University prepares course videos and gauge what I learn through a short exam (in the 1st week every exam has 5 items). Usually, a lesson takes 9-11 minutes (a very short time for you to learn Korean every day).

I’m really having fun learning Korean and it’s for FREE! I also downloaded our lessons. It might be helpful for you to take notes as she explains everything.

What more can I wish for? I hope you try the app as well. There are also other free courses available from distinguished universities.

You can download it at:

Play Store (Android)

App Store (iPhone)



I think almost everyone who attempted to understand Korean know the website

If you want to have conversational skills in the Korean language, this is the app for you. There are free podcasts and pdfs you can review to practice Korean.

You can download it at:

Play Store (Android)

App Store (iPhone)

  1. Audio Korea (Smart Tour)


You can download audio tour guides beforehand so that when you reach the attractions you might want to hear more information about them. Absolutely recommended for those who are not going to pay for any tour guides. The audio contains history, meaning, and stories about the origin of each attraction.

You can download it at:

Play Store (Android)

App Store (iPhone)

  1. Jeju Pass / Seoul Pass

7-jeju-pass-app 7-seoul-pass

Both of these apps contain discounted prices on tourist attractions. Of course, you have to research to compare prices and get the best offer they have. These two are ideal apps for those who do not want to wait in long lines or wonder if tickets are available on their desired destination.

The two apps are divided into 5 categories: amusement park, activities, entertainment, city tour, and museums. All of their available tickets are to be purchased online – no hassle! You can also book a hotel through these apps if you want and download their coupons.

Download them at:

a) Jeju Pass

Play Store (Android)

App Store (iPhone)

b) Seoul Pass

Play Store (Android)

App Store (iPhone)

  1. Yogiyo/ Mangoplate


Yogiyo lets you order your food online. However, you have to understand basic Korean language or if you are going to stay at a hotel or guesthouse, you can ask them to assist you. You might be wondering how you will know what you want to order. Since you are a tourist there, you only have two options. One is you already have a preferred food, you only have to tell it to the one who will help you. Or you are the kind of tourist who wants to explore food but have no idea what to order.

If you’re the second type of person, yogiyo shows you the picture of food and from there, you might get an idea what you are craving for. Still, if you can’t decide, just ask for a recommendation or research possible eats ahead of time.

On the other hand MangoPlate helps you find the best restaurants in South Korea. It is available in both English and Korean so you won’t have a hard time navigating in the app. There are ratings regarding the food for each restaurant so you will have an idea if a place is worth trying or you can just find another restaurant you can eat at.

Download it at:

Play Store (Android)

App Store (iPhone) 

I hope you all find time to check out the 13 apps. It might look like it’s too many but trust me, I already chose the best apps for you to use and there are so much more out there you can still explore on your iPhone or Android.

Written by Krew Member Jean Singian


BIGBANG and 2ne1: My Perfect Reasons To Go and Visit Korea


Nothing else matters once you step into the zone on the wonderful world of K-pop. I cannot emphasize this enough, but once you get in, it will be hard to go on with your life without thinking about a variety of things related to your favorite groups. In my case, I fell in love with 2ne1 and BIGBANG.

It was not an accident, but a transition I seeped into after following Sandara, whom we lovingly call as “Pambansang Krung-Krung ng Pilipinas” when she decided to go back to Korea for good. At first, I did not understand why she would choose to start again when she is at the peak of her career in the Philippines. But as they say, taking risks also bring out new opportunities, and to Sandara, it really worked out well for her.

Everything followed suit, I learned about BIGBANG (BB) and 2NE1. I still love them (so much!) to this day and I feel like “we’ve” gone through a lot of things and their songs almost always resonate what I’m going through. I grew old with them – from a typical student struggling to study while updating herself with the latest news about them to a professional who always find time to meet them whenever they visit the country.

A lot of people question my dedication to them, but their lyrics helped me through difficult times. There were days I felt myself drowning, deliberately choosing to isolate myself from the world but until now their advice and encouragement help me get through. For me, God gave them their gifts to show their skills and at the same time help other people to know that they are not alone with what they are going through.

Whether you’re a fan of BIGBANG or not, you will relate to one of my favorite lyrics lifted from “Haru Haru” song, one of the band’s greatest hits:

“Yeah, I thought I wouldn’t be able to live even one day without you

But from what was expected, I’m getting along quite well by myself

You don’t answer anything as I cry out “I miss you”

I hope for a vain expectation but now it’s useless”

Perhaps, everybody could relate to this – losing someone you care about but you cannot do anything to alter the current situation. It is that universal feeling that after one becomes absent, you suddenly become paralyze and think that you cannot get out of that situation. But in the end, you only sincerely wish for that person to be happy and if that person’s happiness does not include you, you have to learn to let go.

After totally being drawn by the songs of the two groups, I started following all their social media accounts, always anticipating their updates. It was mild at first until I found myself buying products they advertise. It started with small things, the ones I could afford with my student allowance. Then, I found myself struggling to purchase products because they even become more expensive with the delivery rates and they are shipped all the way from Korea.

There are legit fan sites who take orders but they don’t really do it all the time. Before, I was able to order at YESASIA since they have a lot of positive feedback from buyers. For me, that should be your standard before ordering. You will encounter accounts who are only there to scam you, so check more than twice if they really deliver their promises.

Right after graduation, I grabbed the opportunity to be part of fan site projects. For G-Dragon, Always-GD (a fan site) always ask help from fans for his birthday project and all the proceeds will go to Seungil Hope Foundation (where there are ALS patients). I also joined JolliDEEDay, in celebration of Sandara’s birthday together with Applers (Daragon shippers). Ultimately, I think this is the heart of one’s fandom and my favorite artists always show a good example when it comes to giving aid to other people.

Being a follower of K-pop groups does not only equal to supporting their music but as well as following their set example when it comes to helping people. A fandom has a wild beating heart when it comes to showing that the world is still a good place to live in. And so, with all of the things I mentioned, I have decided to go to Korea in December and try out the things I’ve only seen on their social media. I want to experience Korea and perhaps, get the chance to see them there (in my dreams!!!)…

One thing about planning the trip is that you have to choose what season you want to see when you go to Korea. For me and my friends, we’re really excited to experience snow, though we are highly aware it’s going to be super cold during this time, especially in January! Grab seat sales when you can but sometimes they are really not advisable unless you are super sure you can come during the available dates they have. Usually, many seat sales will open but the flying dates are 7 to 8 months away, a really risky move if you’re the kind of person who gets stuck at work or has to stay when there are unexpected issues. But really, that’s your call.

Another realization hit me like a wave after months of booking our flight straight to Incheon. My friends and I are also keen on visiting Jeju Island. My mistake is not being able to book intelligently (because, hey, all I could think about was I’m finally going to Korea). Don’t make the same wrong move. If you also plan to go to Jeju, it may be best to direct your flight there, then transfer to Seoul and from Seoul, you can go home to the Philippines or you can do the process vice versa.

Why should you do it? It honestly will help you save a huge amount of money instead of going back to the place where you first arrive.

You should also list all the places you want to visit months before your trip. This task was what I really found exhausting because there are a gazillion places I want to see and suddenly our 10-day trip feels like a short time to enjoy and drop by at all the good places. Here’s a tip: When listing the places you want to visit, you should also jot down their location and the directions on how to get there through your preferred transportation (subway or bus). After that, combine all the places which are near to each other so that you can maximize your time.

Perhaps, some of you will probably think: “How will I know if the places are near to each other? There are phone applications for this, I especially found “Subway” and “Naver Map” as a helpful tool in plotting our itinerary. It’s better to download local apps rather than using Google Maps simply because it is more accurate.

For the accommodation, again, when choosing this one, it’s all about preference. If you really want to spend cheap and you’re not really choosy about where you sleep, staying at jimjilbang might appeal to you. There are also guesthouses with private and shared rooms.  My advice is, when you see a decent place where you can stay, you don’t need to spend much on this because if you have a crazy busy itinerary like us, you are barely going to stay in your room.

Lastly, join competitions online! Just recently I won a free one-day wifi card from Korea Tourism Organization. With that, I already saved 5,000 won on my trip. It will not hurt for you to try out the games in social media and most of the time the instructions are pretty easy, so why don’t you try your luck?

Written by Krew Member Jean Singian

Photos: Riality and Korea.Net via Wikimedia Commons