Shopping Tips in Korea

Travels always incorporate shopping – it may be for the reason of wanting to get a souvenir from your trip or bringing home some ‘pasalubong’ for your loved ones! Whatever your reasons are, if you will be doing it Korea, here are some ways to maximize your budget.

20180101_103829

  1. Tax-Free Shops (Duty-Free)

You can easily get your branded favorites at huge department stores that offer tax-free items. These chains are operated by big Korean companies like Lotte, Shilla, and Shinsegae. You can find them in the busy downtown districts or even at the airport! Once you purchase at a duty-free shop, you just need to keep the receipt and claim your item at the airport (there’s a designated area for the duty-free products) after passing through the immigration. (Process may differ from one location to another so make sure to ask the information desk of the duty-free shop.)

20171231_102050

  1. Tax Refund Shops

‘Tax refund’ process is actually easier than most people think. There are shops that already indicate they are ‘Tax Refund/ Tax-Free Shop’ and will give you coupons that you need to present once you pay for your items.

Here are the steps:

  1. Make sure that the items you bought accumulate at least 30,000 won (1,500 PHP) and a maximum of 200,000 won (10,000 PHP) on single receipt purchase. Also, the total amount of all your receipts would only reach 1,000,000 won (50,000 PHP) for the entire duration of your Korea trip.
  2. Keep the receipts along with the purchased goods. You must present the VAT refund receipts to the customs officer to get the Customs Export Approval stamp. You may use the kiosk for a total refund of less than 75,000 won (3,750 PHP). There are also tax refund booths that would assist you in the process.

20171230_190156

3. Traditional markets or shopping streets

If you are sick of processed goods, then the traditional market is the best place to be. Aside from supporting small businesses, you can also get items at a lower cost. Also, there are items that you can only find in these places so keep an eye to it! The best part is that compared to huge shopping malls and shops, you can ask for discounts here! 좀 갂아주세요. (Chum- Kakkajuseiyo – Please give me a discount!) As for the shopping streets, holidays also mean bigger discounts for shoppers!

20171230_154314

  1. Souvenir shops in famous landmarks

You are pretty much lucky if you read through until here. Even though there are ‘tax-free and tax refund shops,’ you can notice easily that souvenir and some goodies are still cheaper on local stores located at famous landmarks. I, myself got to experience buying the same item with a doubled or tripled price from the tax refund shop than in a local store. Make sure to check the prices of the items you are eyeing to score the cheapest ones!

Written by Krew Member Mikay Javier

Advertisements

Korean Architectural Film Festival Opening

“Architecture defines our way of life and tells us how we can progress as a society.”

These are the words that Chairperson of Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) Liza Diño said as she shared her thoughts on what made her agree to team up with Korean Cultural Center (KCC) for the first ever Korean Architectural Film Festival in Manila last June 1 to 3 at FDCP Cinematheque Centre.

Together with Seoul International Architecture Film Festival, this event is the first of its kind outside of Seoul.  Featuring four Korean and two Filipino architectural films, the goal of the festival is to awaken the awareness of Filipinos on how to improve the efficiency and dynamism of a certain country like Philippines and Korea through architecture and film.

KCC Director Lee Jin Cheol, in his welcoming speech, challenged everyone to understand the importance of design and structure on one country’s development and explore the underlying values behind it. Through this event, he believes that Filipinos and Koreans could share inspirations, ideas, and specialties for further advancement

Architect Harry Joseph Serrano, Chairperson for Architecture Program of De La Salle College of St. Benilde, emphasized the similarities between film and architecture in terms of process, design, and storytelling. However, a film is more effective in terms of message delivery. Through this festival, people will understand the importance of architecture easily through the featured films.

Right after, an Architectural forum under the theme ‘Architecture, Urbanism, and Film: Another mode of living’ was held. Kim Jeong In of Soongsil University gave a background on Korea’s history, the involvement of culture and modern design that helped in the architectural ideas of Seoul. During the discussion, structures constructed in Korea during the ancient time and the present time were compared. He believes that the global adaptation of Korean designs drastically contributed to the progress of the country.

Together with him are panelists Yun Jae Seon from Seoul International Film Festival and Kim Young Woo from Busan International Film Festival who both focus on how films can become a medium for the people to appreciate architecture and design.

KCC Director Lee Jincheol with the panelists during the Day 1 of Architecture Forum

After the forum, the film ‘Ecology in Concrete’ was screened followed by a director’s talk with the film director Jeong Jae Eun.

Aside from the series of screenings and forums, a photo exhibit titled ‘Mega Seoul 4 Decades’ featuring the photos of Korean photographers Kim Kichan, Lee Gapchul, Koo Bohnchang, Bang Byungsang and Ahn Sekwon about Korea’s urban and rural structures was also prepared to the public.

Capping off, a Chimaek (Chicken and Beer) party experience was organized as a way for Filipinos and Koreans to interact and discuss further the film. This tradition is quite a hit now in Korea as they enjoy Chimaek usually after watching a film.

From left: Architect Harry Joseph Serrano, Movie Director Jose Javier Reyes, Architect Gerry Torres, KCC Director Lee Jincheol, FDCP Chair Liza Dino, Movie Director Jeong Jae Eun, Yoon Jae Seon and Kim Jung In.

Written by Krew Member Mikay Javier

Korean Sool Exhibit; Hangwa workshop

20180208_153644

What comes best with an alcoholic beverage like soju or Makgeolli?

Anju, a term I first learned in a Korean Show, is not just limited to main dishes and side dishes consumed together with alcohol. It can also be traditional sweet snacks like Hangwa (한과). Hangwa literally mean ‘han’ for Hankuk (Korea) and ‘gwa’ for gwaja (snacks.)

In line with the new exhibit of KCC “Korean Sool”, a take on how to make Hangwa was conducted during the opening day. To give us an idea, here are the highlights of the workshop and the step by step procedure:

*Note: Jisung Chun, a Korea Traditional Liquor Sommelier, demonstrated the preparation of Hangwa before the attendees created their own version.

Ingredients:

  • One to two tablespoons of honey
  • Pop rice, 100 grams (You may reduce this one according to your desired amount)
  • dragon seed (optional)
  • colored flavoring (optional)
  • nuts or dried fruits (optional)

20180208_141012

1. Prepare all your materials.

2. Heat your pan and add honey enough to bind the pop rice and other ingredients. *If you will add flavorings, put it first before adding the pop rice.

20180208_150915

3. Add the pop rice and mix until the ingredients sticks well.

20180208_152535

4. Make sure to mold it on the shape you desire before it totally cools down!

20180208_151452

5. Enjoy your finish product!

20180208_152307

 

**Hangwa is not limited to this recipe alone. It’s a variety of Korean snacks ranging from traditionally made candies and biscuits. This type of hangwa, the one made with pop rice is just popularly used as snack alongside with Korean sool. Pretty easy? You can try this at home!

Written by Mikay Javier

Korean Sool: A Culture to Share

20180208_173922

‘Gonbae!’ (Cheers! 건배!)

The fun that Korean drinking culture could bring is undeniable. The popularity of this culture gets stronger as K-dramas are now in mainstream media and it display how drinking bind families and friends together up to the present. Well, Korean alcoholic drinks are more than just the popular green bottle that we often see on screen. To introduce more about these beverages to Filipinos, a special exhibit on Korean Sool (한국의  술) was launched last February 8 in Korean Cultural Center’s exhibit hall.

20180208_163249

A walk into Korean sool’s history

Ms. Jisung Chun, a Korean rice liquor sommelier and founder of Soy and Rice, curated the program and discussed on Korea’s history of sool (alcoholic beverage) from the three Kingdom period up to present. As well, Anju (Korean food served alongside with alcohol) and varieties of sool were introduced.

20180208_164300

During the talk, Sool has been presented as an essential item for ancestor offering and entertaining guests. To give a little background on its types, Makgeolli is a slightly sweet and milky white beverage with an alcoholic concentration of about less than 10%. Takju, are the refined ones, almost the same ones with Yakju but can be defined by the clarity of the beverage, both has a concentration of about 10-19%. Last is the Soju which is the most popular ones, this undergoes the process of distillation and can easily be defined since it’s clear. Among all these beverages, it has the highest alcohol contents of about 19%-73%.

20180208_170211

Ms. Chun also gave recommendations on which ‘pulutan’ (snacks) would fit each type of drink. To give it a complete package experience, six among the types of sool were luckily tried by the audience and that includes the Horangyi (Tiger) Makgeolli, Tok Sseonin Bokbunja Makgeolli, Loa Red 19, Sanyang Sansam Gadeun Byul, Wangju and Uri Ssal Makgeolli.

20180208_173707

A tour on the exhibit hall followed right after the opening ceremony and talk. The seven areas display the History of Sool, which was earlier discussed during the conference. The second one is the Ingredients of Korean sool, followed by the brewing process, categories of Korean sool, Korean drinking rules and etiquette,  Jooansang (the traditional styled table served with Anju and sool). Lastly, Jeongja (pavillion) and soolsang, a perfect photo area to complete your Korea feel.

20180208_181208

To make the whole experience a memorable one, attendees got to try how to make Makgeolli first hand!  They say home brewed Makgeolli has the best flavor! Here’s a quick recap on the process.

Ingredients:

Rice (that could fill at least half of the jar when cooked)

Water (enough to cover the rice)

Nuruk (40-50 grams)

Instructions:

  1. Wash Korean rice until the water used is already clear.
  2. Steam for about 40 mins.
  3. Let it cool for 2-3 hours.
  4. In a jar, put the cooled rice, nuruk and water together.
  5. Mix.
  6. Make sure the jar is half lid open so the moisture would go out.
  7. On the 4th day, close it totally.
  8. You may try it on the 10th day. (It is expected that the mixture is a little sweet but if you want a more concentrate one, add five more days on the fermentation process.)

Korean Sool is more than just drinking liquor itself. It’s a fun culture shared by many. Make sure to drop by and visit KCC to see the exhibit yourself!

“Korean Sool” exhibition is open to the public for free from 9AM to 5PM Monday to Saturday at the KCC Exhibition Hall starting February 8, 2018. For more information, contact (02) 555-1711 or email curator@koreanculture.ph

Written by Krew Member Mikay Javier

Beyond Borders, Peaceful Voyage; ASEAN-ROK Collaborative Painting

ASEAN-Korea artists and 80 volunteers with a goal of showcasing the friendship between the ASEAN and Korea gathered together to paint a 35 x 27.5-meter mural in the heart of Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.

This project titled, ‘Beyond Borders: The Graffiti Art Project’, is one of the featured street art in Bonifacio Global City’s BGC Arts Center Festival 2017.

The partnership between Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines, National Commission for Culture and Arts and Bonifacio Art Foundation Inc. lead to the creation of this mural titled ‘Beyond Borders, Peaceful Voyage.’  

Features

To keep it traditional yet pop, a Korean Chaekgado, one of the traditional paintings during the Joseon dynasty, is the main feature of the painting. Inside are symbols and popular sites of ASEAN countries who participated in this project. These objects symbolize the friendship, diplomacy and cultural exchange across borders, united through a form of art. Aside from that, it’s also in time for the recent ASEAN conference held in the Philippines.

‘Beyond Borders, Peaceful Voyage.’  

Champions of Passion: Soulful Feats of Art

Five other street art works were featured on the three-day visual and cultural experience brought by the BGC Arts Center. Alongside are murals from local artists which are inspired by their own stories. These include the feel of longing, special meeting places, technology, dreams and normal life. Aside from these murals, stage plays were also featured from November 24-26 at the Maybank Arts Center.

Hop On, Hop Off Bus Tour

Free tours going to the mural sites were offered by the center for all art enthusiasts during the three-day event! Also, a ‘treasure hunt’ style map needs to be completed and snapshots of the six new paintings must be posted to get the special ‘art’ souvenir.

 

Were you able to join this event? If not, it’s not yet too late to see the murals up close. Don’t forget to share with us your photos!

The Beyond Borders: The Graffiti Art Project’ is located at 26th Street corner 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.

 

Written by Krew Member Mikay Javier

Reasons why B.I.G. is the next big thing

IMG_9591-1

We bump into B.I.G. (Boys In Groove) members J-hoon (leader, dancer, vocalist), Benji (vocal) Gun Min (dancer, vocalist), Min Pyo (rapper) and Heedo (maknae, rapper) during their press conference and we’ve jot down the reasons why the media instantly fell in love with these boys! See it for yourself why you must not miss their upcoming ‘The B.I.Ginning, The Asia tour’ in Manila!

1. Spontaneous energy
No one else could beat B.I.G.’s out-bursting charms and energy as they share their love for their fans and their music. During the press conference, a day prior to their third year anniversary, B.I.G members gave us a clue on how they will celebrate their special day by probably having a ‘samgyupsal party’ and a cake. Their unending charms and ‘happy virus’ type of personalities never fail to amaze the fans as they conquer a new milestone in their career.

2. Passion for music
“Gotta get your love oh, I’ll make it over tonight.”

A short serenade from their recent track ‘Hello Hello’ proved they’ve got the charisma and the talent to compete in the K-pop industry. Aside from that, the members got individual contributions in their recent album. In the coming months, they are about to conquer Taiwan, Japan and Philippines through their Asia tour so watch out for the dates!

3. Unique Style
If you want to see a realistic and talented type of performers, then this five-member team is for you. They are total performers and all of them could sing and dance. Aside from that, they can also go solo on stage and you’ll be seeing that on their concert! (Let’s not spill the beans yet! Watch it to feed your curiosity!)

IMG_9608-1

4. Fan Service
More than throwing finger hearts and doing eye contacts, B.I.G. would make their events memorable as they love to talk with their fans, share their stories, ask questions and suddenly crack jokes in the middle of interviews.

5. Funny stunts
From ‘I want to go to Mall of Asia’ to mishearing the word father to farmer, B.I.G. got lots of humor under their sleeves. There is no way you won’t laugh even for a minute. Following their contagious laughter, you’ll see yourself extremely ‘stan’-ing over these boys!

Bonus: Member’s cute accents! There’s no way you wouldn’t notice Benji’s US accent while the other members try to copy his style!

IMG_9765

Right after the press conference, a quick meet and greet with the fans followed! They’ve got to celebrate Jhoon’s birthday and the third anniversary of B.I.G. together!

PS: The members really loved a Filipino food chain’s chicken and one of the members wishes to visit all the branches they have in the Philippines!

Do not miss the chance to see B.I.G up close and personal on their upcoming fanmeet happening on September 2 at the Music Museum. See you all there!

Written by Krew Member Mikay Javier
Photos by Krew Member Martin Arada

Sweet and cold; Korean Ice Creams and Bingsu

June is just a few days away but Summer is far from over!

In fact, the weather in the Philippines is pretty much unpredictable. It maybe rainy in the morning but extremely sunny in the afternoon. With the kind of environment we have, beating the heat is a must! What else would pop-out in your mind when asked what to eat during such situation? ….. Ice cream!

Are you craving for some ice cream now? Then I suggest that you run into the nearest Korean shop and grab some of these featured ice cream from the freezer!

20170401_132453

♦ Ice pops

Eating ice cream can be messy at times but that’s something you don’t have to worry about when eating ice pops. This is the modest form of iced refreshment and also the cheapest one! It is perfect for a quick break or an after meal munch. Ice pop is the Korean version of our ice candy!

tumblr_m5bcptLVUq1rqx7a0o5_540

 ♦ Fish-shaped Ice cream – (Boggupang Ice cream)

This creatively designed ice cream can be frequently seen in Korean marts and other supermarkets in the Philippines. The filling is made up of vanilla ice cream and sweet red beans, while the outer layer is composed of a thick wafer.

south-korean-ice-cream-sandwich-with-cookie

♦ Ice cream sandwich and on-stick ice creams

These chiffon-like sandwich vanilla ice cream and Korean ice drops are still the easiest kinds Korean ice cream to find. You can easily spot them in ice cream freezers at convenient stores and supermarkets.

Bingsu

Bingsu is the Korean counterpart of our ‘Halo-halo.’ Nowadays, the popularity of Bingsu, a Korean dessert composed of shaved ice with fresh ingredients, also conquered the rows of choices for desserts. Yes! There are lots of bingsu shops that introduce variety of flavors for K-foodie lovers! See? Koreans love desserts as much as Filipinos do.

Just to give a quick background, bingsu is one of the most popular desserts in Korea and it is highly consumed during summer. Also, this brings a nostalgic feel to Koreans since it’s a big part of their childhood.

Must try flavors:

c95b969767e9b770d823ac27036515b3

Injeolmi – Traditionally, injeolmi is one of the most popular types of Korean rice cake. It has a chewy texture covered with bean powder. Could you imagine the taste when paired with almond flakes and top on a shaved ice?

IMG_20170205_204041_097

** I’ve tried a fruit-patbingsu before and the combination is pretty pleasing for me.

Red Beans – Keep it traditional. Patbingsu, with pat literally meaning red beans is the most classical type of bingsu in Korea. The dessert itself is just made up of ice, red beans and milk.

Fruit – a traditional kid’s favorite! (Sometimes even topped with ice cream).

Here in the Philippines, different shops got their own takes on their bingsu menus so try to keep an eye to it!

received_10202595227198935

Chocolate – nothing can beat a good chocolate-flavored bingsu topped with chewy small cubes of chocolate brownies or chocolate corn flakes. Sometimes it comes with a scoop of ice cream!

Suddenly craving for bingsu and ice cream after reading this? There are so many bingsu shops opening around the Philippines and convenience stores offering Korean ice cream now so there’s no more excuse not to try one.

Don’t forget to try any of them before the season ends!

Written by Krew Member Mikay Javier