첫사랑: Reminiscing everything Korean!

[KCCBanner] Chot Sarang

Do you still remember the first K-drama you watched?

How about the first K-Pop album you received?

I don’t know about you but, when I was younger, I would always keep track of my “first” Korean experiences. Whether it’s as simple as getting my first haircut from a Korean Stylist (Chic Salon, September 7, 2008) or getting my first Korean newspaper (September 14, 2008) (yes, I’m a little “crazy” over dates!) – I remember them all!

So, here are some of my “first loves” and I hope you can reminisce with me.

1. First Korean Drama
“Lovers in Paris” was probably one of the first Korean dramas to air here in the Philippines, together with “Stairway to Heaven.” However, it’s not until “Spring Waltz” that I learned to love K-dramas.

2. First Korean CD
As I further “researched” on the actors of “Spring Waltz”, thanks to Wikipedia, I accidentally clicked on “Unstoppable Marriage”. It was a sitcom starring Girl’s Generation’s Sooyoung and Yuri, together with F.T. Island’s Jaejin. Obviously,  now you now know my first K-POP groups.

I got my first F.T. Island album on March 17, 2008. It was their “The Refreshment Special Repackaged Edition,” thanks to my aunt who went to Korea. Then I got my first Girl’s Generation album, their debut album, on December 12, 2008.

I usually record my K-album’s birthdays but I stopped when I went to college. Still, I continued this weird “tradition” of keeping their wrappers, as much as possible, and covering them with ziplock! (Why are you so weird, Max?)

3. First Korean Restaurant
On September 14, 2008, I got to eat at Yedang BBQ Restaurant! For me, it’s the best in the Philippines and it still is. When I ate there back in 2008, they still had those mini tables where you can eat sitting on the floor. Today, I try to eat there twice a month. Almost forgot…this is where I got my first Korean newspaper!

4. First Korean Cooking
The first dish I ever cooked in my whole life was Bibimbap. I was on my first year in college and for some reason I really wanted to “cook” and taste Bibimbap for dinner!After class, I checked for the recipe, went straight to the grocery and went home to cook!

5. First Korean trip
And of course, the most memorable out of all of these, my first trip to Seoul! We went last May 12, 2016 and it’s actually an “unplanned trip”. My dad surprised me and we booked the ticket just two weeks before the trip! It was a memorable vacation because I got to test my Korean skills, met the locals and breathe the Seoul air.

6. First Korean “work”
Lastly, my first Korean “work.” I always wanted to do something for Korea and I didn’t realized that KCC or the Korean Cultural Center was the answer! Here, I joined as a KREW member and I can’t be more thankful. The truth is, the first time I came to KCC was on June 21, 2016 during my KREW interview. With KCC, I experienced how it is to work with Koreans, meet friends with the same interests as me and even got the chance to learn and grow as a person.

Indeed, I am thankful to my “first loves” -for without them, I wouldn’t be who I am today!

Do you have any memories to share about your “첫사랑” ? Tell us your stories by commenting below!

God bless!

Written by Krew Member Max Chua

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5 SIMPLE TIPS BEFORE STUDYING IN KOREA

[KCCBanner] 5 Tips Before studying in Korea.

You might have thoughts about studying in Korea. Whether it’s to further pursue your degree there, study their language or whatever your reasons, I’ll share with you my 5 tips before studying in your dream country, Korea.

1. Study a little Korean

When your about to study abroad in general, it’s important to learn the basics of their language. I have a friend who studied in Korea and knowing how to read and write Hangeul really helped her a lot.

Given that majority of the lessons will be taught in Korean- it’s good to be ready! Also, studying a little bit of Korean in advance gives you an “edge” versus your classmates. It also allows you to be more confident that you won’t get lost anywhere in Korea! Just in case~

2. Visit the school

As much as possible, it’s best to check the school and the dorm you will be staying at beforehand. This way, you can already get a glimpse of your “living-expectations” and adjust to whatever it is you might be needing.

Tour around the school so you’ll know where to go and allow yourself to get the school’s “vibe.” When you do this, you probably won’t have a hard time during your first day in class!

If you can’t visit the school, make sure to read A LOT about it because studying in Korea is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity that can’t be wasted just because of a “wrong school” choice -no offense. Make sure the school caters to your academic needs, matches your standards, and is considered an “expert” in whatever it is you want to study.

3. Anticipate the difficulties

It is not easy studying abroad. I ask my friends a lot about their experiences studying abroad and most of them tell me they cry on the first week. I’m not scaring you, I’m just saying you have to be ready- heart, soul and mind. 

Encountering language barriers or possible miscommunications are inevitable. Missing your family and friends is normal. Allowing yourself to give up during these “difficulties,” is definitely a no-no. Remember, these “challenges” are part of the journey itself and you’ll eventually be thankful for it because, it’s the one that builds you up and makes you stronger.

4. Clarity of the “dream”

Before studying in Korea, or in any other country, you have to be clear of why you want to study there. You have to know your “reasons”. Doing this allows you to conquer #3 easily! Why? Simply because when obstacles come, you won’t let them get in your way because you know your purpose. You have a “goal” in studying in Korea (or any country) and you won’t let anyone miss your chance to win the prize.

5. Believe in yourself.

Lastly, telling yourself that you can do it, that you will “survive” and that you will achieve your goal are important. The power of your mind is the best weapon you can use over your doubts, homesickness or even your “#3”s along the way in studying in Korea (or abroad).

Connected to #4, remind yourself of your purpose and support it by being your own “number-one-fan”. If you believe in yourself, you’ll be surprised with the amazing things that are about to come your way.

I hope my simple tips before studying in Korea helped you!

Are you planning to study in Korea? Tell us where you plan to?

God bless!

Written by Krew Member Max Chua

Korean Film Festival 2017: Movie Review

6 cities.
5 films.
4 days.

This year’s Korean Film Festival in Manila, held from September 7-10 at SM Megamall Cinema 6, had the theme “Boldness of Youth,” and the movie line-up definitely did not disappoint! Each movie had a special kind of nostalgia that would entertain people of all ages.

Before the KFF hits its next location, here are a few reviews. (Warning: minor spoilers ahead!)

TWENTY: Coming-of-Age Comedy at its Best

Kang Haneul, Lee Junho, Kim Woobin– three amazing heartthrobs in one quirky comedy? Yes please! The movie presents the innocence of teenage boys coming into adulthood in such a witty way that it’s almost impossible not to laugh at least once. Sadly, it could come across as a superficial plot centered around the “boys will be boys” concept, but the lasting friendship of three best friends makes up for it. It’s definitely a must-see for those just reaching that magical age, or those who’d love to reminisce over being 20 again.

KING OF JOKGU: Do What You Like, Love What You Do

Remember the days when life was as simple as playing patintero or luksong baka with friends? You can remember these simpler times through this heart-warming movie. Retelling the tale of a young guy wanting to rekindle everyone’s interest in playing jokgu, a Korean sport that shares elements of both football and volleyball, the movie will definitely make you smile and want to play around like a kid again. Granted, the movie ended with a couple of unexpected twists and the final jokgu battle was pretty lengthy, but overall it was a movie filled with child-like determination.

HOW TO STEAL A DOG: Perfect for Families and Dog Lovers

This movie will definitely make you go ‘aww’ for two reasons– one because of the curious innocence of the kids, and the other because of the amount of adorable dogs you’ll be exposed to! Being inspired by films like Disney and Pixar, it’s no wonder director Kim Seong-ho created this movie with a bit of whimsy. They did a great job of portraying real-life situations through the eyes of a child while not losing the gravity of reality. A must-watch for the whole family.

A VERY ORDINARY COUPLE: Relive The Best (And The Worst) of Love

Everyone knows love isn’t a steady path. Whether you have never been in love, currently in a relationship, or currently in your hugot phase: this movie would definitely catch your eye. Lee Minki and Kim Minhee’s acting skills will definitely draw you into the misadventures of a real-life working couple, and the variety of side characters made the movie less self-contained than the title lets on. The fact that they added a few statistics tidbits to enforce the fact that they were both numbers people is a cute touch as well.

MY BRILLIANT LIFE: The Ultimate Tear-Jerker

Better bring a box of tissues when watching this one! Song Hye-Kyo and Kang Dong-Won did an incredible job as the caring parents of their on-screen son Ahreum, played by the very talented Jo Sung-Mok. There is an obvious “love for family” theme in the movie that is brought about in little scenes, making the theme less overwhelming than what most family films would do. A perfect mix of quirky, witty, and touching scenarios, it’s definitely a heartwarming film that will leave you with a greater love and appreciation for life than before.

Overall, all the films are filled with an overwhelming sense of nostalgia, and they’re surely not ones you’d want to miss! Catch the Korean Film Festival at Davao (September 14 to 17), Iloilo (September 21 to 24), Cebu (September 28 to October 1), Pampanga (October 5 to 8) and Cavite (October 12 to 15).

 

Written by Krew Member Anne Patricia Rubinas

2017 Korean Film Festival Goes for Millennial Empowerment

Korean wave fans and film buffs once again swarmed the SM Megamall as the Korean Cultural Center of the Philippines (KCC), together with the Embassy of Korea to the Philippines, brought yet again another one of its most awaited and exciting events, the 2017 Korean Film Festival.

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With the theme, “Boldness of Youth,” this year’s festival showcased five critically acclaimed films that features young characters who face various challenges in their lives and how they deal with them including:

The premiere movie “How to Steal a Dog” revolves around a 10-year-old girl (Lee Re) who concocts a plan to steal a rich woman’s (Kim Hye-ja) dog and believes the reward money would be enough to buy a home for her family.

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How to Steal a Dog Director Kim Seong-Ho graced the 2017 KFF premier night with his presence.

“Twenty,” the coming-of-age movie showing the struggles of newly high school graduates namely Chi-ho (Kim Woo-bin), Kyung-jae (Kang Ha-neul) and Dong-woo (Lee Junho).

The family-drama film, “My Brilliant Life” focusing on the hardships of two young lovers (Kang Dong-won and Song Hye-kyo) having a child diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder, Progeria.

“The King of Jogku,” a sports-comedy movie about the story of Hong Man-sub (Ahn Jae-hong) on his return to university after his military service only to find out that his beloved Jogku court has been removed due to complaints from the student council.

The romantic-comedy film, “A Very Ordinary Couple,” telling the on-and-off relationship of two normal couples in Korea, Lee Dong-hee (Lee Min-ki) and Jang Young (Kim Min-hee).

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KCC Director Lee Jin-Cheol shared his thoughts in an interview before the screening.

KCC Director Lee Jin-Cheol stressed out that they want the viewers especially the young ones to have the same encouragement as the characters in the films and also for the older audiences to reminisce about their past and to understand the lives of the youth in this generation.

The Big Night Unfolds

This year’s Korean Film Festival kicked off on September 7, 2017 with the screening of the multi-awarded director Kim Seong-Ho’s “How to Steal a Dog,” a film adaptation based on a novel by Barbara O’Connor.

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Audience anticipated for the start of the 2017 KFF premiere movie.

More than 500 moviegoers packed the SM Megamall Cinema 6 for the premiere night, which was graced by the presence of Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Kim Jae-shin and Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) chairperson Liza Diño-Esguerra. Also present at the opening night were KCC’s sponsors, media partners, and several invited guests.

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VIP Guests enjoyed the Korean food and refreshments that were served.

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Director Kim Seong-ho was joined by Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Kim Jae-shin and wife Madame Lee Jong-min.

Events Coordinator of KCC Philippines Ms. Paola Ebora hosted the event and welcomed the mostly young crowd, who even replied with “Annyeonghaseyo!” or hello in Korean.

His Excellency Kim Jae-shin in return addressed the audience in Tagalog in his speech, to the Filipinos delight, a gesture that strongly shows the Philippines-Korea long friendly relationship.

Ambassador Kim emphasized that it is the cultural connection that makes the Korean Film Festival important as it plays a significant role in promoting deeper and better understanding of the Korean history and culture among the Filipinos.

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Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Kim Jae-shin welcomed the audience at the premiere night.

FDCP chairperson Liza Diño-Seguerra also conforms to the two countries’ affinity saying that “the Korean culture has become an influence and a great part of the Filipinos’ sensibility. It’s such a powerful tool as it can educate, inspire, and move people to positive actions.”

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FDCP chairperson Liza Diño-Seguerra expressed her gratitude during her speech at the premiere night. 

The FDCP chair asserted that the Korean Film Festival uplifts the Asian cinema, a cultural revolution which the Philippines can learn from and can continuously collaborate with to take the country to a much higher level in the film industry.

The Director’s Talk

With the twists and turns, the crime-drama film “How to Steal a Dog” trickles the warmth, comic energy and tear-jerking scenes to the audience, as it resurfaces a more significant message, addressing perhaps a problem in the Korean setting.

The film has already bagged three awards at the 33rd Ale Kino! International Young Audience Film Festival in Poland, a People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, and a Grand Prix at the 24th Kineko Film Festival Tokyo in 2016.

After the free screening, the audience had the chance to ask Director Kim Seong-Ho in a special talk.

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Director Kim Seong-Ho answered questions from the audiences during his special talk.

On a question on why he accept the task to direct the movie, Kim said he thinks that Korea needs to see more of this kind of films – family-oriented films, and to address youth issues through the industry.

Kim said he didn’t had second thoughts in doing the adaptation film as he was inspired to relate his creation to younger viewers. “I want the youth to stand despite miserable circumstances.”, he said.

The director also pointed out that directing an animal was his hardest challenge in doing the film but he also revealed that he and his team only took almost three months to finish the movie.

On a side note, of course as Filipinos would really love to know, Director Kim said he was overwhelmed by the warm welcome of the Filipinos. He also added that he would definitely be back in the Philippines and if given the chance, he would love to direct a film in the country and cast Filipinos as the actors.

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Director Kim Seong-Ho in a catch-up interview at the premiere night.

The Catch

The 2017 Korean Film Festival, just like in the past years, partners with the SM Cinema and SM Lifestyle Entertainment Inc. for the free screening, concluded its Manila leg last September 10.

For those who weren’t able to watch yet, fret not, as the KCC also brings the films in five more cities so make sure to catch on the following schedule:

SM Lanang Premier Cinema 1 in Davao (September 14 – 17),

SM City Iloilo Cinema 8 in Iloilo (September 21 – 24),

SM City Cebu Cinema 5 in Cebu (September 28 – October 1),

SM City Clark Cinema 3 in Pampanga (October 5 – 8), and

SM City Dasmariñas in Cavite (October 12 – 15).

The Korean Film Festival is the flagship annual project of the Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines, which aims to further engage the interests of the Filipino audience with the Korean entertainment and culture through film.

 

Written by Krew Member Junelyn Olivar

Song Joong Ki Philippines’ The Battleship Island Block Screening

Ki Ailes show their support for The Battleship Island

Ki Ailes show their support for The Battleship Island

Last September 3, 2017, the country’s first and only fan base of international South Korean actor Song Joong Ki, the Song Joong Ki Philippines, held 3 block screenings of the blockbuster hit, ‘The Battleship Island’, at SM Light Mall Cinemas in Mandaluyong City.

Registration Booth

Registration Booth

Guests lining up for the block screening

Excited guests waiting for the next block screening

Song Joong Ki Philippines, a non-profit organization, was established back in 2010, and has been actively running with more than half a million followers, a.k.a. Ki Ailes, on its official Facebook page. Led by one of its founding members, Ms. Meljoy Mata and 11 other members, the group has been organizing numerous events and has appeared in different television shows and movie premieres to promote all the activities and products showcased by the well-known, award-winning actor. The Battleship Island Block Screening is the group’s first big event, as numerous supporters in different parts of Manila gathered to show their support for Song Joong Ki.

Guests lining up

During the registration and claiming of tickets, guests were given freebies such as fan cards, movie posters, and free loot bags that contained some Song Joong Ki merchandise. They also held a raffle with items coming from different sponsors for all the attendees of the event.

Raffle time

Song Joong Ki freebies

Song Joong Ki freebies

Fans weren’t left disappointed as the movie showed an incredible performance of the power house cast and the intense cinematography will definitely make you experience what it was like in the island during the war (you’ll hear the viewers’ reactions during the war scene, and of course, when Song Joong Ki first entered the scene).

Directed by Ryoo Seung-Wan, The Battleship Island features a star-studded cast composed of top Hallyu stars Song Joong Ki, So Ji Sub, and Hwang Jung Min. The movie was inspired by historical facts, that tells the story about a group of Korean workers, who were forced into labor slavery and who risked their lives in an attempt to escape from the Japanese occupation on Hashima Island (dubbed in the movie as the Battleship Island).

The Song Joong Ki Philippines Team

Song Joong Ki Philippines Team

Song Joong Ki Philippines once again served its purpose as it provided all the fans of the actor in Metro Manila, an interactive field where they could gather and celebrate the much awaited comeback of Song Joong Ki to the big screen.

Thank you Song Joong Ki Philippines

Song Joong Ki Philippines official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SongJoongKiPH/

Written by Krew Member Erika Salaga

Gastronomic Fun and Culinary Creativity Rule at the 2017 Global Taste of Korea

The Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines (KCC) has yet again wrapped up another delicious affair: The Global Taste of Korea 2017.

Held at the Lyceum Philippines University (LPU) Culinary Institute last Saturday, 29 July, the most-anticipated Korean gastronomic event in the country attracted hundreds upon hundreds of avid foodies of all ages.

Now on its fourth year, the goal of Global Taste of Korea remains the same: To offer Filipinos a bite of Korean culinary culture for an entire day through fun, interactive, and educational platforms. And with the growing number of Filipinos taking interest in Korean cuisine, as seen on popular films and dramas, the annual celebration of Korean flavors has never been busier.

A variety of booths lined the 4th level hallway of LPU’s Culinary Institute, ensuring that every guest experiences Korea in a local and cost-free setting.

The Korea Tourism Organization in Manila (KTO) handed out free posters and guide books to anyone who wishes to visit the Land of the Morning Calm, while food booths gave away unlimited helpings of staple Korean snacks and side dishes such as kimchi, ramyeon, and dumplings.

Eager visitors also had the opportunity to don the hanbok, the traditional Korean costume. Gamely posing for pictures, they looked like character pulled straight from a sageuk.

Setting an avenue for a deeper understanding of Korean cuisine, KCC organized cooking workshops for attendees who want to learn more about the history and basic how-tos of Korean cooking. At the end of the workshops, the attendees were able to prepare kimchi and bulgogi, marinated slices of meat that are either grilled or stir-fried.

But perhaps, the most exciting part of this year’s Global Taste of Korea is the cooking competition. Divided into two categories, Kimchi Battle and Freestyle Korean Cooking, a total of 22 cooks took the challenge to be hailed as this year’s best Korean cook.

Betina Erika Lim’s winning dish for the Kimchi Battle Category: Kimchi Chicken Quesadilla

From Left: Lyceum of the Philippines Culinary Director Chef Christopher Bautista, Kimchi Battle grand prize winner Betina Erika Lim, and  KCC Director LEE Jincheol

For the Kimchi Battle, Betina Erika Lim bagged first prize with her Kimchi Chicken Quesadilla, which she fashioned to look like the Taegeukgi or the Korean Flag. Airose Caloobanan (Beef Sinigang with Kimchi) and Angeli Mae Sapno (Steamed Kimchi Pork Buns) also proved to be the judges’ picks, as they received the second and third prize, respectively.

Regine Monsanto’s version of Dwaejigalbi-jjim or Korean-style braised pork ribs

The Freestyle Korean Cooking was a bit more intense, as 11 cooks heated up the kitchen with their own renditions of Korean favorites. Taking the third prize is Amiel Santos, who put a modern twist to the classic bibimbap. Hazel Quiamas got creative with her take on japchae, which she stuffed in a while pan-fried chicken, and took the second prize.

From Left: KTO Director Park In-Shik, Freestyle Korean cooking grand prize winner and Best Korean Cook Regine Monsanto, and KCC Director LEE Jincheol

Besting all 11 contestants is Marianne Regine Monsanto, a 28-year-old cook, who has been joining the Global Taste of Korea’s cooking competition since its first year. She won the judges’ palates with her version of the braised pork rib dish dwaejigalbi-jjim. She is also named as this year’s Best Korean Cook. Aside from the cash prize she will be taking home, Monsanto is also awarded with a roundtrip ticket to Korea, courtesy of KTO Manila.

The day ended on a high note as the auditorium erupted in happy tears and exchanges of congratulatory messages. With this, the guests and contestants alike look forward to another exciting Global Taste of Korea event next year.

Written by Krew member Andy Flores

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

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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!)

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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!

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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