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



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

Who’s “The Krew”?


You’ve been reading their blogs, liking their videos, saving their candid-pictures of you in a KCC-hosted event — but, have you ever wondered who they really are?

You may or may not have heard of them, but what I can say is that they’re not just your average “supporter”. They are gifted, passionate and dedicated individuals who desire nothing more than to introduce Korea and Korean culture to the Filipinos. Who are they? They’re called: The Krew.

I’m sure you probably clicked “About ‘The Krew’” when you first visited the blog or rather accidentally clicked it while trying to save Song Joong Ki’s picture. Kidding. Just in case you haven’t, here’s what it says:

“The Krew consists of talented and passionate individuals who have great interest in sharing and promoting Korean culture in the Philippines. Initially dubbed as “KCC Supporters,” The Krew has been helping the Korean Cultural Center (KCC) in the Philippines with its activities as official volunteers.”


Honestly, I never heard about “The Krew” until recently.

I was planning to apply for the Korean Cultural Center’s Internship program but, it required me to be present from Monday to Friday. How can I be there when I am still studying? Good thing though, KCC sent me an email saying I should apply for “The Krew” instead. So, from there, I knew about it.

The Krew has three teams: Events, Media and Blog.

Events team handles the various activities held by the Korean Cultural Center. Media team creates materials to help promote Korea in the Philippines. Lastly the Blog team, well you’re reading it, aims to showcase Korea or anything related to Korean culture through writing.


But regardless on whichever team you want to be with — you can still participate in all teams.

I am definitely inspired by the Krew sunbaenims (seniors) who give their all to KCC.

To the bloggers, who research, cover several Korean-related events and write their stories; to the media team, who develops concepts and spend hours carrying heavy cameras just to produce great videos and photos; and to the events team, who probably spent a number of sleepless nights for planning and would always stand for hours in events and exhibits, just to share their love for Korea — indeed, The Krew is not just your ordinary volunteer workers, rather an important part of KCC’s family.


So, next time someone asks me who we are, I’ll tell them we’re “The Krew”.

Written by Krew Member Max Chua

Do you love Korea? Do you want to help KCC in promoting Korea to Filipinos? Then we want you! Join the 2017 KCC Supporters “The Krew” Batch 5!

Click on the link for more details:


10 Things to Know when Visiting a Korean House

Couple of weeks ago, I visited my Korean best friend from college in their house at Cavite. She has been inviting me for an overnight stay at her family’s house ever since college but because of our busy schedule, it wasn’t pushed through until then.

I was a bit reluctant at first because I was really nervous to visit a foreigner’s house, more so it was a Korean household!  Despite that, I was totally excited to see her again and finally meet her family.  I had a wonderful stay in their home, and I’m happy I survived.

You might also be planning to visit your Korean friend’s house, so now I want to share with you ten tips on how it is to visit a Korean household here in the Philippines – the do’s and don’t’s, what to expect and not.

#1 Take off your shoes before entering the house.

This is the number one rule in many cultures, especially in Asia, when it comes to visiting another person’s house. The visitor should always remove his shoes or any footwear upon entering the house as a sign of respect to the home. This actually also applies to when we enter our own house. The belief is that the person should not bring inside the house all the dirt, wetness, or in a sense, all the heavy feelings acquired outside.  This is also done so that the floor of the house stays clean. In my case, they were all barefoot at home, and so I also entered barefooted. You may also wear socks instead or the house slippers that they will provide you.


#2 Bring with you essential Korean phrases and expression.

It’s your time to flaunt your Korean language prowess that you’ve been hiding there all along! You can now use all the aigoo’s and omona’s that you’ve learned from staying up late in watching all of these Korean dramas, movies, and variety shows. Some phrases that I found handy when I visited their house were: Annyeong haseyo (Hello), Kamsahamnida (Thank you), Gwaenchanhayo (It’s okay.), Masisseoyo (Delicious), Annyeonghi kyeseyo (Goodbye when you are leaving), and Annyeonghi kaseyo (Goodbye when you are staying and somebody is leaving). So for now, take note of all the basic Korean expressions that might come in handy when visiting your Korean friend.


#3 Observe jondaemal at all times.

You might have heard this already that in Korea, the people significantly use jondaemal or formal way of speaking to the elders, seniors, or to strangers, and banmal also known as the not-so-formal or rather informal way of speaking to friends or people younger than you. Prior to visiting my friend’s house, I was really nervous because I really didn’t know how I should act in a Korean household because I haven’t been to an actual one. Thanks to the Korean dramas I’ve seen, I got the slight idea how to properly address Korean people. Be sure to us jondaemal especially when you’re talking with your friend’s parents or grandparents. One example is by putting the suffix –yo as in Masisseoyo or Aniyo (No). This is pretty much like using “po” in the Filipino context. You may also want to confirm with your friend what to specifically call her parents, because I almost called her mom ahjumma (respectful approach to a Korean middle aged or married woman) but she said it would be better to call her imo (aunt) or samonim (a pastor’s wife). Review your Korean titles like oppa, hyung, noona, unnie, ahjussi, ahjumma, etc.


#4 Expect Korean language and no English subtitles.

You are visiting a Korean household, so expect to hear Korean language. I actually had a lot of fun hearing Korean language all throughout my stay as if I was really inside a Korean drama. In fact, this would also be a good opportunity for you to test your Korean listening skills. Although they already knew English and Tagalog (they’ve already been in the Philippines for more than ten years), my friend and her family were still talking to each other in straight Korean, especially when we were eating, and I was like “English subtitles please!” Nosebleed!! I realized that I still have a lot of rice to sow when it comes to being fluent in Hangugeo (Korean language). I understood some keywords but I couldn’t fully comprehend the whole sentence yet. So that’s how I was able to assess my current Korean language listening and speaking capacity.

#5 Expect Korean food. Spicy Korean food.

If there would be Korean language conversations, of course there would also be Korean cuisine. Korean food are so delicious and unmistakably, spicy. When they were still cooking the food, imo asked me if I was okay with eating spicy food, and I answered “Gwaenchanhayo!” The food served was spicy but tolerable for me, and kimchi (Korea’s national dish) was of course present among the dishes. Do not be surprise if they will have many viands or dishes because my friend said it’s the Korean style. We had rice, three viands and two types of kimchi as side dishes. The main dish was ori bulgogi or duck meat. It was really mouth-watering. It felt like I was really eating in a Korean restaurant, and it was like a huge privilege. I only get to eat these dishes in a Korean resto! Afterwards, we had strawberry chocolate ice cream for the dessert.


#6 Don’t forget your table manners.

Aside from getting very excited about the food, please also keep in mind the table manners. In my friend’s house, similar to a Filipino home, they would not start eating unless everyone’s already present in front of the table. They would also always start the meal with a family prayer led by the father. And of course, they would finish the prayer with “Jal meokkessseumnida!” (I will eat well). Prior to eating, my friend asked me if I would use chopstick or spoon and fork. I was hesitant to answer because I was not confident with my chopstick skills and so I answered “Both!” She just laughed at me because she knew I was just going to use the spoon and fork in the end anyway, and she was right. I knew how to use the chopstick but their chopstick is way thinner than what I am used to. Make sure also that the elders get their food first before you dive in. After eating, don’t forget to say “Jal meogeosseumnida!” (Thank you for the meal. I ate well!)

#6 (first option)

#7 Yes, you would also see some Filipino products.

I wrote this article for the purpose of sharing how it is to visit a Korean friend’s house particularly in the Philippines, so when you visit their house, don’t be surprised if you see a Mang Tomas or Nova chips. Most of their kitchen products were of Korean brands. They even had Korean branded refrigerator and other appliances (I’m sure you already know which brand I am talking about) which I’ve usually only seen in Korean dramas. Filipino households typically use a different brand. My friend told me that they do grocery in a Korean supermarket nearby. I asked my friend if her mom also cooks them Filipino dishes, and she said her mom sometimes cooks adobo, menudo, and bicol express.

#8 They don’t have tabo and timba, the Last Supper, and Chinaware.

Although you would be seeing some Filipino products, you won’t be seeing any small figurines, wedding souvenirs, or unused porcelain Chinaware plates being displayed. There would be also be no The Last Supper or large wooden spoon and fork displayed on their kitchen wall (Nope, no large wooden chopsticks as well). These are the things you usually see in a typical Filipino house. When I went to their house, I was also looking for their graduation pictures, or cross-stitched artwork displayed on the wall of their living room, but I couldn’t find one. What I saw instead were abstract Chinese paintings and characters. Although they did have framed family pictures, these were not displayed ostentatiously. Don’t also look for a tabo and timba when using their bathroom. They do have shower head!


 #9 Don’t expect them to know every Kpop group/Korean drama.

Not all Koreans would know the comeback song of your bias group, or the birthday of your ultimate bias, or even the word “bias” at all! Honestly, majority of the Koreans I’ve met here in the Philippines are not Kpop fans, which is contrary to the belief of many Kpop fans. My friend herself does not like Kpop and prefers ballads instead. Please don’t go bombarding them if they know *insert rookie Kpop group here* or *insert bias group hit song* because 80% of the time they wouldn’t. Although of course they would know a couple of the old popular groups such as Super Junior, Big Bang, or Wonder Girls. You might find it ironic because a typical Kpop fan in general would know the names of all the members of BTS, SHINee, A-Pink or Twice, but some Koreans don’t. However, her family and I mostly talked about Korean dramas and Hallyu top stars which is something they are more familiar with. At that time, Descendants of the Sun was their favorite, while imo is a big Kim Soohyun fan!

#10 Just have fun!

Lastly, just enjoy your stay in a Korean household. Be comfortable and make them also comfortable with your presence. The most important thing is you say “Thank you!” in all the things that they do to make you feel at home. Respect their customs and be mindful of your manners. There might be a lot of differences between a Korean and a Filipino household but both are very much the same when it comes to the presence of respect, love, and piety among the family members. My Korean friend’s family is also very hospitable just like Filipinos, and they welcomed me with open arms and big smiles. You might feel like you are in a Korean drama but do not fantasize too much about it. Just relax, and have fun! 🙂


-Photo credits to the owners-

Written by Krew Member Mary Joy Padilla. Follow her personal blog: https://maryloveskorea.wordpress.com/

How Korean Dramas helped me in learning Korean Language

When I was six years old, my father who has been an OFW would always bring home pasalubong in balikbayan boxes. Written on those boxes were unfamiliar characters with many circles, and I would always copy them on my little notebook because I found them very cute! I would copy these interesting characters not only from these boxes but also from those user manuals of appliances and other imported products. Little did I know that these foreign characters belonged to a whole new thing that has yet to come to my life.

I remember that it was amidst the height of the phenomenal Taiwanese drama Meteor Garden when a Korean drama first aired here in the Philippines. There had been a huge demand for Asianovelas here in the country and the Filipinos were craving for more Asian dramas. The country’s biggest television networks were in vie of their own share of Korean drama servings to the Filipino mass. Unsurprisingly, many Filipinos were still captivated by the charm of these Koreans through their Tagalog-dubbed dramas, and luckily l was one of them.

2ND PAR (c) itsakworld

I had already been watching dubbed Korean dramas when it was still on a daily afternoon and evening schedule in local television, and when online streaming was not yet available. It was very unexpected of this just mere leisure activity of binge watching to suddenly bring me into something that would change my life completely. It was year 2006 when one of the most popular Korean dramas titled Princess Hours was aired as Tagalog-dubbed here in the Philippines. I was completely swooned by the arrogant yet soft-hearted Prince Gian played by Joo Jihoon, toppled by the bright smile and positive aura of Princess Janelle played by Yoon Eunhye. This, my friends, sparked my obsession to the Korean dramas!

3RD PAR (c) k-popped

Let us not talk about how many more dramas have I binged-watched thereafter or just when I have started watching English-subbed dramas online, but let me share with you how watching Princess Hours has motivated me to learn the Korean language! I am pretty much sure that in one way or another, other fans have also been inspired to learn only by watching these Korean dramas. The introduction of the characters for each episode of Princess Hours would flash the name of the lead cast in Korean. I would always admire how those beautiful Korean characters were written. And so, I went to our dial-up Internet connected desktop computer, and googled Korean language. Right then and there, I discovered that the Korean language was governed by a Korean alphabet created by King Sejong the Great of the Joseon Dynasty and actually had a name known to be Hangul.

4TH PAR (c) theunniestyle

Flashbacks suddenly popped into my mind as I went back to the time when I used to collect these cute characters filled with circles that actually turned out to be Hangul. Just then I realized that I probably had this “Korean genes” running through my blood all along, or probably I was actually a Korean in my past life! These Korean dramas were really able to introduce me to basic Korean expressions and to help me learn a good amount of Korean vocabulary words.

5TH PAR (c) thehangulfangirl


If I were to advise someone who wanted to learn the Korean language, I highly recommend watching Korean dramas, and also movies and reality shows. Because these would not only help one in learning some Korean words or phrases, but would also improve one’s listening comprehension skills. Remember also to do self-studying as this has really helped me a lot in my journey to learn Hangugeo. Most importantly, practice speaking the language with Korean friends or with people who also share the same passion for Korea. Learning Korean language takes a long process coupled with a lot of patience and determination, but in the end, everything is going to be all worth it!

6th PAR (c) asianfixations


Written by Krew Member Mary Joy Padilla. Follow here personal blog: https://maryloveskorea.wordpress.com/

Let’s Play! Nolja: Korean Day 2016 at UP Diliman

There won’t be any better theme for the Korean day event than “Nolja!”

Nolja is the Korean word for “play” and it perfectly fits the festive day organized by the Korean students of University of the Philippines (UP) and Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines (KCC) last April 26 at UP Melchor Hall.

Various Korean cultural booths, Korean food and Korean-related activities were prepared for the attendees to enjoy.  Where else could you Nolja?  Here are some of the booths and activities prepared for the guests during the one:

Descendants of the Sun booth


Reminisce on the highest rating Korean drama ‘Descendants of the Sun’ and take a photo while wearing a soldier or doctor attire. This booth got really high attention since the drama itself is popular in a lot of countries including the Philippines.

Korean food


Bibimbap (mixed rice meal), kimbap (seaweed rolled rice meal), patbingsu (shaved ice with beans) and tteokbokki (spicy rice cake) are a few of the Korean food that the organizers prepared for the guests. The pumpkin soup and the refreshing watermelon drink are also a must try!

Hanbok wearing

Koreans, like the Filipinos very own “baro’t saya”, have their own traditional clothing called hanbok. Hanboks are known for their colorful and striking designs. In Korea, most of the citizens still wear it during special occasions such as wedding and seollal. The event gave the guests a chance to take their photos wearing the traditional clothes.


Learn hanggul and write your name in Korean with the Calligraphy booth! UP Korean students taught our culture enthusiasts how to write their own name in Hanggul!

Noodle eating challenge


Who can beat the extreme heat brought by the Spicy Korean instant noodles? Two thumbs up for those who took the challenge!

Jmorning Performance


The rising kpop band Jmorning performed one of their ‘I love OPM’ piece, “Kapag Tumibok ang Puso.”

Traditional Korean Performance

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The traditional gayageum (a string instrument) was performed by KCC teacher Ms. Minji Jung. The slow distinct sound made by the gayageum moved the feelings of the audience as the music serenaded everyone in the event hall. The nanta performance surprised the audience as it is also inspired by the well loved ‘Descendants of the Sun’. Nanta is a traditional drum performance and the KCC performance team eventually left the audience in awe.


As the highlight of event for the Kpop fans, the famous BTS cover group Se-eon ruled the stage with their dance performances. The usual screams and applause of their fans echoed around the event hall!

As it is the second day of UP international fair, the raffle activity for the KCC booth continued. Lots of attendees drop by at KCC booth and inquired on the classes, signed up for the KCC newsbytes subscription and went to know more about the events at KCC.

Events like Nolja would surely pave ways to bridge gaps between the Philippine and Korean culture. On a finer view, it opens opportunities for Koreans to understand Filipino ethics and culture as well. There are still lots of events awaiting us in the future. Nevertheless, this is a great milestone for the UP Nolja team to reach out to UP students in exploring the culture that united us; the Korean culture.