All posts tagged: Korea

A Taste of Seoul: Caffe Bene

After months of waiting for the Philippine branch in Eastwood to open, it finally did–just in time for the holidays! Just a little backstory, when we were in S. Korea last summer, and every time we were on a bus of sorts, we’d keep seeing Caffe Bene. My sister’s Korean friend, Sue, told us that it was one of their main local coffeehouses, so of course I made up my mind to try it at least once before I left. Alas, as such things often seem to work out, once we were actively looking for it, we couldn’t find it. On the Sunday before my departure, my siblings and I planned to have breakfast at the branch nearest our meet-up point with Sue. We followed the directions we looked up online, to no avail. Ended up at Waffle Bant which, to be fair, did come recommended. The next day, on my last night in Seoul, we had several things to accomplish: 1) Hit up Etude House & Missha for our friends; 2) Buy myself a …

The Demilitarized Zone, Korea

It’s sad that most, if not all, countries have a history of violence that has defined, molded, and transformed them so completely. I haven’t gotten around to writing about my last three days in Korea, but I decided that what we visited on my final day deserved a post of its own. Before our trip, I didn’t really know much about the history of Korea (due in part to my propensity for sleeping in history class back in high school). I knew there was a North Korea and a South Korea…Yes, that was basically it. So when my brother mentioned that we include DMZ in our itinerary, I was clueless and just nodded along. It took us some maneuvering since my stay was much shorter than my siblings’, but we managed to allot my last day for our trip there. We booked a half day tour to give me enough time to prepare for my flight later that evening. Though our trip was quite short, I have to say that DMZ was one of my most memorable experiences …

Korea Day 3: Gyeongju Weekend Jaunt Pt. I

Back when our trip to Korea was still on the drawing board, we’d asked Sue what place/s she’d recommend for cultural/traditional value. Straight out, she said, “Gyeongju”. I don’t know about you, but I myself had never heard of that place before then. And so, I turned to the modern encyclopedia of Wikipedia and the master catchall of knowledge–that little thing we call Google. Gyeongju was the ancient capital of Silla, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. It is located in the province of North Gyeongsang in South Korea, a bit over two hours from Seoul when traveling by rail. Notable spots include the Seokguram grotto and the Bulguksa temple, both of which have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Aside from these though, Gyeongju is liberally peppered with historical and cultural treasures that bring in both local and foreign visitors alike.

Korea Day 2: Changdeokgung, National Museum & Korean BBQ

When we went on our City Tour yesterday, we caught glimpses of four of Seoul’s “Five Grand Palaces”: Deoksugung, Changgyunggung, Changdeokgung and Gyeongbukgung. While it would’ve been cool to be able to say that we went to all of them, it just wasn’t practical given the limited time that we had. In the end, we decided on visiting Changdeokgung–according to our City Tour Bus guide, it’s the most well preserved palace of the Joseon dynasty and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We started the day off with breakfast at Cafe Nescafe, mainly because that was the nearest place to the palace that we could see. It wasn’t full at all; in fact, it was just us and another family who–surprise–turned out to be Filipinos as well. No matter where I go, I get a kick out of randomly hearing people speaking in my native Filipino tongue. From there, we walked to the admissions booth for the palace and purchased our tickets. We got the one for both the Palace and the Secret Garden for a …

Korea Day 1: City tour, Insadong, N Seoul Tower & Myeongdong

In my former line of work, we didn’t really have holidays. People were most likely to come to our showroom during weekends and holidays, so we were expected to be there as well–even on Labor Day, I might add. The only exceptions to the rule were the Holy Week (from Holy Thursday ’til Easter Sunday) and the Christmas shutdown. So you can imagine how much we wanted to maximize the said vacations. For this year’s Holy Week, Kuya (my older brother), Ate (older sister) and I headed over to South Korea for some much-needed downtime. We left Manila early Thursday morning (and I mean 1:15 AM early) so that we’d have a full day to get our bearings.

Cafe Nescafe

In preparation for my upcoming posts about our South Korea trip, here’s a shot of my morning cappuccino from Cafe Nescafe. We actually chose this place because it was more or less just across the street from Changdeokgung Palace, which was our first destination for that day. Unfortunately, I don’t remember much about this cappuccino so it must’ve been just so-so. I do remember being disappointed that their food menu wasn’t varied enough–my siblings and I settled with just sharing one ham+cheese+etc sandwich. Hopefully, they’ll add more items to their menu so that they’ll appeal to tourists visiting the palace nearby.