Almost one year and counting stuck at home, and I can only look back on photo and video archives. The highlights of my weekends lately are finishing reading books or watching TV shows from Netflix. Lately I’m keeping up to date on a Korean romcom, and because of this, I was inspired to dig up photos from our travels in Seoul, South Korea.
First time I visited Seoul was in autumn of 2011. I remember it’s the only international leisure-related flight I had that year as I was busy transitioning to a new job. My good friend, Pao, booked me a Peso-fare round trip ticket with CebuPacific to Seoul. It was a 2.5 days’ stint – but I couldn’t complain. Gone were the good old days where I could literally book tickets for 1 peso. Come to think of it, the Philippine travel tax cost more than the actual plane tickets.
During that whirlwind trip, Pao and I covered a lot of ground: We went to the DMZ, The National Folk Museum of Korea, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Myeongdong, and the Seoul Tower. I remember We walked a lot on that trip – it was a cardio accomplishment as we covered several hilly streets of Seoul.
The second time I went to Seoul was with D in the winter of 2013, and this time I played sort-of-tour guide and brought him to the places Pao and I went to (except for the DMZ). We also got to explore new places for me like the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Deoksugung), and since Gangnam Style was a hit at the time, we just had to go to Gangnam. It was during this second visit to Seoul that I started a deeper liking of the Korean cuisine, and since then almost every chance we can get, D and I would head off to the Korean restaurants in our city.
I’ve been meaning to go back to South Korea for a longer vacation, even before the pandemic, but in every attempt to get a Korean tourist visa, I didn’t have enough time as I would always be traveling for work. Pre-COVID, the wait time for a Korean visa in Manila took as much as 2 months – a long time I didn’t have back then as I had to use my passport to travel. How I miss those days….
Until then, I guess I’ll enjoy my Korean shows, and the perks from our community’s new Korean grocery store. I was thrilled when they opened their shop, that I immediately bought ingredients to try making Kimbap at home. It turned out to be yum (I gave my cousin a pat on the back for a job well done), that I’ve asked if we can have it again for dinner tonight. I’m so excited!