Korea Chronicle: Changdeokgung Palace

My visit: December 2, 2011

Day 5 (morning)

99 Yulgong- no,
Jongno-gu, Seoul

April- October 9am- 6:30pm
December-February 9am-5pm
November & March 9am- 5:30pm
Closed on Mondays

The Palace Admission:
Adults W3, 000
Children W1, 500

The Secret Garden Admission:
Adults W5, 000
Children W2, 500

No smoking and No pets allowed within the palace grounds.

Changdeok Palace literally means "Palace of Prospering Virtue". It is referred to as the East Palace because it is located at the east of Gyeongbok Palace.

  It was the secondary palace of Gyeongbokgung, the main palace. All 5 palaces were destroyed by fire during Japanese invasion in 1592. It was restored in 1610 and served as the main palace when for about 270 years until Gyeongbokgung was finally reconstructed in 1868.- taken from back of the ticket

 Injeongjeon (Main Hall)

Changdeokgung is one of the 5 Grand Palaces in Seoul built by Joseon Dynasty. The other four are Changgyeonggung, Deoksugung, Gyeongbokgung and Gyeonghuigung.

In 1997, Changdeokgung was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List as an "outstanding example of Far Eastern palace architecture and garden design- Wikipedia

New find: Shang Tsu Tomas Morato

My visit: January 14, 2012

Shang Tsu
Unit 5 No. 74 Creekside Square
Tomas Morato Ave.,
Quezon City

I read about this newly opened restaurant along Tomas Morato called Shang Tsu in Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) a few weeks back. I told my girlfriends to dine here on our next get together but the plan didn't push through. Fortunately, when I nudge DH to give this restaurant a try after our dentist appointment, he said yes.

 crispy pork chop set meal PhP145

The restaurant's concept reminded me a lot of pientang (Taiwanese lunch box). I ordered what I always order when I am in Taiwan, crispy pork chop meal ; p

The pork chop is crispy but a little bland. I finished one of the three side dishes- sweet shredded bean curd, in a snap. I am just not sure if I can ask for a refill though lol

Summer Getaway in Orlando, Florida!

My last vacation is so much fun that I started planning for the next one. Since our supposed trip to the US last year was postponed, DH and I are planning to go back to US this summer vacation. I already have a 10- year US visa. All I needed is a ticket then I could easily jump on a plane and travel to any US destination that I want.

So far, I have been to Boston, New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas. On our next trip, DH and I plan to visit Orlando, Florida.
I know of a cousin who spends her family vacation almost every year in Florida. She said it never gets boring. Plus, her kid never gets tired of the place!

Let me share what I found online that offers the best deals in Orlando Hotels. You can also like them on Facebook.

I can’t wait for my summer getaway!

The Riverside Hotel Korea

My visit: December 27, 2011

The Riverside Hotel
6-1, Jamwon-dong, 
Seocho-gu, Apgujeong/ Cheongdam,
Seoul, Korea

Looks can be deceiving! The Riverside Hotel seems impressive at first because it is a boutique hotel. This is my least favorite hotel. Thank goodness we only stayed here for two nights. Read after the break to find out why I am pissed off...

twin bed ; (

On our fourth night, we still didn't get the bed that we requested for. I would later find out that king size bed is hard to come by in Korea ; (

Our twin beds were neatly tucked. The room is quite small but so are the rest of the hotel rooms that we have stayed in. I like the headboard. It gives the room an added class ; p

Ramen X opens in Trinoma

My event: January 26, 2012

Ramen X 
2nd level, Trinoma Mall
next to Recipes

Ramen X was conceptualized by the same group that brought to you Ramen Bar in Eastwood. I was invited to attend the soft opening of the restaurant by the owner himself ; p DH and I were there ahead of schedule. We need to leave early because we have a movie date right after lol

 Ramen X Authentic Japanese Ramen

Ramen- quick- cooking noodles, typically served in a broth with meat and vegetables

DH, the self- appointed "Ramen Expert", gave his verdict after the break...

Cookin' Nanta Since 1997

My visit: December 26, 2011

Day 4

Nanta- Hong Dae
Yellow Stone Bldg.,
B2 & B3, 357-5
Seokyo- Dong, Mapo- Gu
Seoul, Korea
02- 7398288
064- 7238878 (Jeju Nanta Theater)

Everyday including Holidays
2pm (Myeongdong only), 5pm, 8pm 

After Everland, we travelled to Hong Dae to catch the 5pm Cookin' Nanta show. It is a non verbal performance presented through rhythm and beats using everyday tools found in the kitchen like knives, pots and pans. Audience participation is highly appreciated. 

Cookin' Nanta non verbal performance

People, young and old, can relate to the story line no wonder it is visited by tourists all over the world. I am now part of the 7, 000, 000 people around the world who has seen this show since its first performance in October 10, 1997.

Miss Tangerine Sweet Shower Lips by Etude House

I hoarded a lot of makeup from Etude House while in Korea. One of the products that caught my attention was the Miss Tangerine Sweet Shower Lips #4 Miss Tangerine Tangerine from the Tangerine line... whew!

Miss Tangerine Sweet Shower Lips in Miss Tangerine Tangerine W8500 (PhP340)

I got the true tangerine color, the rest of the colors are called Shiny Pinkshower, Sweetberry Blossom, Miss Sunny Tangerine and Sweet Peach Shower. 

Etude House's Miss Tangerine Sweet Shower Lips
Glossy, moist lipstick in fabulous shades for juicy, tangy lips

Korea Chronicle: Everland Winter Wonderland

My visit: December 26, 2011

Day 4


After nature tripping, skiing & apple wine making, we went to Korea's biggest playground, Everland Resort. I am so excited even if I despised thrill rides! I am like a kid in wonderland!

Welcome to Everland!

Our tour guide did not follow the sequence written in our itinerary. Instead of going to Everland on the fifth day, we went on the fourth day. We didn't mind as long as we visit every place written in our itinerary ; p

Color My Brows #2 Light Brown by Etude House

My dilemma started last year when I decided to dye my hair. My hair has never been dyed before so I went to a professional salon, Hair Asia to have it colored in red. In less than 3 months, the color has faded. I figured I can't afford to shell out PhP2, 500 every single time so I bought Etude House's Bubble Hair Color in Wine Red. It's inexpensive and I got the color that I desired in less than an hour's wait. My hair color became lighter with every application of dye. The eyebrow pencil that I used did not match that of my new hair color... ack! My continuous search for a matching color for my eyebrows remained futile until I went to Korea.

Color My Brows #2 Light Brown 4.5g W6000 (PhP240)

While in Korea, I had this crazy idea to dye my hair in The Face Shop's Orange Brown. The difference between my hair color and my eyebrow color is more noticeable. That is a very big problem for a person like me who wants everything in terno. I know, I should have just dyed my eyebrows, right?! Then my problem would have been solved lol

GS Plaza Hotel Korea

My visit: December 25, 2011

1060-1 BangChon-Dong, 
Dong-Gu, Daegu, Korea

On our first and second night in Korea, I was disappointed to see the twin beds in our room. For our third night, I specifically asked Mike, our Korean tour guide, to request for one huge bed for DH & I- think king sized bed. But what we got is this---> a double bed from GS Plaza Hotel; p 

double bed... waaaaaaah!

The bed was way too small for the two of us! We could have fit in if we were model thin lol We were better off with twin beds but I have a hard time sleeping alone. I was hoping we could at least sleep on a queen sized bed that night; p We could not change rooms because the hotel was fully booked on Christmas day ; (

New find: Cuisinier Bistro Culinary Studio

My visit: January 7, 2012

Cuisinier Bistro & Culinary Studio
G/F The Richwell Center 
102 Timog Ave., Sacred Heart, Quezon City
4265872   09178282433

One of Wilson's closest friends is back in town and we decided to treat him and his girl somewhere special. On the day that they agreed to meet, we drove around Tomas Morato area scouting for a new place to eat when we remembered the French restaurant we often passed by whenever we go to Trinoma. We decided to check out... Cuisinier. 

It was around 5:30pm when we entered the restaurant to check out the menu. The menu is pretty impressive and immediately I have my eyes set on lamb ribs. The price is just right, inexpensive than most of the fine dining restaurants that we have been to. The only risk we got to take is the taste because this is our first visit.

 parsley crusted lamb ribs PhP670

Quezon City restaurants have one main problem- parking but that is not the case for Cuisinier because it has its own gated parking area at the back along Sct. Rallos St. That made DH finalized his decision to reserved a table for 4 that night. 

Han's Farm Zu Ji Mong Apple Wine by Applease Korea Brewery Co.

My visit: December 25, 2011

Day 3 (afternoon)

Applease Korea Brewery Co. Ltd.,
69 Hupyeong-ri, Danchon-myeon,
Euiseong-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do

After taking in the stunning view of Mount Sorak, we travelled for several hours before reaching Applease Korea Brewery Co. Ltd.- an apple wine making factory. 

our very own bottle of Zu Ji Mong Apple Wine

The factory was closed because it's Christmas day but we were still able to see the machines used in making apple wine.

Korea Chronicle: Mount Sorak (Seoraksan National Park)

My visit: December 25, 2011

Day 3 (morning)

Seoraksan National Park

We brought two Canon cameras (IXUS 860IS & 350D) for our Korea trip. DH even got his tripod packed together with his clothes. You can just imagine how many luggage that we brought with us lol Anyway, what's my point?! I think the stunning view that we captured with our cameras speaks for itself! The agony of bringing 5 luggage is well worth it!

Mt. Sorak

DH & I were at Mt. Sorak on Christmas day. The view is breathtaking! Can I just say that it is picture perfect too?

Adidas MEI

Surprise! Surprise! My sister-in-law flew in from Canada last week and look what she got me... Adidas Mei in Black/ Clear Pink/ Strong Pink. The colors reminded me of my own Adidas Duramo 2 which I used for running. 

lightweight and flexible... Adidas MEI $39.99 originally $69.99

The design is pretty impressive! It's so flexible- as seen in the photo, lightweight and fits perfectly well too! *true to size

Christmas Eve at Sorak Park Hotel & Casino

My visit: December 24, 2011

Sorak Park Hotel & Casino
74-3 Sorak- Dong,
Sokcho- Si, Gangwon- Do,
Korea #217- 120

On our second night, DH and I were popping pills to battle our colds and muscle pain from skiing. One of the important things that travelers should bring is a medicine kit. Once when we were in San Francisco, DH suffered allergy from eating crabs. We were walking along the deserted part of Chinatown looking for a 24 hours pharmacy at 2 a.m. After that incident, I see to it that I never run out of Claritin in my kit again.

DH in our Korean room

After enjoying the whole afternoon skiing, we boarded the bus to our next destination, Mt Sorak. It was around 5pm when we arrived at our hotel. After checking in, we went straight to our room to prepare for the Christmas Eve Gala Dinner. 

Our room came as a surprise! It has a small anteroom where the toilet is located. A sliding door separates the bedroom from it. It has heated floor, a small TV, a personal refrigerator and best of all free WIFI/ LAN connection.

Gradient Nails (OMBRE) by Flirt Waxing Lounge

My event: December 13, 2011

Flirt Waxing Lounge
91A East Capitol Drive corner Sta. Clara St.,
Kapitolyo, Pasig

Angela invited me to try out a fairly new salon in Kapitolyo, Pasig, Flirt Waxing Lounge. Hey, don't be fooled by its name because it not only offers waxing but a whole lot more like my gradient nail art for example!

gradient nail art- IT manicure for the IT girl---> that's me!

The owner let us pick whatever design that we wanted and I was dead set on giving gradient nails a try! Using nail polish with glitters or whatever you call those dusts as base coat can make your nail polish lasts longer. It actually strengthens the nails and protects it from chipping.

Korea Chronicle: Winter Ski

My visit: December 24, 2011

Day 2

High1 Ski Resort

After breakfast, our tour group wasted no time and went skiing. I must admit seeing the slope kind of scared me. Little did I know that first timers are not even allowed in the beginner's slope. You have to have an instructor with you. Our 72 year old guide taught us how to put on the ski but we were on our own after that.

Athena slope is for Beginner & Intermediate level

I am glad that DH knew the basics of skiing. He was the one who taught me how to position my legs and bend my knees. I don't know what I would do without him ; p

White Christmas in High1 Resort Korea

My visit: December 23-24, 2011

Gohanri 1- 139, Gohaneup, Jeongseongun
Kangwon- do, Korea

The photo below was taken behind the window inside our hotel- High1 Resort Korea. Even then I was already in awe at the grandeur of mountain scenery. It was taken around 6pm. The snow partially covered the mountain. I am so excited because this is my first ever white Christmas!!!

serene view

I can't wait to see what's in store for us the next day. Our guide gave us the next day's weather forecast- snowy! It's what we wanted because it is perfect for skiing! Woo hoo!

While waiting for our guide to check us in, DH and I took the following photos...

Summer Hair 2012... A New Me!

Last Thursday, DH accompanied me to the salon so I can have my hair cut. I have been sporting long and sexy curls since I started this blog in 2008. I figured what have I got to lose, right? If I didn't like my hair short, I will just have to wait for it to grow back or buy a wig or what they now call "hair extensions" lol

 no, I am not suffering from a bad break up ; p

I went back to Bang's Tony & Jackey in Tomas Morato and asked for Anna- senior stylist. She already trimmed my hair before so I know I am in good hands. I noticed the look on her face when I asked her to cut my hair short. I asked her "Round face?" She replied with a resounding "Yes!" She proceeded by inspecting my hair and said "Not too short... long here, shorter here!"

Intrigued by what she means? Read after the break for the result...

Korean Restaurant in Nami Island & Ski Rental

My visit: December 23, 2011

Day 1 

Nami Island

Our Day 1 on tour includes lunch and dinner only. We spent half a day around Nami Island where we ate an early lunch around 11a.m.

Korean restaurant

I noticed that most of the restaurants in Korea have no English sign available like this one.  I was so excited to try my first authentic Korea feast and I was not disappointed. 

Korea Chronicle: Day 1

My visit: December 23, 2011

Korea bound via Korean Air KE 624
Departure: 12:30am (Manila time)
Arrival: 5:05 am (Korea time; Manila time 4:05a.m.)

I was sleepy sleeping the entire flight so I can't give you a comprehensive review about Korean Air. As far as I can remember, when I woke up a few minutes before landing, a stewardess was already by my side asking what meal do I want to eat. The staff were all efficient and worked their way around sleeping passengers like me. It was not a full flight so DH and I were able to transfer to vacant seats. I was all stretched out on all three seats. It's like sleeping first class style lol

Moving on, we booked this tour through a travel agent only a few weeks back before the scheduled departure date. RUSH- that's how DH & I always travel ; p You know that if you have been a follower of this blog. Remember my Taiwan adventure last December 2010? Or our Hong Kong trip last July 2011 where I bought my very first LV? I was not even supposed to be in Korea, DH and I were supposed to go to Canada along with the rest of his family hehe 

this is Nami Island, Korea during winter

After meeting up with our Korean tour guide at the Incheon International Airport, we went straight to Nami Island. 

Nami Island is named after a controversial personality in Korea, General Nami (1441-1468). It is where his tomb lies. He started his military career at the very young age of 17. At the age of 25, he was officially honored as a Merit Subject and was given the title of Minister of National Defense. Unfortunately King Sejo, General Nami's great patron, died. King Yejong, the new ruler, falsely denounced General Nami as a traitor and was executed together with his mother and his faithful retainers.  In 1818, during King Sunjo's reign, his official positions were restored after the revelation that false evidence was used against him. He was give a posthumous name "Chung-mu".

J.CO Donuts & Coffee opens in SM Megamall!

Commercial Break from Korean post!

I got 3 dozens of freshly baked donuts right at my doorstep last December 20 from an Indonesian brand called J.CO Donuts & Coffee! woot!

J.CO was founded in 2005 by Johnny Adrean. After opening its first store in Jakarta, it has now over 100 outlets in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, China and The Philippines. 

 Coco Loco

Come February 16, 2012, you, too, can now enjoy flavorful J.CO donuts, it's signature brew- Jcoccino and their own yogurt called J.Cool as it opens its first store in the Philippines- The Strip, SM Megamall

DH loves donuts! He grabbed a donut and took a bite of Don Mochino. J.CO donuts are melt-in-your-mouth donuts. 

Winter in Korea Travel Essentials

Your Korean visa was already approved! What to do next? Shopping, of course! Traveling to Korea in December means it's winter season over there. Good thing, DH is used to winter season having lived in Canada for several years. He knows what to bring e.g. travel essentials. We shopped a few days before we left for Korea. 

I want to share with you the items that saved my dear life from the winter cold. Think  negative 15 degree celsius! 

Note that some of the items pictured here were bought in Korea. Nothing beats Korean products, it's inexpensive and stylish! I <3! 

bonnets, hat & earmuffs

DH shopped for his bonnet in Bench. I bought a bonnet and a hat in Korea for PhP1, 040 (W26, 000). The earmuffs, I got it for only PhP400 (W10, 000).

The Body Shop Spiced Vanilla Reed Diffuser

I got this reed diffuser from The Body Shop last Christmas. Since I was not home during the holidays, I totally forgot about it. While rummaging through my stuff and looking for a space inside my cabinet to fill it with my recent Korean beauty haul, I saw this huge rectangular box. What better way to make a space than to get the box out of the cabinet and use it, right?

The Body Shop Spiced Vanilla Reed Diffuser PhP2095

Here I was one afternoon unboxing The Body Shop's Spiced Vanilla Reed Diffuser. Read after the break for the unboxing.

The Face Shop Stylist Silky Hair Color Cream in Orange Brown (8O)

An-yŏng-ha-se-yo! I just got back from Korea last January 1st. That explains my lack of posts lol Anyway, this is just the first in a series of Korean entries. 

Hold your breath because after my Red Wine hair craze, I decided to dye my hair yet again with... The Face Shop Stylist Silky Hair Color Cream in Orange Brown!

 The Face Shop Hair Color Cream in Orange Brown (8O) PhP180 (W4400)

You must think I am crazy, right?! Well, I am not ; p I just want to experiment with different hair colors. So, on my 8th day in Korea, I finally succumbed and turned myself into a Korean! Ok, not really, it's just my hair color ; p But you get my point, right? lol

New find: Casa Roces Malacañan

My visit: November 29, 2011

1153 J.P. Laurel St. cor.
Aguado St., San Miguel, Manila
7355896   7084020

Casa Roces is an ancestral house-turned-restaurant by the Roces clan. It is operated by The Cravings Group and is situated near Malacañan Palace. 

oven baked salmon welling PhP380

Our friend, JSY, suggested this restaurant and I immediately said yes. I was hoping for a very satisfying dinner with good friends.

Traveling from Quezon City to Manila was a breeze. DH and I were ahead of everyone else. Most of our friends were late because of the horrible holiday traffic. Anyway, we ordered our drinks and a salad while waiting for the others to arrive.

Photo shown was my order- over baked salmon welling. Mashed potato and a few pieces of asparagus were included in my order as side dishes. It was like eating a pie. It was already sliced into half, it's perfect if you are sharing this with a friend.