Posts Tagged ‘Pilipino’

Indefinite Stopover

I took a one-way flight to the Philippines instead of going back home right away. Technically this isn’t a stopover since Manila was the final destination on my flight. But, I consider this part of the path that eventually leads me back home.

This is actually from my flight to Dumaguete ūüėõ

Time flew by so quickly! It’s already been a month since I left Korea. I wasn’t sure what to do with my blog after I left, which is why I haven’t updated with new posts. Of course I wanted to keep it around as a kind of record of my adventures in Korea. But, I’m not sure how to continue this blog now that I’ve left.

I really appreciate all the comments from people who stop by to read the blog. Thank you!!!! I hope you have a great experience in Korea or have the opportunity to travel there sometime. Like I’ve said before, everyone has a unique experience – for better or for worse. I’d like to hear some of your stories from Korea.

I’m always available to answer questions if you want to contact me by leaving a comment. I’m sorry if I don’t respond to your comments or emails right away. Sometimes I don’t have time to respond quickly and the emails quickly get buried by random facebook updates. Have to disable those…

I’m not sure when I’ll be able to return to Korea, but I definitely plan on going back! Hopefully within the next couple years so I can say hi to my little first graders before they go off to high school. Aww, yeah I got attached.

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The 15th Pusan International Film Festival was held from October 7-15 in Busan. Though a bit short on funds (I blame Chuseok), I managed to put some money aside since I decided long ago that I wasn’t going to miss it. And I’m so glad that I didn’t!

Outdoor Venue

At 3am, my friends and I took the slow train (even though I said ‘never again’) because it goes straight to Haeundae. Busan Station is pretty far from the PIFF venues so we decided it’d be better to do it this way. We got to Haeundae Station right before 6am and we took the subway to Centum City. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to buy tickets in advance, so we had to show up early to wait in line. ¬†Luckily, they reserve 20% of tickets for sales the day of. There was already a line in front of the ticket booths even though they weren’t going to open until 8:30am.


The line for the ticket booth at 7am

We were only able to buy tickets for movies playing at Centum City, so I decided to buy 4 tickets since I wouldn’t have the chance to go to other venues. So that meant 4 films!


Ticket booth

One of my friend’s friends also bought us tickets to the outdoor movie playing at the Yachting Club, so that brought my film count to 5. Each film was between 2-2.5 hours so I watched around 12 hours of films on Saturday. I hadn’t slept much the night before (3am train ugh) so by the end of the night my eyes were bloodshot. I also got up early the next morning to watch one more film. I was delirious by the end of it but it was still worth it!

Here are my thoughts about the films that I watched:

  • Udaan, Vikramaditya Motwane¬†(India)
    This film is about a boy, Rohan,¬†who¬†reluctantly returns home after getting¬†kicked out of boarding school. His domineering father has no interest in his son’s happiness and orders him to give up his dreams of becoming a writer to pursue an engineering degree. Rohan wants to break free from his unfulfilling life, but his sense of¬† responsibility¬†to his younger brother keeps him at home. Udaan is a¬†beautifully told coming of age story that made me feel like I was¬†at Rohan’s side cheering him on. My only criticism for the film is the lack of any significant female presence; though, I recognize that¬†the story focuses on Rohan’s struggle for independence.
  • Bleak Night, YUN Sung-hyun¬†(Korea)
    This film left an impression on me. At first, it was difficult to understand what was happening because the film jumps right into the story and swiftly transitions between the past and present. My mind kept jumping to conclusions while I was trying to piece everything together. The¬†film begins with a father trying to shed light on his son’s mysterious death. He visits the school¬†to talk to some of his son’s classmates, but they all seem reluctant to talk about their¬†dead¬†friend. The film shows bits and pieces of the past through different characters’ points of view, but the circumstances surrounding the main character’s death are still unclear. The true story gradually unfolds in the last few moments. I expected this film to be a thriller for some reason, so I felt that the pacing was a bit slow at times. But overall, it was a well-told story and the acting was impeccable. I left the film with a heavy feeling thinking about¬†the troubled relationships and the haunting isolation the main character hid from the world.
  • Blood Ties, Kim Homer Cabagio Garcia¬†(Philippines)
    This film begins with a funeral and closes with another as it follows one family’s struggle to cope with the traumatizing events. The film engages different themes such as social class, violence, and corruption, but the underlying theme of family emerges with the message that ‘family is everything.’ I will write more about this film in a later post.
    Here’s an interview I had with Kim Homer Garcia, the director of Blood Ties.
  • Here Comes the Bride, Chris Martinez (Philippines)
    A highly entertaining romantic comedy about a bride who experiences an unfortunate turn of events on her wedding day. Lots of famous stars were in this big budget film produced by Star Cinema, such as Angelica Panganiban, John Lapus, Jaime Fabregas, and Tuesday Vargas. And the guy who played her fiancé was hot (had to say it).  The film was screened on Saturday night at a large outdoor venue. I was surprised to see so many people watching a Pilipino comedy because when I was growing up, these movies were only available as VHS rentals at the local Pilipino video store. I really enjoyed this film and recommend it to fans of Pilipino movies or anyone interested in seeing a light-hearted comedy.
  • Zoom Hunting, CHO Li (Taiwan)
    I really liked this one! Zoom Hunting shows the consequences¬†of spying when it’s taken¬†too far.¬†One day while snapping pictures on the balcony, photographer, Ruyi, accidentally captures a couple making love in one of her photos. She tells her¬†older sister, writer Ruxing,¬†about her discovery and the two¬†become engrossed in the couple’s secret affair. The sisters spy on the couple to inspire their work, but they must navigate the uneasy balance between creative expression and ethical conduct¬†when their curious¬†act of spying takes a dangerous turn. The film explores the techniques of gaze and perspective from¬†the female point of view by putting the women (as photographer and writer) in¬†control of the narrative.
  • Chassis, Adolfo Alix Jr.(Philippines)
    This film was amazing. I read the synopsis and expected it to primarily¬†be a critique on poverty, but the film goes beyond socioeconomic issues to tell the story of a woman’s transitory yet unchangeable life in the delivery docks. I’ll write a separate post on this film later.
    Go to Vimeo to watch the trailer

Three films from the Philippines? Trust me, I wanted to see them all. I wanted to watch Ways of the Sea but I ended up watching Udaan instead because they didn’t have seats for 4.

Going to PIFF was a great experience. I love films and I’m so glad I was able to attend a film festival in Korea. I totally recommend it to anyone who will be here next year!

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Davis Cup

The bf came to Korea to see his first love: me tennis. I’m not very knowledgeable about tennis, but the Davis Cup matches are grouped by region and division, making it difficult for teams like the Philippines to advance and play the big countries like Spain and the US. So this was a rare opportunity for us to see the Philippines Davis Cup team in action!

What a picturesque setting

The Philippine team happened to be playing Korea while he was visiting, so I guess it was a fortuitous event from the beginning. The match was held in Changwon, about an hour and a half south of Daegu. We were only able to make it for the doubles match, but it was well worth the trip!

Philippine Davis Cup Team

We were the only Pilipino fans in the stands and I think that surprised the Philippine national team. They were kind enough to invite us to sit with them to watch the match. I’m pretty sure it made my bf’s day, if not his entire trip.

Getting started

Cecil Mamiit and Treat Huey, both Pil-Ams, played against Hyun-joon Kim and Jae-min Seol from Korea. They started off well and won 3 sets in a row to claim their first victory against Korea. They lost the first two singles matches the day before, but they played together well against the Korean doubles team.

Taking a break in between sets ?

Cecil Mamiit and Treat Huey both played singles the day before, while the Korean doubles players were playing fresh. It also gave the singles players on the Korean team some time to rest between matches.

It’s in the bag!

Unfortunately, we couldn’t come back to watch the final two singles matches on Sunday but we wished them luck! The guys from the team were really approachable and nice. I wasn’t sure what else to say to them since even after so long I still don’t know much about tennis :P.

We checked the results after our trip to Jeonju the next day and it turns out the Philippines won the last two matches to snag a victory against Korea! Mabuhay!!

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I went to the R-16 international bboy¬†competition in at Olympic Park in Seoul this past Sunday. Definitely worth staying late in Seoul. Being from Socal¬†around the hip hop scene back home, I felt a little pang of homesickness. I have to admit, before I came to Korea I thought I’d see bboys all over the place haha.

bboy competition in Seoul

Saturday was the individual competition but I couldn’t go to that since I was at the Usher concert haha. Sunday was the crew show and battle. There were 8 crews from Korea, Vietnam, China, Philippines, Germany, France, Spain, and Puerto Rico.¬† I’m not a judge or anything, but they could’ve been cleaner. Overall, pretty good competition and variety of styles.

I was happy to see a crew from the Philippines! Project P-Noise (ha clever!) from Manila. A lot of bboys¬†back home are Pil-Ams¬†so it’s nice to see some bboys¬†from the motherland competing internationally. I read on their bio that they’re the first crew from the Philippines to compete on an international level. Not the first bboys¬†to do it, but the first bboy crew.

Their routine was really creative and told a story. There were 3 nerdy guys trying to learn how to dance so they looked on the internet and downloaded some moves. Kudos for the geek factor. They wore some nice Philippine flag hoodies and tees, too. Way to represent! Here are a couple videos:

They beat Puerto Rico in the battle by just a few points. Anyone else find that interesting? Philippines v Puerto Rico?


In the next round, they were up against Jinjo¬†Crew from Korea.¬†Seeing them live just confirms that¬†Korean bboys¬†are damn good. Jinjo Crew won the competition at the end of the night.¬†Would’ve been cool to see Gamblerz too :P. Here’s Jinjo Crew’s routine. I wonder where they kept those hats…

During the competition, one of my friends pointed out that a bunch of girls were taking pictures of someone behind the stage. I had no clue why. She said it was someone from a boy band. So I asked her who and which one? She said it was Jaebeom! I recognized his name from the 2PM controversy since he suddenly and mysteriously left the band earlier this year. I didn’t know what he looked like so I had to trust all the girls there that it was really him.

So I decided to check online to confirm and yeah it was Jaebeom! I’ve only been in Korea for 5 months and I’ve already seen a (well, former) boy band member!

Jaebeom... from 2PM leader to bboy?

Now, if I could only see Rain!

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You have such big eyes!

I’ve gotten this comment a lot here so far. Other teachers and female students come up to me to tell me that my eyes are very big. It sounds a bit odd but¬†¬†it’s a compliment, actually. They think that I have pretty eyes because they are big.

I wanted to write about this earlier. I noticed it when I watched TV or saw ads with celebrities. They all seemed to have big eyes too. I wondered if it was¬†natural or “enhanced.”¬† So, I did what I usually do and googled it. Boom. Korean celebrities and eye surgery. Hot topic! There are some before and after pics showing models and celebrities that have had their eyes done. Sorry, I don’t feel like posting it on here. Easy to find though if you’re so inclined.

I’ve always been interested in researching and comparing¬†standards of beauty in different Asian countries. I had this conversation with a friend about the rampant rhinoplasty in the Philippines. Many Pilipino celebrities, like many other celebrities around the world, have had their noses done. But this procedure seems especially common among Pilipinos in showbiz.

Here’s the main reason I’m posting this. I feel guilty that my female students admire and compliment my big eyes because I can see that they hold a secret envy. They want to have big eyes like their pop “idols” and Maria Teacher. Maybe it doesn’t sound very serious, but I think it’s more serious than it seems. A few of my female students wear colored contacts that make their eyes appear larger. Here’s a good post about these kind of contacts.¬†¬†And these are the girls that talk to me about my big eyes.

Another time, I was selecting members for the English Newspaper Club and I read students’ self-introductions. One of the girls talked about hating her eyes and nose and getting plastic surgery in the future. I didn’t know what to say! I just hope girls don’t feel like they have to get surgery so they can have big, beautiful eyes. Or get surgery at all!

There are other products made¬†to create the illusion of bigger eyes. Cosmetic stores sell eyelid glue or tape to create the illusion of double eyelids. I am thinking of getting it just to try it out. I’ll let you all¬†know how it works. I’ll probably end up taping my eyes open!

UPDATE: I bought double eyelid tape from Nature Republic for like 1,200žõź. I didn’t know how to use it at first. It’s basically a sliver of clear surgical tape. It’s shaped to fit the natural curve of your eyelid and I think you can put it anywhere on your eyelid depending on the size of the double eyelid you want to create. I have double eyelids so I can’t tell how well it really works, but I was able to change the crease in my lids. Strange feeling.

Cheaper than blepharoplasty

It’s clear so it’s not very noticeable¬†and it should be hidden by the fold it creates in the eyelid. If you close your eyes it’s completely visible though! Maybe eyelid glue works better, although it’s probably messy and uncomfortable.


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