Sunday, April 23, 2006

Farewell Dinner Video

Farewell Dinner Video
Video sent by peterahon
this video was taken by Rohgan's son named Nohgan. Rohgan gave us a farewell dinner at a Folk Village resto in Gwangju City. We introduced 518 new intern Nazik to his family.

Rohgan Family’s Farewell Dinner for Us

I met Rohgan and his family at the Tourist Information Center of Gwangju’s Downtown for their farewell dinner to us, Mus, Agnes and me. Mus got an emergency call from a fellow countryman who has a labor problem so he did not join us for dinner. Nazik our new intern was introduced to the family and liked so much the sweet and well behaved children of Rohgan – Suyon and Nohgan.

Joyce came last night from Suwon to say goodbye to us interns. She gave suggestions for our planned trip to Gyeongju. As always playing her role as our tour guide, she dutifully toured us before around in Seoul and introduced us to her officemates and stayed for overnight at their Suwon office.

Also, she helped Agnes plan out for her trip to Seoul before she goes back to Indonesia. Joyce slept over our place and we had brunch together. She was also at the Tourist Information Center with Mus whom she accompanied to buy some stuff downtown. So I hugged my teary eyed friend Joyce goodbye and prod her to come again to the Philippines.

Nohgan did not recognize me with my short hair. He asked his mom , “ Is he Pete Ajoshi?”

Rohgan brought us to Folk Village Restaurant and had a daegi kalbi, grilled pork, I feasted on the mushroom and the doenjang paste with green chili. Nadira wrote down the name of the dishes for her to remember them. She crossed her eyes in wonder that it was just the appetizer we had since she’s already full.

For the main and last menu we had green iced noodles – Chorella and another variety which is spicy and sweet. We arrived at the restaurant around 5:30 pm. An hour of dining, families start pouring in, some with their small babies with them. When we left the place, the waiting line is up to the door’s entrance. I got two handkerchiefs for a send-off gift that was chosen by Nohgan, I was told by his dad. True to tradition, the “second session” invitation was not missed out in our dinner date. Rohgan invited us to their house for a tea this time not to a Hof or Soju Bar since the lady companions are not alcohol drinkers.

On the street Nazik saw vendor and got curious what they were selling. She bought the dried fish (____) that was heated on the fire. The lady vendor came after us since we were short of 1,000 won of what we got. The children liked it but Nazik not so fond of sweet food just tasted it. (I learned though that she liked kim the dried seaweed so much and so I gave her some from the pack we had opened when we had the brunch).

Rohgan brought two round tables. One table contained a plate of strawberries and fresh tomatoes, the other table contained the tea set. We had exchange on Korean education and culture. Rohgan said he does not want to pressure his children on their education like other parents do. We also traced on the globe the country where Nazik came from which is Kyrgyz Republic. Nazik told us how Korean men - and women – are called in her country. Suyon was not on her entertaining mood so she did not perform to us her song and dance repertoire. Rohgan drove us back home.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Visit to Nasan, Hampyeong and Some Observation

I can’t focus what to write for my final report, what to say? THANK YOU – KAMSAHAMNIDA. Although it was just over 10 months, it seems I stayed here in Korea for long already.

New interns arriving, others we are still anxiously waiting for their arrival. The intern from Nepal up until now does not have his passport, their country is an emergency situation where they are having endless curfews. We have to go just the same. Today I only have five days here in Korea, the homecoming is really getting to a close.

Agnes, Mus and I are laughing how are sched are getting filled this week and next. Our super busy week indeed. Lunch and dinner dates with friends and even acquaintances. I thought Filipinos are hospitable but Koreans are super hospitable as well.

I made several videos of the last weekend of our host Kim Dae-in. He brought us to his hometown with his wife and children and stayed at Nasan, Hampyeong for an over night. The rural scene here in Korea is eerie, except for the sound of birds and insects hardly could I hear cries, giggles or noises of children in the neighborhood (except for Dae-in’s baby who cries every time she sees us – strangers to her eyes).

I learned that for the last 15 years or so not a baby was born in their village. The elementary school has to close down because there are no more school children, the same case with the other village I visited. All I saw in that village was an abandoned classroom. I saw a photo album of the last batch of children doing a tie-die and the hand globes they used still remain in on corner of the classroom, maybe 6-5 years ago.

I wonder what will happen to the village if the old people are gone. Will they hire foreign farm laborers to till their lands and plant vegetables for them to make kimchi. I don’t seen any reason why kimchi will have its foreign recipe and update in the future.

Children of rural folks who gets good education remain in the city. After getting educated, they marry as they are expected, have their own children and stay in the city. Those who are farmers have to remain in the village, unable to find a Korean wife have to resort to importing a foreign bride. These are women from my country, Vietnam, China and some other Central Asian countries.

The country that used to be so closely knit and very proud of its pure race is now starting to open up and face the reality of becoming a mixed raced. Good thing that there are the like of Hines Ward who is now a role model for the discriminated bi-racial Korean children. Another of those phenomenon that Korean has to face, they can’t really remain a single race after all.

Anyway, still have lot’s to write and reflect about – opps I just wish I could write a feature article for my year-end report for change of a technical report, hmmm… what if…

Here’s some of our pix of those sites visited in Hampyeong and the video links are posted at daily motion.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


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Friday, April 14, 2006

grounding in all its essences

The date of going back home is getting to a close - today, just 13 days left here in Korea. The excitement is high, same contagious thrill of these toddlers going to watch a play close by our office. But they are so behave to fall in line, holds hands with a buddy, although there are those free spirited who are adventurous to run here and there oblivious of the whistle blows and instructions of their sangsingnim (teacher).

So I will be back home soon, the days of being grounded is at hand, I look forward to it, to really live on the ground, in the rural communities. Literally as well, sleeping on an earth floor, not anymore the ondol floor of Korean houses. A new grounding indeed in all its essences.

Read more.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Balikbayan Box

Dyaaraannn … the transformation of a box !

Here I go again!

I worry what to put,

I worry how to put things…

Finally ready to go!

I’ve done this for the second time, first time in Saudi, now here in Korea. I was then so anxious how many kilos I will incur with the 2 cargo boxes more known to Filipinos as balikbayan box. Although, I consider my box more of a trash box, well the contents were largely scraps, news clippings (US invasion of Iraq, terrororism, bombing, etc.) some memento of the place, my journals, purchased books and a few of pasalubong (give away gifts, especially dates). I am not sure what had happened to my books and scraps I just hope not eaten by rats!

Coming to Korea I was charged US $70 for overweight baggage, last Sunday I spent US $120 for my sea cargo box from KB. The same old stuff, books, clothes and a few knick knacks, largely magazines and tourist brochures gathered from the different places I visited here in Korea. Thus making the box so heavy.

I really wonder why I have such predilections of not being able to part with things I may not use after all. Well a Pinoy trait, I never learned how to travel light. Even just for an overnight I carry with me a knapsack whose content is good for two days.

I told the cargo agent to give me just a small box but I was told only few order such box and what is available are the jumbo boxes. Indeed, when I set it up I have to ponder how to fill it up. I gathered all magazines put them in the box, now very heavy yet but not yet full. So I went for grocery and bought some pasalubong (gifts), since the seaweeds are bulky the box could not contain them all. A new problem cropped up what to do with the rest. So now I have to bring with me an extra box. Originally I planned to travel just with my suit case but now it is not possible. Good thing the seaweed packs are very light no worry for overweight though.

I saw one installation art at the MET (Philippines) about balikbayan box , I think made by Tence Ruiz. It resemble like a dinosaur from the gargantuan crate boxes to match box size boxes for its tails. Perhaps the dreams of every Pinoy to bring home a box full of goodies, for those who made it a success. But for others they could only bring a match box to light their cigarette, puffing away their frustration of failure sometimes of their own doing at other times as victims of circumstances.

The box finally picked-up but I wonder what will be its fate. I just hope it will reach its final destination two weeks after. Until now my back is painful carrying it down with the cargo guy. We dragged it down the remaining steps since I can’t help carry it further down stooping.

So I am making an ad here for the KB – Kabayan Sea and Air Cargo Express. Contact Ronald (Seoul, main branch) his mobile number is 016-240-8105. The Gwangju City Rep is Annielyn (a Filipina married to a Korean, with a daughter and son. I came to know her thru Annalyn, president of the Assoc. of Filipina Women in Korea) her contact details: Tel (062) 362-5887 and Mobile phone – 011-619-5887 or 010-866-9050. The addy of the Seoul Branch is at the bottom of the box.

A Must Read About Balikbayan Box:

1) Out of the (Balikbayan) Box by Luz Rimban

2)Tales of missing 'balikbayan' boxes

3) I read somewhere a nice piece about this balikbayan box but could not find it, anyway a lot more to read on the net just search it on google.

This is how it looks like after packing several kilos of stuff, stuffing a jumbo box uhummmmm... sleepy... self-portrait, they call here in Korea, self-camera.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


I started my travel journal at igougo on 8/1/2002, but never had a chance to post anything. Now, more confident at posting and having travelled some few places, I will definitely post more entries. So here is an ad to promote IgoUgo website. I also added a button here on my blog. Read my travel blog :