Travel

Say Anyeong Haseyo in the Land of K-pop

Korea has got to be one of the Must Visit places in Asia. I’ve been there a couple of times, and I simply don’t go tired of it. Let me share with you My Top 5 reasons why I think Korea is awesome!

5. Weather
Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, I love them all. I don’t think Filipinos will disagree with me on this, coming from a tropical country Korea’s weather is one of the reasons why I keep going back. My favorite season is definitely Spring. It just has the right chilliness, and you get to enjoy all the beautiful flowers that bloom in the season. It is the perfect time to travel there, shop, walk around, take pictures and sample on their local street foods.

 

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4. Entertainment Industry
Just before the KOREANOVELAS and K-POP phenomenon hit our country, I remember desperately watching them in Korea’s local channel without any subtitles.lol At that time, I probably just understood 10% of what was going on, but I was so drawn to it that I couldn’t stop. Let me tell you now that it is almost impossible to spot a celebrity in Korea, unlike here where you can just go to certain places or bars and party with the stars. The most common way tourists get to satisfy their Koreanovela fix is to visit places where these dramas have been shot. Some places include Nami Island (Winter Sonata), Lotte World (Stairway to Heaven), Korean Folk Village (Jewel in the Palace).

 

 


3. Korean People
Now, I know this is very subjective, so I’ll only talk about this based on what I’ve experienced with Koreans. My best friend is an awesome Korean girl. There’s nothing much to say about our friendship except that we just clicked.

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I put Korean people on my top list, because they will really make your trip to South Korea extra special. For some reason, they love foreigners. They get extra friendly (only when they can speak English), and at times you get favors from being a foreigner in their country. Some establishments give extra discount or freebies if they like you.

Our last night with our good friend Jade here before he goes to military service 

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Waiting for our chicken (pa dak’) and beer in this much needed girl’s night out somewhere near Cheong Ju

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2. Shopping
Dong dae mun. Myung dong. Gang nam. Shin chon. These are the shopping spots I recommend you visit. I would say the price of the items you’ll find in these places are pretty much like our very own Greenhills. They are quite affordable, fashionable, and the quality of the items are extremely good. I remember purchasing a bag from Gang Nam station that cost me 400php and it lasted for 3 years (note: I abused that bag,lol).
Of course, no lady in her right mind would travel to Korea and not get anything from their famous cosmetics shops.

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1. Food
Kimchi, Bibimbap, Ddeokbukki, Bulgogi, Sam gyup sal, are some of the delicious signature dishes in Korea. They’re also very generous when it comes to their side dishes. It could range from mini portions of veggies, egg, nuts giving your palate different tastes of sweet, sour, salty and spicy. Koreans love rice, and we do too! Seriously, what’s not to love?

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Now.. as a Philippine Passport holder how do you get to experience all of these?

VISA VISA VISA! How exactly do you get one? No worries. I’ve written down all you need to know on how to secure one.

I’ve applied for a Korean Visa several times already, as a student, employee, businesswoman and a freelancer. So far, all attempts to apply for a Korean visa has been approved. See the requirements below and other frequently asked questions 🙂

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Tourist/Business Visa Requirements for Employees

  1. Application Form
  2. 1 piece of Passport size colored picture
  3. Original Passport (should be valid for more than 6months)
  4. Photocopy of Passport Bio-page (page 2)
  5. Original & Photocopy of valid visa/s and arrival stamps to OECD member countries for the past 5 years (If applicable only)
  6. Original Certificate of Employment

(must include applicant’s position, date hired, compensation, office address, HR landline number(cell-phone number is not allowed), HR e-mail address)

  1. Original Personal Bank Certificate

(must include account type, current balance, account opening date, ADB)

  1. Bank Statement

(original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months)

  1. ITR(Income Tax Return) or Form 2316 Copy
  2. Copy of PRC Card or IBP Card (If applicable only)

* If personally invited by Korean

. Invitation Letter

. Photocopy of invitor’s Passport or Identification Card

(authentication not required)

* If invited by Company in Korea

. Invitation Letter

. Photocopy of Korean Company Business Permit

(authentication not required)

* Frequent travellers who have travelled as tourist to OECD member countries within 5 years are exempted from submitting ITR.

■ Processing Time:

3 working days (for those who have been to OECD member countries within 5 years as tourist)

5 working days (for those who have not been to OECD member countries within 5 years)

■ Visa Fee: 59 days (or less) stay in Korea — GRATIS

60 to 90 days stay in Korea — PHP1,800.00

As of this moment, Korea has exempted BDO Platinum and Gold card holders from submitting ITR, Bank Certificate/ Statement, with the chance of being granted a multiple entry visa.

FAQ: What if I don’t have an ITR?

You can get a Tax Exempted form from the BIR

You can present an employment certificate stating the date you were hired. A company won’t be able to provide you with an ITR unless you’ve worked for them for over a year.

In my  most recent visa application I didn’t need to present an ITR since I have stated in my employment certificate that I haven’t been with my company for too long.

Q: How can I strengthen my chances of being approved ?

  1. You can indicate in your employment certificate a responsibility that will require you to come back to the Philippines. Ex: Mr. ____ is scheduled to return to Manila on ______ to finish his _____ project.
  2. It will also be an advantage if you have a guarantor from Korea. A friend or relative they can call in case you’ll have any issue with your stay.
  3. Having a return trip ticket will be helpful as well.

 

Hope this has been insightful for you guys. All the best and happy trip!