Welcome to My Blog

This contains snippets of my journeys from the most mundane to the most exciting. This will contain some reviews as well, mostly of hotels and places visited. At times, this could be filled with gripes and frustrations but in all, it will most likely show how truly fascinating life is from my vantage point. My personal mantra, however troubled or distorted things may seem to most, is rooted from the movie "3 Idiots" - - All is Well. Thus, I am a fervent believer of limitless possibilities. Live well. Cheers!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Family Bonding at Korea - Millennium Seoul Hilton Hotel

Our family took a trip to South Korea last October 29 to November 2 - my mom, dad, brothers, sister, her husband and 2 kids, plus my three kids and I.  
Hotel Room - - My Kids and my Mom sitting on the Bed
 We stayed at the Millenium Seoul Hilton Hotel and our room was adjacent to my mom and dad's room. It's a pretty nice five star hotel with complete amenities.  Security is pretty tight as well as you need your room card to be swiped in the elevator room card slot before you are able to reach your desired floor.  The hotel boasts of a massive and beautiful lobby with a buffet breakfast area and several other dining facilities.
The flat screen TV is really big although the channels are mostly Korean channels and some english channels -like the Disney Channel- are translated in Korean. Only some news and sports channels are in English.  I didn't notice any HBO or Cinemax too.  The bathroom is nice with daily mineral water bottles compliments of the hotel. I particularly liked the toilet bowl as it has different settings such as a setting for the bidet with ways to move it forward and back, heated toilet seat, and of course, a dryer after you are done using the bidet.  It was both funny and interesting.  My sister told me that this is a normal occurence in Japan though I'd never been to Japan (yet...hahaha). 
My 23 month old son, Adam
It was my first time to take care of my son by myself (without the nanny) and it was quite a challenge because he is like an energizer bunny. In all, I think he had a nice time being with me and with the rest of the family. As you can see in the hotel photo where he is behind the desk, he seems quite somber (not!). More about the hotel. Well, the facilities are nice but it would have been nicer if no extra charges are given for the use of the internet just like in Radisson Blu. I did not get to see the other facilities personally but my dad said that the place had a very nice gym, heated swimming pool, and sauna. The hotel employees are friendly as well (at least most of them). One front desk attendant even gave Adam an orange. 

Korean Lantern in Water Color
Korean Lanterns in Water Color
Intricate Ceiling Design
Another Intricate Ceiling Design of a Palace

Our second day was spent in a whole day city tour of Seoul (on the first day, we slept in because we arrived  in the evening). Though I found it hard to understand what the tour guide was telling us, she was always laughing and smiling. What is particularly interesting about Korea is their talent in design and color combination. They have nice and distinct colors and patterns that are somewhat similar and yet different from what I saw in India. The ones here are more colorful, rounded, and abstract, almost magical looking.  Aqua green seems to be a dominant color as well. I could only imagine the hard work put in in building such designs and patters repeatedly and all over many structures from temples to palaces.
Here is my son adam right before we entered a museum on Korea's Life Passages.  He was still quite calm and collect here. Later on in the day, he was already rolling around the floors and making me carry him when he was tired of walking.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Birthday Celebrations are a big deal in Korea. Here
is one sample of a birthday celebration where kids
are dressed really well. I did not get to understand the
rest of the details as my son was running around  like crazy.
The museum reminded me of our family trip to Malaysia some years ago where we saw something similar.

Museum - Korean Life Passages

The next day, we went to LOTTE World.  In the Philippines, we only know LOTTE as the gum brand.  But here in Korea, Lotte is like the Lopezes and Ayalas who own different industries. They own hotels, other products, even an amusement park, LOTTE World.
This is an indoor and outdoor theme park that has an array of exciting rides. They also have foreign characters, just like the one beside my son (though they are not American...probably European). The shows are a little on the strange side but I saw a bunch of great break dancers who could really dance very well. I think my younger siblings and daghter had the most fun because they had the chance to experience the different rides.  I was just happy that there was a stroller for rent.  In this way, I was able to secure my son in this stroller and not experience body pains by carrying him.

My dad, son, and mom

My family in LOTTE World
The tour guide told us that apart from LOTTE, Samsung, Hyundai, and a lot more are large companies that own different industries in Korea.  I might have even seen an apparel shop somewhere named Samsung.

Our fourth day in Korea was spent in the CHILDREN'S GRAND PARK that my sister and brother-in-law recommended. Entrance to this beautiful place is free. We went to the small animals village, world of ferocious animals, and adventure land (a huge playground where my kids had fun playing and where I experienced sweating in cold weather as I ran after them) although there are so many other places to visit here.

In the afternoon of the fourth day, we went to Alpha where they have different items. Beside this store was a very nice shop with so many wrapping paper.  I bought so many from here that my mom was so worried I wont get to bring these home with me.  The entire stretch of this place was full of wholesale goods just like in Divisoria, but cleaner. I the evening, we went to Myeongdong for shopping. Places like the Face Shop, Etude House, and other beauty products shop in Korea were pretty much everywhere just like Giordano in Hong Kong and Jollibee in the Philippines. Make up is cheap and beauty seems to be a huge deal to people in Korea.

Since I really use Face Shop make-up, I literally grabbed the opportunity to get my loot of face powders, bb cream, eye shadow, and blush from this place and the Etude House on account that it is 3 times cheaper than the prices in Manila. I found it hilarious that the ladies there were outside their stores asking people to come in with mic on hand. With us, it is usually religious people carrying along portable karaokes while preaching the word of God. Anyhow, the money I had left was spent on paper products from Art Box.  I bought a 2012 planner, a gel pen, stationary, and note pads. I really love the products here. If I probably have an alternative business, other than my apparel biz, I would probably go into this artsy direction.

On our fifth day, we had to leave the hotel at 5:30 in the morning and head back to the Philippines early in the day. It was a fruitful trip (well, apart from some of the hot headed Koreans who were quite frankly, downright rude) with a mixture of people...both nice (the younger ones) and not so nice (well, I suppose we have this everywhere in the world). The airport in Korea is really pretty which makes me hope that someday, I will actually see the day that our airport in the Philippines won't be labeled the worst in the world because we have some of the most fabulous sites, beaches, and friendliest people.

That is my hope...that our airport will be one of the best in the world...within my lifetime.  Hahaha.  Limitless possiblities.  It will happen.  I know it.  Thanks ma, pa, and siblings for taking us on this trip. Wish Jay got to see all these too. 

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