Of crawlies and sandwich monsters.

I ate my way around Korea the best way I knew how: with an empty stomach and my mouth wide open. I was down for anything that came my way; weighing scale be damned.

It was snowing when I arrived and I was really, really starving. Anyone who’s been to Seoul knows how the trip from the Incheon Airport can be quite a stretch especially if you’ve spent half the day flying.


This Haemul Doenjang Jjigae (Soybean paste stew with seafood) was very comforting. I was freezing and just wanted something warm inside my tummy. You can’t go wrong eating it with rice too. There was no English translation for the restaurant’s name, but you won’t miss it as it is just a few steps away from the Myeongdong Station and a McDonald’s. I ended up eating another meal here after 3 days. It seemed to be popular with the locals too.

When in Korea or maybe anywhere else, make sure to try out Paris Baguette. I’m really not a bread person but this place made me discover the sandwich monster in me.


I still crave for their Shrimp and Egg sandwich. Who knew they tasted fantastic together? The bread, it tasted like cake to me. I was thankful for the many staircases I had to take and the streets I roamed because I was too full that day. The Iced Americano was pretty good too.





The presentation was done very well that I wanted to taste everything on display. If you’re health conscious, you will love the place as they make sure you’re aware of the number of calories that you’re about to waste. The verdict? It’s worth it.


On the streets of Busan, make sure to walk along Seomyeon and go beyond the chicken and beer experience. I was thrilled to sample a different kind of bibimbap with fish roe as its main protein. I didn’t like having mayonnaise on my rice though.

I went all in and tried the live octopus at the Haeundae Traditional Market. It was like eating sashimi; a really restless sashimi. I made sure I had water in case the tentacles stuck to my throat.

I also tried the version in Gwangjang Market; this time with the beef sashimi. I found this to be tasty.

Busan has a fun cafe culture; a street full of interesting places to hang out it made my head spin.







I was attracted right away to the minimalist aesthetic of Caffe Zassen.


And who can resist not ordering their cheesecake? If I’m not mistaken, I think this is Camembert.


Another welcome surprise after my cultural food immersion was the bleacher style food court of Lotte in Busan.


Guess who wanted something familiar for dinner?


Something interesting from the Namdaemun Market in Seoul:



The seafood didn’t disappoint in Korea too. My friends took me to this seafood joint in Incheon a few hours before my flight.







When in Seoul, make sure to stop by Insadong. My friend took me to a traditional tea house and I ordered this Yuzu Tea aka the chicken soup for my soul that day. It doesn’t look like much but my soul needed it that day. My Korean friends were worried that I might have extended my stomach’s capacity for eating live and raw protein. I only had a few hours of sleep before boarding but I remember waking up feeling light and recharged for my flight back to the Philippines. Just how every trip should come to a close.













What will you do in Busan? Go Around. Do you know anyone there? No. What will you do if you get lost? Find my way, like I always do. This was the conversation that I had with my friends in Seoul, wondering why I wanted to venture out on my own.

So off I went and boarded the Korail from the Seoul Station to Busan. I was way ahead of schedule and this was the sight that greeted me.


Inside the Korail, or the train to Busan 😉 For a few minutes, I really thought I would be the only one aboard until the other passengers started to pour in.

There was an announcement that we would be transferring trains. The only way I understood it was when everybody got up with their belongings and a Korean passenger simply told me: “Transfer.” I wasn’t able to take a photo since I didn’t really know where to go; I just followed the crowd. It was like watching the apocalypse unfold on film but without the subtitles and you’re a participating spectator. Paging Korail, you have passengers who can’t speak Hangul too.


My favorite Peanut Butter sandwich from Paris Baguette 

After arriving at the Busan Station, I took another train that would supposedly be closer to my hotel. As I got off my assigned station and looked up the walking directions, I got this:


I tried walking around first to see if my hotel was just around. I didn’t find it in the vicinity so I took the bus as Google Maps instructed. I got off. Got into another bus. Got off again. Until I reached a really seedy place that didn’t have any hotels in the area and decided to find a taxi. The driver didn’t want to accept me at first, he didn’t speak much English but I must have managed to convince him with my “I’m lost” facial expression that he took me in. I gave him the hotel’s name and we got going. I was so happy when we arrived until the receptionist told me that I went to the wrong hotel. Similar name, different location. I didn’t know what to say anymore and asked them politely if they could call me a cab. While I waited, I took a seat and the lady behind the desk talked to me about my correct hotel’s location.


The receptionist was so kind enough to talk to the taxi driver to make sure I was going to make it to the correct hotel this time. Did I tell you that she also gave me something to eat while I waited? She stayed until the taxi was out of sight. You might want to check out Hotel the Hound if you find yourself in Busan:



Finally made it to my hotel

I think I spent an hour lying down, staring at Gavin Rossdale on TV and wondering how I managed to get lost so many times in 1 day. I lost track of time until the front desk called to ask me about what I wanted to eat for breakfast. Will tell you what I ate on my next entry.







Here comes the sun

I can’t carry a tune in public to save my life but I can interpret it better through my photos. First of the song and photo series, featuring “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles. I will be happy to interpret a song if anyone would like to make a request, heehee.

Here comes the sun


Oton, Iloilo; March 2016

Here comes the sun, and I say

It’s all right


Boracay Island, February 2016

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter


Seoul, South Korea; December 2017

Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here


 Milan to Copenhagen, November 2015

Here comes the sun, and I say,

It’s all right


Ajuy, Iloilo; February 2018

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces


Seoul, December 2017

Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here


Prague, Czech Republic; December 2015

Here comes the sun, and I say

It’s all right


Athens, Greece; November 2015

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes


Bacolod to Iloilo; March 2016

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes


Boracay Island, March 2016

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes


Athens, November 2015

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting


Seoul, December 2017

Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear


Seoul, December 2017

Here comes the sun, and I say

It’s all right


Oton, Iloilo; March 2016

And here is the song, if you want to listen to it:


A few minutes in North Korea

Should I still push through with the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) tour? I asked myself over and over again as news of the North Korean soldier who defected to the South replayed in my head.

What is it about risky places that draw us to them? My friends and I did decide to continue with our trip to Paris a week after the city was under a series of attacks in 2015. That’s another trip that deserves its own entry.


Paris, November 2015

I threw a lot of caution to the wind when I signed a waiver stating that my visit to the Joint Security Area (JSA) of North and South Korea could possibly entail serious consequences should there be any unexpected incidents. It was too late to turn around now; the bus ride to Panmunjom from Seoul took more than an hour plus the extra time that I spent finding the travel agency from the Samgakji Station. Yes, it is possible to technically be in North Korea but you have to book through an accredited agency to facilitate the tour. I recommend arranging your DMZ Tour with Koridoor. Feel free to contact me for walking directions to the meeting place should you decide to take the subway. Trust me, you might need it.

Things started to feel serious when we were transferred to another bus escorted by an American soldier who informed us right off the bat that we could absolutely take 0 photos unless stated that we were allowed to do so. We were also asked to leave behind our belongings except for our cameras and phones. Imagine being inside the only vehicle on an unfamiliar road with strangers, without your purse, in an area where landmines have made amputees of soldiers and North Koreans that have been shot as they defected to the South.

DMZ, December 2017

The tension was palpable as soon as we were led to the JSA. The two sides facing each other with their respective soldiers taking watch. There were cameras from the North observing us and we were reminded constantly not to make any derogatory actions towards the opposite side. As soon as we were confirmed to take the tour, we were made to understand what we could and could not wear as this could be possibly used as propaganda against South Korea.


With our Military escort who also served as our tour guide, North Korea right across


A closer look at the North Korean side; some of the cameras and a North Korean soldier keeping watch

This Republic of Korea (ROK) soldier shown below was the only person standing in our way towards officially entering the North by way of the door behind him. There was a time and space limit in taking photos and selfies were allowed with the soldiers who remained in Judo Fighting Stance. We were also made aware that they could attack anyone who might be considered a threat.


Technically standing in North Korea, guarded by this ROK soldier

Part of the DMZ Tour included visits to the Dorasan Station, Dora Observatory and the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel.

The Dorasan Station, at a time, linked North and South Korea.


The Dorasan Station

One of the eeriest places that I have ever been is this station. Literally waiting for a train that won’t arrive, maybe for a long time.



Inside the Dorasan Station

Seen below is my view of North Korea from the Dora Observatory. It felt surreal hearing propaganda from the North blasting in the South. At the time of my visit, the South returned this favor by blasting Christmas and K-Pop songs to the North.


North Korea from the Dora Observatory

I initially wanted to skip the tour of the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel, which was dug by the North Korean army to spy on the South. I didn’t know what to expect but I’m glad that I went ahead in spite of my fear of uncertainty and the closed space underneath. We weren’t allowed to take photos and were made to wear hardhats. I talked myself into pretending that we were walking down towards a very steep wine cellar that never seemed to end, in between bumping my head on the roof of the cave-like structure below. The fun part started when we had to walk back upwards. I won’t recommend this to anyone with severe asthma, heart ailments, knee and back problems; and claustrophobia.


The 3rd Infiltration Tunnel

(Photo courtesy of Paju Culture & Tourism and http://www.imagineyourkorea.com)

So what is it about risky places that draw us to them? Is it the bragging rights that come with it as soon as we emerge unscathed? Is it the stories that won’t escape us, like, “We’ll always have Paris?” Or in this case the DMZ?

At that time, it was the number of moments that I had to stop and catch my breath. From being present in a time and place where tensions between both sides could possibly erupt and realizing how much of a privilege it is to live within reach of most people that I care about with zero to a few restrictions. Not to mention making it alive between huffing and puffing after that far from a dream of a trek underneath.

Was it worth it? I believe I earned this treat afterwards.


The balm that completed that day; near one of the exits at the Myeongdong Station









Hello, World.

If traveling was for free, you’d never see me again.


The Ruins, Bacolod City; March 2016

But it isn’t, so I’ll be around until the next trip


Kusina NaNam, Iloilo City; August 2016

I’ve visited some parts of the world


Istanbul, Turkey; December 2014

I want to see more


Venice, Italy; November 2015

I want to step foot on what has lasted over time


Athens, Greece; November 2015

I want to head to where it’s happening


Joint Security Area/Demilitarized Zone South Korea/North Korea; December 2017

Real Madrid vs Club America

Nissan Stadium, Yokohama, Japan; December 2016

How far would you go to seek charm?


Prague City Library, Czech Republic; December 2015

Did you even bother to stop by the mirror lately?


Mirror at Mandaue Foam: Php 1,500

Me-roar: Priceless (heehee!)

There’s more to life than feasting on the familiar


Cafe Terraza, Roxas City; 2016

 I want to get acquainted with it

Eating woodworms at Kinabuch Grill & Bar, Palawan; April 2017

I want to get acquainted with you


Hong Kong, August 2015

What moves you?


Seoul, S. Korea; December 2017