Browsing the archives for the culture category.

Chuseok: Korean Thanksgiving

culture, holidays/special days, life in korea

It’s time to receive company gifts again!

It’s during this time when companies send gift boxes to their employees for the Chuseok Holiday, the Korean Thanksgiving.

Just like the years before, a box was delivered to us a week before the holidays. Of course, these are company products from where my husband works:-).


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We used to receive 6 boxes of these. This year, there are only 3.  I don’t buy soaps, shampoo, conditioner, body wash and toothpaste. The gift boxes pretty much cover our one year supply. I even still have several bottles left from the past year’s Chuseok gift package.

Most Chuseok gifts are really practical. Some companies gift their employees with canned goods. Some even give cooking oil. I’m happy with what we receive, thank you.

The Chuseok holiday is still next week. Koreans maintain their respective family Chuseok traditions. What’s in it for our family of 4 who doesn’t have any Korean heritage to speak of?

We’ll wait and see:-).

추석 즐겁개 보네세요. Enjoy your holidays.




culture, life in the Philippines

Who misses eating this?


Tatak Pinoy!

This is only in the Philippines!


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Win 1 Million Korean Won and 2 Round-trip Tickets Back Home


I received a letter through Expat Blog for an event “Bravo! ASEAN in Korea 2012″. It is an open invitation for ASEAN residents in Korea who have the talent to showcase their country’s culture through dance and music.

I’m contacting you on behalf of the ASEAN-Korea Centre; we wanted to invite you to an exciting event coming up in Seoul: “Bravo! ASEAN in Korea 2012” is a SINGING/DANCE competition where both Korean and Filipino performances are welcome!

We’re offering each of the Top 5 winners 1 MILLION Korean Won and 2 FREE ROUND-TRIP tickets back to your home country. This also gets aired around the world through Arirang TV; we’d love to see you show off to the world how beautiful Filipino culture is and also get a chance to see other dynamic ASEAN/Korean performances.

If you’re interested, please apply by next Tuesday September 18:

1. Complete the attached application form:
2. Email the completed form to aseankorea[at] or mail to 서울시 서초구 내곡동 170-2 블루인마케팅서비스 Bravo! ASEAN in Korea 2012 사무국

Also if you also have any friends that might be interested, please feel free to forward this message. You can find more information about the contest here:

Thanks and good luck!


Sung Ryu
Project Personnel, Culture & Tourism Unit
ASEAN-Korea Centre


Please click the link above for more information. It would be good to see Filipinos win this event:-).


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The Prambanan Masterpiece and The Classic Love Story from Indonesia

culture, travel/places

Indonesia is home to The Prambanan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located in Yogyakarta. It was just apt that hubby chose this “Prambanan” souvenir in lieu of the souvenir plates (he didn’t see any souvenir plates in Indonesia) that he usually takes home from his travels.


He brought this “Prambanan” souvenir years ago. Several trips to Indonesia after, he brought home Rama and Sinta last week:

Sinta and Rama

Sinta and Rama

Rama and Sinta (Sita in the original Indian epic) are the lovers in the great Hindu epic Ramayana. Aside from adding to our travel collection, this souvenir made me google about the Ramayana and the love story of these lovers. It’s as if I was transported to a museum in Indonesia learning about the heroic feats of Rama and the admirable loyalty of Sinta.


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Arirang TV

culture, life in korea

Do you tune in to the Arirang TV channel?

Jaz Lee, through her Facebook page, is soliciting opinions about Arirang TV’s effectiveness in promoting Korea worldwide. Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is on top of this move. It is sponsoring an upcoming forum dedicated to gathering feedback about Arirang TV. It would help to get your opinion on the following:

  • Is Arirang TV doing a good job in promoting Korea worldwide?
  • Is there anything pleasant/unpleasant that you would like to share about a particular program in Arirang TV?
  • Do you think Arirang TV needs to come up with another kind of program? Anything that you would like to suggest?
  • Is there any Arirang TV program that you think should be cancelled and replaced by a new one?

Your opinion will be greatly appreciated.


Viva Sr. Sto Nino!

culture, life in the Philippines, travel/places

“Viva Sr. Sto. Nino!”

That is what Ilonggos are shouting today on the streets of Iloilo. Today is the highlight of the annual Dinagyang Festival. The Dinagyang Festival draws thousands of tourists, local and foreign, every year since I can remember. Google helps a lot in facts we mostly take for granted. I just learned that Dinagyang was formally started in 1977 when the Marcos government ordered the creation of festivities to honor the Sto. Nino. In Iloilo, the participating groups (called tribes) narrate in their performances the selling of the island of Panay to the Malay settlers by the local Atis.

The tribes wear very colorful and creative costumes. Most participants would even willingly sell their costumes to foreigners during the afternoon “Kasadyahan” or street dancing. You see, some foreigners like to take home souvenirs and they are not contented with the commercialized souvenirs being sold on the streets. They may be thinking that the costumes are more authentic:-) Well, the winning tribe could always ask for a higher price for their costume…

Pictures below were taken when I was in Iloilo last year for the festival. It had been years since I last joined the streets to watch the Dinagyang Festival.


It is worthy to note that the Dinagyang Festival was voted as the Best Tourism Event for 2006, 2007 and 2008 by the Associaton of Tourism Officers in the Philippines. I have no knowledge if it continues to hold the honor this year. Iloilo is a good destination to mark in your map and Dinagyang is a good festival to note in your must-see events:-).

By the time I’m writing this, the tribes may have finished their performances and the Kasadyahan or the street dancing is starting. Later this afternoon will be the most anticipated announcement of the winners.

In the meantime, enjoy and have fun!

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The UP Oblation Run 2008

culture, education

Today is the international founding date of Alpha Phi Omega, one of the prominent UP fraternities. What makes the fraternity exciting? The annual Oblation Run, what else!

The Oblation Run is an annually anticipated event of the fraternity where members run naked around the campus. It’s original intention was to express protest about a current political or economic situation. The practice started in 1977 to protest the banning of the movie, “Hubad na Bayani,” which depicted human rights abuses in the martial law era. Whether this intention remains true to this day is debatable. One thing is for sure, it is greatly anticipated by everyone, from UP or not.

Truth be told, I never watched any Oblation Run in UP in my four years in the university. Prude!

Today, as I was passing by the UP Iloilo Campus, here’s what I got:

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How I Remembered “The God of Small Things”

books, culture

I read a CNN news published on October 24, 2008 which kept on going back to my mind. The news is about a socially acceptable practice in India called “polyandry“, more specifically “fraternal polyandry“. Polyandry is a polygamous marraige in which a woman is married to two or more husbands at the same time. Fraternal polyandry happens when a woman is married to two or more brothers at the same time.

The particular news above tells of a story of two brothers sharing a wife for economic reasons. They can’t afford to divide the land they inherited so what could be a better way to preserve their possession than to share everything. Including a wife. Their young sons are also talking about sharing a wife someday. Well, I guess, Indira Devi, the wife featured in the news is “luckier” compared with the others who are married to three or four brothers. I enclosed “luckier” in quotations because that is my perspective. I come from a world where monogamy is THE tradition. Being “lucky” or “unlucky” is a matter of perspective. Oh, well, this discussion deserves another post.

How I came to remember “The God of Small Things” by Arundhati Roy is serendipitous. I read this book years ago. The only connection between the two is India. Nevertheless, I remembered this book which had me troubled for weeks. Alright, now there are two connections. The news above and the book were troubling.

“The God of Small Things” is a beautifully written book despite the circumstances falling on the characters. What stuck me really is the fact that a young man’s personality can be defined by one singular moment… minutes can extend into a lifetime if those minutes are too traumatic. Rahel and Estha are the central characters, though other characters are more interesting. They had a traumatic childhood brought about by the drama of the people that came before them. Take for example Baby Kochamma who fell in love with an Irish priest and in her desire to be with him, she converted to become a Catholic only to discover that the Irish priest has converted to Hindu. Baby Kochamma is central to the tragedy in the lives of the twins. The twins mother, Ammu, has an even more tragic love story. She married the father of the twins to escape the cruelty of her father only to leave him after being an abused wife. She fell in love with an “Untouchable” and this is where the drama went fullscale. Estha was molested by a food vendor as a young boy. This incident, together with the circumstances surrounding the death of their mother’s lover, was too much for him to handle he became a recluse. The twins were separated at age 7 and only saw each other again at age 31. Their pasts and their separation may have been too much for them they committed incest.

Aside from the incest element in the novel, it is the molestation of Estha which lingered after I read the story. It could have been because I chanced upon the novel after a very, very dear friend confided that he is gay. He, too, was molested during his childhood. This is far from making a conclusion that gay men become what they are because they were molested as boys.

Roy tackled a very sensitive subject. It’s impact on me may have been magnified because I read it shortly after my friend’s confession. The news above kept on going back to my mind maybe because it shakes my own personal belief in how a world should be.

As I read the readers’ comments on the news, I was even made to see that others feel strongly and yearn to be respected for the life they choose to live. Being different does not mean being wrong. We just choose which kind of life we want and where and with whom we will be happy with.

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