Seoul International Fireworks Festival

The most impressive annual fireworks festival in Asia is once again to happen this Saturday, September 30. I suddenly remembered my first time watching this, my experience tested my patience literally.

IMG_9561IMG_9535

The fireworks started at past 7:00 in the evening and we were there in the middle of Mapo bridge at 2:00pm securing a spot. You know when you are with a group of photographers, the best location must be secured not for the sake of watching but for their tripods position, LOL!

IMG_9531IMG_9511

While waiting and letting the time pass we ate and chatted, less drinks as the toilet is far from our location and it is difficult to pass thru the crowd. As a photographer, securing a good spot is a struggle, taking nice photos is like breaking one’s back and after less than an hour show, going to subway is an obstacle. As there were a huge crowd of watchers and photographers, expect that going home won’t be as easy as a pie. The struggle is real here!

IMG_9529IMG_9505 copy

However, for my second time I decided to watch from a distance. I was able to appreciate the beauty and loved those magical lights and that is from Dongjak station, less crowd and less tripod in front of me.

IMG_9503IMG_9467 copy2

IMG_9466 copy

There were several nice spots to check if you’ll be there to photograph this fascinating fireworks. The most occupied and easily filled up is in the opposite direction of 63 Building. They say it’s the best spot.

21981865_10213961763300310_1226525301_o

Map from Yongsan

21984328_10213961655777622_1235380696_n

View from the opposite direction of 63 Building

Nevertheless if you’ll be there as an onlooker, you may head to these directions:

Yeouinaru Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 4.
Yeouido Station (Seoul Subway Line 5, 9), Exit 5.
* Heavy traffic is expected and Subway Line 5 may not stop at Yeouinaru Station. Please use the nearby Yeouido, Mapo or Daebang Stations… this is most probably to happen after the fireworks display. Be prepared for a long walk to the nearest open subway station.

IMG_9460 copyIMG_9424 copy

All photos here were taken form 2016 Fireworks show and copyrighted to Mario M. Ulant, a Filipino from Isabela and currently working in Korea. An active member of Filipos, and a freelancer photographer. He also offers Tour Guiding with Photo Services package and volunteering in the Filipino community and Philippine embassy’s events.

Advertisements

Hanseong Baekje Culture Festival

I saw the poster of this festival on the way to my work and decided to check it out today, it’s the first day of this festival. Just yesterday, I took a brief walk to the yellow cosmos hill located at Olympic park and here I am again.

GOPR2606.jpg

DCIM101GOPROG0080944.

DCIM101GOPROG0080943.

The entrance of the pop up village with real Korean guards on post.

Hanseong Baekje Cultural Festival, this is also being held at Olpark or Olympic Park in front of the Olympic Peace Gate. This festival will run from September 21st until September 24th, 2017. A little of its history is that, this festival commemorates the platinum age of Hanseong Baekje. It carries out the glorious civilization and arts for the first 500 years of Baekje history.

As I walked around, I certainly noticed those children having their field trips. They were dressed on their traditional clothes and trying on the activities inside the pop up village. They seemed enjoying the experiences and programs of the festival.

DCIM101GOPROG0050932.DCIM101GOPROGOPR0937.DCIM101GOPROGOPR0938.

Korea’s rich history is truly remarkable that every important event was almost reenacted. The palaces had changing guard rituals and the popular kings and queens wedding reenactment and culture related festivals as examples.

DCIM101GOPROG0200982.

Food booths on the right side of the Peace Gate…. beside Lotteria.

DCIM101GOPROG0190979.

The sumo wrestling arena.

DCIM101GOPROG0160968.

Anyway going back, there are lots of reasons to come and visit this festival. As I’ve read that this is Seoul’s biggest history and culture festival, there will be a grand parade, performances, fireworks and foods to try.  Food booths, art works display, souvenir items and culture related items are surrounding the entire Olympic Peace Gate. I watched a little of the sumo wrestling show and the opening program.

DCIM101GOPROG0220987.

Lanterns around the park.

DCIM101GOPROGOPR0974.

This festival is of free admission and easily reached from exit 1 of Mongchontoseong Station Line 8, the pink line.

 

Yellow Cosmos Field at Olympic Park

Autumn is happening! Crisp air, less sunshine, cool weather and moreover the ginkgo trees that’s starting to change its color. This season never fails to give a fine weather as I remember. DCIM101GOPROGOPR0873.DCIM101GOPROGOPR0878.

And of course, we know it is fall when cosmos flowers are spitting in a distance. These flowerets are on its prime from September to October. The vividness of this daisy-like flower comes in a variety of colors: yellow, orange, red, pink, white and maroon.

DCIM101GOPROGOPR0883.DCIM100GOPROGOPR2641.

When I saw a picture of a friend sitting in the middle of a cosmos field I remember this hill filled with yellow cosmos flowers at Olympic Park. Currently it is the highlight of the park this time. Hence, my visit yesterday was a weekday I expected less crowd just perfect for landscape and a brief walk.

DCIM101GOPROGOPR0877.DCIM101GOPROGOPR0879.

There were only few people and a couple having their pre wedding photo shoot. They were lovely to look at on their hanbok, the Korean traditional dress. I’m pretty sure they’ll going to have beautiful photos with those bright yellow flowers on the background.

DCIM101GOPROGOPR0881.

And an additional attraction, the rose garden is still beautiful. Roses are still holding its vibrant colors. So if you’re going to visit the cosmos field you will see those roses as well, they are situated beside each other.

DCIM101GOPROGOPR0868.DCIM101GOPROGOPR0869.

Tip: No admission and open year round.

Direction: Seoul subway line 5 Olympic Park Station, exit 3. Walk towards the direction of the park and turn left after the crescent moon like sculpture. Walk until you see a bridge. It will lead you to the entrance. It will take you 15minutes on foot from the station.

or from Jamsil station (Line 2 and 8) exit 11… at the bus stop get on bus #3413 and get off at Olympic Park Rose Garden bus stop approximately 10minutes. Once you get off, walk to the intersection and cross to the opposite road.

Unhyeong Palace: The Hall of Royal Family Culture

Touring around the palaces in Korea is such a great experience. It’s topping the list of the foreigner’s itineraries. I may say that you’ve never been in the peninsula if you missed those primes.

DSC_3081DSC_3082DSC_3083

Just imagine these enfeebled royal residences preserved for thousands of years. A great culture and tradition located in the middle of the city and surrounded by modish sophistication.

I’d been to other palaces in Seoul and they all actually have a display of great design and architecture. However, honestly speaking they all look the same. They differ on the other hand on some special portion. For an instance, Gyeongbukgung has a beautiful pond with an immense landscape under the moonlight, Changdeoukgung with its splendid secret garden and Changgyeongung with a stream surrounded by cherry blossoms.

DSC_3053DSC_3056

Last spring, I came across a poster of The Royal Wedding Reenactment of Garye for King Gojong and Queen Myeongseong at Unhyeongung and all of a sudden I remember that I’ve never been there. So I checked the date and plotted it on my calendar.

DSC_3079DSC_3065

So here we are, the day of the reenactment falls on the same day of Lotus Lantern Festival for which the big preparation was at Joggyesa Temple. All right, we were late actually and sorry for that! Anyway we’ve got to see the last part and guess which was that? … the commemorative photography!

DSC_3092DSC_3094

Luckily, this royal program is done twice a year and the next and last reenactment this year will be on September 30, 2017 at 2:00 to 4:00 in the afternoon. and I’ll be making sure that I’ll be there on time.

DSC_3103

… the king and the queen after the ceremony…

DSC_3097

To give you a glimpse of these procedures, Garye is a royal wedding ceremony it will then portray the ceremony of King Gojong and Queen Myeongseong in 1866, a traditional dance about their beautiful beginnings, royal procession with palace officials and soldiers, palatial dances and the commemoration in which the King will receive the Queen.

DSC_3060DSC_3064

So, if you’ve no plan yet for this day, remember it’s September 30, Saturday this is great place to be as it happens only two times a year and in addition a walk inside Unhyeongung is a nice palace too. It may be the smallest palace in Seoul but with a beauty of its own.

Tip: Admission is free year round. There is also a hanbok rental shop inside.

Direction:

(1) Anguk Station of Orange line or subway line number 3, 2 minutes walk from exit 4, by just walking straight.

(2) Jungno 3-ga, Line 3, Exit 5

Paragliding at Boryeong, Chungcheomnam-do

Afraid of heights? This is then, maybe not for you. But if you want an amazing adventure in Korea, then you shouldn’t miss this. I am afraid of heights, yet from time to time I overcome my fear. Fear is just a state of mind. I’m telling you, it feels good to over power your fear.

GOPR9569.jpg

Saturday group of adventure seekers 🙂

DCIM100GOPROG0299575.

the taking off site… paragliding pilots getting ready..

From my zip line adventure at Mungyeong, it triggered me to try more exciting trips in Korea. After I discovered I can withstand my fear of heights, I planned this paragliding thing and can’t wait to try and fly.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR9580.

our group of 3 and Craig, our pilot and tour guide…

G0289558.jpg

briefing of safety precautions….

I’ve gathered a group of 3 and there we booked to the paragliding course. Since I don’t want to travel away from Seoul I look for a closer one and I stumble on this paragliding booking on a facebook ad and initially deposit 50,000 for the swing.

DCIM100GOPROG0309638.

aerial view

DCIM100GOPROG0309595.

where my heart stops… LOL!

Craig, the only foreigner licensed paragliding pilot and the contact person from the website, waited for us at the Express Bus Terminal at 7:30 in the morning of Saturday. We arranged for the transportation , as what the website asserted, and ended up taking the train from Yongsan station. Buses were full of passengers that day.

1502546866998

gearing up…

1502546862104

my tandem pilot 🙂

We were picked up from Daecheon station and headed straight to the paragliding site. A mountain 10minutes ride from the station and was 600feet above sea level. Cool panoramic view awaits us. Eventually it wasn’t a clear day and clouds dramatically covered most of the countryside.

DCIM100GOPROG0309656.

DCIM100GOPROG0019990.

a bit relaxed 🙂

After some instructions and safety precautions, we were assigned to a Korean paraglider for a tandem flight. We get ready to tango, anxious of course and a bit hesitant to take off but there’s no turning back now. Excited and aghast, deep and long breathing, leaned forward and run till I saw my feet hang and the trees below.

What a start!I sit comfortably and enjoy the scenery while screaming a bit when we glide. It took us 9minutes on air, 9 minutes of nevertheless heart-stopping moment of my life. Well honestly, I just feel like I was in an open airplane, windowless! LOL!

G0019994.jpg

enjoying the glide….

And off to the landing site at the foot of the mountain where we waited for our friends. We took our souvenir videos and photos, Of course that will surely not slighted. Indeed, it was fun. Safe and sound adventure.

DCIM100GOPROG0319692.

the landing site….

DCIM100GOPROGOPR9709.

Enter a caption

After the paragliding, we took a taxi to Sky biking, another attraction in Boryeong and only in Korea.

Cost of Paragliding: 100,000won…. refer to this website.

Our transportation expenses was paid included in the package but ours going back to Seoul that costs 11,500wonby bus at Boryeong Bus Terminal or 17,000won if you wish to take the train to Yongsan Station.

Sky Bike at Daecheon Beach

Just about two-hours travel from Seoul and we finally reached the one and only sky bike in Korea. Located around the coastline of Daecheon beach where the much-publicized Boryeong Mud festival was housed. It is sitting right next to the zip line course and 5minutes walk from the mud plaza.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR9800.

DCIM100GOPROG0329731.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR9715.

We went on a line, took the waiting number from the ticket booth, wait to be called and paid 30,000won for 4 persons. Once we were given the ticket we directly went inside and get ready to ride. The sky bike extends up to the other side of the beach.

DCIM100GOPROG0399826.DCIM100GOPROG0359766.DCIM100GOPROGOPR9780.

 

Back and forth, the 20minute ride gave us a breathtaking panoramic view of the ocean. The splendid outline of the shore was so pleasant. Though the sun shines brightly the sea breeze was cool and enough to enjoy the attraction. DCIM100GOPROGOPR9777.DCIM100GOPROGOPR9775.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR9778.

Direction: By Bus…. from Express Bus Terminal Station (Line 3, 7 & 9) Follow the way to Shinsegae Famille Street, it is on the east side of Central City Terminal. Buy the ticket to Boryeong Bus Terminal. The beach is just walking distance from the terminal. Cost: 11,500 won (one way)

By Train…. from Yongsan Station, buy the ticket to Daecheon Beach. From the station, take the taxi to the sky bike. (Note that there is also a rail bike available, so make sure to tell the driver that you’re heading to Sky Bike. Cost: 17,000 won (one way)

Sky Bike cost: 2 persons for 1 bike…. 22,000won

4 persons for 1 bike…. 30,000won

 

 

 

 

Seoul Museum of Art

Photography is my diversion. For each time off and every weekend that I have, I leisurely wander around. When the sun shines bright I love landscaping when the rain pours I look for themed cafe or a museum.

And so gloomy, cloudy and rain seems to rush when we ended up at SeMA, Seoul Museum of Art. Beaming with of course a lot visitors, the museum holds a special exhibit when we visited and will last until August 15, 2017.

Walking from the entrance, sculptures were eye-catching and we can’t help ourselves took pictures of those. Later I found that this place was a filming location of Korean drama.

Those are in addition to the usual Korean art display and photographs. Apparently, the exhibits are ecstatic. Photographs are one of a kind, inspiring and wondrous.

So much piece of art in an exquisite display. The museum has three floors of deviating art works and each are so lovely to look. I hold in high regard the simplicity of Korea’s artwork. Simple and detailed. Does our visit to SeMa made my day.

Museum schedule

Free admission and easy to reach. Take subway line 2 or 1 to City Hall Station and head to Exit 1.

Walk passing KFC restaurant and turn left on the first corner before the gate of Deoksugung Palace. Walk straight for 3 minutes until you see the big flower structure on your left.