Monday, April 6, 2015

Love Locks @ Seoul N Tower

Always ideal to plan your out-of-the-country trips on dates that fall on a different season. Spring time in Korea equates to the beauty of Cherry blossom lined streets clad in your trenches and ugg boots minus the thick heat-tech winter layers.

OOTD: Myeongdong Trench /Stradivarius pants/ UGGS from Nampodong

From Myeongdong, one can opt to go N Seoul Tower via bus, cable car, seoul city tour bus or cab. Choosing the most convenient option, flagged a cab in front of my hotel and ask that I be brought to the Namsam Cable Car.

Note: Ride a regular taxi if you have the exact address of the place written in Korean. Else, for foreign tourists who cannot speak the language pick the international taxi ( the one in orange with Haechi, the Seoul mascot on the side of it ) Fare costs 3,000 krw from Myeongdong to cable car platform.

Some were braved enough to hike and climb from the base of the Namsam mountain uphill to the tower. In a -3 degrees weather, certainly NOT this time.

The 3 minute ride offers splendid views of the capital city. Admission is 8,500 krw round-trip. The cable car departs every after 10 mins or so. Passengers can wait by the snack bar, indulge in hot cuppa latte or simply marvel at the sights to while away time.

Best to go in the morning if you aim for a more tranquil tour. For bask-in-the-nighttime thrill, take the cable car late in the afternoon and come back down in the early evening to beat the night touristy rush.

Oooh to be young and in love! Always a beautiful feeling. 

A visual eye-candy! Love locks with different shapes and sizes affixed to the fences. Lovers pledge their undying commitment with the keys thrown away to ensure sweethearts' vow to never separate. ( Should you come unprepared a lock booth sells them for 10,000 krw each )

Instead of throwing away the keys, couples can leave 'em in the Postbox of Love. Part of the income from the collected keys are donated to needy children, now that's really spreading the love!

Aside from the fences, are the Heart Chairs and Trees. Scribble your messages of love on the chair itself. Expression of love doesn't cost a thing.

Seoul Tower observatory offers stunning views of Seoul and its surrounding areas. For the kids and kids-at-heart, a bear museum also exists. Guests are encouraged to try the famed N Grill western-style revolving restaurant. Rotation happens every 48 minutes. A chic way to dine in style. 

Back to Myeongdong for my afternoon appointment at the Seoul Cultural Center to try out the Hanbok Experience. Wearing the costume is free. All you need is to register ahead of time and to come back at the time specified. A grace period of 5 minutes is granted. Much respect for Koreans and how they value time and time management properly.

Hands down to Myeongdong Kyoja for the unforgettable handmade noodle dish and dumplings. With its 50 years expertise in the industry, they have produced absolutely the most scrumptious Kalguksu and Mandu at a mere 8,000 krw for each dish. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Dog Cafe Myeongdong, Seoul Korea

Myeongdong is all about glitz and glam. Every nook, every corner, it sparkles and shines. Each cafe is interesting and as always a feast for the eyes! Got so extremely giddy upon seeing the cutest dog mascot handing out flyers on the cold chilly street.


With a tiny flyer on my hand, had 2 unsuccessful attempts in trying to locate this whole-in-the-wall canine wonderland. Finally gave up and ask the guy in the dog suit to kindly accompany the poor lost soul. 

Made a turn on the next alley and was instructed to climb the 4th floor. Tadaaa! And there I was! Standing right in the flesh. 

Entrance to the cafe costs 8,000 krw ( roughly $8 usd ) consumable with a drink of your choice. Nothing really special with the refreshments. Decided not to mentally convert the figures to my local currency, after all it is the quality fun cuddle time with the dogs I was after. 

The attendant handed out some doggy profiles with their names. She made some caution remarks about Gucci and Wany. Warned me not to come near the face because they might bark or worst, bite. Made a quick mental note. Scanned the room and saw Wany sleeping on a long chair. Gucci was seated on the floor. 

Not to be scared though. Dogs will always be dogs. Like any normal being, nobody wants to be startled while sleeping. Wishing you the sweetest dreams biggie fluffy whitey baby.

The sweetest dogs ever! They wanted to sit with people and just be a companion. Right smacked on the heated floor armed by a blankie, the poochies started sniffing here and there.

Surely feels good being able to pet, cuddle, interact and be surrounded entirely by dogs of all shapes, sizes and personalities. Teehee!

If you've been to another Dog Cafe before I'd like to know your insights as well. If you'd like to recreate the same stuff here in the Manila then I have good news for you! Barkin' Blends has finally brought this exciting Dog Cafe concept here!  

At night, Myeongdong transforms into a street food heaven. For starters, try Ddalchi frozen strawberry with red bean paste and mochi.

Strawberry vanilla chocolate ice cream and waffle smothered with choco syrup and fruity bits, always a good idea!

Myeongdong is one of the busiest places in Seoul where thousands of shoppers crowd all the time. It is a representative shopping district quickly claiming the spotlight for fashion.

Spring cleaning! Winter OOTDs on Sale

Every Korean cosmetic brand has a branch in Myeongdong. The market is home to roughly a thousand cosmetic shops and hundreds of skin care stores. 

Disneyland ceased to be the happiest place on earth. Myeongdong it is! Proud of my buy 10 take 10 haul from The Face Shop and Collagen Moistfull series from Etude House.

A steamy pot of Spicy Gamjatang at Onedang was exactly what I needed after traversing the chilly streets of bustling Myeongdong. Ooops did I mention that it is open 24 hours? I could stay here all night long and unwind with a cuppa coffee or soju to end the hearty meal.

More of Myeongdong on my next succeeding post...

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Baguio Panagbenga Flower Festival 2015

The chilly February weather, homey log cabin accommodations, fresh scent of pine trees and a mouthwatering breakfast buffet spread, these and more are the reasons why Camp John Hay Manor will always be my top Baguio countryside hotel during the Panagbenga Flower Festival.

The crispiest bacon I've ever had!  

Breakfast at the Manor is reminiscent of fluffy berry waffles, Filipino viand, crisp greens, enticing fruity croissants and freshly squeezed juices. Definitely a steal at P580/head.

Spent the entire morning at the countryside and loved every second of it. 

OOTD: H&M Pink Sweater/ Nafnaf skirt/ black leggings from korea

View of the luxurious mountain log cabin was absolutely splendid and spell-binding

Our little piece of heaven at Le Monet Hotel. Staff graciously obliged to our request for early check-in. This is the ultimate rejuvenating retreat, utmost convenience and relaxation.

A countryside hotel with modern amenities! Bathrooms are equipped with sleek remote control bidet/flush facilities and a mounted television too! How thoughtful can they get? I soo love it here!

View from our veranda, overlooking Camp John Hay

Open kitchen concept at Cafe By the Ruins. A whiff of freshly baked breads greeted us at the entrance. Everything here spells f.r.e.s.h and h.o.m.e.m.a.d.e 

Undeniably the perfect spot for taking great photos at the cafe

Baguio Bagnet. A typical Ilocano meal. Double fried pork belly. First it is tenderized in lard, then re-fried to a crisp. Condiments are Podas bagoong and tomato salsa.

Sweet and sour fish

Steak in Herbed Butter

Beef Ribs Sinigang. Falling off the tender beef in broth scoured with tamarind with taro, vegetables and chili.

Bill for the early dinner amounted to Php1,325. To clean our palates, we decided to end the meal with the famed Strawberry Taho Php20.

Capping off the night with warm mint and mallows hot choco from Chocolate De Batirol. Best paired with Suman sa lihia. 

Arggh! The best midnight snack ever!

Snapshot from Panagbenga 2015. Mythical creatures  and flower blooms

"Let me take you down... Strawberry Fields Forever"

Managed to squeeze in a quick tour of the Baguio Country Club. Check-out this blue and green peacock showing off his lovely tail. 

Always looking forward to dine at the BCC. As anyone who lives in Baguio knows well, cuisine at the club is always superb and is in fact one of the best in the entire city.

These amazing breads are my sweetest haul from the Country Club. Blessed to have witnessed this year's Panagbenga 2015. Till next!