Monday, 25 April 2011

Happy Easter To All!

A typical Easter is when every Catholic goes to church, celebrate Christ's resurrection and then hunt for Easter eggs!
That's the typical Easter. So, if you have extra boiled eggs, you can paint them with bright colors and hide them in your garden and let kids search for them.
But today, the nearest garden I could find was my neighbor's  which I doubt hid any colorful Easter eggs, although I could see that most of her laundries hanging from her clothesline were all colorful: from the shirts, trousers and of course, somebody's colorful undies. :-)
So off I went to Myeongdong Cathedral, where I attended a Holy Mass in Korean (I was late for the English Mass! Late by 8 hours! Ha-ha-ha!).  And as I expected, enterprising Catholics were selling colorful Easter eggs by the main parking lot entrance. These daintily painted eggs were colored and placed in creative baskets, and perhaps sold to raise funds.  And parishioners coming out of the church did drop by and got Easter eggs for themselves. 
I remember a couple of years ago, at the same spot, a Filipino friend got me a couple of Easter eggs that Sunday as a gift. I placed it on my office table for a couple days until....I ran out of snacks. Thanks to Maricon, those colorful Easter eggs also turned out to be nutrition! I cracked the eggs open and voila! Boiled eggs for snacks! Ha-ha-ha! 
So, were you able to get some Easter eggs today? And although those Easter eggs sold at the Cathedral weren't exactly FabergĂ© eggs, Czar Alexander would have enjoyed getting some of them for his wife and kids. 

Happy Easter, everyone!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Springtime In My Neighborhood!

I just wanted to sleep in. After all, that's what weekends are for:  no need to wake up to the alarm, no need to get up for work, and no need to get out of bed! 

The temperatures have finally warmed up. The trees in the neighborhood are turning green, and some colors have turned up on their branches.

But with spring knocking on my apartment door, it was a sin not to go outdoors!

So, I decided to walk around Hannam-dong, and check out what my neighbors have been enjoying without me:

The blue skies, the cool breezes, the cherry blossoms....and the cars? the traffic? and the noise?
That's springtime. In Hannam-dong.

Friday, 22 April 2011

A Good Friday...

Today is Good Friday. Yesterday was Maundy Thursday. And in most predominantly Catholic countries, both days are holidays. But in Korea, both holidays are not observed.
So, today, even though I was too busy at work, I, as a Catholic, made sure I was able to observe Lent.
So, with my umbrella, I walked under the April showers through Myeong-dong to visit the Myeongdong Cathedral and joined a few Catholics who showed a semblance of their observance of the Holy Week. Some sitting quietly in prayer; some doing their Via Crucis (Way of The Cross).
After moments of prayer and I left the Cathedral, with the skies clearing up.
And on my way down, dropped a couple of paper bills to help out a man sitting under the cold weather, wet and waiting for passers-by to fill his box. And on the other side, I spotted a few tourists taking souvenir photos of the Cathedral. 
A few wet steps to church. A few quiet moments inside. And a prayer.

It was a Good Friday...

Saturday, 9 April 2011

The Cherry Blossoms of Nam-san!

I am lucky I live nearby. 
Hannam-dong, my neighborhood in Yonsan-gu, sits at the foot of Nam-san (Mt. Nam), which happens to be the geographical center of Seoul. 
I have lazily strolled on several occasions from the main Hannam-dong lane to the peak of Nam-san (where the N-Seoul Tower stands). On cool days, my stroll would usually take less than an hour which includes stopping to take photos, and looking at both directions when crossing the pedestrian lanes to avoid getting run over by Korean drivers who think that traffic lights are mere suggestions, and that the red, green or yellow lights always mean to.... speed up! Ha-ha-ha!

Going back to Nam-san.

In spring, when the foliage covering the mountain comes back to life, Seoulites and tourists would converge at the mountain not just to enjoy the weather, but to also enjoy the cherry blossom trees of the mountain.

The number of cherry blossom trees at Nam-san may not be as much as those in Yeouido. Neither are they lit with colored lights at night, but just the same, people flock to see the blooms.
The view of the tower from the Nam-san Park (photo below) is also postcard-perfect, especially if the sun is your side and the skies are clear. This park is a few meters up the Yongsan Library, and has a fountain and a variety of colorful flowers planted around it.
The best route to enjoy the cherry blossoms of Nam-san is from the Yongsan Library, on that side where the Blue Buses 402 and 405A pass through. 

That path is lined with cherry blossoms and leads up to the peak. The same path is the same road taken by the buses coming down the mountain.

The Blue Bus 402 comes from the Gangnam area (from the other side of the Han River), through Hannam-dong and then up the mountain. On the other side of Nam-san, this bus turns around at Gwanghwamun and then through Namdaemun, then continues its route through the mountain.

The Blue Bus 405 comes from Itaewon, through Hangangjin Station, then up the mountain.

But in case you see those Yellow Buses around Nam-san, these not only bring you to the foot, these buses ferry passengers up to the peak, at the N-Seoul Tower. The Yellow Bus 03 also passes through Itaewon.

I will be strolling from Hannam-dong to Nam-san one of these cool days not to only see the cherry blossoms and the rest of the spring flowers, but give myself some cardio exercises (if ever it will be one. Ha-ha-ha!). 

And just as in Yeouido, parking during this time of the cherry blossoms will be a headache. So I suggest you just take a bus or walk up the mountain. And if you do, I may just bump into you.  
And let's not forget our cameras!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Filipina Painters' Exhibit at Insa-dong, Seoul

Three Filipinas living in Seoul are having an exhibit of their paintings at Insa-dong, a center for galleries, antiques and souvenir shops in Seoul.
Fay, Joy and Loren are students of Sun Im Koh, an artist and art teacher who regularly holds exhibitions for her students and their paintings.
 Titled Expressions, the exhibit is being held at the Kyung-In Museum of Fine Arts (in Insa-dong) and will run until April 12, 2011.
Fay Balderas-Ejercito's three paintings depict her enchantment of the Korean crafts and music, while Joy Canlas-Sabado expresses her love of the colors of the Korean seasons in her two paintings.
Loren Sison-Dyas, on the other hand, has captured the beauty of her diverse moods and emotions while living in Seoul in two of her paintings of nature.
While living in Seoul, these three Filipinas are able to share, through their art, their joys (no pun intended, Joy!), emotions and experiences as Pinoys away from home.   
Aside from these Filipinas, Sun Im-Koh's 18 other students are exhibiting their paintings as well.
Do drop by Kyung-In Museum to catch their exhibit.