Sunday, 20 November 2011

Walking His Way: Carlos Celdran Shows Off Manila

My idea of Intramuros was all from my grade school textbooks and teachers: it was built by the Spaniards a long, long time ago; it has really, really old buildings and is popular to tourists. And that's it.

And though I lived in Manila for years, I can only remember a few times I was there. A few one-two-three, mostly to attend weddings at the San Agustin Church and Manila Cathedral.

But early this year, as I had a free afternoon before I flew back to Seoul, I joined Carlos Celdran's Walk This Way tour of Intramuros.

Carlos brought me (and a few other tourists) back in time as we toured the place on foot and on calesas, recounting on how it all began and how it became to be. His storytelling was well-researched, funny and witty.

I have been living in Seoul for years now, and that afternoon spent in the walled city of Intramuros was one of the most interesting I have spent at home in a long time. 

Though Carlos' tour reminded me of Intramuros' history, the afternoon reminded me on how much I missed Manila.

Now, I heard Carlos has a tour about Imelda Marcos at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. I hope I would be able to catch it when I fly back home for Christmas.
Or better yet, I hope I could join one of those 'barter tours' of his where, instead of paying the fee in cash, you can pay Carlos with anything you have or can afford. (I hope he likes kimchi.) 

Manila is not all traffic, hot weather and typhoons.  It has an interesting side, too. 

So, if you got an afternoon to spare when in Manila, why not join Carlos Celdran's tours? He will show you Manila as you walk his way...

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Once Upon A Lunch Time....

Once upon a lunch time, I headed to the food court of Lotte Department Store in Myeong-dong craving for something different to have.

And while my empty tummy was grumbling as I made my way through the stalls, my eyes got a little bit distracted. 

Just...a little bit.

Stall after stall displayed different kinds of cakes, colored macarons and decorated cupcakes!

They were very enticing and looked very sweet! I figured, I must have one or two to go along with my takeout!

Although I wanted one of each of those treats, I just decided on green tea-flavored and banana-cupcakes.

I figured I can always return on another day, on another lunch time.

                     (Green tea cupcakes in the middle!)

Well, that's just one lunch time. I wonder what other dessert I would stumble upon on some other day.  But in the meantime, I'll just enjoy my pasta takeout now, and my cupcakes later.
                             (My pasta takeout) 

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Brad Pitt and Moneyball At The COEX In Seoul!

I had to rush to the COEX Mall after office! The movie premiere ticket to Brad Pitt's new movie, Moneyball, says the screening time is 7PM!

Luckily, Seoul's transport system is so efficient that one would hardly be late for an appointment (especially for a movie premiere!) as long as you study your route beforehand.

And since the COEX Mall in Gangnam-gu area has its own Samseong Station, it was convenient for me to just rush out of the train and run up to the Megabox Cinemas where a red carpet was laid out for the Brad Pitt.

I was worried since the movie was two hours long and I didn't have dinner yet, I'd go hungry in the middle of his film. So, my friend Alfa and I (I shared the extra ticket with her) bought sandwiches from Quiznos before we waded through hundreds of fans already waiting for him outside the cinema.

There was a stage set up for him in the middle of the Megabox area, where he would be able to pose for press photos and greet fans. But since we already had our tickets, we skipped that area, got to our seats and waited inside Cinema 3.
And although he was late (perhaps the traffic along his route from the other side of the river was bad on a Tuesday night), everyone seated patiently. After all, how often would you be able to see a Hollywood A-lister this side of the planet?

And around 7:20PM, we heard screaming from the outside, a sign that Brad Pitt was perhaps already on the red carpet making his way to the stage. We figured he would spend a few minutes there to greet and invite his fans to watch movie. And then....

....SCREAMS were then heard inside our Cinema 3!

The other half of the Brangelina supercouple was in the house!

He didn't take any questions though.  He only took a bunch of flowers from a fan, which was pre-arranged. (The flowers  must have cost her since it's autumn and most flowers are out of bloom)

He didn't stay long. He just greeted everyone 'an-nyeong haseyo' and told everyone to enjoy the film. He also said that  Angelina had nice words of her visit here last year; so, he decided to make the trip, too. Although it would have been nice if Angie tagged along as well.

And that was Mr. Brad Pitt, the young actor we all noticed at Thelma & Louise, and who we all thought would make it big someday. And he indeed made it big. With hits like Troy, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Ocean's ElevenInterview With The Vampire, and of course, my favorite, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, he is a Hollywood superstar.

There was a reason why he had to fly to Seoul to promote the movie. Moneyball is about baseball, the sports which is huge in South Korea. It was so easy for his fans here to relate to the movie since almost everyone here is a baseball fan.  Moneyball is based on a true story. 

And Jonah Hill's performance as Brad's smart, chubby assistant, almost stole the show. And when Brad's daughter in the film, Kerris Dorsey, sang the acoustic song, 'The Show', it was a charming, lovable scene between a father and daughter. Moneyball is a charming film about baseball.

Go watch it.
A million thanks to Mr. Kim and Mr. M again for the premiere tickets! Now, I have seen both Angie and Brad in person! 

Monday, 14 November 2011

Got My Movie Premiere Tickets to See Brad Pitt's Moneyball!

As if seeing Angelina Jolie last year at her press conference and at her movie premiere of SALT wasn't enough for this big fan, here comes the other half of the Brangelina supercouple.

Yes, the Brad Pitt is in town!

And thanks again to Mr. Kim and Mr. M, I got me movie premiere tickets to Brad's Moneyball today!
I am sure it is a great film and I look forward to watching it along with his hundreds of fans in Seoul tonight!  Of course, I would also be super-happy if Angie has actually tagged along with Brad for this trip. She was there with him at the Tokyo premiere last week. Shouldn't she be at the Seoul premiere, too?

Oh well, I guess I will have to find out tonight.

See y'all at the premiere!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

The Korean Drama Queens Hit Seoul!

 They came, they saw and they...shopped!

Calling themselves sisters after having been brought together by the a common love for one man (and they don't fight over him. Sisters share, I guess), Cielo, Jenny, Itchay and Marlu (and Jenny's two daughters, Nina and Sophie), flew in from Manila to hunt that man down. These ladies aren't related at all.  They are just four of the thousands of Filipino fans of Korean telenovelas and films.  

Well, the Korean wave-slash-hallyu has reached South Korea's neighboring countries (but hopefully unreachable by the North Korean missile tests. Ha-ha-ha! Sorry for the bad joke, Mr. Kim!), and it was just natural for these fans to flock to the place where it all began......Faceshop.  Ha-ha-ha!

Nah. I was kidding. Well, that Faceshop guy started it all.

Remember, Bae Yong-Joon? The guy on the old Faceshop poster, who sports make-up thicker than any of the working gals on Ayala Avenue (in Makati City, Philippines), and who regularly flashes that big smile to show off that perfect set of stain-free, bleached-white teeth, which doesn't fail to always charm any lady 'of a certain age' from Tokyo, Japan, to Paranaque City, Philippines.

Well, since Bae Yong-Joon has already been to the Philippines (sort of) to visit his fans, it was time his fans returned the favor. So, these sisters flew into Seoul in the middle of the colorful and cool autumn to sightsee, shop, visit Nami Island and of course, to hunt him down.
                             (Happy to be in hanbok!)

These sisters are up-to-date when it comes to Korean dramas and movies. They know the lead actors by face, by name, and of course, his or her latest scandal. They are like the walking IMDB (Internet Movie Database) specializing on Korean films and dramas. Of course, they also have their own Korean film library that could match the Korean Film Archive's collection. Ha-ha-ha!

Before they flew in, I knew only one of these sisters. But I was happy to have met all of them when they got here. I was just glad to have been able to provide a little help in their preparation for the trip, providing them tips and some information they needed (just like the other tourists who stumble upon my blog while researching for their trip to South Korea, and who email me for some tourist info).

As I am not a Korean telenovela fan, I can only imagine these ladies' excitement when they visited the places made famous by the Korean dramas. I'm sure they were also on the lookout for the Bae Yong-Joon in between shopping for bags and souvenirs. 
                      (The Korean drama queens hit Seoul!)

And as they wanted to share their excitement, the sisters brought me pasalubong from the Philippines, just like other thoughtful and generous friends have done before. They were excited with their trip; I was excited with their presents!
           (The very popular Mary Grace cheese rolls and                        ensaimadas...with matching queso de bola pa from Cielo!)
                 (Gourmet tuyo, daing and dulong! 
        Love the dulong with crackers! From Jenny and Itchay!)
 (These cute, not-too-sweet piayitos from Nina and Sophie)
 (Everyone's favorite Eng Bee Tin hopias from Marlu! 
Sister Genevieve, the Filipino Carmelite nun in Seoul reminded me last Friday to bring her some when I fly home this Christmas.)
(Piayas and mango tarts from Virgie's of Bacolod! 
                                    From Itchay!)
(They didn't just come, sightsee and shop. They also brought pasalubong! Kamsa-hamnida to the Korean drama queens!)

Well, the Korean drama queens have already left Seoul, bringing with them exciting stories, souvenirs and of course, heavier luggage. Though they weren't able to find their king, they promise to be back someday to continue the journey of being a Korean telenovela fan.
(The Korean drama queens discovering Seoul on foot.)

Their hunt for the Bae Yong-Joon continues...