Sunday, 22 June 2014

"Do You Want To Become Korea.Net's Next Top Blogger?"

Years ago, I started this blog so I could join a blogging contest. That time, I wasn't really sold to the idea of writing a piece every now and then, as I had a full-time job and might not be able to continue posting. So I merely populated this blog site from my posts on a defunct social medium, and got me a consolation prize for lazily doing so. 

Well, what do you know? Eight years and more than 800 original posts later, my humble blog of a diary is still up and counting! And the best part? I actually enjoy writing these posts with photographs for whomever interested in reading them.

My writing days merely included contributing a few articles to my business school's magazine and winning in the 2007 Seoul International Essay Writing Competition. Although I was mighty proud of my 2nd prize win at the Jose Rizal essay writing competition as well. Why? Because I wrote it in Pilipino! Wheew!  That was especially challenging since the Pilipino subject wasn't exactly my favorite in college. (English, Spanish and Economics were!) Finishing that essay was as difficult as reaching Seoraksan's peak!  A really difficult climb, but you're rewarded with a spectacular view when you reach the top! (And you have all the way down to catch your breath! Ha-ha-ha!).

And all these years of joining (and gratefully receiving prizes!) Korea Tourism Organization's and K-Performance Supporters group, and the Seoul City government's Global Seoul Mates team, I felt I could do more! (Yeah, after doubting if I could ever maintain this blog since Day 1 eight years ago. Ha-ha-ha!).

So, in 2014, I signed up to be part of Korea Culture and Information Service's 2014 batch of Worldwide Korea Bloggers. As part of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Korea Culture and Information Service (KOCIS) team runs and maintains the website.

                      (The Museum's reflecting pond)

And on June 20, 2014, a Friday, KOCIS feted the WKBloggers who live in Korea to a welcome dinner at the National Museum of Korea in the Yongsan District in Seoul.

But before I headed to the Museum that day, I spied a runway being set up in front of the Yongsan Station that afternoon. With the words "KOREA'S NEXT topmodel" written on the stage and a group of skinny Korean ladies being made up inside the white tents next to it, I immediately knew that the modeling competition was to be held in the neighborhood that night. But I wondered why Tyra Banks (or maybe the Korean franchise holder) decided to set up the runway in a not-so-glamorous of locations. Maybe their expected target audience included the E-Mart shoppers, the commuters of Subway Line No. 1, the vendors of the electronics shops (who always jack prices up if you're a foreigner!), or perhaps, the drunk ajussis of the pojang-macha(drinking tents) whose smoke from their Korean barbecue grills entices everyone passing by. I would have wanted to watch the actual competition and take pictures, but I had a welcome dinner to attend!

The last time I walked the grounds of the National Museum of Korea was during an autumn day a year before. And although that Friday night was humid and hot, walking towards the Museum's Maru fine-dining restaurant to join some of the 54-member 2014 Worldwide Korea Bloggers was a good stroll. 

For the Worldwide Korea Bloggers all over the world who couldn't make it, you were all in our thoughts that night. The welcome dinner-party was enjoyable and fun. I learned more about the KOCIS, and met its officers, Mr. Yonggi Won and Mr. Jeongseon Sun, and the energetic team led by Ms. Cathy Paik.

                                    (A royal hot pot)

And in between my plates of yummy Korean dishes, I had fun chatting with Mr. Sun and fellow bloggers, Joanna, Ana, Megan and Rasheed at the dinner table. It was also interesting to chat with a lady reporter from Arirang TV who dropped by, and with my fellow K-Performance Supporter Fakhar. So, a huge congratulations and 'thank you' to Cathy and her team for gathering everyone and for treating us to a hearty dinner at Maru(I especially liked the royal hot pot!).

And as we WKBloggers come from different backgrounds and nationalities, I am sure our posts have become more interesting as we offer different perspectives of the culture, history and life in and about Korea. 

As for me, even after reaching my eighth year and going past my 800th post, I will continue to enjoy blogging as I have all these years. 
           (My appointment certificate and yummy dessert!)

And for everyone out there, who also would like to share their Korean stories, insights and experience through The Korea Blog, let me borrow Tyra Banks' line from that modeling competition:

"Are you ready to become Korea-dot-net's next top blogger?"

         (The KOCIS team and some 2014 WKBloggers!)


  1. Wow, you are professional blogger! I've never eaten that Korea food even I am a Korean, haha.