I. What is Wow Korea Supporters? | Introduction and Ceremony
The semester is almost over and thankfully, I passed the application for Wow Korea Supporters 2014 Program! But what exactly is this program about? This program calls for Asian students who are passionate about Korea that they would want to explore every corner of it! But traveling is not all that – for me, the best part of travelling is telling people your experiences and to encourage them to take the trail too! This is our job as Wow Korea Supporters program SNS press corps (whew!). We shall try our best to share to you details of our various missions and trips. Give you tips where the new spots in Korea are and the best/cheap accommodations. Just what every traveler needs 😉
Last May 16, 2014 – the Wow Korea Supporters Program was launched with almost 30 participants from various Asian countries. We were given certificates of participation and took an oath. After that, we watched a few videos about Korea and the past video submissions of 2013 Wow Korea Supporters. There was a brief lecture about what we were supposed to do for the program. Here is a link of a news article about the orientation! Yep, you read it right, we were on the news! PS. The Orientation was held at the lobby of Korea Tourism Organization’s Building (click link for address).
After the briefing, we immediately went to The Buffet for our lunch. Then, the mission began! 고고씽씽! 😉
Wow Korea Supporters’ First Trip
Our first Monthly Mission were right down easy at the heart of Seoul. So, where did we head first?
II. Deoksugung means ‘Palace of Virtuous Longevity.’ It is actually one of the four main palaces of Korea during the Joseon Dynasty. If you have been to the other four palaces – Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, and Changgyeonggung, you might feel like there’s no need to visit this place anymore because it may look just the same. But, no! It isn’t! In fact, when I entered the area, I was amazed how perfectly the Traditional Korean palace erect alongside a European structured museum.
Since we just had our lunch around the area, we just walked from KTO Headquarters to the palace. However, the fastest and easiest way to get here is through the subway. You have to get off at City Hall (시청역), Exit no. 2.
Before entering the palace, we watched the changing of guards ceremony which happens everyday (except Mondays) at 11am, 2pm, and 3:30pm. The ceremony was short but enchanting – Korean soldiers of the Joseon Dynasty marching in the heart of Seoul? That’s more than jumping on your TV screen when watching a historical Korean drama!
Speaking of drama, our mission asked us to know which dramas or movies were shot in this location. We asked a few people along the way about it, even the ajumma who sells food at the store – but we failed. They didn’t know any drama or movies. Fortunately, there’s Naver.com (Korea’s portal site – similar to Google, but better at it when looking for information about Korea in Korean :P)! After a few clicks, I found one movie that used Deoksugung Palace as one of its filming location. According to this blogger, some of the scenes of the movie Sunny was shot here. Unfortunately, it was not exactly inside Deoksugung Palace but it was actually the famous Deoksugung Stonewall Walkway.
III. Now, this is probably the more popular place, especially among Kpop fans! THE Deoksugung Stonewall Walkway. Yep, right after we went out the palace and saw the walkway, all I could think of was this music video I have been singing when I was an exchange student last 2010. My ‘fan girl feels’ were streaming back on my veins – HAHA! Excuse me po, may kinikilig lang. Hihi.
Apart from that, many of my Korean friends have told me not to walk along this Stonewall Walkway during the first snow of winter. They said it may lead to a break up. So, girls and boys, you have been warned 😉
Right after our walk around Deoksugung Palace, we head off to Jeongdong Theater to watch Miso: Baebijang-jeon. We were too early for the 4pm play so the staff guided us to some great places around the area. While we were walking towards Seoul Museum of Art, one of the staff told us that the pathway leading to it was actually featured in the popular drama ‘You Who Came from the Stars’ (별에서 온 그대). It was the part when the lawyer felt bad because Do Min Jun bought a cellphone when the girl asked him to. I wasn’t able to take photos of this place because I actually forgot to bring an SD card for my dslr. Stupid me -.- After going around the museum, we also visited Jungmyeongjeon Hall and the first Methodist Church in Jeongdong. Then, we went back to Jeongdong theater. Jeongdong Theater is located right behind Deoksugung Palace (see map above). Here, we were told to watch a Korean Play entitled ‘Miso: Baebijang-jeon.’
Miso entices audiences with this tagline.
Who can blame you if you fall in love with a seductress.
As the pamphlets say, “Miso: Baebijang-jeon” is a satirical novel representative of the Joeseon Dynasty. The author of this play is unknown. The play is about Secretary Bae who went for a mission to Jeju Island. However, his wife was very worried that he might fall in love with the most beautiful girl in Jeju. Right after he arrived in Jeju, the district magistrate of Jeju challenged the locals that whoever could seduce Secretary Bae shall be rewarded. I won’t spoil you will all the details! It is actually a very good Korean Play. The play is very expensive at ₩60,000 – but we got VIP tickets for free! [oh the perks of media 😉 ]
It was actually my first time to enjoy a Korean Performance. I mean, during my days as an exchange student and even now, as a graduate student, I am sometimes invited to watch live Korean traditional performances – but I ended up struggling not to doze off. However, this play was awesome. I’d give their production design an A+! It was marvelous, perfect, 3d like effect – something I wished I could do :3 I was worried at first that maybe we won’t be able to enjoy the play because of the language barrier – however, on both sides of the stage lies two big tv screens where the English/Korean/Chinese/Japanese subtitles appear. Nonetheless, it wasn’t really about the script. The music used in the play were live – like we can actually see them singing and playing korean traditional instruments. 대~박! Even without words, you will be awed by their performance. It was an act with a unified gracefulness. An act full of smiles – as it is, Miso. This play is definitely a must-watch! (If I had the money, I would do so!) Actually, while I was watching it, I can’t help but think of my parents – I wish I could bring them here and watch it with me.
My friends and I had a wonderful time after the show. We even had the chance to take a photo with the actors of the play – thanks to KTO! 🙂
Overall, I really had a great time with this program. Not only was I able to visit nice places and watch an incredible play for free – I was able to meet and make friends with a bunch of really smart and funny Asians. I am so excited to embark new missions/journeys with them! Wow Korea Supporters 2014 – Fighting! 😀