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Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Birth of Another Southern Soldier

Everyone can now drop their two cents in this blog. I (guess who) have already changed the comment settings.
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My Korean buddy has already graduated from college. Congratulations for a job well done! Though I really can't return all the favor you've done to us, and that no words of gratitude could ever suffice, still, 너무 감사합니다 작한 buddy, Kim Jinhyeung.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Health Net

There was a recent buzz in our company about a health insurance firm offering low premiums, better benefits, and shorter maturity. As someone who is working, being uninsured is really a no-no. I started asking how to apply in that insurance company but thought that perhaps this kind of risk management doesn’t quite suit me. In my opinion, I could better reduce the risk of my getting sick by living healthy: eating veggies and fruits everyday and taking in large doses of vitamin C. For some people, however, having an insurance gives them peace of mind. Indeed, having one won’t really harm the insurance beneficiary. If you are looking for a good health insurance provider, and especially if you are living in the US, then visit healthinsurancerates.com. It provides information on the best insurance companies out there. It gives prospective health insurance buyers the chance to have an informed decision on what insurance policy better suits their individual needs. Aside from health insurance, this site also gives information on auto, housing, renters, and condo insurances. Health costs in the US are increasing and getting sick is the last thing that anyone wants to see in the picture. If you are not healthy, you cannot work. Your earnings are definitely affected. A good health insurance is definitely a good safety net.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Namsan's Nocturnal Summer Lights

Namsan Tower might not be as quite as famous as the Tower of the Baguettes but anyone who happens to be in Seoul, a keen traveler or just a plain, budget-constricted (but pupil dilated), exchange student such as I, should not miss. At night, Namsan ceases to be your humdrum tower. It transforms into a harmony of multicolored lights dancing with the grace of the fractal arts, and priding itself with such aesthetic beauty. You could never see any other object that is so beautifully condescending that liking it and even witnessing it for another round could never have been more addicting.




Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Student's Lifeline

Almost 5 months have passed since I had last faced a blank MS Word page. That was when I was writing my thesis, which was a rewarding and at times frightening experience for me. Well, I guess every student must have felt a bit queasy about having to fill an entire page with single-spaced text in Times New Roman font 11. Some could just be too busy trying to fit all their teacher’s requirements with all their org and extra-curricular activities. I was one of them. I had three organizations and sometimes I just don’t have time for everything. Good thing that there are some internet services offering an extra brain for uber busy students. Custom-essays.org helps students to prioritize by providing custom term paper to those in dire need to beat the deadline. If you are looking for writers for a custom research paper, then custom-essays.org could just be the site for you. The custom writing this site provides is guaranteed to be plagiarism-free, will not be re-sold, written free of grammatically blonde moments, and is guaranteed to be delivered on time. What is great with this service is that the site is not selective of difficulty levels of your custom writing request: from minor reports, term papers, to cerebrally hemorrhaging theses, writers at custom-essays.org can handle all. I encourage everyone to try this service out but this is by no means a condoning of laziness. If you do, you learn. This site is just an extra hand, and a good one at that, for those in real need to squeeze through their busy lives—alive.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mud-ness



Muddy Hell!
For nine humid days in July, the downtown areas of Boryeong and Daecheon Beach are transformed into large muddy recreational areas. Organized for the purpose of advertising Boryeong mud cosmetics and providing a fun, festive atmosphere for the locals and visitors, the Mud Festival is quite popular with foreigners. Meet my muddy friends.


So where does this mud bath come from?
Extracted from Daecheon Beach area, it’s a high quality natural ocean mud. Boryeong mud is said to emit a healthy level of infrared rays, so the festival is not only a great way to have loads of fun but is also a good way to revitalize your skin and health.
Boryeong Mud Festival has all the activities and performances involving mud that one can possibly think of. It’s also a suitable festival for everyone as playing and getting dirty in mud will allow people to let loose and feel like kids again. While there are plenty to do in the city, why not take a trip down to Boryeong for a weekend of fun-filled activities?

Getting there
There are several ways to get to Boryeong from Seoul.
• Train
Yongsan Station to Daecheon Station: 16 rides available throughout the day with approximate travel time estimated at 2 hours and 40 minutes.
Iksan to Daecheon Station: 16 rides available with approximate travel time estimated at 1 hour and 20 minutes.
• Express Buses
Seoul to Boryeong Terminal: 29 rides throughout the day (two hour ride). Once you reach Boryeong Terminal, take the city bus to Daecheon Beach (20 minute ride).


click here for more info.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Cash in a Flash

Life is indeed surprising—surprising in an unsurprisingly unwanted way. Without prior notice, I just knew that my sisters’ tuition fees have increased by 15%, electricity and water bill were taxed higher, jeep fare topped by another .50 cents (the nth fare increase this year; I simply lost track counting). Unsurprisingly, my company has not given us any increase at all. In fact, they are trying to devise ways of punching holes to wage laws to keep our salaries depressed. This month I think I’d be needing extra sources of money, aside from my teaching English part-time. And I'm trying to avoid bad credit cash loan. I guess a cash advance or payday loans website could help me cross the financial bridge before I receive my salary at every end of the month. I actually have tried availing cash advance services provided by a local loaning firm and my experience would not deter me from borrowing again. If you can just manage your money well, allotting your money to things with priority tags like urgent and constant expenses and debts, borrowing is not really harrowing. Payday or cash advance services are actually friends of those who are temporarily in need of cash that doesn’t arrive in times when you need it most.

Credit Card Resource Website

I used to despise credit cards when I was younger. I thought that this is one devious way banks earn money from unsuspecting credit card users. That there might be ghost charges, unknown inequities, and other thoughts of paranoia are unwarranted beliefs I held back then. When I started working, I realized that so long as you are disciplined to pay the bills you incur using your credit card, banks could be good friends. Your Credit Card Network (http://www.yourcreditnetwork.com/) offers a wealth of resources on how to avoid bad credit cards. It helps prospective credit card users to research, compare, and apply credit card providers so that customers would have the broadest choice possible. An informed choice is the best one. Your Credit Card Network will help you to find the right credit card for your specific needs with the lowest interest rate possible. If you are looking for the following credit card types: Rewards credit cards, cash back credit cards, student credit cards, business credit cards, balance transfer, or hotel/airline credit cards, Your Credit Network is the best place to go. Partner banks are the following: American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citibank, and Discover. Electronic money is more convenient after all.

Haven for Casino Players

The internet could be a nasty place to earn money (blogging could be an exception). Playing online casino games perhaps is thought of as quite notorious in this respect. You are risking big and important things like your time and your money if you play carelessly. Good news is that a website provides a comprehensive guide for online casinos to players on maximizing gains and minimizing losses that playing online casinos entail.  Casinoguide.ws provides really exciting and practical ways to know online casinos. The main page is attractively designed that it can lead you to dig more information about your favorite online casinos game. It features the homepages of various links to best online casinos that you can ever play in. If you want, you could always bookmark this site for easier access to a wealth of resources for casinos. There are good casino tips here that could really boost your chances of winning. Knowledge is power. And we also know that gambling involves an understanding of the concept of probability. As much as I wanted to try this, I think I’ll just cheer for my friend who is a black jack expert. ^^;

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

When Land is Rained on by Blood

Two days ago, war broke out in Mindanao:
Government forces versus Moro Islamic Liberation Front
Filipino Christians versus Filipino Muslims

The reason for this incessant war in Mindanao is Land. The MILF wants to gain exclusive control over their ancestral domain which have been endowed to them by their progenitors. Mindanao boasts of having the oldest surviving politically organized institution before it even becomes internationally recognized as a part of the Philippine peninsula. And the Muslim Mindanao wants to live by the names, pacts, and muslim legalities of their sultans bygone.


Government solution: Crush the separatists.
Outcome: 30 years of bloodshed...and still blood-shedding.

Innovative approach: Government caving into MILF's demand of expanding its territory, i.e., "gerrymandering" ARMM or Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao occupied by the less conservative Muslims and Christians.

Problems: This would trigger war among Muslims themselves.
This step is tantamount to partitioning the Philippine territory, undermining Philippine sovereignty, ceding political powers to a group of regionally interested Muslims because the Central Government is so weak to crush them.

I particularly am vehement towards this provision:

"The parties agree that the BJE shall be empowered to build, develop and maintain its own institutions, inclusive of, civil service, electoral, financial and banking, education, legislation, legal, economic, and police and internal security force, judicial system and correctional institutions, necessary for developing a progressive Bangsamoro society the details of which shall be discussed in the negotiation of the comprehensive compact.

Sometimes I wonder if strains of Islam really do harbor war-freakish behavior and atrocious worldviews. I don't know if I should blame Mindanao's particular Muslim "deonomination" for this territorial dispute. But it is clear that military power alone cannot eradicate sessecionist movements. Indeed, an new innovative approach is needed. One that does not necessitate the creation of BJE.

For the full draft, visit Inquirer.

Monday, August 18, 2008

August Celebrants

Happy Birthday to my fellow ASEAN Scholars Batch 2007!

Freda Yuin Wei (Singapore)

Joe Phanouvong (Laos)


생일 축하합니다! 진짜 보고 싶어. 언제 다시 만날까?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Season Differential

The tides is to the seas as seasons is to humans.
I always thought that having a changing season is one significant factor of economic growth. Notice that countries that enjoy four seasons are relatively well off that countries having only summer and summer (North-South divide).



Four points of reference,
Four different activities,
Four different paces,
Each aiming for four different goals.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Music of Spring

Shikajng Mountain -- It's March and Cherry Blossoms are all abloom. Professor Choi took us for some hiking in the crisp wind of Spring, something that my nostrils were very new to. Our History class didn't go to the top but just walked around the flat levels of the mountain till we reached the mountain's park. We saw there people dancing in a weird, unconventional rhythm. Prof Choi told us that it's called the Farmer's Dance and is one of Korea's traditional dances. The sole use of percussions made it difficult to appreciate it at first because of the loud, patternless sound...but then, when you try to merge the imagery of falling Cherry blossom petals, with the cold, fresh air, and brown twigs, the movement, chant, and drumming of the dancers, you'd find it quite relaxingly oriental...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Even Jumong Falls

Though I feel a bit of vicarious loss for the Koreans, I must say I'm in some way happy because Archery is not in the blood!
Zhang Juanjuan of China bagged the gold in the Women’s Individual. Park Sung-hyun of South Korea was beaten by just one point (110-109). Yun Ok-hee of South Korea got the bronze.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

To Be But Cannot Be, So Archery

If there is an Olympic sports I wanted to participate in, it would be in all around gymnastics. I always admired those most able-bodied men balancing, swinging, rotating on the floor and on beams. But I think watching them is as far as my muscles could go; I'll just be an archer. What use is typing and clicking 12 hours a day if not putting these carpal muscles to Olympic use?

(And yeah, I am not discouraged at all though I'm neither an Elf nor from Jumong's bloodline.)

MBC Dae Jang Geum set, South Korea

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

First "Say Kimchee"

Like the Kimchi, wearing a jacket was very new to me. Growing up in a tropical country made me oblivious to fashion in countries of four seasons. So long as I don't feel cold--who gives a damn whether or not I'm in harmony with the color wheel--is my clothes-layering principle.

I never thought I was committing a fashion faux pas till I got my chance to redeem myself in autumn; 3 months of summer vindicated me in the eyes of Korean university students. Thank goodness for the sun.

Anyhow, here's what I'm talking about. Spot the most appalling.


Spring March
First group photo with ASEAN scholars

Monday, August 11, 2008

First Blunder

It was my first time to see Kimchi. I didn't have any idea what it is for and with what it is mixed with, so I took the liberty of pouring onto it the curry sauce.

Ajuma: 안돼요 ("Andu-weyo"; don't do that)
Me : *staring at her cluelessly* (ㅎㅎ)?

I glossed by at what she said and went on to take my spot in the cafeteria. Guess what my friends reaction was when they saw this incredible mixture:

I also wondered how the students in the queue reacted when they saw me dressing up their beloved kimchi with curry sauce. (미친다!)

맛있는 것 같죠? ^^;

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Neat Inside-Out

My mom always believes that it is the interior of the house that matters more. We have owned a house for 7 years now and it was such a pleasure to invest energy and money beautifying it. My dad paints the gate with iron oxide every six months, my mom puts on glam curtains, and my sisters tend the plants. I cheer for them.

I wondered how our house would be like if my mom isn’t keen on having good pieces of furniture around. Perhaps it would be like a beauty queen of the most tangential answer ever plus an A-ttiude to match it with. Anyhow, we’re planning on changing our living room couches so I browsed the internet for local provides. I came across Bernhardt Furniture, which sells furniture with American and Victorian design. Beautiful. Bernhardt is also associated with a lot of furniture manufacturers so choices will definitely be diverse. Bernhardt gave my mom a good idea of what good furniture should look like. I can’t wait for our living room to finish its makeover.

Boots w00Ts

Just after our intensive Korean language summer class, Yang Min-ae sonsaengnim asked us if we want to go with her to Shikjang Mountain. She asked us to bring some foods, a bottle of water, and to come in comfortable attire. But I have never hiked a mountain before so I did not know what to expect. I thought that food and water would be just additional weight on my back and so I decided to just leave them behind. I also wore sandals because those were my most comfortable pair of footwear. Little did I know that this hike would be a hike of life and death; I starved and trembled. I thirst. Good thing that my sandals were as durable and comfy as I thought they would be. They brought me up the top and secured my climb down.

Moral lesson: What is food if you’re on bare foot?

My last hiking in Korea was in December last year. This time it was winter. I only had a pair of fabric rubber shoes. I know that the snow would seep into it and marinate my feet in water. And that would be nasty for any climber. So I decided to wear my boots. I know it’s crazy but my boots are the next best thing to having none at all. And I’ve learned my moral lesson from last summer (aside from not bringing food and water). Anyway, my savior boots look much like Justin Boots and I would not hesitate buying this brand if just for the sentimental value; my climbing boots have already chapped away.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Support Team Philippines

Let's show our support to the Philippine Team in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China!

1. Pink and Bubbly
2. Everything Kimchi
3. The Cake Chronicles
4. YOU

I'm tagging:
Mommy's Little Corner
Life in Korea
Pinoy Gaming World
Joy God's Grace
Mommy Passionista
Marvs18
Philippine Princes
Tentay Patis
Blogtactic

My Kimchi Mansion

A home is the spirit of being in a place...
And for 10 months, this building has been more than just a house for my body. It has been where my memories live and whereupon its corridors my mind continues to roam.

Welcome to Daejeon University Dormitory.

It was more than what I expected. I thought I
was looking at some sci-fi construction engineered for space. The exterior of Daejeon U (대전 대학교 기숙사) dormitory was really flabbergasting, especially for someone who grew up seeing the not-so-new dorms in UP (the glory of euphemisms). Equally desirable and suicide deterring is the interior, which looks like what you'd imagine belongs to a space research center--walls painted in unadulterated white (what vandalisms?), glass window slides protected by a thin, grey, molded layer of steel with holes punched symmetrically throughout, and cylindrical pillars equally distanced from each other lining the dormitory corridors. I guess I've given too much praise, or perhaps it was just natural for me to appreciate what is indeed appreciable.

Now let's go to our room 3rd floor Room 303 Building B. Here, I'd just like to express my sincerest thanks to Daejeon University and ASEAN University Network for providing us with this totally furnished room-- TV, aircon, ondol (온돌 Korean style heating system), desks, bed, fridge, phone, PC, and the ever useful microwave oven. I never had been in want, not even for a day. 대전 대학교과 아세안 우리를 돌봐서 정말 감사합니다. (pic on the left) You can see Joe from Laos (standing, lives in 302 with Randy from China) and my Malaysian roommate Ken. The room is quite big and it can easily accommodate two persons more. I just miss this room--my bed, the pink quilt and the comforter with pattern of falling autumn leaves...and oh yeah, the green post-its that you can see there are actually Korean letters I posted in random order during the 2nd week,so I could train myself to read Hangeul with just one glance. It served me so well that I learned to read Hangeul in just 2 weeks.

I think I'd be a poltergeist of this room should I die now. God forbid! hahaha.


Bed. My bed. I'm itching to write a poem for you. But now I really have to hit the sack. T__T

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Forex Made Easy

The forex market is not only volatile but is also confusing. A forex player needs more than just the financial acumen to win the game of stocks online but also a good trading platform that can help him participate in interactive forex trading arenas and real-time trading. eToroUSA is a piece of software that is designed to assist in forex exchange and other currency trading needs. It boasts an interface that is user-friendly, tools that maximize interactivity, and a look that is professional and clean. Give eToroUSA a shot if you like to learn, practice, and trade.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Welcome Kimchi Boy!

After El Hobre Tomato's prodding, I welcome him as a co-administrator for The Cake Chronicles, a three year old blogger account that I have failed to update for a loooonnnggg time.

Welcome Horeb! I'll give you free rein to do your wonders :)

So from this time forward, expect that this site will co-feature Horeb's travelogue and his many Korean obsessions.

Things to do when you're 22!

1. Have plenty of sex if you're obese. Sex is the most wonderful aerobic exercise. It helps cure asthma too. (Yeho: I'll just then be a desperate obese asthmatic till I'm 23, huhuhu)

2. Pretend you're not 22. When asked how old you are say, "Hey, I just finished college, am not that old!" (Yeho: Just dont slip that you've graduated 2 years ago from college. You just dropped the bomb then. Moron!)

3. Avoid conversations with neighbors, parents of your former batchmates in school or any homo sapien sapien who happen to know how pompous your ass was when you were in grade school and high school. (Yeho: They'll just say that they never thought that such a brilliant mind works only in a call center. The next day after, you'll be surprised how the entire bloc knows the sad truth...)

4. Rant and whine about how stressful your job is. (Yeho: And rationalize that the only thing that keeps you holding on is the cash you withdraw from the ATM every 15th and 30th of the month.)

5. Smoke right after being nebulized. (Yeho: It's free anyway at the company's clinic! The nebu, not the stick, :)) )

6. Meet your high school friends for a drinking spree! (Yeho: This is the best! And then after a few shots, you'll all realize you're a bunch of 22 year olds whose future lies uncertain in the hands of Father Destiny... San ba kami pupulutin?!?! )

7. Check your phone contacts and delete those people who replied, "Hu u?" all of a sudden when you have been forwarding them quotes thru SMS for quite a long time. (Yeho: Hear! Hear! Hear!)

8. Think of Social Relevance. (Yeho: Being a sociology graduate, this should have been automatic. Sorry to dear old Dean Lamug, Prof. Augut & Ms. Asis. I promise I'll stay true to the tenets of Sociological Imagination.)

9. Imagine hitting the gym. (Yeho: Which I so often do. You see, I'm armchair here, armchair!)

10. And lastly, think how satisfying life will be if only you'll learn contentment. (Yeho: Happy 22nd year Yeho!)

* * * * *
Thank you to all who's memory banks are spared from dementia last July the 25th and took time to send their greetings thru SMS, friendster, multiply, IM etc. etc. etc.

To my bosom ka-SAMPU trio Elena, Bhalot & Sera; Ian & Nico and thanks to Billy Ray for the uber advanced birthday greetings;

To my SocioSoc alum sisses Meranz, Peachy and Jenny Anne, we'll all have coffee soon; Thanks to Ice Taboy for the greeting imported pa from Canada, :)) To other alums like Ate Sam and Ate Ella, thanks for remembering and to my former co-resident in SocioSoc namely Jabez, EJ, Rai, Odessa, Mhona and Mac, and to Horeb and Rose for the late birthday "pabati."

To my Socio '03 blocmates Erwin and bloc rep Shiela, thanks also to the unexpected birthday greetings coming from Vanessa, Erwin's girlfriend/UPLB schoolmate and Hannah of UP Ravens.

To my colleagues in the workplace: wavemates Demi, Ms. Jane & Ms. May; TL Cali, Ms. Floe, Ms. Lyka, evil siblings Ms. Annie & Ms. Sweet and Mommy Yhanie Certeza.

To Nica and Romma, my grade school classmates; To Novee '03, Kaziey '05 & Grace '02, high school schoolmates.

Thank you SOOOOOO much!

Cake and Kimchi: A Match Made in Heaven

Welcome to my Cake Chronicles' co-administrator: the voracious kimchi eater Elliot.