Trip to Camotes and Cebu, Philippines

During the Korean Chuseok, we have spent nine days in the Philippines, specifically in Camotes Islands, Mactan, and Moalboal, in Cebu Island. Some days off that have been perfect to disconnect from work and come back to Korea with my batteries fully loaded.

It seems that we happened to go during the low season, which is a bit rainy. But because of the low season, we had the chance to be a little more on ourselves (at some resorts we were the only clients), enjoying cheaper prices, and luckily enough, it only rained during some nights, although so strongly that rain even woke me up.

As soon as we landed in Cebu, we took a cab to North Bus Terminal. From there, we took a 40 minutes bus ride to Danao Port, from where we took the ferry to Camotes Islands.

Camotes Islands is a group of four islands on the east of Cebu. We were only in Pacijan Island, where among other stuff, you can visit this cave (I forgot to write down the name, I can only remember that it was at the north) which has a lake with crystal-clear water where many locals come to swim far from the burning heat in the island.

The island was quite peaceful (maybe too much), there are several resorts spread all over the coastline, but there wasn’t any area with restaurants and/or bars, so it is basically not worth it to leave your resort. Also, because of limitations on the electrical generator in the island, everyday there is a power cut from 6 to 7 PM, meaning that the whole island is completely dark during one hour.

San Miguel beer, one of the many good things that the Philippines gave us Spaniards 🙂

Jiwon, who is used to live quite far from the sea, had a great time looking for crabs.

The only thing that brought work to my mind was the constant feeling of having a Windows desktop background image in front of me.

To go back to Cebu City, we took a jeepney from Danao Port to the city (a true adventure). On the way we could see the true Cebu, which is more than wonderful beaches. I got the feeling that Cebu City is still quite far from being a developed city, and chaos was in every corner of the city.

After that, from Cebu City, a bus without air-conditioning would take us to Moalboal city. It was an over five-hour trip, during the night, and including a stop to fix some problem in the bus’ gearshift system…

When we arrived in Moalboal (after 10 PM), the first thing we did was finding a place to stay overnight. Next morning, this is what we found 🙂

Moalboal is a quite well-known city among divers. We only did some snorkeling, but still we could see some turtles like this one.

During our last night in the Philippines, already in Lapu-Lapu, near Cebu Airport, we could glaze at Philippines’ sky for the last time. Such a sky is impossible to see from Seoul.

Seoul at Night

I recently bought a new lens for my camera, a Nikon 50mm f/1.4. This lens is specially good for taking pictures at night because of its low f-factor. The bad thing is that autofocus does not work with by camera body (a Nikon D40), so I have to focus manually… Anyways these are some of the first pictures I took with this lens.

Ayummas cooking (and/or drinking) in a street market.

A pojangmacha in the street.

Another pojangmacha. Koreans love to buy food at these places, you can buy anything from a hotdog to tteokbokki (떡볶이).

Cellphone-cover shop in Hongdae.

A street near my apartment (and no, I don’t live in the countriside, it is quite common to find streets like this one in Seoul just some meters away from the newest and most luxurious buildings).

Tap-dance performance during the Seoul Fringe Festival.

The Seoul Fringe Festival 2010

For those who are in Seoul these days, there is an event you cannot miss. The Seoul Fringe Festival, which takes place every year in the area near Hongik University will be taking place from August 12th to the 28th.

This year’s festival poster.

Hongdae Area, or just Hongdae, is the area surrounding Hongik University, and one of the most vivid areas in Seoul. Being Hongik a university manly for art-related studies, the area surrounding it is full of art galleries, street markets, coffee shops and other interesting places. Hongdae is where Koreans try to scape from its Confucianist rules and become free. Many Korean alternative music groups (like 10cm, Crying Nut or Deli Spice) started playing for free in the streets of Hongdae.

Any weekend you can see performances in this ares, but during this festival there will be many more, and also during weekdays. There will be lots of live performances in the streets, and art centers. Outdoor performances are free of charge. Indoor ones range from 5,000 KRW ($4) to 15,000 ($13).

To give you an idea of what you can find during the festival, here is one of the promotional videos with images from last year’s festival.

Boryeong Mud Festival

The Boryeong Mud Festival is one of the most popular events of the summer in Korea among the foreign community in the country. This festival started in 1998, when the city of Boryeong decided that it would be good to have a small mud festival to promote the products based in the mud that the city produces. After some years, the festival attracts millions of people every year and its popularity keeps growing year after year. After missing this festival the last two summers, this time I could not miss it, so there we went to spend the weekend in this city in the west Korean coast.

Andoni was one of the first ones to jump into the mud.

Group picture on saturday. Even though it rained a little, it was not cold at all and we could enjoy the mud.

Of course, we couldn’t miss a music band in the festival. If was funny to see them struggling not to get dirty with mud.

Although there were also quite many Koreans in the festival, the truth is that more than half of the people in this festival are foreigners living in Korea, among whom the festival is quite popular.

During the night there is also quite a good atmosphere in the festival, there are concerts, lots of beach-bars open, fireworks, etc.

After the rain on saturday, on sunday we were lucky enough to enjoy a great sunny day.

As the pictures that I took were not as awesome as I would have liked to, here you have somebody else’s much better ones.

Korean Music: Super Junior

I wanted to recover a section I had quite abandoned to show you a group that… “surprised” me quite a bit. It is “Super Junior” (슈퍼 주니어), no less than ten (yes, ten, and they used to be 13!) that have become Asia’s teenagers’ idols. I say Asian because they are succeeding not only in Korea but also in countries like Japan, China or Thailand.

Super Junior, when they were 12 members, apparently all of them in love with pink color.

I also wanted to show you one of their last songs, “No Other” (너 같은 사람 또 없어) where you can see how different the Korean (and Asian in general) musical culture is compared to the west. To tell the truth, it is quite difficult for me to imagine this kind of song succeeding in the west, but on second thought, the style does not differ much from a song that became a great hit in Spain not long ago, “Amo a Laura” (I love Laura) 🙂