Don't we all dream of something like this?
One seemingly normal morning, and you get up on your usual wake up time since there were no events and meetings that day. You go through the usual social media notifications, friends' updates, and dog memes, and then open your email and swipe swipe swipe deleting spam mails. Then you saw an event invite with the title: Invitation To Join Mimi Shop Makeover.
Upon opening the email, you read through and your heart started pumping fast as it turns out to be an invitation to fly for free to South Korea and meet Sandara Park in her new show! 😱 Otoke! Is this real!?? Is this legit!? Of course it is, the email sender is from Viu Philippines!! You checked the dates alongside your calendar, still disoriented since you just woke up, and then realized that the flight just happened to be scheduled THE. NEXT. F. DAY.
Grabehan talaga. Every time I look back on this particular week, I still can't believe it actually happened.
I talk about it to friends and family members and still find myself shaking my head in disbelief. Parang about ibang tao yung kinkwento ko! Nangyari ba talaga yun? Parang pang series!
When I got the email, I said YES right away! Walang tatamaan na family birthday (or if meron man my fam will understand for sure!), wala din akong travels on that day, and ... Ang pinaka swerte ko sa lahat, MAY VISA AKO! Huhuhu.
The whole day I felt like I was hanging on a string. Viu said I needed to convinve JTBC that I am fit for the job. I answered all the emails from Viu and JTBC as swiftly as I can. I sent in photos, answered their essays, forwarded my links, etcetera, cinareer ko to lahat. Wala na akong time to go out to have my hair colored or to thread my brows--ayaw ko din naman! Dapat sure na sure ako na lilipad ako before I even pack my bags or plan my outfits, at mahirap na masobrahan sa excitement tapos di pala ako tuloy (mashaket, haha!).
So when I received a text that JTBC (a Korean network like ABSCBN and GMA) gave me the sign of approval, I felt that I was one giant step closer to Seoul. I remembered that sun was about to set na nun, but I was still waiting for our plane tickets before I can even pack my bags! I wanna see it first bago ako maniwala! Haha!
August 8, 2018
Ang aga ng flight namin, first flight out to Seoul around 7ish am. Buti nalang most of my basic travel stuff from Euro trip nasa bag ko pa. I met the winner of Viu Philippines' contest (Pam) and the rep for Viu PH (Ate Michelle). Our flight was on time, and our airline was Airasia. My outfits were packed the last minute, and my brows were still bushy af. My mom said that I can just shop for clothes in Korea or look for a threading salon during our free time. They were just minor worries swimming at the back of my head. Ang nasa isip ko talaga noon HALA LALABAS AKO SA KOREAN TV!!! KINAKABAHAN AKO!!!
I swear I was planning a winter Korea trip late this year, and never ever thought I will be riding this airport bus this soon! Thank you Lord!!!
OUR HOTEL IN HONGDAE
Another pleasant surprise when we arrived in our hotel, solo solo kami ng rooms! Yey! I had a little quiet time just hydrating (sobrang init sa labas!), unpacking, and planning my day. Super init pa sa labas nun!
So we're staying in Hongdae, in one of the many boutique hotels in the area. I've stayed in L7 before, but in Myeongdong during our KTO tour with fellow bloggers. L7 Hongdae by Lotte is also as clean, comfortable, and beautiful. I highly recommend this hotel chain!
The ground floor is just bare with artsy wall paintings, you had to go to a higher floor for the check-in and reception area which is so pretty but I had no chance to take photos of (lol).
When I entered my room, I was so tempted to just stay in and rest! Haha!
The soft bed and pillows:
My bedside table where I eat my meals and put on my makeup:
There's a flatscreen TV, a mini ref, a water heater and 2 drip coffee, plus fresh robes and towels:
And of course, I had a lovely view of the city + the tiny Namsan Tower from my window:
I promised to stay in for just 30 minutes, but time flew that I went out almost an hour after. Ang sarap sa aircon!! I saw a Line Friends x BT21 store right next to our hotel, so I decided to go in and check it out already since it might just be my only chance to do so. True enough, our arrival day is also our only free day!! If you only have a few hours in Seoul, what will you do? What I planned out that day might just be my answer!
How To Go: L7 Hongdae by Lotte
141 Yanghwa-ro, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, 서울특별시 South Korea
Go down Hongik University Station, Exit 1
LINE FRIENDS x BT21 HONGDAE
I've been to Line Friends x BT21 store in Itaewon last Spring, where they had a cafe. I was so hungry na at that time so I thought baka meron din sila dito sa branch nato, but they only have the merch. I went around parin just to check the price tags and if they have new stuff. They have a BT21 Converse sneakers collab!
How To Go: Line Friends Flagship Store Hongdae
141, Yanghwa-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul
11:00AM - 10:00PM
Go down Hongik University Station, Exit 1
Since they do not have a cafe in the store, I decided to just Google Maps my way to another famous cafe in Hongdae...
THE 1ST SHOP OF COFFEE PRINCE
I know this is not a new drama, but honestly I haven't been here during my past Korea trips! Since we were staying in Hongdae, I made sure to have my lunch here, or whatever meal they are serving in this cafe.
A lot has been said about this cafe online, and mostly negative comments about the steep price and the rude owner or how it was not maintained, but my time here was not that bad. The owner immediately went out as I was walking toward the backdoor which is the entrance to the shop. I saw him do the same thing when I was in the middle of eating my chocolate cake, and a group of three girls were walking aimlessly outside. I wanted to show them that the coffee or my cake is good just so may kasama na ako sa loob (the couple left a few minutes when my coffee was served) but they turned around and just left. Hay.
Hindi na sya gaano katao and although medyo tinarayan din ako ni owner when I asked if he can take my picture (Alam kong dapat umorder muna as said in online reviews, but this time umorder naman ako pero dapat maubos ko muna food ko! Haha!), I was still hoping for the best for one of this classic Kdrama cafe.
Sharing my own pictures then screen caps of scenes from the KDrama:
Mr. Owner eventually took my picture, btw! Haha! It wasn't the best but that's the "souvenir" from this experience!
A preview of their menu and price list:
How To Go: The 1st Shop of Coffee PrinceGo down Hongik University Station, Exit 6
Copy-paste then follow this on your Google Maps:
I passed by Gyeongui Line Book Street, location for I Am Not A Robot park scene which I already visited last Spring:
And journeyed on a loooong train ride and walks for my new Kdrama locations:
ABDUCTION HOUSE / SECRETARY KIM'S CHILDHOOD HOUSE
I am on a Kdrama drought this year, but What's Wrong With Secretary Kim? turned it around a bit with interesting plot and cute characters! Since it's a new drama, I decided to check out one of its crucial locations which turned out to be in an abandoned neighborhood in Uijeongbu, Gyeonggi-do...far from the lively streets of Hongdae and Myeongdong!
Scene from the Kdrama:
And another one from the Kdrama:
Medyo kinakabahan ako while I was trying to navigate and look for the actual houses. Ang hirap, medyo nakakatakot yung area at walang tao. Ang daming dead ends and areas na nakatakip na ng malalaking tarp, plus medyo may amoy na masangsang sa ibang eskinita.
After looking around, and passing by the same houses 3-4 times already, I decided na enough na yun and just left.
How To Go: Uijeongbu station, Exit 7
Copy-Paste and follow this on your Google Maps: 37.732257, 127.053169
Since abandoned area sya, pls take extra measures! Don't go there at night. Better if you have a friend with you when you visit. And prepare for a bit of a walk from the train station.
Alam nyo talaga super tiring all the walks and the train transfers I did that day. But grabe, walang katulad talaga every time I look out and see the view of Seoul. It's so breathtaking!
Artsy stuff inside the Gyeongbokgung Station:
SOMETHING IN THE RAIN LOCATION (POSTER SCENE)
Sabi ko sa sarili ko last nalang before I head back to my hotel. I was extra tired na by this time because ang layo layo pala nung Abduction House, plus ang init sa labas tapos biglang lamig inside the trains. Kinikilabutan talaga ako. Ginabi nako going to my final Kdrama stop, pero naisip ko okay nadin. At least ganun din naman yung setting ng next stop ko in the drama!
I continued walking and walking around the area. Alam nyo picture nalang ako ng picture ng mga lamps at naisip ko basta dito lang yun okay na yan kahit hindi exact. To my surprise, I saw the sign (literal na signage!):
Grabe talaga ang luck ko sa ganito! ❤ Kahit nahihiya ako, I approached a couple for a photo!
How To Go: Gyeongbokgung Station, Exit 1/2
Look for Sejong Village Food Street. It's a short strip of Korean restos where you can also have your dinner.
Are there pieces still yet to be discovered
With your love
I can see anything through
Wherever you are
I can feel you
I may be tired, but I was super energized I decided to end my lucky day in Myeongdong to shop. Then I ate in my favorite karinderya in Seoul before heading back for my hotel.
Hot bowl of authentic spicy ramyeun with cheese in Pomato:
The following day, I received 2 comments on my Instagram Mimi Shop guesting posts asking me either kung ano ba ang ginawa ko sa past life ko or I must have saved a whole nation to get this lucky. It got me thinking and thanking whichever force lead me to this. Old self, thank you thank you thank you talaga for whatever you've done or sacrificed for me to enjoy all these!
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Next Post: Mimi Shop BTS!