Hotel Maui in Seoul

I have always looked forward to travelling out of the country whenever it is possible and as of the moment, South Korea has been my most frequented travel destination for the past two years because I just love this country so much!

Whenever I travel, I make it a point to try new things so during my fourth visit to Seoul last November 2016, my friend and stayed at Hotel Maui which is one subway station away from Dongdaemun. Continue reading “Hotel Maui in Seoul”

My Happiest Memory in Seoul

I have been to South Korea three times since 2015 and every trip is memorable because I have always had new experiences each time. Seoul will always be my happy place so wherever I go, whoever I’m with and whatever I do, I will  always be happy just by being there but if I were to choose only one, my happiest memory in Seoul so far was the time I spent with CNBLUE where my friends and I have experienced our best fangirling moments for almost 24 hours with our favorite Korean band! Continue reading “My Happiest Memory in Seoul”

Fangirling over CNBLUE

I keep coming back to South Korea because there is so much more to see and do especially in Seoul. But aside from immersing myself in Korean culture and visiting tourist spots, part of my itinerary would always include something related to K-Pop. CNBLUE is one of my favorite band and that would be quite obvious now if you have been frequenting this blog as well as my Instagram and YouTube channel. Let me tour you and let us retrace together CNBLUE’s footsteps in Seoul! Continue reading “Fangirling over CNBLUE”

Miss Lee Cafe

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! What are your plans for today?  If you are in Seoul right now or is planning to visit Seoul soon, you may want to try Miss Lee Cafe (별다방미스리).

I am a big fan of CNBLUE, most specifically their leader, Yong Hwa. During my first trip to Seoul, I went to Bukchon Hanok Village and  visited the traditional Korean house where Park Shin Hye and Jung Yong Hwa lived in the Korean TV drama Heartstrings. On my second trip to Seoul, my friends and I had a late dinner at Miss Lee Cafe in Insadong where Yong Hwa and Seo Hyun of Girls Generation went for a date during their virtual marriage for MBC’s We Got Married.

Miss Lee Cafe Insadong YongSeo_LeiTbloomer
Pictures of YongSeo couple (Yong Hwa of CNBLUE and Seo Hyun of Girls Generation) during their virtual marriage for We Got Married Season 2 taken at Miss Lee Cafe in Insadong

Continue reading “Miss Lee Cafe”

EVENT: Visit Medical Korea Renewal Opening

Visit Medical Korea is going to start off 2016 with an event! The Korea Tourism Organization Tourist Information Center has been reopened to the public.  The Center includes K-Style Hub as well as the newly renovated Medical Tourism Information Center.

Share this event and congratulate them to get a chance to win prizes!  Copy your shared link(s) and upload your comment and your link in the website’s comment section and not on Facebook. To participate, check Visit Medical Korea official website! Good luck to all of us! :-)

Visit Medical Korea Renewal Opening Event
Visit Medical Korea Renewal Opening Event

To know more about medical tourism in Korea, please visit the following:

Visit Medical Korea official website:  visitmedicalkorea.com

Visit Medical Korea Facebook: www.facebook.com/visitmedicalkorea

Myeongdong Global Hostel in Seoul

For my first trip in Korea last April 2015, I originally booked for one bed in a dormitory room at Zaza Backpackers Hostel one month before my trip through their website and I received a confirmation the following day. To secure my reservation, I was asked to email them twice, 15 days before and 5 days before my check-in date. Upon my arrival, I was informed that I will be staying at Myeongdong Global Hostel which is just one corner apart from Zaza Backpackers. Continue reading “Myeongdong Global Hostel in Seoul”

The 2nd Seoul Kimchi Festival

Kimchi is undeniably a staple in Korean cuisine because no meal is complete without it as it is one of the main side dish which identifies the uniqueness of Korean food among others. It was not love at first bite for me years ago when I got curious by how it tasted through the various Korean television dramas I have watched, but I have grown to love kimchi through the years. For me, eating my favorite gogi mandu (dumpling) and kimbap (seaweed rice roll) taste better with kimchi.

I will call it luck that our autumn trip last November was scheduled just in time with not only one but two important cultural events for Koreans especially Seoulites.  We were able to attend the Seoul Lantern Festival 2015 on its first night on November 6 and the 2nd Seoul Kimchi Festival on its second day on November 7.

Seoul Kimchi Festival_LeiTbloomer_1
The 2nd Seoul Kimchi Festival

At Gwanghwamun Square, there was a kimchi-making exhibit which also displays all the various ingredients for different types of kimchi as well as clay jars of different sizes that can get as tall as a grown man that I even had to ask our guide twice just to make sure I heard it correctly. I just cannot imagine how many kilos of kimchi they can keep in such a huge jar!

Seoul Kimchi Festival_LeiTbloomer_2
Kimchi-making exhibit

Continue reading “The 2nd Seoul Kimchi Festival”

Seoul Lantern Festival 2015

It was my second time in Seoul and my first time touring my friends  in my happy place, the country which I would always want to go back to…South Korea. We were very fortunate that our travel dates coincided with the 2015 Seoul Lantern Festival so I took this as an opportunity to introduce to them one of the many colorful festivities which characterizes Korean culture.

The Seoul Lantern Festival started in 2009 for the Visit Korea Year and since then, it has been one of the major events in the city. Last year, the theme was “Shining World Heritage of Seoul.”  The theme for this year’s festival is “Illuminated Seoul Tour,” which features Seoul’s main tourist attractions such as Bukchon Hanok Village, Gwangjang Market and Jongmyo Shrine. Approximately 600 lanterns are on display along the stream which spans about 1.2 kilometers from Cheonggye Plaza to Supyogyo Bridge.

I was very glad that my friends are very open to my suggested itinerary so despite being tired from our almost 5-hour bus trip from Busan and despite the rainy weather, we still headed to the venue at Cheonggyecheon Stream to witness the event on its first night on November 6, 2015.

It was also my first time to see Cheonggyecheon Stream at night and if only it was not raining at that time and freezing cold, I would have loved to sit by the stream to just relax and enjoy the view of the beautifully crafted lanterns.

Seoul Lantern Festival 2015_LeiTbloomer_1 of 13
Cheonggyecheon Stream
Seoul Lantern Festival 2015_LeiTbloomer_2 of 13
LED tunnel at Cheonggyecheon Stream

Continue reading “Seoul Lantern Festival 2015”

CNBLUE Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Korean Dessert Cafe

Part of my one-day K-Pop tour is to visit celebrity-owned restaurants. Since CNBLUE is one of my favorite K-pop band, Hwang’s Eel Restaurant which is owned by Min Hyuk’s father and Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Korean Dessert Cafe are on top of my priority list. After I went to K-Star Road and Korean Entertainment agencies (Cube, JYP, FNC and SM) in Apgujeong and Cheongdamdong in Gangnam, I went to Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Korean Dessert Cafe to celebrate my successful K-Pop tour and to have my very first bingsu as well!

Bingsu is a Korean dessert that is quite similar to our very own halo-halo which comprises of shaved ice, milk and different varieties of sweet toppings ranging from chopped fruits, beans and syrup. Sulbing is a Korean dessert cafe which specializes with different kinds of bingsu but rather than using shaved ice, it uses frozen milk instead. Since it is springtime, I opted for berry cheese sulbingo at ₩7300. This is a bit pricey but it is so worth it!! The blueberries and raspberries are fresh, the cheesecake and yogurt ice cream are delicious, and the frozen milk yogurt melts perfectly with the rest of the toppings. It was cold outside since it was in early April when I went here but I still managed to enjoy each spoonful of my berry cheese bingsu without needing to mix the ingredients altogether as what you would normally do when you eat halo-halo.

CNBLUE Jong Hyun's Berry Cheese Sulbing
CNBLUE Jong Hyun’s Berry Cheese Sulbingo

Aside from the bingsu, their menu also includes coffee, smoothie, bread toast, cake, porridge and sherbet.

CNBLUE Jong Hyun's Sulbing Menu
CNBLUE Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Menu
CNBLUE Jong Hyun's Sulbing Dessert Cafe also offers cake, toast bread, and other Korean snacks in their menu.
CNBLUE Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Dessert Cafe also offers cake, toast bread, and other Korean snacks in their menu.

While eating my sulbingo, I was able to observe and take pictures of the restaurant. The restaurant is big and has a modern contemporary interior design. There are pots of plants from CNBLUE fans and there are various pictures of Jong Hyun. I also saw a picture of Kim Woo-bin which was taken when he visited the cafe (they were both in Korean Drama Gentleman’s Dignity). Jong Hyun also filmed an episode of We Got Married by MBC Entertainment here with his virtual wife Seung Yeon.

CNBLUE Jong Hyun's Sulbing
CNBLUE Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Dessert Cafe
CNBLUE Jong Hyun's Sulbing Interior
CNBLUE Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Dessert Cafe
CNBLUE Jong Hyun's Sulbing Interior 5
CNBLUE Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Korean Dessert Cafe Interior
CNBLUE Jong Hyun's Sulbing Interior 7
CNBLUE Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Korean Dessert Cafe Interior
CNBLUE Jong Hyun's Sulbing Interior 11
CNBLUE Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Korean Dessert Cafe Interior (this is where Jong Hyun and Seung Yeon filmed one of their episode in We Got Married).
CNBLUE Jong Hyun's Sulbing Interior 12
CNBLUE Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Korean Dessert Cafe Interior
Pictures of CNBLUE Jong Hyun while playing the guitar
CNBLUE lead guitarist and vocalist, Lee Jong Hyun

CNBLUE Jong Hyun's Sulbing Interior 8

CNBLUE Jong Hyun's Sulbing Interior 9
A photo of Kim Woobin whom Jong Hyun co-starred with in Korean Drama “A Gentleman’s Dignity
Gift from CNBLUE fans (Boice) are on display too :-)
Gift from CNBLUE fans (Boice) are on display too :-)

Directions to Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Korean Dessert Cafe:

1)  From Sillim Station, take Exit 6. From Exit 6, turn left.

CNBLUE Jong Hyun's Sulbing_Directions (from Sillim Station Exit 6)
CNBLUE Jong Hyun’s Sulbing_Directions (from Sillim Station Exit 6)

2)  As you turn the corner, you will see Sillim Department Store and a street sign of Sillim-ro 65 gil (신림로 65길). The department store was still under construction when I went here in April so it’s probably open by now.

Look out for Sillim Department Store (which was still under construction when I went here in April).
Look out for Sillim Department Store (which was still under construction when I went here in April).

3) Walk straight ahead until you see this building. Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Korean Dessert Cafe is located at the 2nd floor. The stairs is on the left side.

Directions CNBLUE Jong Hyun's Sulbing
Directions CNBLUE Jong Hyun’s Sulbing
Jong Hyun's Sulbing in Sillim near Exit 6 is at the 2nd floor of this building.
Jong Hyun’s Sulbing in Sillim near Exit 6 is at the 2nd floor of this building.

4) Here’s the entrance to Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Korean Dessert Cafe. Enjoy your sulbing while listening to CNBLUE’s songs!

Entrance to Jong Hyun's Korean Dessert Sulbing Cafe
Entrance to Jong Hyun’s Korean Dessert Sulbing Cafe

Hwang’s Eel Restaurant (황가네꼼장군)

After successfully touring the entertainment agencies of Cube, JYP, FNC, SM and YG as well as Jong Hyun’s Dessert Cafe, I decided to push my luck more and end my K-Pop fangirling day by having dinner at Hwang’s Eel Restaurant which is owned by the father of CNBLUE’s drummer Kang Min Hyuk. It was dark and quite late so I got lost a bit because I passed by it without even realizing. I was about to quit and just go back to our hostel in Myeongdong but as I traced my way from where I started, I found it! Yehey!

Hwang Eel Restaurant 황가네꼼장군
Hwang Eel Restaurant 황가네꼼장군 is located on the 1st floor

I did my research about the restaurant but not about Min Hyuk’s father.  As I approached the restaurant, an ahjussi (middle-aged Korean man) greeted me. He looked familiar so before I entered the restaurant, I greeted him and asked him if he is Min Hyuk’s father and he said yes! I introduced myself in Korean and told him I am a big fan of CNBLUE and I bowed 90 degrees instinctively as I said that haha! ^_^

To ease your doubt away if you are in the right place, the door will let you know. It is plastered with CNBLUE pictures!
To ease your doubt away if you are in the right place, the door will let you know. It is plastered with Min Hyuk’s pictures!

The restaurant is small but homey and colorful because of the various sticky notes posted by international and local fans of CNBLUE who went here. I think 80 people would be too much for this place so perhaps it can accommodate  50 to 60 people at most.

P1170437
Colorful post-it notes by Boices (CNBLUE fans) adorn the interior of Hwang Eel Restaurant

P1170435 P1170458

P1170450
I saw these post-it notes plastered on the ceiling. Nice work Boice PH! ^_^

Mr. Kang led me to my table and a lady approached me and gave me the English menu. I asked her in Korean what is the best dish and she pointed the pork skirtmeat on the menu, so that’s what I ordered. I will be more adventurous and try their signature eel dish next time.

English menu for CNBLUE fans.
English menu for CNBLUE fans.

In Manila, some Korean restaurants will have their staff cook the meat for their clients but most restaurants I’ve been to including this restaurant, you will have to cook the meat for yourself. I was served the side dishes first then the meat.

P1170442 P1170439

I was trying to take a picture with my monopod so I can update my friends in Manila but I dropped my phone on the table causing some heads to turn towards me, I was so embarrassed! Then the two ahjussis who were on the table next to me, offered to take my picture. One of them asked me where I came from and if I went to Seoul alone. I told him I am from Philippines, it is my first time in Seoul, and I traveled alone. He was so surprised when I said that, probably thinking I was brave to do that. He even told me Filipinas are beautiful and he kept repeating that to me and of course I thanked him for the compliment! As we were talking, his friend who I thought was taking my picture, took a video of me instead! These ajussis were so funny so I had a great time while having a meal. After that, I overheard their conversation and their topic switched to CNBLUE, ajussi fanboys in the making haha! ^_^

After a hearty meal, I posted a note for CNBLUE and placed it in the very corner near the table where I was seated. I will make sure to check on it when I come back this November or April next year.

P1170464
CNBLUE members from left to right: Jung Shin, Jong Hyun, Yong Hwa and Min Hyuk
My note on the corner simply says, CNBLUE is Love
My note on the corner simply says, CNBLUE is Love

It was almost 10 p.m. when I paid my bill. I was hoping to greet Min Hyuk’s father again before I leave. Thankfully he was there to receive my payment. I gave him a simple gift and asked him if we can take a picture together. I was not expecting he would agree because he might be busy, but he said yes! We took two photos together. Yehey! We said our good byes and he even asked me where I was staying. He gave me directions which subway entrance to take, probably worried because it was late and I might not make it to the last train. Min Hyuk’s father is really nice!

The underground shops were closing and some of the trains ceased operation so I had to change my route, which I was not prepared. It was not as easy as the previous tours I had during the day, but I still made it back to our hostel elated by how my day went so well overall.

Address:  5-2 Yeongdeungpodong 3(sam)-ga Yeongdeupo-gu, Seoul, South Korea 서울 영등포구 영등포동3가 5-2

Phone Number: 2671-6218

Operating Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 a.m.

Website: http://www.kkom.co.kr

Here is the step-by-step guide on how I made it to Hwang Eel Restaurant (minus the getting lost part):

1) From Yeoundeungpo Station Line 1 영등포, come out of Exit 5. You can also come out of Exit 1 which is the nearest to Hwang’s Eel Restaurant (see step 4) but I am not sure if it’s of the same station. I only saw it when I went home because that’s where Mr. Kang instructed me to go.

P1170407-002

2) Walk over the main street where you will see Shinsegae. Cross the street and stay on your right side.

P1170417-001

3) You should pass by a blue street sign (Yeongjung-ro 4 gil 옝중로 4 길) and a drug store which has a red LED sign 약.

P1170418

4) Walk until you reach Yeongjung-ro 10 gil 옝중로 10 길 which is near subway entrance/exit 1, Times Square is on the opposite street.  Turn right.

P1170426

5) Congratulations, you made it to Hwang Eel Restaurant. Hope you will enjoy your meal as much as I did! ^_^

P1170431 - Copy