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The top 10 things to do in South Korea during summer

Summer in South Korea is severely underrated. Most people who plan on traveling there usually aim for the seasons of autumn, winter and spring to experience the best of the Land of the Morning Calm—all with perfectly good reasons, of course. But South Korea is equally beautiful in the light of the summer, and having a clear day for a backdrop often results in gorgeous Instragram-worthy snapshots.

Satisfy your wandering Seoul with Zee Lifestyle’s guide to South Korea.

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BASIC INFORMATION

South Korea is a country located in East Asia. Its capital and largest city is Seoul. It is approximately a five-hour flight from the Philippines, and is also one hour ahead in terms of timezone (UTC+9). Their currency is the South Korean won, with a currency exchange of roughly PHP 1 = KRW 23 (as of press time). They have four seasons, with summer running from May to September, autumn from September to November, winter from November to March, and spring from March to May.

Going to South Korea requires a visa for Philippine passport holders, which is easily obtainable from the Korean embassy, located on the 12th floor of the Chinabank Corporate Center in Cebu Business Park. Processing time is five days, and fees are gratis for a stay of 59 days or less.

Philippines AirAsia flies direct to Incheon, South Korea from Mactan, Cebu every day. They also have flights to Incheon from Manila and Kalibo, as well as to Busan from Kalibo. For bookings, visit airasia.com.

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THE TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN KOREA DURING SUMMER

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1. Explore Incheon International Airport

Bibimbap at Café Bonjuk and Bibimpa, located in Incheon International Airport, is the perfect dinner for right when you land

Bibimbap at Café Bonjuk and Bibimpa, located in Incheon International Airport, is the perfect dinner for right when you land

Okay, so we’d actually rather save this for the last day of the trip while you wait to board your flight, but Incheon International Airport is a destination in itself when you’re in South Korea. It’s one of the world’s best airports for good reason: There’s an abundance of amenities, from duty-free shopping and top-notch dining establishments, to sleeping and shower areas and cultural shows. You’d find you wouldn’t really mind long layovers or delayed flights.

INCHEON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
272 Gonghang-ro, Jung-gu, Incheon, South Korea

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2. Don a hanbok and stroll through Gyeongbokgung Palace and Bukchon Hanok Village

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Bukchon Hanok Village

Bukchon Hanok Village

South Korea is a highly urbanized and modern city, yet you can still get glimpses of history and culture here and there. Gyeongbokgung Palace is the largest of Korea’s Five Palaces and was home to the Royal Family back in the Joseon Dynasty, while the Bukchon Hanok Village is a quaint neighborhood of traditional Korean homes known as hanok. Rent a colorful hanbok (traditional costume) to get the most likes on your social media posts. Plus: Entrance to the Palaces is free when you’re in costume.

GYEONGBOKGUNG PALACE
161 Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

BUKCHON HANOK VILLAGE
Gye-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

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3. Dip your toes into the cool waters of the Cheonggyecheon Stream

Cheonggyecheon Stream in downtown Seoul

Cheonggyecheon Stream in downtown Seoul

The Cheonggyecheon Stream, which runs throughout downtown Seoul, is the perfect example of urbanization coordinating with nature. This waterway was neglected for years, until the government pursued efforts to restore it in the early 2000s. Today, it’s one of the most popular public parks where people can sit by the river and even dip their toes into the cool waters pumped from the Han River.

CHEONGGYECHEON STREAM
Cheonggyecheon-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

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4. Have samgyetang in Nam Chon Ok

Samgyetang

Samgyetang (chicken ginseng soup)

Samgyetang is chicken ginseng soup that’s quite popular during summer. This specialty is basically a whole young chicken stuffed with rice, and is also surrounded with noodles. Pro tip: Make sure you’re REALLY hungry so you can finish off this dish.

NAM CHON OK
20 Gwang-hi-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

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5. Get a lot of skincare and makeup freebies at Myeongdong

Myeong-dong Street

Myeong-dong Street

Even though you haven’t been bitten by the K-pop craze, even you’d have to admit that Korean skincare is amazing. Myeongdong is a street where you can find popular beauty brands one stall after another, from Etude House to Tony Moly, Innisfree, Missha and Nature Republic. Not only do these stores sell their products at great deals, but they’d throw in a lot (and we mean a lot) of goodies on your way out—or heck, even if you just browse through their selections.

MYEONGDONG STREET
Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

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6. Admire the neofuturistic architecture at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza

Dongdaemun Design Plaza

Dongdaemun Design Plaza

Largely contributing to Korea’s honorific as the World’s Design Capital is the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, a massive and sprawling structure with almost-impossible curves and striking lines designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid in collaboration with Korean studio Samoo. We challenge you to find the perfect angles for your Instagram shots.

DONGDAEMUN DESIGN PLAZA
281 Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

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7. Get a good night’s rest at the T-Mark Grand Hotel

The view from outside T-Mark Grand Hotel

The view from outside T-Mark Grand Hotel

Of course, you can’t just zoom past all the sights without having decent sleep. But just because you’re off to dreamland doesn’t mean you should stop experiencing the best of what Korea has to offer. The T-Mark Grand Hotel, one of the city’s newest hotels, is highly recommended. Besides offering all the amenities you would ever need, it’s also right across the Nandaemun Market and just a short walking distance to Myeongdong.

T-MARK GRAND HOTEL MYEONGDONG
52 Toegye-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea | website

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8. Indulge in banana milk in one of Korea’s many convenience stores

Banana milk from CVS for U

Banana milk from CVS for U

If banana milk isn’t Korea’s national drink, then we don’t know what is. The drink, which comes in cute plastic bottles, makes for the perfect refreshment in between all the sightseeing. It’s also filling enough to stave off hunger pangs when necessary. Should you wish to bring some home, we recommend buying them at the airport after checking in.

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9. Seal your love at N-Seoul Tower

Love locks at N-Seoul Tower

Love locks at N-Seoul Tower

Following Paris’ lead, several countries now have their own versions of lovelocks, in which couples proclaim your love with a special padlock to signal everlasting togetherness. In South Korea, you can seal your love at the N-Seoul Tower, which also has love benches bent into a curve right in the middle, designed to bring two people together.

N-SEOUL TOWER
105 Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea

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10. Shop ‘til you drop at Insadong Antique Alley and Namdaemun Market

Insadong

Insadong Antique Alley

No trip anywhere is complete without shopping. If you haven’t had your fill from Myeongdong, Insadong Antique Alley has a lot of interesting and unique trinkets to bring back for your loved ones. For even greater sales, especially on bags and shoes, Namdaemun Market is where it’s at.

INSADONG ANTIQUE ALLEY
29 Insadong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

NAMDAEMUN MARKET
21 Namdaemunsijang 4-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

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text and photos by Patty Taboada

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Travel

THROWBACK THURSDAY. Our Stylish Voyage on a Boat with Loida and Richard

FOR SAIL

With hosts Loida Montesclaros and Richard Forteau, we take entertaining to the high seas.

by Shari Quimbo photography Steffen Billhardt

The sky was decidedly gloomy on the Sunday afternoon Loida Montesclaros and Richard Forteau invited a small group of us for a sail, the clouds getting darker as I make my way to Porter’s Marina, where the Blue Planet was docked.

“Richard built the boat himself in Cebu,” Loida explains, going on to share that he was the former honorary French consul in Cebu. “It was built here, and I designed the interiors.”

All that work certainly paid off—Loida and Richard would often sail the boat out to different Philippine destinations such as El Nido, Siargao, Boracay and the Gigantes Islands in Iloilo. These could mean days-long journeys that sometimes meant dealing with some rough seas. Quick day trips, much like the one we were about to embark on, were also a regular past time.

Loida gives me a quick tour of the boat then shows off her tropical spread. With its bright blue and white floral seating, the cabin’s dining area is already a pretty festive site. “I wanted to keep it simple,” she tells me, arranging her fresh fruits around on the banana leaf-covered wooden slabs she was using as serving trays. “And I wanted it to look more local, more tropical. We are on the water, after all.”

The bamboo slats of the dining table were the perfect backdrop to Loida’s spread, which featured tropical fruits alongside an entire roll of lechon belly, fresh lumpia, empanada and steamed shrimp.

The highlight of the table, though, was the chicken liver pate, a dish that Richard makes himself. “Luckily, the French love to cook,” Loida jokes conspiratorially.

Finally, it was time to take the vessel out onto the high seas, and the group makes its way above deck to enjoy the view. The cool sea breeze was a bit stronger than usual, something that had to do with the dark rain clouds looming above us—something that would have deterred any other group, but not this adventurous bunch. Armed with a glass of champagne in one hand and a biscuit smeared with pate on the other, many stand against the railing, admiring the sight of the sky turning orange above the Mactan Channel.

And then it starts to pour. No matter, though—as the rain pounds against the deck, the party finds its way down below. A bottle of wine is opened, and then another, while a second pot of pate is transferred on a plate. Our captain waits until the waves calm before he brings us back ashore.

(This story has already been published in the printed edition of Zee Lifestyle Magazine’s November 2016 issue as one of the Entertaining Features on pages 82-85.)

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Culture

Experience authentic Korean Barbeque at Da-In Restaurant

Filipinos are crazy for Korean barbecue. As such, there are a lot of places that are offering Korean barbecue. But Da-In restaurant isn’t just one of those restaurants.

Located in Salinas Drive in Lahug, Cebu, Da-in restaurant is a joint project between the Creative Cuisine Group and Da-Won restaurant. With state-of-the-art grilling stations in each table and various Korean cuisines ready to be served, Da-In would surely sate your Korean barbecue cravings without any hassle.

Visit Da-In restaurant today!

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Featured

Head Up North, Where A Relaxing Escapade is in Store at Maayo San Remigio

On your next trip out of the city, head up North to Maayo San Remigio, where a relaxing escapade awaits.

Oftentimes, when it comes to deciding the next travel destination, the Northern part
of Cebu is overlooked in favour of its Southern end. The South boasts of sunny beaches,
cascading waterfalls and the popular whale sharks who have made its waters their home.
While these are beautiful aspects that the South has to offer, the North is just as—if not
more—abundant in offerings. The North’s natural scenery is relatively untouched, and on top
of that, it’s less likely to be flocked by tourists.

This means more opportunities for a retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the
city. The roads heading North are long and winding, yet the beauty that lies at the end of the
journey proves that the trip is worth it. Knowing that, where does one go in the North?

Hidden away in the northern part of Cebu, Maayo San Remigio is a haven for those
who seek peace and serenity, making it an alluring abode for a sojourn on the island.

The resort’s guest rooms are vibrant and reminiscent of the Carribean.

Approximately a 3-hour drive from the city, the resort grants access to a tropical
retreat with a captivating beachfront setting—a charming destination away from the daily
hustle. Whether on its fine white sands and blue waters or inside the cozy rooms, Maayo
San Remigio is a delight to local and foreign tourists alike.

A newly-opened resort under Maayo Hotels flagship, Maayo San Remigio is a
destination that guarantees a refreshing, laidback experience, sure to wash away the worries
you brought with you from the city.

A clean white aesthetic is made tropical with bamboo accents and greenery.

It’s equipped with a mix of luxurious relaxation and wellness, fun and entertainment,
and enticing wining and dining options. This Caribbean-inspired resort is a serene hideaway
on a lush slice of tropical paradise with emphasis on ultimate comfort and exclusivity.

The resort’s location makes it doubly precious; scattered throughout the resort
grounds are viewing areas that grant you access to the sunset. Watch the sun sink down the
horizon by the infinity pool, on the beach’s shoreline, or atop the cliffside with the waves
crashing below. When night falls, the stars come out to dance across the clear skies, making
for an unparalleled stargazing experience.

Sunsets at Maayo San Remigio are a sight to behold.

Maayo San Remigio blends authentic Cebuano hospitality with its tranquil
atmosphere and exceptional design. Its well-appointed rooms and villas ensure a relaxing staycation, while its thoughtful amenities and facilities evoke a feeling of belonging in
paradise. The resorts brings the culinary excellence that is found in the Maayo Hotels brand,
creating palate-pleasing Filipino dishes with a modern twist. Complemented by the resort’s
wide menu of drinks—from juices to cocktails to shakes—one will truly enjoy a stay here.

So on your next trip out of the city, head up North to Maayo San Remigio, where a
relaxing escapade awaits.

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