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Friday, August 1, 2008

Seoul: Some Impressions

I guess I now know why Koreans love living in the Philippines.

Aside from the fact that it is the place where they could learn the best English from within the Asian neighborhood and at the cheapest possible price, there’s just something in Seoul that makes it homey. I don’t know, but from my perspective, Seoul somehow looks and feels like Manila!
Of course, it’s far more advanced in many ways, but not the entire Seoul is as cosmopolitan as say, Hongkong, Singapore or Tokyo. It’s sidestreets are just as narrow and crowded as Paco’s, the shops are just as flamboyant and dazzling as Cubao's and the malls are just as huge and as multi-purpose as SM or Greenbelt.

Transportation? The taxi fares are quite of the same range, but there are more available units around. Traffic is as bad during rush hours. But there are more train lines (though not comparable to Tokyo’s).

Cleanliness? Yes, some garbage is strewn in the less-upscale side of town (not as much as Manila’s of course). I passed through one underpass though, and it was as littered as that one in Lawton (if you know what I mean. Bwaarrrrrk!)

Nway, the pictures I'm featuring here could explain my thoughts better.



* * * * * *
Here’s one moment that warmed my heart - something that would forever remind me of Seoul:

I met this taxi driver in one of my rides. Hoping to strike a conversation, he tried talking to me in halting, fractured and barely recognizable English. When he learned that I came from the Philippines, he became more interested. He asked if all Filipinos speak really good English as I did (ehem). I just smiled. I told him I taught English to Korean students many years back.

Then, his face lightened like he just had a eureka moment! “Filipin! Yes Filipin! Akilar!” I tried to figure out what he meant, but I couldn’t. “Sing!”, he said, and proceeded to singing the Korean lyrics of an all-too-familiar Pinoy ditty. It was “Anak” by Freddie Aguilar. In between his singing, or whatever you’d call his mumblings, he said that Freddie Aguilar was very famous in Korea in the 80’s and the Korean version of Anak, at one time, became number one on Seoul radio.

As I got off his taxi, I could help but have this infectious smile pasted on my glowing face. I capped the day with a bottle of beer to celebrate.

23 comments:

TENTAY™ said...

ewan ko pero nangilabot ako don sa kwento mo bout that cab driver... =) nakakatuwa naman.

pepe M. said...

hahaha! ANAK here too is a hit amongst my thai colleagues..

BlogusVox said...

It's funny really when our neighbors think we speak good english. While they are trying their best to somehow speak if not master the language, we on the other hand is bastardizing it.

Abaniko said...

Where are the people? I want to see Korean faces in Korea. :)

realscore said...

halap dkaw...nakaka inspire naman...

ian said...

there are so many great reasons to be proud that we are Filipino. we just have to see beyond the grime on the facade. we must wash that facade. we ought to make a new facade...

salamat sa kwento. ingat ka diyan. and continue to wow 'em and kick@ss =]

(napapaphotoblog na rin ako dahil sa yo haha)

the donG said...

wow! no wonder the koreans in one way stays in the philippines. they even ride tricycles here.

kakatuwa naman ng experience mo sa taxi. akalain mo si freddie aguilar kilala nya. hehehe... oo nga kasi sumikat naman talaga sa ibang bansa ang kantang anak.

nice post here!

ganda ng korea.

carlotta1924 said...

nakaka-enganyong pumunta sa korea!

it's a korean invasion here in the philippines. taught korean students english too until recently.

The Gasoline Dude said...

Huwaw! Sikat din pala si Ka Freddie sa Korea! Kakatuwa naman 'yung cab driver. Hehe.

Gusto ko din pumunta sa Korea. Gusto ko bumili ng original DVD ng "My Sassy Girl". Hahaha. *LOLZ*

R-yo said...

Tentay: He he. Katuwa lang na kahit papano me napupulot din sila sa atin at hindi na lang lagi the other way around.

R-yo said...

Pepe: Among the Thais too? Galing a. Sayang nga lang at mukhang sa Anak lang din natapos ang lahat. Di na maximize ni Ka Freddie ang opportunity.

Blogusvox: The only reason why we speak better English than our neighbors is because we embrace the language from childhood. If this was the situation in Japan, Korea or Taiwan, di hamak na mas matino ang English nila kesa sa marami sa atin.

R-yo said...

abaniko: Sorry, point and shoot lang ang dala ko. Baka mahuli ako ng pulis pag nakitang kumukuha ako ng pics ng mga tao. :-)

realscore: yup. nakakatuwa yung mama.:-)

ian: marami-rami yang sabon ang kailangan natin to wash off that grime, hehehe. pero sige lang.

R-yo said...

Dong/Carlotta: Actually, naisip ko rin na masyado yata akong natuwa sa maliit na bagay. Compared sa kung paano natin tinanggap ang mga Koreano, aba e mukhang lugi yata tayo kung si Freddie Aguilar lng ang kapalit. Pero ganun yata talaga.

Gasdude: Koreanovela fan ka pala. Sige ihanap na lang kita ng DVD dito. heheh

The Islander said...

cebu i guess has the largest number of koreans in the philippines. as well as baguio. in cebu, they have this korean-owned and frequented bar, Sunflower City Bar where you can see 80% of the crowd are koreans. theyre loving the Philippines.

does that korean justified the singing of Anak? hehe.

acey said...

cool cab driver! mukhang maganda ang impression nya sayo. reprezent! :D

Pathbinder said...

Seoul really does look like a better version of Manila, just by a little though, and I'm guessing it isn't that hot there too. I really liked your story about the taxi driver. Hearing stuffs about foreigners interested in Filipino things really bring out a smile to me, I didn't know Koreans like Philippines that much. :D

Ely said...

hit nga daw ang Anak all over Asia back then. hehe. Have my own share of Korean connection, mga amoy kimchi. LOL

Lawstude said...

cheers. let's drink to that panyero.

dami na nga koreano dito sa pinas kahit saan ka magpunta. ano kaya kung pinoy naman mag invade sa kanila.

by the way, are you coming home for the bar-ops?

R-yo said...

islaman: i guess ur right. i went to Ayala mall in Cebu one time and I really thought I was in a different country. Nagkalat ang koreano!

R-yo said...

acey: he he. gusto ko nga sana bigyan ng tip, pero di yata uso dito.

pathbinder: it's quite hot in Seoul. Pinas na pinas ang init!

R-yo said...

Ely: I don't know, pero biglang kinaya na ng powers ko kumain ng kimchi. dati talaga, amoy pa lang, out na ko.

Panyero: I can't be there for the bar-ops. Punta ka? Sayang. Inisnab mo kasi ako last year. heheheh

ArchieMD said...

i love your blog... and your pictures... and your stories on being proudly pinoy. keep it up

Kirk said...

maganda yung entry mo bout the koreans ah. nalungkot lang ako dahil naalala ko yung balita last week.

sa naaalala ko at least 7 koreans ang namatay sa pilipinas last week. mga bakasyonista, accident sa daan. driver nila korean rin.

galing sila sa baguio. nagovernight sa pangasinan, pabalik ng baguio ayun naaksidente na. (o from baguio to pangasinan palang sila)