LAST MORNING @ LA MIR
I was kind of melancholic when I woke up, seeing my luggage packed and ready to go. The weather was gloomy and it started raining (I guess the weather sympathized with us). Before our breakfast, we put our luggage first at the ground floor of the hotel. I browsed the internet for a while to check for updates, and eventually went upstairs to eat our breakfast (the epic egg-bacon-sausage tandem). After that, we checked-out from the hotel and ready to board our bus. The temperature dropped because it was rainy. We only have one destination for the day—Lotte World! That thought made me excited that my feeling of loneliness disappeared. But before that, since it was Sunday, we all went to mass first.
CATHOLIC MASS IN SEOUL (Around 8:30 am)
Mass in Korea? Hmmm… I wondered how it would be like. When we got there, it was just like a typical edifice with a cross. You won’t mistake it as a church unless you see the cross. When we entered the church, inside was almost the same as churches in the Philippines, only much simpler. We got early so we had to wait for the ceremony. As time passed by, Koreans started coming inside the church for the mass. We also met the priest who will lead the mass. Surprisingly he told us that he once went to the Philippines (in Rogationist Seminary, Sucat, Paranaque). I was like, “I know that place! It’s super near from our home!” When the mass commenced, it was in Korean (like I can understand, right?). Songs and responses are also in Korean. I even tried to mumble and imitate them as they sang and responded. I got totally sleepy because I couldn’t understand the mass. I think I drowsed for a minute or two and dreamt that the priest was pressing the ice cream machine to have some yoghurt ice cream. I suddenly woke up because of that dream. It was crazy! LOL! There were also boys who spoke in front of the people though I didn’t know what they were saying. We had our communion there and their version of “Ama Namin.” All I could say is that Catholic masses are all the same, just in different languages or even local dialects.
LOTTE WORLD! (Around 10:15 am)
Another theme park activity! YEY! This was supposed to be our bonus day because Allpoints was able to extend our days in Korea from 4 to 5 days. I was so excited to visit the place because I’ve seen the place in Korean dramas such as Stairway to Heaven. Plus there’s an ice skating rink in the place. When we got there, we were given our tickets to put in their LRT-like machines so we could enter. Since we only have limited time, we immediately planned to ride anything we could ride. First, we tried the Loop-something ride, but because of the long line, some of my classmates went to check for other rides (including me), that’s why we weren’t able to ride it. We checked some of the rides and saw that lines were so full! We didn’t have a choice but to be patient and wait because if we keep on transferring to different rides, we won’t be able to ride any, right? So the 3 of us who left roamed around the area first to check for interesting rides, until we decided to go to the ice skating rink!!! YAY! It was the moment we’ve been waiting for, until the crew told us that it has a payment, 11,000 won in discount. We were petrified upon discovering that! We thought that our tickets were ride-all-you can, or we just assume. We were like planning the ice skating thing even before we go to Seoul. Tsk! BV (or Bad Vibes) according to my classmate. Because of that we went to the information desk to interpolate everything we needed to know. Unfortunately the information lady doesn’t understand English that she had to call someone to talk to us. No wonder their entrance was “ENTERANCE,” and their information was “INFOMATION.” At last things were clarified, and sadly the ice skating had an additional fee. Then we decided to just ride anything we saw. First we tried the hot air balloon. It is where we saw some of our classmates and we all went together. The ride was slow, passive, and boring? Yeah. It’s like touring you around the Lotte World in an aerial view. Oh well, nothing to lose. After that, we were all starving and decided to eat hotdogs, and since we brought our free water, lesser expense. Since we are full, my other classmates and the 3 of us parted ways because we are trying a ride they already tried—their version of Rio Grande. The line was quick and we didn’t have to wait that much. Unlike Rio Grande, their ride didn’t have a thrill. We didn’t even get wet, and the waves were not as strong as in Rio Grande. After that, we went to eat ice cream (Dippin Dots). It was really pleasurable! LOL! Since we only have an hour left, we decided to try one last ride, and this time a more extreme one—the Conquistador (their version of Anchor’s away). I’m not really scared of rides, but a classmate of mine (Hope) is. We were amused of how brave she was while waiting in the line. She’s like ahead of us. But when we rode it, she was like “Mommy!!! Ayoko na!!! Ayoko na talaga!!!” and there were tears in her eyes. If you just saw her you’ll definitely laugh out loud! After the ride, we ran quickly to the exit to board our bus because we might get trapped in the parade. When we got to the bus, we waited for our other classmates who got trapped in the parade. So we departed last again, but this time, there’s no one to blame. As we traverse the roads of Seoul, while the rain is pouring gently, I felt melancholic again. I still wanted to stay in Seoul.
LAST SHOPPING in a LOCAL MARKET for PASALUBONG
We went in a local supermarket to shop for snacks before going to Incheon for our flight back to Manila. I bought some treats like the Crunchy Punch, Wafers, Ginseng Tea, Pokey, etc. Good thing they had free taste of every products, that why we were able to decide on what to buy. And since I didn’t have much money left, I used my remaining dollars to pay for that. It didn’t cost me a lot this time because I’m scared of having excess baggage. What amazed me was the procedure when they box the products. It was so high-tech, it was really cool!
GOING TO INCHEON INT’L AIRPORT (Arrived at around 5:00 pm)
I was so sad to be leaving Seoul, yet excited of going home. When we arrived at ICN, we went directly to check-in our baggage. But there was a problem…mine exceeded 20 kg!!! I was really nervous the fact that I didn’t have much money left to pay for excess baggage. Good thing some of my classmates didn’t really exceed baggage, thus I went to join them as they checked-in their baggage (Whew, safe at last!). After that, we bid our tour guides and photographers good-bye (I will surely miss Julia and Ellie). Then we proceeded to security check then immigration. We waited in gate 23(?) for our Korean Air flight KE263 bound to Manila. The procedure went really fast. While waiting, I decided to go to the Tax Free Redemption Booth to give my envelope with the receipt of purchase. And then we fooled around the area. We did photo shoots, played pranks on each other, but the gravest was when 2 of my classmates played prank to foreigners! They talked to them in Filipino and of course, the foreigners didn’t understand. LOL! It was 8:00 pm when we started boarding our plane. I sat with a Korean Lady, whom I didn’t know. And since I didn’t have someone to talk to, I just watched a movie. But all of a sudden, their entertainment system was shut down for some minutes due to some minor issues. So I just slept for a moment, and the dinner was served. It was a nice meal—mashed potato with beef, and other extras, but I suddenly felt the urge of going to the toilet to poop. It was my first time defecating in a plane, and I wondered how it would be like. I never knew it would be hard doing it 30,000 ft from the ground. The pressure was different and it was hard to release ‘em all. I needed to stay there for some minutes. The feeling was like holding it back, and it was really hard. Finally I was done. I returned to my seat and ate my meal (though my stomach wasn’t in good condition). And Ice cream was served! YUM! The flight was kind of bumpy because of the turbulence and many was nauseous (judging by the white flower, vicks, etc, that some were holding). And after 3 hours and 30 minutes, we arrived in Manila.
AT NAIA (Around 11:30 pm—Philippine time)
The airport procedures took us like an hour just to get out from the airport because of slow service. There was actually no divider for lines, making other people transfer lines to another, creating delays. In the immigration, the line was so long and the immigration officers were so slow. I didn’t know why. Then when we went to claim our baggage, there was no real line that’s why it was hard to distinguish how to get out, and many people keep on squeezing themselves in the line. They’re not falling in line properly. And when I got my package of kimchi, the box ripped off. I think they do not handle the baggage with total care. Tsk! Also, the lady who checks the baggage was not nice. I do believe that being in the hospitality industry, one should be nice and pleasing. But she’s not! I met my parents outside the airport. Exhausted I was that night, I bid my classmates goodbye.
My trip to Korea was like a dream that just passed by. In Filipino, I would regard it as “Bitin!” Hehe! But it is one of part of my life that I won’t forget forever because it was my first time going out of the country. I will forever cherish that experience—the people who became part of that tour, the places, and everything. Because of that tour, I was really inspired to be an airline crew because of the travel benefits. I want to explore the world. I want to experience the world. Thru that, I know that I’ll discover myself more and appreciate the only home that God made for us. After the tour, I changed a lot. I became comfortable in talking to strangers. I became more confident. And I started to appreciate little things in life. And because of that, I promised to myself that I will return to Seoul, soon…
Images can be found at: