Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My South Korean Invasion:Hopping and Shopping 4th Day

Travel is an experience. It is a drive, a choice, a passion and sometimes a fortune. For it to have more meaning, travel has to hit you… and hit you hard. That’s exactly what happened to the 20 Filipino trainees in Korea during the fourth day of their sojourn. They considered that day a lucky Friday, the most awaited day of their training. This was the day where they had their first observational tour plus a little shopping…

Everybody was excited and woke up early to have more time getting ready for this exciting day. According to our schedule, we will have an observational tour around the vicinities and edifices of Chonbuk University like Paper Museum, Jeoju National Museum and do some shopping at Lotte Mart. Everyone seems in a hurry to maximize the time for the activities. We see to it that we have already taken our breakfast before the tick of the clock at 7:30 in the morning. Our breakfast was full of laughter because of some jokes from the co-participants and of course, the flashes of our camera.

At 8:30 in the morning, we started our walk going to the place where a big bus was waiting beside a big astrodome owned by the school. It is where many cultural shows and concerts of some Korean television and movie stars are being held.

After some minutes of waiting, we boarded the bus and started our tour around Chonbuk National University at exactly 9:00 am. Two young students came and served as our tour facilitators. Female student, Lee Won Hang, an English major delightedly described every nook along the way of the university. She was assisted by a male engineering student, Kim Kyung Hwi who was quiet shy but always showing his wide smile.

With them, we the trainees, other Korean education officials and other volunteers toured the different facilities and college buildings. We also saw the Jeonbuk National Hospital which is the biggest hospital in the region.

At around 9:30 am, we visited the Professional Development Center- a very advanced and highly-technological center used by the students in telecommunications, astronomy and theater. We met Mr. Kim Yushin, the kind and nice Officer-in-Charge of the center. This center is also called as Electronic Learning Center or E-learning Center. This is also where various lectures and demo-instructions of the professors and students are being held and recorded.

Excitement took its peak when we came to Jeonju Ahjung Middle School at 10:15 am. It is a university-like school where students after grade school should take another three years in school before going to high school level. We were welcomed by a petite and voluptuous female principal, Yun Ja Kim, who is wearing a pink floral dress.

With other high ranking officers and female students in white and sky blue uniform, we were escorted to the third floor of the building where the Library Information Reading Center is located. Inside the library, set a very long table and on top of it were fiberglass tripods containing our name. The female students guided each one of us to our respective seat where our name was placed.

When everybody was seated, we were offered with snacks which were mainly traditional foods of Korea. Afterward, they presented to us a short welcome ceremony and later on we were given a big Korean fan as souvenir item from their school. A short and simple presentation about the information of the school was shown through the Powerpoint.

Then, we were directed for a tour at each building of the school. Various high tech ancillary facilities were showcased which made us salivate and compare the Korean and Philippines systems of education. We have seen different classrooms for computer, science, home economics, English audio-visual, history, music, physical education and arts. We also dropped by the canteen and the gym and took some pictures with the happy students in their green and canary yellow PE uniforms.

We took our lunch at New Style Korean Restaurant at around 1:00 pm. Because of too much walking, we were so hungry and thirsty.

After lunch, we proceeded to Jeonju Paper Museum. The museum is a giant building which cradles both the old and modern technology of South Korean paper making and its dramatic development. We were presented with the birth and evolution of paper in South Korea. We were amazed when we saw the manila paper as one of their exhibits and was part of their museum’s artifacts

We also experienced how to make paper in their traditional way. We found it a rare and memorable experience. The white parchment we have made was given to us as souvenir item. We requested the autograph of the man who demonstrated us to do the paper.

At 3:00 pm, our next destination was the Jeonju National Museum. We quite took some minutes of walk before we arrived to a huge building with two gigantic pillars on its façade. There, we came inside an archeology room where artifacts from various Korean dynasties are on exhibit for visitors and foreigners. Afterwards we went to its store and I bought some souvenir items like Korean dolls, fans, key chains and others. While leaving, we posed outside the building and took some souvenir pictures.

After the Jeonju National Museum experience, we proceeded to Lotte Mart at around 4:20 pm. Items for gifts for our loved ones were purchased. Afterward, we had our dinner at 6:05 in Korean Good Restaurant.

(This salesgirl told me that these bananas that she is preparing came from Davao, Philippines. She was delighted when I told her I am a Filipino.)

At 7:45 pm we went back to Hunsan Gunji House loaded with shopping bags and unforgettable experiences. Our heart felt happiness but our body needed rest. We were glad we were in the Gunji House once more to rest in an air conditioned room.