[TRIP last May 3, 2011] As I've mentioned from my previous entry, the JIFF team definitely made our stay in Jeonju a relaxing one. Every morning, there will be print-outs of reminders and event invitations for Kuya that were slipped into our hotel door. They were always very organized and cheery. Apart from that, the JIFF team also ensured that we always had our very own JIFF Ziggy (representative) to show us around the festival.
Anyway, we started our first official morning in Jeonju by availing of our complimentary buffet breakfast at Core Hotel's Restaurant (I forgot the name though) -- while topped with a nice view of the city. It was a few floors up from our 7th floor room, so we were able to get there in time. The buffet typically ends around 8am, so we made sure to arrive before then.
Choy and I left the Philippines around 1 in the morning, while Kuya had his scheduled around lunch time. We had a different flight itinerary with kuya but it was still on the same day (May 2). We also arrived in Incheon before 7 am (Korea time), and then left almost immediately for Jeonju.
The Jeonju province is about 4-5 hours by road from the ICN airport. Sometimes it takes longer when there's traffic along the way. Anyway, we rode the limousine bus right after leaving the airport. Now to be honest, I actually didn't expect the trip to take that long. But I was so thankful that my bus chair could be reclined into a comfortable sleeping position. So when you're bound for Jeonju, you'll also have to expect at least 2-4 stop-overs before reaching the province. If I may recall, there was a stop-over at the Gumbo airport. Then the last stop was at our hotel, CORE HOTEL.
Jeonju was actually tourist-friendly. The bus even had a prompter that translated the instructions in several different languages for every stop-over made (there was English and Japanese). And since I was travelling with Choy (who was a first-timer), I was made to be more alert and more attentive to instructions. But on our last stop, a JIFF Ziggy approached us upon exiting the bus. He took our luggages and escorted us into the hotel. Upon entering the hotel, a few more JIFF volunteers greeted us with a smile, and an 'ANNYEONGHASEYO' greeting resonated in the hall. =) I actually asked Justin back at the airport to teach me a few basic korean phrases, and he taught me how to say hello, thank you and goodbye.
Hello = Annyeonghaseyo
Thank You = Gamsahabnida
Goodbye = Jagbyeol Insa
After the Ziggys' handed our press kits, ID's, and room key, Choy and I immediately went up to our 7th floor room. We decided to fix our things and immediately left for the festival. But before leaving, I made a quick email to my niece Rachel, for a possible meet-up that night. She's actually an English teacher in Jeonju. So getting a chance to see her there after 16 or so years was also a nice coincidence. Good thing the WiFi on our floor had a strong signal as I was able to send my message right away.
We were also very hungry by then, so we made sure to ask the volunteers if there were any affordable food places at the festival. There were actually plenty, and they readily gave us maps to the cinema street vicinity. Good thing JIFF also offered free shuttle rides from the hotel to the festival, as I no longer had to ask how to get there by foot. Much to my surprise, a walk from CORE Hotel to the Jiff venue would only take more or less 10 minutes. The weather was super cold but was actually good for walking.
Choy and I also took a few photos before heading to the festival. And after checking some of the restaurants along the cinema street, we finally decided to try this Chicken and Pizza place. Everything was mostly written in korean, and we found a familiar comfort in this particular food place. The place was called Dasarang Chicken and Pizza.
My trip to Jeonju, South Korea wasn't that smooth sailing during it's pre-planning stages. It probably took the JIFF coordinator more or less a month before my brother and I could have the 'go' signal to apply for a visa. If I may recall, Choy and I only only got scheduled to go to the Korean Embassy at Mckinley Road, weeks prior to leaving the Philippines. We went there with all our paperwork on April 15 2011, and were asked to submit our Passport and supporting documents. I was also given a claiming stub/slip for our passports after a brief interview, should we get approved of a visa. We were then scheduled to pick-up ours two weeks later.
Choy (my brother) and I submitted our company's SEC Business registration permit (For Brass Knuckles Inc.), Brass' Company ITR, Mayor's Permit, our Bank Certificates, and the Visa Application Form, along with our 2x2 photo/s. These requirements were actually required for Business entities. Anyway, other than being Filipino citizens, we also didn't pay for any application fees since we were only getting a single entry visa. The foreigners on the other hand, and those who will be applying for multiple entires will get charged for different amounts.
Ok, so why were we applying for Korean Visa's? Well, my Kuya's full-length film entitled THIRD WORLD HAPPY was invited by the Jeonju International Film Festival for an international premiere. His film was 1 of 7 entries that were entered for Cinema One's Original Films last November 2010. His main actors were Sam Milby and Jodi Sta. Maria.