Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day 1 Jeonju Highlights: Dasarang Chicken & Pizza, Samgyeopsal, and Hite!

[May 2, 2011]

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 brother and I ordered a platter of Original and Spicy chicken and Pizza. And while waiting for our orders, the waitress placed several small bowls that contained appetizers in them. There were these bowls filled with raddish, coleslaw and some colored cereal corn pops for our eating pleasure. I later on found out that these ring-like junkfood was actually Korea's version of Popcorn. And if I may say so myself, those treats were good and tasty! I actually thought about bringing some home but then I changed my mind. ;)

What we ordered was a little expensive but the food was actually great, and everything had a little spiciness to it. We even had some take-home since Choy couldn't finish the chicken anymore. And so after lunch, we went to the nearest 7-Eleven to get some ice cream to treat our taste buds to something sweet.

We also walked around the festival, and checked out the boutiques at the Cinema Street. And when we finally got tired, we decided to head back to the hotel. We were there until my Kuya arrived. He came in late (around 11 pm), but his travel was much faster compared to ours since he rode the cab with two other Filipinos (Cinema One representaives).

When kuya finally got his stuff settled, we headed out for some late dinner. My niece, Rachel didn't respond right away, so we arranged to meet the next day instead. All three of us just headed back to the festival venue where we eventually found this authentic Korean restaurant. We couldn't read the signages but we've managed to adapt to our surroundings. We came in and ordered what the other locals were eating. It was a restaurant that offered smokeless grilling units where you can cook beef slices and some veggies by yourself (much like Yakimix in the Philippines). 

We were given one unit, which was placed on top of our table. Several side dishes were also served to us minutes after. The waiters placed several bowls on our table, which individually contained kimchi (in different forms), lettuce, mushrooms, garlic, onions, and other vegetables that tasted great when grilled. This was Korea's famous 'Samgyeopsal'.

Now, my kuya was actually funny yet smart as he was carefully and attentively watching some of the customers with their grilling. He eventually figured how everything was supposed to work, and we were able to eat our food almost immediately. The different kinds of beef strips were really tasty, and the veggies actually complemented the beef. But what's even better was that they also had Coke to complement the whole meal altogether. Kuya laid off on the Coke though and ordered Korea's famous HITE beer instead. He loved it actually and ordered a couple more.

We didn't do anything else after dinner so we just went back to the hotel by foot (we actually explored which routes lead the shortest back to CORE). We just called it a night as we had a long day coming for the next day.

Now, you wouldn't believe the world-class service that JIFF was providing to its guests. But of course, you'll have to read the next few entries to find out why. =P

Until then..

Explore & Be Free!
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