Korea 2014: Pieces of History

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My friends and I were in South Korea for a considerable amount of time… definitely longer than your average tour. However, it still felt like we had more to see and more to do. The country is just so rich in culture, history and even modern attractions that it was impossible to hit all the stops in our original itinerary. Something was always bound to distract us from our plan; and that’s what I loved about the flexibility and ease of our trip. That is why I won’t go into our day-to-day activities. I will instead write about certain highlights and attractions based on what they have in common. Hopefully, these posts could give suggestions as to where you should go and what you should prioritize depending on your main objective in going to this country.

South Korea undoubtedly has a rich history… a country that went through a number of challenges before becoming the developed economy that it is now. Much like Japan, Korea shows great appreciation for their heritage by rebuilding and preserving relics that remind people about their past. And if you’re the type who loves to learn about history and catching glimpses of what life might have been like before, here are some attractions that you may want to visit:

BUKCHON HANOK VILLAGE
Accessible from: Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 2.
What I Saw/Did:
– Walked around and saw the many traditional houses (called hanok) in the area.
– Experienced an overnight hanok stay in Manaedang. There are a number of guesthouses that accommodate tourists and visitors… allowing them to briefly immerse in one aspect of Korean culture.
– Did some window shopping. There are a number of adorable shops and small stores that sell various souvenirs.
Why Go There:
It’s definitely a charming place that brings you to the past; but it’s also mixed with subtle hints of modernity (through the many coffee shops, gift shops and even churches) that show you how far they’ve come.

GYEONGBOKGUNG PALACE
Accessible from: Gyeongbokgung Palace Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 5 OR Gwanghwamun Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 2.
What I Saw/Did:
– Watched the Royal Guard Changing Ceremony.
– Toured the grounds in the company of a student guide. These are young Koreans who volunteer during the weekends and offer free tours. We were approached by the exit of the subway station and of course, we said yes! It’s a really good program that allows them to interact with tourists and practice their English.
– Got lost in the HUGE Gyeongbokgung Palace grounds… and to think this is just a fraction of how it was when it was originally built (side note: The current Gyeongbokgung Palace is already a restoration of the original structure because it was destroyed during the war).
Why Go There:
This is a must see historical landmark when in Korea. Allow yourself to get lost in the beautiful structures and the magnificent views from all angles.

MYEONG-DONG CATHEDRAL
Accessible from: Myeong-dong Subway Station (Seoul Subway Line 4), Exit 8
What I Saw/Did:
– Saw Pope Francis and heard mass in Korean.
– Visited and prayed in the cathedral.
Why Go There:
Again, I was lucky enough to be there in time for the Pope’s visit. If you’re a devout Catholic, it would be interesting to see the birthplace of the Roman Catholic Church community in Korea.

DMZ TOUR (Korean Demilitarized Zone)
Accessible from: special tour that I suggest you book with an agent
What I Saw/Did:
– Got a brief history lesson and learned about the division of North and South Korea.
– Went down the Third Tunnel (one of the tunnels linking North to South Korea, which were believed to have been planned as a military invasion route by North Korea). This is 240ft below ground. The trip down was tiring but fascinating nonetheless. I was a few hundred feet away from North Korea!
– Saw a glimpse of North Korea (though from a great great distance) and the demarcation line between the two countries.
– Visited Dorasan Station, the last railway stop in South Korea that links them to North Korea.
Why Go There: Even with a half-day tour (There’s a whole day option available.), it was a really interesting crash course into the background of the division between North and South Korea. If you love history, this is something you should definitely experience.

NAMSANGOL HANOK VILLAGE
Accessible from: Chungmuro Station (Seoul Subway Line 3 & 4), Exit 4.
What I Saw/Did:
– Took a leisurely walk around the village that features 5 restored traditional Korean houses. (Also took a lot of pictures!)
Why Go There:
Namsangol Hanok Village serves as a showcase of traditional Korean houses from the Joseon Dynasty. The 5 houses restored and featured in this village range from those owned by a peasant to those owned by a king’s family. We just missed the hanbok wearing experience by a few minutes; but you could definitely do it here for a small fee. In addition to that, there are different ceremonies that you could witness or even experience and traditional games that you could play. It’s a great cultural immersion.

SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS
Accessible from: Suwon Station (Seoul Subway Line 1). Take Bus 2, 7, 7-2, 8, or 13 and get off at Jongno 4-geori (intersection).
What I Saw/Did:
– We got lost getting there… But we got there; and that’s what’s important!
– Took in the sights and took pictures.
Why Go There:
The Suwon Hwaseong Fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a very imposing structure, a very long walk (if you go from one end to the other), but at its core, it’s simply an impressive historical site to see.

UNHYEONGUNG PALACE
Accessible from: Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3) Exit 4 OR Jongno 3-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 5) Exit 4
What I Saw/Did:
– Got a chance to wear a traditional hanbok and went around the grounds taking pictures.
Why Go There:
This is an example of a royal residence from the Joseon Dynasty right in the heart of the city. It’s a small compound; but it’s another opportunity to have a glimpse of the past and how royals lived during that time. Like Namsangol Hanok Village, Unhyeongung Palace offers activities that allow tourists to experience some cultural immersion while in Korea.

hanbok wearing experience in Unhyeongung Royal Residence

hanbok wearing experience in Unhyeongung Palace

There are definitely a few other sites we planned to see (a couple more temples, palaces and other UNESCO World Heritage Sites); but these few pieces of history allowed us to travel back in time and served as a good introduction into the culture, history and heritage of South Korea.

Previous Post – Free and Easy
Up Next – Modern Sights

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Korea 2014: Free and Easy

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Before I touch on the sights to see in Korea, I will share with you my day-to-day itinerary for this trip. This could serve as a rough template if you plan to go there soon.

My friends and I spent 11 days there during the summer-monsoon season. The weather was a bit unpredictable. It was raining one day, sunny the next… much like here in the Philippines. It was good that we kept our plans free and easy. We shuffled and rearranged destinations depending on what we could physically fit in one day. It also allowed us to be flexible and adjust depending on weather (not to mention our stamina for that day). We also modified our itinerary a bit; because we had to fit a once in a lifetime chance to see Pope Francis. We were lucky enough to be there when he visited. In the end, we still missed going to some places from what we originally plotted out; but we still saw/did a LOT of things while having a great time and that’s what mattered.

We usually started our day just before lunch and ended around midnight (or later) back at the hotel. It involved some getting lost, I have to be honest (though rarely); but at the end of the day, the experience of being free to explore as we go along… not being hauled off into a bus for every stop made the trip all the more enriching. We got to drink in the sights, take a rest when we needed to, and take lots of photos (*wink wink*).

Day 1:
– 0915 Arrival in Incheon
– Hanokstay (Manaedang) Check-In/Explore Area
– My Love from the Star Exhibition (Dongdaemun Design Plaza)
Day 2:
– Hanokstay (Manaedang) Check-Out
– Bukchon Hanok Village
– Rio House Check-In
– EDAE (Ehwa Women’s University)
– Hongdae Night Life
Day 3:
– Hongdae Free Market
– Myeongdong
– Namsan Seoul Tower (Locks of Love/Alive Museum/Observatory)
Day 4:
– Gyeongbokgung Palace
– Gwanghwamun Gate
– Cheonggyecheon Stream
Day 5:
– Pope Francis Mass
– Myeongdong Cathedral
– Hangang River Ferry Cruise
– Dongdaemun (Lotte Fitin)
Day 6:
– Nami Island
– Petite France
Day 7:
– DMZ Tour (with Ginseng Center/Cosmetics Center)
– Namsangol Hanok Village
– Myeongdong Shopping
– Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain
Day 8:
– Gangnam Underground Shopping Center
– Insadong
Day 9:
– Everland
Day 10:
– Suwon Hwaseong Fortress
– Lotte Mart
Day 11:
– Rio House Check-Out
– Unhyeongung Palace (Hanbok Wearing)
– Hello Kitty Cafe
– 2135 Departure from Incheon

Previous Post – An Overview
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Korea 2014: An Overview

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For the past few years, it has been my goal to go to at least one new destination every year. For 2014, that place is South Korea… where I spent a total of 11 days. Honestly, it still wasn’t enough too see everything I wanted to see; but I think me and my companions made the most of it.

Since there are a lot of places to cover, I will spread my Korea sojourn across a number of entries. However, I will only pick certain highlights from my trip which could also serve as my recommendations when you do decide to take a trip in the near future.

I will kick things off with an overview of my recent trip… From plane tickets and visa application to basic transportation and food.

PISO FARE Never Fails

Year round, Cebu Pacific holds a number of Piso Fare Promos that could save you thousands in plane fares alone. Other airlines like Air Asia and even Philippine Airlines also hold frequent seat sales. It always pays off keeping your eyes peeled for a promo.

Thanks to a Piso Fare Promo, the round-trip tickets to Incheon International Airport set me a back a mere Php8,000++. It was a really good price given the destination.

VISA APPLICATION

I applied for my tourist visa without coursing it through a travel agency; and I’m proud to have gone through the process myself. A month before your trip is an appropriate allowance to apply. Offhand, here is the list of requirements:

1. Application Form
2. 1 piece Passport size colored picture
3. Original Passport (should be valid for more than 6 months)
4. Photocopy of Passport Bio-page (page 2)
5. Original & Photocopy of valid visa/s and arrival stamps to OECD member countries for the past 5 years (If applicable, and Korean Visas will not be counted)
6. Original Certificate of Employment (with contact number/s & address of company and date of issue)
7. Original Personal Bank Certificate (NOT Bank Statement)
8. Photocopy of ITR (Income Tax Return) or Form 2316
•If personally invited by Korean : Invitation Letter & Copy of invitor’s Passport
•If invited by Company in Korea: Invitation Letter & Copy of Korean Company Business Permit
■ Processing Time: 3 working days (for those who have visas of OECD member countries); 5 working days (for those who do not have visas of OECD member
countries)
■ Visa Fee: 59 days (or less) stay in Korea — GRATIS; 60 to 90 days stay in Korea — PHP1,800.00
Source: Embassy Website

Submission of documents is between 9-11am during weekdays; and claiming of visa/passport is between 2-4pm during weekdays.

The requirements are fairly easy to complete. What’s important is that you check and double check everything before submitting it to the consul. It’s also important to make sure that your documents proving source of income (Certificate of Employment, ITR) and savings (Bank Certificate) are substantial enough; so that they won’t doubt your ability to sustain yourself for the trip. It also helps if you’ve had a couple of out of the country trips stamped on your passport… better if you’ve been to other OECD member countries in the past 5 years.

Here are some great sources for tips on Korean Visa Application:
Our Awesome Planet | The Eager Traveller

CURRENCY: Korean Won (KRW)

The unit of currency in South Korea is the Korean Won (KRW). KRW1 is approximately equivalent to Php0.045; and USD$1 is approximately equivalent to KRW1,013. The best rates for foreign exchange could be found in Myeongdong area.

ACCOMMODATION: Rio House Hongdae

We stayed in a really charming and affordable inn called Rio House Hongdae. Its location is really great. It’s near a subway station. It is also walking distance from the hustle and bustle that is Hongdae (great area for night life/food/shopping). The rooms are cozy and comfortable and it had all the basic amenities one could ever need when staying in Seoul. There’s no breakfast offered; but there’s a kitchen, free WiFi and assistance from the manager/owner when you need it.

Deluxe Family Room for a maximum of 4 people (photo from Rio House Hongdae site)

My friends and I stayed in the Deluxe Family Room; and together with a portable WiFi rental (one of the most useful items we had on hand the whole trip), we spent an average of KRW40,222 (or Php1810) per day per person. The rooms offered may go up to a maximum of 6 people sharing. The more people in a room, the cheaper it will be per head.

TRANSPORTATION: Seoul Metro/Korail System

Seoul Metropolitan Subway

Seoul Metropolitan Subway Map

From our arrival to our departure, the Seoul Metro and the Korail served as our go-to means of transportation. It is one of the simplest and cheapest ways to go around the city without getting lost (most of the time). Compared to Osaka Subway, I found the Korean subway/train system fairly easier to navigate. If you need an easier guide, however, they actually have an app for that —

Subway Korea

This app is available on the App Store (iOS) and on Google Play (Android). Aside from an overview of the subway system, you could also click on your source and destination to know which is the fastest way to get there. It also provides transfer timetable, station and area guide. You could also determine the nearest station based on your current location.

In some instances, taking the bus or taxi would be a more practical way of getting around depending on your destination. However, about 95% of our trip involved riding the subway.

T-Money

The easiest way to pay for transportation is the T-money card. I was able to purchase mine from a convenience store at the airport for KRW3,000 (approx Php135). I then reloaded an initial amount of KRW30,000 (approx Php1350) with reloading machines at the station. This covered for about 5-6 days of riding the trains/buses including the Airport Railroad.

FOOD: Spicy to Sweet

just some of the food I ate throughout my trip

Koreans love food. It is evident from the numerous street food stalls to various restaurants to coffee shops that are present in almost every block. If you want to cover the extremes, be ready to eat some really spicy food and really sweet desserts. You will inevitably encounter some type of alcohol as well… either beer or soju. Just don’t be afraid to explore the streets for something new and different.

Must-try: Korean BBQ in all its forms (chicken, beef, pork, octopus), bibimbap (rice dish), chicken and beer (get the local beer such as Cass), chicken ginseng soup, any form of ice cream, any egg dish (steamed egg or egg roll), any street food (hotdogs and assorted fried food), any appetizer (especially kimchi), shaved ice dessert, any coffee or dessert from a local cafe.

SIGHTS: Past and Present Collide

a major road right in front of Gwanghwamun Gate

What definitely stood out from my exploration of Korea is how historical sites exist in the midst of a busy metropolitan setting. Hanoks (traditional Korean houses) are in line with modern residences. Palaces are preserved within their own gates; but it’s surrounded by busy intersections and high rise buildings. South Korea has also preserved a number of areas and turned them into places where everyone could just hang out or walk around. One would never run out of places to see and things to do. It’s a really beautiful country.

I will cover more of these sites in my next entries. I can’t wait to share more about my epic trip!

Up Next – Free and Easy

Shopping Diary #11: Shoe Love

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I’m concentrating on shoes for this shopping diary. These weren’t bought in one go but over a period of time. I’ve been slowly updating my collection for the past year; since most of my sneakers/sandals have worn out and a few of them I rarely wear anymore… I had to say goodbye. My preference still gravitates toward comfortable footwear that are more appropriate for work; but I have recently developed a love for ballet flats rather than just rubber shoes and sneakers.

BUTTERFLY TWISTS
Cleo in Leopard
Php1699
Alexandra in Black
Php4599

I love this brand of flats. They’re really comfortable and stylish. When I wear them, it almost feels like I’m barefoot, which is just the way I like it.

I bought the leopard Cleos first… wanting to try out foldable flats without spending too much. I was so happy with it that I bought the Alexandra a few months later. I needed a more basic style that could be worn with almost anything. Every time I pass by their stall/store, I get tempted to buy another pair. It’s definitely a brand I highly recommend as an alternative to the more expensive ones out there on the market.

CONVERSE
Chuck Taylor Classic White
Php1850

My personal style in recent years has been leaning towards simple, basic pieces; and a pair of white Chucks is as basic as you could get.

Before I bought these, I was down to my last pair of black Chucks that are way way too worn out (over 5 years old and counting… but I still kept them). Plus, I’ve recently developed a love for boyfriend jeans and they go well with… yup, the classic white Chuck Taylors. I just had to buy a pair.

NIKE
Air Max 90 Essential

$119.90

No other explanation… I just WANTED A PAIR. I just HAD TO HAVE it. You know that feeling? It’s just so beautiful!! Unfortunately, the good designs of the Air Max (especially for women) haven’t arrived in Philippine shores. I’m so thankful to someone who did me a huge favor and brought a pair back to the country for me. Thank you!

TORY BURCH
Gold Reva Flats
Php8575
(on sale from Php12250)

For the past few months, I’ve been looking for a good pair of nude ballet flats. The search ended last week (but I ended up buying gold flats!).

I came across the Tory Burch sale at Rustan’s, tried a pair of the nude-colored Eddie flats and they didn’t really suit me or my skin tone. The gold Revas caught my eye and seemed like the next best thing so I tried them on. Gold is not my usual style; but the design isn’t on the heavy metallic side so it was just right for me. It served as a great alternative to nude flats. Plus, armed with the gift certificates I received last Christmas, I was able to save even more on this pretty big purchase. I can’t wait to wear these everywhere.

Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!

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I’m riddled with guilt; because I haven’t posted a single entry this year… and it’s already JULY! The first six months of 2014 just whizzed by; and I’ve either been too busy or too tired to even think about writing. It’s a happy problem, though, so I’m really thankful.

Still, better late than never. Now that I’ve finally pushed myself to write an entry, I’m going to kick off my blog this 2014 with a quick roundup of some projects I’ve been busy with for the first half of the year (different clients and different directors, FYI). This way, you’ll catch a glimpse of the crazy first half of my year (and hopefully understand my long hiatus from posting).

“ARTWORK”
This was an AVP shot on location in Pinto Gallery in Antipolo. We set up and shot features for three different photographers in a single location, which was a real challenge. But we did it!

Client: Canon Philippines | Agency: Publicis JimenezBasic
Director: Mark Mendoza | DOP: Sol Galang | Assistant Director: Randolph Longjas | Production Designer: Zaldy Manalang
Production House: Straight Shooters | Post Production: Engine Room

 “GAME”
This was shot in a house in Balete Drive, I kid you not. The house is pretty creepy; but the cheerful and happy nature of this board more than made up for it. The kids were great!

Client: Nestlé Philippines | Agency: Publicis Manila
Director: Pancho Esguerra | DOP: Monchie Redoble | Choreographer: Ickay Eusebio | Production Designer: Rious Caliso
Production House: Straight Shooters | Post Production: Engine Room/Optima Digital

“SELFIE”
The prep time for this board was a bit insane; but I’m glad we pulled it off. This was shot in one day in the Ortigas Center area and the beautiful campus of STI Ortigas-Cainta. Our DOP used a special handheld camera rig (called Brushless Gimbal) that allowed us to execute the smooth movement of from one angle to the other. It looks pretty good!

Client: STI
Director: Chris Martinez | DOP: Gary Gardoce | Assistant Director: Melvin Lee | Production Designer: Nina Torres
Production House: Straight Shooters | Post Production: Engine Room

“SIMPLICITY”
This was my first time working with a Taiwanese director. This spot was shot in 2 days in 2 schools: DLSU-Dasma and PUP. In a nutshell, the shoots were really quick and relatively painless… just the kind of projects I like.

Client: Johnson & Johnson Philippines | Agency: BBDO Guerrero
Director: Maureen Li | DOP: Ta-Pu Chen | Assistant Director: Pao Han Fang/Randolph Longjas | Production Designer: Adelina Leung
Production House: Straight Shooters | Post Production: Riot

“STAR”
This is the first of many materials for this project. Still waiting for the others to be approved… Anyway, all TVCs were shot in the span of a weekend (Friday to Sunday); and we had a lot of fun doing them.

Client: Unilab | Agency: Publicis JimenezBasic
Director/DOP: Yam Laranas | Assistant Director: Christine Blando/Manman Angsico | Production Designer: Rious Caliso
Production House: Straight Shooters | Post Production: Engine Room/Optima Digital

“SHOP & WIN”
This project was briefed and prepped in the span of exactly four days, two days of which included Saturday and Sunday. Insane, right? How we were able to pull it off is still a bit of a blur; but despite the challenges of prepping and shooting in a mall during mall hours, I think we did a good job.

Client: SM Supermalls/SMDC | Agency: BBDO Guerrero
Director/DOP: Jorg Schifferer | Assistant Director: James Sales | Production Designer: Marlon Baisac
Production House: Straight Shooters | Post Production: Engine Room

“SELFIE”
Yup. Another selfie-related project. This was also a commercial that had less than a week of preparation. The main challenge for us was maximizing one location to look like many different vignettes. How long was the shoot? One day. What location? Somewhere in QC. I think the team really pulled it off, don’t you think?

Client: Unilab | Agency: McCann WorldGroup
Director/DOP: Yam Laranas | Assistant Director: Melvin Lee | Production Designer: Butch Garcia
Production House: Straight Shooters | Post Production: Giantsponge Digital

Year-End Thanksgiving

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A lot of tragedies happened this year, both for the country and the world. There’s no need to expound on this fact; but we felt it… the sadness, the anger, the helplessness, the fear… That is why for my year-end reflection, I’ll do my best to turn things around and focus on what I’m thankful for this 2013. I’ll also keep it short and sweet; so we could quickly move forward and welcome 2014 with a positive attitude.

I’m thankful that my family is healthy, happy and safe from harm. I’m thankful for the home that I live in, the comforts that I am able to enjoy, and the simple luxuries that I could afford. It allows me time to take a break despite life’s stresses; and I’m able to feel secure knowing that the people in my life are doing okay.

I’m thankful for my health. The past year has been a constant and conscious effort for me to maintain the weight that I lost in 2012. I’m happy to say that the weight has been off and I’ve lost a couple more pounds by the end of the year. The next year will be all about finally reaching my goal and keeping that healthy weight for good.

I’m thankful for my personal growth. I’ve traveled some more this year, both to familiar and unfamiliar places. I’m grateful to have had these trips, which gave me wonderful life experiences that I will remember forever. I’m also thankful for the many challenges that work has thrown my way. It has definitely made me stronger and allowed me to grow in an industry that never fails to surprise me every step of the way. I’m looking forward to more curve balls in the near future.

Lastly, I’m thankful for the love that surrounds me every day. I know that it’s corny; but I really feel so blessed to be around people that genuinely care about each other. The laughter and joy that comes with it just keeps me going every day. As a bonus, it pushes me to pay it forward and help out others as much as I can.

I’m very grateful for the year that was. I’m very hopeful for the year to come. Here’s to a wonderful New Year! Let’s do it!

Shopping Diary #10: Apple Crazy

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It’s been over a year since I’ve posted a shopping diary. Still, I’ve bought many different things throughout 2013, both for myself and for others. I just decided not to share all of them here. For the last quarter of the year, however, I rewarded myself with some truly wonderful items… all a product of hard work and year-long savings.

Anyway, I went a little Mac crazy and purchased the latest in Apple gadgets and accessories. Take note, though, that I didn’t buy all these in one day; and I didn’t dump all my savings into these “gifts.” These were budgeted and planned according to what I could afford (which is what everyone should do).

GLOBE
iPhone 5S Space Grey

My Best Ever Super Plan plus Cash Out (24-month lock-in)

It’s been 2 years since I got my iPhone 4S; and it hasn’t been working as great as it used to. After all, it fell into the water over a year ago and certain functions (such as the camera and the silent mode) aren’t at their optimal performance. I decided early on to recontract once my plan expires. Enter iPhone 5S.

Despite its confusing and more complicated billing plan, I stuck with Globe for convenience. With a little cash out and an upgraded plan, I now have the latest Apple smart phone that has so far delivered in terms of performance (great speed and screen quality) and features (amazing camera with slow motion, touch ID, etc.).

KIMSTORE
iPad Air White/Silver

I’ve been eyeing the iPad Mini since March; and I promised myself that I will buy the latest model once it comes out this year. However, my plan suddenly changed when I held an iPad Air in my hand for the first time (courtesy of a director who bought one for himself). I was convinced. With a bigger screen size and its much lighter weight (compared to older iPads), I just had to go for the Air. Its screen size is perfect for reading my magazines (Zinio, Newsstand), editing my documents (Evernote, DocsToGo) and playing games (Sims Freeplay, Bejeweled, Scrabble, Secret Passages). I would have been constrained by the iPad Mini when it comes to these apps.

The iPad Air has become a fitting alternative to lugging my laptop to work everyday. I just love it so much… by far my favorite gadget now.

POWER MAC CENTER
Lab.C USB Case for iPhone 5/5S

Php1,690

I just love multifunctional accessories; and the Lab.C iPhone 5/5S case is exactly that with its innovative design. Aside from protecting my iPhone, it also has an 8gb USB built into the case. This way, I can bring my important files with me anywhere; and since the USB is virtually part of my phone, I’m always reminded if someone has borrowed or is using it… No more leaving my USB anywhere.

DIGITAL WALKER
Olloclip 4-in-1 iPhone Lens

Php3,250

I love taking photos with my phone; and the Olloclip 4-in-1 iPhone Lens elevates the quality of my shots with minimal effort. Despite its simple design, I get four different lenses in one device: fisheye, wide, 10x macro and 15x macro. It’s so much fun experimenting with the lenses and the effects they create. Definitely a must for any iphoneography enthusiast.

With technology like what we have right now, there’s no doubt in my mind that this isn’t the last time I’ll go gadget crazy. The important thing is that they were well thought out purchases, all of which I have no regrets spending on. I’m absolutely happy to have them… Merry Christmas to me!