A Travellerspoint blog

The New 7 Wonders of Nature: The Underground River

The Puerto Princessa Underground River, Palawan, Philippines

sunny 30 °C
View Philippines Trip on Anja Fourie's travel map.

After a week on the small island of Boracay, we make our way West to the larger island of Palawan.

The island is approximately 450kms long and has a width of about 50kms. The island's capital is Puerto Princesa. The island's capital is geographically one of the bigger cities in the Philippines, but also the least densely populated city in the country with a population of 222,673. The name, Spanish for Princess Port, is a real princess of ports as its depth can accommodate any size vessel and it is protected from the elements by its location. Queen Isabella II of Spain, named the port after her daughter. The city was founded in 1872.

1. Coming in for landing over Palawan
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2. Deep Forest Garden Resort

The hotel that we stayed in was called the Deep Forest Garden Resort. The place is quite magnificent and you truly feel like you are deep in the forest when you are inside the grounds. In the center there is a swimming pool, underwater chess, a bar, restaurant, lifesize casts of animals and some hidden places covered with vines and plants. Around this area, is a path, and all the rooms are located next to the path. Our room was really nice and the hotel staff very friendly. They also have a book, where you can look at the types of tours on offer around Puerto Princesa. The hotel will book them for you and they are also at a very decent price.

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3. Badjao Sea Front Restaurant
One of the first nights we were there we went to a restaurant that is located in the middle of the ocean. You have to walk across a bridge to get to the restaurant which is standing on stilts in the water. The views are very beautiful and the food was great.

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4. Firefly Watching
One of the tours we choose through the hotel, was to go Firefly Watching. You are unfortunately not allowed to take photos when you are near the fireflies, as the flash scares them off. The fireflies can only be seen far from the city lights, so taking a photo with no flash is basically useless. We were picked up at the hotel and taken to the port where a ferry boat picked us up and took us into the river. Here two smaller boats were waiting. They have very small engines that make a very soft sound, so not to scare the fireflies away. The water is surrounded by high trees and forestation on either way and the fireflies can be spotted in them. Groups of lights. The eery silence and blinding darkness of the night, made the spotting of the first group of fireflies so amazing. The water also contains algae, which lights up as the boat glides through it. It made it seem like the boat was spraying a stream of glitter behind it.

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5. Honda Bay
We also chose to do a Honday Bay Island Hopping trip. Honda Bay is the Bay where the city of Puerto Princesa is located in on the Eastern side of Palawan Island. Many small islands are scattered here, and the water is blue and clear and warm. This day trip consists of going to three different places. Your tour group also will not be big as the boats can't take many people. Not more than 8 at a time. First you will stop at a place to rent some snorkeling gear. Then get on the little boats and make your way over to a snorkeling sport. This is a man made mini-island of jetties floating in the water. The small boats dock here and you get in the water and snorkel for a bit. Some reef parts are protected which you are not allowed to swim over. It was very different than snorkeling in Boracay, where we were only 4 people. Here it was super crowded with tourists and about a 100 people are snorkeling in the designated area. We were only allowed a short time too and then we had to get out and leave.

Next, we went to one of the small islands and enjoyed lunch and some more swimming. The water is so warm that we mostly just drifted and relaxed in the shallow water. Although, there hardly are any waves. After lunch, you will head to one more island to swim and dive for star fish and then it is home town. After all the swimming and running around in the sun, we were proper exhausted and fell asleep in the car on the way back. A day well spent.

Check out this video of us: Snorkeling in the Philippines

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6. The Puerto Princesa Underground River (New 7 Wonder of the World)
Technically, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, is the site which has been given New 7 Wonders of the World Status. The river is located about 50kms North of Puerto Princesa. To get there, we once again, organised a trip through the hotel. To visit the park, you need a permit. To get the permit, you just go to the office in Puerto Princesa, wait a few minutes and then chosoe your time that you want to go. There are only certain times during the day when you can enter, and this is to ensure that it doesn't get too crowded. Beware not to choose a time that is too early as you need to be at the harbour, at least an hour before your permit time. And, the small and mostly dirt road from Puerto Princesa may take up to 2 hours. We had to get up very early for our pickup to be in time for our 10:30am permit.

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There are hotels that are on located on the harbour by the National Park, so you can stay there as well. When you get to the little harbour, your guide will tkae your permits and organise with a boat to the park. The park is accessible by hiking there, but not by any vehicles.
The 5min ride around the cliffside takes you to a small beach. Here all the boats unload the tourists and go back to fetch more. You get a boat number and you are only allowed to return with that boat. Also, prepare to get wet at least up to your knees, as you have to walk into the water to climb on the boat, as you can see in the photo below.

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Next, you can stop for some photo opportunities with the sign that shows the status of the river.

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You then get to put on some lifejackets and safety helmets. You walk through a little path and in the forest and get to another little beach. Here, you climb onto another small boat. This boat has no engine, but is rowed solely by the guide who sits at the back. The cave is approximately 24kms long. Regular tourists are only allowed up to 1km or so, but researchers can purchase an additional permit and enter further into the cave. Really deep areas are very difficult to explore, because of the oxygen deprivation. The cave also has a second floor above, which means that small waterfalls fall into the river.

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The cave houses a massive 300m high dome, with some incredible rock formations and inscriptions on the walls. These were from earlier explorers. The rock formations take on different shapes like people or animals if you look at it from the correct angles. Many bats live in the caves and you can hear them making noises throughout the ride. There are a total of 9 different species of bat in the cave. Reptiles such as pythons and sneasnakes are also swimming in the cave's water. This made us sit very very still on that little boat.

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The water is also a milky blue colour. The distinguishing feature of this river is that it flows directly into the South China Sea and is influenced by the tides.

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7. Bearcats and Snakes
After returning back to shore, we walked a little distance along the beach to a restaurant. Here we spotted some cows walking on the beach. And then, the bearcats and the snake. Bearcats, also known as the Asian Bearcat or Palawan Bearcat, doesn't really look like a bear or a car. It sort of reminds me of a sloth, but the paws are more like a rodent. They are from Palawan, but can also sometimes be found in other parts of South Eat Asia, such as Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. They are soft and adorably cute. Even the name is cute. They are really quite lazy, though and prefer to sleep and eat. They can also grow as old as 20 years.

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The snakes on the other hand were a different story. The 5 year olds play with them like they are baby kittens. I had the snake on me for about two second to take the photo and then I almost cried for the boy to take it off me. It is completely terrifying when that head starts to sliver and turn towards you.

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With our Palawan tour to an end, we had three more days left of our holiday and decided to head out of the rural areas and spent some time in the city.
Next stop: Manila

Posted by Anja Fourie 17:23 Archived in Philippines Tagged boats fish ocean philippines palawan swimming snorkel underground_river puerto_princessa honda_bay Comments (1)

Boracay Island, The Philippines

"I'll take you to the Philippines, We can go there, Jump on a plane." ~ Apl.de.Ap (Take me to the Philippines)

sunny 28 °C
View Philippines Trip on Anja Fourie's travel map.

Not much more than a 4 hour flight from South Korea, lies the Philippine Archipelago which comprises of about 7,107 different little islands. Of these only about 2,000 are inhabited. The first island that we visited is the popular tourist destination, Boracay Island. Voted, The Best Island in the World 2012, by Travel+Leisure, this island has sprawling beaches, clear waters and a strip of beach bars.

On the 4th of August, we got up very early for our 8 o'clock flight. As we walked to the bus stop close to our apartment block, the one wheel of my bag broke off. Not such a great start, but my excitement quickly made me not care less about a broken bag. The first bus of the day came around the corner as the sun started rising over Incheon. The bus takes about 45 minutes, depending on traffic, but soon we arrive at the airport and check in our bags. We are ready to embark on our journey to the Philippines!

About 4 hours later we arrive in Manila. It is typhoon season and everything is wet. It is raining incredibly hard and unfortunately for this airport you have to walk all the way around on the outside, to get to departures again. The plane ride down to Kalibo Airport is very bumpy, but we are suprised by beautiful weather when we land there.

1. Hello Philippines!
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Boracay is one of the smaller islands in the Philippines. It is situated 315km south of Manila and forms part of the Panay Islands. It is just 2km north of the bigger island here. This means that we had to fly from Incheon to Manila, transfer from Manila to Kalibo airport, take a 2 hour bus ride up north to the ferry station, and then make the 15min journey by ferry to Boracay Island. Then we got on a little bus to the main part of the island, where our hotel was. We stayed in Island Nook Boutique Hotel. This place is situated right on Boracay Highway, the biggest road on the island that goes from the one side to the other.

2. Island Nook Boutique Hotel
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The island is only about 7kms long, has a total area of 10.32 squared kms and the narrowest point is less than a kilometer. This narrow point is where most of the hotels, bars, beaches and action can be found in Boracay.The two main beaches, White Beach and Bulabog Beach are located at opposite ends of this thin stretch. White Beach faces West and Bulabog faces east. You can easily walk from the one side to the other with a direct road. The famous White Beach is where all the bars and restaurants are situated and also the main swimming area. If you walk to the other side, Bulabog Beach is where all the extreme sports are situated. Here you can also get a little boat to take you to one of the other, quieter beaches down the island or for some snorkeling.

As we arrived pretty late at our hotel, it was already dark when we headed out for the first time to go and explore Boracay. The first thing you notice here is the scooters. Always everywhere and always going. There are barely any big cars here, just small busses, motorcycles and the tricycles.

3. Crazy streets
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4. "Get anything over the counter" Pharmacy - we were laughing at how really strong pills that you need definitely need a prescription for back home, can just be bought through a little window like a burger at McDonalds' drive-thru.
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Our first night there, we saw a fire show on the beach. Soon we realised that not all of these dancers are in fact the tiny girls that they appear to be. There is something a little "more" to them. Our first ladyboy sighting confirms the fact that we have arrived in South East Asia.

5. Fire Show on White Beach
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ILIG ILIGAN

The next day we head out to do some activities. Our hotel had discounts on a lot of the activities, so we organised a boat trip through them. On the other days we mostly just took the flyer from our place down to Bulabog and organised it ourselves. One of the trips you can do, is take a little boat and go snorkel. After this, they take you to Ilig Iligan Beach. This beach is basically deserted. Just a few locals roaming around, some people snorkeling, and some goats walking on the beach. There are two restaurants, huts really, where you can get some lunch. We went here three times during our week in Boracay, but for the second two times we opted not to do the snorkeling and rather just relaxed on the beach. There is a road to the beach, but it is not fully developed enough for the tricycle to complete the journey, so taking a boat there is the fastest and best way.

6. On our way to Ilig Iligan from Bulabog Beach
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7. Beautiful beaches of Ilig Iligan
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8. Ilig Iligan Restaurant ~ waves crashing in beneath your feet as the tide rises, ladies selling you beads while you wait for your food, and delicious Filipino food cooked on the beach, makes it all a very unique experience.
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9. Swimming and Diving for Star Fish
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PUKA SHELL BEACH

It is possible to take a tricycle to Puka Beach, which is situated to the North of the island. It is basically right next to Ilig Iligan, but you can travel straight to this beach via the main road. With the tricycle it takes approximately 15 minutes to get there. The name originated from the Puka shells found on this 800m, beautiful stretch of beach. The beach at Ilig Iligan is situated in a smaller bay, making it protected from the elements and thus there is now wind or waves to really speak of. The beach at Puka is more open and the small waves crash very close to the shore. Here we just swan, tanned and drank coconut milk/

10. View from the tricycle, on our way to Puka Beach
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11. At Puka Beach
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BULABOG BEACH SPORTS...

At Bulabog we also did some other fun activities. The banana boat is blow-up banana shape boat, which you sit on and then get pulled behind a speed boat. It doesn't go very fast, but is fun. After this, half of our group decided to also do the Flying Fish. This basically works on the same concept, except that the Flying Fish has "wings" on the side, causing it to lift out of the water at more than a 45 degree angle. Our one friend fell off and lost both his boxers and his pants. He managed to save his pants, but had to let his boxers be eaten by the fishes.

12. Banana Boat and the Flying Fish
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BORACAY NIGHTLIFE...

We spent the whole day on the beach, had afternoon naps and then went out for dinner. Dinner would usually be had at a restaurant in D*Mall or on the restaurant strip at White Beach.

13. Dinners in Boracay ~ Adobo, Rice, Fish, Buffets, Hobbit House (Lord of the Rings themed restaurant with little people)
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14. Going out in Boracay ~ On our break from Korea, we couldn't escape the Koreans as they love The Philippines. Ou favourite place to start was Tribal Bar, a makeshift bar on the beach. Here they even served Savanna, a South African favourite! At Tribal Bar they also did juggling tricks and we ordered big dispensers of alcohol with Wang-Wang inside. Wang-Wang is basically just a mixup of everything at the bar. Our nights would always end at Summer Place, where we would dance the night away.
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SAYING GOODBYE TO BORACAY...

After a week in Boracay, we finally had to say goodbye to Boracay and make our way to Palawan, our next destination. We had a 10am flight, which isn't that early, but factoring in the almost 3 hours it would take us to get to the airport,, we were up very early that morning. We fell asleep on the ferry, and fell into semi-comas in the bus during the 2 hour drive to the airport.

15. Very tired on the Ferry
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16. Tiny Kalibo airport
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Our next stop is Puerto Princesa on the Palawan Island. Here we will be seeing one of the 7 Wonders of Nature, the Underground River!

TOP TIPS...

1. Do pack light. For Boracay you barely need any clothes, but your swimming costume and a few nice dresses. I took a variety of shoes and never wore anything but Flip-Flops.
2. Do be prepared for the mosquitos. We were basically killed by mosquitos every night. It seemed like nothing we bought there worked for us, so do take something along that had proven to have worked for you in the past.
3. Do book your flight to Caticlan Airport. We didn't know this, but Caticlan is an airport 5mins away from the ferry port to Boracay, where Kalibo is 2 hours away. Spare yourself the hassle and book you flight into Caticlan rather than Kalibo.

Posted by Anja Fourie 01:36 Archived in Philippines Tagged beaches boats beach philippines filipino manila boracay mosquitos caticlan kalibo apl.d.ap philippine_air summer_place Comments (0)

The Jisan Valley Rock Festival 2012

“Music does not excite until it is performed.” ~ Benjamin Britten

sunny 35 °C

Every year, thousands of people enjoy the Korean summer by going to the magnitude of music festivals held all over the country. Some, like the Jisan Valley Rock Festival, are bigger than others. First started in 2009, this festival continues to bring in big international acts like The Arctic Monkeys and Oasis. This year the headlining acts were Radiohead, James Blake and The Stone Roses, who were preceded by Beady Eye (Oasis without Noel Gallagher). The headliners all hailed from England, making my English friends at the festival very excited.

DAY 1

Welcome to Jisan
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The festival is held at the Jisan Valley Ski Resort which is a green valley ideal for festivals and camping in the summer. In winter, the slopes surrounding the valley, becomes an icy ski paradise. It is located about 1.5 hours away from Seoul near the city of Icheon (note: not Incheon). During our bus ride there the traffic was so bad that it took us more than three hours to make our way down. We finally arrived and then we had to queue three different times. First, to hand in our e-tickets to get our festival band, then we had to queue for our camping band and finally for our over 19 band, which allows you to buy alcohol of course.

The Jisan Armbands
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As we were moving about 10km/h on the way to Jisan, we arrived pretty late and was only ready to go out and explore at about 6pm. We had to pick a spot, carry all our bags up the hill and then set up our tents. The camping area was up one of the ski slopes to the one edge of the festival. After setting up, we went down to load money on our T-money cards and started enjoying the festival. T-Money cards are Korea's solution to an electronic money society. These cards are mainly used for public transport in Korea. When you want to walk trough the turnstiles at the train station, you use your T-Money, on the bus, in the taxi, etc. You can even use them at stores. The problem is that once money is loaded onto the card, you cannot take it off, and when you lose your card, the money on it is also lost. That is why no one ever uploads a lot of money on their cards. The really clever thing about Jisan, is that they did not accept cash at any of the stalls or shops. This meant that when you buy something you quickly swipe your T-Money card, there is no hassle with money or change. And when you have money leftover on your card after Jisan, it doesn't really matter as you can use this card everywhere in Korea.

The tent village up on the hill
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First sunset over Jisan
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At Jisan there are a few different stages. The Open Stage is for amateur bands and singers who get invited to perform here. The Green / Red Stage is the same stage. During the day, it was called the Green Stage and some bands would play, but during nighttime it became the Red hot stage and Korean Rap crews and Dubstep DJs would take to the stage. The Red Stage came to life after the last act at the main stage finished and everyone who weren't too tired or too drunk to party on, moved on to the Red Stage. The main stage was called the TOP Stage and this is where all the headliners performed.

The Open Stage: Surrounded by all the food stalls, here we mostly sat down and had some food and listened to unknown Korean bands.
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The TOP Stage
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1. Elvis Costello and the Imposters
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2. Radiohead
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Red Stage Craziness: Drinking out of buckets, crazy semi-naked rappers on stage, Koreans jumping all over, sitting on each others shoulders and getting chased off by security, that's the red stage for you.
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DAY 2

With temperatures ranging between 35 and 40 degrees during the day, sleeping late was not an option. The tents were in the middle of a field and not long after sunrise, everyone had to jump out to get some air, a quick shower and then move on to seek shade. The showers at Jisan were very clean and neat, but I did wait an hour for an icy cold shower. Also, it's metal trailers of open showers. About 5 girls can shower at the same time. Koreans have no shame about their bodies and being naked. Being a foreigner, Koreans will always stare. Being a naked foreigner, they will stare even more. Upon entering the shower trailer and realising the shower situation, I took a deep breath, quickly threw my clothes in the locker, showered with my back to them and jumped out to get dressed as quick as I could. Glad that ordeal was over, I made my way down to the festival area to get some food and shade.

Passed out Koreans everywhere: Seeking some relief from the crazy heat just like us.
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Daytime at Jisan: Centaurs, promotions, shade seeking, extreme sunblock application, eating junkfood, and finally finding a magnificent lounge complete with lounge chairs and amazing fans.
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That night James Blake headlined the TOP stage. An unknown boy, who sang the most depressing music known to man. We headed to the Red Stage instead to watch Owl City and some Korean rap crews again. I only knew Fireflies by Owl City, coincidentally using it in a lesson with my kids the previous week too, but he was still fun watching.

More Red Stage Craziness: We met Mario, drank out of buckets again, ate some pineapple that someone stole somewhere, danced with more crazy Koreans and wore buckets as hats, all the while dancing to good music.
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DAY 3

The second morning, we woke up even earlier than the first. The reason: this day was boiling hot. Later, temperatures would go up to almost 40 degrees. There is only one advantage of waking up at 6am after going to bed at 3am and that is the showers are empty. Disadvantage, no food stalls are open yet and thirsty, hungry, hungover people are cranky.

Early morning deserted festival
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Daytime at Jisan: As one of the hottest days of the year, we just seeked shade, I spotted the South African flag, and we just watched crowds suffering in the heat from a top our lounge view.
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And then suddenly the sun started setting and like vampires hiding from the sun the whole day, we could risk leaving the shade. The time had arrived for the highlight of the weekend. Beady Eye and The Stone Roses. The British boys being so in their element at seeing The Stone Roses that they could not contain themselves.

British Pride
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Beady Eye and The Stone Roses
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When The Stone Roses finished their set, a massive display of fireworks started next to the stage. Bob Marley's Redemption Song played in the background with everyone singing along. The words "Won't you help to sing, these songs of freedom" felt very fitting as we watched the fireworks light up the night sky. Music is about expression and expression is freedom. Music is freedom. Music brings us together and sets us free. DSCF4181.jpg

And that's a Korean music festival for you. Just like the Benjamin Britten quote says: Music doesn't really excite until we experience it when it is performed. And that is what a music festival is all about. Soaking in good music and talent on stage with thousands of people who love it just like you do.

TOP TIPS:

1. Do book a place in a pension. If you do not want to camp and want to be able to sleep late, try and book a place in one of the pensions or hostels right outside the festival. They fill up very fast, so try as early as possible.
2. Do book the official Jisan bus. Public transport leaves from the Bus Terminal and then stops in the nearest town which means you will have to take a taxi or walk down to the festival area. The official busses start at three different destinations throughout Korea, our closest was Seoul Station, and then drop you off right at the festival. The busses take you back again as well. Well worth it. A friend booked these tickets, but the information is on the official Jisan website.
3. Do take enough money. I loaded about 300, 000 won on my T-Money and it was more than enough. If you are a full-blown alcoholic, a little more money would possibly have to be taken.
4. Do take a fold-up mat or light blanket of some sort. Sitting or sleeping on the grass with ants biting your bum is not as fun as you might imagine.
5. Do take your T-Money card with. If you already have a T-Money card, you can use it at Jisan, no need to buy the official Jisan card.
6. Do take your ARC / some sort of identification with. How else can you prove your age and get an Over 19 armband?
7. Do take sunblock and apply regularly, drink lots of water and stay in the shade. You will dehydrate to the point of being sick and this is no fun for anyone.
8. Do take advantage of all the free stuff. Promotions, promotions and more promotions. Just take it all.
9. Koreans are efficient and organise things to the extreme. This is an amazing festival, so please, DO HAVE FUN!

Official Jisan Website!

Posted by Anja Fourie 20:20 Archived in South Korea Tagged oasis music festival south_korea promotions korea alcohol jisan beady_eye the_stone_roses james_blake south_african bob_marley official_jisan Comments (1)

Deokjeokdo, South Korea

Exploring a Korean island

overcast 21 °C

Buddha's birthday is on the 28th of May, conveniently falling on a Monday this year, giving us all a lovely long weekend. For this long weekend we decided to visit one of the numerous islands populating the Korean coast. One of these islands, Deokjeok Island, or Deokjeokdo (do meaning island in Korean), is the largest island of the Deokjeok-myeon islands. It is located in Ongjin County which falls under the jurisdiction of the bigger Incheon Metropolitan. Living in the Dongincheon area, we are very closely situated to Yeon'an Pier, which is Incheon's ferry port. Deokjeokdo is aproximately 75kms from the port and the ferry takes about 1 hour to the island.

1. Map
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2. Waiting at the Ferry Terminal
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3. Fun on the ferry
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We left the ferry at approximately 10am on Saturday morning. Arriving at the island, numerous ladies are cleaning and drying small Rays. This I have tried and it is very hard and chewy and not nice at all. It comes to your table resembling squid, but then suprises you with its wet cardboard taste. Passing the ladies with their Rays, we walk up the pier and wait for the busses from our different pensions to come pick us up. Pensions are Korean style guesthouses. They look like small apartment building with maybe three floors. Bedding is provided, but this is Korean style. You sleep on the floor.

4. Partying in our pension room
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At night, some bands were playing on the beach. Apparently it is also Deokjeokdo weekend custom, for the English teachers that is, to go in their animal onesies. I went as a panda.

5. Animals at Night
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6. Animals at Day
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After a nice long weekend away, we return to the port to catch the ferry back to reality. On the way back, we don't race for the outside of the ferry, but rather a nice chair inside, where we can all fall asleep on the way back home, to Incheon.

Posted by Anja Fourie 02:48 Archived in South Korea Tagged water beach island south_korea ferry pension deokjeokdo deokjeok Comments (1)

Gunsan and the Jeonju International Film Festival

"A Beautiful Change of the World through Cinema" ~ Jeonju Festival

sunny 23 °C

On a Friday afternoon after school, I jump on a bus and head to Gunsan. Gunsan is located on the west coast of the Korean peninsula. It was once a very small fishing village on the banks of the Geum River, but today it boasts a population of approximately 280 000. This is a very small town compared to the 120 000 people alone who live in Jung-gu district, which is my area, and the more than 2.7 million people who reside in Incheon.

As Gunsan is located near very fertile ground, a lot of rice is harvested here. Gunsan grew due to the port established here in the 19th century to the export the large amounts of rice harvested. Gunsan is a very industrialised town and its economy thrives on fishing, agriculture and the heavy industry The factories for GM Korea and Tata Daewoo are located in Gunsan. Gunsan is also home to the newly opened Saemangum Seawall, which is the largest dyke in the world at the moment. It stretches for 33 kilometers (500ms longer than the Asluitdijk dyke in the Netherlands) to create a 400 square kilometer area of reclaimed farmland and a freshwater reservoir. It has been an issue of many environmental protests.

I went here to visit my friend, Lizelle, who lives in Gunsan. She is a fellow South African and I met her during our EPIK orientation at the beginning of my contract. We are also planning to visit the Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF) which is on this weekend.

The bus to Gunsan leaves from Incheon Express Bus Terminal. It takes about 3 hours on a bus that smells less than fresh. It also never ceases to amaze me how Koreans can sleep anywhere and anytime. They will also not wake up for anything. The girl next to me is almost falling on my lap, but she won't wake up. This happens a lot on the trains as well. Amazingly they always wake up just before they need to get off the train.

I arrive at about 10pm and we head down to the so-called Bar Street or Susong-Ro for a few drinks and dinner. We have beer, fruit and chicken. Koreans love to eat fruit when they are drinking. I find it to be a very strange habit, but Korean fruit is very delicious as they import it from tropical countries such as the Philippines. In this street we also see a lot of US pilots as the US Army Air Base is located in Gunsan. Gunsan has that small town feel. The buildings aren't as tall, cars and people generally seem to be less, and the air is fresher.

1. Fruit and Beer -- all finished
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2. Some Gunsan
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The next day we head out to Jeonju. It is located 30 minutes inland from Gunsan by bus. The bus is overbooked and all the way back I am sitting on the step at the back, right above the engine. I am burning up during this ride as the heat from the engine is making the floor almost unbearably hot.

We finaly arrive and it is extremely hot and busy. JIFF has been held here in Jeonju since 2000 and it focuses mainly on independent and art films. We didn't book for any films, but did eventually get tickets to see Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji. It is a black and white, Japanese film from 1955. The movie was quite funny even though most of the cast dies in the end. During the day we had some lunch, did a little shopping and just explored Jeonju. We took the last bus back to Gunsan after dinner that evening and this time we had some seats.

3. Some Jeonju Festival
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After a good night's sleep, I get on a bus again and head home to Incheon. It was a good weekend.

Posted by Anja Fourie 16:41 Archived in South Korea Tagged south_korea film_festival gunsan jiff jeonju jeonju_international_film_festi air_base pilots Comments (0)

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