Winter in Seoul – Day 1: Testing out the winter breeze

*extremely picture-heavy post

So, here starts the strenuous “Winter in Seoul 2012” series. As earlier mentioned, I will not be doing the typical day by day account of our trip, rather complement it with thematic and specific posts that can’t be elaborately explained within a ‘daily’ post, and that will include the breakdown of our budget for the trip (note: like all-in-all, with the tickets, accommodation and dues we paid in the Philipine airport, I have personally shelled out less than Php 25,000 for the whole trip. =D)

Our flight to Incheon International Airport wasn’t until 1:30 AM but we were already in NAIA Terminal 3 before 10:00 PM. When the check-in counters opened by 10:30 PM, we immediately rushed to present our itinerary ticket and paid for the Php 1,620 travel tax. The staff manning the counter also weighed in our baggages to check-in and even if they were already quite heavy, we were still almost 7 kilos short of our combined 30kg limit as we have already paid for 15kg each. It was actually our first time to check-in luggages because since we started travelling together, we only have two carry-ons each and has been used to travelling light. But as we were obviously travelling to a wintery place, our usual baggage won’t cut it.

Mon and I waiting for check-in at NAIA Terminal 3 for our flight to Incheon

Mon and I waiting for check-in at NAIA Terminal 3 for our flight to IncheonAt around quarter to 1:00 AM, we decided to head for the boarding gate. Going there, we had to first pay for the terminal fee, which was already lowered from Php 750 to Php 550. Then next to the immigration officer who had to take a look at our passports and ask questions on how long we will be out of the country, as well as our employment record. It took me only three minutes to finish the whole thing over, but Mon took a longer time. The immigration officer even mistook him for a Korean and immediately talked to him in English. LOL One more thing, they no longer made us remove our shoes, which wasn’t the case when we travelled last year. Good thing because I was already unknotting my laces when the security personnel stopped me.

Cebu Pacific weighing our check-in baggages and we were almost 7kg short of the combined 30kg limit

Cebu Pacific weighing our check-in baggages and we were almost 7kg short of the combined 30kg limit

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What a way to start my week

I was already running later for my errands today and Mon and I even had a little argument over my supposed schedule. I was just being my stubborn self again and refused to admit that I miscalculated my time and even went on with my one hour of exercise, instead of leaving early to go to the bank. Anyway, this small squabble was finished in less than thirty minutes and we were already laughing our heads off over how silly we were. The weather was quite unpredictable, so I thought of testing this pair of Red Wing boots for the first time:

Gray Play by Comme des Garçons T-Shirt, skinny khaki pants, Red Wing 875 6-inch boots, Givenchy luggage duffle bag - Manila, Philippines

So off to BPI in KPMG Building I went, input some detail and took a number. But it took me forever before my number got called, and to make matters worse, the teller just informed me right there and then that their system was offline and I had to manually fill out two sets of transaction slips, which they will process once the system was okay again. So that was causing the delay. I couldn’t understand why they did not bother telling the people right away (I mean there were really LOTS of people waiting) and handed out transaction slips for us to manually accomplish, instead of telling every person approaching the counter to do so. Very efficient. Anyway, I ended up with an “OFFLINE VALIDATED” slip and off to the office I rushed.

An 'OFFLINE VALIDATED' transaction slip from BPI

Before reaching the elevator, I asked another BPI branch by the ground floor of our building if the system was already online. I was informed that it just went running again a few minutes back. I hurried upstairs and called the other branch to ask if they have already processed my two transactions. It turned out, the teller gave me the wrong telephone number. I also had a second glance at the transaction slip and she had wrongly written a digit in the account number. I had no choice but to walk back again to their building and ask her about it. Mon went with me this time and I was swearing a lot on our way. Mon looked nervous because he probably thought that I might be having a fit, but I calmly approached the teller and asked her about what happened. I was actually surprised about my reaction because I would normally lash out but I began thinking few weeks back that I should really learn to control my temper. The only downside, though, was Mon becoming my unintentional shock-absorber of my cussing fit.

Burberry London Leather Messenger Bag

So what made me really determined to have that transaction completed? It was because I was paying for a (yet again) Burberry leather messenger bag I bought online, from the same  seller who sold me the LV Epi Noir Pochette Cles. She was extremely nice and easy to talk with. Besides, it will be my first ever Burberry and I love the fact that it is leather and not canvas! I already accepted the fact that I might not receive it tomorrow but I was surprised when the seller was able to ship it as she reached the cut-off. The bag in question will arrive tomorrow. A big thank you to her.

Bye bye! Mon Hermès Fourre Tout!

Of course, it might initially seem that I was out spending on another bag again but the truth was, I had to let go of another bag, the Hermès Fourre Tout I bought almost three months ago. I liked it but I never really got the chance to use it and it was only my sister who had the chance to take it out on my nephew’s birthday (as a diaper bag!). In the process of selling it, I ended up guilt-free because it was sold at a price more than the cost of the Burberry messenger, which did not leave me with less resources. I just looked at it as a trade and this bag deserves another person who will lovingly use it.

I know it will be quite hard for me to just kick off my habit of looking into having another bag, but I have learned that the first step of just selling the things I don’t use clearly leads the way to a better spending habit. More or less, I end up with a new bag with extra money to spare. The ultimate goal, however, was to extremely minimize my bags to just a little over six or make it seven. =P I know I’ll get there someday, one step at a time. Who knows, maybe before 2013 ends, that goal has been already achieved.

P.S.
Today marks my 5th year at work! Also, the birthday of Lolo Dada (paternal grandfather — R.I.P. Lolo) and Mon’s maternal grandmother, who we fondly call as Lola Groovy. =)

BIG BANG ALIVE TOUR 2012 (MANILA) POST!!!

Sol Restaurant -  Side Dishes

So yesterday, I had a fantastic day with Mon, Lot (his sister) and Faye. We initially intended to go to Music Bank in Diosdado Macapagal Avenue at around 2:00 PM, but remembered that it will not open until 3:00 PM. We then ate first in Sol Restaurant, few meters away from Music Bank, as we will definitely have a hard time eating a proper meal during the concert. There were few people in the restaurant and all of them were Koreans having, presumably, their late lunch.

Sol Restaurant -  Peanuts

Sol Restaurant -  Bibimbap

Sol Restaurant -  Japchae

Sol Restaurant -  Seafood Noodles

So at around 3:30 PM, we finally went inside Music Bank and started singing our hearts out. We had a little hard time looking for some of the KPop songs we would like to sing, but we got there in the end. We spent around two hours, while we were slowly frozen to death by the airconditioning. By the time we got out, I have already developed a runny nose; though I didn’t know if that was because of the room’s temperature or Faye’s virus finally contaminating me (she was not feeling well since Monday). LOL

MUSIC BANK in Diosdado Macapagal Avenue

Oppa Gangnam Style! - Music Bank, Diosdado Macapagal Avenue

Their 'Kahit ano' on the menu - Music Bank, Diosdado Macapagal AvenueWe didn’t actually know if it was a good idea to go to a noraebang before going to a concert, because we would most likely be losing our voice. But we still have a couple of hours to compose ourselves before the mayhem in The Arena. When we got in the Mall of Asia, we saw this crowd at the back of the venue:

A slew of Filipino Big Bang fans - Big Bang Alive Tour 2012 Manila

We were to enter in the Coral (Blue) Entrance and there were already a lot of people queuing for the mandatory bag inspection. We did not immediately fall in line because I wanted to make sure that I can sneak my point-and-shoot camera inside. I just observed how the inspection was done and I saw a couple of DSLRs and even point-and-shoots were confiscated by the guards on duty. So I just shoved it deep inside the side pocket of my bag, covered in unused tissue and with my iPod on the top so the guards would immediately see I had nothing to hide. Well it worked but we did not take pictures until we were finally seated in our respective seats.

While waiting for the Upper Box doors to open - Big Bang Alive Tour 2012

The stage - Big Bang Alive Tour 2012 in Manila

We were seated in Section 401, which was directly in front of the stage. One of our tickets was in Section 404, but as the person who was to sit next to us did not arrive (or the people, because seat numbers four to seven were vacant), there was no need to push through with our original plan of snatching that one seat.

Faye's light stick --- a present from us when we went to Seoul last year - Big Bang Alive Tour 2012 Manila

(We haven’t seen any light stick similar to Faye’s <3 We bought this from the souvenir shop in Doota Mall last year)

And then the concert started! After the curtains fell, the boys were revealed to be inside these illuminated tubes, as if teleported from somewhere.

Big Bang after emerging from those tubes - Big Bang Alive Tour 2012 in Manila

Look who's having fun!

Seungri and Tae Yang directly in front of the stage - Big Bang Alive Tour 2012 in Manila

Big Bang on stage - Big Bang Alive Tour 2012 in Manila

I did my best with what my camera can do and I noticed that it was far easier and better to take videos, as my hands were not that stable to take photos in low lighting. I managed to take several videos, but bothered only in resizing three of them. I also have uploaded the first one in my previous post. And also, I was not screaming like a banshee in these videos (unlike the 2NE1 videos I took, where I was screaming Bom’s name like it will lead me to salvation). (*Note: Change the quality to “480p” ([in the gear icon above] to view the best quality)

Big Bang Alive Tour 2012 Manila – Fantastic Baby

Big Bang Alive Tour 2012 Manila – Haru Haru

Big Bang Alive Tour 2012 Manila – Lies

If I have to be perfectly honest with the whole experience, I sat during most of the middle of the concert because: a) I did not know the songs they were singing, and b) I was really too low-energy (a.k.a. old) to match the energy of the people around me. However, the line-up of the songs was perfectly-made that I cannot NOT stand up and sing along with the songs I knew and loved (e.g. the songs I recorded above). LOL My mental discography was very archaic and I was stuck in Big Bang circa 2008-2009.

T.O.P. with the very girly mouse ears and Daesung walking out of the frame LOL - Big Bang Alive Tour 2012 in Manila

Tae Yang, T.O.P. and Daesung about to leave the stage - Big Bang Alive Tour 2012 in Manila

The crowd in denial that the show was finally over - Big Bang Alive Tour 2012 in Manila

At Php 3,900, we got our money’s worth. =D Compared to the three-thousand plus we shelled out in that joke/milk-the-opportunity strategy called “The Party” last year, Big Bang’s first concert here in Manila was very good, production-wise. Although it was apparent that most of the boys gave a very vocally lackluster performance (Tae Yang’s voice was cracking, and as how Sharon Needles put it, he was Christina-ing it out a lot; and GD seemed to have quite a lower energy). Daesung was the most consistent among the boys and I have new respect for him because of that. There were also a lot of Roselle-Nava-sing-with-me moments, which I didn’t like. =/

Another theory given by our friend China (who had to brave the fiasco at the topmost seats, along with two other people), was that GD sensed the overwhelming bias of the crowd towards T.O.P. and he was already resigned over that fact. LOL I didn’t even know how factual that theory was but I think that he still gave a decent job, albeit the low energy. Also, we were wondering why he did not perform his latest single, Crayon (whose video shown before the concert even started has sent the crowd to a shrieking frenzy). But I was extremely envious of his Givenchy Rotweiler shirt. Ugh. LOL

Freshened up! - Louis Vuitton Montsouris GM Backpack and Gucci messenger bag

With Faye after the concert --- while looking at the interestingly-dressed members of the crowd =D

Guess who has an exam the morning after? HAHAHA

Naturally, we were hungry after the event but as almost all the establishments were closed by 10:30 PM (the show ran few minutes over two hours), we did not even bother eating a snack. We actually had the choice of going to McDonald’s but it was jam-packed, so we decided to just part ways. The rain also did not help. I forgot to bring an umbrella and I just had a gray cardigan inside. As I was more worried of the vachetta parts onn my backpack, more than myself getting wet, I just buttoned it around my bag, liek a new-born baby. I didn’t want any watermarks to ruin the leather. LOL

We’ve heard that SNSD (or some other group from SM Entertainment) will be going to Manila next year. Lot is one BIG SNSD FAN and she will most likely watch their concert, if ever they would organize one. But as the light sticks are probably insanely marked up here, we will be just buying some in Seoul this December when we go back. I might even buy a few more just to sell when that happy day comes. LOL

Back to my old haircut!

In preparation for my comprehensive examinations last August, I decided to cut my hair off and had a buzz cut. I had projected the possible stress that reviewing might cost me and I was right.

But since I’ve already finished with all three parts last August 23, I started growing my hair out but it was not easy. For more than 5 years, I’ve been more or less sporting the same shaved-sides look with because I tend to get breakouts when the hair grows longer than a centimeter.

Waiting for my turn - Ménage Salon Gateway Mall - Cubao

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