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Winners of the 2019 Golden Disk Awards Day 1 and 2

Last January 5 and 6, 2019 were the Golden Disk Awards, the yearly South Korean music awards ceremony that gives tribute to achievements in the local music industry released in the previous year.  This year’s awards was held at Gocheok Skydome. The first day was devoted to awards for digital releases while the second was for physical album releases.

Lee Seung Gi and Park Min Young were the emcees for the first day and for the second, Kang Sora and Sung Si Kyung.

The winners for the digital releases are as follows:

Digital Song of the Year (Daesang): iKON (for “Love Scenario”)
Digital Song Division Bonsang: BIGBANG, BLACKPINK, Bolbbalgan4, BTS, Chungha, iKON, MAMAMOO, MOMOLAND, Roy Kim, and TWICE
Best New Artist: (G)I-DLE
Best Girl Group: GFRIEND

Best Boy Group: Wanna One
Best Hip Hop: WINNER’s Song Mino
Best Ballad: Im Chang Jung
Cosmopolitan Artist Award: BLACKPINK and Wanna One
2019 Global V Live Top 10 Best Artist: BTS
Judges’ Special Award: SSAW

For the physical releases, these are the winners:

Album of the Year (Daesang): BTS
Rookie of the Year: IZ*ONE and Stray Kids

Best OST: Paul Kim
Best Album: GOT7
Album Division Bonsang: BTS, EXO, GOT7, SHINee’s Jonghyun, MONSTA X, NCT 127, NU’EST W, SEVENTEEN, TWICE, and Wanna One
NetEase Music Golden Disc Popularity Award: BTS
U+ Idol Live Popularity Award: BTS


10-Year multiple entry Japan tourist visa

I have been to Japan three times, but always given a single entry because the span of the dates of entries stretches beyond three years. I really wanted a multiple entry because it is tiring to apply every time I want to visit Japan. So I made sure to travel once again within three years since my last entry, hoping to get one.

Under present rules of Japan, among others, an applicant for a multiple entry tourist visa is only available for the following:

  1. A person who has travelled to Japan as temporary visitor within the last three years and has financial capability to support his/her trip.
  2. A person who has travelled to Japan as temporary visitor within the last three years and has travelled as temporary visitor to G7countries (excluding Japan) several times within the last three years.
  3. A person who has highly sufficient financial capacity.
  4. Immediate family members (Spouse/Child) of the person who has highly sufficient financial capacity.

As I examined the criteria above, I decided to apply pursuant to item number 2 above or someone who has traveled to Japan as temporary visitor within the last three years and has traveled as temporary visitor to G7 countries (excluding Japan) several times within the last three years. I deemed it was easier in this category because items 1 and 3 involving persons having highly financial capacity are subjective because the rules do not define what is considered highly sufficient. Number 2 above does not give discretion to the consul because I just have to show I have been a temporary visitor to G7 countries several times in the last three years. What are the G7 countries? They are Canada, Japan, France, Germany, United States of America, Italy and United Kingdom.

In the last three years, I had entries to Canada, USA (twice) and the UK. I have entries in France and Italy but both were beyond the three year requirement. I had previous travels to other countries in Asia, Europe, Australia and Africa. When I applied, I had valid multiple entry visas to the USA, United Kingdom and South Korea.

When you want a multiple entry visa, you have to accomplish another document provided by the embassy, requiring you to explain why you want it. So I just said, it would be convenient for me to have a ready Japan Visa on hand. I only submitted my current and old passports (4 in total) and also a bank certificate (just in case I won’t qualify under item No. 2). I no longer submitted other documents such as birth certificate, employment certificate, etc. because I had a previous used Japan visa. So, practically, what accompanied my application were only the passports (reflecting the entries) and the bank certificate.

It only took two days for the embassy to grant my multiple entry visa, but what surprised me was that instead of the usual five year validity, I had a ten year multiple entry visa, way before the Japanese embassy in the Philippines announced that they will be extending ten year multiple entry visas for certain applicants (instead of the usual five year validity).

For any concerns on the Japan visa, you can visit here.


The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Cryptocurrency Investing


By Mike Polio
Guest Blog Contribution

References are made wherever possible. All statements are based on the author’s experiences.

I take pride in informing the public and helping as many as I can through sharing my experiences with my readers. That said, no one except you can take responsibility for your Cryptocurrency Investing decisions, so do think it through before investing.

It would be appropriate to start this guide off with the premise that an increasing number of ecommerce stores are beginning to accept crypto currency payments. These stores range from vape shops, recruitment sites, clothing stores, marketplaces and many others. This is a clear indicator that cryptocurrency is to stay and it is therefore important to start from the beginning.

When I first started taking an interest in cryptocurrency I thought I was so lost in this huge sea of unknowns. Where do I start? What are the useful keywords to look up and keep in mind? What are the available helpful resources? This cryptocurrency investing guide is written so that in just 20 minutes, you would have a sense of what to expect of your upcoming crypto journey, and how to best go about starting it. Enjoy it, it might just be the most exhilarating ride of your life.

The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Cryptocurrency Investing

Rise of the Cryptocurrencies
As the tech literacy of the population increases, acceptance of crypto as a legitimate store of value follows, and it boomed. Titles along the lines of ‘Bitcoin price hits new all-time high’ and ‘Ethereum price surges’ are starting to perforate the general public’s news feed. What we know for sure is that people who were once sceptical of Bitcoin and the technology behind it are slowly understanding and getting increasingly involved with crypto. As at the time of writing, the market cap of the entire crypto space is at 30.9 billion USD. It was 20 billion just four months ago. What would it be four months from now? Current Makeup of the Cryptocurrency Space
You would have heard of Bitcoin and the ‘altcoins.’ How this naming convention started was because back in the days of 2011, forks of Bitcoin appeared in the markets. The forks, or clones, each aspire to serve a niche area, aiming to be ‘better’ than Bitcoin. Since then countless new crypto has emerged, eroding away Bitcoin’s crypto market cap dominance. These altcoins are gaining market share at an alarming speed. Ten times or more growth has been observed in a time span as short as six weeks (see PIVX, an altcoin).

Cryptocurrency, Stocks, and Fiat

The currencies we know are referred to as ‘fiat’ by the cryptocurrency community. Although having ‘currency’ in its name, cryptocurrencies share more similarities with stocks than currencies. When you purchase some cryptocurrency, you are in fact buying some tech stock, a part of the blockchain and a piece of the network.

Cryptocurrency Exchanges

The most common place where people buy and trade cryptocurrency is on the exchanges. Exchanges are places where you may buy and sell your crypto, using fiat. There are multiple measures to judge the reliability and quality of an exchange, such as liquidity, spread, fees, purchase and withdrawal limits, trading volume, security, insurance, user-friendliness. Out of all these, I find Coinbase as the best exchange hands down. It has a beginner-friendly user interface, and an unbeatable 100{affa41581c539e77a889a6a46af960df9ff1c7424670374343af90ba11e244ac} crypto insurance.

After setting up an intermediary bank account and verifying your details with Coinbase, you are only five simple steps away from a Bitcoin purchase: Access the ‘Buy/Sell Bitcoin’ tab Select the payment method using the drop-down menu Enter the desired amount Click ‘Buy Bitcoin Instantly.’ View your credited Bitcoins on your dashboard When you get acquainted with buying crypto and start to itch for some crypto trading (e.g. BTC/ETH), simply perform an instant transfer from Coinbase to GDAX free of charge and start trading. Think of Coinbase as the place to conveniently buy and store your crypto and GDAX as your margin trading platform. Transfers between the two are instant and free. As you slowly get familiar with other currencies, you might want to have the option of investing in them. Bittrex and Polo are two exchanges that offer a wide selection range. When signing up on these exchanges for the first time, do make it a point to verify your account with the required documents early, as you do not want to be caught in the middle of some tedious and slow admin work when the trading opportunity comes. Verification on these exchanges may take days, and purchase/withdraw limits may only increase gradually as you trade. An additional point to note: if you are using a currency other than USD, do check out the exchange’s ease of funding and withdrawal. You do not want your exchange to come into fiat withdrawal problems like Bitfinex did recently.

Cryptocurrency Wallets

Exchanges have inbuilt online wallets to keep the cryptocurrency you purchased. However, for those who heard of the Mt. Gox hack, you might feel uneasy to put on an exchange. If you do not wish to keep your crypto holdings on the exchange, you have the option to either use a paper wallet service like myetherwallet.com or spend 99 USD on a hardware wallet like KeepKey. Both serve the purpose of removing platform risk, at the cost of taking up the responsibility of keeping your cryptocurrency safe.

To transfer your crypto from exchanges to your hardware wallet for long term storage, simply follow these steps, using Coinbase and KeepKey as an example:

Plug in your KeepKey USB cable
Open your KeepKey Client (on Google Chrome under Apps)
Find your wallet address on the KeepKey Client UI
Access Coinbase ‘Send/Request’ tab and input your KeepKey wallet address
Confirm amount and click ‘Send Funds’

Take note to first send a tiny amount (e.g. 0.0001 BTC) for testing before sending the bulk, lest an error occurred and the transfer amount is lost. A small network transfer fee might be charged.

Personally, I own a hardware wallet, as I love the feeling of a having around a tangible reminder of my crypto holdings. Also, the hardware wallet’s user interface makes it easy to keep multiple coins, which is especially handy when you participate in ICOs (Initial Coin Offering) in the future.

Cryptocurrency as a Percentage of Your Investment Portfolio

This part will be wildly subjective. Crypto has the potential to realize many ‘rags to riches’ stories, but its volatility makes it unpredictable. As a precaution, the money you put in crypto should be money that you are fine with losing. I cannot emphasize the importance of this as we often underestimate how the volatility affects our emotional capacities. The upside is huge, but it comes with lots of risks and, if I may put it, emotional torment. A conservative portfolio I would suggest is as follows: < 30 years old (max) 30{affa41581c539e77a889a6a46af960df9ff1c7424670374343af90ba11e244ac} Crypto, 50{affa41581c539e77a889a6a46af960df9ff1c7424670374343af90ba11e244ac} Traditional Investments 30 – 40 years old (max) 20{affa41581c539e77a889a6a46af960df9ff1c7424670374343af90ba11e244ac} Crypto, 60{affa41581c539e77a889a6a46af960df9ff1c7424670374343af90ba11e244ac} Traditional Investments 40 years old (max) 10{affa41581c539e77a889a6a46af960df9ff1c7424670374343af90ba11e244ac} Crypto, 70{affa41581c539e77a889a6a46af960df9ff1c7424670374343af90ba11e244ac} Traditional Investments
This is not meant to be age discriminatory but considers the fact that one takes up more financial responsibilities (mortgage, family) as he grows older.

Within the designated crypto share of your portfolio, you may diversify your coins based on your risk appetite.

Show Me the Money! Cryptocurrency Investing

Now, this is where it gets exciting.

How do we pick the winner? How do we avoid picking the loser?

Note that crypto is now in a huge bull market and anything could rise over time. Also, do not dismiss the possibility that we may be in a bubble like the-dot-com boom back in 2000. Still, ask yourself these questions before you decide to invest in a coin:

Are my investments safe with the dev team? The first rule of investing should always be the preservation of capital. Can you trust the dev team with your money? Are you about to leave your money with founders who have been involved in previous scams? If you see these telling signs, back off immediately. The coin’s price might grow for all you care, but it is just not worth it to put your capital at such risk.

Does my coin of interest have a long-term plan? If you cannot understand their yellow paper, at least read their white paper. What are the team trying to achieve? Do they have the means, or have they already worked towards their goals? What are the timelines and milestones?

Does my coin of interest seem like a well-marketed plan with no backup? Lots of ICOs these days just have a pretty webpage, and then they’re shipped out to sell. Watch out for these: are they able to deliver? How long should I stay in this? Do I have an exit plan? There will be coins where you do not want to hold forever, but wish to flip for some short-term gains. In this case, be sure to set a timeframe, or an exit price, to reduce to effect of emotions on your trades. Stick to your plan and watch your emotions.

Does it have a real-world use case? Some coins seem to keep increasing in value simply due to supply-demand factors. This trend might not be sustainable. For a coin to have long term supported value, it must have a real-world use case eventually. Look out for coins that look too much like a get-rich-quick scheme.

Short Term Trading with Margin

Once you get familiarized with crypto, you may want to trade on your ‘stash’ in hopes of increasing it. For the experienced forex traders, this is nothing new. But for the new crypto investor, you may want to brief up on how to make a leveraged trade.

Short-term trading takes advantages of incoming news to make a quick buck. If you foresee good news from an upcoming release of a coin, you may want to open a long and see how it goes. Remember, buy the rumor, sell the news; act fast and be daring if you wish to make a profit with short term trading. Mining

For those who are more comfortable with a predictable form of reward, mining is the way. Mining involves setting up of a rig, consisting of GPUs or CPUs and an investment in the electricity. Mining is only possible on cryptocurrencies that follow the Proof of Work protocol. It takes some effort to setup and gets things running, but it is attractive as a long-term passive income as long as you frontload the work. Staking

Staking is the Proof of Stake version of ‘mining.’ Think of this as making dividends on your stock. The reward rate and staking method differ greatly among Proof of Stake coins, but in general, it takes less effort as compared to mining. Arbitraging As you get a hand in multiple exchanges, you may wish to buy from one exchange and sell on another to make ‘arbitrage’ gains when you spot an arbitraging opportunity. Take note of two things if you wish to do so: remember to factor in fees, and remember that the price could change when you are transferring your coin between exchanges, especially during volatile times. USD tends to be liquid so this happens less for it, but for other currencies such as CAD (Canadian dollar) and SGD (Singapore dollar), there may exist more arbitraging opportunities to exploit.

Helpful Resources

Check out coinmarketcap for the tabulation of various coins’ market cap and price. Check out cryptowat for the prices of popular coins across different exchanges. Check out the respective coins’ subreddits for available news and market sentiments. Lastly, check out hhypecoaster for how much more crypto you need for a Lamborghini Aventador 🙂 I would also recommend that you check out https://latestlawjobs.com for the latest laws and regulations governing the cryptocurrency sphere. That’s about all I have, for now, invest smart and most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!

How to Renew Your US Non – Immigrant Visa Without Interview

I renewed my US non-immigrant visa recently under the interview waiver program.  This is a program for repeat visitors to the United States who need not appear for interview and need not submit supporting documents to renew their non-immigrant visas.

I was able to use my previous 10-year multiple entry visa three times.  Before that, I entered through a single entry visa. Not all applicants can avail of the interview waiver program.  It is only for applicants who qualify with the following criteria:

  1. Applicant has a previous B1/B2 (tourist/business) visa that he/she wishes to renew. 
  2. Applicant’s visa was issued after July 1, 2007.   
  3. Applicant’s prior visa was valid for at least five years. 
  4. Applicant’s prior B1/B2 visa is still valid or expired within the last 12 months
  5. Applicant is a citizen of the Philippines.
  6. Applicant’s  prior visa does not say “Clearance Received” or “Travel with Employer”.
  7. Applicant has his/her passport with the B1/B2 visa in his/her possession.
  8. Applicant’s name, date of birth and gender on his/her last B1/B2 visa does not need to be changed or corrected.
  9. Applicant’s most recent visa was issued on or after his/her 14th birthday.
  10. The last time applicant applied for a B1/B2 visa it was approved. 
To apply, these are the easy steps to renewing the visa:

1. Pay the visa application fee.  Tourist visa is 160 USD.  First you have to fill up the payment form online at http://www.ustraveldocs.com/ph/ph-niv-paymentinfo.asp .  Print the form and pay over the counter at any Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) branch.  The site also gives you the option to pay online.  After printing the payment form, you only have four days to pay otherwise, you have to fill up again.

In BPI, just go over their machines where you get your priority number – and hit the “US Visa” button and select what kind of visa you are paying for.  Be sure to bring your passport because BPI will look for it and indicate your passport number in your payment form.  Tip:  Hold on to your copy of the validated payment form because you will be submitting this with the application.

2. Take your picture.  The photo shops pretty much know the required size and other requirements for the US visa photograph.  Just tell them it’s for your US Visa application.  Tip:  You have to get the soft copy of the photo because you will have to upload it with the application form to be submitted online.  The site does not accept scanned photos so heed my advice and save the soft copy when you take your picture.

3. Fill up the electronic visa application (DS – 160) at http://www.ustraveldocs.com/sg/sg-niv-ds160info.asp .  Before you fill it up, prepare your old and new passports, commencing from the time the prior visa was issued until your present passport.  Organize your last 5 entries and length of stay to the US because you will be asked to enter it.  You also have to prepare the names, addresses and contact numbers of family and friends in the US because it is required.  Your intended date of travel to the US as well as address and contact number of where you will be staying is necessary. 

There is no need to fret if there are mistakes in the application because as long as you have not submitted it yet, you can just hit the review button and make corrections.  If you cannot complete the application in one setting, you can just save it online BUT you have to get the application number so that you can access it later and continue.  Tip:  Copy/take note of the application number the moment it appears.

Upon completion of the form, print the confirmation form and save it.  You need not print the application form, unless you want it for your own file.  You only need to print the confirmation form – it’s the confirmation that the embassy has received the online application.

4. Check if you qualify for interview waiver program.  To do this, you have to register an account at https://cgifederal.secure.force.com/SiteRegister?country=Philippines&language=en_US .  After you shall have answered the questions here, you will receive an Interview Wavier submission letter, together with instructions how to submit your application.  Print the Interview Waiver submission letter.

5. Drop your application at a 2Go outlet.  The last step is going to any 2Go outlet to submit your documents, which are as follows:
  • Payment Slip (Step 1)
  • 2 pcs. Photo (Step 2)
  • Confirmation Form (Step 3)
  • Interview Waiver submission letter (Step 4)
  • Passports
6. Check the status of your application.  The US Embassy does not give a definite processing time of the application.  For my part, it only took the embassy two working days to process the visa and release it.  Add to that the time for the drop off at 2Go, delivery to the embassy and sending it back.  All in all, I got the passports back in exactly 7 calendar days from drop off.  While waiting, you can monitor your application at   https://ceac.state.gov/ceac/ .  Click ‘Check My Visa Application Status’.  Tip:  You will need your application number to do this. I was able to get another 10 year multiple entry visa after going through these easy steps.

Good luck!

Of The Spratly Islands And The Balangiga Bells- Which Is More Important? Islands or Bells?


Why  was the president  so assertive in getting the Balangiga bells back but such a weakling in asserting the Philippines’ claim in the West Philippine Sea? Which is more important?  Islands or bells? In this article, contributor Phillip Pino shares some ideas on what the president can and should be doing instead.

When Pres. Rodrigo Duterte first spoke about the Balangiga bells he was steaming, appearing exceedingly resolute than a national leader who’d not personally witnessed a major century-old crime can be. I received a text from a friend that day who asked if I had heard of the news, inquiring about the bells (What bells!), and the hundreds dead during the infraction. Yes, I’ve heard about it, I replied through SMS. Just cut the melodrama. It happened more than a hundred years ago. You’re only twenty-one. The president’s mother wasn’t even impregnated then.

The United States Government, borne into power by the mightiest military force in the whole world, was no match to the Philippine president, who closely re-acquainted the people about the bloodbath in Samar, evincing utter anger, teeth-grinding, vengeful. You would’ve thought he’s one of those survivors of that war who barely made it out, now re-telling every valuable detail of that horrible experience to induce justice for the fallen heroes that must, and now have, the respect they deserve.

It was admirable for a while until he has to deal with current issues like the crisis in the South China Sea. In dealing with the pressing sovereignty issue, a continual abrasion that is now a bigger wound, President Duterte lets it bleed. He treads ever so lightly, commenting soft adorations, as if the matter were a foregone conclusion, of centuries ago.

Where he was unafraid in speaking against the Americans, he is disturbingly coy against the world’s number 2 power on a present, ever-pressing matter.

It is like watching two different leaders govern. When asked about confronting China’s territorial abuses, he mentions about the atrocities of going into war, a multitude more than what we had suffered in Samar. He is cautious and resigned. We will lose roundly, for sure, utterly defeated versus the Chinese. We are all going to die, he’d say. The extent of his thoughts would go beyond and touch on how helpful China has been to us, although they’ve never been in the top 3 list of contributors of government aid ever.

But who’s talking about going into war? We are not in the Dark Ages anymore, of destroying settlements, and war cries. We do not resort to war in every legal battle we face, no, we supposedly took care of that outlook. We now have trade sanctions.

The Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, and Indonesia, affected by South China Sea crisis, are all trade partners of China. We can all unite and GRADUALLY sanction our trades with the high and mighty Chinese government. Not a single bullet has to be fired at all, but we must work in a way that they will feel the concerted effort in the long run through commerce.

Let’s not even talk about historical maps and evidences, because we already have the decision of the International Court of Justice in our favor. It might be a painful process, but with the U.S., Germany, France, and Japan feeling the impact of the crisis in international navigation, we can strengthen our approach to ultimately corner the bully. Not at once, of course, do not be naïve, but smartly, in gradation, as allies.

We must urge nations to stand up against China’s refusal to accept international rulings, let allies boycott/limit trades and redirect this need elsewhere. This will of course create a void that we ourselves can fill in and profit from with our labor force and cooperation among nations.

Am I wrong in this long-term, non-violent approach? Granting that I am, doesn’t it give us a better chance at winning than readily laying down our claims to bow solicitously and bootlick? All I’m saying is that there ought to be a better way of asserting our claims, if only to say, “No. I respect you, but these islands are ours” unless if you’re narrow-minded, unintelligent, uncreative.

If I am wrong in proving that war is not the only solution to this problem, why do we not confer to share our ideas? Let us hark at the best minds of our race and invite them to a formal, serious dialogue about the issue.

I forgot. We are mentally pre-conditioned, scared of being instantly called stupid, idiots, or worse, told, “I will kill you!” for sharing an honest-to-goodness dissenting opinion. Weren’t we trained to actively participate in class growing up? This is absolutely counter-intuitive to that. Besides, what kind of person would think he is always right, so the rest are better censored, verbally abused?

And there’s the sweeping “Americans will not die for us Pilipinos” favorite Duterte statement. Duh. Are we Filipinos willing to die for the Americans? Of course not!

But are the Americans willing to die for the trillions of dollars worth of international maritime trade seajacked by the militarization of the South China Sea? You betcha! Along with the Germans, French, Australians, Japanese, etc. In fact, these countries have continually tested and challenged China’s claims by sending warships and aircrafts to assert their freedom of navigation- a freedom that is being violated by China with us as accomplices.

Welcome back, Jung Il Woo



And he is out!

Welcome back, Jung Il Woo!

Can’t wait to see you back in kdramaverse!

Rest well and see you soon!

Happy 1st Anniversary, Master in the House


Time flies so fast and Korean Variety Show, Master In The House aka All The Butlers, has turned one year old!

About this time last year, I remember reading about this new variety show that was supposed to be Lee Seung Gi‘s comeback to variety show upon completion of military duty.

At first look, it was clear that Seung Gi, who had the vast experience in variety shows, would be leading the whole bunch.  The four members felt random with Lee Sang Yoon practically a newbie to variety shows.  I knew Yook Sung Jae from his drama Goblin but I have never heard of Yang Se Hyung.

The first few episodes looked awkward because it was obvious they were trying their footing in the new format.  Lee Sang Yoon looked so out of place and he could barely blend in the conversations.  I was also a little bit irritated with Yang Se Hyung because aside from being loud, I couldn’t ride on his jokes.  I could literally feel the heavy weight on Seung Gi’s shoulders trying so hard to control the reigns of the new show.  Sung Jae, probably being the maknae, had the least of worries as he comfortably goes along with his hyungs.

Little by little, episode by episode, the four guys found their rightful places in the show and after forty-three (43) episodes, these guys have grown like real brothers making every episode of Master In the House feel like home – something that is cozy, dependable, permanent and a source of warmth.

Job well done, guys! Cheers to many more years! Chukahaeyo!




BTS is currently on world tour, entitled Love Yourself.  And it’s sad there’s no Philippines on the list.

I am no stranger to fangirling.  Growing up, I idolized Wham, Boy George, Duran Duran, A-ha, Menudo, Madonna, Cindy Lauper.  I was in high school during that time.  Living in a rural part of the country without a decent record store, with only one FM Station and only two TV channels, my source for my stash were those cheap magazines in a newspaper shop and rented VHS tapes for their shows crudely recorded on TV.

Fast forward to almost twenty-five years later, and I have a teenage daughter who somehow rolled into the Kpop culture by the influence of her friends in school.  I cannot keep track of her many idols from Girls Generation to Twice, Big Bang to BTS, to name a few.

They say today’s millennial generation has a sense of entitlement, so that’s probably the reason why my daughter would just casually ask me to buy CDs all the way from Korea, or beg to watch their concerts, or suggest a family trip to Seoul.  Whenever she does any of that, I try to remember my youth and how hard it was for me to even buy a poster of A-ha not because I had no money but because it wasn’t readily available where I live.  When I put myself in her shoes, my heart melts and find myself giving in to her wishes.

Being the mother, my role is to help her still concentrate on school and keep the fondness for Kpop at a minimum.  She needs to follow simple but strict rules like no gadgets on school nights and limiting her time on the internet during weekends and vacations.  It is expensive to be a Kpop fan, because these fans do not resort to pirated copies; they buy the original to support their idols and that’s not cheap.  A CD would probably be around P 1,200, excluding shipping.  The concerts are way expensive because she wants to sit nearest the stage.  And a trip to Korea is a highlight for meaningful achievements.

Even then, I somehow find myself supporting her ‘hobby’ but she doesn’t get them for free.  She has to earn the money for her CDs fund by doing chores in the house.  A concert ticket is a prize for any major achievement in school during the school year.  A trip to Seoul is a graduation gift as reward for being a diligent student and an obedient daughter.

Kpop has its perks in our relationship.  It actually made us closer.  She would excitedly tell me about her Oppas and we stay up late at night awaiting the release of an album or the opening of ticket sales for a concert.  I line up for her in the concerts when she’s still in school.  I even find myself humming to the tunes of the Twice and BTS.

Loving Kpop is not a bad influence on her.  I have seen my daughter take her studies seriously and work hard in the school year so that she can get her rewards by the end of each term.  She is not into ‘boys’, but only ‘oppas’ who (sorry to say) do not even know she exists.

It’s been many years since my daughter’s first Kpop CD.  She is now in college, still a Kpop fan and currently learning Korean.  Talk about Korean addiction to the highest level.


The Ending of Devilish Joy


Kdrama Devilish Joy is down to its last two episodes this week.

And we ended Episode 14 with Gong Ma Sung collapsing outside the house of Joo Gi Bbeum.

First of all, I am really wondering how his loss of short term memory would elicit those painful headaches that finally caused him to collapse in Episode 14. I cannot reconcile this dramatic end in the episode with his disease.

Anyway, all throughout the course of the drama, the writer has been consistent of the fact that Ma Sung’s disease is incurable and hopeless and it’s progressing rapidly to cause his death soon (I don’t really get how a memory problem would drastically cause death ;P). There have been no hints of a glimmer of possibility that the writer would reverse this death-threatening memory loss. Even Ma Sung himself did not bother to seek a second opinion of his illness, maybe because as a doctor, he knows he has run out of options.  It has been strongly established since Episode 2 that the disease is fatal.

The only issues  to be resolved in the last two episodes would be Ma Sung’s impending death and the upcoming arrest of Kim Beom Soo. I’m predicting the episodes 15 and 16 with these:

  1. Joo Gi Bbeum will recover her lost fame – pretty much established in the last episode.  She deserves nothing less.
  2. Gong Ki Joon will finally become a Hallyu Star due to his new girlfriend, Ha Im.
  3. Doctor Yoon might chicken out and would actually stand witness for Kim Beom Soo – he will testify that the memory of Ma Sung is unreliable because it is unstable.  In this case, the prosecution will disregard the evidence against Kim Beom Soo and he will walk away free. (Yaaa!).  I cannot make up my mind how I want things to end with Kim Beom Soo because putting him in jail is so slight a penalty for the grave crimes he had committed.
  4. Ma Sung’s Evil Aunt – will stand firm in her stone heart and fight Ma Sung until the very end… she will probably pay Kim Beom Soo just to silence him.
  5. Or, it could be that Doctor Yoon will not be swayed by Kim Beom Soo and will instead plot another scheme with the Evil Aunt to bid Kim Beom Soo goodbye for all eternity.
  6. And Ma Sung… Ma Sung will probably have an open ending – I’m picturing him with Gi Bbeum resting happily in his Healing Village and leaving us to conclude the drama with our own versions.

A Thousand Day’s Promise was a drama about early onset amnesia and the writer was brave enough to let Seo Yeon die of her disease in the end.  I cannot think of any more dramas involving memory/brain issues where the lead beat the disease.

My gut strongly tells me that Episode 16 will be light and happy for the couple and they would probably marry, with no happily ever after.  I am not ready to lose Ma Sung over his sickness, but a last minute miracle or even misdiagnosis would not fit in the flow.

Anyway, how could anybody dare to kill the character of super hot Choi Jin Hyuk?

(Review) Mr. Sunshine


Lee Byung-hun, Kim Tae-ri, Yoo Yeon-seok, Kim Min-jung and Byun Yo-han. This drama boasts of the biggest names in Korean entertainment, especially Lee Byung Hun, who marks his comeback in the small tube after nine years. I watched the drama in Netflix but it was also shown in TvN locally in South Korea.

It is a period drama of 24 episodes, about a small boy, who was born a slave but managed to escape to the United States during a U.S. expedition to Korea. After many years, he came back to his native land as an officer of the US Marine Corps. He meets an aristocrat’s daughter and they fall in love in a time where the country was threatened by colonization schemes by Japan and other countries.

The first thing you’ll like about this drama, aside from the charismatic looks of Lee Byung Hun and the handsome Yoo Yeon Seok, would be the beautiful musical score, next to the breathtaking scenery and cinematography.

The drama is full of humor, amidst the time of chaos in the country and the violent fighting scenes. The love story between the two leads will make you fall in love with them and make the heavy melodramatic scenes bearable. At times, the fighting scenes were too graphic, but I just brushed it aside because it was a cable drama (in South Korea) where censorship is a bit lax.

As each episode rolled by, my heart became heavier and heavier. I hoped against hope that we could at least get a happy ending on even two of the characters we have come to love, but deep down, I had a sinking feeling that a drama set in such dire circumstances would not bid goodbye on a happy note.

Even then, I wouldn’t want any other ending. The finale was realistic and whatever fate our heroes met in the end, it gave justice to their roles.

Applause to the writers, actors, staff and crew of the drama. And thank you Netflix!

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