I’ve had this book for the longest time now. It’s one of the first batch of Korean books I ordered through Seoul Selection a few years ago. However, it sadly sat on my bookshelf for some time and went with me wherever I got assigned in for the past couple of years but I never really got to use it and write a review. Now that I am reviewing for TOPIK II, I finally got more than just randomly scanning through the pages.

So here’s a quick review:



  1. It goes through all important points of the Korean grammar and basic sentence construction.
  2. It has a table of contents at the back arranged alphabetically in Korean.
  3. Good as a supplementary material for study
  4. Has lots of sample sentences for the learner to understand the context in which the grammar can be used.
  5. English translations are available.



  1. No practice tasks or grammar exercises.
  2. No summary or comparison of grammar points with similar meanings or usages which can be very helpful especially for self-study

Recommended for self-study?

Yes. But not as a main language study material. Good only as a supplementary material for further study on difficult grammar points.

Additional Information:

Korean Grammar for International Learners

Authors: Ho-bin Ihm, Kyung-pyo Hong, Suk-in Chang

Publisher: Yonsei University Press

Price: 17,000 Won / 15 USD at Seoul Selection

To know more about Seoul Selection, read HERE.

And oh! More book reviews soon. They just arrived a few days ago via Gmarket! Gonna have to get ready for my TOPIK II battle less than a month from now. YAY!




Received this message on my FB page a few weeks ago. And I was reminded that…


When life seems like going in circles…

When the enemy lies at you saying you will never make it…

When doubt starts to fill your mind…

When you start feeling discouraged…



When chasing dreams takes forever…

When pursuing dreams feels hopeless…

When dreaming in itself is impossible…

Be still, darling.

Remember, the battle is not yours but God’s.


But when no matter how hard you try, everything falls apart…

When things don’t go the way you imagined…

When things don’t go the way you believed and prayed for…

Remember, God is still good.


It’s okay.


Your greatest reward is His presence as you journey.

The purpose of it all is to become a channel of God’s grace, love and blessing.

When that happens, then it is enough.

Jesus is enough. ALWAYS.

48th Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK)

I’m officially back in Manila! From a laid-back life of hiking up mountains and crossing rivers to a much more hectic life of going up LRT/MRT stations and crossing busy (and flooded) streets (hello, rainy season!), challenges are surely part of this journey. But I believe, everything is worth it as I continue to be in faith for “a dream come true” very soon. Only happy thoughts are allowed here!

The 48th Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK) is just around the corner and I am taking another step of faith as I signed up for TOPIK II last week. For someone who never tried TOPIK I (ever!), they say its a bold move! In the past, there were different test types for TOPIK I which consists of Level 1 and 2 (Basic), TOPIK II for Level 3 and 4 (Intermediate), TOPIK III for Level 5 and 6 (Advanced). However, they now have one single test for Levels 3 to 6. Hence it will be a lot more difficult as they have combined Intermediate and Advanced. The test will be the same and your level depends on your test result/score.

Well, that’s why I called it “a step of faith”. ^^

Anyway, the 48th TOPIK will be on October 16, 2016. Applications are directly submitted to KCC Philippines. Directions on how to go to KCC is available at the KCC Website.

Anyone else taking the TOPIK on October? Two months to go!

Here’s the official announcement from KCC.





We all have dreams. But there is that one dream that would just complete every empty spot in our field of dreams. That one dream we want to chase after but is so elusive. That one dream that even when years has passed without a hint of it coming true, you still want it. That one dream which can never be replaced by other dreams or bucket lists. That one dream where fighting difficulties and doubts is a battle you need to overcome. That one dream which just seems so impossible.

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From Google Images

I have that kind of dream.

The dream to study abroad.

7 years ago, I got myself into self-studying Korean. I self-studied until I reached the level where I can handle a conversation, write blogs in Korean and understand at least parts of the dramas and variety shows I watch without subtitles. Then I basically planned out everything for my “journey to South Korea”. Guess what? It didn’t happen as I have planned. I got caught up with what the world expected of me. After getting a degree, I had to find a job. The dream took a backseat. Until last year (2015), I was reminded. So I hoped again. I didn’t know how it was going to happen or if it will ever happen but I dared to believe.

At the start of this year, I have hoped and prayed for an open door to pursue my Master’s degree in Social Welfare. I was planning to take up the course in UP Diliman when I read online that the application for Korean Government Scholarship is open. It was the first time in the past 6 or 7 years of waiting that I finally found the post open! For the past years, I was always late or too early —  the application period has lapsed or has not yet opened. Now, the timing’s perfect, I thought.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. – Isaiah 43:19

It’s impossible to have a way in the wilderness or streams in the wasteland, but He will do it.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. – Exodus 14:14

I had nothing but this promise from God who loves you and me. And though every thing was uncertain, there’s one thing I was very sure of: His love NEVER fails.

So I chased the dream.

With more than a month in my hands, I went ahead and prepared all my documents. I am based in Eastern Samar so it was quite a challenge gathering my documents from Davao and Manila. I had to ask my Dad and brother to request documents for me. Applying for the scholarship isn’t really that expensive if you have all your documents with you. In my case, I had to fly to Manila a couple of times to process some documents personally which took a lot of my savings. I was convinced the money and time spent will all be worth it.

I sent my documents a week before the deadline. The waiting part was totally agonizing. Especially when the date for interview drew nearer. No calls or emails yet? Was I not shortlisted?! I worried a lot, you see. I even lost hope. I was already comforting myself that it’s okay, move on.

Then the Friday just before the scheduled interview week, I got the call! Out of 100+ applicants all over the Philippines, I got into the Top 20! You can just imagine my delight!!! This is it!!! I had more or less 3 days to book my ticket to Manila, pack my things and prepare for the interview. Just one more round to get recommended by the embassy for the scholarship. I need to be in the Final 5.

I was confident with how the interview went. I will pass.

Then a week later, the results came out….. I did not pass. 

But this story doesn’t end here because God promised. And He who promised is faithful. 

A month later, I did not just witness a miracle. I experienced it.

I got a call telling me that the director who interviewed me wanted to personally recommend me for a full scholarship at a university in Korea.

It took time before I finally understood what was happening.

All I could think of was, “It’s You, God. No one else. Thank You.”

Indeed, this battle was His. He is a God who can make ways in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. A God who performs wonders that cannot be fathomed and miracles that cannot be counted.

However this story will end next year, I’m in faith that it will serve its purpose which is to bring glory to His name.


From Google Images


KGSP Interview Process and Tips


Oh no, I am not in Korea… YET! @Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum, Hong Kong

I was informed that I got into the top 20 out of 100+ applicants that qualified for the Korean Government Scholarship Program  (KGSP) interview at the Korean Embassy. It was the Friday before the interview week. I only had three days! I immediately booked my flight and began searching online for interview tips hoping to find good sources of information regarding the KGSP interview in particular. Unfortunately, blogs about KGSP interviews are almost non-existent. So I’d like to help out those who will be shortlisted for the KGSP interview by sharing my own experience. Hopefully this will guide you on your preparations in nailing that interview!

Overview of the KGSP Process for Embassy Track:

  1. Embassy Selection (Application, Shortlisting and Interview)
  2. NIIED Selection
  3. University Selection (you need to pass in at least 1 of the university choices you indicated in your application)

This is purely based on my experience as a KGSP applicant from the Philippines. In our country, out of the 20 shortlisted applicants, only 5 will be recommended to NIIED. There will be 2 or 3 more people on the waiting list. Most of the time, when you get to the Final 5, the probability that you’ll go all the way to Korea is very high ^^ As for our batch, the 2 shortlisted applicants also passed the NIIED selection.

How is the interview done?

  1. You’ll be scheduled in groups of 4 with a panel of 3 interviewers.
  2. Questions will be given and the applicants take turns in giving their answers. It is quite a challenge especially if you have to go last!

How long does the interview take?

Approximatley 30 minutes. It doesn’t take too long considering that there are 4 of you in a group and there are 5 groups to be interviewed.

What are the interview questions? (This is only based on my experience and I might have already forgotten some. Most questions they asked are spontaneous and are based on our introduction and answers)

  1. Introduce yourself. I’d say this is the most important question they asked. It could make or break your whole application! Be sure you will be able to set yourself apart from the others.
  2. Why do you want to study in Korea? Do yourself a favor and DON’T answer because you watch a lot of Korean dramas and gush over KPOP.
  3. How are you going to adjust to the language barrier? Especially to those who had no background of the Korean language
  4. Give a positive and negative thing about Korea.
  5. How is your chosen major gonna help in the Philippine-Korea relations?

Any more tips?

  1. Be prepared! Think of possible questions other than those I’ve specified above. Prepare your answers, write them if you need to.
  2. Establish why your chosen major is beneficial for Korea and the Philippines. Or why you are choosing to study in Korea with that major.
  3. Talk about your achievements. It’s not bragging. The competition is tough and you are sitting with 3 more applicants with excellent credentials fighting for a spot in that scholarship!
  4. Make your answers brief and straight to the point.
  5. Learn about Korean culture, politics, economics, and why it interests you.
  6. Relax. Be confident. Smile :)
  7. Pray. The battle is not yours, but God’s. If it’s meant for you, nothing can take it away from you.

Take note that the KGSP scholarship gives an edge to those who will be majoring in natural sciences but it’s still worth a try. You see, I am pursuing MA in Social Welfare. It didn’t go exactly as I have planned (which I will be blogging about soon) but surely I want to encourage everyone to just go ahead, chase your dreams!!! It is better to try and learn from the experience than spend your lifetime wondering about what ifs.

Questions? Leave me a message! I’d be more than glad to help ^^ 

[REVIEW] The Face Shop Velvet Skin Primer and Nature Republic Face Masks

Working in disaster response and recovery for the past two years in far-flung areas, it is almost impossible to pamper myself with facials, massages and other beauty regimens. So when I get the chance to go to the cities nearby or visit Manila for a business meeting and seminars, I make it a personal mission to get some products for my skin (it isn’t really that great so I need to take care of it with a little more effort, y’know).

Here’s a review of some of the products I picked up while in Manila earlier this month. Note: I am no professional when it comes to beauty products. Haha

The Face Shop Velvet Skin Primer 

Since I am always out in the sun and prone to oily skin, I need a primer that would hold foundation for the whole day. However, I also like something that could be easily washed off with the make up at night to prevent clogged pores. In my opinion, this primer does both.

As it says on its packaging, “covers pores, and fine lines to make uneven skin look smooth”. Well, it doesn’t only look smooth but feels smooth and smells good, too. However, for a thrifty soul like me, it’s a bit pricey at Php 695.


Nature Republic Face Masks

I’ve tried face masks from Watsons and that of The Face Shop several times and decided to give Nature Republic a shot. I must say this will go on the top of my list. It leaves your skin hydrated, feeling soft and gives you that glow in the morning :)

I think the only negative point on this product is that it dries up quickly. You really have to use it for only 15-20 minutes! Unlike other face masks I’ve tried which I extend the use up to 30 minutes.

It comes with different main ingredients such as Avocado, Tomato, Royal Jelly, etc and costs around Php 55. It’s a good deal!!! You can choose depending on what you want to achieve with your skin. I chose Cucumber and Aloe which are good for my struggle with acne scars and dark spots.


Regardless of whether you have a problematic skin or not, I think feeding our skin with natural juices is a good practice with positive effects! So let’s go ladies!

#HKMacau2016: Day 4 – Ocean Park and Departure


We had until 4PM to explore and enjoy our last but definitely not the least destination in our #HKMacau2016 trip — the OCEAN PARK! Originally, we schedules it on our first day upon our arrival but the weather did not permit us so we had to reschedule everything and decided to move our Ocean Park visit to the last day before our 9PM flight back to Manila.

Tsim Sha Tsui to Ocean Park: Cost – HKD 20

  1. Take the MTR going to Admiralty station (HKD 9.4)
  2. Take Exit B. Once you’re outside the station, you’ll see the Bus Station going to Ocean Park. Ride the Citybus 629. (10.60hkd/person)


Ocean Park is a HUGE place. I recommend allotting the whole day just for this particular attraction especially if you are fond of scary rides like me. The lines for the rides might take a lot of time but fortunately we didn’t have to cue too long since there weren’t a lot of people when we visited. We went there in March and the weather was really freezing (especially for us who came from a tropical country) which may also explain why the park wasn’t really crowded.

Hong Kong Ocean Park is divided into two areas – The Waterfront and The Summit. You may go to and from these two locations via the Ocean Express train or the Cable Cars. Note that you can’t do a round trip through the cable car.


The Waterfront

Aquariums, museums, souvenir shops and restaurants can be located at the Waterfront. But if this bores you and you are more interested with the rides, then head over to the Summit (which we did)!!!





Experiencing Old Hong Kong



Old Hong Kong

The Summit

We took the express train and reached the Summit in no time. There were still a lot of souvenir shops and eateries at the Summit but the moment I stepped out of the train and saw all the rides, I forgot I was hungry and just wanted to try everything. haha I was THAT excited!


The Flash


It was indeed the Hair Raiser!!!


The Abyss (extreme drop!!!)



View of the Summit from the Ocean Park Tower

Honestly, it was “bitin”. If we only had more time, I’d get to try all the rides and see the Ocean Theatre performances :( We had to rush back to our hotel and to the airport for our evening flight.

And that concludes our #HKMacau2016 :)

For the detailed breakdown of our itinerary and budget, visit my previous post: HK MACAU ITINERARY AND BUDGET

There you go! If you have any questions, leave a message :)


#HKMacau2016: Day 3 – The Peak, Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum, HK Disneyland

I should probably finish this #HKMacau2016 blogs. So let’s go look at our Day 3!


View from Sky Terrace

We had the same breakfast for our second morning in Hong Kong, choco drink and some bread we bought from 7-Eleven, which is not bad at all for a budget trip like this. Then after getting ready for yet another freezing day, off we went and started our multi-destination schedule for the day!


These three attractions are located conveniently in the exact same place. There are also packages where you can avail of all three for a much cheaper price. We got ours at HKD230 (The Peak Tram (roundtrip) + Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum + Sky Terrace). Website packages sells at HKD 295. TIP: Cheap destination tickets are usually available at guesthouses/hostels.

Tsim Sha Tsui to The Peak – Cost: HKD 9.4 (MTR)

1. Wherever you come from, it’s very easy to go around Hong Kong via MTR. For this route, just get to Central Station and the rest will be on foot.
2. At Central Station, Exit at J2.
3. Walk through the Chater Garden and turn to the right where you have to cross the street.
5. Before reaching the flyover, cross the street and walk through the Bank of China until you reach the street on the other side. Cross that street as well. And walk to the right.
6. Along the street, you’ll see a stairs/steps to your right called Battery Path. Walk up the stairs until you reach St. John’s Cathedral (photo below).


St. John’s Cathedral

7. Walk around the cathedral til you reach the main road again. Walk straight til you find the building below. The signages will lead you to the Garden Road Peak Tram Lower Terminus where you can ride the tram to get to The Peak.


The Tram will take you to the Peak where the rest of the attractions are located. It was an awesome experience riding the tram overlooking the whole of Hong Kong on the way!

Once you get off the tram, cheap souvenir shops will be at the entrance. In our case, we just moved on to the Sky Terrace first before we went to the Wax Museum and shop a little.

At Sky Terrace, they provide electronic guides for free to listen to some podcasts about the country’s history and culture.



Look at all those escalators going to the highest point in Hong Kong!


At Sky Terrace


View of Hongkong from Sky Terrace

It was really cold so we had to rush back inside the building and move on to Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum, a collection of life-size wax statues of famous people from movie actors and TV personalities to historians and politicians. Of course, I was very much excited about the Korean corner of the museum.



Who would ever forget Bae Young-Joon of Winter Sonata? <3 Not I.


I have always been a fan of Super Junior. I was actually sad they only had Siwon. Well, I couldn’t really blame them. Super Junior has 13 (original) members!!! That would be a lot of waxes! hahaha


Out of all the wax statues, I was the happiest when I found Jackie Chan!!! I watched a lot, if not ALL, of his movies since I was young. When we entered the museum, they already had a Jackie Chan statue but we were not allowed to take pictures. I was so disappointed not knowing there’s another one inside. Imagine my delight when I came across this!!! I went totally and embarassingly crazy! haha

We spent our whole morning in the area and I still find it a little rushed. We were not able to go around the garden at the Peak and explore more shops.


From The Peak, just go back through the route you took until you reach the MTR Central Station.

Central Station to Hong Kong Disneyland (Central – Lai King- Sunny Bay – Disneyland) – Cost: HKD 27.9

  1. You have to go through 3 MTR Lines to reach Disneyland from Central Station.
  2. Take the Tsuen Wan Line from Central Station towards Tsuen Wan and alight at Lai King Station.
  3. Transfer to Tung Chung line, Tung Chung-bound and get off at Sunny Bay Station.
  4. Transfer to Disneyland Resort Line and enjoy the Mickey inspired train. ^^



Make sure to get a map! There are lots of interesting rides and theatre performances in Disneyland but they close a little too early so you have to choose wisely which rides you want to try. When it comes to the rides, I’d say Disneyland is more for the “kids” based on my preference where I enjoy very challenging rides which usually entails stomach-churning, heart-stopping, upside-down rides! If you like them, too, go ahead and run to HK Ocean Park (stay tuned for my next blog).

Still, being young at heart and a Disney baby, I enjoyed the park a lot. It’s every child’s dream, right? And I am soooo thankful I get to experience it.

DON’T EVER MISS the Parade of Lights at 8PM to see you favorite Disney characters up close dancing with beautiful lights and the Fireworks display at 9PM. TIP: Find a spot in front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle for the best view. Stay there even if you have to wait an hour or else, you’ll lose that spot. There’s wifi so you won’t get bored. ^^





For the detailed breakdown of our itinerary and budget, visit my previous post: HK MACAU ITINERARY AND BUDGET

There you go! If you have any questions, leave a message :)

Making friends through studying Korean

Through the past years that I have been self-studying Korean, I’ve virtually met some good friends through this blog and kept in touch with them. I find it so awesome how the world is so advanced, one can enjoy studying a language and make friends all over the country and the whole world!

For two years now, I have been living in Eastern Samar for the ongoing recovery and rehabilitation projects for the Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) survivors. I’m based 2 hours away from Tacloban where one of my K-study friends lives — Angeli of meloncreme.net.

We personally met for the first time earlier this year and talked like we’ve known each other since childhood. Haha. It’s also quite interesting how all these years, we have all pursued our love for almost anything Korean and actually excelled in it!

Because guess what? Angeli just won the 2016 Korean Speech Contest! I know this is late, but congratulations, Angeli!!! You have truly come a loooong way!

Anyone curious? Go over to her page and read her awesome journey to her recent victory!!!



After years and years of self studying Korean, I have finally decided to take my first ever TOPIK this coming October. With that goal in mind, I have been taking my Korean study schedule very seriously these days (I hope I will be able to sustain this though, with the work I’m doing, 어떡해~!!!). For the past years, I have been doing the same routine so I looked for other kstudy ways to keep myself motivated to improve my skills particularly in handling conversations in Korean. I’m glad I did because I was able to gage where I’m at now.

Last night, I searched for a language exchange app and found HelloTalk on Play Store. So here’s a review of the app.


First, you can set up you profile by indicating your native language and the language you are learning. This way, you can easily match up with other language learners. You may also write an introduction or some more details about yourself on your profile.


There’s a status update tab which works just like facebook where people can like a post and leave comments. The plus is that you can also post corrections on the post through the press and hold option which I have a screenshot below for the details on how each feature symbol works. It’s quite convenient to use :)




When you make or receive corrections on posts, chat messages or comments, it shows a very detailed reply as shown in the screenshot below. In my opinion, it is very helpful to see where you made a mistake and take note of it so you can review/study about it later on. You may also ask your “new HelloTalk friend” how to use certain grammar rules or how to express something more naturally. You’ll get instant replies from native speakers!


I’ve been on it for just a day but I’m totally hooked. ㅋㅋㅋ I’m glad I can now hold a decent conversation in full Korean without getting into panic mode when I encounter difficult words. Yay!!! Achieved!

I think I’ll be using this app on a regular basis now. Hahaha. Making new friends and improving my Korean language skill is like hitting two birds with one stone. ^^