itchy feet cravings

Touchdown Sydney

Wow! Had no words at the moment… I’m still in a state of euphoria. Just came back from a six-day vacation and this time from…Sydney!!! So happy and excited and so thankful to the Lord for another fave spot stricken off my bucket list. I’m ecstatic! 😀 I remember when I was a kid, I… Continue reading Touchdown Sydney

gustatory exploits · itchy feet cravings

Staycation at Cebu

Hi guys! Sorry I’ve been out of the loop for weeks now. I was a having a little difficulty squeezing some quality blog time lately ‘coz of a little dilemma with skin asthma and a whole lot of things. Quite big for me—first time I experienced this. I had to go to and from hospital… Continue reading Staycation at Cebu

itchy feet cravings

Brunch at Café By the Ruins

I sure miss those days when going up to Baguio City was a breeze, and you always look forward to an exhilarating experience. That was, I think, during the 1980s. The last time I went up here was around 2005 or 2006 and the city was celebrating Panagbenga Festival. It was so crowded I didn’t… Continue reading Brunch at Café By the Ruins

itchy feet cravings

Seolleung and Jeongneung; Royal Tombs in Seoul

While most people would troop to cemeteries to commemorate a death of a loved one, me and my mom prefer staying home on Nov. 1 and 2. The last time I was inside a graveyard was after my father died. After the customary 40 days, we went back to visit my Dad and uttered prayers for him. But for the life of me, I never went back. I prefer praying for his soul and our dear departed loved ones quietly at home, sometimes lighting a single candle at night.

This All Soul’s Day is a perfect opportunity for me then to recall the time my mom and I visited a tomb in Seoul three years ago. My mom wanted to rest and I was out looking for a park near Seolleung Station when I spotted the entrance to the Seolleung and Jeongneung Royal Tombs.

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It was a long walk. I was worried about my mom, so I told her to just stay put in one of the benches in the vast park while I go around and take pics of the place. I don’t want to drain her energy because we’re going shopping in Namdaemun later that evening. So while she was resting, I mustered the courage to come near the tombs even if the place was silently eerie to me.

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But the park itself was really nice. I like walking along the path surrounded by lush green trees. The cold spring air made walking bearable.

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Seolleung is actually the location of the Royal Tomb of King Seongjong and Queen Jeonghyeon, while Jeongneung is the single tomb of King Jungjong.

We first checked out Jeongneung located far from the entrance and the tomb keepers’ house. We were careful to get in as we had to observe some protocol. It was a quiet but sunny atmosphere, and though my mom is already tired from walking, she walked some more, intrigued at the unique layout of the dome-shaped tombs she’s only familiar with when watching Korean historical dramas.

Based on the visitor’s map handed to us, King Jungjong is the 11th ruler during the Joseon Dynasty. He ruled two years after King Seongjong. He succeeded the throne after his elder half-brother King Yeongsangun was dethroned after a coup. His rule was marked with strife as he was known for having a weak power base and failed to carry out reform supporting Neo-Confucian literati as his attempts only led to confusion. A top confidant of his pursued radical policies and marred his reform policies. IMG_0007_6

King Seongjong, the 9th ruler, in contrast was known as a lover of scriptures and poetry. He wasn’t educated for kingship but he made every effort to study hard and wouldn’t miss royal lectures on Classical Canon and policy discussions. His academic efforts resulted in several accomplishments of his such as the promulgation of the Grand Code of State Administration, installation of the Special Counselors Office, and the engagement of the Neo-Confucian literati. “He was a…romantic ruler who liked poetry and hunting and delighted in elegant pursuits,”was stated in the brochure map.

His burial mound is located on the opposite side of the park, about a 10-15 minute walk from Jeongneung. King Seongjong is buried near his second consort, Queen Jeonghyeon. I let my mom rest for a while at the bench nearby while I went up to get a glimpse of the Queen’s tomb.

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As with the other royal tombs scattered around South Korea, Seolleong and Jeongneong were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site precisely because it was superbly preserved in their original condition as it was since built a hundred years ago. Joseon royal tombs are also highly regarded as a tangible heritage of reflecting the Korean people’s values drawn from Confucian ideology and feng shui tradition.

When I went back down, I saw my mom already walking towards the tomb of King Seongjong…

IMG_0021_6Nothing much to see, so we walked back towards the T-shaped shrine which was a bit weird…

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Why weird? The stairs were replete with warning signs telling visitors the area is off-limits because its a spirit walkway. Later on, I realized that the path towards the burial area is a ceremonial area which features a worship road and a spirit road. That must have been the reason we feel a bit uneasy. The place is unusually quiet as if there were unseen spirits waiting for us to step past the red line. I felt the hairs on the back of my neck prickle. The only recourse we had was to avoid walking near the area so as not to ‘disturb any spirit’ and also, in respect to Korean tradition.

IMG_0024_6We walked back past the Forbidden Stream bridge, and towards the entrance gate. It was already getting a bit late and we didn’t want to stay much longer even though the place is inviting and lovely. I just don’t think spending the evening at a graveyard suits me.

Besides, Seoul’s Namdaemum Market beckons and I can’t wait to utilize my shopping and bargaining skills there. 🙂

itchy feet cravings

Hibernating in Sorsogon and Albay

I was about to forego blogging this month of October, but I guess my spirit just can’t contain the excitement and joy I experienced just a week ago. And so, before this month ends, lemme tell you how incredibly surprised I was over God’s birthday gift to me–a trip to Sorsogon! God really never fails… Continue reading Hibernating in Sorsogon and Albay

gustatory exploits · itchy feet cravings

Shopping at Busan’s Nampodong

It’s hard to believe its already half of the year…five months to go and its Christmas season! Time flies so fast. My mind flashes back to scenes of my Christmas shopping last year… 🙂 Reminds me then, of my shopping spree experience at Nampo-dong in Busan last December that even the cold winter season failed… Continue reading Shopping at Busan’s Nampodong

itchy feet cravings

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (Busan part 2)

I’ve been to many Buddhist temples but this is the first time I’ve been to one that sports a spectacular view of the sea… Haedong Yonggungsa, definitely, nailed my search for one of my best travel spots in South Korea. It wasn’t even something I planned going to. Last year, when I got here with… Continue reading Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (Busan part 2)