In Baguio, the influx of Korean nationals has caught some attention. Baguio now is host to almost 10,000 Koreans. At first, only teenagers came here to study the English language. Most of them stayed for two months during their vacation from school in Korea. Then they started to study full-time in Baguio universities. Before long the Koreans started coming to Baguio with their whole families.
BY ANGELA MALICDEM
Posted by Bulatlat.com
BAGUIO CITY (246 kms north of Manila) — “Anyung Ha Seyo”.meaning “good day” in Korean, is fast becoming the new catch phrase of the local people of Baguio. This is the result of the rapid growth of the Korean population in the city.
Rewind six to seven years ago. I recall that back then, one can count the Korean nationals roaming the streets of Baguio. The only known Korean establishment was the Gin Go Gae, a Korean restaurant.
There was a beauty parlor along Mabini Street owned by a seemingly lonely middle-aged Korean lady, where other Koreans regularly had their hair done. Almost all of them went out of the shop with curly hair of brownish red color.
I was high school back then. I remember teasing and mocking the young Koreans when we see them along the streets. We all remember them as funky teenagers wearing super-bright clothes, bangle earrings and most of all, those big pointy shoes. I think the Meteor Garden haircut also originated from them. But of course, we considered that weird rather than cool back then.
That was back then. Today, we see Koreans almost everywhere. From our TV screens to our streets, Koreans are truly everywhere. The “Koreanovela” craze was ignited by that tear-jerker Endless Love. We all fell in love with the series Lovers in Paris. We took some lessons in herbology from Jang Geum in Jewel in the Palace. We even have Sandara Park, a Korean winner of a Filipino talent search, for the “krung-krung” fashion culture. Sandro Oh, also a Korean, hosts a lifestyle show representing the elitist side of the Filipino community.
In Baguio, the influx of Korean nationals has caught some attention. Baguio now is host to almost 10,000 Koreans. At first, only teenagers came here, to study the English language. Most of them stayed for two months during their vacation from school in Korea. Then they started to study full-time in Baguio universities. Before long the Koreans started coming to Baguio with their whole families.
Mrs. Susan Seo moved to Baguio two years ago along with her three daughters. Her husband stayed in Korea to take care of their business. “Life in Baguio is much less expensive,” she said while painstakingly correcting her own English.
“The school is cheap, the food is cheap,” she added.
She explained that she wanted her kids to learn proper English to prepare them for Canada. Most Koreans see the Philippines as a training ground preparatory to migration to Canada or Europe. “This is the ultimate Korean dream,” Ji Hye, Mrs. Seo’s eldest daughter said.
This may be the reason for the sudden boom of English learning schools in the city. At first, Koreans hired individual Filipino tutors to teach them at the convenience of their own home. But the English schools offered better curriculum than individual tutors.
Some Koreans also come here for the “resurrection” of our souls. Most of them are missionaries who travel around the world to teach people about Christianity. Mrs. Deborah Kil is a pastor’s wife. She and her family are here for a period of two years to teach bible lessons in their church. “We are the children of God and we try to bring our brothers and sisters together,” she said.
Her children are currently enrolled in a Korean-owned school here in Baguio. She ridicules even the fellow Koreans she sees in the streets of Baguio who seemingly live a liberated life. “I pity them. I pity their mothers,” she exclaimed. She added that most Korean teenagers want to live far from their homes just to feel free. In Korea, she explained, the schools are very strict that’s why they feel free when they come here. But she tolerates this behavior.
Mrs. Kil and her family will soon leave for China to continue their missionary work. Northern Dispatch / Posted by Bulatlat