Attending the 2019 ACH Invitation Program for ASEAN Fans of Hallyu

November 22, 2019

I honestly have no idea how to start this blog post. There are too many good memories and happenings that I wanted to share and I can't simply put those things into the right words. Everything still feels surreal.

If you have been following me on my SNS accounts, you would probably know that I went to South Korea last October 25 - November 2, 2019 for the 2019 ACH Invitation Program for ASEAN Fans of Hallyu.

What is this program all about?

The 2019 ACH Invitation Program for ASEAN Fans of Hallyu is a 9-days and 8-nights program by the ASEAN Culture House (ACH) and Korea Foundation which aims to invite delegates from the 10 ASEAN countries - Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam - who are fans of the Korean wave so that they will get to know more about the Korean culture as well as the ASEAN culture.

This whole program is free - from the airfare, to the accommodation, to the meals, everything. Yes, you read it right. It's free. Once you're invited, you can visit South Korea for free. That's one of the main reasons why I feel so blessed attending this event. Who would have thought I'll get to experience like this? And who would have thought I was able to go back to Korea this fast?


As an active K-content creator (photos, videos, and contents) and PKCI staff in the Philippines, the Philippine KPOP Convention, Inc. (PKCI) has recommended me to attend this program, together with Ms. Jay (the President) and Ivan (also a staff in PKCI). The three of us were the representatives of the Philippines for the said event.

What did we do in our 9-days and 8-nights stay?

Our mission, together with ACH and KF, is to create a video about the Korean culture that we have experienced throughout this whole event that will or may eventually encourage our fellow citizens (in our place, Filipinos) to travel and visit Korea. At the end of this blog post, I will be sharing to you our final output. I will also be sharing to you our detailed itinerary from DAY 1 until DAY 9.

DAY 0 - DAY 1

Our flight schedule was October 24, 11:30PM PST via Korean Air. This was actually my first time to experience Korean Air since I usually book flights under Cebu Pacific or AirAsia. What I actually liked with Korean Air is that they have larger leg room, have a screen where you can watch movies or even play games, plus we have food. (Yes, food is life). They also offer a mini pillow, a blanket, and headphones.

We have arrived in South Korea around 4:30AM and was able to reach the hotel around 9AM because we still waited for other delegates to arrive.

Just a quick segue, I was actually kinda emotional at that moment because I was there in front of the arrivals area of the airport meanwhile GOT7 was at the departures area. At that time, they were about to go to Manila for their concert. That's what we call, "So close yet so far."

Anyway, our hotel was Courtyard by Marriott located at 9 Namdaemun-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul 04526 South Korea. It's just a walking distance to Myeongdong. It was a really nice hotel. The staff there were so caring and so approachable.

Our first calltime was around 11:20AM KST at the lobby. So we still had time to rest a bit on our room. Ms. Jay and I shared the same room. Our first schedule for the day was the Welcome Luncheon.

I actually got separated with other PH delegates and was sitting beside Vietnam (Green), Jodi (Singapore), Kay (Myanmar) and Coyee (Malaysia). At first, I felt so shy, but eventually, they were so friendly and I managed to talk too.

We then went to KF Seoul Center to have our orientation as well as self introduction. I was nervous but eventually managed to get over it. I introduced myself as a PKCI staff and a part-time concert photographer.

Almost everyone have different jobs or states but we all have this common thing, our love for Hallyu. During our orientation, I was really excited with the activities that we will be doing in this program. I will be visiting a lot of places and experience a lot of first times.

After the orientation, we got to visit an exhibit. If I'm not mistaken it's more of the Western (?) part. I'm sorry I forgot all about this because I was too sleepy.

We went to our next destination, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) for the the Public Diplomacy Week. We got to learn more about other countries' culture. We also got to watch a performance from the ASEAN countries. There were also some PH representatives there and I feel so proud.


A lot of the delegates are excited for our DAY 2 because we're visiting SMTOWN Coex Artium and One Million Dance Studio. We actually have cover dancers in the group and I was really looking forward to see them dance!

But before that, we first visited the Cheongwadae Sarangchae. It is a historical museum wherein we can see the history of Korea's government. After having a tour in the museum, we decided to go out and take photos. And to our surprise, we were able to meet 2 KPOP artists!

They were 2AM's Jinwoon and BTOB's Changsub. This was really an unexpected moment. I know that both of them are currently serving in the military so I wasn't really expecting to see them. They were there performing.

I actually liked Jinwoon since Dream High 2 and I never thought I'll meet him even once in my life. When we were about to go to the bus, I didn't expect to go near them. I wasn't even able to take a video or photo of them upclose. But here's a screenshot from Nyii's video.

After that unexpected moment, we need to go on with our schedule. The next place we'll be visiting is the SMTOWN Coex Artium. This will be my second time visiting the Artium but my first time to go to the SMTOWN Museum.

As a former SM Stan (yes, I admit I am no longer an SM stan but I still love my babies), it's fun to see the albums, costumes, awards, and other things related to SM and their artist. I also got to experience the photo-thingy there.

I also got to buy Super Junior's Lightstick Version 2. I know I don't need it because I already have the version 1 but... I don't know. Super Junior scammed me lol.

ALSO READ: SMTOWN Coex: A Must Visit for SM Stans

After that, we went out of the artium and was about to visit the SMTown Artists' hands wall. But we met some familiar faces. TXT, the newest boy group of BigHit Entertainment, was there outside doing their VLive. We managed to see them upclose.

Our next schedule was the One Million Dance Studio. If you have been watching KPOP dances on Youtube, you will probably know about this studio. We were really looking forward to meet Lia Kim, unfortunately, she has a business meeting so she won't be able to meet us. Instead, Isabelle was the one who taught us.

We danced to ZICO's Artist. I was hesitant to dance at first because I am currently not in my best condition. I recently found out that I had a slight shoulder dislocation and the rotators were already loose. But I really want to experience this. So, I danced but with limitations of course.


For our third day in Korea, we visited the ASEAN Culture House (ACH) which is located at Busan. Meaning, we will be taking the train to Busan. During my last visit in Korea, I was able to go to the train station but wasn't able to ride the train. This time, I finally rode the train!

It took us around 3 hours to arrive at Busan. I didn't get dizzy when we rode it even if I was using my phone all the time - although I also slept for an hour I guess.

When we arrived at Busan, we first went to our hotel - Kolon Seacloud Hotel. It was just near the Haeundae Beach. We left our bags there and went straight to ACH. Inside the ACH, we witnessed the beauty of ASEAN countries by seeing their important items through the exhibit.

After that, we met new friends! They are Korean students who will be helping us with our mission. But before doing our mission, we had some fun games and even freebies.


We experienced something new on our fourth day. We went to ACH to have some cooking lessons. I never cook so it's really a new experience for me. We cooked pajeon. I partnered with Andrea from Singapore and she's quite good at it.

After that, we had our lunch and even ate the meal that we cooked.

Before going to Gamcheon Village, we visited the Haeundae Beach. I was really looking forward to get closer to the beach because I have seen a lot of k-variety shows shoot here. Another fangirl goals!

Of course, I  also excited to visit the Gamcheon Village because of the Little Prince. I don't actually knew why I love the Little Prince. But ever since it became a movie, I became interested with it. I even got a book during the MIBF.

It's really a dream come true! To finally got a photo with the Little Prince. Not only that, I also bought a tote bag with a cute Little Prince design. I will be back to this place. I promise.

ALSO READ: Visiting Gamcheon Culture Village


We went back to Seoul on our fifth day. Our 2-day trip to Busan is a bit short but I have enjoyed it a lot. I am really looking forward to be back to Busan soon. After another 3-hours of travel to Seoul, we had our lunch and then we headed straight to SM Entertainment, not the COEX Mall.

We had a lecture about the sources of KPOP's competitiveness by Professor Lee. At the end of the lecture, they gave us freebies - signed albums! I got Super Junior' One More Time and Red Velvet's Power Up Yeri Version.

After that, we went back to the hotel to check-in and had a short meeting for our mission.


This is probably one of my most awaited day because we'll get to visit a place near North Korea. Although we were not able to see the boundary, I'm still happy that I was able to visit a place near North Korea.

Since I barely go out of my house, I don't really appreciate trekking. But during this activity, I was able to appreciate my surroundings. It was fun to walk with that kind of weather plus the view is so beautiful. We got to see those big rocks with bullet holes.

During our trip there, we also got to eat duck meat as our lunch. It was my first time eating it and I guess it's not that bad. As far as I know, the place we ate at is really famous.

When we went to Imjingak Park at Paju, I was so happy with the environment. The windmills were so pretty and I actually want to just stay there forever. lol. The weather was not too cold nor too hot. There were some families gathering there too.

We then visited the National Museum of Korea. What I liked the most in that museum are the paintings. Since I am a painter myself, I love seeing paintings and different kinds of artworks. At that moment, I suddenly wanted to paint again. It's just so sad that we had a short time here.


During our seventh day, we went back to KF and had some lectures about the Korean Wave with the PD of KBS as the speaker. He was explaining how the concerts or festivals work in other countries. Like how much is needed, who will they bring, and a lot of things.

During the lecture, he also mentioned that he personally invited us to go to Music Bank and I'm so excited because NU'EST and DAY6 have their comebacks so I might get to see them.

After that, we went to MBC World. Last time, when I went to this place, I was not able to have a tour. I was only outside the venue. This time, I was able to enter. I also got to see the Idol Radio studio. Although there were no filming on that time yet, I still feel thrilled because I know that some of my favorite stars have visited it.

I also got to touch the script of one of my favorite Kdramas, W: Two Worlds. But the most exciting part is I finally had a photo with Lee Jong Suk's character in W.

After our visit to MBC World, we went to watch a show, The Painters: HERO. I actually didn't know that this show will be so exciting - not to mention one of the performers looks like Jonghyun. Huhu Jonghyun I miss you.

So what is it all about? There were four performers who dance and at the same time create beautiful art works. As an artist in both fields, I really appreciated it. Not only did they make artworks and dances, but they made it hilarious and audience-friendly. If you're visiting Korea, I suggest that you buy tickets to watch this performance.

After that, we went back to the hotel and finished editing the video which took us until 3AM?


Presentation of our mission - no decent sleep but we're excited. We went to KF Global Center and prepared for our presentation. The presentation was done in alphabetical order. We were a bit nervous but eventually finished the presentation successfully.

We had a few time having photos with one another before going to the farewell banquet. The farewell banquet was actually a memorable one. I got to interact with some delegates whom I wasn't able to interact with that much during the past days.

After the banquet, we went to Music Bank to watch the rehearsal. This will be my first time attending a music show and I'm really excited. We were not allowed to take photos or videos inside the venue but the memories are still clear inside my head.

We were able to see NU'EST and DAY6 perform. Because we lack time, we had to leave after DAY6's performance. Although we manage to see TXT again at the side.

After Music Bank, we went to Changdeokgung Palace. If I am not mistaken, this palace is one of the filming locations of Rookie Historian Goo Hae-Ryung and The Crowned Clown. There we took a lot of photos. Although I'm not really fond of posing, I still tried.

We had our dinner after, and then went to the ASEAN Cinema Week. I was really shocked when I saw P'Naphat. He was the actor in the Thai movie Friendzone.

Since today is technically our last night of the program, we decided to finally go out and have fun. Together with Vietnam and Myanmar, we went to Noraebang and sang happily. This was really a memorable moment. We enjoyed it.


This is the saddest part of the trip. It's time to separate ways. During the start of the trip, I told myself that I won't talk to anyone in the trip because I hate to get too attached with everyone and then leave. But I ended up being friends with a lot of them. I'm so sad to see everyone leave, but at the same time, happy because we got to meet new friends.

We may have separated ways but we still keep in contact with each other thanks to social media. I'm really looking forward to meet them again soon!

Before I end this post, I would like to thank Philippine KPOP Convention, Inc., Korea Foundation, ASEAN Culture House, for this once in a lifetime opportunity. I have learned a lot from this program. I have met different kinds of people and learned about their culture. You all made my 2019 a special one.

Here's our video:

Next Blog: Lee Dong Wook Fan Meeting in Korea
I don't know when I'll finish my blog but I will write it soon.

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