Baguio City: The New Korean Province?
the influx of Korean nationals has caught some attention.
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
universities. Before long the Koreans started coming to
with their whole families.
BY ANGELA MALICDEM
Posted by Bulatlat
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
Mrs. Susan Seo moved
to Baguio two years ago along with her three daughters. Her husband stayed
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
Mrs. Kil and her
family will soon leave for China
to continue their missionary work. Northern Dispatch / Posted by
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© 2006 Bulatlat
Alipato Media Center
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