Throwback Travel: Korea in 2013

Everyone and their mother knows I’ve been incredibly stressed the last few weeks. From the aftereffects of PLE to the logistical puzzle that was pre-residency, I was so close to just quitting the field and becoming a hermit.

One of the few things that kept me sane was… K-Pop. Yes. K-Pop. My sister recently fell into the hole that is the army side of TikTok —aka an infinite portal to the world of BTS— and I’ve had so much fun rediscovering the Bangtan boys with her.

(That time I watched a BTS concert in 2016 even though I didn’t know any of their names yet: BTS!!!)

A couple of days ago, I received a notification from Facebook that it’s been 8 years since we went to Seoul as a family. At that time, we were celebrating my 18th birthday —time flies by really fast!

I’ve blogged about our trip before, of course. But a big part of me now mourns the missed opportunity. Back in 2013, I wasn’t a fan of BTS yet. I wasn’t even into 2PM or GOT7. And even my mom and sister weren’t fans of K-dramas yet either…

Back to Korea

Take us back to Seoul! I really can’t wait for travel restrictions to let up. Of course, it will be an extra challenge to work around our different schedules (I won’t even have the chance for a work leave until maybe July 2022).

But I have to believe there’ll be a chance for us to see the Han River in person again. And this time, enjoy the sights while on the lookout for BTS merch and goodies! And GOT7 and BLACKPINK and KARD and G(I)-DLE…

(Read: Fail!Vlog: Korea 2013)

Riverside pathways in the heart of the city. The construction of more highways and roads in the heart of Manila, at the cost of the Pasig river ecosystem and of pedestrian pathways, has been a source of hot debate recently. I’d vote for more footpaths and accessible public spaces over car-centric plans any day.

After all, my ideal “self-care” day is a lot like that of BTS’ leader RM. A refreshing bike ride by the river, with a book to read under the shade of a blooming tree…
Family photo. This is one of our favorite photos as a family. After this 2013 trip, the only other times we were complete as four of us abroad were in Japan 2015, Australia 2016, and Taiwan 2019. I think. For other trips, Kuya had to stay back for some reason or another.

This is one of the main photos I chose for the travel photobook I gifted my mom. I wonder if there’s a way for me to share that digitally here.
Print pants. There’s not much to say about this random photo, except I really applaud my past self’s audacious blue pants.
Most of the credit for this post must go to my sister. I acknowledge her as the superior photographer (though I’ll do my best to take portraits during our upcoming short trips this month!).

Post-pandemic Bucket List

I know several peers and friends-of-friends who’ve already taken vacations abroad, but my family and I just aren’t as confident in our vaccines or in the stability of travel restrictions abroad.

Until then, I guess I’ll be filling up a travel bucket list —

  1. Seoul, Korea
  2. New York, USA — our 10-year visas are expiring soon with nothing to show for it!! We always planned for us to tour the States again after my medical school graduation, but the pandemic happened.
  3. Bangkok, Thailand (for the nth time, but I really love Bangkok okay)
  4. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
  5. Madrid, Spain — but only when I’ve learned enough Spanish

See you!


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