Princesses for a Day

The only K-drama that I watched and enjoyed was the popular “Jewel in the Palace” which was based on a true story about a girl suffering all types of discrimination and hardships but remained steadfast in her values to emerge as the king’s doctor against the rules of the kingdom. It was truly empowering. How patience, having an inquisitive mind, and choosing what is right compared to what is easy can lead to a greater life of service.

Julia and I got to relive a little bit of the physical part of that life when we went to the Gyeongbokgung palace wearing a Hanbok (the Korean national costume). It was amazingly comfortable and cozy given the weather. It forced us to be demure in our actions lest we ruin our pretty dresses!

Julia, Green tea and I.

My first time to wear a Hanbok was back in 2014 when I posed in a set with a tarpaulin background but this time was a whole different level. Granting I did not expect anything less from my friends/ officemates who are experts in taking instagrammable pictures.

While we were all busy orchestrating our poses, I can’t help but check out the building construction and how clean everything is. I wondered what areas have been restored because everything is so darn perfect. I kept pointing to the little details to Julia who I think was bombarded with information making her say “Nanay how come you notice all the details?” Then I stopped and let her run around the garden collecting twigs and pinecones.  Nature is her thing.

With the princesses of OCA

A fake door shot. The wall was filled with a lot of “fake doors”. Sorry for ruining the illusion!

I love how photogenic everything is! You can take pictures anywhere and it will look like you came out of a story book.  And I would have never thought about doing this if not for my friends.  I must say that this is a successful marketing idea.  If you rent a Hanbok, the palace entrance is free.  It instantly gives the palace an authentic feel when people go inside and dress up in the Korean National Costume.  It’s like we are the living mannequins promoting a time before jeans were invented.

We were also fortunate we still had time to explore the Folk Museum near the entrance and saw the material remains from the palace.  It provided depth in terms of how the palace was during the Joseon Dynasty.  We got a stamp map in the lobby so we were able to completely see all the galleries.  I suggest one should get this because it is a great souvenir and it’s free!

The open library.  Because I am a Filipino and we love an “organized mess”, the space was a little uncomfortable. It was neat with limited books and there was only one person when we went there.

What I appreciated were detailed books about their daily lives which was presumably the basis for making the historical fiction from their k-drama realistic.  I have always wondered how they could have known all the details they put into their TV series and now I know that it was really based on their documentation.  I figured that it was probably because their writing is like an art form, how could you not love writing when it feels like you’re painting.  There were also rooms in the palace that were recreated. I especially love the tableau of mouthwatering side dishes (maybe because we have yet to eat lunch).

One of the biggest exhibition pieces was the water clock.  I certainly was not able to grasp the whole mechanical concept but we had fun checking out the parts of the clock in the digital information screen.

It was without a doubt one of the better places we have been into.  Julia and I enjoyed our day in the museum and would have hoped that we could have stayed a little bit longer.  It was not a complete disappointment though, because we headed out to the older part of Seoul where we got to see a sample of heritage residential architecture up close.


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