Showing posts with label Korea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Korea. Show all posts

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Chocolate review: Ghana Extra Cacao Mild

I remember featuring Ghana chocolates in one or more of my past articles. Ghana chocolates are made by Lotte, which is a Korean company. It is no wonder that I got these chocolates at a Korean store in Alabang at a commercial center across from my hotel. I bought a few bars of these in Japan before so I was curious if this version tasted the same.

This is the Korean version of Lotte's Ghana Extra Cacao Mild
I couldn't quite determine from the text at the back of the package how many % cacao was in this chocolate.
I believe the chocolate tasted the same as the previous ones we've enjoyed that we purchased in Japan and Singapore. From this, I would also dare to say that the chocolate basically compares with Meiji Black, which contains something like 35% cacao. The 70g bar was priced at 30 PHP so it was an inexpensive treat. I would likely get these chocolates again if the opportunity presents itself. Meiji Black is now very much available in most supermarkets when it wasn't a few years ago. So why can't these Ghana chocolates be more available, too?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Trouble in the peninsula

My uncle was a veteran of the Korean War, a Sergeant with the 10th Battalion Combat Team (BCT) that engaged in the worst battles in 1950. He was part of the Philippine Expeditionary Force in Korea (PEFTOK) that was part of the UN forces that sought to defend South Korea from the invading North. It was the 10th BCT that was attached to several American units including the 1st Cavalry, which is credited with the liberation of Manila in 1945, and fought fiercely and gallantly against the perceived threat of communism at the time.
He told us many stories of the horrors of war and prayed we never had to experience such horrors again in our lifetime. Among the stories he related was the time they had pushed the North Koreans back behind the 38th parallel and were on the brink of victory when the Chinese army armed by the Soviets came pouring in to support the Northerners. In one battle, they had to withstand wave upon wave of Chinese and North Korean assaults to the point that they were running out of ammunition but the enemy troops kept on charging. He said they couldn't count how many lay dead on the ground and piled on top of each other. And when it snowed, there was the eerie sight of what looked like mounds of snow but were actually piles of bodies coated or buried by the snow. At one point, the charges almost overwhelmed them despite not needing to target anyone because they only had to shoot and were sure to hit a charging soldier. 
Winter, my uncle related, was particularly bad not because it got very cold and it snowed hard at the time. One freezing afternoon, they got intelligence reports of troops marching towards their position and they prepared for another onslaught. Overnight they waited despite the inclement weather only for the morning to come and with no enemy in sight. Reconnaissance later revealed that enemy troops perished in the freezing weather, literally freezing to death as they marched as they were poorly dressed and equipped for the cold. UN forces were more fortunate to have cold weather gear.
History now shows us that the decision to defend the South's freedom was the right thing to do and ensured that Koreans would be able pursue the development, progress and quality of life that they are now enjoying. Contrast to this is the famine and suffering that most of the North is experiencing. People in the North are deprived of basic necessities including food, of which the supply is prioritized for the North's armed forces, one of the few remaining armies numbering more than 1 million regulars. After the Second World War, the USSR thought the north to be the prize catch because Korea's industries were there while the south was mainly agricultural and poor. Fast forward to the present, investments, sacrifices and hard work by those in the south has produced one of the most vibrant economies in the world. In fact, South Korea is well known for high quality products such as the electronics (e.g., Samsung phones and TVs) and automobiles (e.g., Hyundai and Kia), and of course, there is K-Pop. It remains a tragedy that the country has not been unified for the good of most Koreans even after the fall of the Iron Curtain and the transformation of China's economy.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I am currently attending a conference in Jeju, Korea and haven't had enough time to post something about my trip. Suffice it to say that I am impressed by the way they developed this island and how they seemed to have maintained it considering it is a major destination for tourists. Jeju is also in the running for the natural 7 wonders of the world considering it is host to many natural wonders certified by UNESCO as natural heritage sites.

The island itself is a wonder and I am reminded of a similar but smaller one in the Philippines - Camiguin. Jeju is actually a product of a volcano much like Camiguin is a "creation" of Hibok-hibok. Previous activity of the Mt. Halla are curious forms around the island. I will try to post photos of my trip here once I am able to download these. I will also write about the travel experience itself considering the airports and airlines I used.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Journey to Incheon

The flight to Incheon was quite enjoyable given that we were transferred by Asiana Airlines ground crew to a Philippine Airline flight and was generously upgraded to Business Class. I haven't flown Business Class on a regional flight since...well, 1997 so it was a welcome development in an otherwise routine flight in Asia. why was the name of the place so familiar? Was it because it was the relatively new international airport for South Korea that happened to be the topic of many presentations on major airport constructions? It was not the memory I had of a place called Incheon.

In 1950 or 1951 (I didn't bother to check the year.) the UN forces led by the US were reeling from a North Korean blitzkrieg that they along with the infant South Korean armed forces could simply not resist. The UN forces retreated to the tip of the peninsula facing a very humiliating defeat and the total collapse of a free Korea - certainly a big statement for the then aggressive and victorious Communists. China had fallen earlier in 1949 and the Soviet Union was openly supplying arms to the North, whose cadres and armies surprised the newly installed democracy in the South.

Then, in an unprecedented move...just when everyone was about to raise the white flag, a certain general by the name of Douglas Mcarthur led a daring naval landing operation in Incheon. This led to one of the most effective counter-offensives in military history...and the rest, as they say,is history.

I have fond memories of an uncle telling so many stories about the Korean War. He was with the 10th Battalion Combat Team, the first Philippine contingent to a UN sanctioned operation and the first Philippine unit sent to Korea. They landed in Incheon only a few days after the daring operation and fought the North Korean so fiercely that they were often far ahead of the allies in the offensive.

I can only imagine the conditions in Korea back then and how Korea looked like. It was also winter then and they were ill-equipped for the cold weather until the US finally supplied them with the winter gear after about a month. Yet they endured and raised the Philippine flag proudly alongside other UN forces.

Korea now, especially Seoul and Incheon (with its excellent airport), is so much different from what it looked like in 1950. We can only imagine from the photos and can only wish that something like that war never happens again.