22 Things you can do in Korea during summer

Finally! You found an incredible seat sale (around PhP 4,000 – 5,000 for a round trip ticket) for your dream Korea trip but the only schedule available is during the summer season. If you have read blogs discouraging you to book flights to Korea during summer, you will either end up regretting your impulsive buying of tickets on sale or having second thoughts whether to book it or not……

STOP RIGHT THERE. Delete the regrets and hesitations and get ready to cross out South Korea from your travel bucket list! Here are the 22 exciting things you can do during your summer vacation in Korea!!!!

1. Wake up.

Yes. Just waking up is exciting because the sun seems to rise earlier than where I live (Philippines). The early morning vibe will make you feel that you can do more things in a day.

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Make sure to get comfortable rooms! We got this 2-bed room with wifi, air-condition/heater, common restroom, free breakfast and unlimited drinking water and near train station for only PhP 700/day.

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What excites me the most in the morning? The free breakfast you can enjoy outside the house! Unlimited toasted bread with jelly and butter spread and coffee plus the nice ambiance!

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We always woke up at 5am to this view every morning.

2. Try out  stuff from convenient stores.

They have several convenient stores and each of those offer different products! Have you tried the banana yoghurt drink? It’s one of the best.

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The airport offers convenient store and we had a quick snack and bought T-card upon arrival. (forgive the dry skin of my palm. LOL)

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Around the city, there are a lot of convenient stores offering almost every basic stuff you need.

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You can even buy cooked rice – microwave ready! The price is good for its contents and taste.

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We even had some noodles and pocket cheese sticks!

3. Commute with fun.

Transportation system in Korea is plausible. They have varying means of commuting and among them are taxis, trains, and buses.

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Taxi rides are quite expensive and therefore if you are on a budget you need to have fun figuring out how to get from one point to another. The train line looks complex but if you plan well your itinerary and carefully read signages, you will get to your target place with ease.

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They even have train in the airport! Make sure to give way to pregnant women and senior citizens and not to make too much noise inside the train.

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Most trains we rode accepted T-money card upon entry except the train going to Nami island wherein someone inside the train collected our fare (Tip: always have some cash).

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You can also ride a bus. Detailed charts are available at the bus stops, they provide information on the bus number, its route and arrival time. Buses arrive and leave on time so make sure to always have a watch!

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Buses have specific stop points. Unlike our jeepney rides where we say ‘para’ or ‘sa lugar lang’, their buses have stop button that will tell the driver to stop – just make sure you are in the right bus stop.

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Monitor time. Public vehicles have their last trip and you don’t want to miss your ride home.

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We almost missed the last train ride going home and lost going to places and these things will consume large amount of your time so don’t make the same mistake and plan ahead!

4. Stroll around the city.

Seoul is a big and beautiful city. You can enjoy walking in the streets day and night without noticing how time flies. The weather is not too hot nor too cold (during our June trip) and just perfect for a good stroll.

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The streets are picture perfect, designed with different kind of people, busy traffics, buildings and establishments.

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Just make sure to wear comfy shoes! 😉

5. Appreciate art.

On your way to your destination expect art works everywhere. Some of them are just so random you’ll wonder what it is.

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And sometimes, you’ll spot random (literally) colourful shits. LOL

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Prepare your inner artist self.

6. Take the perfect selfie and post it.

Enjoy the high-speed wifi connection every corner. Shoot your photo and post it immediately! They have free wifi in selected spots (like airport and train station) or you can avail SIM card that will provide you internet connection everywhere for a certain period of time depending on your plan of stay.

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Not our perfect mirror selfie – but hey free wifi at the train station while waiting make taking photos irresistible. 😀 (Tip: Bring extra batteries, power bank and memory card)

7. Have some coffee shop tour.

I was surprised to find so many coffee shops! Why? Because the coffee shops are literally a wall or a step from one another.

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Different coffee shops offer unique interior design. They are in every corner and offer diverse selection of beverages and pastries – they have caffeinated and non-caffeinated drinks!

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Coffee lover or not will surely love these coffee houses.

8. Say a little (or even big) prayer at Myeongdong Cathedral.

The Myeongdong Cathedral is the national cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seoul. It is formally known as the Cathedral Church of Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception and located in the Myeongdong neighbourhood of Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea.

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You can go inside and say a little prayer. If you’re not a believer, then you can go straight to taking pictures.

9. Forget your diet and have a taste of Korea.

Morning and night markets offer food of all sorts – from appetizers, full meals to desserts. Have a palate of a Korean through their special delicacies. Brace yourself because this will be long. Also, prepare your budget. LOL.

First stop – samgyeupsal and fried chicken! Because those are what we always see in Koreanovelas. 😛

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Streets are haven for one of a kind Korean food. The food preparation seemed very sanitary. One thing I loved in their street foods was that each stall has tissue if you’re kinda messy.

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Be observant. Check out for stalls with long lines, they surely promise a taste you won’t forget.

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As you enjoy wandering around, you will forget about time but your stomach will be your constant alarm clock. Almost every corner has restos and fast foods you might want to try. Most restos we tried offer unlimited side dish (e.g. kimchi, onion).

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If enjoying your meal is not your top priority, you can just grab a quick snack!

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Myeongdong offers mouthwatering dishes day and night. Their night market is the best though because several food stalls appear during the night – from barbecues to lobsters!

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Try some steamed bun at Nami Island!

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If you’re feeling a little adventurous, get a lot of protein from steamed silk worms. 😛 They also have boiled small shells (I was not able to try).

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Don’t forget the desserts! Summer will be the best time to try these sweets (though ice cream melts pretty fast).

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Try their traditional cotton candy (above photo).

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10. Wear hanbok all day and time travel through old palaces

Have you seen the Koreanovela Jewel in the Palace? It is a film based on a true story about Jang-Geum (a legendary girl) who became the first woman to be the supreme royal physician of her times. The time setting was about 500 years ago and featured old palaces.

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There are several palaces to choose from. We opted to go to Gyeongbokgung and Changdeukgung Palaces. Wear a hanbok (a traditional Korean dress for semi-formal or formal attire during traditional occasions) and get free pass to these palaces. Summer heat will make you sweat wearing these. Make sure to check the weather and temperature on your visit.

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They have hanbok for men and women!

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 Stroll around and be a time traveller for a day. Witness the one of a kind architecture of Korea’s old palaces.

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20180608104733_IMG_1808Gyeongbokgung and Changdeukgung Palaces are just a few kilometres from each other. Make sure to check your map – look for entry points of each palaces so you don’t have to walk extra miles and get lost going from one palace to another – it will be a waste of time.

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Walking on the streets wearing hanbok is a pretty normal thing near the palace. You’ll burn a lot of calories!

11. Go to Hanok Village.

Hanok village showcases traditional houses. They are beautiful IG worthy houses but residents there don’t look happy due to the noise brought by tourists.

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Lower your voice when you’re there. Just enjoy the place and respect the villagers.

12. Shop ’til you drop.

You don’t just prepare your eyes for the view and stomach for the food. You also need planning for the things you need to buy. Streets, alleys, and different stores have things not on your list but will tempt you to buy.

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There is no best time to shop because day and night you can do shopping spree!

13. Prepare your stomach for traditional street food.

Gwanjang Market offers Korea’s traditional foods at an affordable price. Research the ingredients first to know if you can tolerate the taste or if you have an allergy to that food – you don’t want to waste money just trying to be cool.

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I tried Soondae (Korean-style sausage stuffed with boiled sweet rice, cow or pig blood, potato noodles, mung bean sprouts, scallions and garlic) and ended with a lot of leftovers.

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My favourite food so far was Wanja-Jeon (pan-fried mixture of soybean and meat). We went to Gwangjang twice just to eat this! Also, their side dishes are the best!

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It’s best if you have a Korean friend to translate or interpret the food you want to try. Some menus have English translations others don’t.

14. Enjoy the night breeze at Dongdaenum.

If you already went Myeongdong’s night market and still have another night to spend, you can try wandering around Dongdaenum.

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Lights coming from different sources can calm your mind. There are also food stalls and sometimes a band performing in the area you can enjoy.

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It’s fun to observe couples, families, and friends enjoying each other company – you will realise that the world is really big and you’re just a speck of dust in the universe.

15. Go to KBS.

Are you a fan of Descendant’s of the Sun? Then go to KBS. They have an exhibit showcasing their shows. No entrance fee needed!

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If you’re not a fan of any KBS shows, get awestruck with their old filming equipment.

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16. Do WALLing.

Did I just tell you the random art works a while ago? Well, if that’s not enough arts for you, Ihwa-dong got something for an artist like you. They have a mural village!

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Avoid the hassle of getting lost by securing your map going there. We walked and got there easily!

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Summer light will help on intensifying the colours of the beautiful paintings on the wall.

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There are food stalls if you get hungry and mini souvenir shops around.

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17. Lock your heart.

From people who will break it. JUST KIDDING! Enjoy the view and pretty locks near N Seoul Tower.

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If you are with your special someone, why not lock your love for one another. Single? Lock your dreams. LOL.

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Or take the opportunity to capture your pic with the locks during golden hour.

18. Literally level UP going to N Seoul Tower.

Literally level up because you need to climb up the mountain first before reaching the tower. It has an architectural height of 236.8m.

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I would recommend to go there before sunset. That time duration will be enough for walking, eating, and picture taking at the heart lock section. And will be perfect to view the city lights at night.

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This isn’t recommended for those afraid of heights as the observatory height measures 135.6 m. Conquer your fear and witness the stars from below.

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And yeah! I was surprised to see this! And I’ll pee and poo often if I have this kind of view in my comfort room. LOL.

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And if you’re not being called by nature during your visit, why not just dine, relax and enjoy the view?

19. Explore Nami island.

Prepare yourself for a 5-10-minute boat ride. Feel the combination of cold and warm air.

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People rave about Nami during winter and fall time. Seeing pictures during these seasons proves the beauty of the island. But, let me tell you, summer offers a different kind of vibe to this island.

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The freshness in the air and the mixture of green and red leaves will soothe your stressed soul.

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Bring your instagram boyfriend and take your photo between trees. Just like the IG photo of Coleen Garcia below:

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And if you do not have an IG boyfriend or even an ordinary boyfriend (awwiee. LOL). Be thankful for the friend you have who’s willing to take your photo (and doesn’t care if you look good or not. haha). Or just bring a tripod and the magaling-tumayming-sa-self-timer self (skill in self-timer photography). Get ready for all those funny bts shots you will have. Make sure your friend or self-timer took burst of photos you can choose from because I assure you out of 20 shots you’ll just get 1-2 decent photos. Haha.

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Walk around and forget all your worries. Relax!

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20. Calm your mind in the Garden of Morning Calm

After spending time at Nami Island, you can opt to go to the Garden of Morning Calm. It is a place for all season (though spring will show you more flowers).

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Summer won’t disappoint you. The garden will greet you with flowers and different kinds of plants.

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This is one of my favourite places we visited. The place is very peaceful with all those relaxing colours of green, red, purple, pink, etc. The temperature is just right to enjoy the view and calmness of this paradise.

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If you feel tired, you can just sit and breathe and remind yourself how beautiful life is. 😉

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21. Drink but don’t get drunk.

Koreanovelas amaze me on how much Koreans can handle alcohol. And I think these drinks give a soothing warmth in the body during colder days. Being in the place of sojus, try to experience tasting their alcoholic beverages.

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On our first dinner, we already tried soju! Our trip had tolerable cold nights and soju was just perfect before getting to bed. We originally planned to get wasted drinking but our itinerary didn’t allow that to happen. Besides, waking up sober gives you more energy to enjoy long walks.

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Beer + fried chicken = perfect combo! Convenient stores offer a wide selection of beer plus fried chicken kiosks are in every corner.

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Aside from soju and beer, we also tried makgeoli – an original Korean alcohol made of sweet rice. The sweetness, tanginess and carbonation of the drink will give you a unique taste of alcohol.

22. Reminisce Beauty and the Beast with the Rose Garden Festival.

My favorite place in our entire itinerary – Rose Garden Festival! I super love flowers and dream to see sea of tulips. I was saddened when I learned that June was not the best condition for tulips. But, I guess life has its own way to show you magic – to let you believe in miracles. Nope, we really did not witness hectares of tulips – destiny brought us to a place FULL OF ROSES!!!!!!!

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Seoul Grand Park Rose Garden Festival is being held in Seoul Grand Park in Gwancheon around May to June. Last 2018, when we visited the garden, it ran from May 26 – June 10. It brought me happy childhood memories of Beauty and the Beast. It was a paradise my cannot give justice.

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Yearly, they are showcasing tens of thousands of blooming roses with different colours and species.

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You can also see the top view of the garden by riding the cable car. We didn’t ride the cable car because seeing the flowers up close was our goal.

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They don’t only have roses, there will also be equally beautiful colourful flowers that will greet you in their entrance and bid you good bye at the exit.

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Schedule your Korea visit during winter, spring and fall they say. No doubt to that. Snow, colourful flowers and different shades of leaves are pretty exciting but summer time has its own beauty that might surprise you.

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How to pollinate cassava?

Cassava is one of the most important crops for tropical countries. It has a wide range of use such as feed, food and industry purposes. The demand of the growing population encourages increasing crop production. Some of the objectives in breeding for this crop is to produce cassava with high yield, starch and harvest index, low hydrocyanic content, wide adaptation, resistance to pests and diseases and others.

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Cassava is a monoecious crop – male and female flowers are separate from each other. Female flowers open first followed by male flowers (1-2 weeks after). Naturally, self- and cross-pollination occur in cassava.

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Before doing pollination, check if the condition is favorable. It’s better if the sky is clear and there is low chance of rain for the whole day.

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Prepare materials (i.e. glassine bag, uncoated paper clip, marker).

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(L-R) glassine bag, paper clip and marker.

The first step is to determine female flowers that will open that day in the morning. One sure way to know that the female flower will open in the afternoon of the same day is to open one petal of an unopened female flower in the morning and check a drop of nectar on the basal part of the pistil. After selecting the female flower that is about to open in the afternoon, cover it with glassine bag and secure with a clip.

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In the afternoon, go back to your cassava plants. Opening of both male and female flowers usually begin from 12:00-2:00pm and remain open for a day. Gather male flowers available or those that you intend to cross in a small bottle/container/glassine bag.

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Get one male flower and rub the pollen to the pistil of the female flower. Put label on the glassine bag – include the cross combination and date of crossing. Immediately cover the newly crossed male and female flowers with the labeled glassine bag and secure it with a clip. Male and female flowers are highly receptive between 1:00-5:00pm and therefore pollination is best done during these hours. A male flower can be crossed to three female flowers.

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After 1-2 weeks of pollination, cover the crossed flowers with small net bag that will protect the fruit from fruit fly and catch the seeds that naturally fall off at maturity (3 months after pollination.

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Cassava fruit.

Small space for gardening? Do (SNAP) hydroponics!

Have you considered planting vegetables but you don’t have enough space? Conversion of farm lands to residential space is quite alarming since the increasing population will require more food. Learning to farm with limited space is an advantage because you will know how to produce food with your available area (whether small or large).

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil by using nutrient solution in water. Simple Nutrient Addition Program (SNAP) hydroponics is a low-cost hydroponics system developed by researchers from IPB, UPLB. This system is ideal for growing vegetables in small areas.

To do SNAP hydroponics, you need to establish your seedlings. I previously wrote how to do it here. Now that you have your seedlings, you need to prepare styrofoam/plastic cups (or used coffee cups), knife/blade, coir dust, plastic bag, packaging tape and growing boxes (fruit boxes).

Get your cups and create 4-6 (~1-2 inch long) small slits on the sides near the bottom and dig a hole on the center bottom of the cup. Fill the cups with about 1-inch thick coir dust. Carefully transplant one seedling in the cup with coir dust and lightly press the media around the base of the transplanted seedling. Water the cups with care.

Create holes fitted for your cups – you can either trace the cups and cut it with a blade or use heated tin cans.  Depending on the size of your cup, you can create 6-8 holes on the lid. Line the bottom of the box with plastic (make sure that the plastic entirely covers the bottom to hold the solution). (Note: you can close all openings on the box using packaging tape to prevent entry of mosquitoes).

Put the cups into the holes of the lid on the box created earlier. Prepare your SNAP solution by mixing 25mL of SNAP A to 10 liters of tap water and then stir well followed by an equal amount of SNAP B (with stirring).

Fill the bottom of the growing box with the SNAP solution to a level where the bottom of the cups is touching 1/2 inch of the nutrient solution. Close the bottom box with the lid of the box containing the cups with seedling. Examine the box for any leaks and make necessary repair.

Place the growing boxes to areas with roof (to prevent the rain from getting into the system) but will best receive morning sunlight. Closely monitor the set-up.

Replenish the box with SNAP solution whenever needed.

(source: PJA Santos and ETM Ocampo, UPLB)

5 tips to pass the licensure examination for agriculturists (LEA) in the Philippines

Are you graduating from your agriculture-related course and eligible to take the licensure examination for agriculturist (LEA) this 2019? Or does your institution require you to pass LEA?

In the Philippines, agriculture graduates may opt to take the Licensure Examination for Agriculturists. Government offices often require their job applicant RA 1080 (or board/bar eligibility). Passing LEA is a win-win factor when applying for a government position because you have an advantage for agriculture-related positions plus you can use it if you are interested with other vacancies.

First timers or not here are my 5 tips to pass the licensure examination for agriculturists.

Disclaimer: Tips are based on my personal experience.
1. Start early

If you are still in college,  focus and study well. I sound like your parents repetitively telling you to study, but it’s true in all board exams – you need to put effort and take college learning into your heart and mind because in the long run it will be worth it. The board exam is composed of 6 subjects (crop science, animal science, crop protection, agricultural extension, soil science, agricultural economics) – it will be information overload if you force yourself to study everything 1 day, 1 week or even 1 month before the board exam.

2. Join review sessions/self-review

Do not lose hope if you fail  the no. 1 tip and did not take your undergrad courses seriously. Board exams take months after graduation to happen; you still have plenty of time. You can enroll in a review center and then aside from your review sessions you can create or join groups to have additional reviews outside the review class. If you are on a budget, you can also do self-review – there are a lot of review materials offline and online you can use to refresh your knowledge.

3. Expect the unexpected

Everything under agriculture can be one of the questions – as random as where does macopa originate? It’s better if you diversify what you already know. Read recent events on agriculture. Do not solely rely on one reviewer, be resourceful and look for other review materials (from other schools or previous takers).

4. Be prepared

Aside from getting your mind prepped for the questions, you also need to set everything needed in place. First, make sure that your course has required units to be eligible to take the exam. Check the schedule of application submission and exam dates. One week from the time of the exam, look for accommodation that is comfortable and near the examination venue. A day before the exam, find your designated classroom. Before going to the venue make sure that you are wearing proper attire, have all the documents and exam materials needed (i.e. pencil no.2, black ballpen, eraser, basic calculator, light snacks, water, medicine kit (with loperamide and paracetamol, just in case)). As much as possible, do your restroom duties before taking the exam. Always arrive early or on time for the 3-day exam period (during the first day, go to the venue much earlier because you need to process some documents before the exam proper). Relax during the exam, don’t let your anxiety block you from answering; you have 4 hours allotted time for each subject – use it wisely.

5. Pray-do your best-pray

On the day/s of your exam, all that you can do is relax, pray and apply all the best of what you’ve learned. Aim for the top place and not just a passing grade; failing the top place will lead you to passing level while failure from just-passed mark will bring you directly to failed grade. After the exam and you know that you did the best that you can, pray and pray until the announcement of results. Pray that you will pass and have the courage to face whatever outcome might be. If you pass, then congrats! However, if you fail, then take another one next year.  DO NOT LET A SINGLE EXAM DEFINE YOU.

I hope these tips will somehow help you ace the LEA. Good luck, takers!

 

How to pregerminate small seeds?

Vegetables like lettuce, pechay, tomato and pakchoi have small seeds. Directly planting the seeds can cause lower survival rate of your plant and to avoid this, pregermination is a must.

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Seeds of (L-R) pakchoi, tomato and lettuce.

To pregerminate your small seeds you will need the following: seeds, sterilised media, shallow container, and water.

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Check the label.

When buying any seeds in the market, make sure to check the percent germination and sowing date to ensure high germinability of the seed. Choose seeds with higher percent germination and earlier sowing date or testing date (should be 6mos. to 1yr prior to your planting date).

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Sterilised choir dust.

For the sterilised media, you can either choose choir dust, garden soil or sand. It is important that your media is sterilised to remove potential harmful living things (e.g. insects, weeds, bacteria, fungi)  that might destroy your seeds. You can sterilised the media by cooking it in a pan or steaming it for around 30mins to 1hr and then let it cool before use.

It is necessary to have a short/shallow container. Here, I used the coffee lid and sample cups from SB.

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You can now fill-in your containers with media. I also tried the coffee grounds (from Starbucks) as media but you will see later on if the seeds survived using it.

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Before putting your seeds make sure to label your containers. With this, you can track the age of your plant and if you choose to pregerminate more than 1 variety you will not be confused (since some small seeded vegetable seeds may look similar at young seedling stage).

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Get your seeds now and start putting it on the media. Spread the seeds evenly and thinly for easier transplanting.

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Water your seeds/seedlings occasionally. Avoid overwatering or drying the media. The first step in seed germination is imbibition wherein water goes inside the seeds to soften the hard and dry tissues inside. Water uptake will cause the seeds to swell up splitting the seed coat and allowing water to enter faster and the embryo to go out of the seed. Water also activates biochemistry of the embryo.

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Put it in a safe place or under dark or light conditions if it is a photodormant seed (seeds requiring light or dark conditions to germinate).

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Pakchoi seedlings ready for transplanting.

Expect the appearance of your seedlings 1-2 weeks from sowing. These seedlings are ready for transplanting.

Note: As you can see, seedlings were not observed on the coffee ground media – probably because the texture was so compact that the embryo had a hard time going out of the seed or due to high acidity of coffee inhibiting the germination process of pakchoi seeds.

19 Life Lessons for 2019

In a few days we are bidding goodbye to 2018. I had my fair share of ups and downs. Nonetheless, I got an amazing year with lessons to keep.

1. Love (yourself and your neighbour)

I had a crush who eventually became my friend. During the early time of our friendship I knew I secretly love him more than a friend but that friend is in a happy relationship. At some point I let that person to somehow take advantage of my love because I had hopes for an ‘us’. As time passed by, I slowly learned that he loves me but not the way I wanted it and it’s ok. First, I didn’t want to ruin any relationship and second, I wanted to retain our friendship. The experience allowed me to love myself even more, to realise that you should not feel abused when it comes to love. Loving yourself will allow you to generate more love to share to other people; love that is guided by my favourite bible verse – 1 Corinthians 13:4–8a: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres”. 

2. Be kind and gentle

I was not feeling good that day but two things happened. First: a random woman gave the jeepney driver a P100 bill for an P8 fare and since it was still early, the driver had no loose bills as change – he scratched his head maybe because of disappointment and returned the P100; The woman looked embarrassed and really wanted to pay but got no smaller bill, then to my surprise, a stranger lend her P8. Second: I was inside the tricycle, still not in good shape when a random guy offered his food to me. And those simple gestures of kindness instantly brightened my day. Everyday someone (rich or poor) is fighting a battle – she/he may have a financial problem, lost something important or failed a final exam; you may look at it as a petty thing to think of – but, we have different coping mechanism and can be extremely sad. Try not to be harsh to people regardless of their social status and extent of their problems.

3. Stay true to yourself

You want to colour your hair? Do it! You don’t like drinking alcoholic beverages but your friends are hard core drinkers? DO NOT DRINK!  Do whatever your inner self want to do. Stop being pretentious. People who love you will stay and accept the real you.

4.  It’s ok to say no

I used to be a ‘YES’ person even if I have things to do. I didn’t want them to feel rejected. Then, there are some people who will take advantage of you (e.g. coming super late in the meeting place). Lost time is irreplaceable. You could’ve done so much things by missing one of those officemate’s night out. Stop trying being everyone’s cup of tea because in reality, you cannot please everybody. A ‘NO’ doesn’t always equate to rejection as it is also a form of acceptance – accepting that you have important matters to attend to.

5. Prioritise

In this fast-paced world it looks like that the 24 hours in a day is not enough to juggle all your scheduled activities. But, remember – we all have the same amount of time and we just need to prioritise and manage our time wisely. You have finals tomorrow morning and haven’t finished reviewing but have a family event today until midnight? Determine which is more important to you – either you know that the exam will be easy and attend the family event or excuse yourself from the gathering and review until morning – besides, they are your family, they’ll understand you. 😉

6. Stop procrastinating

Guilty of beating the deadliest deadline? Hey, I am! It feels like all your creative juices are acting efficiently when doing things the day before due-date. But, if you come to think of it, you could’ve finished that even weeks before the day your boss or professor needs it. Accomplishing things ahead of time will allow you to think clearer and make further improvement of your work. You can’t turn back time. Start doing what needs to be done – not tomorrow but NOW.

7. Do not stop learning

The world is changing pretty fast. Some things impossible before are now tangible. We used to grow 45-day old chickens but I learned that it was reduced by 10 days to meet the growing demand. From Nokia 3310’s space impact we now have lots of touch-screen phones with several features. Innovations grow day after day. Do not lag behind. Several media to gain information are available online and offline. Let every wake up day an opportunity to learn.

8. You are beautiful

Do you think you look bad just because you don’t have fair and smooth skin, small nose and lips, slim figure? Nope. You don’t need to conform by these standards set by the society. Don’t let your insecurities swallow the goodness in you. Examine your self, explore your soul and know that YOU.ARE.BEAUTIFUL! We are a piece in a puzzle; irregular in shape but completes the whole picture. Beauty is subjective. You are perfectly imperfect.

9. Travel

“Don’t collect things, collect memories”. If there’s an opportunity to travel go for it. Going to places will allow you to witness the beauty of the world and meet people from different walks of life and these experiences will allow you to grow into a person with broader understanding of life.

10. It can’t rain forever

First, you broke your shoes going to office and then learned that you are forced to retire because of company’s lack of fund and while thinking where to apply next somebody will call you to tell you that your favourite dog got hit by the car. What a day, eh? Then they’ll tell you that there’s always a rainbow after the rain which I will beg to disagree. I usually observe rainbows if rain comes during a bright day. What I am certain is that it can’t rain forever. Some days may seem that problems pour non-stop but surely that too shall pass; do not lose hope, better days are coming, my dear.

11. Stop gossiping

Did you ever talk bad about someone? Or did someone spread fake news about you? Both situation will drain your energy. Always try to see the positive side of people whether you like them or not. If you heard bad things about someone do not judge them right away; look at every sides possible. If you think it’s no big deal then don’t give a sh*t about it but if it seems potent to harm someone go straight to the person involve and tell them what you know and your insights. Do not waste your ATPs talking about other people’s lives. Mind your own business.

12. Be healthy

Sounds cliché but yea start eating healthy (enough carbs, protein and plenty of fruits and veggies) and on time, exercise regularly, drink lots of water and get enough rest. Stop activities that deteriorate your body like smoking and excessive drinking. Start early and your ageing body will thank you.

14. Be patient and stay calm

There are times you get really impatient waiting for someone or something – e.g. your late officemate, long line at your favourite resto, love of your life or dream job. Do not get tired of waiting yet, everything has its own perfect timing. Maybe your officemate was late because the universe is preventing you from getting into an accident; the long line in your favourite resto will allow you to better appreciate your food; probably the love of your life is also busy establishing him/herself and when the time comes that you meet, you are both ready; you haven’t landed on your dream job because what you are experiencing now preps you to an even better opportunity. You are destined to go somewhere, to do great things so work at your best, don’t get frustrated, relax and wait.

15. Forgive and let go

When someone did something awfully wrong to you, forgiving looks easier said than done. But, holding grudge is a load that gets heavier as the day passes by. However, do not force yourself to forget what was badly done to you. We deal at circumstances differently. One thing is to admit that someone has done you wrong and then try to understand the situation. Slowly, you will feel better as you unload the burden of that grudge you were holding. This doesn’t only apply to the people who hurt you because you need to include yourself. Most of the time we are so harsh to ourselves whenever we did something wrong but let us not forget that we are humans capable of committing mistakes.

16. Break bad habits

Scrolling through all your social media accounts until midnight? Drinking and smoking non-stop? Cramming for the project given to you months ago? Playing online games instead of studying? Those things somehow relax you instantly but in the long run they aren’t healthy and I know that you are aware of that. As early as you realise that you want to break these habits – start the process. Take your first step by  logging off all your social media accounts, reducing drinking and smoking activities week after week or uninstalling your online games. And to track your progress you can write it down or download a habit tracker. Each day will be tough but gets easier as your body becomes adapted to the system. This will be a lot of convincing yourself to reverse bad things your system thought right for you. Repairing years of damage will require hard work and discipline. But it is not impossible – start now by taking baby steps towards better habits.

17. People and things are temporary and the only constant thing is change

It’s heartbreaking when a family or friend of yours for years leave (e.g. getting married, migrating, working abroad); like you’ve been together for a long time and then tomorrow you need to live your life without them. It is sad but do not resent them. Give them happy memories while they are still there and when the time comes that they want to spread their wings and fly, give them your full support. Plants develop by cell multiplication, expansion and differentiation. And just like plants and other higher form organisms, we all need to undergo changes in order to grow.

18. Go out of your comfort zone, believe in yourself and do it!

Do you want to start a Youtube channel but hesitant because you’re thinking that no one will view your upload? Are you a painter who doesn’t showcase his/her work because you believe that it is not interesting? Do you have a dream of becoming a lawyer or doctor after your undergraduate studies but consider yourself not smart enough to survive the course? Have a leap of faith. DO IT! Start your Youtube career, join painting exhibit bazaars and take that LAE or NMAT. Every single day you face risks in your life (crossing roads, climbing stairs, riding PUVs) so why not walk towards something greater by thinking that you can and just do whatever your gut is telling you? At some point you will get frustrated, disappointed and rejected; but passion will feed your dreams/goals to become big, strong and hungry enough to easily engulf all your fears of failing. It is more frightening to look back and realise that you’re stuck to a place where you’re not supposed to be. Do not let your future self regret what you haven’t done today.

19. Have faith

Trust Him or the universe (if you’re not a believer). You need to have faith on the process. Everything happens for a reason. The choices you made and your situation right now have specific purpose. It’s normal to question why things happen but eventually you’ll understand why it didn’t come the way you wanted it. That phase in your life will pass and you will be awestruck by the outcome.

So there…rock on 2019!

Taking a look at the Starbucks travel organizer and Mercury Drug daybook

Time flies so fast! Christmas is approaching and 2018 is about to say goodbye. I have been contemplating on what journal/diary I want to use this coming 2019. Recently, two of my friends claimed the 2019 Starbucks Travel Organizer and Mercury Drug Joyful Daybook.

First, to get the Starbucks travel organizer you need to collect 18 stickers. When you buy a drink, you will get 1 sticker. You can either choose their planner or travel organizer with two different colors (planner – white or dark brown; travel organizer – teal or orange-brown). TBH, I am not really a fan of SB because number 1) it is expensive (lol) and 2) I can live without flavored drinks. But, if I am going to choose, I will also get the travel organizer. Included in the travel organizer is a Starbucks card where you load your money and in every purchase you gain a point/star and with 12 points/stars you will get a free drink.

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I just love the minimalist design of the organizer. It has the classic logo embossed in front. The zipper color has an old-age vibe and matches the color of the leather. The organizer is designed to hold cards, phone or passport and a small notebook (included in the set), it also comes with a strap. It is handy and light you can bring it during travels or everyday activities. Your basic travel essentials will fit perfectly (passport, boarding pass, cards, cash, small notebook, pen, headset).

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Overall, I like it. If you always buy drinks at Starbucks or you like to hold your essentials in an organized way, you should get one. But if you are on a budget or not a SB person, getting this is not practical (18drinks * ~170 = PhP3060). There are other choices in the market which you can get for as low as PhP500 (imagine the 2500 savings!!).

Moving on, the planner game of Mercury Drug has leveled up. Last year, I got their planner – the peach one. The design and paper quality impressed me. This year, they released their Joyful Daybook and you get one with 35 suki card points (PhP200=1 suki point). The planner comes in 4 different colors (blue – peace and happiness; violet – courage and clarity of thought; red – love and passion; yellow – strength and intellect). IMG_6139

The quality is the same as in their 2018 planner. The notebook is enclosed in a white thin paper casing. The notebook itself has rubber-like but stiff cover with embossed design. It has a garter string on the upper right corner (last year’s had it in the middle) that holds the notebook together.

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Inside the planner are mood and health trackers, blank leaves, motivational quotes and words of wisdom with pretty amazing designs. I highly recommend this! I mean, you get this for free with your 35 suki points (or you can ask your friend or relative to help you with this.LOL). But do not spend PhP 7000 to get the points you need – check out their products with extra suki points.