Korean Beliefs and Practices
Koreans believe in sincerity and following protocols while meeting, eating, praying or even celebrating is very important. Let us have a look at different Korean etiquette in this section of the article.
Bowing is equivalent to the handshake in Korean culture. Bowing means showing gratitude and respect to the person you are meeting with. The younger generations have blended the western culture with their native culture by shaking hands after bowing to each other.
Gifts have remained an integral part of their culture; however, gifts are always given according to the capacity and affordability of the other person because Koreans firmly believe in reciprocating. The quantity or numbers also add value to your gifts; seven is considered as a lucky number so anything in multiples of seven will be accepted heartily. However, they avoid giving anything that falls in the multiple value of four because Koreans consider four as an unlucky number. Red, yellow and pink colors denote happiness and prosperity in the Korean culture. The use of white, black or green colors for wrapping is offensive and must be avoided.
Korean food and drinks add flavor to their traditional lifestyle and rice malt served with kimchi is their specialty. Cold noodles, bibimbap, bulgogi and dakgalbi are some of the world famous Korean dishes. However, dining and eating means following a strict protocol. No indoor farewells, the removal of shoes before entering the house or dining room, and most importantly, only male hosts will serve the drinks.
Buddhism is the main religion in Korea and its teachings reflect in Korean lifestyle, culture and arts. Numerous Buddhist statues, monuments and temples have been included in the National Treasure and Monument list by the government. Yungdrung is major symbol of Korean Buddhism and it can be seen outside temples and religious places in Korea.
Korean culture is incomplete without pottery and ceramics. Pottery is Korea's cultural emblem and it started thousands of years ago. Today, celadon, a Korean blue-glazed pottery, is famous all over the world. This pottery style was passed on to the Japanese by the Koreans.
A Korean marriage does not mean the union of two individuals only, but also the unification of two families and two different lifestyles. Matchmaking with the help of matchmakers (Eui Hon), wedding parade on a pony, bowing to the members of family (Gyobaerye), couple drinking from the same cup (Hapgeunrye) and bridal procession (Wugwi) are major rituals of a traditional Korean marriage.
Traditional clothes are the pride of the Korean people. Hanbok is the name given to traditional Korean attire. It is worn in marriage ceremonies, family functions and traditional festivals. It is also the official government and national dress in Korea. People of all ages wear it with pride because it is one of the emblems of their cultural identity.
Knowing and understanding these customs is important because while visiting the country, you must abide to their rules and customs; otherwise, you might end up in an embarrassing situation because western practices and customs are totally different from the customs of the Korean people.
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effects of Koreans presence in the Philippines community
Koreans came here without a warning, moving in almost invisible until there were too many to ignore. It was like, suddenly, Koreans were almost everywhere in the Philippines -- in malls, universities, the country's top resorts, and even on local television as well as radio shows.
As early as 8th century, Koreans had already discovered Philippines when Jang Bogo of Unified Silla was said to have visited the country. However, Korean settlement in the Philippines can be traced way back 1930s when Catholic priest Kim Daegon with two Korean Catholics flew to Philippines from a riot in Macau. During World War II, some Korean soldiers went to Philippines with Japanese soldiers. Later on, they married Filipino women and chose to stay in the country permanently. One of them, Park Hyun Hwa, established the Korean Association Philippines Incorporated in 1969, which became the country's largest Korean organization. In the 1980s, in response to South Korea's rapid economic growth, the country has to relocate some of their companies to the other countries, including Philippines.
Korean community is the largest single market of English schools in the Philippines. Every year, thousands of Koreans go to the Philippines to study English. There are more Koreans who study English in the Philippines than the Chinese and Japanese combined. Many Koreans are attracted to the low cost of English language education and housing offered by the Philippines. The trend of South Korean students going to the Philippines began in the late 1990s, when the Philippines ranked as the region's second-most developed country behind Japan. Philippine universities still have a reputation among older South Koreans for offering quality education, which is believed to have contributed to the boom in the numbers of South Korean students coming to the country to learn English or even to pursue degree courses. South Korean tourists often enroll in short-English language classes to cope with South Korea's growing demand for English proficiency. Beginning the 20th century, more Koreans had visited and migrated to Philippines as a result of relaxed visa policy of the Bureau of Immigration. 2011 statistics from Bureau of Immigration showed that more than 6000 Korean students were here in the Philippines not just to study English but also to enroll in tertiary education because the cost of tuition in the Philippines is roughly 1/4 of that in South Korea.
By now, Koreans are in almost all of the Philippines major cities. From the cool city of Baguio to Davao City down south in Mindanao, restaurants, groceries and other establishments, having Hangul-written signs, can be seen. They have established everything, from churches, hotels and resorts to gigantic manufacturing facilities.
Koreans have permeated the Philippines, and Filipinos are accepting them with open arms. It is so obvious to see why. Less than four hours away by plane from Seoul, the Philippines has a friendly and hospitable English-speaking population, has a significantly lower cost of living, and has the some of the most postcard-perfect beaches in the world.
Koreans are among the top investors in the tourism industry. For the past several years, Korean tourists have already surpassed the number of Americans in enjoying the beaches, golf courses, and other attractions of the Philippines. Destinations like Palawan, Cebu, Boracay, and Bohol have replaced Jeju island as locations for Korean couples on their honeymoon. As the number of Korean tourists coming in the Philippines increases, the need for manpower for the hospitality industry like hotels and resorts also increases, thus providing more job opportunities for the Filipinos.
Another remarkable effect of the Korean community in the Philippines is the benefit they give to Philippine economy. "The Philippines' location and manpower makes it one of the best destinations for Korean businesses," says Jae J. Jang, president of the Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines. Around 250 large factories in special economic zones in the Philippines are Korean-owned. Korean expatriates provide a remarkable boost to the Philippine economy; their approximated spending per month is between US800 and $1000, making a total contribution of over $1 billion per year in consumer spending. Korean-owned factories are also evident in the Philippines especially in manufacturing industry, directly giving Filipinos employment. From the Philippines' side, we provide food security to South Korea by exporting high-value fruit products like bananas, pineapples and mangoes. Moreover, because of the importance of sea food in the Korean diet, we can also be a leading source of aquaculture products. This can also give the Philippine economy a secured source of income.
The increasing number of Korean expatriates and tourists has resulted to the founding of several Korean communities and associations in the Philippines. Korean community in the Philippines had helped in making the bilateral relations between South Korea and Philippines stronger. Korean organizations in the Philippines also conduct activities not only for the benefit of Koreans here but also for the Filipinos. They conduct studies for wide variety of projects in energy, infrastructure and agriculture. Manila Korea Business Center, as for example, facilitates expos and summits for young entrepreneurs. They organize and implement business activities such as trade expos and trade missions in Korea and Philippines. They also provide assistance to Filipino and Korean entrepreneurs in business trips. Korean organizations and associations here in Philippines also serve as bridge between Korean and Filipino exporters.
Filipinos also seem to be embracing Korean culture. The increasing number of Koreans also brought Korean Pop Culture to mainstream Philippines. Now, it is already common to watch Korean Drama series on television and K-Pop songs on the radio. As the Philippines engages on the popularity of the "Korean Wave" or Hallyu through its cultural exports, there are expectations for the Koreans to initiate more cultural activities in the Philippines. South Korea has organized various initiatives to promote its culture among Filipinos. There have been Korean film festivals, cultural performances, and K-pop concerts in the country. As a result, Filipinos share a general appreciation for Korean dramas shown on local TV and a growing patronage of Korean brands such as Samsung, LG, and Hyundai.
As the presence of Hallyu increases in the country, the Philippines also strengthen its cultural promotion in South Korea. This can be observed through Philippine tourism campaigns in South Korea, which highlight the Philippines' rich heritage and multicultural society. Cultural activities such as film festivals, barrio fiestas, exhibits, and food fairs are some of the ways that the Philippines can promote its culture in South Korea. With the large number of Korean tourists visiting, local tour packages include cultural performance in Intramuros, a local food trip in Pampanga, or a visit to an Igorot village in Ifugao to their itineraries. These efforts not only demonstrate the history and beauty of the various places in the Philippines, but also highlight the interesting local cultures originating from these sites.
It seems that generations of Koreans are likely to be a big part of local life for years to come -- from students just starting out, to grandparents resting by the seaside. Korean community has a great effect not only in the Philippine economy but also in understanding other culture. They made us more culturally accepting, which is saying a lot in a country which is already pretty culturally open minded.