Heading down to the district of Insadong (인사동) for some authentic Korean lunch.
Insadong-gil is popularly known for its antique shops and folk art galleries. The streets are also lined with modern shopping emporiums and souvenir boutiques, perfect for travelers who wish to bring a piece from South Korea.
The tour guide then directed us to this small alley leading to a hole-in-the-wall restaurant called "Kimchi Villege" (yes, villege, not sure if it's a typographical error or the owners really meant to spell it that way).
Kimchi and Bibimbap meal which costs ₩10,000 (or $10) paid in advance at the Transit Tour Desk.
Grateful to have met these Filipinos who were warm enough to include me in their small group. Even if we didn't know each other personally, Pinoys really have that fellowship and hospitality attitude especially with kababayans.
This quick photo-op of the main street costed me enough time to what I was about to do next.
After lunch, we were adequately given 40-minutes time to do souvenir shopping. On my list are: (1) some embroidered patches, (2) the ever mainstream refrigerator magnets, and (3) large stickers of any landmark or perhaps flag of the country or state. I hopped from one store to the other while trying my very best to converse in simple phrases in the hopes of finding the last item; but stickers were sadly unavailable. Furthermore, I was always mistaken as a Korean national and vendors spoke to me using their native tongue which clearly added to the delay.
In dire need of local help, I sashayed my way to the Tourist Help Desk (good thing they speak fluent english). They were kind enough to be of assistance and handed me a map of Insadong. They then plotted down where we were and where the particular store is located. It was probably three or four blocks away. However luckily, I'm pretty skilled with geography and reading maps so I found my way easily (T-minus 20 minutes). I ran as fast as I could, found a small and narrow store, grabbed the items and paid without even haggling. I ran back again towards the bus with 5 minutes still left. Phew. Now that, is what I'd like to call my own version of an Amazing Race episode.
Thankfully, I've arrived back at the airport just in the nick of time. I checked-in immediately, went past through immigration and bid farewell to my new friends (some were headed back to the Philippines and some were departing to their respective work-countries). And since Incheon International Airport could be quite overwhelming by its large expanse, I ran (gracefully, of course) to the boarding gate at the other side of the terminal.
Although the city tour is a 5-hour program, it is inclusive of the travel time. So for those who will be planning to do the same thing, there is no need to worry because the tour guides and the drivers are well aware of the local time and the time of the departing passenger's flight. It is essentially their job to return transit tourists on time. Word of advise though: don't try to hunt for rare items. Trust me.
 A term in the Philippine language that refers to fellow countrymen or townmate; literally 'ka' means 'co-' and 'bayan' means 'town'
Photo credits to Momshie Pam Baluyo for the outfit shots.
Najung-e bwa, South Korea!! Annyeong!!
나중에 봐 대한민국!! 안녕!! 👋🏻
Next stop, Tokyo. 🇯🇵 For just 2 hours.