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Truly Asia: South Korea

Enchantment of the Old and the New
 
    Welcome to the "Land of the Morning Calm." No picture is more serene than the break of dawn through the breath-takingly mountainous skyline of the Korean peninsula. If one visits the country between July and October,
the rolling landscape is a vast canvas painted bright by the Rose of Sharon (locally known as mugunghwa, the national flower) in full bloom.
 
    In the last three years, no other Asian country inspires vividly heart-tugging images of romance than South Korea - whose melodramatic soap operas have been exported with enormous success to Japan, Philippines, Thailand and other Asian countries.
 
    But South Korea has more than just cinematohraphic charm. Occupying the southern portion of the Korean peninsula, the Republic of Korea comes across the naked eye as vibrant, bustling, colorful, teeming with life - yet as picture-perfect as any frame in the Winter Sonata. The Han River that glides southward through Seoul and empties into the Yellow Sea majestically dominates the 600-year old landscape of the capital city. The riverside scenery along the Han River defines the pulse of this country - fast-paced modernization pursued relentlessly together with the preservation of age-old traditions. Ancient gates and temples stand side by side with modern steel structures. Sandwiched between continental Asia and Japan, South Korea has appropriated the best of ancient cultures an dhas come up with unique traditional music, dance, painting and pottery. South Korea is also a shopping mecca for those who want to keep abreast with the latest fashion trends. For years now, Korean dresses, bags and accessories have been the staple of Filipina and Japanese fashionistas in Japan.
 
BD Tutor, Jr.

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