December 8, 2021 @ 7:06 PM 10 months ago

I had recently completed a course – the Capability Building on Innovative Leadership for Legislative Staff or  CBILLS – at the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) which started in April. This is my second participation in the leadership program, tailored by DAP specifically for legislative staff of both Houses of Congress.

The first time was in 2019 before the pandemic, which allowed us to travel to Malaysia for a week for our International Learning Course and be under the tutelage of professors at the University of Malaya as well as of some of the country’s key government officials.

Had it not been for the COVID-19 pandemic, our class this year, composed of Senior Leaders also from both Houses of Congress, including a Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Chief of Staff of Senator Cayetano, would have travelled this time to South Korea for a week of training at the Korean Development Institute School of Public Policy and Management in Sejong City. Because of travel restrictions, our classes were held online.

South Korea has recently been touted as the world’s “Most Un-depressing Country”, very apt for its name which means “Land of the Morning Calm.”

Here are some fast facts about South Korea.

Interestingly, South Korea, which is 100,370 square kilometers, is three times smaller than the Philippines which is 300,000 square kilometers.

It is one of the most educated and technologically advanced countries. About 97.9% of the entire population can read and write.

It has become the world’s capital in plastic surgery, recording about 980,000 cases in 2014. It is said that one out of every 3 women between the ages 19-29 in Seoul have had some kind of cosmetic or plastic surgery procedure done, and that parents even gift their children some kind of a plastic surgery procedure as a high school graduation present.  It is also one of the top 10 beauty markets in the world.

South Koreans are considered one year old at birth after having spent almost one year in their mother’s womb. One year is added to their age on New Year’s Day. Maraming foreigners ang nalilito sa edad nila.

South Koreans usually ask, “Have you eaten well?” instead of “How are you?”

Mahilig kasi talaga silang kumain.

About 10 million South Koreans have the last name “Kim.”

Other common last names are Park and Lee.

Without having watched Nas Daily’s video about South Korea being the most un-depressing country and still unaware of his reasons for stating so, I think South Korea could draw happiness from the pride and honor many of its outstanding citizens bring to the country, as well as from the adoration of fans from all across the globe whom they have entertained and inspired all these years.