Muju Resort in North Jeolla Province in South Korea is an integrated resort complex, spreading over 670 hectares, right in the middle of Mt. Deogyo National Park. It is the most popular venue for skiing during winter.

Muju Resort in North Jeolla Province

The resort staged the Muju Bikini Festival on January 22 with participants clad only in bikinis and ski boots going down the slope to applause from spectators.

A sexy skier in bikini goes down a slope at Muju Resort in the Muju Bikini Festival.

This participant seems to attract a lot of attention from the spectators...must be due to her curvy and well-endowed body

Braving the cold clad only in bikinis

Another bikini-clad participant

The resort awarded the participants at the contest based on audience’s applause, with prizes ranging from 500,000 won ($446) to the 4 million won ($3,573).


What do Liu Wen, Aki Hoshino, Eunice Olsen, Aishwarya Rai, Shin Min Ah, Nadine Ann Thomas, Sonia Sui, Jessica Cambensy, Dominique Agisca Diyose, Aung San Suu Kyi and Cherman Ploy Boonyasak have in common?

They are all listed in Esquire magazine’s “atlas” of sexiest women alive 2010.

US actress Minka Kelly is at the top of the heap as the Sexiest Woman Alive, and was made Esquire’s cover girl for its November 2010 issue.

Minka Kelly on the cover of Esquire Magazine November 2010

A total of 195 women were singled out by editors of Esquire’s 17 international editions. They were picked for representing “something different, something beautiful, something that reveals a little bit more about who we are.”

Read the rest of this entry…


The decision on the hosting of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup tournaments will be revealed in Zurich in less than an hour from now.

America’s final pitch to host to the 2022 World Cup was left to a former president and an Oscar-winning actor, who talked of diversity and outlined an aggressive economic plan in a 30-minute presentation with hopes of sweeping past Australia, Japan, Qatar and South Korea in today’s vote.

While Clinton’s speech veered into highlights of his own foundation’s achievements, Freeman invoked the name of Nelson Mandela, the former South African president who helped bring the 2010 World Cup to that nation. Freeman portrayed Mandela in the movie “Invictus,” based on the former political prisoner’s role in the 1995 Rugby World Cup and using it to unite a country separated by apartheid.

“We are now the most diverse nation on earth,” Freeman said. “And our patchwork heritage is our greatest strength.”

Freeman later introduced the video of Obama, who delivered a similar message of inclusion.

“Ours has always been a nation of great diversity and great promise,” Obama said. “Anything is possible.”

The World Cup bid team noted that no infrastructure needs to be built to host the tournament in the U.S. The Americans also highlighted the growth of soccer in the country since it hosted the World Cup for the first time in 1994.

The single item that could sway voters toward the American bid is its moneymaking potential. Among the 18 proposed game sites are the new, suite-filled stadiums of the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants and Jets.

The vote for the 2018 World Cup site will also be announced in less than an hour from now, with England, Russia, Spain-Portugal and Belgium-Netherlands competing for the honor.

The bid process has been by far the most controversial that FIFA has ever overseen. Its decision to decide the fate of both the 2018 and 2022 bids at the same time has been widely criticized for encouraging vote collusion between bids — an accusation FIFA deny.

But it was the revelations by the British newspaper the Sunday Times that has marred the process. Undercover journalists secretly filmed two members of FIFA’s then 24-strong executive committee allegedly offering to sell their votes. The accusations of corruption resulted in the suspension of two voters, leaving 22.

The corruption allegations didn’t stop England from pushing ahead in its bid, with David Beckham, Prince Williams and British Prime Minister David Cameron all schmoozing with FIFA voters in Zurich.

The other 2022 presenters did their best to highlight their nations’ strongest qualities:

Australia used supermodel Elle Macpherson and an animated kangaroo to back up its catchphrase of being the “world’s greatest playground.”

Australia is pinning their hopes on the body of Elle Macpherson.

Qatar, which may have had the slickest show, relied mainly on proving it can keep the country cool during the blazing hot summer months.

South Korea played the political angle, saying a World Cup on its soil could foster peace relations on the divided peninsula.

“We saw that football has the power to bring people together, to end enmity and to spur reconciliation,” South Korean Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik said. “It gave us a vision that the World Cup in 2022 can be a celebration of peace for Korea and the world.”

Japan appears to have very little support for the bid within FIFA.

The Federation Internationale de Football Association, or FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, will announce the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 competitions in less than an hour from now. Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, former U.S. President Bill Clinton and the prime ministers of South Korea, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and Belgium have flown to Zurich to push their countries bids. Hosting the tournament is worth about $5 billion, according to American estimates.

The results will be known any time now. Stay tuned!


Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated universally at different times of the year and in different ways. For Koreans, the traditional Thanksgiving Holiday is called Chuseok. This year it falls on September 21-23. Chuseok is in essence the Full Moon Harvest Festival. Today therefore marks the start of Chuseok.

Chuseok, originally known as Hangawi (from archaic Korean for “great middle”), is a major harvest festival and a three-day holiday in Korea celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. Like many other harvest festivals, it is held around the Autumn Equinox.

Historically and according to popular belief, Chuseok originates from Gabae. Gabae started during the reign of the third king of the kingdom of Silla (57 BC – AD 935), when it was a month-long weaving contest between two teams. Come the day of Gabae, the team that had woven more cloth had won and was treated to a feast by the losing team.

Many scholars also believe Chuseok may originate from ancient shamanistic celebrations of the harvest moon. New harvests are offered to local deities and ancestors, which means Chuseok may have originated as a worship ritual. In some areas, if there is no harvest, worship rituals are postponed, or in areas with no annual harvest, Chuseok is not celebrated.

In modern South Korea, on Chuseok there is a mass exodus of Koreans returning to their hometowns or villages to pay homage to their ancestors. Koreans wake up early on Chuseok morning to perform ancestor memorial services known as cha-rye.  It is a solemn ceremony, involving an elaborate layout of food offerings. After the service, family members gather to enjoy the food blessed by their ancestors. They also visit ancestral graves to trim plants and clean the area around the tomb, and offer food, drink, and crops to their ancestors. This is known as beol-cho and considered an expression of filial piety.

Ancestor memorial services known as cha-rye

Chuseok is a time to appreciate the bountiful harvests and the representative food for this festival is songpyeon, a crescent-shaped rice cake which is steamed upon pine needles. Songpyeon is made from glutinous rice flour kneaded into the perfect dough. The dough is filled with beans, sesame seeds, chestnuts and other ingredients before it is shaped into a crescent or half-moon. This is then steamed with some pine needles that will infuse the rice cake with a wonderful fragrance. Songpyeon is to Chuseok as pumpkin pie is to Thanksgiving.

On the eve of Chuseok, it is a tradition for families to make songpyon together under the bright moon. This helps to foster ties as family members come from far and wide to enjoy the moment.


Other foods commonly prepared are jeon, japchae and bulgogi.

Jeon are savory pancakes made from various vegetables, sliced fish meat, minced pork or beef.

Korean jeon pancakes

Japchae (jabchae, chapchae) is a Korean dish made from cellophane noodles (called dangmyeon), stir fried in sesame oil with various vegetables (typically thinly-sliced carrots, onion, spinach, and mushrooms), sometimes served with beef, and flavoured with soy sauce, and sweetened with sugar. It is usually served garnished with sesame seeds and slivers of chili. It may be served either hot or cold.


Bulgogi is a Korean dish that usually consists of thin slices of sirloin or other prime cuts of beef marinated with a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic and other ingredients such as scallions, or mushrooms, especially white button mushrooms or shiitake. Bulgogi literally means “fire meat” in Korean, which refers to the cooking technique -over an open flame – rather than the dish’s spiciness. The term is also applied to variations such as dak bulgogi (made with chicken) or dwaeji bulgogi (made with pork), although the seasonings are different.


A variety of folk games are played on Chuseok to celebrate the coming of Autumn and rich harvest. Village folk dress themselves to look like a cow or a turtle, and go from house to house along with a Nongak band playing music. Other common folk games played on Chuseok are tug of war, ssireum and archery. Folk games also vary from region to region. Ganggangsullae dance which is forming a circle under a moon is performed by women and children in southwestern coastal regions, and cockfight or bullfighting in the southern regions.

Nongak band playing music

Ssireum...Korean wrestling

Ganggang sullae dance

In Korea, during the days prior to the actually holiday, streets and stores are packed with shoppers buying food and gifts. Gift-giving is an important aspect of the holiday. Liquor is often given to colleagues and work supervisors.

As for travel, Chuseok is similar to the U.S. and Europe around the Christmas Holidays. Each year record numbers of Koreans jam the roads, rail lines, and airports with holiday traffic. In fact, most airline and train travel has been booked for months.

Korea’s rapid industrialization, urbanization, and globalization have changed the way of life in Korea but in the celebration of Chuseok, family remains the bedrock of Korean society. Chuseok underlines how – in the face of rapid industrialization and modernization – Korean culture still imbues family ties with great importance and tries to maintain continuity between older and younger generations.

To all Koreans, let me wish you all:

Chuseok jal ji nae sae yo


One week after tsunamis swamped the shores of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and other South Asian countries on December 26, 2004  wreaking havoc and devastation in many of these nations, the Christian international relief organization World Vision hit the ground running. On their website they put out an appeal for generous donations, and to the press promised to raise $50 million for victims of the tsunamis—an amount that dwarfs the annual budgets of nearly every other Christian relief agency. If any Christian group has the economic muscle to follow through on such a grand promise, World Vision does.

World Vision Logo

World Vision Logo

World Vision has substantial political clout. Its international director Dean Hirsch collaborates with the United Nations, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization. It’s a major player in its field, commanding the respect of secular and Christian agencies alike. World Vision has offices in 100 countries and employs 22,000 workers, most of whom are native to the countries they work in.

The success of World Vision hasn’t come without its growing pain and a good deal of conflict. Really understanding what World Vision is today is not possible unless we become acquainted with the man who envisioned the organization and gave it the compassionate mission it carries out. It is the “broken heart” of Bob Pierce that ties together an increasingly diverse and complex body of people working on behalf of the most desperate and needy in nearly every part of the globe.

Bob Pierce....broken heart

In 1947, Robert Pierce was working for a religious non-profit organization called Youth for Christ, whose mission was to evangelize the world with the gospel of Christ. The young evangelist started on his trip to  China with only enough money to buy a ticket to Honolulu. In Honolulu, Pierce, at a missionary’s invitation, agreed to speak to the children of a mission school about the love of Jesus. After the meeting was over, a little girl named White Jade had rushed home to tell her family about her new-found faith in Jesus. Her father responded by disowning her and throwing her out of his house. Disoriented and desperate, the girl turned to the missionary, Tena Hoelkeboer, who had invited her to the meeting. But the woman was already housing six children. Hoelkeboer told Pierce that if she could be given $5 a year, she would add a seventh child to her growing brood. Pierce took her up on the challenge, even though finances were already tight back home. The plight of a little White Jade  had captured Pierce’s attention.

Bob Pierce....founder of World Vision

Pierce eventually made it to China, where he preached at various prestigious churches, including the Moore Memorial Methodist Church in Shanghai. He met with great success as thousands made public commitments as followers of Christ during four months of evangelistic rallies. While in China Pierce saw widespread hunger.

Filled with compassion, Pierce took his promise much further—White Jade was the catalyst that drove Pierce to launch World Vision in 1950. Following his trip to China, Pierce hauled a movie camera across South Korea, where the storm clouds of war were gathering. There he encountered desolate mothers and children wandering the highways in bitter cold as their husbands went off to war. And he found Korean Christians housing women and children far beyond their capacity, much as Hoelkeboer had in China. Overcome by the suffering he witnessed around him, Pierce wrote a line on the fly-leaf of his Bible: “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” It would become his life’s theme and his passion.

Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.

Upon his return to North America, Pierce showed harrowing pictures to church audiences, asking for money to help the children. He showed their faces and begged Christians to “adopt” one.

Pierce recognized the need for someone to manage the growing enterprise. His choice of Ted Engstrom, a friend from his early days with Youth for Christ, would prove to be providential, for reasons as yet unanticipated by Pierce.

There’s a flip side to the success story of Bob Pierce. Having an impetuous nature, Pierce rubbed people the wrong way. When World Vision’s board of directors proposed organizational changes that would make Pierce more financially accountable, he lost his cool and tendered his resignation. The next day—to the Pierce family’s astonishment—the board accepted his offer, replacing him with Engstrom as World Vision’s new chief.

Even sadder was the strain Pierce’s long tours away from home placed on his family. Following his resignation from World Vision, Pierce and Lorraine took a “goodbye tour” of Asia, and one of his daughters, Sharon, pled with him over the phone to come home early as she missed him desperately. Characteristically, he refused. Desperate, Sharon slashed her wrists. Though unsuccessful at first, she eventually succeeded in committing suicide while Pierce was away in Switzerland being diagnosed with exhaustion.

Sharon’s death devastated everyone, with Pierce losing himself in his prescription drugs. Though the family relocated to Switzerland for a time to be with him during his treatments, Pierce distanced himself from them. It was several years before Pierce and Lorraine would regain some of the intimacy they had shared before Sharon’s death. The brokenness Pierce had witnessed in his overseas travel had finally come home. Even he needed God’s healing and forgiveness.

Following Pierce’s departure, World Vision underwent significant growth over the next couple decades. In 1969, the agency had offices in nine countries and supported roughly 32,000 children. Ten years later, it had offices in 40 countries and supported more than 214,000 children. By 1989, that number had grown to 55 countries, and the organization supported over 830,000 children. And on and on it went, with the numbers of children passing a million in the 1990s.

When World Vision began entering countries with tiny Christian populations, the decision was made to employ non-Christians, provided that Christians remain in leadership. This provoked the ire of some evangelicals who were worried that the organization was “selling out.”

But World Vision continues to hold to a mission statement clearly Christian in commitment. It reads: “World Vision is an international partnership of Christians whose mission is to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God.”

At the age of 64, Pierce was diagnosed with leukemia. In September 1978 the family was able to gather together. Four days later the founder of World Vision was called home by the Lord.

For 60 years, World Vision has lived by this risky, costly, and even reckless faith, believing that if they dared to follow Christ by going to the darkest and most dangerous places on earth, God would go before them and be a lamp unto their feet as they served the poorest of the poor in His name.

That unwavering conviction has led successive generations at World Vision into the pain of the world. The courageous staff of World Vision has faced earthquakes, famines, riots, cyclones, military coups, floods, pandemic diseases, and wars. They have lived among the broken, walked among the homeless, and given comfort to the widow, the orphan, the least, and the lost.

And they have done these things knowing the risk and paying the price but believing that God had called them for the great privilege of serving. Rarely does a year go by that doesn’t cost one or two of World Vision staff their lives.

That audacious faith of Bob Pierce has always characterized World Vision, and it has changed the world for millions of children over the past six decades. That tiny seed planted in Asia in 1950 by one man has now grown into an organization of more than 40,000 men and women on six continents in 97 countries.

More than 3 million children are now assisted by sponsors worldwide, and 100 million people receive help of one kind or another — all because one man had the audacity to believe God and because millions more were willing to join him.

World Vision…it still makes God smile.


A young Filipino singing sensation has captured the hearts of millions of fans worldwide. She has been dubbed the most talented girl in the world by none other than Oprah Winfrey. Her self-titled international debut album, released in May 2010, peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart, making her the first Asian in history to achieve such a feat. Her real name is Charmaine Clarice Relucio Pempengco but she is known as Charice Pempengco to the world.

Charice Pempengco

From a very young age, she began competing in amateur singing contests. In 2005, she joined Little Big Star, a Philippines talent show loosely patterned after the American Idol. She was eliminated after her first performance but was later called back as a wildcard contender and finished in third place based on text voting.

She continued making minor appearances on local television shows and TV commercials but had essentially fallen out of the limelight. Her break come in 2007 when an avid fan posted a series of her videos on YouTube under the username FalseVoice. These videos garnered millions of views, making Charice an internet phenomenon. She caught the attention of Ten Songs Production, a recording company based in Sweden. In June 2007, she flew to Stockholm and recorded seven songs, including Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You”, Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” and Shakespeare Sisters’ “Stay” as well as original songs “Amazing”,  “All The Money In The World”,  “Born To Love You Forever” and “It Can Only Get Better”.

A few months later, Charice’s rendition of Dreamgirls’ “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” was posted on YouTube by FalseVoice. It impressed someone at one of South Korea’s biggest television network and Charice was invited in October 2007 to perform on the network’s  talent show “Star King”.  Her jaw-dropping rendition of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” floored the audience. Many viewers posted her performance on YouTube, paving the way for Charice to gain massive exposure on American television. Her Star King performance was featured on E!’s The Daily Ten TV network. The Ellen DeGeneres show featured her Star King performance on its November 28, 2007 episode. Sit back and enjoy her performance on December 19, 2007 on the Ellen DeGeneres show as she  sings “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” and “I Will Always Love You”.

Since then, she has made numerous television appearances worldwide including a couple of appearances on the Oprah Winfrey show. Josh Groban gushed that Charice’s voice is one of the most beautiful voices he has heard in a long time. Her vocal quality has been compared with those of Whitney Houston and Celine Dion. She performed a duet with Celine Dion on September 15 2008. They sang “Because You Loved Me” which was dedicated to Charice’s mother. The performance won rave reviews in The New York Post and The New York Times. And the duet was featured on the September 19 2008 episode of the Oprah Winfrey show.

On June 21, 2010, she landed a role in the hit US television show Glee as a recurring character on its second season. She will reportedly play the role of a foreign exchange student with astounding vocals. The sky is really the limit for this dimunitive girl from Philippines!

The US hit television show "Glee"

Her performance of “Pyramid” featuring Iyaz has received over 12 millions views …it is a lovely song……enjoy!

To cap it all, see her performing the US national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner” in front of 57,099 people at the Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles for the Dodgers’ 2009 Opening Day pregame ceremony.

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The 2010 FIFA World Cup is all set to kick off tomorrow in South Africa. This will be the 19th FIFA World Cup and this is the first time that the tournament will be hosted by an African nation, after South Africa defeated Morocco and Egypt in an all-African bidding process. The tournament is scheduled to take place between June 11 and July 11.

2010 FIFA World Cup

This is the first World Cup that does not include any teams that are qualifying for the first time, although two of the qualifiers (Slovakia and Serbia) have previously appeared only as parts of former competing nations. Slovakia was previously part of Czechoslovakia, and Serbia has competed as part of Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro. In both cases FIFA considers these teams to have retained the earlier nations’ records.

The 32 qualifiers are South Africa, Brazil, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Argentina, England, Australia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Honduras, Mexico, United States, New Zealand, Algeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Denmark, France, Greece, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland.

The tournament will be held at the following 10 venues in South Africa.

Cape Town Stadium, Capetown

Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg

Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein

Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria

Mbombela Stadium, Nelsprint

Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane

Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg

Soccer City, Johannesburg

Soccer City, Johannesburg

Zakumi, an anthropomorphized leopard with green hair, is the official mascot of the tournament. “Za” is the international abbreviation for South Africa and “kumi” is an African word that means “ten”. So Zakumi stands for South Africa 2010.

Zakumi...official mascot of the 2010 FIFA World Cup

The official song for 2010 FIFA World Cup is “Waka Waka (This Time For Africa)”, in English, and “Waka Waka (Esto es Africa)” in Spanish. Waka means do it. It will be performed by Shakira and South African group Freshlyground at the closing ceremony before the World Cup final on Juy 11 in Johannesburg Soccer City Stadium.


Who will win the coveted World Cup? Being a fan of English Premier League, I would be ecstatic if England wins it. But I seriously doubt England can pull it off as England always seems to falter at World Cup tournaments. I am putting my money on Brazil and Spain.

Let the world cup begin……Waka Waka!