Whenever I think of Korea, I think of stones. It may seem simple and ordinary, but my encounter with them every time I go to Korea always turn out to be adventures that I will never forget. They come in many forms and have different purposes. When I say stones, I am talking about the stone walls, the stone statues, the stone stupas, the bangsatap, the stone pillars, the volcanic stones, the stone fortresses and even the dolsot used for bibimbap - anything made of "Dol" (stones) that are found all over Korea. So for today's topic, let me introduce to you one kind of stone that spells Korea when you see it - the Dolhareubang. Now you know what it's called too! Haha. My Korean icon is something that you wouldn't even think to bring home with you physically (because it's heavy and you should take only pictures and memories as much as possible on trips) and it's something that you will only touch when you go to Jeju Island yourself, especially if you want to have a son or daughter in the family ;) Let me show you where to find some of them in Jeju, Korea!
According to Psy's Wiki Korea, Dolhareubang are the famed volcanic rock statues of Jeju Island. Touch its nose and you'll have a son. Touch the ears and you'll have a daughter. I found this one below on the grounds near the National Folk Museum and Cheongbuk Palace in Seoul
There are also mounds of bangsatap here.
but you'll find lots more all over on the picturesque island of Jeju..
You might have heard about Jeju in the past few years, especially when it won as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature next to our very own Puerto Princesa Underground River in Palawan. I've been there once and it's amazing to see the sights, most especially the rock formations. When we talk about the Dolhareubang, I think it's also important to know about the unique topography of Jeju because these old grandfather stones are supposed to be made from volcanic rocks. The Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes, according to UNESCO, is a World Heritage Site.
Well, I came across the Dolhareubang at the Jeju Folk Village Museum. Says it's one of the sites where they shot the Korean drama Jang Geum 大長今 =)
This was where we heard the story about rubbing the Dolhareubang and making a wish. My sister was pregnant then and was in Manila. We jokingly said that we will rub the nose or ears of the old grandpa stone and surprise her when she gives birth. Haha. I'm not sure if it works that way though, with proxies and all =)
We visited the Jeju Stone Park next.
It was so interesting for me because they said that Jeju is a volcano island. They have a museum there. Just look at these lava stones!
There are also mounds of bangsatap here.
I liked the outdoor park the most. It was a huge area filled with lots of things!
It was also here that I got to know a little more about the Dolhareubang like it's significance to the Jeju people and a little bit of its history.
According to the tablet I read - In 1754, the first Dolhareubang were placed face to face in sets outside the gates of Daejunghyun, Jungeihyun and Jeju Castle as guardian dieties for prosperity and protection. It was also used to define the boundaries (entrance and exit to the gates). It had religious symbolism too against evil spirits and misfortunes.
In the past, Dolhareubang was also known as Useokmok, Museokmok and Byeoksumeori. =)
I heard there's a Dol Hareubang Park in Bukchon, Jeju where you can see more! Read all about it here and at the Visit Korea site =) Wouldn't you want to go find some when you go to Jeju now?! I do! This icon is just one of the many things that will make you fall in love with Korea. Looking forward to my next trip ;)
Planning to go to Jeju? Here's a list of awesome places I found via CNN to go, try out and eat in Jeju Island. =)
So, what do you think of Korea's Jeju Island and Dolhareubang? What things and places would you look for there? When you think of "Korea", what's the first thing that comes to mind? Please feel free to tell me below ;)
My Korean Icon, One of the Things that First Come to Mind When I Hear "Korea" - Dolhareubang, Old Grandfather Stone Statues in Jeju Island
We actually have a Korean Tourism Organization office here in Manila (KTO Manila, The Fort), you can check them out online here at http://www.facebook.com/ktomanila. You can also check out the newest Korean tourism ambassador Psy and his Wiki Korea Dictionary to find out about more icons of Korea from food to shopping to fun stuff to locations to cultural items like the Dolhareubang. I'm sure they have lots more information for you =) Trust me, I've been using the KTO site since my first Seoul trip to my first Busan trip last year! Haha.
I checked out Psy's Wiki Korea Dictionary and I had new discoveries and places I'll take note of for my next trips!
Jeontongsijang - Bargain world!
Minsokchon - Korean drama heaven!
Temple Stay - aaaammmmm
Olle-gil / Jeju Olle Trail - Walk, walk, walk and nature in one!
I found this funny haha. You should check it out =)
Chak-Shot - #selfie hahaha
Meanwhile, these I've been to and are truly Korean icons for me as well.
You can check out the My Korean Icon Contest here to tell KTO Manila about your Korean icon.
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