Monday, October 2, 2017

Early Detection Saves Lives – Bali Pink Ribbon

Until recently, major studies regarding breast cancer among women was limited to the developed countries. However, the recent past studies have indicated breast cancer as one of the common type of cancer in the female population in Asia-Pacific, particularly Indonesia accounting for almost 18% of the cancer diagnoses. Based on the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), cancer incidence in Indonesian women counted 134 cases per 100,000 population, where breast cancer became the highest incidence of 40 cases per 100,000 population and mortality rate for breeder in Indonesia was 16.6 death per 100,000 population. The latest WHO data indicates that breast cancer deaths in Indonesia alone account for 1.41% of all deaths in the country. Magnitude of breast cancer problems in Indonesia can be seen from breast cancer patients who come for treatment, where up to 60% of patients already in an advanced stage. Another surprising statistic is the prevalence of breast cancer among Indonesian women at under the age of 35.
Founded in 2009 by a Brit survivor, Gaye Warren, Bali Pink Ribbon has been actively promoting the vision to prevent Indonesian women from dying of breast cancer. Their main focus is to improve the quality of life and educate women regarding the preventive measures for this disease. Mass media programmes, seminars, and outreach programmes are conducted not only in Bali but across the country to support and empower women along with their families to fight the menace of breast cancer. Another important objective of Bali Pink Ribbon is to reach out to remote parts of the island to provide medical help to the patients.

Dr Dian Ekawati, the Chairman of Bali Pink Ribbon, explained that the incidence and death rate of breast cancer should be suppressed because breast cancer can be detected early. Until now, the cases found in hospitals mostly come with advanced breast cancer and a small amount comes with an early stage. Public awareness to do early detection is still lacking. Efforts awareness of the importance of early detection of breast cancer has been done by Bali Pink Ribbon in partnership with Prima Medika Hospital. Counselling about breast cancer and early detection followed by breast clinical examination and breast ultrasound for early detection have been done to various regions and community groups in Bali. Hopefully, the wider reach of the community in the knowledge and early detection, so the more can be pressed the number of cases of breast cancer.

The fund through donations and other charitable events received by Bali Pink Ribbon is used to spread awareness and help educate Indonesian women, especially those with breast cancer. Events such as Pink Health Day, Breast Cancer Seminar, and focussed groups are conducted regularly by Bali Pink Ribbon to achieve its objective. International visitors who are affected by breast cancer also visit these focus groups to share their knowledge and experience to Indonesian women to fight this disease. Learning from the survivors of breast cancer gives Indonesian women the courage and motivation to overcome adversities and keep up their fight against breast cancer.

Indonesia Goes Pink 2017
Carrying a theme “Indonesia Goes Pink 2017” – a 1000 Voices, Bali Pink Ribbon is collaborated with Breast Cancer Foundation from Jakarta ‘Love Pink’ and ‘Reach to Recovery’ Surabaya, supported by Oncology Hospital Surabaya, to build breast cancer awareness. This event is based on the idea that if the “Breast Cancer Awareness” movement is massively echoed in various places simultaneously, it would be wider reach of information to the public so that it could increase awareness of the dangers of breast cancer and care to keep health.

Indonesia Goes Pink is an open breast cancer care activity for warriors, survivors, relatives and family. It is a collective effort to increase public awareness of breast cancer with the series of activities consist of gathering with survivors, workshops (make up class, self-healing, learning to wear cloths), talk shows, Thousand Voices of Survivors Dinner, Pink Run, Fun Walk and ultrasound examination.

Although awareness of breast cancer has begun to spread, hopefully the knowledge of breast cancer does not stop there alone. Breast cancer is not “exclusively” specifically for women, but also the people around their lives. This is the reason why this event involves the community of runners as a form of family and relative to support the warriors who are currently struggling with breast cancer.

All participants, either warriors, survivors or supporters, can take advantage of this event to exchange information, gain knowledge, and inspire each other. It is hard for a warrior and his family to fight this disease without the support of morale as well as the much-needed knowledge in their daily struggle. This event is a container for those affected by breast cancer to encourage and work together to fight breast cancer.

This article is also published at NOW! Bali Magazine

Saturday, September 23, 2017

A little hope for children future - Bali Children Foundation

As said by Dr. Seuss, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not”. The obvious reference in this context is caring for the children’s welfare and giving them an opportunity to lead a normal life on the Island of Bali. Though there has been some progress in children’s education in Bali, there still remains a concern as only 27 million children attend school in Indonesia and a lesser percentage on this island itself. The dropout rates for primary education for the children in Bali have decreased to less than 1 percent, but there are still a lot of things to achieve in terms of providing them with proper education, food, and medical attention. There is a huge gap between the children getting education in urban areas as compared to the rural areas, and this number stands at a staggering 15% overall. Quality of education for children is also a concern as the higher repetition rates indicates that one out of every ten children that gets the primary education has to repeat the education, and more often than not drops out of school to support their family.
If you travel around this island, it is easy to witness children selling things like bracelets, fruits, and other items to earn a living and support their family. These children come from families with extreme poverty, and the only source of income is by selling things to tourists. Due to lack of education, the option to earn a living is very limited for them. That is why to break this vicious cycle there is a need to educate these children and give them an option to look at better employment opportunities later in life. Though there are government schools where education is free, but the other costs related to uniforms, books, school bags, and other stationery items make it difficult for families to afford the expenditure and send their children to school. Again, despite the presence of compulsory education programme in the country, Bali still continues to struggle with a huge number of school-age children not being able to or continue their education due to location, economic conditions, and cultural factors.
Though there are several charitable organizations catering to the needs of children, Bali Children Foundation (BCF) is doing a remarkable job in helping children through its various initiatives. The main focus of this charity organization is to help children with education opportunities from junior schools till they graduate, and obtain the necessary skills for employment. In addition to teaching English, BCF also engage in offering sufficient computer instructions to children. Such skills along with education are what employers demand, and will help the children earn a decent living when they reach adulthood. The foundation has over the years assisted school districts with particularly high dropout rates to improve retention and improve the quality of education that these children deserve taking care of the costs and removing the burden of extra expenditure from the economically backward communities. 
Since established in 2002, BCF has grown from delivering education opportunities to 45 students to over three thousand students in 45 communities. In these communities, BCF has directly lowered dropout rates after primary school from 60% to 3%, which means communities in which 50% of the population were functionally illiterate now have educated, employed, well-paid young people with great futures to look forward to. Starting July 2017, BCF will be offering education opportunities to 3,300 students in Bali Region. They have been blessed with strong and consistent support from their partner foundations and the businesses of Bali.
BCF work at Kayu Putih in north Bali continues to expand with strong support from Motel Mexicola. Motel Mexicola sponsorship supports school fees, books, bags, shoes, socks and hygiene kits for 19 children, known as ‘Mexicola Kids’ and also helps to provide key skill sets within the community with computer and English classes. In this programme, year 12 students are mentored into a work-ready environment providing pathways into employment.
BCF also offers extensive mentoring programmes for those children who are attending schools at present to understand and take care of their needs. All this has helped the foundation achieve excellent results as several hundreds of the students have gone on to graduate and find decent employment. Another focussed initiative is the pledge that senior students who have benefited from the foundation programme take to give back to their communities. Scholarships are offered on need basis after the economic status and circumstances of the family is analysed by the foundation members and senior students. Senior students of the foundation help reach out to remote villages and provide assistance as necessary to help the foundation achieve its goal.
It is never too late to start something good and it is never too less to help a needy. After all, small drops of water constitute a big ocean. Children are the most beautiful and pure creations of God. To help a child, even in the smallest possible way, can make an enormous difference in their lives. The Balinese children are in real need of funding. You might think the amount you are contributing might not make a difference, but be rest assured it will. You can sponsor the scholarships provided at Bali Children Foundation or make small contributions towards their food, uniform, books and other such amenities. So, let us join our hands together and pledge to take care of the future of Balinese children. “All kids need is a little help, a little hope, and somebody who believes in them.”

Bali Children Foundation
Jalan Raya Kesambi 369, Kerobokan, North Kuta
+62 851 0064 8400

This article is also published at NOW! Bali Magazine

Monday, July 24, 2017

Craving Italian dining in Bali

The island’s ever-evolving international dining scene has seen huge growth in recent years, and one particular type of cuisine to emerge as one of Bali’s favourites is Italian. Many Italian chefs play their trade on the island, serving up authentic flavours from home without a frozen pizza or pre-bought packet of pasta in sight. Some of the reputed favourite Italian restaurants make their reputations on outstanding wine lists, while others go beyond Tuscan or Roman cuisine altogether and acquaint diners with the culinary traditions from Italy’s further flung regions. Experience only the finest spots when you want to experience Italian dining in Bali, and expect to find classy and sophisticated Italian food as delectable as it can be.

This is an Italian origin dish which was born in south of Italy. Back in the old days, pizza was only a flat, round base of dough baked into wood fired ovens, seasoned with garlic with a topping of tomato sauce and cheese, typically with added meat or vegetables. And that was it. But these days, pizza comes with a lot of style, taste, and even shape. Time has changed, and probably now is the time for the modern era of pizza. However, some restaurants in Bali are still keeping the authenticity of the origin pizza.
the westin - pregoIn Nusa Dua, there is nothing better than a plate of ‘pizza Margherita’ at Prego. Like a typical classic pizza-style, this restaurant is serving it with freshly mashed plum tomatoes, seasoned with salt, garlic, olive oil and fresh basil, with toppings fresh mozzarella cheese and a sprinkle of oregano. Meaning ‘you are welcome’ in Italian word, Prego has an intriguing space that will tempt any senses with its beautiful stylistic layout and a roomy colourful interior in mitigating tones with a somewhat laid back vibe. You will be cooled off by the sound of a soft ocean breeze while admiring the glistening tableware atop the pristine linen. Outside the building, an infinity pool is ready for your pleasure, partially shaded by tall and swaying palm trees. Apart from wood fire oven baked pizzas, this restaurant has excellent variety of food on offer with cold cuts, pasta, risotto, meat, seafood, cheese, and lip smacking deserts.
Salsa Verde at Grand Hyatt BaliStill in ITDC complex of Nusa Dua, Salsa Verde at Grand Hyatt Bali offers the same ambience overlooking the ocean wide. As for the pizza, while Prego is keeping the original taste, this restaurant is more about taking care of the local taste by serving ‘Indonesiana pizza’. Freshly prepared at an open kitchen using homemade dough and baked in wood fire oven, this pizza is made with minced beef rendang, shallots, and chili. The pizza is a nod to Indonesia’s rich and fragrant cuisine. Although serving Indonesian-style pizza, Salsa Verde keeps its flavour to the classic Italian style that will bring your culinary journey to a whole new level of satisfaction.

The Best BrewGoing south to Kuta, The Best Brew has announced their Wood Fired Pizza Making Class program. Dedicated to anyone who wants to learn how to make an authentic wood-fired pizza, you can expect to have step-by-step guidance from the pizza maker. From tossing a hunk of dough, plotting the topping, putting it to the wood fired oven to the revealing unique recipe of ingredients, you would master the art of baking wood fired pizzas in a day! Besides wood-fired pizzas, this restaurant at Four Points also dishes out items like big stick kebab, sausages, and other grab-and-go options. You can choose to eat selected poultry, pork, beef, or seafood, delicately marinated & flame grilled.
Seminyak caters the top Italian restaurants in Bali serving more than just standard pizzas. However, Warung Italia has gradually gained popularity with its simple yet humongous Italian menu. Located at the end of jalan Kunti, the pizza comes in a very good price. The crust is amazingly soft and thin since it is fresh and made on the spot. The list of pizzas is huge and you will find it difficult to choose since all are equally tasty but amusingly different in taste. You can also stack up your plate with fresh well-seasoned calamari, fragile arancini and salty slices of excellent prosciutto topping shapes of multi-hued melon, all-encompassing the star of the dish – an overflowing hill of startlingly crisp, creamy burrata cheddar, served on an energetic serving of mixed greens loaded with bits of pumpkin and sun-dried tomato.
da mariaDa Maria encompasses stunning Roman interiors with Balinese greenery of rubber trees, cacti and passion fruit vines spiralling down the walls. Locally crafted beautiful chandeliers that use simple festoon lighting reminiscent of 60’s Italian courtyard restaurants adorn the ceilings. The fountain is an Italian and Neapolitan icon, adding to the refreshing surroundings. Pizza is undoubtedly the signature style of this restaurant. With dough fermented for 24 hours and inspired by special Neapolitan artisan techniques, the pizzas are cooked in local, Naples inspired lava stone ovens. The Antica Margherita pizza is extremely popular here owing both to its history and explicit taste. Named after Queen Margherita, this pizza is carefully prepared using ingredients to match the three colours of the Italian national flag – green, white and red. It is topped with basil, mozzarella and tomato. The specialty here is the impressive Italian seasoning sprinkled on top.
Hank’s Pizza & Liquor Others Italian Restaurants may be focusing on their specialty, but Hank’s Pizza & Liquor is more about combining pizzas with great cocktails while keeping the Rock n Roll music alive. If Wednesday’s belongs to Classical Hip hop, Thursday’s offers entertaining Jukebox, and Friday’s presents live DJ set. On the menu, the pizza selection includes a wide variety with a favourite such as Dylan – combination of pork & fennel meatball with roasted chili oil, lemon, caramelized onion parmesan, and broccoli. Or you can try The Delightful Siouxsie, a mixture of king prawns, roasted peppers, capers mozzarella, and tomato Passata.

Ginger Moon
Ginger Moon is a warm and welcoming restaurant on a bustling street of Seminyak. This restaurant may not be an Italian restaurant, but they do have pizzas come in unique way. The pizzas are thin, crispy and surprisingly, not round! A definite try out on the pizza menu is the ‘Lamb pizza’ which consists of slow cooked lamb shoulder, black beans, sweet & sour onions, goat cheese with a sip of the refreshing fruit daiquiri. They also offer Gluten free pizzas for those with an intolerance. The concept here is small portions with immense flavour and lots of variety to devour. Your food palette will be on a delicious journey.
This is another main food of traditional Italian cuisine. Normally, pasta is a noodle that made from an unleavened dough of a durum wheat flour mixed with water or eggs and formed into sheets or various shapes, then cooked by boiling or baking. Italian Restaurants in Bali highlight custom-made pasta in an assortment of sauces. Pairing with imaginative flavours of pizzas cooked in a wood-smouldering stove, the whole menu on the table is loaded with enticing alternatives for those who are looking for an authentic Italian treat.
Seminyak Italian FoodA fantastic new addition to the vibrant Seminyak strip is Seminyak Italian Food, overlooking Double-Six Beach. This modern trattoria, which marries Italian classics with best of the season produce, has quickly risen to become one of the best in Seminyak. The restaurant dishes out the finest Italian preparations, from Calamari, Ravioli, Ricotta and Tiramisu. Enjoy the slow cooked lamb Ragu Fettuccine, grilled sea bass, minute steak, steamed spinach, Arancini and the delightful Bambini (small doughnuts with warm lemon custard and strawberry jam-delicious). The most recommended pasta here is the ‘Tortelli di Granchio’. The pasta is filled with handpicked crab meat, sauce of French butter, Chives and Confit of Tomatoes Passata which is an explosion of Italian flavours in your mouth.
Still in Seminyak, Ultimo Italian also serves a huge plate of mouth-watering Italian food. Decorated beautifully with fairy lights, this place is surely to get noticed, plus having the addition of daily live music performances. Boasting both high service and food quality, pasta stands out remarkably in the menu. Duck filled Ravioli, Linguini with prawns, Aglio olio pasta, seafood pasta with white wine sauce appease your taste buds. The ravioli pasta got curved around the seven-cheddar filling to look precisely like a treat wrapper. In any case, the dish is a great deal more than an adorable trick. The smooth pesto sauce and brilliant cherry tomatoes give an excellent stage to the delectable kaleidoscopic pasta.
La Cucina at Discovery Kartika Plaza HotelA must place to visit if you are strolling around Kuta Beach, Jamie's Italian is rustic with a Jamie twist and features beautiful work by local artists. From the sunny street-facing terrace to the large bar and lively open kitchen, you cannot resist the aura of this place. If you have a large Italian appetite, then the variety of pasta here will match it. Some of the signature dishes are Prawn Linguine, which is garlicky prawns with fennel, tomatoes, chili, saffron, fish broth & lemony rocket. Or, Squid and Mussel Spaghetti Nero, a beautiful flash-fried squid & mussels with tender octopus, capers, chilli, anchovies and white wine tossed through in homemade nero spaghetti.

Jamie's ItalianLa Cucina at Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel, also known as Tastes of Italy, is a place to go for your favourite Italian delicacies. Seated on the ground floor, overlooking Kuta Beach and the hotel’s pool, experience the typical Italian fare in an al fresco besides pizza and pasta. La Cucina Restaurant also has three outdoor bales that provide privacy for a romantic candlelight dinner. The local and international chefs transform fresh and seasonal ingredients into delectable plates to feast upon. The showstopper here is the fresh pasta which tastes as good and comfortable like homemade pastas. Spaghetti with olive oil, garlic and hot peppers and Spinach Gnochi is such a treat for the taste buds, as well as The ‘Lasagna Rendang’ that is served to introduce Indonesian flavour.

After the main course, here comes the dessert, Gelato, or you can say ice cream. But wait, there’s a big difference between Gelato and Ice Cream. While Ice Cream normally comes in heavier and richer texture, Gelato is softer, smoother, leaving a clean taste in your mouth. Bali hosts the best gelato which recommended to be eaten straight away in the store, as it is freshly made, held and served at the correct temperature.
Gaya Gelato Gaya Gelato is a clean establishment with a huge selection. This Place is actually a contemporary art Gallery. With Comfortable seating, impeccably cleanliness, fast and friendly service, and moderate pricing, it has become hugely popular. Using the wide variety of Indonesian fruits, they create recipe that reflect the culinary traditions of Bali. You can choose from the popular flavours like mint, aranciola, dark chocolate with orange, strawberry, coconut topped with fresh pistachios, salty caramel peanut butter and hazelnuts and mix two of the flavours in a cup. Quite a mouthful!!

Gelato SecretsA tiny, unassuming, quirky pink gelato cafe located along a busy street in Seminyak, Gelato Secrets offers delicious, wholesome and innovative gelatos. Some very interesting flavours offered here are Black Charcoal with Organic Sulawesi vanilla, organic raw chocolate and salted butter caramel. If you want to devour fruity flavours, go for the Strawberry and guava, pineapple and mint. The differentiating factor of Gelato secrets is that the natural fat from our gelato originates from fresh milk and cream and completely egg free. Not much seating area, so a good place to have Gelato if you are on the run.

Gusto Gelato & CaféA small and cosy café with a greens caped outdoor seating, Gusto Gelato & Café is the place to chill out. Always come out with new experimental flavour like Cinnamon, Avocado, Soursop, Dragon fruits, Tamarillo, Lemongrass, Kemangi, Spirulina, Ginger, Vanilla, Chocolate and Chili, they make gelato eating a memorable and fun experience. It proudly boasts of the fact that 70% of their produce is of Indonesian origin churned into perfection. Decently priced and unlimited tasting is one sure factor driving the customers crazily happy. This is truly the place for dessert fanatics.
Massimo in Sanur is an authentic Italian restaurant, located in the heart of Marina with a fantastic waterfront terrace. True to its name, the walls are covered with photos and paintings of the owner, Massimo. This is one of those classy venues where apart from eating sophisticated food, you get to enjoy the ambience as well. Massimo is a relaxed open-air bar, a gelateria, and a wood fired pizzeria facing the main street of Sanur.  A lot is on the menu here, but the Gelato is highly preferred for desserts. At Massimo, gelato is made from morning until evening. Italian nuts and banana, Rum Raisin and Pistachio, Chocolate and Pistachio, Coffee are some distinct flavours among the huge array of gelatos. In case you do not find your favourites flavour, the chefs promise to make you one the next time you visit them.
Mason GelatoIn Ubud, featuring more than fifteen selections of flavours, Mason Gelato comes in different sizes to meet any personal satisfactions. Used to be known as K’Dewatan Gelato, the gelato tastes so good and it reminds you of your family secret recipes back home. One of their specialties on our menu is Rum and Raisin Gelato, a rather ‘intimate’ of creamy blend and rich flavours.

This article is also published at NOW! Bali Magazine

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Tale of Hope for Bali Dogs

Behind all the beauties of Bali, a sad-tale of a dog’s life is looming. Without a doubt stray dogs are quite evident in this island. Bali dogs are by nature free roaming animals that have wandered on the island for thousands of years. Facts show that around 90% of the population of dogs in Bali actually has somewhere to which they belong to. However, it is not the same as the kind of belongingness of a pet to an owner in the Western sense. That is, dogs may be present in that place but the people living there are not their owners.

Before rabies came, Bali had one of the highest populations of dogs in the world. There were somewhere around 800,000 dogs before the rabies outbreak. In 2008, Bali experienced an outbreak of rabies which has since caused a large number of human fatalities. The Bali dogs’ population is not the only problem, but the escalation of rabies-related deaths as well. Rabies problems coupled with myths that Bali street dogs are rabid, aggressive and feral, the government saw it as a threat in their tourism industry because no tourist would visit a rabies-infested environment. If this problem continues, Bali might lose an estimate of 60-70% in the economy sector.

Efforts have been made to eradicate and to solve this problem. Potential community-driven interventions for optimising rabies control such as vaccination took place. In 2015, sadly some provincial government resolved to dog culling. Culling is controlling the size of animals by killing them with the main goal is to lessen the number of stray dogs. But, is this the right thing to do?
This act triggered opposition from animal welfare groups and international experts. They argued that merciless dog culling is not only vicious but it is also not the right answer for rabies prevention. Figures revealed that the number of dogs dropped immensely to approximately 150,000. Dog-meat trade together with culling and natural reasons of death presented a big problem to the Bali dogs’ existence.

Contrary to what is already known, Bali dogs are highly intelligent animals. They are also capable of learning appropriate behaviour and interactions with humans. They make wonderful pets because, like other breeds, they are loyal and loving. They just need to learn to trust humans and, like any dog, they need to be treated with respect and affection. These fur balls’ lives are endangered because of some humans’ unwise decision. Dog culling is definitely NOT the answer. Vaccination and adopting these pups are more effective and humane ways in solving this menace.

Now, the question is: “Are we turning a blind eye on this?”

A group of individuals certainly didn’t turn a blind-eye on this. Lucky Dog Rescue is one of a non-profit dog rescue foundations dedicated in protecting the neglected and forsaken dogs. Claudia Mingardo started this project because she noticed that Bali dogs were treated even more horribly than they are treated at this time. In years past, one would often find the bodies of dead dogs when walking on the beach. These dogs had been poisoned or set afire or tortured for ‘fun’ with their legs wired together and other heinous acts done to them. The hundreds of dogs that roamed the beach and streets were unfed and not given clean water, and most suffered from life threatening skin conditions.

Impossible for Claudia to ignore such cruelty and injustice, so she began to make action by feeding these dogs and administering to their injuries and appalling skin conditions, as well as having them sterilised. As time went by, her compassion for these forsaken animals became a passion that replenished her heart and spirit. It is a pure joy!

Up to this day, Claudia houses 15 dogs while at the same time feeds and oversees the needs of an additional 75 of more dogs who live on the streets, which all of them neutered. She spends almost 12 hours each day – seven days a week – caring for these 75 or more feral dogs and feeding them twice daily. She also spends several hours each day at various veterinary clinics, including their own clinic, Central Veterinary Clinic, overseeing whatever health care is necessary to help these beautiful and innocent animals who are apparently traumatised and fearful of humans.

Funded by herself and the donations of a few like-minded animal lovers, Claudia believes that Lucky Dog Rescue foundation will continue to evolve step by step, dog by dog. As a firm believer that ‘good intention yields good results’, she will keep on administering to dogs in need and to expand its rescue services, including send them to worthy fur parents by means of adoption programme. At this time, Lucky Dog Rescue has 2 part-time paid staff who prepare the large quantity of food required to feed 90 dogs twice each day, as well as to walk and clean the dogs.

Bali is a transient island with a care-free attitude, so dependability is one of the biggest challenges. People have good intentions, but good intentions without follow-through does not feed or care for the many dogs that require being fed and cared for every day without fail. This is where we come in the picture. Let us bring a new chapter to that dog’s tale of hope. We can simply start by treating all dogs with respect and kindness, or providing them healthy food and fresh water. Alternatively, signing up as a volunteer is also an option. Spare time an hour or two to assist in any way possible; to feed or walk the dogs.

As Mother Teresa said, “You may not be able to help all dogs, but you are able to help one dog.” Every bit of our action is valuable. If we could not help them, then who will? After all, we are their only best friends.

Courtesy of Lucky Dog Rescue
This article is also published at NOW! Bali Magazine

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Hear the Nature’s Roar and Snuggle on a Comfy Bed - Glamping in Bali

My title
Try to picture yourself sitting under a million stars, chatting until the early hours, whilst toasting marshmallows over the fire pit. Imagine a lazy morning curling up under your blanket next to the glow of a fuel stove. They say camping is the nature’s way of feeding mosquitoes. Don’t let that joke scares you because glamping is the exact opposite. Glamping is recently growing around the globe and it is a form of camping that comes with utmost comfort. Worry not to find the camp space, setup tiny nylon tents and suffer in cramped sleeping bags. As the newest travelling style, glamping romantically brings you in touch with nature while allowing the 5-star hotel comfort. Glamping is all about escaping from the world into the heart of nature with no trace of modernization yet a luxurious twist.

Though Bali is known for many intriguing sites and activities one can get involved in, glamping gives another reason to believe that there is still much to learn and experience in this part of the world. There are numerous romantic places for Glamping in Bali where you will not have to give up sleeping in bed, running water or electricity. The only comfort that you will give up is the concrete walls. As they say, “Life begins when you start saying YES to experiences.”

In Ubud, Sandat Glamping Tents will take you in the middle of rice fields. As one of the most popular glamping sites in Bali, you will be offered with 5 safari-style tents with each having its private infinity-edge pool together with a terrace that leads into the forest. Lumbung cottages are there for grabs; traditional local houses with alang-alang roofs and balconies overlooking the lush green surroundings.

The interiors of the tents are amazing and fantastic. If you have always harboured the fear of the discomforts in the camping tents, then glamping here can be even more comfortable than your own home. The decorations are down to detail in order to give the occupants the real touch of Bali’s nature. Pearl chandeliers, hand painted furniture, coffee plants and white shells, you will feel at home while in the wild. Each cottage is also equipped with ceiling fan, mini fridge, i-pod docking station, internal phone service, and of course, Wi-Fi connection.

The tents are surrounded by rice fields, vast vegetation and the beautiful mother nature. Perfect seclusion has been done with bamboo screen together with vertical gardens thus giving you all the privacy you need. So when the jungle is alive at night, and surely it will, don’t worry about your safety. For the nature lovers, be ready to enjoy the melodious and at times discords sang by the night creatures. Your night will be memorable in such an elegant surrounding. With the capability to accommodate just a few people, Sandat Glamping Tents will absolutely be enjoyed by any person who loves eccentric things, activities and places. If you decide to go out from the camping site, it will take you just a 10-minute scenic drive through the rice paddies to reach Ubud Central.

Still in the same region of Ubud, hidden away in the rice fields above the Ayung River, Escape Nomade offers simplicity as the new style of luxury with eco experiences for a romantic adventure. You can spend your afternoon embracing the nature around you under a beautiful assortment of tents and live by the moments. These unique air-cooled designed tented villas combine all the natural elements with utter finesse and lend a romantic flair by taking you back in time with grandeur.

Living without walls, Escape Nomade is all about experiential satisfaction. For those who want to experience the idyllic setting under bright blue skies, the “Picnic Lunch” is hosted on a deep gorge above a mountain stream with all the picnic goodies packed in bamboo picnic baskets. Listen to the sounds of nature while seated comfortably on cushions or rugs and enjoying your healthy lunch on low rise tables to give you the epic picnic feel. “The Royal High Tea” experience begins with a sublime footbath and full body massage in a breezy covered tent pavilion next to the river. Freshly brewed tea of your choice is served on the high hills.

Relaxed and refreshed, you retire to the main tent for a divine spread of champagne and sweets. A promenade of unexpected events in the jungle await you after you reach a solitary luxury safari-style tent on the edge of the world. Bamboo flute-playing musicians serenade you, and there’s time for cocktails and canapes before your walk back to the temple at sunset.

If this is still not enough and you are keen on taking your beloved to a classic dining experience amongst the wilderness, then carry on to the dining table. The dinner is set within a tent glowing with lanterns and small shrubs. Wildflowers placed on the table along with linen and fine china. The four-course dinners are a healthy take on local flavours, and each course reflects the main colours of the temple offerings like red, green and yellow. The feeling of being close to nature is intensified as you dine listening to the wind rustling in the palm trees outside, the gentle bubbling of the river close by, and crickets chirping in the foliage.

Outstandingly stylish tents with a touch of magic, Escape Nomade experiences bring you deep into nature’s living space and encourages you to listen to the sounds of nature while spending quality time with your special one. Far more romantic than any other experience, the romance of the evening with its bamboo lights, candles and transparency all shining through and casting its shadows is a joyful rendezvous with your partner. You will find total harmony and peace, feels like a home nestled in the lap of mother nature!

If you make your way to the west part of the island, Menjangan Dynasty Resort, Beach Camp & Dive Center is the best location for those who want to experience close-to-nature ‘glamping’ with splendid underwater treat. This tented resort sits next to a blissful white-sand beach, catering to outdoor activities for the adventure enthusiasts. You are expected to enjoy the sweeping forest views of West Bali National Park. You will be treated with seamless and comfortable treatment to the protected mangrove and rainforests leaving you with awe for days.

The resort comprises Beach Camp Tents and Cliff Tent Villas, featuring the antique African-style glamping tents from robust top-quality canvas. The interiors of the tents perfectly capture the ambience of the classic safari-style with solid glass doors, natural materials and muted colours harmonised with blackened steel elements. Each room is fitted with canvas roller blinds, wardrobes, inbuilt desks and bamboo lamps. International channels and DVD player can be your alternate entertainment inside the tent. And to make you feel more at home, you can snuggle in the luxurious queen-sized bed with a spacious dressing area. To create a romantic moment with your partner, daybeds and loungers are available in the private deck outside the tent where you can appreciate the tranquillity of the surroundings.

For the vibrant underwater experience, a dive and water sports centre is provided to give you the best water excursions around Menjangan Island. This will include scuba diving, snorkelling, kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddle boarding. If you prefer land excursions, there are loads of outdoor activities to add the sparkling attachment between you and your lover. Trekking to the nearest villages, cycling and mountain biking, birdwatching along the forest, or daytrips to the nearby attractions. Menjangan Dynasty Resort, Beach Camp & Dive Center is for couples who are seeking a totally different experience.

Glamping is the newest way to disrupt your daily routine and shift your focus back to the things that matter. It is the way of celebrating a love of individualism, the nomadic life and being sustainable. After a short trip to the nature, you are expected to be more balanced and brimming with ideas due to the change in perspective! Glamping immerses you in a region’s raw beauty – every trip away is enhanced by the time of year, local topography and wildlife. It gives you a different way of viewing your world and bonding with your loved ones.

This article is also published at NOW! Bali Magazine

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

One Hundred Dollars for One Newborn’s life

Childbirth is one of the most beautiful creations of the universe, and it is still considered a godly gift for which every woman yearns. The ugly truth according to the WHO, about a thousand women in the world die from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, every day. In developing countries, common complications such as obstructed, preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) or excessive bleeding can kill the mother, the child, or even both.
In Indonesia, the alarming mortality rates of women and babies in Indonesia is leaving everyone grieve struck. The maternal mortality rate is 228 per 100,000 live births, with infant mortality at 27 per 1,000 births, which is one of the highest in Asian nations. In Bali itself, the underlying problem for this issue is the extensive tourism which has led to high cost of living. The basic necessities of life have become so expensive that the locals tend to compromise on keeping babies, resulting on major health concerns.

Bumi Sehat Foundation International is one of non-profit organisations focusing on this issue. They believe that every individual has the right to access quality healthcare where hygienic and culturally appropriate birth right is practiced. To sustain this goal, they provide general health services, emergency care, prenatal, postpartum and birth services, and breastfeeding support; in addition, healthcare and youth education, environmental and disaster relief programs.

Their ideology is very strong, wherein each human being is an essential societal component of peace. They care for the smallest citizens on earth, the babies, thus creating peace within the mother, baby and the family one at a time. It is a branch which is slowly but progressively growing. Bumi Sehat Foundation International's mission is to reduce maternal and child morbidity and mortality as well as to support the health and wise development of communities. It is devotedly working in partnership with communities to improve quality of life.

Back in 1995, Bumi Sehat Foundation International’s founder, Robin Lim, began providing health services free of charge for pregnant women and children under the age of five in the Ubud. Today, Bumi Sehat Foundation International operates two Community Health Education and Childbirth Centres, one in Bali and another in post-tsunami Aceh. Not just restricting to provide health services, this foundation has launched many other welfare programs as well. Education through their Youth Centres, elderly wellness services, scholarship programs for future midwives, disaster relief programs are some of the programs which has been launched successfully. The last year statistics show that more than 600 new-borns peacefully into this world. It is indeed a great accomplishment.

The first Bumi Sehat Foundation International’s clinic is located in the village of Nyuh Kuning, just outside Ubud. This Community Health Clinic has two birthing rooms, a postpartum recovery area, and three general health treatment areas. They provide weekly check-ups, ongoing birth services, and 24-hour a day emergency health services. The major investment has been a fully equipped ambulance which is essential for transporting emergencies that occur in birth. The ambulance is also employed for hospital transport of motorbike accident victims, sick children or the elderly. Their Community Health Clinic conducts approximately 20,000 consultations and more than 500 births per year. A new state of the art clinic has been inaugurated in October 2016. This clinic is designed to be more than three times the size of the current clinic. The design is in concurrence to the way that midwives, doctors and nurses practice. Owing to the volatility of the region, it is earthquake resistant as well.

The team at Bumi Sehat is extremely professional. Currently they employ more than 80 full-time members which most of whom are internationally recognized midwives, who bring the new-borns to this world with utmost dedication, love and safety. The Clinics are open 24 hours a day and staffed with midwives, doctors, nurses and international volunteers from around the world. A professional office staff works behind the scenes to manage the organization’s finances to ensure responsible accounting and donation allocation.

Bumi Sehat Foundation International has generous local and international supporters. Some caring organizations and wide hearted Individuals donate generously for this noble cause. Apart from just financial contributions, each of these involved organizations and individuals have walked the extra miles to create greater awareness to improve the quality of life for babies, mothers, families and communities.

We can also become a part of this team. Our continuity support and generous donation means a lot for the live of this organisation. Donation doesn’t always come in form of cash, but can also be items for hospital needs (beds, neonatal supplies, vitamins and supplements, and general office equipment). If you want to get actively involved, by all means to enrol as a volunteer in their ongoing programmes. But more than that, at least you can always give a hand in spreading the word on social media. Any contribution we make goes a deep way in nurturing the roots of this organisation.

“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can definitely help someone”

Bumi Sehat Foundation International
+62 361 970002
Banjar Nyuh Kuning, Ubud

This article is also published at NOW! Bali Magazine

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Conserving Bali's Rice Paddies and Creating New Markets for Farmers

The most commonly identified issues in Bali are environmental degradation, health problems, food insecurity, identity and land loss, water scarcity and economic inequality. Due to increase in tourism, land has been sold relentlessly and development made on fertile sites. The soil in Bali is dead in the past 45 years due to no use of biomass and excessive use of chemical fertilizers. It is creating a paradox of nutritional starvation and diabetes. Decades of mono-cropping and import from foreign countries is leading to economic instability. Due to real-estate speculation, families are selling their ancestral farmland at exorbitant rates which is posing ethical challenges for Bali.

In 2012, UNESCO designated five world heritage sites in Bali. This designation recognizes paddy fields and 1000-year-old canal system known as Subak. Due to over-development and commercialisation in Bali, severe water shortage and food insecurities are being faced by the Balinese common man. Even though Bali has been the most productive “Sawah” in south-east Asia, UNESCO does not provide protection for these sites which are under the constant threat of development. Yayasan Konservasi Sawah Bali (YKSB) has implemented a democratic, community based resource management system that maximizes efficient water usage and makes Bali unparalleled in rice production.

The mission of YKSB aims at conserving and sustaining a working landscape in Bali, and to restructure agricultural production to secure greater economic equality and wellness for Bali's farmers. The vision is very clear and addresses to create new paradigm that will generate food security, food sovereignty, mitigate climate change, retain culture with economic development, so that farmers will stop selling/leasing their land for building development. Farmers will be educated on seed saving, vermiculture and financial aid given so that they return to organic farming methods. Economic opportunities for farmers will be expanded by restructuring their farming methods, connecting them directly to markets with high demands for organic produce and developing value-added products from surplus crops. Agritourism will be introduced where tourists will participate in the farming activities and learn about Balinese lifestyle. On the other hand, this will provide a direct source of income to the farmers. To conserve the Sawah, a U.S. land trust concept will be applied where annuities will be paid to multigenerational farmers to not develop their land. Ongoing land stewardship will be carried on where lands will be under continuous monitoring and best land practices made more available to farmers. The vision is top-notch and covers all dimensions to ensure complete development of “Sawah” and Subak.

The pilot project is on the outskirts of Ubud, Gianyar. This Subak was chosen as it is close to Ubud, which is famous for tourism and hence is threatened. The pilot project “Seeing is Believing” aims to replicate the US Land Trust Model while ensuring that the culture, religion and legal framework of Bali is prioritized. Phase 1 has been a hit with international volunteers from all age participating in the field work and the Mangkok rice hitting the economic boom. YKSB receives no income from the sale of its Mangkok rice, farmers receive 100% from its sale. Phase 2 is in process where the aim is to restore the habitat to health by adding compost and biomass. Growing of heritage rice will continue. In addition, organic vegetables will also be grown. In Phase 3, the price paid to each farmer to not sell their lands will be fixed. Conservation of property will be guaranteed and financial structuring like opening of bank accounts for farmers will be done. Phase 4 will be about monitoring, enforcing and stewardship of the land.

The board consists of highly qualified Individuals and very successful entrepreneurs who have dedicated their time and efforts to protect and conserve Bali. Their efforts have already put a permanent smile on the faces of Balinese people. News channels like CNN, Jakarta Post and Bali TV have regularly covered news addressing the issues of the Subak and “Sawah”. This has spread a lot of awareness on the current scenario of Bali. The involvement of YKSB with its energetic and super-efficient team has ensured that the mission and vision are all aligned with the implementation activities.

Without a doubt, YKSB’s world-class model will ensure the protection of thousands of Balinese families. The successful beginning of the pilot program has enforced this trust and further belief. With this being a hit, future programs will be replicated on the same model of land conservation. The program has already gained momentum with an effective response from the Balinese government. YKSB seeks out the support of individuals to make this program 100% successful. All the generous contributions will go directly to 135 family farms. You can pledge to donate any amount, and for every pledge you make you will receive small gift hampers that will remind you of the contribution you are making to make Bali more beautiful and the stability of Balinese families. The feel good factor is an added bonus. Be a part of this movement and earn the blessings of thousands of Balinese families.

Credit to Yayasan Konservasi Sawah Bali
This article is also published at NOW! Bali Magazine

Friday, April 21, 2017

April's Kids Discounts & Deals

A lot of monthly promotional subscriptions are available for kids nowadays. You could check out the options and maybe select some as gifts or you can use them yourself. This year April’s promotion is featuring dining discounts, spa & dental treatments for kids, as well as entrance packages to the amusement parks and kids’ clubs. These special offers create an experiential gift to the kids which makes it all the more enjoyable for them.

Entrance Ticket
This park is home to 1,000 birds from 250 different species. If you are a bird lover or simply just a bird watcher, you would love this place. Nestled inside a two-hectare tropical garden, you can find any kind of bird from parrots, peacocks, hornbills, cranes, pelicans, flamingos and even the rarest ones Bali Starling and the exotic Birds of Paradise. Open daily from 9AM to 5PM, Bali Bird Park offers special admission fee for kids. Children between 2 – 12 years old will get 50% off adult price, which already includes all bird shows and feeding experiences.

As one of the best zoos in Asia Pacific, Bali Zoo offers kids not just as a recreational park but also a fun education centre on wildlife. Their April’s promotion focuses on Zookeeper for Kids. Starting from IDR 110,000, the package includes Zoo entrance, Tour Guides (2 persons), Explore Aviary, Lemur Keeper Talk, Lorry Keeper Talk, Animal Presentation, Petting Zoo, Lunch, Explore Kampung Sumatra, Shuttle Bus, and zoovenir. This package is only valid for children under 12 years old.

Proposing spectacular views as well as stunning interiors/exteriors of each restaurant, dining at Conrad Bali boasts a wealth of dining experiences. You can choose to dine with a Japanese Classics & Innovations touch, Full flavoured fare & cool ocean breezes, or Delightful Asian Selections. Enjoy free meals for kids under 12 years old in any of the restaurants. This includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. Please note that any one of the parent must be present at the restaurant with the kids.

This restaurant at Four Season Resort Jimbaran is not all about dining in style for adults, but it can also a perfect spot for kids to play around. Viewing the wide curve of Jimbaran Bay, Sundara is now launching a new 3-course menu for kids. The idea is to provide healthy, full meal for kids which packed in bento box. There are six options which inspired from variety of meals reflecting each of its name; Oceans, The Farm, The Field, The Village, The City and Roma. To celebrate this new menu, Sundara offers 20% off for the new Kids' Menu.

Serving healthy cuisine in the heart of Seminyak, Frestro & Bar features a captivating glass frontage at the entrance. The dining area is quite comfortable for the little ones to move around, and it comes with great atmosphere. Offering no chemicals and addictive in the menu makes the restaurant a perfect selection for lunch with kids. Special promotion for kids IDR 75,000+ which includes pasta, pizza, grill and complimentary juice or soft drink selections.

Offering an oasis of serenity in the busiest street of Kuta, this spa at Anvaya Resort will take you to the ultimate sanctuary for spa and beauty rituals. The environment of the spa is unique in its expression as it immingle cultural and native values with technology to provide deluxe in elegant way. The spa renders numerous treatments, messages, baths in the environ that most suits the treatment or message thus augmenting the efficacy of the treatment. It has over 30 rituals ranging from massages and body scrubs to facials, manicures and pedicures, perfect leisure time for mothers and daughters. This month promotion, kids range from 4 – 10 years old will get 10% off.

The spa has all the pre-requisite paraphernalia with vast range of auxiliary services to be provided in dazzling environment and the services being doled out by the proficient professionals. Offering almost all kind of treatments for your needs, it also excels in providing oil and non-oil therapy in various dimensions. Now, how about combining a pampering package with play date. For every book of a 60-minute Soothing Warm Stone Massage at Body Temple Spa, your kid will receive a 2-hour entrance to Cubby House Kids Club.

Spa at Hard Rock Hotel won’t let the adults have all the fun. The little ones can get spoiled with a 45-minute yummy fruit facial of Tutti Frutti treatment only for IDR 350,000++, or a 25-minute foot rub with melted strawberry lotion for IDR 250,000++. If they want the whole kit and caboodle, opt for The Sweet Shop 2-hour treatment for IDR 800,000++. They will get a full treatment from top to toe with a facial, manicure, pedicure and a mini foot massage, all with a lip-smacking juice and snack to make life super sweet!

It is always better to make a dental visit early to get the better chance of preventing dental problems as well as helping your child to have healthy teeth. The paediatric dentist of Ultimo specialises in taking care of children from infancy to the teenage years. The treatment includes preventive & restorative, oral hygiene & diet counselling, pit and fissure sealant, topical fluoride application, aesthetic restoration, preventive resin restoration, colourful restoration, stainless steel crown restoration, root canal treatment for children, space management treatment & early orthodontic treatment. Kids below 12 years old will receive 10% off all dental treatments. This promotion is valid until June 2017.

This article is also published at NOW! Bali Magazine