Health and Wellness in Bali
Unique Oriental Medicine Wellness Programs Available at Bali’s Como Shambhala Estate
Oriental Medicine Practitioner David Melladew is now available to guests stating at Bali’s Como Shambhala Estate near Ubud. Breaking new ground among wellness resorts in Asia, the Resort will offer guests a comprehensive healing itinerary using classical Oriental systems of health and longevity.
Detailed diagnosis and reviews will precede detailed programs and treatments in consultation with David Melladew during the remainder of the stay at the resort and life-enhancing transormations upon return to daily life after a Bali holiday.
Programs include acupuncture; massage therapy, herbal medicine and nutritional advice, as well as specific exercises such as Qigong and meditation. Guests also have the opportunity to take part in the Estate’s daily complimentary schedule of activities.
Said David Melladew: “Traditional Oriental Medicine promotes health and wellbeing by balancing the physical, emotional and energy systems of the body. This exciting new program –the first to be offered by any luxury retreat in Asia – can be used to relieve stress, prevent and treat a range of illnesses, and restore a sense of optimal wellbeing.”
American-born Melladew has extensive experience in traditional Asian medicine. As well as a Master’s degree in Oriental Medicine, he is a nationally certified and licensed acupuncturist. He is also formally trained in martial arts and Qigong, with over 15 years experience in studying Tai Chi Chuan, Hung Gar Kung Fu, Tae Kwon Do, Shotokan Karate and the internal style of Pa Kua Chang. His popular acupuncture sessions at the Estate are well regarded for their spiritual quality, blending science, artistry and meditation to achieve results across a wide range of issues, both physical and emotional.
The Oriental Medicine Program, which can be undertaken over three to eight nights at the Estate, includes accommodation at COMO Shambhala Estate, and all healthful meals. Also included are personalized wellness consultations with David Melladew, acupuncture, massage therapies and private Qigong lessons. The number of sessions depends on length of stay.
Buleleng: Of the People, For the People
Greater Community Focus Promised for Buleleng Festival in North Bali August 23-26, 2013
The government of Buleleng in North Bali is pledging to take a new, more populist approach to the organization of this year's celebration of Indonesian Independence Day.
As reported in Bali Daily (The Jakarta Post), the Regent of Buleleng, Putu Agus Suradnyana, freely admitted that past celebration were both expensive and ineffective. Said Suradnyana: “The development exhibition cost the administration around Rp 1.6 billion [US$160,000] to hold, while the content of the exhibition was far from what people were expecting.”
Past events were used to present booths run by various government departments presenting data on development programs; information that the Regent admits is readily available on line from the regencies website.
The sum spent was used on constructing booths and creating lavish decorations that left local residents largely unenthusiastic and cold.
In order to hold a more popular event, a this year's Buleleng Festival will be held from August 23-26, 2013, and will be used to promote North Bali’s creativity. “The festival will involve young artists, businessmen, students and community members in a merry event,” explained the Regent.
The amount of money to be spent on this year's festival will be only Rp. 600 to Rp. 800 million (US$60,000 – US$80,000). Justifying the cut, ??Suradnyana said: “The budget will be half the previous one. We can allocate the remaining funds to improve people’s welfare, such as building health facilities and other village improvement programs.”
Meanwhile the head of the Buleleng Development and Planning Agency (Bappeda), Gede Suyasa, said that this year's festival be include 21 cultural and dance troupes. Participation by the government will be limited with the remaining booths operated by local businesses, the tourism office, forestry office, manpower and Transmigration office.
A colossal Teruna Jaya Dance involving more than 200 dancers will mark the opening of the festival on August 23rd in Buleleng.
All of Indonesia in a Single Afternoon
Taman Nusa Opens in Gianyar Bali
Bali is now home to a new cultural park celebrating the rich cultural diversity of the Indonesian Republic.
Indonesia in miniature is presented at the newly opened Taman Nusa Park on Jalan Taman Bali, Banjar Blahpane Klod, in the village of Sidan I Gianyar.
An approximate one hour drive from Bali’s capital of Denpasar, Taman Nusa Park provides a glimpse of Indonesia’s rich historical past and the hundreds of ethnic cultures that populate the archipelago's more than 17,000 islands.
Upon entering the Park, guests pass through a prehistoric cave paying homage to Indonesia’s long inhabitation by man. Beyond the cave, guests can visit a miniature replica of Java’s Borobudur Temple together with other monuments drawn from every corner of Indonesia.
Conceived and built by Indonesian businessman Santosa Senengsyah who describes his park as along-standing dream to build an Indonesian cultural park as Bali’s offering to the Republic and the larger world.
Santosa said he hopes Taman Nusa will not only serve as a tourist attraction but also as a place of education on Indonesia’s rich culture.
Motivated by a deep love of Nation, Santosa is easily moved to tears when he describes his vision of a park serving as a center for the promotion of the national culture.
The park covers a 15-hectare site divided into separate areas dedicated to pre-history, the bronze age, a cultural village with over 60 traditional homes from various parts of Indonesia, ancient Indonesian history, the struggle for national independence, modern Indonesia in miniature toured on minaturei trains and Indonesia of the future.
The park also offers an auditorium, exhibition space, a souvenir shop, and an Indonesian restaurant.
A Northern Approach to Bali
West Buleleng Selected as Location for Bali Second International Airport Targeted for Operations in 2018
Seputarbali.com reports that Governor Made Mangku Pastika has declared, following many reports and much debate on where Bali will build an airport in the north of the island, has decided that the Island’s second international airport will be located in the western part of the regency of Buleleng.
On July 9, 2013, Pastika declared: “We have decided that the location will be in the western part of Buleleng.”
The Governor said that he hoped there would be no speculative land transactions in the area designated for the new airport. “We want the status quo; no purchases and selling of land there. Let it be easier for the government to free up the land,” said Pastika.
Saying the decision on the location of the airport was made after much careful consideration, Pastika ticked off the reasons in support of the selected location saying the land for the airport was relatively unproductive for agriculture, the area is accessible from both Bali and East Java, and a nearby port will make it easier for the shipment of fuel needed for the planes that will land at the airport.
Pastika said he is optimistic that the proposed new airport will be in operation by 2018, saying the government will build the gateway without the assistance of outside investors.
Bali Moslems Flock to Graveyards as Fasting Month Commences to Pay Respects and Pray for Departed Family Members
As Moslem in Indonesia commenced their month-long Ramadan fast on July 9, 2013, many members of the Islamic faith in Bali have made their way to the Kampung Jawa Moslem Cemetery in West Denpasar.
The Moslem graveyard at Kampung Jawa or Wanasari Village on Jalan Sruti in Denpasar were crowded with families who had come to clean the graves of deceased family members and offer prayers of remembrance. Also adding to the generally crowded situation were the many flower merchants, food vendors and informal parking attendants seeking to take commercial advantage of the Islamic tradition of paying homage to the dead as the fasting month commences.
According to Beritabali.com, professional consultants were also on hand to pray for the dead or guide family members in the correct form of prayers for the occasion.
Lina, one of the faithful attending the graveyard on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 said: “Every year when the fasting month comes we always make time to come here and pray for members of or family who have already died.”
Lina, who was dressed in traditional Islamic attire, told the press that she came to the grave with her children to clean family plots and place flower petals on the final resting place of deceased family members.
Bali Toll Road Ritually Blessed
Hindu Prayers Held at Bali’s New Toll Road to Restore Balance to the Universe and Protect All Those that Traveled on It
As a sign of thanksgiving upon the completion of Bali’s new toll bridge connecting Benoa and Nusa Dua, some one thousand Balinese Hindus participated in Tawar Gentuh and Pemelaspasan ceremonies conducted at the tollbooth entrance for the roadway on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.
The ceremonies were led by 3 Hindu priests: Ida Pedanda Siwa, Ida Pedanda Budha and Ida Rsi Bujangga.
Leading the rituals was Ida Pedanda Gede Putra Bajing offering prayers that seeks to maintain balance between opposing forces in the cosmos and seek the Almighty’s blessing on the people of Bali.
Ida Pedanda Gede Putra Bajing told Beritabali.com: “In undertaking all this our desire is to seek protection from harm for all those who travel on the toll way. In keeping with Balinese tradition all projects must be completed with a ceremony.”
The much revered Ida Pedanda Gede Putra Bajing emphasized to the press that building projects in Bali must undergo ritualized ceremonies to cleanse the project and ensure the safety of all those who will use the structure.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will formally open the roadway before the road is formally opened to the public on August 13, 2013.
Staying the Race
Bali Government Called to Spend More and Play a Larger Role in Tourism Promotion
The Jakarta Post quotes Bagus Sudibya, a member of the Bali Tourism Promotion Board (BPPD), calling for more intensified promotion of Bali tourism by both the government and the private sector.
Claiming a current lack of full commitment to the Island's tourism, Sudibya pointed to the declining amount of money spent by the Province on tourism promotion which has declined from Rp. 3 billion (US$300,00) in 2011, to Rp. 2 billion (US$200,000) in 2102 to less than Rp. 1 billion (US$100,00) for 2013.
Sudibya said: “A smaller budget means less performance and fewer activities. Although Bali has been popular worldwide, promotion should be intensified on a regular basis to introduce new products, such as tourism villages.”
Alluding to competing destination in the region, Sudibya emphasized how Singapore and Malaysia’s tourism promotion is fully funded by their host government while insisting that the administration should take the lead role in financing Bali’s promotional activities.
The BPPD chairman, Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati, supported Sudibya’s position, adding that stronger competition, especially in the accommodation sector, underlines the need for more promotion.
While new hotels are being built and shop fronts are converted into rented room, Bali’s is meanwhile experiencing declining growth in arrivals. Where double-digit rates of growth were once the norm, that growth is now less than 5%.
Correspondingly, hotel occupancies are on the decline in Bali, averaging between 50% and 60% for star-rated hotels and 40% for non-star rated hotels.
“The supply had surpassed demand. We have no other solution than to stop building new accommodation facilities and intensify promotion until the situation improves,” said Tjokorda.
Expressing a fear held by many involved in Bali tourism, Tjokorda said he was concerned what will happen to the tourism sector after the major events, such a the APEC Summit and Miss World pageant have concluded, adding: “What will it be like after these events are over? Many accommodation and MICE facilities have been built.”
In its first year of operation the BPPD will focus on domestic tourism promotion, overseas promotion, destination and product development, and research.
Are Bali’s Traditional Inns on the Way Out?
Local City Hotel Managers in Danger of Extinction at the Hands of Branded City Hotel Chains
Wayan Rajin, operational manager of the Hotel Taman Wisata, told Bisnis Bali that competition among city hotels in Bali has become unhealthy.
While local business people have traditionally owned city hotels, the advent of chain low-cost city hotels is increasingly marginalizing the family-owned inns and hotels sector in Bali.
Rajin blames the “unhealthy competition” among city-based hotels that offer facilities found at starred hotels at room rates typically charged for “melati” or local inns. This intense state of competition is most evident with the new hotels standing on either sides of Jalan Teuku Umar in downtown Denpasar that are now displacing business from traditional city hotels.
Anticipating more city hotels will be built, the very survival of Balinese owned city hotels is now very much in doubt.
Rajin called for consistency in the application of government policy. “It’s been said that there is a limitation on new hotel, but new hotels continue to be built,” complained Wayan Rajin.
The Balinese hotelier is worried that existing owners, unable to compete with well-funded investors from outside Bali, will eventually be compelled to sell their city hotels
The head of the Denpasar Tourism Office, Putu Budiasa, responded to Rajin’s concerns by calling on traditional hotel business in Denpasar to adopt a new outlook on how they conduct their accommodation businesses. Budiasa said hotel owners must upgrade and renovate their properties in order to remain competitive. Steps must also be undertaken to train their staffs on how to serve hotel guests.
Hotel Trans Project in North Kuta Increasingly Unpopular with Surrounding Community
The ongoing construction of the Hotel Trans in North Kuta, Bali is fostering growing protests from people living and working in areas surrounding the project. Recent complaints center on the vibrations caused by heavy trucks and construction equipment and soil from the construction project defiling roadways.
As reported by Bisnis Bali, Nengah Sukanata, the temple guardian at nearby Pura Campuhan Batur Sakti, said that construction excavation is producing soil dragged onto the main road has made the pavement slippery and resulted in accidents.
Other complaints stem from construction work being carried out until late into the evening and heavy equipment used in the construction being placed on the temple. Because of these complaints, a letter of protest has been sent to the Regent of Badung.
A meeting was held on July 4, 2013 between Badung enforcement officials, the Environmental Agency, Zoning Board (Dinas Cipta Karya), the Tourism Office (Diparda), the office for Politics and Public Protection (Kesbang Pol Linmas), the District chief (Camat), community chief (Lurah) and the project director.
The head of the regency’s enforcement agency, Ketut Marta, confirmed the various complaints regarding the Hotel Trans Project. Problems, such as the depositing of soil on the main road, have been addressed and corrected.
Marta said explained that there is often a lack of good understanding between the investor in a given project and those charged with its construction. The construction team may not have a copy of the environmental impact study for the project eventually resulting in problems in the field.
The Badung enforcement agency promises to maintain close supervision of the Hotel Trans project to ensure no new grounds for complaints from the surrounding community occur.
A Pigeon Looking for a New Roost
Overburdened with Debt, Government Seeks to Divesting Itself of Merpati Nusantara Airlines
Indonesia’s Minister of State-Owned Enterprises Dahlan Iskan has confirmed the Government’s intention to sell off the shares of Merpati Nusantara Airlines as a last-ditch step to save the debt-ridden airline.
Quoted in Bisnis.com, Dahlan said before meeting the National House of Representatives (DPR) on Thursday, July 11, 2013, “The option of releasing shares by inviting a strategic investor is being done because efforts at restructuring the company have not yielded satisfying results.
The decision by the government to divest itself of the troubled airline remains one of the few remaining steps available to save the air carrier. Candidate investors are invited declare their intent and submit proposals to the Ministry of State Owned Enterprises (BUMN) – the agency that holds Merpati’s shares on behalf of the Government.
He went on to explain that in addition to simply declaring an interest in acquiring Merpati investors should also summarize their vision for rescuing the national flag carrier.
The BUMN has tried repeatedly to restructure the Airline’s business through cash injections, staff reductions, relocation of the carrier’s head office and rescheduling the debt of Merpati through a debt to equity swap.
In December 2011, Merpati received a cash injection from the government totaling Rp. 561 billion (US$5.6 million). A 2012 request for an additional cash injection of Rp. 250 billion (US$2.5 million) remains unanswered by the government to this day.
A restructuring team has been unsuccessfully trying to deal with major creditors that include PT Pertamina (fuel), PT Angkasa Pura I and PT Ankasa Pura II (airport charges) and PT Perusahaan Pengelola Asset. There are the additional complication of subsidiary loan agreements owed to the government, debt to the private sector and to aircraft leasing companies.
Dahlan freely admits that Merpati Nusantara’s financial condition has become critical with debts now approaching Rp. 6 trillion (US$600 million).
Earlier, it was reported in the press that a toll road company was interested in purchasing Merpati’s shares. “But, after we investigated there is apparently no letter or proposal that has been submitted to that effect,” said Dahlan.
Dahlan now waits for a serious expression of interest from a party interested in acquiring Merpati Nusantara Airlines. “Whoever that may be, whether it be a foreign or domestic company, please let us know. The new investor can be from any sector and does not necessarily need to be an airline,” urged the Minister.
Minister Dahlan’s invitation to foreign investors is apparently preconditioned on the understanding that foreign ownership of any Indonesian airlines cannot exceed 49% of all shares.
Bali – an Island for Sports
Planning Underway for a Bali Sports Week and Marathon in November 2013
Ideas of holding a Bali Sports Week have been resurfaced by the Bali Office of the National Sports Committee (KONI), led by IGB Alit Putra.
The Bali Sports Week 2013 is being actively considered to be held in November to involve nine separate sporting events and one recreational event.
The still-in-development plans were revealed in a meeting held in Kerobokan on Friday, July 12, 2013 chaired by IGB Alit Putra and the chairman of the Bali Sports Week, IB Ngurah Wijaya.
Alit Putra said that he hoped Bali Sports Week would be held to assist Bali Tourism in its efforts to make Bali known as a sports destination. “
Ngurah Wijaya said the sports week was purposely planned during Bali’s low season in order to assist the tourism industry.
The Bali Sports Week is planned to include nine separate branches of athletics, including: marathon, swimming, super cross, speed off-road (IMI), volley ball, chess, gate ball, wood ball and badminton.
The committee is also considering operating a circumnavigation of Bali by bicycle.
The organizers are said to also be planning an afternoon marathon on November 17, 2013 starting at 5:00 pm. The organizers are seeking permission to operate the marathon on Bali’s new toll road with a beginning and end at Nusa Dua. If permission to use the toll road cannot be obtained, then the marathon would be operated on the Ngurah Rai Bypass.
The swimming event will be an open water swims of 5 and 10 kilometers.
Gateball matches will be held on November 14-15, 2013 with 64 teams expected to participate.
Plans are still being formulated for badminton competition due to the need to coordinate play with the national badminton calendar.
If the Bali Sports Week come to fruition, upwards of 1,200 athletes are expected to participate.
An Evening of Musical Inspiration with Kamasean Matthews at the Westin Resort Nusa Dua Bali
The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali hosted the talented Indonesian Idol finalist, Kamasean Matthews, on its stage for an evening of musical entertainment in aid of its continuing commitment to UNICEF Check Out for Children Program to vaccinate and educate impoverished kids in the Asia Pacific region.
Despite her tender age, Kamasean took full command of both the stage and the audience at the Mangupura Hall, delighting all with her amazing vocal artistry.
At just 17 years of age, Kamasean was the youngest contestant in Indonesian Idol history when she participated in this national competition in 2012. She has since gone on to become a Youtube sensation and has secured thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook.
Blessed with a magical voice that transcends all musical genres Kamasean is also an accomplished composer, and plays several instruments including the piano and guitar.
An Inspiring Evening with Kamasean Maththews on Friday, July 12, 2013 was an uplifting and entertaining.
In addition to raising much-needed funds for a worthwhile cause, another aim of Kamaean’s appearance was to empower local children and help them realize their full potential. Prior to the concert, Kamasean hosted one hour exclusive “Sharing Session” for aspiring young singers and musicians. This provided an opportunity to meet Kamasean in person and hear about her rise to fame. She also took the time to pose for group photos and talk about her own compositions.
A celebration for children from all walks of life, complimentary tickets were provided for several local schools. The resort also used the occasion to buss in a group of children from an orphanage that it supports in north Bali “Panti Asuhan Dana Punia, Singaraja.”
A UNICEF video presentation preceded the concert highlighting the needs of children in the developing world. Kamasean Matthews was then welcomed to the stage where she opened the show with a power ballad. This was followed by a fun song performed by the children of the Farabi Music School, Dwiki Dharmawan, Bali.
The evening continued with Kamasean showcasing her musical abilities on the piano and guitar.
Another highlight of the night’s performance was a performance by the children of Joyful Choir followed by a collaborative song between Kamasean and her younger brother Sammy.
The finale was an upbeat rendition of the hit song “Hall of Fame” accompanied by the Joyful Choir.
“It was indeed an honor to have Kamasean Matthews perform at the resort in support of our annual fundraiser. This event once again proved that music has the ability to bring people together for a good cause. I am happy to announce that this year we will be able to make a significant contribution to UNICEF and give hope to those in need,” commented Bipan Kapur, Managing Director of The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali.
Burying our Hondas and Hyundais in the Sand
Bali Looking at Building a Second Underpass at Simpang Ubung in North Denpasar
Following the opening of Bali’s first underpass in Kuta at Simpang Siur, the municipal government of Bali’s capital of Denpasar is now considering establishing an underpass at the intersections of Jalan Gatot Subroto and Jalan Cokroaminoto – otherwise known as Simpang Ubung.
Bali Post reports that the head of the Transportation Agency for Denpasar, I Gede Astika, confirmed the idea of an Ubung Underpass was under review.
At this point, the proposed underpass is being reviewed by a team of consultants from Bali’s Udayana University with city officials awaiting a formal presentation providing an overview of the project and the consulting team’s recommendation on whether to proceed or not.
Meanwhile, legislators are calling for changes in the flow and direction of traffic along certain sections of Jalan Gatot Subroto (Gatsu) in order to alleviate current traffic congestion problems.
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