Learning About Indonesia’s Ancient Culture in the Tana Toraja

Traveling is an opportunity to visit areas that are off the beaten path. With access to different areas in the world steadily growing thanks to improvements in transport and tourism, more people have the opportunity now to explore hidden gems. More than just seeing the sights or checking out the most Instagrammable spots, travelers should use the experience to enrich themselves and learn more about a place’s history and culture.

Previously on the blog, we’ve talked about ’10 Famous Mountains in the Philippines‘. Today, let’s dive into one of the richest cultures in Indonesia, Tana Toraja.

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The J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa – How to Apply

Steps on How to Apply for a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa

Like any visa application process, there are certain steps you need to follow in order to ensure a successful application. Make sure that you have prepared all the required and supporting documents, as well as paid the necessary fees. You can view the list of required and supporting documents for the J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa here.

Below are the steps to apply for a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa:

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J1 Visa Philippines

Opening opportunities for knowledge and skills exchange is essential to the career of any student or professional. These opportunities may not always be limited to the Philippines– in fact, broadening one’s horizon in a foreign country is an experience that many should take advantage of. If you’re a student or professional in the Philippines, visa concerns remain one of the biggest hurdles to taking up further studies and training abroad. The visa application process can be long and arduous, and only proper preparation can result in an approved visa.

The Philippines has friendly relationships with a lot of countries, which at the very least increases the chances of visa approval. One of the types of visa Filipino citizens can apply for is the J-1 visa. The U.S. Government’s Exchange Visitor Program and J1 visa means that participants have the opportunity to engage with U.S. culture, strengthen their English language skills, and learn and build new skills that will help them further their careers. The J1 visa stands out from other visa types by allowing successful applicants the opportunity for professional growth that may not have been available to them otherwise.

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Entertainment City: City of Dreams Manila

Image from World Casinos Directory.

The second casino and resort to rise in the Entertainment City complex, City of Dreams saw its doors open with a soft opening on December 14, 2014, and a grand opening on February 2, 2015. It celebrated its inauguration with a bang through the Concert of Dreams, which featured local talents like Gary Valenciano and Zsa Zsa Padilla, as well as international stars like Ne-Yo and Kelly Rowland.

City of Dreams is a sister resort to City of Dreams in Macau, but it has its own unique Manila flair that makes it stand out. The resort has six hotel towers with 938 rooms, including Nobu Hotel, Nuwa (formerly known as Crown Towers), and a Hyatt Regency Hotel.

In addition to this, City of Dreams is also a gamer’s haven, with 289 gaming tables, 1,620 slot machines, and 176 electronic table games. For shopaholics, it’s also home to The Shops at the Boulevard, an almost 80,000 square meter shopping mall housing the best local and international brands around. Families will also enjoy DreamPlay, a theme park located in the complex that was developed in partnership with DreamWorks Animation, as well as The Garage, a VR play and dining experience that’ll knock your socks off.

One of the most awe-inspiring sites in the City of Dreams complex includes the Fortune Egg, a dome-like building that houses two of the best international nightclubs in Manila. Visitors can choose between Chaos or Pangaea, both of which were developed by the group of “International King of Clubs” Michael Van Cleef Ault.

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Entertainment City: Solaire Resort and Casino

Image from Frontera.net

When it comes to glitz and glamor in the Philippines, Solaire Resort and Casino has quickly climbed to the top of the list after its opening in 2013. The first of four resorts to operate in Manila’s Entertainment City, Solaire first opened its doors on March 16, 2013, with 800 guest rooms, suites, and villas.

It currently holds the distinction of being the tallest hotel in the Manila Bay area, and features a column-free grand ballroom that can accommodate 1,300 guests, 8 function rooms and 2 boardrooms with audiovisual equipment, leisure, live entertainment, dining, and retail hubs, and the Theatre at Solaire, which houses 1,740 seats and a retail space of 60,000 square meters. Last but definitely not the least, Solaire also boasts an 18,500 square meter gaming area with 1,620 slot machines and 360 gaming tables.

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Bright Lights and Big Games: A Primer on Manila’s Entertainment City

Image taken from Entertainment City Manila’s homepage.

Bright lights, gaming and leisure, and balmy, tropical weather— these words don’t just describe entertainment tourism stalwarts like Las Vegas and Macau. When it comes to leisure, there’s a new kid on the proverbial block, and it looks like it’s aiming to be a powerhouse. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR)’s Entertainment City has been in operation for several years, and is well on its way to transforming the face of Philippine tourism.

With integrated resorts and casinos, as well as dozens of high-end shopping and dining prospects, Entertainment City showcases the best of Philippine entertainment tourism. Here’s a primer on what you can expect from the glitz and glamor of this expanding gaming and entertainment complex.

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20 Contemporary Philippine Art Galleries Worth Visiting

The new year is the season for trying out new experiences, and nothing is more life-affirming or transformative than developing an appreciation for the arts. According to writer Thomas Merton, “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” It provides a deeper look into the human psyche, and allows us to share and foster creativity and connection with each other. From the visual arts to performance arts like ballet and musicals, art has brought together people of all ages, genders, creeds, and races throughout history.

As we approach the National Arts Month in February, it becomes more and more apparent that the Philippines is a country with a rich history of the visual arts. Greats like Juan Luna, Jose Joya, Araceli Dans , and many more have made their mark on the local arts scene over the decades. And even today, the tradition is alive and kicking, as you can see in our article ’24 Philippine Artists Shaping Local Contemporary Art’. If you’re curious about what’s going on in the Philippine arts scene, 2020 is your chance to broaden your horizons. To start off your art appreciation journey, here are twenty Philippine art galleries that are showcasing the best and brightest of the local modern arts scene.

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Common Misconceptions About Travelling in the Philippines

Traveling to the Philippines has been making trends on the internet lately, and the statistics don’t lie. An article by Business Mirror reports that in the span of 8 months, visitor arrivals to the country increased by 14.08% or approximately 5.55 million tourists. With quite a number of tourist destinations in the country, that number of tourists isn’t too much of a surprise. If you’re interested in traveling the country but have your personal hesitations, here’s a list debunking common misconceptions about traveling in the Philippines.

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Top 10 Best Filipino MMA Fighters

2019 seems to be the year for Filipino athletes. For example, pole vaulting star EJ Obiena just recently qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with a vault height of 5.81m, making him the first Filipino to gain a berth for Tokyo. Obiena is also one of the country’s gold medal hopefuls for the 30th SEA Games to be held this November and December. The second Filipino to qualify for the upcoming Olympic Games, gymnast Carlos Edriel Yulo, won his own Olympic spot at the 49th FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships.

There’s nothing like professional sports to get your blood pumping, and the Philippines has shown that it can hold its own on the international level. Boxing greats like Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire have proven their mettle against dozens of international opponents time and time again. In fact, such is the skill of Filipino boxers that there were no less than six boxing world title winners carrying the flag of the Philippines in 2018 alone.

When it comes to fame inside the ring, Filipinos don’t fall too far behind. With the rise of MMA (mixed martial arts)’s popularity, several Filipino fighters have made names for themselves on the international stage. Such is the growth of MMA as a sport in the Philippines that ONE Championship recently announced a 2020 reality show competition to find the next best Filipino fighter. The show will culminate in a tournament, with the winner taking home a USD100,000 prize.

With MMA slowly gaining popularity in the country, it’s only right that we should take a look at some of the biggest names in the sport currently. Here’s a list of the top 10 best Filipino MMA fighters in the country.

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