When you go to Bali, you'd definitely notice that this is a land rich in cultural heritage and religious traditions. Although the locals are generally extremely hospitable and nice towards tourists and foreigners, as considerate travelers, we should always respect these customs. Before you go to Bali this summer, check out these four local Balinese customs, to make sure that your time in Bali stays memorable.
The Balinese people are generally deeply spiritual and they held culture and traditions very highly, so as travelers we should respect these traditions by acting accordingly. More modern people usually are more acustomed to public display of affections, but this is highly irregular in Balinese (and–frankly–Indonesian) customs, and could be found disrespectful.
When giving or receiving something from the locals, remember to use both hands. This is considered a high compliment and a sign of respect to both the items given to us and to the person giving / receiving it. It's a simple gesture, but would show that you are considerate to the local customs. Also, remember to not point to someone using your index finger, as this is considered arrogant and disrespectful. Instead, use your thumb or outstreched palm when pointing towards a person, as a sign of respect.
The nice weather in Bali makes us inclined to wear more revealing clothes, which is appropriate considering the situation, however when entering temples or other cultural spaces, do remember to cover yourselves up! For girls, if you're having your period, you might want to refrain from entering the temples, as local customs forbid women from entering the temples when they're having their period.
Wherever you go in Bali, you can find these small, leaf-basket offerings. Sometimes you might inadvertently step on these offerings because they're practically everywhere, even on the streets, but whenever you can, do watch your steps when you walk around the island to not step or kick these small offering baskets.
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Back in early 2001, Maritoni Fernandez, a Philippine cinematic gem, was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. At the time, Maritoni was very busy with her acting career and during a brief visit to the US to get a second opinion for her mom’s medical condition, Maritoni was surprised to find out that a lump she had noticed years prior, which she thought was benign, turn out to be positive for cancer. It’s 20 years later and she still tears up when she recalls the moment that turned her life upside down. But as surprising as the diagnosis was, her year-long struggle with a disease that could have taken her life, soon came to an end with her on top. Feeling very strongly about paying-it-forward, she’s been an iCanServe member for 19 years and has made sharing her story a personal advocacy; “The day I stop sharing my story is the day I’m no longer brave and I hope that never happens.”, she says.
Maritoni grants us an afternoon to share her inspiring story with the hopes that it gives others, going through the same experience, strength to overcome it.
Looking back, she feels blessed that she followed her instincts to have herself checked again despite getting initial medical advice that she had nothing to worry about. Admittedly, she was hesitant to bring it up again as having the thought of a possible sickness is something she didn’t want to verbalize. Being the strong and determined person that she is, soon after confirming her diagnosis, Maritoni set her mind to overcome the biggest hurdle in her life. “In hindsight, it felt like a wild roller coaster ride. It’s also a test of patience and grit.,” said Maritoni. She decided to create a relationship with her cancer to help prepare her for the long journey she had ahead of her.
During treatment, she went through 4 Chemotherapy sessions followed by 26 sessions of radiation therapy. She was then put on oral medication and was instructed to stay on it for 5 years but with the help of her medication complemented by natural supplements, her body recovered in just 3 years and was blessed with a miracle of being pregnant with her second child.
Despite the terrifying experience, her faith got her through the ordeal. She says “I knew the fight was not mine. I physically had to fight it, but the fight was really HIS. I was allowed to get sick because a lot of people are gonna learn from it. “ Her lovely daughter, Lexi shares the same sentiment saying that “The world can get to me but having faith keeps me grounded. And this is something I’ve learned from my mom’s journey.”
Ever since she was declared cancer-free, Maritoni has taken it upon herself to share her experience and inspire people to keep the faith and to not look at cancer as the end of one’s journey. Her advice to those who’ve been diagnosed? “Have faith, don’t lose hope, and pray as God is a mighty healer. Breast Cancer is not a death sentence. Follow what your doctors tell you to do but don’t be scared to get a second opinion before getting aggressive treatment. At the same time, don’t just leave your prognosis to your doctors. Do something about it and research. Keep your chin up, keep going, and find something to live for everyday - for me it was my daughter Lexi. If you do get healed by the grace of God, pay it forward.”
For this shoot, Maritoni prepares for a charity ball which she supports. She believes this is worth remembering because she attended with her daughter and SweetEscape is the perfect partner to capture this moment in this warrior’s life.
SweetEscape connects you to thousands of photographers in more than 500 cities around the world. Get your photos within 48 hours of your sessions directly to your devices through our mobile app. You can also share and download them directly from the app, so book your session today and let's #MakeLifeMemorable!