Friday, April 29, 2016

Where is the Philippine Arena?

The Philippine Arena is considered as the world’s biggest indoor arena. But it wasn't built by the government. Rather, it’s a source of pride of INC members.

It’s situated in a 75-hectare enterprise zone in Bulacan, Philippines. Although it’s a Filipino pride, it’s designed by Populous, an Australian company. 

But the construction was done by Hanwha Engineering and Construction Corp. The structural engineering was managed by Buro Happold, a London-based company. The audio and video design is provided by a Canadian company known as the Engineering Harmonics. 

Opened on July 27, 2014, the Philippine Arena is so significant that the construction cost around $200 million. It took three years to build it. Touted as the biggest arena in the world, it has a seating capacity of 55,000. 

How does it compare with Singapore’s National Stadium? 

The Philippine Arena and Singapore’s National Stadium are categorised differently. Both has 55,000 seats. But the Philippine Arena is an arena as it’s used for indoor activities. The National Stadium, on the other hand, is a stadium that accommodates outdoor activities. 

Furthermore, the Singapore’s stadium has a retractable roof. Ours has a fully air-conditioned structure. 

Not for profit

Built by Iglesia ni Cristo, the Philippine Arena was designed and constructed not to make a profit. Its intention is to be a place where people can gather for religious, cultural and sporting events. 

Did you know that it’s made from voluntary offerings? 

Yes, the biggest arena in the world has become possible through the voluntary offerings of the INC members. For the INC, giving offerings is a duty and not as a donation. 

The Landscape Artist

The Philippine Arena’s landscape was designed by the same firm that landscaped the National September 11 Memorial and Museum — the PWP Landscape Architecture. It’s a world-renowned firm that also designed Jamison Square, Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and several others. 

Up to 100,000 People 

The master plan was for the arena to accommodate 100,000 people. That is it has a seating capacity of 50,000 and another 50,000 at a live site, which is outside to share in an important event. The overall masterplan was to include shopping centers, residential developments, and hospital. 

The arena is built as a multi-use sports and concert venue. From boxing to basketball to musical performances, the Philippine Arena can handle them. 

Can other religious groups use it? 

According to the INC spokesperson, the rule is that the event must not offend the teachings of the Bible. That means other religious organisations can use it as long as they oblige with the rules and regulations of the Philippine Arena. 

Unique Layout 

Unlike other arenas in the Philippines, it’s divided into three sections. Each section has a seat color based on the INC flag, i.e. green, white and red. 

It’s also ready for potential disasters. In a Discovery Channel documentary, the arena was highlighted to be quake-proof. That is, it’s built with flexibility and strength. It can also survive seismic forces that might occur in the Philippines. Plus, there are enough exits. When a disaster strikes, people in the arena can escape within four to six minutes. 

Image Source: Philippine Arena

Friday, April 22, 2016

Can You Still Find Affordable Maldives Tour Package?

The Maldives is an exotic, beautiful country. Before, it wasn't possible to travel there on a budget. Now, you can find guesthouses located on the local islands. They offer budget travelers an affordable way to explore the beauty of this country. So, yes. You can find affordable Maldives tour package now. A $1,000 budget isn't bad for one person who wants to stay there for four nights. 

A few years ago, flights to Maldives would cost you around $2000. Then, you’d have to make another budget of $300 a night for hotel rooms. That said, the money that you could spend here could be spent on a longer trip and visit several countries in Asia. 

But things are changing now. Maldives opens its doors to budget travelers and allows them to export it without having to worry about money. 

Budget Travel 

Budget travel in this country is still new. In general, tourism is relatively new to this country. Its first resort opened in 1973. For more than 30 years, the only way to go there is through expensive island resorts. 

But the government changed its regulations. It now allows guesthouses to open on local islands. That is, tourists can now stay with locals so they can have an insight of what life has to offer in this country. 

In 2014, Tiger Airways introduced a budget Maldives tour package. It launched four flights per week to the country’s capital — Male. For only $450, you can have a round trip flight from the Philippines to Male. 

Unfortunately, the trip can take around 14 hours. It includes a five-hour stop in Singapore. Fortunately, the Singapore airport has enough attractions that let you keep yourself busy. 

One of the major costs of touring the country is transfer through a seaplane. That’s because the majority of Maldives is covered with water. Its 1,200 islands are scattered over the 298 square kilometers. 

No booze 

The Maldives is an Islamic country and it prohibits alcohol and pork consumption. You also have to dress conservatively. 

When you choose an affordable Maldives tour package, you must not expect a five-star accommodation. However, the accommodation is mostly clean and new. And yes, you can expect it to have cable TV and Wi-Fi. 

If you go to an inhabited island where Islamic laws apply, you can’t find or eat pork. You also can’t swim in your bikini.

Budget guesthouses offer good value for only $30 a night. With this price, you can have a spacious room, with hot shower, free breakfast, and snorkeling gear, among others. 

One of the best budget places you can stay is at the Water Breeze Guesthouse in Maafushi. Per night is only $61.71. The owner here is lovely, and the breakfast it serves was enormous. 

Cheap transport 

Local ferries can run around $2 for a three-hour journey. Visiting a resort requires riding on a speedboat. But it’s quite expensive. Per person is around $280 for a 450-minute journey. 

If you’re planning to obtain an affordable Maldives tour package, you must make sure that you’re traveling with a group of friends to divide the cost.

Friday, April 15, 2016

8 Interesting Facts of Vatican City

Have you been to Vatican City? Nope? Me neither. But I do know (and pretty sure you know) that it’s the smallest nation, and it’s the home of the Pope, who’s also the head of the state. It’s also the only country to have a continuous non-hereditary monarchy. The reason for this is that the Pope isn't allowed to marry or have kids. 

Here are some other facts that you may not know about the Vatican City. 

1. Its citizens live abroad. 

In 2011, the city had a total number of 594 citizens. This number would include the Cardinals, Swiss Guard, members of the clergy and the nun. 

But most of its citizens are living around the world as they’re in diplomatic positions. The population of the city will only increase by one when its citizens elect a new pope. 

2. It doesn't have an official language. 

It doesn't have an official language, but most of its documents are written in Italian. The community speaks mostly Italian, English, German, French and Spanish. 

3. It is less than 100 years old. 

The Catholic Church has been around for centuries. But the Vatican City came into existence in 1929. Created by Mussolini, the city was set up as an independent state. It’s compensated for assets lost as part of the treaty. The Pope is also banned from getting involved in international affairs. 

4. It issues its own Euros. 

In the past, it issued Lira. However, when the Eurozone was created, it took the Euro currency and made its own coins with the Pope’s head embossed. It also issues a few coins but no notes. Thus, if you have one coin, don’t let it go. 

5. It owns a telescope. 

Because of its small population, it makes it difficult to view the night skies. In 1981, the Vatican Observatory opened a second research centre in Arizona. It conducts astronomical research using a modern telescope installed atop the Mount Graham in the southeast part of the state. 

6. It has the only Latin ATM in the world. 

The only bank in the city is the Vatican bank that has its own ATM. Because Latin is the city’s administrative language, the machines are in Latin. That said, if you don’t understand Latin, you’ll have a hard time getting money out of those machines. If you travel to the Vatican City, make sure that you have enough cash and hold to it tightly. 

7. You can’t be a citizen here even if you were born in Vatican City. 

Even if you were born here, you can’t be a citizen of the Vatican. The reason for this is that a person can only be a citizen by appointment. When you lose your Vatican citizenship, and you’re not a citizen of another country, you’ll automatically become Italian. 

8. It has the highest crime rate. 

Nope not South Africa. This information is based on the number of offences in relation to its total number of population. Crimes here will include shoplifting and pickpocketing. In recent years, there are reports of assassination attempt on the Pope, money laundering and a murder of a Swiss Guard member. 

These are just some of the most interesting facts about the Vatican City. Do you have something to add? Please let us know in the comments below.

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