north halmahera: wangongira – tobelo dalam

_MG_0283wangongira sacred spring, photo courtesy of labodalih sembiring

water is our life. most of my travel somehow end up with water. i’ve been even collecting spring water from various springs lately. i even put water as part of bhumy name: wisesa, means water in javanese sanskrit. as while i was pregnant with him, i spent once in two days swimming in the spring just 2 kilometers away from our house then. living in jogjakarta made me being accustom in the tradition of swimming or taking a late night dip in the springs. in the traditional javanese belief, spring water is sacred. they even have the tradition of kungkum, means, meditation in the water.

one of my biggest impression in my tobelo days is the spring in wangongira. we first heard about it in our third day while meeting with the village elders. the village elders from wangongira reminded me with gandalf version of tobelo people and them-whose-name-could-not-be-spoken (but you can write them down). while preparing for the “nusantara water ritual” ceremony in tobelo as the sacred water bearers, their main resource of water itself is being threatened. the national water company (PAM) is currently building their water tank so near to their spring.

wangongira spring is very unique. various type of paddy plant grow in the middle of the spring. they used to held traditional ceremony celebrating their harvest. now the paddy in the middle of the spring is gone, only some grow scattered downstream.

IMG02160-20120417-1219sacred various type rice-paddy plants used to grow here, where the rocks are now :(

we somehow end up going there with the regent inspection hearing about the issue. the track could only be done by a four wheel drive and it’s impossible to be passed when it’s raining heavily. it was a jumpy ride for all of us. the car nearly stumbled twice on our way.

the wangongira spring is so beautiful, i touched the water firsthand to say hi, the rocks that ruins them broke my heart instantly. i feel like crying. i asked the regent a very straight question: “does tobelo has problem with water, that this kind of thing need to happen?”, he answered that it’s not but if tobelo become a big city, it would be. the incident is that PAM before promised the villagers to build the water tank 100 meters away from the spring, somehow they decided to build their water tank so near with the spring and ruin the sacred paddy plant.

IMG02165-20120417-1223PAM water tank on the spring

i never got the idea with this logic of such development. that a city have to grow so big, it sucked everything to the center. it sucked other people’s life, such as the wangongirans to support their existence. the wangongirans rely their daily needs of water from the spring. one more thing that makes me choke, that this water project runs for 90 billions rupiah from the central ternate government. it’s so obvious the motive of this useless and unnecessary project. f*k it.

IMG02168-20120417-1518path to some semi-avatar world

522871_10150677174072043_2101248955_nwangongira village, tobelo, photo courtesy of labodalih sembiring

IMG02172-20120417-1537crosses on the ground

the only thing that could calm me down is to take a dip into the spring water. beforehand we should ask permission: tabea molulu. the story goes that a long time ago, one of their ancestor from huana lina, a women walked from the hills carrying some newly harvested paddy. she fell from the hill and the paddy plant fall to the spring. and that’s how the legend of wangongira spring started.

_MG_0319the ladies throwing their water buckets, photo courtesy of labodalih sembiring

_MG_0329me and rinto taking some water back to the villagers, photo courtesy of labodalih sembiring

_MG_0330rinto passing filled water buckets, photo courtesy of labodalih sembiring

me and dalih decided to take a walk around the village. our local youth guide is rinto. he is so funny and hilarious. he took us around and nicely answered all of our questions. we ended up taking another dip while waiting for the car to come back to take us.

we were helping the women villagers in filling their water upstream, while some workers were throwing rocks to the spring. the village children were also around helping to carry the water back to their mothers. and suddenly someone screamed: watch out snake! me and rinto swam back and running to the small hill. half of the people watch a medium size snake going into the water. half of them did not. while catching back my breath from running, our driver was back.

suddenly rain pour heavily. it was like flooding from the sky. our car could not start either. we nearly did not make it back if the rain last more than 30 minutes. at the 20th minutes, i remembered something, i haven’t say bye to the spring and the place, while panicking along the running to the hills thing. i said in my heart: tabea molulu, thank you for today and someday we will be back again. we ask permission to go home now. the rain stopped, the car ignited. in a place like this, you should believe in the spirit of the place.

IMG02159-20120417-1215the downstream from the spring

i prayed one day, human could conquer their greed and stop exploiting mother nature. i wish to still see my son and other children could still play in these amazing water. i owe wangongira a promise to go back again one day. i hope this nature beauty stays in their place.

for more about this story: A Public Works Project Threatens Rice Harvest in Remote Indonesia (by Labodalih Sembiring)

solo: rumah turi – green heaven inside the city

P1010818the green hotel of solo, rumah turi

solo is my father’s hometown. it is a place where i always visit with my family every few years in my childhood. although in my adult years, yogyakarta become my own home, i rarely visit solo. not as much as when i was a little, even when it’s just 2 hours away by train.

but when i did, i always find solo changing so much. it feel much more industrial then yogyakarta. where more business is growing, which make the city have a different ambience compare to yogyakarta.

though the last development, created something very interesting like rumah turi. it is one of the green hotel existing, design and made by an indonesian, pak paulus. it used all recycle material, have their own hanging vegetable garden and recycle their own water use. it is one of the many surprise of solo that i found.

located in the middle of housing alleys near the bustling solo paragon, it is a very soothing to see this many greenery and a breath of fresh air. for a time i found a little green heaven in solo.

P1010822vegetable patches above the dining room

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P1010830

P1010792water recycling management

P1010807path to the hanging garden

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P1010785i love this light installation of the dining room, day and night

P1010781cool atmosphere at night

black and white series: pacitan – pancer beach

P1050865asabhumy, my son at pancer beach

i always love black and white photos. often they feel dramatic. capturing all the stillness of a moment. taking a trip to pacitan is like a little remedy, on the things i’ve been missing. watching the waves always take your sorrow away. it cleanse you out. anyways, i think i should take photography again.

P1050826 copysmall bhumy

P1050836 copylarasati at the beach

P1050845martial art practice

P1050846 copyboy drinking milk in the boat

P1050875surfers at boat point

P1050871a lone boat

P1050866black and white sunset

ubud: organic products to die for

cantika rose hair series, photo source (she is a great designer btw)

in the wake of finding the perfect shampoo, stumbling the variety of organic products of ubud were basically sending you to the seventh heaven. starting to committing myself for decreasing my daily chemical consumption, i found interest in hunting for local findings. where once i found an organic shampoo in jogja and since then there’s no way back to those manufactured products (i even say bye to bodyshop, read ingredients, people).

i found cantika in ubud. my friend could swear it is one of the best spa in heaven (err, the world), i did not manage to try it the last time i was in ubud, but manage to brought home some of their products. using them the last two months are amazing. my short hair become very wavy, shiny, jet black. in the hottest day of jogjakarta’s sun, the coolness of their shampoo stayed. such a fabulous sexy smell also!

cantika massage oil, image source

i’m loving their massage oil, it’s very relaxing and they have a little balinese arak in it.

P1050655bluestone products, lavender natural soap and javanese garden mist

bluestone product is another thing. they are specializing on aromatherapy oil and balm. but their soap are amazing, i used the lavender daily and never felt the need for extra moisture. although i love body products often i’m very practical and lazy to do the whole routine. soap with extra moisture are always great. the javanese garden mist i used daily on anything, from pillows to my yoga mat. the good news, they ship all over indonesia.

P1050659bluestone lavender

organic soaps texture are very mild to the skins. i really love their cakey texture. that’s why when i saw kou’s soap, me and mia (she is a soap lover also) pass their shop, we scream.

P1050653kou jasmine soap

P1050654kou lemon mint and vanilla heaven soap (yes, they come in small bars)

kou products also including natural jam and salt. their jam is making some reputation so far i heard, i would try it next time. for the soaps you can buy the small bars per 100 grams, which are a good news when you want to try everything in the shop.

so another trip to ubud again?

kintamani: lakeview – freshness from home

P1050612terong belanda (tamarillo) and orange homemade ice cream of lakeview resto – kintamani

i would recommend anyone going to kintamani to see the batur mountain and the lake, to take a stop here. either for lunch or dinner, some herbal tea in a cold afternoon is always good.

staying at lakeview hotel and having the dining experience here, you can’t help to feel the familiarity in every bites. the sweetness, the spice and the homemade feeling of everything. not to mention the freshest salad ever made by the manager himself, kadek khrisna adidharma, freshly picked from their own garden. cakes and cookies are fresh from the oven and it is good with their special herbal tea.

i can’t help to feel the tranquil feeling when i saw the view from the dining area. eating should be a beautiful ritual like this. in kintamani, eating among the mountain view and misty lake. you know life has been good and would always will be.

P1050619tamarillo jam with banana pancake, lakeview resto – kintamani

P1050628best salad ever!

P1050631fish satay, lakeview resto – kintamani

P1050643buffet pick from the local range of food, lakeview resto – kintamani

suroloyo: the place of the gods

IMG00644-20120914-1011the view of suroloyo and menoreh valley

“god and asia alone have been able to create such pleasures as words cannot describe – like the mystical hymn of two hearts locked in their vivid embrace.” – honore de balzac (my journey from paris to java)

in the wayang tales and legend, suroloyo is always mention as the place of the gods. as often mention in the punakawan stories, that semar often goes to suroloyo back and forward as a messenger and also negotiator with the gods.

Continue reading “suroloyo: the place of the gods”

sunset series: pacitan – pancer beach

i believe family is something you create. living as a single mother, makes you realized it is a near impossible thing to raise your child alone. so i’ve been thanking for all friends who had been fully supporting and especially when i travel with bhumy.

i have to thank nilu, lala and adrian who makes thing easier when we had our little escape to pancer beach in pacitan.

famous for their amazing waves and it’s only three hour drive from jogjakarta. and like always, sunset is a must see. the smile of an excited boy along the travel and his laugh when touching the water are priceless.

P1050813 Continue reading “sunset series: pacitan – pancer beach”