Amazing Sumba

It is such an amazing experience for me to finally go Sumba Island, located in Nusa Tenggara. Lying south of Flores across the Sawu Sea, it is only a short distance from Bali yet the journey represents a great leap back into the past that can be both exhilarating and relaxing. Sumba has two major towns: Waingapu in the east, which is the larger and more developed with both an air and sea port, and Waikabubak in the west has the largest concentration of easily accessible traditional villages. Couldn’t feel happier, I went there on Indonesian National Independence day last year. Just to feel the vibe, I use national tee’s to celebrate

Well, I started my trip from Waikabubak ended up in Waingapu. On my first day, i stayed at Rumah Budaya Sumba at Sumba Barat Daya, a three kilometres west of Waitabula and run by the Catholic Redemptorist Order, Lembaga Studi and Pelestarian Budaya Sumba (Sumba Cultural Research and Conservation Institute) provide a handful of cute bungalows. By staying here, you’ll get cultural insight form the very knowledgeable priests, Romo Mateus and Romo Robert, at no extra charge. He is the one who is also writing and publish a book about Sumba, titled “Sumba: the forgotten Island”.

On day 1, we visited Kampung Ratenggaro (Cultural Village). Ratenggaro village has the craziest, most exaggerated Brobdingnagian rooftops in the whole of Sumba — the locals told me they reach up to 25 meters tall. Be prepared when you visit this village, because villagers will invade you to buy handicrafts, mostly small wooden carvings. Kids are often asked you for buying those wooden carving to pay school fees. If you want, you may also bring books for them. On the afternoon, Sumba offer you the beautiful sunset at bwana beach, located at Lamboya Village, West Sumba. If you are lucky enough you may strolling around the beach. In my case, I couldn’t due it’s too tidy and wavy.

When you need a break from beaches and villages, La Popu (Laipopu) Waterfall has you covered. Easily reached from Waikabubak, after a short walk through the jungle you are rewarded with a curtain of magnificent cascades, certainly one of the prettiest in Sumba. Approximately 13 kilometres along the road south from Waikabubak, a fork east continues for another four kilometres, arriving at the entrance to Manupeu Tanah Daru National Park. Entry fee is 150,000 rupiah per person for foreign tourists (5,000 rupiah for Indonesians). Make sure you swim in there and taste on of the finest waterfall in Indonesia.

Moving on to East Sumba, we stopped by on the famous Bukit Wairinding. If you remember windows XP wallpaper, this one almost looks like one, except… THIS IS WAY WAY BETTER!

When you heard about Sumba, let’s not forget about their famous Wild Horse. You may see them roaming around the savanna on the afternoon waiting for sunset at Puru Kambera. Please don’t make unnecessary noise because it will make them feel uncomfortable and run away from you.

East Sumba provide you many beautiful beaches, one of them is Tarimbang. It’s so relaxing just to hear the waves, and you will not see many people visiting this beach. You may also see sunset at Walakiri Beach, and you may also spot the dancing trees while enjoying the sunset. (pic source: my Instagram)

Sumba isn’t that it is beautiful – although it is – it’s just that it is still sooooo beautiful. That while it is ‘discovered’, it is also undiscovered; its pleasures are those of a revealing natural beauty, a graphic raw nature in which Sumba’s inhabitants live close to the influences of sun, rain and wind, of sea and mountain and forest. Please spare your time to visit this island and experience it yourself.

By my beautiful sister;  Dhea Aditya – Traveller 🙂

Fahombo – Nias

Stone jumping tradition, or often called as Fahombo by Nias people was originally done by a young man in Nias to show that he was mature enough, physically. If the young man could jump a stone that was stacked until 2 M height with 40 cm width smoothly, then the young man would be a defender of his village samu’I mbanua or la’imba hor, if there was any conflict with other villages.

This stone jumping tradition is not done in all Nias area. It can only be found in certain villages like Teluk Dalam. It is also forbidden for women to do this tradition because it is not acceptable for women to be a defender.

Fahombo – Exclusive Picture from Deddi Prihandoko

Gerabah Pulutan Minahasa

Pulutan, a village within Minahasa Regency, 40 Km from Southern Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi, a Province within Indonesia. Most villager in Pulutan work as ceramics crafter with each of them could produce 10 until 50 ceramics per day, so the local government established Pulutan as Center of Ceramics in Minahasa Regency and their ceramic known as Gerabah Pulutan Minahasa.

Gerabah Pulutan Minahasa had many variation, such as pot, bowl, plate, candle nest, and so forth. It sold in affordable prices from $12 to $230 and the price depended on complexity and size of the ceramics.

Gerabah Pulutan Minahasa is one tourist magnet for local government. Local and foreign tourist came to Pulutan to see how the crafter crafted these unique ceramics and bought them as souvenir. So, if you ever happen to visit Pulutan, don’t forget to buy Gerabah Pulutan Minahasa!

Tongkonan Toraja: Four Pillars of Life

Every region has their own unique traditional houses, but almost none displays as much power and radiates as much charisma as the Tongkonan from Tana Toraja, South Celebes, Indonesia. Tongkonan has such distinctive shapes that makes it impossible to forget. While most houses are built on the solid ground, Tongkonan houses are built above it! While this method itself is a breathe of fresh air in the world of ancient architecture, the Torajans builders do not stop to amaze us just yet. They create a type of roof like none of us has seen before. Tongkonan houses are characterized by its crescent-shaped roofs made of bamboo sticks meticulously put together to create a very strong structure that is believed to be able to last for hundreds of years. Some historians assume that the first builders of Tongkonan houses get the inspiration for the rooftop from the shape of Chinese traders’ ships.

The ones that own Tongkonan houses are usually people with high positions among the society. The chieftains and the aristocrats. We can measure one’s positions by counting the numbers of buffalo horns displayed at the face of their Tongkonan houses. The more horns there are, the higher and the more powerful in the hierarchy the owner of the house is.

While all the information so far implies that Tongkonan houses are only about showing off the dominance of one’s family in the Torajans society, they actually has a lot more to offer than meets the eye. Tongkonan houses are built upon a very deep philosophy. A Tongkonan house naturally has 4 sides and each side embodies a meaning. They symbolize birth in the north, life and divine worships in the east and west, and death in the south. That is why every Tongkonan house cannot face south, because the Torajans believe that the south implies death and bad luck. The walls of Tongkonan houses are also usually full of intricate paintings. They do not only serve to entertain our eyes, but also used as a kind of good luck charms. The patterns of water and grass are believed to bring fertility to the family living inside the house, while buffalo patterns are said to bring infinite wealth and success to the owner of the house.


Kelom Geulis: A beautiful craftwork from Tasikmalaya

One of the many handicrafts that come from Tasikmalaya is the Kelom Geulis. The name Kelom itself derived from the Dutch language “kelompen” which means wooden sandals and “geulis” from the Sundanese language that translates as beautiful. They are mostly worn by women for cultural events such as weddings and traditional ceremonies. Mahogany and Silk tree are commonly used for the sandals with the addition of flowered patterns and carvings as ornaments. Some Kelom Geulis are even air brushed and use the fabric Batik. These are more known as Kelom Batik. They are not only famous locally but also internationally. They have been exported to numerous regions such as South East Asia, Korea, Japan, Africa, the Middle East, and some areas of Europe.

To produce these beautiful sandals requires intricate steps. The Mahogany or Silk tree are cut according to the foot and is smooth out using sandpaper. Sometimes a machete is also needed to even out surfaces that are still rough. The weather plays an important role for the production as rainy days can hinder the drying process of the sole. The amount of water in the foot base should be really low to ensure its durability. Some craftsmen even go as far as utilizing an oven to certify that the sole has fully dried up. The next step is to eliminate the pores of the wood by using a grindstone and then they are given a basic paint by spraying it using an air brush. After the lengthy process, they will then be equipped with a strap made out of leather or velvet. The decoration on the sandals depends on each craftsman. Hence, it is the reason why each sandal is unique to one another.

Indonesians should be proud to own such a remarkable craftwork and should guarantee that this tradition continues until generations to come. Unfortunately, with the presence of plastic and fake leather these sandals are beginning to be forgotten. However, supporting the local craftsmen to export more sandals abroad could catch the attention of a wider audience so that its existence will carry on even to the furthest country from Indonesia.

Noken Papua

Noken is a traditional shoulder bag used by Papuan society to carry a wide range of items like agricultural product such as tubers or vegetables, catch from sea or lake, even papuan mothers often carry their babies inside it. Nokens were originally made from natural fibres, such as dried leaves from local trees. This fibre is knotted by hand to make net bags of various patterns and sizes. The weavers are now using colourful and elastic acrylic fibre to create fashion items, although you can still find traditionally made fibre noken from highlands of Papua.

These noken bags are part of the culture and heritage of Papua. They are created to reflect the people and the society, who are strong, practical, and beautiful worker of arts. Since there is a huge push these days to wean ourselves off of our addiction to plastic bags, I recommend getting yourself a noken. I know this kind of traditional bag because it is popularized by papuan students who continued their studies to Java and other areas in Indonesia. Some college friends use nokens to carry their books and other personal items. They choose nokens because they are beautiful, unique and last forever. They are very useful in that they can stretch to amazing sizes and hold incredible amount of produce, much more in volume and weight than you might expect. Wearing noken, and you can help maintain and introduce one more Indonesian heritage to the world as well.