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Museum of Masks and Puppets, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

A friend i met, recommended this Museum few months ago, located nearby her house, in Ubud, Bali.  She said it is a great museum set in a Javanese traditional houses. And i loved it there.

Indonesia is rich or arts, including mask. Each area has its own characteristic. Some areas have very raw carved of mask, which are my favorite.

Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets is located in Jalan Tegal Bingin, Mas, Ubud, Kemenuh, Gianyar, Bali. I find it a little bit hidden. Yet it is worth the effort, the museum is very quiet and set in a beautiful area and the entrance is free.

The main buildings are 3 joglo buildings, Javanese wooden traditional house. The houses were old houses transported from Java to house the masks and puppet collections. There are about 6,900 masks and puppets collections displayed here.

There are masks from various parts of Indonesia, also from overseas such as from Japan, Africa, China and Korea. From Indonesia, we can see the collections from Madura, Bali, Jember, Ponorogo, Yogyakarta, Cirebon, Wonosobo, Papua, Sumatera Island and Kalimantan. You may have been very familiar with some of the masks, but there are some that will be new to you.  For me masks from Papua are very interesting, also from Sumatera and Borneo, similar to that of Africa.

The museum has open stage overlooking rice terraces. And visitors can site and enjoy the coconut trees view from the restaurant which offers various menus.

Even though the entrance is free, you can also support the museum by giving donation.

by Wid Saija




The Blanco Museum, Ubud, Bali

Blanco Museum is located in Campuhan area of Ubud, located just by the main street of Ubud, overlooking Campuhan River. The entrance has a gate with Antonio Blanco name on it.

Mario Antonio Blanco is a spanish maestro who was born in on September 15th 1912 in Manila, The Philippines. He came to Bali in 1952 and married Balinese dancer, Ni Ronji. They lived in Campuhan house which land was given by Ubud king for the maestro. Both happily married and had 4 children and one of the children, Mario follows his father step doing painting.
The gate to the main building is very eye-catching, delineates the signature of Antonio Blanco.

There are bout 300 artistic authentic paintings displayed in the museum. Most of the paintings showing the maestro admiration for women body, whether its his wife or women around him. It is said that eventhough Blanco was a women admirer, he was a faithful husband. Whenever he painted a model, he asked Ni Ronji to accompany him.

His romantic impressionist works are displayed in the main building. It  has Renaissance style of pillars mixed with Balinese style. The floor is concrete which are finished with red color, some of the cracks creating more beautiful aging style. It is not allowed to take a picture inside the museum.
For Antonio Blanco, frame of a painting is part of the painting itself. There are some strangely creative frame material used such as, soaps, bottle, Balinese door, and woods. And it turns out that Blanco was not only a painter but also a poet. There are his short or longer poem displayed in various unique way . Next to the main building, some of the works for Blanco’s son, Mario, are displayed as well.
Welcome Drink at Rondji Restaurant
Entrance fee to this museum is IDR 30,000 for Indonesian and IDR 50,000 for foreigner. This also includes welcome drink at Rondji Restaurant.

Contributor: Wid Saija

How to Care for Ikat Weaving

I purchased ikat weaving from East Nusa Tenggara few months ago. It has nice yellow color decorated with hand made embroider of various contrast color. It is so soft and warm for cold time. Most of all, i really appreciate and admire the intricacies and the patience of the weaver which might take to 7 days to make such an intricacies pattern.

After several times i wore it to the cinema, to hang out and other several occasions, i thought i would like to wash it. And honestly, i did not even check the correct way to wash it. I think i forgot the the lady who sold it told me not to wash it with detergent but something softer like softener or klerak. So yes, i washed it with detergent and soaked it for few minutes. Ha, wrong big time.

Once i checked to wash the decoration color badly dyed the main color of the weaving. Devastated, i think what i did wrong. I tried to remove the dye by rubbing it using my both hands, but it did not work. I searched online for the solution and could not find one similar case.  Some online cases are dye on one color fabric, usually white. I kept on reading though and figured it out myself from the references.

Finally i could remove the dye though, even the whole color is not as good as new. It is much better than letting the weaving decorated by unwanted dye. People usually do not notice, i removed 90 percent of the dye, it is very subtle now, people would not even think it was a disaster.

This is what i did. I  boiled water, pour on a container and put 2 teaspoon of acid crystal, and then soaked  the weaving for few minutes. I repeated this stage 2 times and then washed with detergent manually also using hot / warm water. The dye was already removed after this. And then i use softener. A friend of mine suggested that this kind of colorful weaving must not be dried by hanging, yet by laid on the ground, to avoid the color to dye worse. In this case i laid the weaving between two chair and tied the four corner ends to the chair. To make it dry quickly, i blow hairdryer over for some 30 minutes. After i was sure it was not wet and dye, i hang nearby air-condition exhaust , to make it dry quickly without hairdryer.  And viola, within 2 hours later it was dry and looks good, ready to accompany me for a stroll at night.

Below is the suggestion to care  weaving that might be helpful for you.

  • Wash it manually, do not machine wash. If the weaving is using natural dyes, you can use lerak to wash it. A friend from East Nusa Tenggara suggest to wash using softener or shampoo , Not detergent, as it is more soft and will not damage the color and the texture.
  • Do not dry it by hanging but drying by laying it on the ground or just hang it horizontally that the color will not dye to the main color. I think it will be problem for bright color weaving, for dark one is not really a problem.
  • Do not keep it fold in closet, better hung or rolled. If rolled put an onionskin  to the weaving will not rub against each other. And you can put cloves, kapulaga or cinnamon or fragrant roots to neutralize the aroma.
  • And this is also an information from a friend from East Nusa Tenggara that they do not wash the weaving often, usually after worn to neutralize the aroma, and kill bacteria, they dry under the sun. Yet when washed only using shampoo.







Trunyan Cemetery : Where Dead Body (literaly) Laid Under the Shades of Magic Tree

Trunyan Village is located remotely across Batur Lake. It takes about 3 hours drive from Denpasar or 2 hours drive from Ubud. As some other mountain tribes in some parts of Indonesia, they still preserve their indigenous tradition. For Trunyanese, they have distinctive belief, custom, tradition than other areas in Bali, especially on how to treat dead bodies.

Road from Lake Batur rim to Trunyan Village is winding, some steep and narrow, when i went there the road uncountable potholes. Arrival at the village, you will sense the different life than Kuta Area or Ubud area. The electricity has already light the village, it has also phone signal and internet. Trunyanese are farmers, they grow vegetables, like cabbage, chilly, garlic, onion and bean. They also do fishing at Batur Lake and some work in tourism as boat crew taking tourist to Trunyan Cemetery. Yet, there are only small amount of visitors visiting Trunyan Area compared to other popular tourist destination on the island.

Cock fighting is very common activity in Trunyan. In the afternoon some cocks in the cage in front of the houses. Kintamani dogs roam nearby the lake. Metal roof houses of Trunyanese are not fully decorated like Balinese house. Trunyan has been inhabited since the 10th Century, as written on Trunyan Inscription date back 833 Saka (0r 911 AD), that reveals permit to erect a seven levels temple to worship Batara Da Tonta, or after Hinduization, called as Ratu Sakti Pancering Jagat. And the village has been there even longer. Trunyanese are Bali Mula, or the oldest community living in Bali, and still preserves their neolithic customs (pre-Hindu custom). They are not primitive tribe at all, they are just conservative and avoid having outsiders or new values. Even though Trunyan is a tourist destination , locals do not prepare lodging, homestay or restaurant. You can only find small stalls selling mineral water nearby the lake.

From Trunyan harbor, you will need to ride boat to the cemetery. The boat has no engine, 2 people rowed the boat. This boat also used by locals going to cemetery and temple next to the cemetery. Visitors will be given life vest for this boat ride. I enjoy this 15 minutes non-engine boat ride, as i feel the quietness of the lake and moving slowly on a paddle pace give me time to enjoy the vista more and imagining how local do it for their funeral. I saw some visitors using speedboat which are very noisy.

The cemetery area is not a big area, it is located right on the edge of the lake under the shades. When i went there the boat man informed us that we can take pictures or videos, and it is not allowed to take anything from the cemetery. He also mentioned that there were 3 new dead bodies laid there. Trunyan Tree looks like Banyan tree (genus : ficus) . This tree (is believed to) absorbs the bad odor. Trunyan derives from Taru means tree and Menyan means fragrant. According to the legend, in the past unlike now, Taru Menyan was so fragrant across the island that might attract outsider to find the tree, the village leader asked his people to not bury the corpse, but just laid under the tree, to neutralize the fragrance.

Under the tree there are skulls placed on shrine. And about 10 meters from the shrine are some bodies covered by clothes and then caged by bamboo, to prevent animals attacking the body. When i arrived there i saw 3 monkeys sitting on those cage. The cemetery looks dirty with various goods, such as flip flops, plate, spoon, mat, and other household items, which are dedicated by the family to the dead for their life after death.

All in all visiting Trunyan was an amazing experience, even though it was organized poorly still. Enhancing the life of Trunyanese by education can be like contradiction, which can also endanger the local unique traditional value and custom with modern value on the other end.

And beware of insects when you visiting the cemetery, though  the insects are not dangerous and leave a tiny red bump, it will be more convenient if those insects do not bite you. A friend of mine got bitten by an insects that we do not know the name is, it just flied to him, and made two bites (or probably stings) that made him panic as it was like  electric shock.





Hotel Options in the Heart of Surabaya

Are you staying in Surabaya , for some days or just for a short visit, and want to f eel the ambience  of the city? Below options if you want to stay right in the heart of it, nearby the most popular shopping mall in Surabaya, Tunjungan Plaza.  Sure these hotel options have an added benefit if you love shopping.

    -Majapahit Hotel
    If you love colonial architecture, this hotel is on your first list. This historical hotel is a 5 star hotel located right in the middle of the city. If you want to visit Tunjungan Plaza, it is just within 2 minutes walk or so. Its vast green weell-nurtured garden created the atmosphere of oasis in the midst of Surabaya.

    -JW Mariott Hotel
    Located about 7 minutes walk from Tunjungan Plaza, this 5 star hotel has marvelous facilities and large rooms. The price can be different on weekend and weekdays.

    -Sheraton Surabaya
    A 5 star hotel located in the same complex as Tunjungan Plaza, very convenience location.

    -Four Points by Sheraton.
    Located right in the new complex of Tunjungan Plaza, managed by Sheraton hotels. This luxury business hotel offer spacious room with modern design.

    -Bumi Surabaya
    This hotel called itself a city resort. The garden is green and spacious and rejuvenating after your busy activities. The contemporary designed rooms completed with spacious bathroom. The hotel is just within walking distance to Tunjungan Plaza.

    -Swiss Belinn Tunjungan
    This 3 star hotel is located the opposite of Tunjungan Plaza, yet very easy to cross the street, there is a bridge over the street. It is very convenient to walk from the hotel to Grahadi Building, Surabaya Tourist Information Center Office, Surabaya City Hall.

    -Varna Culture Surabaya
    Varna culture offers deluxe rooms suitable for leisure or business travelers. Locaed at Jl. Tunjungan, that it is just within walking distance Tunjungan Plaza, Majapahit Hotel and Pasar Genteng where you can buy Surabaya snacks and cookies.

Liquor / Alcoholic Drink Shop in Surabaya

ranch-market Surabaya
Well i think you have guessed, that finding liquor in Surabaya or Java in general can be a little bit difficult due to its majority Muslim inhabitants. And according to decision of Indonesia Trading Ministry : 6/M-Dag/Per/4/1/2015, beverages of up-to 5% alcohol may not be sold freely at mini market, this updated the previous decision of that sold freely.

Yet some stores have license to sell liquor. Once that the writer went was Ranch Market, located at Jalan Basuki Rahmat No. 16-18, Tegalsari, Kota SBY, Jawa Timur 60261, Indonesia. This supermarket has special room for liquors, and the selections are many. Also if you are healthy food enthusiast, Ranch Market also sells organic vegetables from local farmers. As the location is next to Tunjungan Plaza, you can visit Ranch Market when doing shopping or dining out.

Liquor can be found also at Bonet Supermarket located at Jl. Manyar Kertoarjo V No.62, Mojo, Gubeng, Kota SBY, Jawa Timur 60285, Indonesia.

Review of Hotel in Bromo Area

Lava View Lodge
Lava View Lodge is located in Cemoro Lawang, Probolinggo, which is located right in front of Mt Bromo. This accommodation is best available at Bromo area. If you arrive a bit early and want to see sunset you can just enjoy from in front of the hotel . If you do not want to see sunrise from Mt Penanjakan, there us a place nearby Lava View, called Mentigen where you can just walk for few minutes to see sunrise, usually it is more quiet here than at Mount Penanjakan. The lodge has good value for money.

Cafe Lava Bromo
Same management with Lava View Lodge, this hotel also located at Cemoro Lawang, Probolinggo. Currently the restaurant is newly built. Located nearby Bromo Ticket Box and next by Bromo Permai Hotel. It has some room types which has hot water inside. The price is less than Lava View Lodge.

Bromo Permai Hotel
Good location at Cemoro Lawang, Probolinggo, even though old, usually visitors choose this hotel for its location, located overlooking Mount Bromo. You can just walk from Bromo Permai to the crater if you want. There are some rooms to choose from Superior to Cottage. All rooms have hot water.

Jiwa Jawa Resort
Jiwa Jawa is the best hotel available in Bromo Area. The rooms are nice and clean and comfy with good service. Some travelers chose to stay in the luxury hotel even though the location is about 15 minutes from the caldera. This is the only hotel which has small ballroom for meeting or gala dinner and outdoor space for bbq.

SM Bromo
SM Bromo located about 20 minutes from Bromo Area. It has Superior anad Deluxe Room. The rooms are nice and clean, good value for money. Extrabed is available to be added to every room.

Bromo Cottage is located in Tosari Pasuruan. It is about 30 minutes from the caldera, 30 minutes from Mt Penanjakan view point. This is the biggest hotel in Bromo Area, usually suitable for big group as it almost always has room available. This hotel has lift unlike other hotels in Probolinggo area. From the hotel you can see the view of Mt Arjuna at sunset.

Tumpak Sewu Waterfall, Lumajang, Malang, East Java, Indonesia

This waterfall that will make you freeze in awe is located in the border between Malang and Lumajang Regency. There are some aliases for this waterfall, such as Coban Sewi or Grojogan Sewu. This waterfall is flow from Glidih river and some spring located on the sliff of the fall. Because of the abundant springs along its flow, it ts called Tumpak Sewu Waterfall, which more or less means thousand falls.

The waterfall can be accessed from Malang which takes about 1.5 to 2 hours drive.  The most popular route is via Goa Tetes (waterdrop cave) which takes walking trail descending the waterfall cliff.  The water leaks through rock and  creating drops in the cave , that it is called Goa Tetes. Arrival at Gua Tetes proceed descend to river and then trek agains the stream for about 200 meters to Tumpak Sewu Waterfall.  Approximately it takes 3 hours to go vise versa to reach the waterfall.


Best time to visit is in the morning, so reccommended to depart as early as 06.00 from Malang. Morning is when thin mist float covering the beauty of the waterfall and birds chirping along your way there.

Due to the trail, prepare yourself with outdoor outfit and comfy shoes and spare clothes. Bring dry bag or plastic bag  to keep your camera or mobile phone from water. Camera lens usually splashed by water, do not for get to carry tissue.

You can find small food stall there in holiday season. If you visit during low season, might be better carry cookies .

As the trail is not easy, hiring local guide will be very useful for your trip.