Category Archives: Indonesia Blog

The 74th Java Sea Battle Commemoration on February 27th 2016 by V.O.N.

Mr Cees Huig and Inna Huig honors Marines Jan Huig
Cees Huig and Inna Huig scatter flower for Marine Jan Huig
Flower wreath ceremony above seamen grave fr all marines passed away on 27 February 1942
Flower wreath ceremony above seamen grave for all marines passed away on 27 February 1942

Last Saturday February 27th 2016, was the 5th Java Sea Battle commemoration on the sea location. Though the weather was rough, the three meters tide did not back down the event. It was undertaken on Natuna Express, led by Captain Iwan, depart from Gresik Port, transit in Sangkapura Harbor of Bawean Island for few minutes and then sailed to the sea location.

On the way to Bawean island, Natuna Express stopped by for 1 minute at Boei 1, to scatter flower for Marine Giovanni Hakkenberg.

The commemoration is initiated by V.O.N. (Vereniging van Overlevenden & Nabestaanden van “De Slag in de Java Zee-1942 c.a). The group departed from Gresik Port, crossed to Sangkapura Port and then proceeded to the sea location. Joop Nahuijsen as the founder and chairman of VON opened and led the commemoration. And then it was followed by flower wreath ceremony above seamen grave to honor all marines passed away on the February 27th 1942. One minute silence and “The Last Post” ended the sea ceremony, and then all attendees scattered flower to the ocean.

Cees Huig and Inna Huig attended this ceremony to honor Cees Huig’s father, Marine Jan Huig, a sergeant torpedo-maker of Submarine Hr. Ms. “O 16”, who passed away at South China Sea on December 15th 1941. Other flower wreath dedicated by the family were for: Marine Cor Boers dedicated by his brother Hans Boers, Marine Jacob Bol by his son Henk Bol and Marine Antonie Nahuijsen by his son Joop Nahuijsen and granddaughter Merel. Some enthusiast joining the ceremony were from Sangkapura District of Bawean Island: Mr. Wardhi who represented Sangkapura District Office , Bripta Budiono and Brigadir Deky from POLRI (Police of Indonesia) and Velda Suhariyanto and Sertu Usman from TNI.

After the ceremony Natuna Express returned to Sangkapura Port and then the group took Gili Iyang Ferry from Sangkapura (21.00) to cross to Paciran (06.00). Before leaving Bawean, the group was invited to have dinner at Mr. Iwan’s house, where they felt the incredible hospitality and mingle with the locals, including the Sangkapura Camat and Kapolsek.

The last agenda was visiting Ereveld Kembang Kuning, to lay wreath at Karel Doorman Monument, on the 28th February, after arrival from Bawean,






Penti Ritual, Wae Rebo, Flores, Indonesia

 Penti is one of ritual of Manggaraian, in Flores, East Nusa Tenggara in Indonesia and until today this ritual still preserved. Penti is held to thanks God for good harvest and as medium of reconciliation among  the hamlet  members. Every descendants from Wae Rebo village will return home for this event which is usually held annually according to local calendar.
Penti is undertaken collectively in the main house called as Mbaru Gendang by sacrificing pigs or bulls  according to guest invited. Penti started by ritual held outside the village such lingko (farm land), wae tiku, boa (cemetery), and compang (altar) to Mbaru Gendang.   We’ang Boa (cleaning the cemetery), spirits were invited to participate in Penti. People take the ancestors spirit to Mbaru Gendang passing by watu pantas as symbol of repent and  then stop by at Compang or altar. This ritual is very sacred.
Torok Manus is a prayer by taking cock from village elder to be slaughtered.  Elder will read the cock’s liver about the future of the village.

In Penti, Caci dance is performed. Special for Wae Rebo, Caci dance only performed in Penti Ritual. Candi performed two men whip each other. The dancers usually shed blood from the whip. No winners. No one defeated in this dance, only friendship and arts. The closeness and arts must be proved by wound and shed it to the ground.
This event is attended by all Wae Rebo members, descendants, guests and also travelers.

At night there held blessing ceremony at MBaru Gendang and every room in Mbaru Gendang (Drum House). Afterwards people will return to their houses and hold ritual in their house. Afterwards then they will return to Drum House and perform Sanda, Mbata or Congka, dances and songs until morning.

Tado Village, Flores : Where you can find true hospitality.

Tado is located not far from Labuan Bajo, only about 45 minutes’ drive.  Though this village is unlike Wae Rebo in term of original housing architecture and landscape, yet this village is very unique.

The locals has some interesting things offered for visitors such as traditional medicine, traditional oil light, pandan weaving, bamboo basket, ancestral spiderweb rice field.

Houses in tado do not use reed as roof anymore due to its shortage. Though using tin roof, they still maintain using bamboo wall. Usually every house has mango  and  cashew tree.

Arrival in the village visitors will be accepted by locals, and hand over white cock to the locals representative. At night visitors can have dinner outside under the moon and starts with traditional oil light made of kapok and hazelnut oil. And local snack is served, called songkol, made of cassava, coconut and red sugar.

Lingko or ancestral spiderweb ride field is located not far from the village. You can see the spider web formation from up the hill, called Golowesa. It takes about 1 hour trek to the view point. Enroute local guide will tell about trees in the forest used for medicine or even for vegetables.  Tado is known for its medicine, and one of the most popular is appendix cure. Trekking is best to do before 6 am when the weather is still mild.

Visitors can stay overnight at homestay, local family houses which are already prepared for visitors. There are about 10 families can accept guest. The room is comfy enough equipped with mosquito’s net.

Locals make pandan weaving such as mat and hat, earthen wares, teak serving spoon, traditional insects repellent,  palm fiber ropes.
Currently the village generates electricity from solar panel.

Wae Rebo Hamlet, Flores, Indonesia: Naturally, Culturally Exotics.


6) Wae Rebo
Wae Rebo hamlet is now popular as one of destinations in Flores Island. The hamlet is very unique for its housing, isolated location and its indigenous culture is well- maintained. Administratively Wae Rebo is located in Satar Lenda Village, Satarmese district, of West Manggarai.

The closest village to Wae Rebo is Denge. Yet I think the best option to stay before hiking to Wae Rebo is Wae Rebo Ecolodge located in Dintor. As the location of Wae Rebo is far from schools, Wae Rebo villagers have second home located in Kombo Village, that is where children stay during weekdays for school and return to Wae Rebo on weekend.

7) Wae Rebo

Currently road from Denge to Wae Lomba is being constructed, that maybe next year 2016, no need to trek from Denge to Wae Lomba anymore and only from Wae Lomba to Wae Rebo, (about 04 KM). The route is forest, some steep, some are not and normally can be reached by 3-4 hours trek. If you do not bring enough water, you can take water in Wae Lomba, there is a very clear and clean water running there. The long and tough track is paid well when reaching Wae Rebo Hamlet, seven houses of cone shape called as Niang. The village is located in the middle of a bowl surrounded by mountains.

Upon arrival visitors will be accepted by locals, which cock should be given to locals by guests. This ceremony has existed since hundreds years ago. After the ritual, visitors can precede their activities in Wae Rebo, as they are already accepted officially and protected by the locals.

8) Wae Rebo

Visitors can sleep in Niang prepared special for visitors, where mat, pillow and blanket are provided. Do not worry, Niang is equipped with shared bathroom as well. All meals are served in Niang on pandanus mat with local produced food.

Menus served are local product, such as vegetable and chicken. And you can have local coffee here. Interestingly, there are 3 species of coffee in Wae Rebo: Robusta, Arabica and Kolumbia. You can also buy Luwak Coffee. Coffee is already packaged as part of community based tourism.

In Niang also prepared local products such as weaving, local honey (Madu Ruang), Mat, other weaving products and coffee.
Visitors can see the activities of local accompanied by local guide, such as: Village tour to see weaving, coffee tour, and Mbata Performance.

Coffee tour will take visitors to the coffee plantation, to know more about how local pick coffee, process coffee, coffee season. The guide will show the difference between Robusta, Kolombia and Arabica Coffee. How those coffee should be treated differently to get good coffee. Local people put coffee beans they harvest in a roto, pandan weaving bag. The coffee beans then dried. Afterwards then roasted on an earthen wares until it dries perfectly and tastes good. Women of Wae Rebo pound the beans using wooden mortar and pestle.
Local honey called Madu Ruang is collected from forest. Best harvest time is in rainy season, it is found under the ground. Visitors can buy Madu Ruang in Niang.

Mbata is a special performance by men with drum instruments consists about 6 persons. The lyrics in Mbata performance contains local wisdom and advice handed down from parents to young generation. It says that father plays Mbata usually to calm crying children.

Tololela Hamlet, Flores, Indonesia: Experience The Exotic Life You Will Find Nowhere Else


() Tololela

Located the closest to Mount Inerie, Tololela Hamlet offers a very amazing experience for travelers. Whether they want to feel the local culture, hospitality, local architecture, music, or even want to get away from mundane environment.

Administratively Tololela Hamlet is located in Manubhara Village, Jerebuu District in Bajawa. Just 29 KM distance from the city of Bajawa. To reach Tololela from Bajawa, it takes about 45 minutes drive until Bena Hamlet, and then walk about 15 minutes to Tololela. Other route is about 1 hour trekking.

Local people still maintain the indigenous architecture which already exist since thousand years ago. They use thatched for roofing and also room plan and decoration. The room has 1 room which is considered as sacred and private where the kitchen and other tools for hunting placed. This room is also a bedroom for the family. There is a living room where they accept guests and another room next to the private room located.


The door and wooden wall of the room is engraved with chicken, bull horn and dragon-like animals which has special meaning.

There are some activities to do in the village such as:

Visitors can stay overnight in the homestay which gives guest to mingle with locals. The locals are friendly and they do their daily activities such as going to farm, weaving and visitors can also hear about Tololela’s unique culture directly from the locals.

Tololela has some local menus and also fruits that are served or they can learn cooking as well.

-Bombardom Music
This bamboo instrument can only be found in Tololela hamlet. Usually played with bamboo flute orchestra. Both instruments creating very beautiful melody.

As other indigenous hamlet, located in the middle of the village are Ngadhu and Bhaga, small house-like building with different shape as symbol of men and women spirit, the number of Ngadhu and Bhaga show the number of ethnics living in the hamlet. There are also megalith tomb located in the center of the village. Bull horns slaughtered as sacrifice displayed in front of every house. To build a house, to find a wooden pillar, to decorate the house they must sacrifice pigs and bulls.

We went there invited by indecon and the village held ritual to welcome us. We entered the private room and as other village in Manggarai, a cock was given to the guest representative and then returned again to the village representative. The cock then slaughtered in the beak until it died. The woman of the house than took some blood by hand and swipe over some household items and spears in the room. The cock was then burnt to remove the feathers, and be cut to read the heart (intestine) of the cock.

Not long after the cock was cooked with coconut and served with red rice. We ate it using a hexagonal plate made of pandanus called beka. Along the meal, moke, local liquor is served in coconut.

Other traditional hamlets located nearby Mt Inerie are: Bena, Luba, and Gurusina.

Tololela undertakes Reba Ceremony annually on 28 December.

PICTURES: Tenganan Traditional Village, Bali, Indonesia

Tenganan, is the Bali Aga village. Unlike other tradition in Bali, they have different architecture, religion, traditional dress and even the whole village is different.  The women dress is locally made, tartan weaving.  The houses are located around the edge of the village, while in the middle are some small bale for the community. Locals make some weaving, making basket, drawing on a palm tree with burnt nutmeg as ink. 



Java Sea Battle 2015Like last year event, this year this Java Sea Battle was undertaken on Express Bahari 1C. Bahari express led by Captain Sabarudin sailed to sea location , 06’00’ S.W/ 112’05’ EL, located 60 KM from Bawean Island. Depart at 09.00 AM from Sangkapura Port of Bawean, and arrival at sea location at 10.00 AM.

Unlike last year, this year’s event involved more local people. Local officials from Sangkapura and Tambak district were also attending the commemoration and gave speech. Some students from local primary school, SD Kota Kusuma and SD Sawah Mulia also attend this ceremony.
Mr. Joop Nahuijsen the founder and the initiator of VON gave the opening speech about the history of Java Sea Battle as the background of the commemoration. Afterwards Mr. Abdul Adim and Mr. Gatot Soebroto , respectively Sangkapura and Tambak district head delivered their appreciation that this event revealed the history of Bawean Island and what happened in the past that not many Baweanese knew before and they hoped that this event could benefit Bawean to be known more. The ceremony was hosted by Eko Londo.
The core of the ceremony was casting floral wreath to sea with message “Mariners Never Die, They Only Fade Away.” This year commemoration also gave special honor to some mariners died in the battle initiated by some families who could not participate in this event.
1) Jacob J.Bol ( sergeant of Hr.Ms “Kortenaer”)
2) Cornelis Boers (stoker 1 of Hr. Ms. “De Ruyter.”)
3) Antonie Nahuijsen (telegraphist “De Ruyter”)
In the commemoration, “Ayah” composed by Rinto Harahap as VON Song was played. Ceremony was then closed by moment of silence, playing The Last Post and closing speech by Mr. Joop Nahuijsen.

Nepa Monkey Forest, Bangkalan, Madura, East Java, Indonesia

Nepa forest is a recreational forest surrunded by sea and it is the home of monkeys. Nepa derives from name of coconut-like tree and its leaves can be used as roof. Trees in this forest are not as tall as others. In the middle of the forest there is a creek, there is pathways which makes easy for visitors to explore. It takes to walk about 0.5 km from the main road to forest.

The unique thing about monkeys here are, those monkeys can be called by saying ” Lo Alilo Nyok Lo” means “Where you are, i come to bring victory and show your selves”.  Usually the monkey will show themselves from the trees. Yet is he caller has no good intention, they will not come. Visitors with bad intention will be lost in the forest, and can not find the way out except if they take of their clothes and wear them inside-out.

Long time ago, it is said that white monkeys also could be found here. People come here not just to do leisure travel, but also to meditate. There is a white sandy beach located here as well.

Nepa forest has a legend. Once upon a time, Raden Segoro was on a journey passing the forest, he was the son of Bendoro Gung princess, who was born fatherless. bendowo Gung was the daughter of King Sanghyangtunggal, who exiled her from palace. He and his mother lived happily nearby the forest.  Raden Segoro owned 2 wands which were actually 2 dragons named: Nenggolo and Alugoro, and both are very powerful. One day there was an emissary of King Sangyangtunggal from Medangkawulan Kingdom to pick Raden Segoro up to fight against Chinese army. The king dreamed that only Raden Segoro could conquer the army. Raden Segoro did win the war and  Raden Segoro returned to Nepa forest. He and his mother disappeared mysteriously. Locals believe that they are still living there until today protected the forest. The monkeys are believed to be holy, that no one should kill or hurt them. Both of raden Segoro’s wands are now in Arosbaya King, Prince demang palakaran and became the weapon of Bangkalan.