Category Archives: Indonesia Blog

Pulau Ajaib: Bizarre Island, Bangkalan, Madura, East Java, Indonesia

This rocky island is about 50 meters long, and it is called as Pulau Ajaib or Bizarre island as it appears miraculously nearby Labuhan Village, Bangkalan, Madura, East Java. This rocky island is believed to be a sign of disaster.

According to locals, before the extreme weather in Java sea, the new island which consitutes of only several of huge rocks and smaller rocks did not exist. The rocks appeared in January 2013.

Though this Island is believed to be a disaster sign by locals, yet now this has been a new spot for local tourists.

Arabica Coffee Vs Robusta Coffee

Arabica and robusta are two species’s of coffee. The main difference are the conditions of the where they grow and also economically difference.
Arabica has more various tastes, from sweet and soft to strong and sharp one. Before roasted the smell is like blueberry, and after roasted it smells like fruit and sweet. While Robusta has neutral to strong tastes variation and considered as the taste of wheat. Robusta’ bean before roasted has nuts aroma. Unfortunately it is so rare hi quality robusta in market. Arabica beans is more expensive.

Arabica coffee
Arabica grows on the altitude of 700-1700 m asl and ranges of temperature 16-20 °C, with dry climate for 3 months consecutively. Arabica is sensitive to leaf rust desease Hemileia vastatrix (HV), especially when drown in elevation less than 700 m asl.
Coffee from Brazil and Ethiopia dominate 70 % of the world coffee. arabica has more variety, depends on the country, climate and soil. We can find coffee of Toraja, Mandailing, Columbia, Brazil and etc. And each of arabica has different taste.
Arabica coffee characteristics:
-The aroma has similar aroma of mix flower and fruit. Grow in mild to cold area. It has sour taste unlike Robusta. It has thick taste when sipped. The taste is more mild and soft. Arabica is known as bitter.
Arabica tree characeristics:
More difficult to nurture, tend to grow in high land (1000m – 2000m), less amount of beans, it taked 9 months from flower to fruit process, it has fruits in colder termepature.

Robusta Coffee
Robusta coffe is the heredity of few coffee species’, especially Coffea canephora. It grows well on 400-700 m asl, and temperature range 21-24 ° C with 3-4 months dry months consecutively and 3-4 times rains. Fruit quality is lower than Arabica and Liberica. It dominated 30% world market. This coffee can be found outside Columbia such as Indonesia and The Philippines. Just like Arabica, the soil, climate, and packing process are different from country to another. The taste is different too among the country.
Here are the characteristic of robusta coffee
-Taste is more chocolate
-The aroma is unique and sweet
-The color is so various depends on the processing method
-The texture is rougher than Arabica.

Characteristics of Robusta coffee
-susceptible to insects
-it grows on lower land (700 m asl)
-It produces more coffee bean
-It takes 10-11 months flower to fruit process
-It bears fruits on warmer temperature.

Jagad Karana Hindu Temple, Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia

This Hindu Temple is located between Gresik-Surabaya, precisely located at Jalan Ikan Lumba lumba No1, Perak Barat, Surabaya. The location is quite, suitable to pray. Once you enter the complex, there are flowers creating certain nuance united with dark color of the temple.

The temple complex is 7.703 square meters. There are various area in the complex such as: Mandala Utama (the main building), Mandala Madya (Middle building) and Mandala Nista. In Mandala Utama, here are padmasana, pepelik, penglurah, ganesha statue, bale pawedan, bale pesantian, kori agung and penyengker. IN Mandala Madya there are  beji, bale gong, bale sebaguna, bale pewaregan, candi bentar, bale pesanekan, penyengker, and office of  PHDI Jawa Timur. And in Mandala Nista there are Bale Manusa yadnya, Pasraman, Dewi Saraswati statue , and other facilities such as bathroom, toilet, parking area and office of banjar Surabaya.

This temple was built in 1968 and a year  after on Saturday 29 November 1969, this temple was officially opened by the Head of Kodamar V Maritime Comodore R Sahiran. That day was also Sarasvati day to commemorize Dewi Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge.

About 1987, this temple was restorated and later officially opened by Mr Wahono, the governor if East Java in 20 Sept 1987, and made inscription:

Karya Agung Lenteg Linggih
Pura Agung Jagat Karana
Saniscara Umanis Watugunung
tang . ping 3 sasih kapat 1909 C
Bale manusya yadnya

It was renovated again in 2003, for 2 years, that the main building  has 2 pepelik, 2 apit lawang and bale pesantian.

In Surabaya this temple is used as the center of Hindu activities. In Silence Day, there are various ritual held here such as nancep karya, melasti, tawur panca sata, ngembak geni.

In Melasti rutial, it starts from the temple and the  head to the coast , 3 km from the temple carrying ritual tools. Offerings, banners, and umbrellas were carried as well. They wear their special costumes accompanied with any instrumets they carry. The also put offering to the sea as the symbol of purification.

Tak hanya diikuti oleh umat Hindu dari Surabaya, pada upacara Melasti ini biasanya juga diikuti oleh umat Hindu dari daerah sekitarnya seperti Sidoarjo, Lamongan dan Gresik. Karena itu jumlahnya bisa mencapai ribuan orang. Dengan mengenakan pakaian berwarna putih, mereka berjalan kaki dan membawa berbagai peralatan.

In Tawur ritual, which is held one day before the Silence day, the Hindus parade ogoh ogoh effigies and this is also carried to Surabaya city area.

The rituals usually are held in these days: Kuningan, Galungan, Nyepi (Silence Day), Saraswati, Saka new year, Saturday night and full moon.

Gili Island, Gresik, East Java, Indonesia

Gili Island is one of 13 islands owned Gresik. With an area of approximately 2017 hectares, the island is filled with 400 houses with a population of 1280 inhabitants. The main livelihood of the population here as fishing.
To reach this island travelers must take a boat from the village of Sidogedungbatu.

Gili is actually the name of a local village. Eight RT in Gili entry Sidogedungbatu Village area under Sub Sangkapura, Gresik regency, located about 125 kilometers from the Port of Gresik. The island has sea products like lobsters, groupers, pearl, and sea cucumber has a nature that is still clean, hill located in the west still looks green, there is no illegal logging and mangrove forests are still awake. Sea water so clear we could see making the sea floor with the naked eye
The Island is still  unspoiled by electricity. The diesel engine is the only power here. There are 3 diesel engine that only turns starting at 6 pm until 10 pm. You can go round the island easily by walking.

The sea around the island of Gili abundant coral reefs with colorful fish. As background potential of this object is:
1. Beautiful beach is a tourist attraction that is very attractive to many tourists to visit the unique character of each beach.
2. Object location is just 10 KM from Port Sangkapura Bawean as the entrance to the island of Bawean make this object may be an option for tourists to visit based on the distance
3. Texture fine sand beaches safe enough for bare feet tourists.
4. Noko existence of which is uninhabited desert island that can be used as a sunbathing area for foreign tourists without having much contact with people Bawean.

Sea transport links between the island of Gili Island Bawean, served from Labuan beach, near Pamona Sidogedungbatu. It took over 30 minutes to cruise by rising Kelotok (fishing boat). Every day there are 2 boats serving transportation purposes Bawean Island -Gili Island

KETOPRAK PART 3: The Javanese Ketoprak

Pak Randimo is the elder of Ketoprak community of Taman Balekambang Surakarta. He has been 50 years becoming actor of srandul (old fashioned ketoprak to modern ketoprak. In his early career he played in ketoprak srandul for 3 years in the last 1950ies. He had experienced being ketoprak tobong (emergency stage) actor in Taman Hiburan Rakyat, nearby Pojok Beteng Wetan Yogyakarta and then itinerant on the city fringe.

Srandul is a traditional drama performed at night and enlightened by oil torch made of cut papaya. The instruments were 2 angklung and two terbang. In that period there were very few women walked on the street, that all srandul actors were males. The female characters were played by males. According to Randimo, srandul emerged first and then ketoprak lesung, and this had been very popular in Gunungkidul and Prambanan.

As make up was very expensive, Randimo used langes (black smoke from oil lamp) to thicken his eye brows. To reddened his lips, he used teak leaf, yet he said that for half month the color couldnot be removed.

Randimo said that in the past artists were more honoured than lecturer. His srandul troupe and later became tobong ketoprak went from village to village. In the past ketoprak was not performed for money, they just know if they played they would get food, he said.

Randimo is a tailor for traditional or ketoprak costume, yet at night he plays in ketoprak show at Taman Balekambang. As an elder, he is also responsible to create a story and acts as director in his community. Shortly, he is the ‘dalang’ of ketoprak in Balekambang which plays every Saturday night. He has been in Taman Balekambang since 1961.

Taman Balekambang was established by KGPAA Mangkunegara VII in 1921. Yet, the troupe entertained public in about 1950, using emergency stage. Taman Balekambang is a pool garden which is dedicated to king’s princesses, GRAy Partini and GRAy Partinah. Later this place has created comedian which involved in Srimulat. Currently a theater building  erected in 1980s becomes the arena of kletoprak atrists.

Historians believe that the ketoprak embryo had emerged on the second half of the 19th Century in Kasunanan Surakarta. According to local, ketoprak was initially grew in Plesungan Village, a village in Surakarta with toponimi lesung. Their instruments were lesung and the packed in a circle of audience and instituted as folklore. Later, this show used keprak which adopting the sound of lesung.Lesung can be found in agrarian society. It is used by farmers to pond paddy, corn, casava and many more.

It seems there is a relation between ketoprak and ‘prak…prak…prak’ created by lesung. Yet, some assume that ketoprak term is related to soud of kethuk pr keprak brought by dalang in floklore show.

15 km east of Surakarta, there is a ketoprak stage called as Pelok. Polok show is about the daily life of batik workers in laweyan Surakarta in the beginnning of 20th Century. They fill their break time with jokes, singing and dancing, they also add farmers’ life. They used bamboe to dry batik to create sound accompanying their singing and dancing.

Batik and Keraton (palace)have very close relation, that batik workers can play ketoprak in kepatihan. There is a jackfruit tree which was cut and made lesung to accompany the show.

KRT Wreksodiningrat, an official and a historian of Kasunanan Surakarta who has great service to the notation of Javanese karawitan, gathered artists of ketoprak lesung to play in jis pendapa in 1908. He support this new art.  That ws when emerged ketoprak lesung wiwitan framed in story and managed well.

Until today there is no written record about the history of ketoprak, as ther are records which are still questionable.

In 1920s, Kasunanan Surakarta was in good spirit in arts. Wreksodiningrat was not the only official supporting arts in the palace. In 1911 Pakubuwono X blessed Wayang Orang Sriwedari which takes place in a garden formerly known as Kebon Raja.





KETOPRAK PART 2: Ketoprak History

1887: An initial report about drama show in fullmoon performed by farmers community in a village south of Yogyakarta. The show was accompanied by the rhythm of lesung (traditional wooden mortar), which performed daily story.

1908: Kanjeng Raden Tumenggung Wreksodiningrat, an official of Kasunanan Surakarta, became the first man to gather artist of ketoprak lesung to play in his house. This simple sjow is full of jokes. The instruments used were lesung, gendang, suling and rebana.

1908: Ketoprak lesung got attention when performed in the wedding of Kasunanan Surakarta family.

1920: Cipto Mangunkusumo played ketoprak in Surakarta to show sympathy for tobacco farmers used by the officials. The show was critized by the colonial.

1914: Wreksodiningrat died. The effort of his community members to commercialized the show faced a dreadlock.

1925: One of Krida Madya Utama’s players, an former player of Wreksodiningrat left Surakarta to Klaten and Prambanan. They played in Demangan Village, Yogyakarta. Tehre are ketoprak groups appeared on the fringe of Yogyakarta. Ketoprak started to be performed in Sultan’s family.

1925-1926: Ketoprak Wreksatama Troup was established by KI Wasangkara in Surakarta.This period became a transition period as they did not only uded lesung, yet also simple gamelan, plus violin and guitar. The theme, costume and show were advanced.

1926-1927: After communist’s coup colonial surpress political movement and limit cultural life. Royal family ended their involvement in ketoprak.

1928: A newspaper reported that there were at least 300 ketoprak troupes in Yogyakarta. At least there were 4 troupes in every kampong.

1930s: Ketoprak Gardanela was established in Yogyakarta, and the show was enhanced with comprehensive gamelan. It performed chronicles, folklore, and story adopten from China.

1930/1931: Most of the troupes were dismissed by senior royalties in Yogyakarta as they considered, because the rise of cost and boredom.

1933: KGPAA Mangkunegara VII established SRV (Solosche Radio Vereeniging) which broadcasted karawitan from Kepatihan Mangkunegaran. Also Ketoprak and wayang wong of Taman Balekambang.

1935: Krida Raharga Troupe was appointed by the colonial government to play ketoprak. The show was broadcasted weekly in govt radio (Maatschappelijk Vereeniging voor Radio Omroep), now RRI Yogyakarta.

1942-1945: During Japanese occupation, the ketoprak troupes’ activities were declining.

1946-1949: The ketoprak actors joined in Sandiwara Rakyat which was performed by govt.

1950-1960: Cokrojiyo and Sudjati, later became popular, started to be involved with ketoprak Mangkusuman in Yogyakarta.

1955-1965; Ketoprak was involved in Indonesia politics. In Yogyakarta ketoprak was divided into two lines: Partai Nasional Indonesia (Indonesia National Party) and Partai Komunis Indonesia (Indonesia National Communist) which was affiliated LEKRA (Lembaga Kebudajaan Rakjat)

1957: Ketoprak actors formed Badan Kontak Orhanisasi Ketoprak Seluruh Indonesia (BAKOKSI) under PKI. The first congress had 275 groups.

1958: Siswondo Hardjo Suwito established Sisto Budoyo group in Tulungagung. One of the oldest ketoprak which is managed professionally.

1960: BAKOKSI published ‘ketoprak’ magazine. The content was about ketoprak history, language, music, and recruiting young talents and protested about entertainment tax which hardened ketoprak troupes.

1964: BAKOKSI congres II, which had favoured 371 groups.

1966-1967: After LEKRA political conflict, the artists were hunted, exiled, and killed. Ketoprak was almost gone.

1968: Ketoprak Budi Rahayu was established by a Chinese descendant and Dahono Mataram was supported by military in Yogyakarta.

1971: KODAM VII Diponegoro established Sapta Mandala ketoprak troupe supported by Budi Rahayu. Dahono Mataram was changed to be Wringin Dahono supported by KODIM 0374 Yogyakarta.

1985: Sapta Mandala performed ketoprak in Bahasa Indonesia which received critics.

1990: Funny ketoprak based on various standard stories were often performed in Yogyakarta and Surakarta.

1991: Siswonso HS established Sekolah menengah Kesenian Indonesia Siswo Budoyo in Tulungagung.

2001: Krtoprak Humor was popular in television. Nowadays there are performance which mix traditional show and humor on TV.

Sukorejo Teak Furniture, Bojonegoro, East Java, Indonesia

Sukorejo, is a village located in Bojonegoro, East Java, Indonesia and has been famous for good quality teak furniture product. The motives and design are updated as new trends. They produce wardrobe, table, desk, chair, and bed. There has been held Bojonegoro Wood Fair which is annually held. This fair usually will last for a month. If you want to browse for the products you can just walk along Brigjen Katamso street, which nestles about one kilometer.

Sumber Pitu Spring Waterfall, Tumpang, Malang, East Java

It is located in Duwet Krajan vilage, 7 km east of Tumpang. It has mountain scenery with apple and vegetable field. Sumber means source or spring and pitu means seven. Actually there are many springs here. Located nearby this area is Ringin Gantung Waterfall, it is named so as there is a banyan tree or ringin grows attached to the waterfall. Sumberpitu is located 3 km on the north of Duwet Krajan Village. To reach the waterfall, we need to trek for 30 minutes, passing green refreshing environment.

Picture Source.


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KETOPRAK PART 1: The Javanese Ketoprak Journey

This area has various functions, such as water inflitration,  city lungs, public recreation, and also as the cultural center for the city dwellers. And, seems, this place has been part of culture evolution. Well, yes, this place is Taman Balekambang, located in Surakarta, Central Java.  Here we can watch ketoprak show, as one of agenda when visiting Surakarta.  In 1921, KGPAA Mangkunagoro VII, erected Taman Balekambang. Initially this park was a pond, and city forest dedicated to the king’s princesses, GRAy partini and GRAy. Partinah, and later in teh future made history in the evolution of ketoprak in Java. Balekambang ketoprak troupe entertained Surakartans and people in the vicinity in 1950, with a very modest stage.  Nowadays a theater building built in the end of the 80ies, replaces the old building and used as the arena of ketoprak artists.

Historian believe that ketoprak arised in the second half of the 19th century in the vicinity of Kasunanan Surakarta and Kasultanan Mataram Yogyakarta. Ketoprak is a new art and it is an agrarian art.

The agrarian culture can be seen vividly in hardwork to cultivate the land together, and the merry of harvesting time together. When they work there are jokes. Actually the jokes are the elegancy of the Javanese  who live in harmony as the embryo of folks drama. This became the base of expression.

As a local wisdom, ketoprak art is very close to society-legends, characters and pronunciation. Psyshologically, ketoprak is just like Homo Ludens, humans who like to play.

Kethoprak is not only evolving in the center of Javanese culture. We can visit Blora which can be reached by driving to the northeast of Surakarta, where located a village which tries to conserve ketoprak. This village is Wado, one of 17 villages in Kedungtuban district. Wado is accessible from Cepu-nearby East and Central Java border, which is popular for its oil industry.

Visiting Wado is very joyful. We can interact with friendly locals. The village houses are mostly Limasan, made of teak wood and have been dwelled from generation to generation. Blora traditional peformances can also be seen here, such as ketoprak, tayub, barongan, wayang kulit, wayang wong. In the past there was krucil performance yet, it is no longer exist. Currently there are 5 villages with ketoprak troupe.

Ketoprak is performed in Wado village in 1960s. There were two troupes: Wado Kidul and Wado Lor. Yet, since 1980s, this traditional performance faded.  Wado has Krida Madya Budaya troupe. After 2012 harvest, they started their first debut, collaborated with Kridha Mudha from Tanjung village. The show of ketoprak in Wado Village perform its local people daily life.

Nowadays, the troupe still rent stage, costume, gamelan, sinden and pengrawit. Some of the actors are from other villages. All ketoprak actors are  village officials.