I’m back from Japan! Sorry if I haven’t been updating for the past couple of days. Back to the daily grind after a much needed vacation, and I’m suddenly not feeling my old post-processing style. Took me a while to figure out what to do with these pictures, so I apologize for the tardiness.
On a brighter note, a happy 2013 to all my blog readers! First (celebratory) post of the year goes to my last post on my Indonesia trip last November. It was a week long adventure with an insanely busy itinerary, so I obviously couldn’t fit everything into one post. And besides, one can never have too many travel photography entries, yes? I am happiest with these kinds of entries.
The last post ended with a wonderful massage to wrap up Borobodur day. This second half starts with Keraton Jogja or The Sultan’s Palace.
In the palace compound that is located strategically in the center of Jogjakarta. The Jogjakarta King stays here with his family and assistants.
One of my blog readers spotted me in the middle of the crowd! I didn’t know there Indonesians following my blog and Lookbook since I wasn’t quite sure that it could translate well to other cultures, so I couldn’t thank her enough for the support. <3 (What a cheesy moment!)
Gamelan orchestra and traditional dance take place in the palace throughout the week.
Headdress details. So ornate!
Sonia, wearing Alleira Batik, and Ayu, the pet of the Sultan Palace guardian.
Entrance to the Taman Sari Jogjakarta. This Water Castle was the site of a former royal garden of the Sultanate of Yogyakarta. Built in the 18th century, it had multiple functions – resting area, workshop, meditation area, defense area and hiding place among others.
With Pure Heart Caroline (more on that later)…
…and our seemingly matching outfits. Black and blue!
Christina Instagramming inside the King’s bedroom.
Only the central bathing complex is preserved now. It was such a hot day that no one dared to go out into the sun! Check out all the people hiding in the shadows, lol.
Mas Angin at Alun-Alun Kidul. In the past, people had to successfully cross through these giant banyan trees for the King to see if they had a pure heart or not.
I think the tradition still holds true for the guards at the Sultan’s Palace.
Visited this art gallery to check out Picasso-inspired works that made use of traditional batik techniques.
Then we visited Malioboro which is a must-see for tourists! Markets are some of the best places to see how locals go on with their daily lives. We didn’t have a long time to spend here but it was all so interesting nonetheless. I found this man walking around the street, making it seem like having a snake on your neck was completely normal!
Giant durian of “smells like hell but tastes like heaven” fame.
Old cassette tapes. Spot Christian Bautista!
Mirota. This was where I got all my batik print fabric for my MOFW Indonesia posts a few weeks ago. Perfect place to buy souvenirs as well.
Colorful lights back at the banyan trees area. Time to put our hearts to the test! Lots of tourists and locals gather around this compound to try it out themselves.
Everyone tried going past the trees but only one person succeeded. I thought I was walking straight until I took the blindfold off. Someone tell me the secret to walking straight without having to look at where you’re going! Argh.
At least I didn’t make a complete U-turn! *ahem Tara ahem* :)
Caroline was the only one who passed the test, so we called her pure hearted Caroline for the duration of the trip. Because we were all bitter, the rest of us who didn’t have pure hearts would make it a huge issue every time she would make a snide remark about something.
Fun times! We all had a good laugh (at ourselves) that night!
After all that fun, we had dinner at the same place where we were supposed to watch the Ramayana ballet.
Here’s Rama, Sita and Lakshamana on stage. No speaking lines, just 2 hours of pure acting and dancing. It was beautiful! It was already late at night when we watched this, but I was far from spacing out.
I guess it helped that I was a huge history geek in school? I actually enjoy stuff like this a lot!
Besides watching cultural shows, I also adore visiting temples!
Built in the 10th century, Prambanan Temple is the largest temple compound in Indonesia. Unlike Borobodur which is one massive temple, Prambanan is a complex of smaller, individual temples.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Prambanan Temple attracts tourists from all over the world. Don’t forget to visit this place if you’re in Indonesia!
Light-haired me and bb Sonia.
Christina posing for her blog. On the walls of the temples are illustrations depicting the Ramayana and Krishnayana. It was so timely to visit this place right after watching the Ramayana ballet the night before.
Was spotted by some blog readers again! Sweet that they gave all of us these batik moustaches that they made themselves.
The intricate details make you want to bow down to all those who made this masterpiece possible. Some of the temples have been slightly damaged by natural calamities like earthquakes and typhoons, but it’s still amazing considering that they didn’t use any kind of glue to build everything.
The temple framed by pretty trees.
One of the vendors in the market outside the temple.
Christina from New York singing New York, New York.
Visited yet another batik museum! This time, it was a showcase of a variety of batik from different time periods. Some of the batik prints were influenced by the cultures of neighboring countries, while some had motifs inspired by simple myths and fairytales.
My favorite part would be the China-inspired ones that all had a refreshing red tinge to them, instead of the usual blue-brown-orange color scheme.
Suddenly, sungka! Seems like the Philippines and Indonesia have a lot in common. We actually have a lot of similar words too!
In the same museum, there was a busy workshop where you can see the whole process of creating batik.
Fine motor skills at its best. The ladies of the workshop did most of the manual wax jobs. If I had their steady hands, I would probably be happy to do the same kind of work.
Meanwhile, the men were in charge of batik stamping. Some of them expressed, albeit jokingly, their frustrations about not being able to inspire the youth enough to make the next generation take on this process of creating and preserving their “cultural treasure”.
Of course, this couldn’t be more untrue. It’s admirable to find many Indonesians still preferring to wear traditional batik during events like weddings and parties. Some companies also require their employees to wear batik to work at least once every week, and it is *never* an issue or a chore.
Outside the museum, we were greeted by two of the best Batik Carnival representatives from Solo! They made their own costumes and it took them about 5-6 months to finish everything.
How cute is she!?
On our last day in Solo, I went with the double Christinas to the nearest Starbucks just because we missed it so much. I don’t know why they put “Mrs.” before your name, but it makes you feel so awkward, especially if you’re not married yet.
Pretty Sonia before heading to the airport back to Jakarta. I hope everyone enjoyed all my Indonesia posts in the past couple of weeks. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to come back, but I look forward to visiting it again some time in the future. I had a swell time immersing myself in Indonesian culture and in everything related to batik, thanks to those who made this familiarization trip possible.
Til the next travel post! Cheers to a new year of more travels, hopefully. <3