photography

Baliem Valley, West Papua

West Papua is located in the most eastern part of our country, Indonesia. With more than 17.500 islands spread all over the country, West Papua is one of the biggest islands after Kalimantan (Borneo), Sulawesi (Celebes), Sumatera, and Java. I can say that I am lucky enough since I was able to visit those four big islands, plus some of the small ones.

I visited West Papua for the first time back in 2006 when I worked as a full-time worker at an international NGO based in Manado & cover the area of East Indonesia. I was so excited planning my trip to the heart of Papuan culture & tribal society: Wamena or mostly well-known as Baliem Valley.

Village chief mumi in Kurulu Village

The only access to get there is by flight from Sentani, Jayapura (less than one hour with small planes like Trigana Air). Unlike any other planes, there is no seat number in this plane, meaning you are free to rush & choose the most suitable seat for you once you are boarding. For no special reason, my favorite is always at the back, right beside the window.

Going to Wamena, there are several important thing you need to consider:

  • Make sure that you have done that ‘natural calling’ at the airport (I mean there is no airplane toilet on that Trigana Air except you can manage to hold it back for another 55 minutes till you get there)
  • When you arrive at the airport, watch your luggage very carefully. If you can carry it all by yourself, it will be better but in case you need a porter, deal your price first & keep walking as close as possible to him.
  • Most of the hotels/home stays in Wamena are within walking distance from the airport but with your luggage, you might need a pedicab or a rent car. Again, deal your price first.
  • Riding on a pedicab or ‘becak’, you have to warn  the rider to slow down because they often run the pedicab as fast as they want. Do not forget to deal the best price & do not hesitate to haggle.
  • For photographer, be careful! Do not use flash when you take photograph in public like at the market unless they will ask you to pay for each snap you take!

    I snap this photo without them knowing it 😉

  • When you visit one of the villages to see a mumi (like in Kurulu), you better ask a prior information about the sum of money to pay for each person (you decide how many people you want to photograph which suits your pocket). As I remember, we paid about five or ten thousand per person at that time.

    Photo with a village chief mumi in Kurulu village

  • Coming from Manado where the price for a litter of mineral water is only 3.000Rp, I was so shocked to find it more than 3 times expensive here, so are the meals at the small cafes/restaurants, and other stuff as well. So, I liked buying several things from Jayapura before getting to this extra-expensive area (due to the only way to get things here is by plane).
  • Where I live (in Tomohon) is known with its cold air but to my surprise, it’s much colder in this valley. So warm jacket is a must. Yet it’s quite hot during daytime (on sunny days).
  • In some spots, cell phone signal is good
  • Sometimes you can be assertive to any individual selling Papuan souvenir. A strict “No” is sometimes needed unless they will keep following you day after day till you finally want to buy.

    Some of Papuan souvenirs

    The locals make 'koteka' (penis gourd) from this kind of plant

    Once you are in Wamena, you will explore its rich culture & social life, gorgeous landscape, and the rest of its natural beauty like Baliem River.

  • The best time to visit Wamena is in August since they host an annual festival which you don’t want to miss.
  • Don’t be shocked when you see the elder ones loose some of their fingers. It has something to do with their culture of cutting a single knuckle when one of the family members died (I’m not sure if it also apply to the young people)
  • Most of the locals live in their traditional homes called Honai. Sometimes a small honai could accommodate up to 20 family members! Honai consists of three different shapes: for men, for women, and kitchen.

    Inside the Honai

    I wish to go back there someday.. 🙂 It’s a nice place to visit.

Categories: Indonesia, photography, Photos, Places of Interest, Tourism, Tradition, Transportation, Travelling, West Papua | Tags: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Living My Life

I am grateful for God’s wonderful works in me..

I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made..

Like this small green island,

I believe He has equipped me with so many potential..

Though sometimes it could be storm arround

But I know on which I stand

I am built upon the rock, the Living Rock!

There are times when I have to go through a process

Where my inner being need to be refreshed & renewed

To let the stream of His living water flowing in & cleanse me once again


And in His due time, the seeds He sows in me will grow

Under His loving care

But I have to give all my total-being under His control

A heart and willingness to learn from Him

Unless I will not bear good fruits in harvest time

Enjoy the bright days,

Endure the gloomy days,

In the end, when my tent shrinks away like the hut above

I could smile to see the harvest & the legacy I leave

Yet, I will not stop exploring more potentials & gifts

As long as it’s daytime

Every second counts

Every minute is too precious to ignore

Till it’s time when He considers me ready and said,

Welcome Home

Welcome Home My Child My Son;
Your work on earth has been well done.

You have been a witness to many while on earth;
And you’ve shared the story about the miracle birth.

You never hid the fact that you loved Me,
You shared the Word no matter what the need be.

You spoke of Me often to family and friends;
And you showed how faith can strengthen and often mends.

You did your best to always give glory to Me;
And for this; you will live eternally.

And now the time has come for you to rest;
I’m taking you home as My special guest.

Welcome Home My daughter; My child; My son;
Your work on earth has been well done.

(c) Danny Hahlbohm

 

 

(All photos were taken in Padang, West Sumatera – Indonesia, back in 2008)

 

Categories: Beach, Indonesia, Lyrics, Padang, Padang Beach, photography, Photos, Reflection, Travelling, West Sumatera | 10 Comments

Tomohon: Horse Carts Parade

So, I’m back again for the umpteenth time to introduce more of my world, mostly about my hometown which you might start to get familiar with: T-O-M-O-H-O-N. There are thirty-five villages in Tomohon spread over five sub-districts.

Though it’s a new city, which officially inaugurated in 2003, but in the past seven years every Tomohoner has seen the fast development and change in its infrastructure, economic growth, and especially in tourism-related events.

When I was a little child, I usually got a fever every time I went down to Manado – the capital of North Sulawesi Province (about 25km / 15 miles away and reachable within 30 minutes drive through the winding road) due to a temperature difference; the average temperature in Tomohon during day time is between 17 – 30°C and 16 – 24°C at night, while in Manado the average temperature is between 24 to 30 °C. But now I am used to go back and forth on a daily basis with no bad affect on my body temperature.

Cool weather and fertile soil bring so much benefit to the local farmers to grow tropical plants including vegetables and flowers. We can even easily cultivate flowers, vegetables and spices at the backyard.

On January 26th, 2009, we celebrated Tomohon’s 6th Anniversary in which “Pawai Bendi” (or horse carts parade) hit the main road with their own unique decorations mostly by using marigold flowers; since Tomohon is also well-known as the City of Flower.

These horse carts are also part of public transportation here but they just serve some limited routes namely to Matani, Walian, Kaaten, and Kolongan villages (those which are closer to downtown). The fare is Rp.2.000 and they have their own station which is in front of Bethesda Public Hospital. But if you are in the vicinity of those four villages and want to have a ride, you can stop one when you notice it empty (without any passengers) or there is a space available.

Below are some photos I took nearby Tomohon downtown, the day when the parade was held.

Representative from my village 🙂

Say "cheese" 🙂

Just another 'proud contestant'

Coffee mix??

Enjoy the clip-clop sound of the horses hooves!

Categories: Flowers, Indonesia, Manado, Minahasa, North Sulawesi, photography, Photos, Places of Interest, Tourism, Transportation, Travelling | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bunaken: Divers Paradise

Today I found these old pictures so I’d like to share them here. It’s all about Bunaken Island. Have you ever heard of it? Its a National Marine Park in North Sulawesi, Indonesia. They call it a paradise for divers. I was lucky enough to always have a job related to travelling..several years ago..so Bunaken is one of the places I was able to visit many times. Yet, I never go there for diving nor snorkeling — I can’t swim 🙂 — so unfortunately I have no underwater photos. For more information about Bunaken, you can visit (http://www.sulawesi-info.com/bunaken.php).

Manado Tua Island & Bunaken Island a view from Tumpa Hill (Gunung Tumpa) at Manado

At Liang Beach, west of Bunaken Island (Tumpa' Hill is visible in the distance)

At Pangalisang Beach, east of Bunaken Island

One of the resorts in Bunaken

Passangers boat to Bunaken

Enjoy the trip

For more information about how to go to Bunaken, please visit http://www.jotravelguide.com/ID/indonesia/manado/bunaken.php.

Categories: Beach, Bunaken Island, Indonesia, Manado, Manado Tua Island, Minahasa, North Sulawesi, photography, Photos, Places of Interest, Tourism, Transportation, Travelling | Tags: , | 16 Comments

Linow Lake, Tomohon

@ Linow Lake

 

Linow Lake, a sulfur lake

 

Linow Lake, way to go..

 

Linow Lake, home sweet home...

Linow Lake is located in Lahendong, Tomohon. It’s about 30 km (about 18 miles) or less than one hour from Manado. It’s a magic lake! 🙂 It contains of rich sulfur so on sunny days one could be lucky enough to catch the view of its changing color.

I missed the time when I visited this lake anytime & no need to pay for the entrance ticket! There is a private kind of cottage located by this lake, as you can see through my 2nd pic, and you have to pay for Rp. 25.000 (less than 3$). But in return, they will serve you with a cup of coffee or tea, and a local dish / cake.

When you eat a boiled-egg, of course you could also smell it, right? That’s the familiar smell once you are approaching Lahendong village. From the main road, you need to go up a small road on the left (about 700m), pass another cottage (Villa Esmeralda), and down to this beautiful lake.

Categories: Indonesia, Lake, Linow Lake, Manado, Minahasa, North Sulawesi, photography, Photos, Places of Interest, Tourism, Travelling | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

Just Another Reflection

I took this photo at Padang Beach in West Sumatra in 2008. The address of my blog is actually inspired by this photo. It really speaks up for my purpose in writing every single post here. I love looking at this photo, imagining any possibility it depicts and soaring high above my wildest dreams for my life…

I know God has a purpose in me through every talent and ability He’s entrusted me. It’s my part now to walk it through, live it, gain more, and bring it back to Him when the twilight comes my way.

One thing for sure, I am not going to bury all my potentials and bring it all to the tomb. Though sometimes I fail & fall, but I know He is always there on the other side watching over me & always ready to raise me up again.

 

(Image credit: http://www.jotravelguide.com)

Categories: Indonesia, Love, Padang, Padang Beach, photography, Photos, Reflection, Tourism, Travelling, West Sumatera | 10 Comments

Kora-Kora Beach

As I said earlier in my other post, I started to love history, especially those that are related with my country, Indonesia. Previously, when I visited a place like this I used to merely enjoy the beauty of the nature & took some narcissism photos like these.  🙂 Now I see it from a different angle that take me back to the colonialism era our country endured in the past. I’m not trying to explain it though 🙂

Just a brief information about this place, it’s called Kora-Kora Beach and located in Kapataran Tondano. Spell it and it sounds like Japanese. But when I track back through history, this beach was named based on a Moluccas’ war ship that was shipwrecked on this shoreline  when a fight against Dutch took place.

It’s nice to spend time here, moreover there are two sweet resorts called Olivia Resort (-not me-) & Supit Reunion Resort to stay in. The last one needs a direct approval from its owner (the family of dr. Bert A. Supit) who lives in Tomohon which is less than two hours trip by car from this place.

With my hubby at Kora-Kora Beach

dr. Supit, who owns this 3ha land above this beach, said that there are actually two Dutch bunkers in this location. But during my visits there (three times) I didn’t notice the other one. Maybe it was covered by weeds like any other historical sites in Minahasa 😦

Dutch bunker overlooking the offshore

I ever stayed in this resort back in 2005 when I took 32 old people from Holland (the youngest was 72 years old!!) in their three-week-tour around Manado-Minahasa-Bitung (all in North Sulawesi). It was an exciting experience!

At night, as we sat at the porch overlooking the offshore of North Sulawesi, we could see ships from Bitung passed through. They usually head for Luwuk – Banggai in Central Sulawesi.

But, unlike any other beach, it’s not safe to swim here because the coastline is just a few meters away then it comes to a really deep ocean (as I was informed).

Well, I hope to be able to go there again one day and explore more of it.

Our Handprints at Kora-Kora Beach 😉

Categories: Bunker, Dutch, History, Indonesia, Japanese, Minahasa, North Sulawesi, photography, Photos, Tourism, Transportation, Travelling | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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