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
And with this post, my fourth and last My Own Fashion Week (MOFW) will come to a close. I made sure to keep this particular series faithful to the purpose of my trip, which is to help promote batik. I hope I did it justice!
Anyhow, here is the third design collaboration that I did with Cat, using some fabric that I bought in Yogyakarta. I am not going to take much credit for this, because it’s all her work. I gave her an idea of what I wanted the dress to look like and told her that she was free to inject her own interpretation of it. In true Catherine Jannelle fashion, it turned out to be a masterpiece. The multiple layers of batik fabric caused a little shortage problem (my bad), but she added pinya cloth and that wonderful red part on the collar to salvage it… making it a thousand times better than what I expected it to be. It looks like it can pass off as a Filipino-inspired dress as well.
This batik dress was the welcome gift from Alleira that I was talking about in my first Indonesia travel post. I ended up using it after all, despite it being in XL size, for a number of reasons. The quality of this dress is nothing short of amazing, and I wouldn’t trade the print and the design for anything else. It’s something that not everyone can reproduce, so it looks like I’ll be keeping it in my closet for a long time. For these pictures, I just used a ton of pins at the back to make the dress fit better, but I do have plans to have it altered to my size soon.
(Tricia Gosingtian x Catherine Jannelle batik print skirt, Sheinside sweater, olive + piper necklace, Watch Factory watch, Mirota Yogyakarta bag, Jellybean Zara-inspired heels) Hype this look on Lookbook here.
Here’s the second item that Cat and I produced for my MOFW Indonesia. This pleated skirt was made from another batik print fabric that I found in Mirota Yogyakarta. I was actually wondering why this wasn’t sold out yet - You can’t really see it properly in the pictures but there are some parts of this print that are outlined with some sort of shiny gold material. Super cute and also elegant in its own inexplicit way.
I’m on the 4th day of My Own Fashion Week already? It really is the busiest time of the year. I just felt like posting the first one yesterday, and now I’m three entries away from completing yet another series.
This top was my very last purchase from my Indonesia trip. I asked one of the people helping out in the familiarization trip if there existed a number 1 destination for batik souvenirs in the mall nearest the airport, so she led me to Batik Keris. I spent a long time choosing what I wanted in the store, because everything was so pretty and the prices weren’t bad at all. In the end, I decided on this 100% cotton top for its bright fire-like color and high neck (which you all know I absolutely love). What do you think?
I paired it with a girly old rose pleated skirt to give it a nice modern contrast, as well as sky-high wedges that can be seen from a mile away!
Kicking off the second day of MOFW Indonesia with a custom-made batik print off-shoulder top. Being exposed to Indonesian batik for a whole week made me want to wear it. My only problem was that I couldn’t find anything that fit my personal style! What’s a better solution than to create something of your own design? I bought some inexpensive printed fabric from Mirota in Yogyakarta and met with one of my favorite designers, Cat, to discuss a collab with her. This is only the first out of the three items that we managed to create together, and I can’t wait to show you all the two other pieces of clothing that we made out of the fabrics that I got.
Pretty much aimed for the whole traditional-meets-modern concept for this look, obviously! Went the matchy matchy route and paired the top with denim track shorts, a small bag, and Jeffrey Campbell-inspired lace-up heels - three particular items that I thought matched the blue, green and pink colors of my top. ALSO, off-shoulder clothes need to be revived soon, I swear. Can’t get enough of them. <3
Finally got around to sort the first half of all my Indonesia photos. This was a super spontaneous trip. I barely had any breathing room, having only arrived from my Hong Kong trip a few days prior to this one. But no one is complaining here - my dream is to constantly travel and go to the best places in the world!
November has always been my luckiest month. Birthday aside, a lot of other good stuff always happen to me around this time of the year. Two years ago, I was given the opportunity by UNO to shoot my first magazine cover. Last year, I was the only Asian blogger sponsored to Malaysia Fashion Week by MIFA for a whole week. This year, I was lucky enough to be included in the first ever Indonesia Fashion (Batik) Familiarization Trip! I had a whole week’s worth of batik goodness, all thanks to the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy and Shinta Dhanuwardoyo. A passionate batik evangelist, Shinta initiated a movement named #Batikday to raise batik awareness across different social media platforms.
We visited a number of batik museums and even got to try creating our own batik using manual wax-resist dyeing techniques! I was able to try it out in Malaysia but they do it differently in Indonesia, which I think is super interesting. Ah, Indonesian batik is much more tedious and complicated to make! But it only really gives you more respect for those who still choose to continue and preserve this cultural heritage in this day and age.
A pre-drawn pattern for everyone to try tracing with hot wax.
Here’s the result of my “hard work”! I added some dots and swirls to cover all my mistakes, heehee.
Here’s Indonesian blogger Tara dyeing and washing her work with blue dye. We were given a choice of blue or red, but I combined both colors for mine to achieve a royal purple color. :D
All smiles! School boys goofing around by the well near the batik museum.
An example of Indonesian wedding attire. So pretty!
When in Indonesia, eat all the yummy satay! We had lunch at TeSate in Plaza Senayan before Jakarta Fashion Week.
Pictures from the BIN House fashion show. Past meets present! It was a wonderful show that was able to successfully marry traditional kebaya and batik with modern styling. Check out that pretty ensemble with the combat boots. Much love.
After the show. Me with the NY girls Christina Topacio of ProFresh Style and Christina Caradona of Trop Rouge with BIN House designer Wita.
(My dress is from EMODA while my necklace is from Forever 21. I didn’t have a hairdryer and an adaptor for my curling iron so I just braided my hair to achieve messy waves!)
All the familiarization trip bloggers with the designer herself. And that’s Shinta beside me. She wore her batik wrap from BIN House with super chic Balenciaga heels and a python Celine bag!
A nifty batik art installation with the iconic Google pointer! Spot the Philippines!
Also wearing BIN House! <3
Double Christinas and their satisfied craving for CBTL. It was their first time outside the US! :D
A beautiful view of Jakarta from the SKYE Bar where we were able to unwind after a busy day.
Tara’s killer rings in different metals.
Polaroids of me, Tara and our baby (because she was the youngest!) Sonia Eryka. I taught them how to do fishtail braids. Yup, I’m still trying to make the world a girlier place.
Next stop after cocktails and drinks was Alleira at Grand Indonesia.
They taught us how to create different looks using batik scarves. We witnessed giant squarish and rectangular fabric magically turn into dresses, tops, bottoms and even jackets. I wish I took videos!
Got some Alleira goodies thanks to the warm people who welcomed us into their store. I got a nice Alleira dress which I can’t wait to wear for my upcoming MOFW Indonesia. It’s huge (for some reason I got an XL) but there’s nothing like a belt to fix everything!
The two Christinas from New York tried Kopi Luwak (civet coffee) out of curiosity! It was so fun trying to explain the whole concept of drinking collected feces from wild civets to them, hahaha.
Hello Batik Museum in Pekalongan! It was mostly under construction, but fun how we were able to practice our batik-making skills again.
This time using batik stamps, which made the whole process so much easier! But of course handmade batik is still more authentic, and not to mention, worth a whole lot more than printed ones.
Major hair envy. Wish mine were this big and thick! :<
Christina C. (wearing Alleira batik jeans) on the left and Christina T. (who hid her toes) on the right. I’m wearing EMODA leggings and Forever 21 flats!
We took our turns writing our names and the cities we came from with wax. Manila represent!
An example of a batik stamp. So intricate, yes?
We visited a batik stamp workshop right after to watch the experts do it. I need their patience and intense focus in my life!
Batik stamp artist. He’s been doing this for years.
Spotted a cute little girl outside the workshop.
And then suddenly, a happy bunch of kids who started posing for pictures!
LARISSA store batik! I got myself a nice handmade batik scarf as a souvenir. <3
Blue and pink batik artwork in the streets of Pekalongan. If only all graffiti looked like this…
At the batik market where they sell printed batik for cheap. I wasn’t able to get one for myself, but it was fun just going around and appreciating the fact that they actually have a ton of these batik markets all over Indonesia!
On the way to Borobudur Temple was this enchanted-looking forest with the tallest trees! My 40mm f/2.8 wasn’t able to capture the vastness of it all, sadly.
Lunch at BS Resto where a lot of tourists go to before visiting the Borobudur temple.
Me and Christina Caradona sharing a giant coconut!
With my Indonesia loves, Caroline, Sonia and Tara. <3 Thank you for showing us tourists around!
Beside the restaurant was another museum where they made silver.
One of the highlights of my trip was being able to visit Borobudur Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one incredibly massive temple structure, unlike Prambanan Temple (more of that in my next post) and Angkor Wat in Cambodia (which I was able to visit last March 2011), which are both large complexes that consist of smaller temples.
It is a 9th century Buddhist temple in Central Java, and also the single most visited tourist attraction in the whole of Indonesia. Not surprised, because it’s absolutely beautiful.
No glue or cement were used to create this temple! They built in a Lego-like fashion where they made interlocking pieces of stones. Genius. /cue creepy Ancient Aliens music
View from the top.
Christina Topacio striking a pose! Did you know that she’s half-Filipino? <3
At the top of Borobudur, you can find a number of stupas, mound-like structures containing Buddhist relics. If you peek inside those bell-shaped things, you’ll be surprised to see Buddha statues sitting inside.
And more stupas.
Just so you can see how massive the stupas are!
The back part of the temple.
After a long day of non-stop sightseeing and traveling, we headed to Sheraton Mustika Yogyakarta Resort and Spa for a 2-hour massage and body scrub at Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa! We were treated with smiles and superb service - just what my tired self needed.
I absolutely love going to the spa, so it was such a treat for me to be surprised with this luxurious treatment after spending hours traveling inside the bus and under the scorching heat of the sun at Borobudur Temple. The massage and body scrub was enough to make my body feel rejuvenated again, since I was already feeling a little under the weather due to our hectic schedule.
Facilities fit to make everyone feel like a princess!
Inside the private rooms, we were free to take our time in the bath tub before the actual massage. They had the best amenities that were nothing short of special. They really spoiled me in this spa! Wish I could bring it back home with me to Manila.
Lastly, on our way back to the Grand Aston hotel, I managed to spot an old billboard of Miyavi’s concert in Jakarta last October. I’d love to bring him to Manila too, lol. *fangirl moment*
Watch out for the next post soon!