Greenhost x IWasHere Present Discovering Hidden Gems of Jogjakarta Part 3: Community

After a long quest for culinary and culture hidden spots across Jogja, this time we will bring you closer to many communities that are growing and thriving in Jogjakarta. These two things, Jogja and its communities, cannot be separated from each other. The communities are part of the ‘soul’ for this lovely city and vice versa.

To conclude our Hidden Gem Jogja campaign with IWasHere, we would like to introduce you to Windy Ariestanty - @windy_ariestanty, the person behind iWasHere community who always accompany us in crafting stories from the very beginning. We also invited Riyanni Djangkaru - @r_djangkaru, a travel enthusiast and a travel show host on a TV station a few years back, to join us in finding hidden communities in Jogja that you might never have heard of (and to take pictures!). Here are some snippets from our trip during 17th – 19th July 2018

We began the journey by heading to the north-side of Jogjakarta where we could find the oldest tile factory which is well-known for its uniqueness – Tegel Kunci. It is such a rare and valuable opportunity because not everyone is allowed to walk inside this factory. In the living room, we could see tiles in various colors that were definitely a treat for our eyes. Entering the factory production site, we were greeted with the sound of a machines buzzing and the floating dust that filled the room. Getting closer, we were amazed to see the workers working with simple tools to make the tiles by hand, one by one! Unlike the mass-produced ceramics, the process of making Tegel Kunci is done manually - relying on the crafter's hand skills so that the end result is never identical for each tile. They still use the same method since the factory was founded in 1929. Maintaining this method is one of the ways to add value to every tile that they make. Through all the ups and downs, Tegel Kunci factory continues to produce these unique tiles, carrying on the history, and preserving the unique method & skills. Seeing the process of Tegel Kunci making is the same as realizing that it is not just a floor covering, but also a work of art!

Located not too far from Tegel Kunci factory, we decided to visit Pasar Kamisan. Like its name, Kamis - which means Thursday in Indonesia, Pasar Kamisan is only held once a week every Thursday. Situated in a Joglo house called Rumah Animalika on Jalan Kaliurang km 9.3, Pasar Kamisan sells a variety of food, beverages, and vegetables made from local, healthy, and non-meat ingredients. Presenting a variety of quality products to the community and public along with preserving and supporting local agricultural, culinary, and handicraft products are some of the values carried by Pasar Kamisan.

There are approximately 19 vendors who are being a member of Pasar Kamisan but unfortunately, we arrived there at noon when all the food had run out. One of the stalls that was still open is Dawet Bu Ari which sells an organic traditional drink from Banjarnegara, Central Java, made from rice flour jelly, palm sugar, and coconut milk. The green color in its worm-like rice-jelly comes from suji leaves, so there’s no need to worry because everything here is safe and healthy as well! The dawet looks so appetizing in this hot afternoon weather. When you sip the dawet for the first time, it tastes very fresh and light. It’s not too sweet - everything seems to be the right taste! A small bowl of dawet was enough to quench our thirst. With all of the uniqueness and values, Pasar Kamisan is one of the must-visit-destinations for culinary hunting and get another experience that is not found in the regular market.

Our next destination is located in the south-side of Jogjakarta. Can you guess where went to? We headed to Omah Cangkem, an acapella or "mouth music" community which was founded by Mr. Pardiman Djoyonegoro. A pretty unique name, isn't it? The name was taken from the Javanese language omah which means home and cangkem which means mouth. After one and a half hour, we arrived at a cottage located on the edge of a rice field in Dusun Karangjati, Bangunjiwo, Kasihan, Bantul. Upon entering, we were greeted by gamelan sounds from afar. Looking for the source of the sound, we stepped towards the second floor. Apparently, Mr. Pardiman was there teaching gamelan to young children from America that currently had a residency in Jogjakarta for about 3 days. While waiting for Mr. Pardiman, we sat on the balcony enjoying the breeze.

It was such a valuable opportunity to talk to Mr. Pardiman after he finished training the American children. Mr. Pardiman told us that long before studying acapella or "mouth music", he actually pursued learning gamelan. “Gamelan is my first love,” he said. Mr. Pardiman began studying gamelan music since 1984 while he was studying at Sekolah Menengah Karawitan Indonesia (SMKI). After that, he deepens his expertise in Karawitan by continuing to study at the Institut Seni Indonesia (ISI) Jogjakarta.

After graduating from college in 1995, Mr. Pardiman travelled from village to village looking for unused gamelan instruments. Every time he found a gamelan that has never been used in a village, he invited the children there to practice playing gamelan. "At that time, I was concerned because many gamelan instruments in Jogjakarta were only stacked away and rarely used," added Mr. Pardiman. He continued collecting instruments from village to village, until finally in 2002 he stayed in Karangjati village and established Omah Cangkem studio which became his residence. Mr. Pardiman was not only active with Acapella Mataraman activities, but also arranged music for dance, kethoprak, wayang (puppet), and theater performances. He also formed the Sragam ABG (Srawung Gamelan Ayo Playing Gamelan) group that takes part in the gamelan area for children and organized children acapella practice in the Icipili Mitirimin group.

Just from our day trip, we could see how wonderful communities grow and thrive in Jogjakarta. They are here not only for the material benefits but more importantly, to channel and express their love and passion for their own fields.

For us, it’s a bit of a mixed feeling to conclude this amazing journey - we were sad because it was over but we were very happy at the same time because we managed to gather all of the hidden gems of Jogja in almost all aspects from culinary, culture, and community.

Closing this project is like closing a storybook that has been compiled slowly and carefully, chapter by chapter. If you suddenly miss this story, you could open this archive again anytime or perhaps there will be someone else who would continue to tell another hidden gem story in the future? Who knows!