Tuesday, October 28, 2008


It was only a day trip in Madura.

Time was a constraint so as expected, we could not stay overnight in this island northeast of Surabaya. My flight out of Surabaya was early the next morning so we had to squeeze the visit in only one day.

I have done this before. This was probably my third visit in the last 6 years. The tactic is to leave at sunrise. Madura island is one of the poorest regions of East Java and a vast number of Madurese work in Surabaya but still opt to live in the island. The morning rush from Madura to Surabaya is therefore notorious, as is the traffic late in the afternoon from Surabaya back to the island. Luckily, we are moving against this human mass flow.

Madura boat
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/320s, f/4.5, 75mm, ISO 400, -1/3EV

Getting to Tanjung Perak port in Surabaya was uneventful. The streets at Surabaya were generally free-flowing at 6 in the morning. At the port of Tanjung Perak, there was no long queue so our car promptly got a berth in the ferry.

By about 8AM, we already were in the busy port of Kamal in Bangkalan, West Madura. Our destination was about 120 kilometers away in Sumanep, the easternmost regency of the island. Barring any bottlenecks, we should be there in 3 ½ hours. Basically, the hitches would be the public markets (different days of the week would be market days in various places). We went there on a Wednesday so we missed out too potential Friday throngs at the roadside mosques.

Bangkalan mosque
a mosque in Bangkalan, West Madura. The more than 4 million people in Madura are predominantly Muslim.
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/2500s, f/5.6, 155mm, ISO 200

It was past 10 in the morning when we pulled into the village of Lobuk in Bluto, Sumenep. Quickly, we checked on the seaweed farms.

Madura uses a unique system of seaweed cultivation, using rafts instead of long off-bottom ropes. (The other place which prefers this mode of plantation would be Serewe, East Lombok).

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/2000s, f/5.0, 230mm, ISO 100, -1/3EV

October, being hot season in Madura, is a productive month for seaweed. Productivity is high. Farmers were busy, either planting seedlings or harvesting mature fronds.

line-stripping the seaweed that are ready for drying
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/1600s, f/4.5, 80mm, ISO 100, -1/3EV

harvesting the seaweed from the rafts, called raket in Indonesia
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/1600s, f/5.6, 55mm, ISO 100, -1/3EV

More work proceeded in a flurry. At about 11AM, we decided to call it a day and made our way back west. Lunch was to be at Pamekasan, the capital at the eastern central part of the island. I was not surprised when we pulled in at the Hotel Restaurant Putri. It must be Pamekasan’s better places as I always got to have lunch there. Menu is Chinese Indonesian and specialty is fresh seafood. Delicious.

While waiting for the food to be cooked, I had some downtime and took some photos of a fully carved wooden screen. It features the distinctive Madurese wood carving. Referred to as Karduluk carving for the village in Sumenep where it originates, the style is generally larger in size and cruder in stroke than the Javanese. The finish is often polychrome paint, usually in red and green. The motifs are Chinese- bird, flower or dragon. (I’m planning to commission one for our home in Cebu so I know lots about carvings).

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/40s, f/4.5, 100mm, ISO 100, -1.0EV

After lunch, we were on our way home. In the same haste, we had no time at all to stop inasmuch as I wanted to. All I did was merely put to mind several scenes that I would love to photograph someday. My photos are just “drive by”, that is, taken only from a moving car.

children by the roadside at Sampang, Madura
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/1250s, f/5, 150mm, ISO 200

Maybe some day, I would be able to go there on a more leisurely pace. Next year, the long delayed 5.4-kilometer bridge connecting Surabaya and Madura might already be finished. It would then be the longest bridge in Indonesia. And it has a nice name to boot: SURAMADU. I couldn’t wait for it to be completed.

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/2500s, f/5.6, 155mm, ISO 200

Stumble Upon Toolbar

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've visited Bangkalan, Sumenep & Pamekasan Madura after Suramadu open. The bridge has brought more people visiting madura. I love the Batik n the food.