Sunday, July 22, 2012

Yogyakarta

It took me several visits to Jakarta before I managed to say the correct pronunciation for Yogyakarta (it's Jogjakarta), much to the consternation of my Indonesian friends. As a Filipino we were trained to pronounce words based on their spelling so I also found it difficult to remember that "C" in Indonesia is read as "Ch". I'm glad though that I have the opportunity to learn more about the other cultures in our region.

I managed to visit Yogyakarta for the very first time last week, but only for less than 24 hours. I asked Pungkas lots of questions about Yogyakarta all day (hope he didn't get annoyed haha). I learned quite a lot of things from him.

I was surprised to find out that Jogja has a Sultan. He lives in a palace which is at the center of the axis from north to south. The city was also built in a way that the Sultan can see across the city. Pungkas explained to me that Yogyakarta was supposed to be a separate country, but because of good relations they have with the Indonesian government, they have an agreement that it will be run by the Sultan.

I didn't get to see much of Yogyakarta since I finished work late. One thing I certainly enjoyed though (aside from the warm welcome I got) was experiencing the local cuisine. Pungkas brought me to Bale Raos, known to be the Sultan's kitchen. I loved the fact that the food wasn't spicy and tasted very similar to some Filipino dishes. Aside from the lovely food in the restaurant they also had a huge souvenir shop where I ended up buying another batik blouse (oh no!).

Hope to be able to come back to Yogyakarta again and have some time to visit Borobudur.

Thanks Pungkas for the warm welcome.