Madura’s Hidden Paradises Pt. 1

Everyone in Java Island should know Madura Island. But just in case there are people who don’t know what Madura Island is, thank goodness for the existence of Google and Wikipedia. So, according to Wikipedia (I’m just gonna copy and paste here, yes, I am that lazy) :

Madura is an Indonesian island off the northeastern coast of Java. The island comprises an area of approximately 4,078.67 km² (administratively 5,168  km² including various smaller islands to the east and north). Madura is administered as part of the East Java province. It is separated from Java by the narrow Strait of Madura. The administered area has a density of 702 people per km², while the island itself (3,630,000 people in 2012 count) is higher at 817/km². Now, hopefully, all those complicated and sophisticated explanation about Madura Island is enough for you. Or for you who just don’t get what Wikipedia is talking about, I’ll just pop a picture showing you where Madura Island is instead.

Now, hopefully, you finally know what Island I’m going to talk about in this post. So, basically what I have always heard about Madura wasn’t always pleasant. But those stereotypes are the ones that has been in the society for quite a long time. People often associated the Madurese with hot-headedness, violent tendencies, coarse language, and just quite a few more negative things. And the fact that for quite a long time, it was difficult to travel there since the island was separated by the Strait of Madura and it also added to the misunderstanding even more, in my opinion. People from Java wouldn’t want to spend long time to travel to Madura by boat when there’s nothing there to look at. So yeah, I admit that growing up, I grew up with the false notion instilled in my brain as a result of lack of knowledge (again, this is just an opinion of mine. What do you think?).

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However, since the SuraMadu bridge was built, this closed off Island was suddenly so accessible by a lot of people. The Madurese could travel to Surabaya and the people from Surabaya could travel to Madura by cars instead of by boat. There was no more reason for Madura to be closed off and isolated from the rest of Java, especially Surabaya, its neighboring city. And then, many wonderful beautiful tourism spots were discovered and revealed to the people in Java. And I guess, with this, the negative stereotyping about the Madurese will cease slowly but sure. And that’s definitely a good thing!

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So, since a lot of beautiful places are revealed from this once-quite-isolated island, there was no way I will miss the chance to explore them. So, in one sunny day, my family, along with many other families under the Marriage Encounter community in my parish went on a touring to Madura. In total there was more than 70 people joining this event and even though it only took one day, but it was superbly fun one day! First stop, we went to visit the famous Bukit Jaddih.

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Bukit Jaddih is a limestone hill located in Madura Island. It was suddenly popular for its magnificent view and scenery of white limestone hills and greenish blue pool in the middle of its area. But before we explored the place, first, we gathered around several small huts in order to have breakfast together. We were all starving since we went from Surabaya to Madura without eating anything first, so without further ado, we just dug into the breakfast as fast as we could.

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During breakfast, though, I came upon this scene around the small huts. I realized that the huts were there as a temporary resting place and shelter where people can sit around comfortably away from the blazing sun (because the sun can be very strong in the afternoon). And so, many people would use thw huts to eat and drink. What saddened me was the fact that this natural beauty, this hidden gem of a place, just disn’t have the proper garbage disposal system yet. So people would just throw away all thier leftover food, empty cans, bottles, plastic bags, empty food containers, and their garbages into that small clearing between the huts. I hope that with time (seeing as there were many people still working there on some sort of a project) as the development of this place is getting better, the people will start to take care of the environment better too (don’t throw your garbage out in the open! Use the available trash can or if there isn’t any, create your own emergency garbage bag).

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Aside from that and the fact that the toilet is quite far (but at least it’s clean and totally spacious), my experience there was quite an enjoyable one. Then I also got to go uphill (by motorcycle) and watched the beautiful view of this green-ish lake surrounded by white limestone. It was quite a magnificent view to be seen in your life and I’m sure that when the construction is finally 100% done, it will be even more majestic.

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Next, after all of us got some time to explore the nook and cranny of the place, we went back to our meeting point (the small huts) to take another group picture complete with the cars and all the motorcycles. After the group pictures (yes, plural and if English has a plural form of a plural form, then I’ll use it as well since we really took a LOT of pictures), we took off and went to get an early lunch : Bebek Songkem! But it’ll be in the next post. See you!

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