WHILE MOST PEOPLE have recognized that Pekalongan is closely related to Batik, my recent trip to the city has led me to discover another surprisingly fantastic fact. Pekalongan actually hosts a very exotic tropical forest waiting to be uncovered. Petungkriyono, the name of the forest, is said to be the only natural forest left in Java.
Petungkriyono provides a natural habital for Monyet Ekor Panjang (Macaca fascicularis), Lutung (Tarchypitacus Auratus), Javan hawk-eagle (Spizaetus bartelsi), black eagle (Ictinaetus malayensis), crested serpent eagles (Spilornis cheela), and green peafowls (Pavo muticus). What is quite spectacular is that the forest is also home to Owa jawa (Hylobates moloch) that is currently endangered species. Before visiting the city, I have heard Owa Coffee that is very interesting. In fact, this is what attracts me to visit Pekalongan other than its fabulous batik.
The Amazing Petung National Explore 2017 (abbreviated as APNE) is a specially designed event to help with the promotion of the tropical forest instead of Pekalongan batik only. I have been very lucky to join the program held from Aug 4 to 6 last weekend. It was a joyful experience for sure as I finally met fellow bloggers, journalists, photographers, and drone pilots all over the country.
Day 1-2: Cordiality and Natural Beauty
As soon as all participants gathered in the ballroom of the Sahid Mandarin Hotel, on Friday night, the steering committee provided a brief in the coming days. After a tasty dinner, the regent of Pekalongan Mr. Asip Kholbihi delivered a welcome speech and officially opened the APNE 2017. It was a nice evening as we have all met before and it was like a cordial meeting.
We left for Petungkriyono in the morning at 7.30 a.m. Two buses took us, a group of 80 people, to Kajen the capital of Pekalongan regency. Here at his official residence the regent hosted a delicious breakfast where all participants joined the meal happily. I thought it was snack party but I was totally wrong. Big meal was all that I saw. After a short speech from the regent, each and every participant received a batik scarf to show that the APNE trip was on.
The regent told us the forest we were about to visit belonged to the reign of the Shailendra dynasty. It is said that many researchers are currently investigating cultural sites in Petungkriyono including endemic species in the forest. It took an hour to get us from Kajen residence to Doro terminal where 8 Anggun Paris were waiting for us.
Anggun Paris is short for Angkutan Gunung Pariwisata (literally means transport for mount tourism). It is actually a open pickup truck devised into a public transport where passengers sit on added seats on each side of the truck. With a canopy over our head, we won’t have to worry about heat or rainfall.
Researches show that Petungkriyono has 253 species including 63 bird species, 41 orchids, 104 butterflies, 19 ferns, 4 primate and 22 tree species. Among the rare species are those I have mentioned earlier. What’s primarily interesting for me is the fact that they have Owa coffee. Unlike civet coffee, Owa coffee has nothing to do with Owa digestion. It is so named in order to support the conservation of the endangered animal.
Locals who used to hunt them are now growing coffee beans and make money from the cultivation. When I interviewed a local farmer, I found out the coffee was let to grow wild without complex treatment in contrast to those grown in plantation. Farmers only attend to the trees when necessary. No fertilizers or manures are required to help the coffee grow properly.
That is perhaps what makes the bean taste so incredible. All participants had the privilege to drink a small cup of the coffee when entering Petungkriyono gate. I simply loved it! This is the best coffee I have ever sipped, possibly. I brought home two bags of Owa coffee produced traditionally by local farmers. Traditionally cropped, traditionally fresh!
Let the photos tell
The following pictures will speak up.
I have also created a video recounting the short journey to the exoticism of Petungkriyono. It may not represent the real beauty of the national nature heritage as some technical issues occurred the videotaping. Enjoy!
Museum Batik is a must visit place when you travel to Pekalongan. You can learn to make batik on the spot as well as gather complete information about batik and its history. Just across the museum there is the city square where Batik letters block will satisfy your selfie or groupie photos.
The major agenda on Sunday was visiting Padepokan Batik Pesisir (literally means coastal Batik hermitage) where Mr Failasuf a local artist and businessman offers favorable ambiance about Batik. Located in Wiradesa, his house also includes a batik workshop where you can see the making of Batik cloth in detail step by step. There is also a store that offers various motif of Batik at great length of price.
I honestly love all the Batik exhibited here, especially in terms of color and quality. If you are ever here, prepare your wallet and grab the best choice that suits you the most. After lunch, we had the opportunity to witness the official launch of Petungkriyono batik here at the premises. Mr. Asip was there to launch the masterpiece motif of Pekalongan batik by Mr. Failasuf.
So, when are you going to visit Pekalongan? In addition to see extraordinary batik, make sure Petungrkriyono is included in your itinerary. Enjoy the breeze in the forest, sip the super coffee.