Taka Makassar: Swimming In A Private Pool With Travel Society

At first, I was confused when the tour guide from Travel Society told me that the next spot on our itinerary was Taka Makassar. The only Makassar I know is located in South Sulawesi, which is still far up to the north side of Labuan Bajo. Are they the same thing? Apparently not. This one is way smaller, even smaller than a soccer field.

Yeap, you can easily take a walk and finish circling the sandbed island within 10 minutes or less I guess. There was no hut, no tress, nothing. This particular beauty offers you a place to unwind, do nothing and just enjoy serenity. Taka Makassar is best for swimming and snorkeling, although you can’t expect to see too many fishes here since its surrounded with shallow water.

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A little bit further to the sea, however, if you’re lucky enough you might find some Manta rays and swim along with them. They are easy to find in this area due to the strong currents. If you are not a good swimmer don’t try jumping into the ocean without a safety vest or a companion because it’s dangerous. I wasn’t lucky, there was no single Manta to be found when I was there. But I was happy enough to just swim in this crystal-clear private pool with a seemingly endless blue sea around me.

Scroll down to see more photos from Taka Makassar.

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Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

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SUN-KISSED LAZY DAY AT PINK BEACH, FLORES – WITH TRAVEL SOCIETY!

As most of you (might) have noticed, I’ve been posting a series of my first encounter with the “oh-so-amazing” Labuan Bajo with Travel Society. What do you think so far? A lot of my friends and Instagram’s followers kept on giving me the same respond, which either:

“I literally want to visit Labuan Bajo soon after seeing your posts!”
or
“Is it really that beautiful?”

I mean, YES. My whole perception of the touristy spot in Indonesia changed from the moment I witnessed the untouched beauty with my own eyes. Especially, when I put my feet for the first time on the soft cotton-candy sands in Namo Island, Flores.

All the girls from my travel group was immediately fell head over heel with the pink beach. Camera was out, snapgram-ing was a necessity. The pink hue apparently was a result of erosion that happened to large numbers of pink coral that can be found in the sea of Flores. The tiny particles then got carried away onto the beautiful islands and created a pampering view.

We spent a good few hours just playing on the beach, swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing on the beach. It was definitely a good time indeed! Here’s some good photos from the Pink Beach!

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

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Sunrise Watching From The Top Of Padar Island with Travel Society

March has been so fun for me as it’s filled with plenty of traveling. I started out this month in Bali for a friend wedding. Few weeks later, I’m drafting this post from Juanda Airport, Surabaya (again, for a friend wedding.). And next week, guess what.. I’ll be flying back to Labuan Bajo for office outing!

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Dawn.

I’m so thrilled about this Bajo trip when the HR team in my office announced it a few weeks ago. I mean, who wouldn’t want to come back to Bajo? Those beautiful islands and priceless experience. If you haven’t been to Bajo, I highly recommend you to book your seat right now for an open trip with Travel Society. Seriously, my trip with them last September was beyond fun!

Particularly that sunrise-watching moment at Padar Island. The whole trip includes living on board for 3 days. Padar was the first place we visited on the second day. I remember waking up super early, brushed my teeth, washed my face, and started to climb up the Padar hills vigorously.

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Serenity.

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The View Was.. Put Any Word That Best Describe Beautiful To You.

I’ve witnessed sunrise before from the top of Rinjani, from the top of Bromo and Sikunir, and even from an apartment in Sydney. None of them provide an ocean view, unlike this one. The trekking was not difficult because they already made a clear path for you to go up. But at one point, as you reach the higher ground, it will become a bit steep and rocky, but still feasible to be done. At least, most of the people in my open trip group who were first-timers in trekking, managed to get on the top safe and sound.

Not a single word could nearly describe a sunrise-watching moment. Like I could throw in some beautiful words, it won’t mean a thing unless you’ve seen it yourself. I’m just gonna let the photos do the justice.

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Hello, Sun!

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Local Guide

I don’t care if you are the adventurous type or not, if you are into traveling or not, this particular activity should be on your bucket list, because it’s so worth-trying (time and penny included)!

If you’ve seen a sunrise before, or quite an avid sunrise-hunter, what’s your best experience? Who knows we might bump into each other on the top of any hill one day. 😉

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Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

Sydney’s Exploration: A Small Alley, A Night Market, and Plenty of Sushi Kiosks

Sorry for the long absence. For the first time in forever, managing this blog and consistently creating content for The Perks of Being 20 become quite challenging. But here I am, trying my best to fight through!

Right now I’d like to write about this little alley, called Spice Alley, located in Kensington Street, Sydney. This particular alley is a home for 6 hawker-style eateries, decorated with artistically painted walls and glowing lanterns. You can find Singaporean dishes at Alex Lee Kitchen, Thai cuisines at Bang Luck Thai Street Food, Malaysian spices at Old Jim Kee, Cantonese street food at Hong Kong Diner, Japanese foods at Kyo-to and Vietnamese fares at Viet. Vogue magazine even recommend this place as one of the top 5 best date night places in Sydney.

Although I’ve been to Sydney three times, it was only until last year that I knew this place exist! It’s located very near to one of my favorite ice cream spot in Sydney, Anita Gelato. Thanks to my cousins, Omar and Berra, who took me here after our short exploration at the Wedding Cake Rock.

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Although I was extremely starving when I got there, I was a bit stuck deciding on what to eat. If you know me well, I’m the kind of person who could order a lot of foods for one meal. So having too many (food) options was never easy for me. After strolling around a few times, I decided to order from the Hong Kong diner, simply because I’ve been to Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and I’ve eaten plenty of Japanese and Vietnamese foods in Indo.

I ordered the Beef Brisket Noodle and BBQ Pork Bun. As you can see from the photo below, they serve the beef brisket very generously! The broth was very comforting especially in the middle of Sydney’s winter breeze. Sadly, I was so gassy I could not finish them all, I even had to take home the buns. I’d definitely go back here during my next visit to Sydney, which I don’t know when.

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While I’m at it, I think it’d be harmless if I share to you another culinary spot that I really love to visit whenever I’m in Sydney. It’s the night market at Chinatown, which only happens every Friday night. If you are really hungry, you should pay a visit at this uber nice Chinese restaurant, Superbowl. But if you’re like me, who can’t resist buying a lot of different variety of foods at the same time, then you should enjoy the food stalls.

My first go to stall is the Emperor’s Puff. This one is to-die-for! I’ve never seen this stall without a long queue. It’s best to enjoy them during winter, because the puffs are always freshly baked. You’d love the warm vanilla filling inside the puff! The price is also very cheap as you can see in the photo below.

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My second must-have at the Chinatown Night Market is the pork bak kwa (barbecued pork jerky). I forgot how much it costs, but everything in this area is pretty much cheap so you wouldn’t mind spending a little bit more here to indulge your tastebuds and tummy.

After having those two, I just let my feet take me around the area, and let my eyes picked random stall that looks appetizing to me. Some of my highlights were the large potato stick, they are super crispy and savoury; and seafood takoyaki. By the time I finished my bowl of takoyaki I was already bloated, and most of the stalls were already closing down.

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Now, if you are an avid fan of sushi like me, you would love Sydney because in almost every mall or public place it’s easy to find a sushi kiosk. My favorites are Sushi Hub and Hero Sushi. I spent my last day in Sydney literally having Sushi all day, twice at the Westfield Paramatta, and one big closure at the Sydney airport while waiting for my flight. I’m definitely one happy kid when it comes to enjoying sushi in Sydney!

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Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

LAST SATURDAY IN 2017: ONTHREE

Have you ever stopped doing something for only about a few weeks, but then when you wanted to start doing it again, it just felt like you’re starting from zero. That is me with this whole blogging thing.

The past three weeks had been one of the busiest days of my life, with my company having a merger, and I got my capacity stretched from every direction. And I was completely lost in the midst of it all. This blog was neglected. I even forgot when was the last time I visited my own blog. Not until today.

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Some of my favorite people: @saskiatingkir, @runmoreno, @jepherjepho, @didiantonius and @silvia_via

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We’ve been friends for more than 7 years, can you believe it?

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Is there anything in your life that has been shifting lately due to your changing season? What is it? And how do you deal with all the changes? Do you completely neglect some stuff? Or do you like try to balance it all, keeping the old stuff while making room for the new ones? Sorry for too much asking, I just couldn’t help the journalist side of me. Besides, I haven’t been writing for so long I literally couldn’t stop typing.

So welcome back to this blog. Hope you gained new wisdom, new lesson in living the twentysomething season. In the meantime, here are some photos of my last coffee time in 2017 at the newly opened coffee shop: ONTHREE (Senopati Suites, 3rd Floor).

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It’s a nice spacey place with big window pane, cozy sofas, and white-dominated interior, PLUS, it has quite a huge alfresco area with bean bags, and synthetic grass floors for smoking area. Somehow you would feel like you’re not in the midst of Jakarta’s high-polluted area. I forgot what I ordered, but it was tasted good. The coffee was nice, and they also have meals to fill up your hungry tummy. I would definitely come back to this place!

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Pajama Shirt by: Kloud Studio, Pants & White Tee: Topman

Write to you later,

 

HG. (@gersonhenry)

Seeing Things From Behind A 40 Year Old Lens

“The camera doesn’t matter – the eye does,” says the anonymous, blurred person who speaks only in my hazy memory. This is a quote heard by millions of photographers, possibly in a million, different, often misquoted ways. They all seem to drive a point, however: that the camera is only a tool that is as good as you are able to project your visual ideas and images with.

To test that ubiquitous theory, I recently purchased a 40-year-old lens, after a convincing demonstration from a friend and coworker. This one cost a fraction of what newer lenses charge, thanks to age and time working in my favor. I immediately bought the lens from a second-hand online store, along with a cheap adapter for my Canon 60D (which in itself, is an aging camera, according to every photographer ever).

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The Setup

I had to admire the lens for a while as it came out the box a few days after. Here was a creation that stood the wear and tear of 40 years, through time and space, that landed on my pale, white desk of mine. I will never know the story it went through, or how many hands have grasped and pulled its aging handles, or how beautiful the pictures that were taken by many eyes and clicks of the shutter. These things, it seems, I can only wonder.

So to stop wondering, I decided to test this gizmo of mine on a trip to Bandung, in West Java.

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A visit to a limestone processing factory in Bandung

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Before lifting heavy rocks

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Empty

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On standby, without workers

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A local-favorite. Kue ape

I immediately noticed a few things: how sharp the images were, how different the colors appeared, and how hard the lens was to operate! Here was a photographer, so used to modern marvels such as auto-focus and exposure compensation, receiving a vintage welcome from his own camera. It was a bare-bones experience, having to manually set the aperture and the focus ring every time I had a subject in frame. But it was eye-opening, as it was unfamiliar

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Visiting the night street market

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Look at all those chickens (y’know, that one vine)

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Famous Martabak Andir

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Coincidentally, the man behind the stall has been making Martabak for 40 years

The lens worked wonders in night time, thanks to its wide 1.4 aperture. The images managed to stay crisp as well. It was hard to focus, though, without the automatic function I was so used to having.

And then there was this certain dreamy character to the bokeh, as the blurred edges of the images never seem to stay symmetrical and perfectly round. Yet the depth of the areas that were in focus almost seemed that they can pop out, like a cutout character from a story book. This lens, and its images, are a trippy piece of work.

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A self-portrait that ‘pops’ out (taken by a good friend of mine, Moses – @moosesronaldo)

I felt responsible to show what an old, jaded lens can do, since this is my first lens I bought with my own savings. And it to see how much it has gone through, it’s an honor, in a strange kind of way, to own something that has its own mysterious story.

So, I do think to dismiss a cheap and aging piece of technology would be a tragic story to tell. I think something like this offers a portal to see the peculiarities of imperfect items of yesteryear; a sort of back-to-your-roots experience. With all the new technology coming to our screens and doors in 2018, it would be nice to step back and recall on older things that we haven’t explored. Here’s me just starting out into that journey, and with good intentions, I ask that you come along too.

Jeloy. (@je.loy)

 

Exploring Gunung Kubing: Dippin at One of Indonesia’s Infinity Pool

How many of you have experienced swimming in Singapore’s most famous infinity pool, located at the Marina Bay Sands? Back in 2010, when it was first opened, every one I know was like racing to take a cool photo at the new symbol of luxury. I was one of them of course. Sadly, I haven’t started blogging at that time, and Instagram was not even existed yet so I couldn’t find the legit proof that I had been there in 2011.

Anyways, I’m here not to post about that, but about this super cool hidden infinity pool that I found in Belitung! So I had trip with SanaSiniYo to visit Belitung, and the guide asked me whether I had any particular spot that I wanted to visit. I googled some legit touristy recommendation and stumbled upon this waterfall at the bottom of Gunung Kubing that has a sort of pool with a great view of Belitung’s greenery. I told the guide it would be great if they could take me there, because there were not much people who know about it. Not even the guide himself who was a local guy. LOL.

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Belitung was a beautiful island in the south area of Sumatra, surrounded by turquoise sea and plenty of other smaller islands (I’ll share to you my island-hopping experience in Belitung one day). We had to drive for like 2 hours from the city to Membalong Village, got lost once in a while due to bad GPS connection. Went through a very narrow path where it stopped at point because the car couldn’t continue on any further. So we had to walk, or hike to be exact, for like 300 m (probably about 10-15 minutes) to get at the top at the waterfall.

Once I got there, it was incredibly breath-taking and seriously mesmerising. It’s like I couldn’t believe my own eyes that Indonesia has such a hidden gem as beautiful as this place! It was all worth the trip. So as usual, I started to take photos, got shirtless and dipped into the clear water. I went beyond the border, which made out of rocks and enjoyed the view. I kid you not, it was one of the best traveling experience I had so far! Thank you SanaSiniYo (Timothy and Erick) for making this happen!

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Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

ps. check out some delicious local cuisines that I fancy from Belitung.

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