The beat of an oversized gendang beleq drum has died, the people, dispersed. The village of Sasak Sade, a small community of indigenous families in Lombok, seemed to revert to its normal self; children playing about its narrow dirt-packed alleys, elders going about their daily life, ladies weaving colorful tapestries, mothers nursing babies on their breasts. A child, maybe no more than twelve years of age, his face painted with a moustache, peeked shyly at me from a carved wooden door. A moment before, he was among the performers dancing with gusto and abandon, celebrating and sharing their culture to complete strangers.
|TYPICAL RESIDENCE AT SASAK SADE|
|SASAK KIDS WAITING FOR THE PERFORMANCE|
On board a bus from the airport, we navigated the steamy roadways of Lombok, its beaches peeking from one end of a particular street, deeply blue and sparkling against the midday sun. But we were not about to frolic on its fine golden sand just yet. Our bus plodded on, stopping some minutes after at the small village of Sasak Sade in Rembitan where about 700 families reside.
|A SASAK LADY TENDING TO HER CHILD|
Indeed, Lombok is populated mostly by the Sasak people, making up about 80 percent of the populace. But we really have no idea what they represent—their culture, their tradition—until Sasak Sade Village.
|A GENDANG BELEQ DRUM ANNOUNCES OUR ARRIVAL|
Alighting, we were greeted by villagers looping a colorfully weaved scarf around our neck. The frenetic beat of the drums soon followed. A crowd gathered about the village courtyard, composed of foreigners and locals alike; us waiting for what would happen next, the locals, expecting and still delighted about each performance.
|OUR GUIDE EXPLAINING THE SASAK WAY OF LIFE|
And soon, dances erupted on the hard-packed dirt. Two boys emerged from the crowd, dressed in ornate batik dresses, donning black cloth headgear, their faces painted in beards and mustache; the Tari Petuk dance. It celebrates a child’s progress from boyhood to adolescence as he undergoes circumcision. Quite a way to start the festivity, eh?
|GONGS, FLUTES AND DRUMS PLAY AS THE FIGHT WENT ON|
The boys were soon replaced with two men wielding cowhide shields and rattan sticks. What I thought to be a ceremonial Peresehan mock fight turned into an intense duel, each one whacking with abandon at the other. And you know those attacks hurt as blood was drawn and the defeated, running from his opponent with fear.
|SASAK SADE’S RESIDENT COURT JESTER|
The court jester came next, with his face painted like a monkey, his mouth in a mocking pout. He performed the Amak Tempengus, entertaining the crowd with his movement and antics.
|THE SASAK ARE FAMOUS FOR THEIR INTRICATELY WEAVED SARONG AND MALONG|
|EXPLORING SASAK SADE VILLAGE|
And then we’re off exploring the village itself on our own. Wending our way through its mazelike alleyways, passing store after stores of colorful textiles, bracelets and wooden trinkets being sold on open huts.
|DIRT ALLEYS ALONG SASAK SADE|
|SASAK PRODUCTS BEING SOLD AT THE VILLAGE|
The village itself is interesting enough, Sasak’s low houses, its wall built of woven bamboo strip panels similar to the Philippine sawali, and thatch roof. Inside, the floors are made of clay mixed with cow dung. Yes, cow shit. Surprisingly, there are no unpleasant odor emanating from it all, and more, it acts as a natural repellent for mosquitoes.
|A SWEET SASAK LADY URGING ME TO BUY A BLANKET|
Another thing that struck me during our visit is their marriage custom. Like the Wildlings from The Game of Thrones, girls are needed to be kidnapped by the men for them to marry. We were totally struck by this, until our guide explained that it’s not the violent kidnapping we really know but a respectful kind. How respectful, I guess only the Sasak would really know. And like the Targaryens, they’re strictly clannish too, marrying among themselves to keep the bloodline pure.
~ THE INDONESIA MINISTRY OF TOURISM INVITED ME AS A PART OF THE TRIP OF WONDERS TOUR. VIEWS, OPINIONS & BIASES, ALL MINE.
Sasak Village Sade
Address: Jalan Kuta Lombok, Sade, Rembitan,
Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia
Entrance Fee: IDR10,000.00
GPS Coordinates Map: -8.839395, 116.292127