Surabaya Street Photography Indonesia

For some reason, I have seriously YOLO-ed myself over traveling a lot in 2019, as if I know something will happen that will literally bar me and everyone else in this planet from traveling in 2020. I have been out and about on every school break there is (presenting researches, sneaking in quick vacations, and doing projects, among others). The freshest overseas travel memory I have is with Surabaya, Indonesia, where I went to attend and academic event, visit museums, take advantage of my layover in Jakarta, and get to know the a side of Indonesia I, if I’m being honest, actually almost never knew existed.

Surabaya is the second largest city in Indonesia located in East Java. Unheard of by so many people, Surabaya does not even consider itself a tourist destination, unlike Bali or Yogyakarta. I seriously don’t know why some cities could steal my heart just like that. Surabaya is definitely not the best city I have visited, that’s for sure, but there’s some kind of magic it projects that made me fall in love. For one, it’s a more relaxed version of Jakarta (which could be as crazy as Manila, my home city). And more importantly, it being a less popular tourist destination means that, chances are, it has other awesome things to offer.

BTW, SOME TRIVIA!

In case I will forget to mention sometime later in this post…

“Berjalan” is an Indonesian word which means “to walk”, and I used the term to signify that this photo essay is a result of my photowalk around the streets of Surabaya.

Surabaya Street Photography Indonesia
SELAMAT PAGI, SURABAYA! It’s a bright and beautiful day to explore the city! During the course of the academic event I attended in Universitas Airlangga, I was housed at Novotel Samator East Surabaya Hotel (which is a super duper awesome hotel!) but it is located in another neighborhood. Since I am exploring museums and doing some food trip, I transferred to another hotel close to my destinations: Swiss Belinn Tunjungan. This was my lovely view. At nighttime, some kind of a light traffic is evident, but I would trade the crazy Manila traffic for this. I just love staring at the vehicles and the lights from buildings turning off one by one slowly as the night goes deeper. Man, I just love staring at hotel windows with views! But I came here to explore the city, so I’m going out!
Surabaya Street Photography Indonesia
JALAN ELANG. The surroundings of Surabaya reminded me so much of my hometown (Batangas, Philippines). Life is so simple, and the city life in urban areas like Tanauan, Lipa, and Batangas City are so chill and they don’t try so hard to become like Manila. And I like it that way. There’s just so much provincial vibes here. This man sitting by the street next to some mechanical equipment is also common in the Philippines.
Surabaya Street Photography Indonesia
MERDEKA. Prior to my visit to Surabaya, I only have a superficial academic knowledge about its history, and it has come to my attention later that a lot of historical events happened here. The nerd in me Googled like crazy and made sure I will not miss out all the important historical sites. My journey led me to visit the Museum Sepuluh Nopember next to Kota Balai (where the super cool City Mayor hosted a welcome dinner for us during the event a few days ago). Unlike the Philippines, Indonesia had a bloody struggle for independence against the Dutch, so imagine the nationalism they have until today.
Surabaya Street Photography Indonesia
BECAK. The different modes of local transportation in the places I visit always fascinate me. In the Philippines alone, you will find a lot of varieties of bicycle/sidecar/pedicab rides which reflects the resourcefulness of the Filipinos. In Surabaya (and in Indonesia as a whole), I admire their Bluebird taxi system, and other modes to get from point A to point B, such as becak or the bicycle rickshaw.
Surabaya Street Photography Indonesia
SURO DAN BOYO. I had to stop and take a photo of this embossed Surabaya Coat of Arms in a bench at Tugu Pahlawan because it reminded me of the manhole covers in Yokohama, Japan. I want to have memories of the identity of the places I visited. Suro (shark) and boyo (crocodile) were the two words of origin of the name of the city of Surabaya.
Surabaya Street Photography Indonesia
ANOTHER BECAK. Oooh, so that’s what it looks like if it’s occupied by a passenger. Amazing! I don’t know about you, but my heart really jumps whenever I am being mindful about setting foot in another land and just looking around the streets and try to feel how far from your home city the place will make you feel.
Surabaya Street Photography Indonesia
PROUD AND LOUD. Seriously, my visit to Surabaya has made me want more of Indonesian History. Indonesian food is one thing I will always love about this country, but its history is something else. I was very excited to learn more and share a lot of things about it to my students. This is how academic nerds roll, if you know what I mean.
Surabaya Street Photography Indonesia
OH, HELLO THERE, CUTE ONE. This girl right here has a super soft spot for cats and will always stop to take photos or admire them as they walk around ignoring all them hoomans. Cats are a very important part of the streets. They bring life to streets. Don’t debate me on this. My day lights up everytime I see cats. Thank you, Surabaya, for letting me see some cats in your streets. Your blazing humidity is something untolerable, btw.

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