Home #01: House


A friend of mine asked me about this photo. Currently, I am using it as my Facebook profile’s cover. She wasn’t sure if this photo is real when I answered her that this photo was taken years ago and this was real.


This was a picture of my small and isolated house. I built this one when I was bachelor student, armed with imagination and needed a space to be alone. It was there, facing West, simply for catching sunset every single day. Located in the tiny island situated on the border between Indonesia and the Philippines. The island itself called Karatung on modern administrative paper, but locally it name is Ginimbale.

Ginimbale means, house of giant whale. Our tribe believes that each of our islands are protecting by specific sea animals. There are nine different islands within our indigenous teritory. My island is the main island where it acting as the center of the tribal governing system and now acting as the capital district.

We calling ourselves: Nanusans. Literally it can be translated as “people of Nanusa”. But the actual meaning is: “people of small islands”. Nusa means island and Nanusa means small island. It related with our geographic condition where our tribe inhabited several small islands.

Back to the house.

I built it during my research time for my bachelor thesis (2008-2009). I spent more than 18 months studying my own history, digging out my culture, nations border, nationalism, border crossing activities, so-called “smuggling and smugglers”, militarism and so-called “political will” towards indigenous groups and people in the border.

There was no electricity. I charged my laptop using storage battery modified by one of cousin. He took it from unused motorbike. I just need to charges it every three days on the main kampong where all the people lives. There was no bedroom because the house only divided into three different parts; working room as well as my sleeping spot where one could found my sleeping bag and hammock, kitchen for my kind of yoga and bathroom for taking shower only.

How about defecating? Easy way. I just need to walk along the beach and find a good spot for me to squat and it’s done.

It’s still there now? I dont know for sure. I left that house and my island after I finished my research. I abandoned it. For some reasons that I will not explain here. It might has been destroyed by time. Because all the materials that used to built the house were environmentally friendly and safe. It boards was made from coconut trees and sago leaves for the roof.

But I am sure that one day, I will make another one.