UNIQUE TRADITIONS IN PAPUA, INCLUDING RAJA AMPAT

  1. BAKAR BATU (FUEL STONES)

Tradition Bakar Batu – One of the oldest cultural traditions in Papua, fuel stones, can be regarded as a symbol of gratitude and fraternity. But in certain areas fuel stones usually performed in a ceremonial procession of death.

Tradition Bakar Batu (fuel stones) is a way to use by people in Papua, to cook several types of food (yam, cassava, Pig meat and vegetables) on a rock that has been heated. There is a certain technic and steps to heat the stones such as: setting up a hole to prepare firewood and stones, along with foods that will be cooked. Once the holes are dug, the stones that have been collected are arranged by size. Large stone are placed at the bottom, and at the top will be arranged firewood. The next layer of firewood will be coated again with smaller stones. Then combustion process is carried out to heat the stones. After the stone gets hot, then the food that has been prepared in such a way arranged above the stone. Then after all the foods are cooked, all the participant will eat together as a party or ceremony of something.

Tradition of fuel stones has some title or name that is different for each region, but usually known as Barapen.

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TREKKING IN PIANEMO, RAJA AMPAT

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Raja Ampat is famous for its coral islands, one of which is Pianemo. This is where you can see the coral islands with various sizes available in a wide area. The water is clear blue and the scenery is amazing! Communities around Pianemo call it a ‘Small Wayag’. This is because the view from the top of the rocky cliffs, is like a group of islands in Wayag, but in a mini size.

From the capital of Raja Ampat, Waisai, trips to Pianemo can be reached within 2 hours away by speed boat. During the trip to Pianemo, it is like infinite endless blue ocean. Several times we could see silhouette green hilly island, virgin forests, and birds swooping fly doing fish hunt.

The hills above cliffs overgrown trees greeted us upon entering Pianemo. Small coral islands here are generally uninhabited. Cliffs that are still alive, continues to grow and the hills are getting higher every year, explained by our local people guide. There are three commonly used pathway hill tracks here. Hill about 15 meters altitude in Tanjung Bintang, Bald Hill which is about 30 meters, and the highest 40 meters.

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TRADITIONAL SONGS OF RAJA AMPAT

Raja Ampat as part of the province of West Papua on the island of Papua, is rich with variety of cultural arts of music, dance and crafts, typical of Papua that are very exotic. Each tribe scattered in the Raja Ampat islands generally have a dance and tradition practices by themselves.

General characteristics of the dance and music of Raja Ampat is a dance movement that generally shown with a vibrant and accompanied by percussion instruments typical Papua named Tifa, gong (mambokon) and drums (bakulu). In addition to percussion instruments, stringed instruments such as guitars and wind instruments such as flutes and wind instruments of sea shells are also often used to accompany the dance.

Some examples of dances that are often displayed in various ceremonies and reception are the Wor dance, Main Moun, Batpo Dance, dance and art Flute Tambour Yako.

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ANCIENT TOMB IN RAJA AMPAT

Raja Ampat is famous for its exotic marine scenery. The clear blue sea and uniquely shaped islands are the main magnets for tourists from around the world.

There is one more attraction that will make tourists curious about these islands in Raja Ampat, especially for the ones who are enthusiastic on history.

Ancient artifacts and burial complex that is thought to be the tomb of Arab traders were recently found by Archaeological Institute of Jayapura in Raja Ampat. The tomb were found in Misool Island. Artifacts and the cemetery were probably derived from the 17th century means, both hundreds of years old.

Excavation of the tomb of the Arab merchants carried out by Jayapura archaeologists in 2014 in Kampung Harapan Jaya, Misool. Through the excavation, archaeologists found 14 tombs merchants from Saudi Arabia.

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THE BEAUTY OF PEARL FROM RAJA AMPAT

Pearls are very beautiful. Therefore, it is not surprising that many people love it, especially for female, pearl is one of Indonesia’s natural valuable resources. Cultivation of pearls are scattered on various islands in the archipelago.

One of them is in the area of Raja Ampat, which is located at the westernmost tip of Papua. Pearls is a leading commodity in this area. There are at least six companies that develop the cultivation of pearls here. Three are foreign companies and the other three are local companies.

Location that pearl are cultured are in Misool District, West Waigeo, and Batanta. In the district of West Waigeo, pearl cultivation are in Aljui region, approximately 70 nautical miles west of the city of Sorong.

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HUNTING PAPUA ORCHIDS

My departure to Papua was certainly approved by my family. Before leaving, my mother advised, “Do not forget to bring orchids for me”, so she said. Initially I only consider passing because I think orchids in Papua, there is also in Java.

This orchid hunting trip I started at the third day of the trip in Papua. The first time I realized that how special orchid Papua was when we visited the Forest Wapsdori. On the way to the waterfall Wapsdori, we saw many kinds of orchids and they are all really beautiful. Instantly I remembered my mother’s message that she wanted orchids. In the forest of Wapsdori, I saw some kinds of ground orchid, tiger and rabbit orchids. I wanted to pick and bring it home. However, I realized that we should not be arbitrary in picking herbs in the forest.

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THE SHARK NAMED WOBBEGONG

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Indonesia does have amazing underwater paradise. Surprisingly there are not many photographers in the country who explore this potential. Many books and literature under water photography from abroad actually take objects and underwater scenery Indonesia.

Raja Ampat represent everything, the land is still virgin, lagoons and sheltered bays, beautiful beaches and blue sea. The islands are too broad to be explored in a week. It may take a full month to be able to visit the entire islands. Main dive spots for domestic and foreign divers to explore is in the region of South Waigeo. Strategic location of Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort is located in the region of South Waigeo, and it is very easy for divers to meet the desire to dive in various spots which has its own uniqueness.

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NUDIBRANCH IN RAJA AMPAT

Raja Ampat has more than 1,070 kinds species of fish, 600 species of coral reef, and 699 species of mollusk. Compare with the entire Caribbean region who just have no more than 70 species of coral.

There is no place on this earth that has so much diversity of marine life as Raja Ampat does. This could be due to the total population of the very few who still use traditional fishing gear and limited access between islands that actually protects it from damage natural ecosystems.

Diving at night in Raja Ampat is extremely interesting. Underwater life at night is much different than in the daytime. When in daytime, we can easily see clown fish (anemone fish), but at night, difficult to find since they are hiding somewhere. At night usually can be found various types of crab, shrimp, squid and octopus.

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PLAN YOUR VACATION TO RAJA AMPAT WELL

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Trip to Raja Ampat is expensive? Not really actually, especially if we plan it well.

The word “expensive” is something that is relative actually. In general, Raja Ampat when it is compared to other tourist spots in the country, it is relatively more expensive. This is because Raja Ampat is marine tourist spot, where everybody knows that normally is more expensive than tourist spots on land. Moreover, Raja Ampat is located in Papua, where infrastructure is minimal when compared to other provinces in Indonesia.

However, all of the high expenses will be paid off when you see the breathtaking view of Raja Ampat, both underwater and above the sea.

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