The Beauties of Raja Ampat’s Natural and Culture
Raja Ampat, a regency located in Eastern Indonesia, is indeed familiar to our ears. The name Raja Ampat started when the National Geographic magazine, published in September 2007, discussed Raja Ampat. This magazine is so neat about the beauty of Raja Ampat along with the charming picture documentation. Raja Ampat Regency consists of islands in the “bird” head region of Papua, such as Misool Island, Batanta, Salawati, Wayag, Waigeo, Saonek, Saonek Mondie (Little Saonek), Kofiau, Fafanlap, and many other islands that are included in the Raja area. Ampat has 610 islands. The capital of Raja Ampat Regency is located on Waigeo Island, precisely in Waisai, South Waigeo District.
Raja Ampat’s wealth is not limited to the underwater wealth, but also on the land that is so rich, just look at the many species of birds found in Raja Ampat. Call it the famous bird Cenderawasih endemic in Papua, in Raja Ampat alone there are 39 species of this bird species. Then the abundant flora wealth. Among the diversity of flora, there are many medicinal plants that are used by local communities for traditional medicine. For example there are plants Pulai (Alstonia scholaris) and Ketepeng (Cassia tora) which have benefits for treating Malaria. And we all know that Malaria is an epidemic of diseases in the Papua region including Raja Ampat Regency itself. When talking about Raja Ampat’s marine wealth, there is no doubt that the regency, which is 85% of its territory in the form of waters, is very rich. There are around 559 species of hard coral, 699 molluscs, 1346 species of fish with 828 species of reef fish and seagrass and seaweed that have not been too explored. The coral reefs are in good condition so it is not surprising that the Raja Ampat area is included in the coral triangle.
Raja Ampat people know the culture of “Sasi”. The Sasi culture actually originated from Maluku and is hereditary to various regions in Indonesia including Raja Ampat. This Sasi is a traditional way of conservation to protect biodiversity. The success of conservation in Raja Ampat cannot be separated from the role and influence of sasi which is quite strong in this region.
Sasi is a very important part in increasing the population of living natural resources, and is very helpful to the Raja Ampat community in managing and utilizing the available natural resources so as to improve the welfare of the local community. Sasi is based on traditional natural resource management and a prohibition on harvesting land and sea resources.
Sasi regulations prohibit harvesting of forest products or marine products that are not yet harvested, but they also apply to people’s lives (Sasi regulations prohibit the premature harvesting of forests and marine products, but are also applied to social behavior). There are 2 types of sasi namely land sasi and sea sasi. The types of sasi include; coconut sasi, sasi lola, sasi sea cucumber, and others. Referring to the belief system that underlies Sasi and its ritual leader, known as Sasi Negeri, Sasi Church, and Sasi Masjid.
Each of these names successively refers to the Christian belief system, the priest or priest as the leader and the church as the place of ritual, as well as Islam, imams and mosques. The legal power of Sasi rules is recognized both by custom and religion. The implementation and supervision of the rules of sasi is carried out by a Kewang institution (a kind of forest ranger) who is appointed by a sacred traditional ceremony. The implementation of sasi also receives prayer and blessing support from religious ceremonies in churches or mosques.
Not only sasi, also known as “Balobe”, the unique way of the people in the Teluk Mayalibit District Raja Ampat Regency in capturing male mackerel. Balobe can be done during the dark moon, by relying on the light of the petromax that is placed on the “head” of the boat to stimulate the fish to rise to the surface and follow the direction of the boat, the boat is directed to the shore that has been made by embankments using stones.
There are many more natural and cultural riches of Raja Ampat that have not yet been explored. Of the many riches that are explored, who doesn’t want to dive right away and witness Raja Ampat’s underwater riches himself? Who doesn’t want to see Balobe’s performance in the beautiful Mayalibit bay? Who does not want to directly explore the forest and see with our own eyes the birds of paradise with various species? Ah, Raja Ampat, Berlian in the eastern tip of Indonesia which must be preserved continuously. This is Indonesia, with its global wealth.