ANCIENT TOMB IN RAJA AMPAT

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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.

“They just used sailboats and along with their wares who was still in control by the Maluku master Sultan Raja Ampat,” said one of the resident from Misool.

On a trade mission, Saudi merchants also spread Islam in the Raja Ampat community.

Of course, in the spread of Islam, traders Saudi Arabia experienced a variety of challenges. They were ultimately not able to return to Saudi Arabia and died in Papua. They were then buried with their wares in Raja Ampat.

Initial research and study took place Raja Ampat. Most likely, this year, the Institute for Archaeology Jayapura will continue the research and studies in all areas of Raja Ampat. They suspect there are many ancient tombs of traders from Saudi Arabia that have not been found yet.

As known, Indonesia is the country with the largest Islamic religious adherents in the world. Population of adherents of Islam religion in Indonesia reaches 70% from the total population.

Raja Ampat is a part of the archipelago under Tidore Kingdom who are Muslim empire in 17 – 18 AD. Remains of Islamic civilization itself cabn be seen from the number of Muslims people in Raja Ampat archipelago. One of the islands in the Raja Ampat with the majority of the Muslim population is Saonek island in southern Waigeo.

Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort witnesses how diversity and religious tolerance in Raja Ampat, are in good condition.

THE BEAUTY OF PEARL FROM RAJA AMPAT

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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.

To go to the location we should use a speed boat to cross the sea area of Raja Ampat region while enjoying the breathtaking view of Raja Ampat.

After traveling for 6 hours, we arrived at the site of pearl cultivation. In this place the cultivation is done in the middle of the sea with floating nets.

According to Bupati of Raja Ampat, Marcus Wanma, this area is very suitable for pearls cultivation.

From the surface, the location of pearl cultivation are only visible as expanse of floating nets crocheted with the ball. In these nets dozens of shells are cultivated by hanging them below the surface.

There are some conditions to be successful for this pearls cultivation industry. The location must be protected from big wind and waves. In addition, the sea also shall be free of pollution.

Pearl cultivation process takes a long time. To produce good quality pearls, it takes about four years. Tillers of pearl shell are three months old, with ten to twelve centimeter length brought from from Bali.

Pearl cultivation process is quite complicated. The placement of seed pearls called nukleous are performed in the laboratory through the process of operation. Since the necessary precision and patience are needed, usually women perform this job.

Seed pearls are placed in the gonads, or bag egg shells. Each seed pearls are given coat that called saibo, which is useful for stimulating the formation of shells injured. Afterwards, the shells are placed captured floating in the sea. Nets should be cleaned every week.

In this place, there are at least 250 people who word to cultivate pearls. There is a woman one of the workers who come from the town of Sorong. She is in charge of putting seed pearls in shells.

Pearls are harvested after six months. Whenever harvest, this company is capable of producing 150 thousand grain pearl. Pearl quality is determined by the shape, color and the flash. The main quality pearls are round, shiny and big.

Pearls are produced in the domestic market and exported to Japan, Singapore and Australia. The price of each pearl main quality in the international market could reach two hundred United States Dollars.

Raja Ampat does have the potential from its incredible ocean. Pearl from raja Ampat has been recognized worldwide as high quality pearls.

Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort facilitates guests who are interested to see and want to know further about pearl cultivation by passing by the area of pearl cultivation every time Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort brings guests to many tourist’s destination in Raja Ampat.

In the island where Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort is located, Urai island, there are still many iron cages where pearls were placed scattered every where in the beaches around. It becomes one of attraction for Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort guests to enjoy.

DOLPHIN IN RAJA AMPAT

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Seventy percent of the world’s reefs are in Raja Ampat, West Papua. It means, when diving in Raja Ampat, one can literally see 70 percent of the world’s coral.

Therefore, no wonder if Raja Ampat is famous for diving worldwide.

Raja Ampat is the heart of the world’s coral triangle. So the sea of Raja Ampat has such a diverse marine life including whales, dolphins, dugongs, turtles, and more. More specifically, in addition to whales, dolphins, and sea lions, Raja Ampat has five species of sea turtles, rays, unique sharks Wobbegong and Kalabia or walking shark and sea horse. There are 15 species of endemic fish, shellfish up to 699 types, up to 1427 types of reef fish and 553 types of hard corals.

Not surprisingly, people’s livelihood is fishing in Raja Ampat. However, local communities have local knowledge for taking fish using nets to preserve the ocean. With underwater wealth owned by Raja Ampat, the district is visited by tourists diving enthusiasts. Raja Ampat consists of four large islands namely Wageo, Misol, Batanta, and Salawati, and has more than 1,000 small islands which keep the diversity of flora and fauna such as 540 species of corals and over 1,000 species of reef fish and 700 species of molluscs.

One animal that is man’s best friend is a dolphin. Dolphins are mammals that cosmopolitan, so almost in every hemisphere, there is a group of these intelligent mammals. Dolphins are spread evently in the waters of Raja Ampat. These mammals are also commonly found in the South Waigeo, Misool, Batanta and others.

Dolphins can be seen every day. Especially when traveling from Sorong to Raja Ampat, tourists can see the dolphins in the waters off. Besides, all the way to the Gulf of Kabui we will see a group of dolphins playing in the open sea. Dolphins can also be encountered in all areas of Raja Ampat.

All this natural wealth become tourist attraction. Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort is strategically located in the entrance of the Kabui bay. It is an added value for foreign guests to be able to see the dolphins playing in front of the resort area. Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort also offers travel package such as bird-watching tour with a view of paradise endemic, diving, snorkelling, and cruise tourist village.

TRADITION OF EATING SIRIH PINANG IN RAJA AMPAT

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Pinang or Areca Nut, Latin called Areca catechu, it is not something new for Indonesian. Pinang stemmed from Malacca (Malaysia) have entered Indonesia BC. There are sources that say Pinang entered in the 6th century BC, but some sources say in the 4th century BC Pinang already in Papua.

Areca nut is a type of palm tree that is in Hindi this fruit called Supari, and Pan-Supari to call betel-nut. Malaysian named it Adakka or Adekka, being in the language of Sri Lanka known as Puikiuivak. Thai society called it Mak, and the Chinese call Pin-lang.

Pinang or Areca Nut is a symbol of good character inherited from good ancestor, honest, and has a high degree of live. Further more, it symbolizes willingness to do a job with an open hearted and sincere. This meaning is drawn from the nature of areca nut trees that are tall straight up and have a dense fruit in cluster.

Areca Nut in relation to the culture of Indonesia is the Indonesian people’s habits for “menginang” means chewing Areca Nut. The complete mixture of areca nut are lime, betel nut and gambier. Some people often add tobacco to have extra bit of taste. Chewing areca nut will make lips red. Chewing areca nut make teeth stronger, and create the effects of addiction just like smoking cigarettes.

For the elderly, sometimes difficult to chew areca nut, so they usually crush it finely with a mortar before chewing it. Almost the same with cigarettes and snacks, chewing areca nut can be done anytime from morning until evening. Chewing areca nut give incredible sensation in the tongue of the lovers.

The habit of chewing areca nut has penetrated into Indonesia through various regions from Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan to Papua. However, due to the effect that cause lips and saliva become red, more over it doesn’t look neat, especially with the presence of cigarettes and snacks, then chewing areca nut is gradually eroded.

Chewing areca nut, is just like smoking cigarette or drinking coffee or tea, cause tremendous effect for the people. In Papua even worse, since children 5 years of age have been able to do so, even though in other parts of Indonesia such as Borneo, Sumatra, Java, chewing areca nut usually only done by elderly.

In addition to the pleasure effect of chewing areca nut, there are also other benefits of doing this habit.

In the ancient times, chewing areca nut can be used as a tribute to someone, for instance; so if there is a visit, areca nut is given in welcome ceremony.

Areca nut can also be used as a dowry, some are merely as an introduction to speak, as a binder relations before marriage (engaged) or as a traditional medicine. Not surprisingly, in the Indonesian ancient times people really liked areca nut and considered areca nut as something very special.

Areca nut will not be for chewing without adding it with lime, betel and gambier. Why do so, let us see how it actually philosophy of chewing nut tells:

– Betel

Is a tropical plant, grown in Madagascar, East Africa, and the West Indies. Betel are also available in Peninsular Malaysia. There are four types of betel, namely betel Malay, Chinese betel, Keling betel, and Shrimp betel. In Indonesia, known as various names such as betel nut types Branch, Be, Bed, Siyeh, Sih, Camai, Kerekap, Feeling, Chili, Jambi, Kengyek, and crust.

Betel, said to symbolize humility, giving, and always praise for others. This meaning is interpreted from the way of climbing betel grows on rack, tree trunk or trunk fires without damaging the rod or anything where he live. In biological terms is called symbiosis of something. Betel leaves are dense and lush provide shade around it.

– Limestone

Obtained from the processing of oyster shell or limestone burning. Physically, clean white color, but can destroy their chemical reactions. Chalk white symbolizes the heart and sincere, but if circumstances force, he will become more aggressive and angry.

– Gambir

Gambir also is a plant that is found in Southeast Asia, including in the family Rubiaceae. The leaves are oval or oblong, and the surface slippery. Gambier flower gray. Gambier is also used as a drug, among others, to wash and scald burns, preventing diarrhea and dysentery, as well as moisturizing wounds in the esophagus. Gambir has a slightly bitter taste, symbolizes courage. This meaning is derived from the color of the leaves are yellowish gambier and requires a certain processing to obtain the juice, before it can be eaten. Hence, if you aspire to something, we have to wait the process to achieve it.

By eating a bunch of betel nut and lime, is a symbol of hope for a man who is always humble and calm like betel. Fastidiously clean, sincere but aggressive like chalk. Honest, heartfelt and sincere as nut trees. And if it means added gambier heart patient and steadfast like the gambier. all of which must be in blended as one that fits, should really be mixed with the right to produce a delicious flavor.

To preserve the culture of eating betel and areca eating prohibition against rules, in Papua then some artists traditions and village communities in West Papua try to repeat the past painting technique by using spit betel work. These works are poured on the wall, bark, cloth, paper, and wood beams.

A sculpture artist from Papua Barat, Isaiah Major of Cultural Art Gallery Koranu Fyak, Raja Ampat, also have tried using saliva nut to various forms of motive over bark, paper and palm leaves. Lanjar Jiwo, and artist from Sorong, together with tribal communities in the mountains Tamrau Maybrat been incised spit betel nut as a natural dye in Karwar home made sculptures. While villagers Waifoi and Warimak, District Mayalibit Bay, Raja Ampat try spitting betel nut on paper and cloth.

As word of the ancestors in Papua “menginang” contains a thousand meanings, if they know the meaning of life which would be close to perfect”.

Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort also maintains the habit as respect to local culture. Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort is located on an island filled with various types of plants that grow providing a distinct advantage for the manager of the resort to be easy to introduce foreign guests regarding the culture of chewing areca nut to show the types of plants that are used.

DIVE WITH TURTLE IN RAJA AMPAT

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Tortoises and turtles is a four-legged animal and still belong to reptiles family. This kind of animal called Testudinata (or chelonians) is distinctive and easily recognizable by their ‘home’ or shell (bony shell), which is hard and stiff.

Turtle shell is composed of two parts. The top of the back cover is called carapace and the bottom (ventral, stomach) is called plastron. Then each part is composed of two layers. The outer layer is generally in the form of scales, large and hard, and arranged like tiles; while the inner layer in the form of plates of bone are compact like shell.

Exceptions are those of labi-labi (Trionychoidea) and the type of leatherback turtles, the outer layer and replaced no scaly skin layer on the outer shell of bone.

Raja Ampat is the perfect tropical paradise. Warm sunshine combined with scenery, white sand beaches of fine, swaying coconut trees and crystal clear sea that changes color from green to cobalt blue. Underwater life here is exceptional, you will find turtles, dolphins, manta rays, dugongs, barracudas and others.

Turtles in Raja Ampat sea are usually turtle beak parrot. This is because the shape of the tapered mouth resembles a bird’s beak parrot. The characteristics of these turtles with a carapace sized round 28-31 cm (males) and 20-25 cm (females). Equitable distribution area is within all territorial of Raja Ampat sea.

Not much is known about the natural behavior of these turtles. These turtles are a diurnal animals spend more time at sea and only switch to ground when night to rest and perform marriages.

Attraction of turtle is also a mainstay of Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort. Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort, fortunately located in Urai island, becomes one of the area for turtle in Raja Ampat sea. Foreign guests can see turtles swimming around lazily

In keeping with the eco system of marine habitats, Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort invites all the guests to be able to maintain and preserve the marine habitat by not littering into the sea. Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort also makes tour for guests to the village nearby. One of the efforts made by Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort in maintaining and preserving the ecosystem is to encourage both local and foreign guests not to disturb and damage the surrounding environment.