UNIQUE TRADITIONS IN PAPUA, INCLUDING RAJA AMPAT

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  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.

  1. CUT FINGER

There are many ways to show a sense of sorrow when one member of family pass away. However, for Dani tribe, inhabiting the Baliem Valley in Papua, sadness and grief are manifested by cutting a finger, if there is a family member such as a husband or wife, father, mother, son and brother pass away. That must done tradition, according to them, is a symbol of the very deep sadness of having lost of one member in the family. Further more, cutting finger anyway is meant to prevent re-catastrophe that caused death in the family.

Technically tradition of cutting a finger is done with a variety of ways, ranging from the use of sharp objects such as knives, axes, or machetes. Another way is by biting her knuckles to break up, tied with a rope so that the blood flow stops and knuckles be dead then newly made cutting a finger.

  1. TRADITION ARAREM, BIAK TRIBE.

Another unique tradition in Papua is Ararem, the procession of bringing dowry by Biak tribe. In this procession, dowry will be delivered on foot, accompanied by singing and dancing. Interestingly, the tradition Ararem is done by carrying and waving red and white flag, the country flag. There are no references that can explain why in this tradition flag is used. The uniqueness of tribal traditions in Papua by Biak in bringing dowry with pageantry, and carry the flag of the country, most likely the only one in Indonesia and is not done by other tribes outside Papua.

  1. TRADITION TATOOS

During this time people just think that the tattoo tradition in Indonesia, is only done by the Dayaks in Kalimantan. But in Papua, there is apparently a body tattooing tradition, which has been running for generations. Some tribes are usually adorning their body with tattoos are Moi and Meyakh tribe in West Papua.

Tattoo motifs affixed to the body of the tribes in Papua have different and specific characteristics. These tattoos usually have geometric patterns or stripes and dots circular triangular cone, or tridiagonal are aligned.

Tools and materials used in the making of tattoo in Papua also has a unique, including the use of thorn trees sago or fish bones, and soak the ink into a mixture of fine charcoal and olive tree sap. Generally tattoo done on the chest, cheeks, eyelids, calves, hips, back, and also in parts of the hand.

Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort comes across with many Raja Ampat people who originated from those regions above, and still practicing the traditions in Raja Ampat. Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort often times brought guests to the community who performed the tradition as a unique attractions.

 

 

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.

Do not think there has been provided lane track for tourists. Wearing special shoes or boots of rubber tracks are closed will be very helpful and prevent injuries from slipping or scratched razor-sharp coral. Bring only the camera, or smartphone, and a bottle of water while climbing. Do not rush when climb and descend. The view from the summit of the hills is amazing.

From Mount Halak, a traveler will understand why Pianemo is called Small Wayag. The difference is, the group of coral islands in Wayag are larger and elongated. While in Pianemo, they are smaller coral islands and form a horizontal line.

From the top of the hill in Cape star, surrounded sea islands formed like stars. From the top of the hill-tops, colored coral turquoise lagoon base can still be seen. Highly recommended tracks start here since eight in the morning to prevent overheating. Then you can relax in the lodge guard Pianemo region. Among lush mangrove trees behind the cottage, there is a natural pond inhabited sardines. Storks did not hesitate to look for fish in front of the cottage. But prohibited fishing or take whatever it is!

Pianemo is included as protected areas. Before leaving Pianemo, the guide took us around the islands, sailing from lagoon to lagoon. Green calm water calling us to immediately jump into it. Some foreign tourists seem to enjoy snorkeling here. When the tour packages in Raja Ampat are spelled to be the most expensive in Indonesia, it is reasonable expenses incurred by tourists. Now how local government and communities in Raja Ampat can be effectively and transparently manage revenues from tourism, to maintain and preserve the natural resources on land and sea in order to remain sustainable, which means it will also bring prosperity. As a solo traveler, let us support and help the community and Raja Ampat in Papua to maintain and preserve its natural resources by not taking anything and do not leave any traces except memories in the form of photographs and memories.

Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort almost every month brings guests to Pianemo. Some tips to potential future guests of Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort who are interested to prove the beauty of Pianemo are: come by group between 4 – 6 person. This will reduce cost for speedboat transportation, since the cost can be shared. On the way to Pianemo, other destinations or activities could be done: stop by in Hidden Bay, and doing snorkeling in Melissa Garden are highly recommended. Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort welcomes future potential guests to enjoy the breathtaking view of Pianemo.

 

 

TRADITIONAL SONGS OF RAJA AMPAT

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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.

Female dancer costumes used in a variety of typical dances Raja Ampat usually use a mix of bright colors with high contrast such as red, dark yellow, light green and light blue. As for the male dancer costume generally is shirtless at the top and to cover the waist down normally use Papua typical costume that stay in costal area is clothing from coir materials (fibers), woven coconut leaves or feathers and animal skins depending on the type of dance sung.

There are also men who perform using typical genitalia cover named koteka. Papua male and female dancers will perform complete with accessories and makeup distinctive and exotic that can only be encountered in the traditional art of the island of Papua.

Typical songs of Raja Ampat, Papua generally rhythmic carefree but like to have some kind of allure that washed away when we enjoy it. Generally, the songs sung with a mix of Papua vocals sound more than one person. It is wonderful to enjoy a typical Papua song on the beach while relaxing or to accompany your trip in Raja Ampat.

Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort often times invites local people who can dance and sing well to perform in our resort. Based on our experiences, we could see that guests, especially the one from western countries really enjoy and appreciate this traditional performances. Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort decides to continue inviting the local dancers and singers to perform even more often.

 

 

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.