I run birding and wildlife watching tours to rainforests of West Papua to watch birds of paradise as well as other tropical birds, and to Sulawesi and Maluku islands in Indonesia. I also like art, so, readers will see drawings and paintings in this blog.
While I was walking around the campus of Papua university, I saw some flowers. I didn't know their name at that time but Mr. Robert Power - an Australian tourist who was walking with me said that its name was naked lady. It's a beautiful flower isn't it? Inside the tropical rainforest of West Papua, if we go hiking in the morning, we can see various kinds of flowers. From the grass to the branches of big trees, flowers bloom and attract insects such as bees and butterflies to them. I don't know whether these naked lady flowers are endemic species from New Guinea or not but they really look beautiful when planted at the front yard of our homes.
There are a lot of flower plants that are used by the indigenous Papuan people as medicinal herbs.
Naked Lady flowers
At coastal lowland areas, bougenville, hibiscus and paradise birds flowers dominate the front yard of the houses in Manokwari city. But inside the rainforest, orchids are the most common species that we can see. The price of orchids from West Papua is expensive in big cities in Indonesia triggering extensive hunting by the local people who want to make money from selling flowers. I hope that through the promotion of eco-tourism, the destruction of rainforest in West Papua can be minimized.
Interested in visiting West Papua and need me as your private guide? Please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: email@example.com or send text message to my cell phone: +6281332245180
When I go hiking or mountain in the tropical rainforest of the Table Mountain, I often see insects. One species that is mostly found walking on the ground is millipede. An adult black millipede can reach a size of 15 cm. When it is young this insect has red color. When you accidentily step on it, its body will brake. This rainforest insect climbs a small plant at night. It will sleep there until morning time. Millipede is not an endangered species in the rainforest. There are a lot of species of insects in the tropical rainforest of West Papua. Some are facing extinction due to continuous hunting by butterfly and beetle collectors.
The photograph of the millipede above was made by a Mikhail Trokhimenko a Russian tourist who came with his wife and friend Dima to Manokwari in January 2010. Insects play a very important role in the ecosystem and food chain of rainforest. They assist the pollination of flowers and are prey to birds and reptiles particularly reptiles. by Charles Roring
Also read: Rainforest insects
As I said yesterday that I would come back again the next day to take pictures of the Papuan children wave surfing at Abasi beach of Manokwari. When I was taking their wave surfing action, I remembered the time when I was still at sixth grade trying to "conquer" the waves also using simple wooden board wave surfing at Amban pantai beach.
These Papuan children have the potentials to be world class wave surfers if they are supplied with standard surfing board that has fins and more buoyancy. by Charles Roring
Regular visitors of this blog know that I like mountain biking on the afternoons. This time I want to share my little story of riding my Polygon Cozmic Dx 2.0 - a Dirt jump bicycle this afternoon to Abasi beach just around three kilometers from Pasir Putih beach. I started pushing my bike out of my house at 5 p.m. and began cranking it up along the Brawijaya street (formerly known as Panorama-weg when West Papua was still called the Netherlands Nieuw Guinea). I stopped for a while at the Pasir Putih beach to buy a bowl of rujak - a spicy fruit salad. The lady who sold the rujak put it into a plastic bag which I then tied to the handle bar of my bike. I would eat it at home. After that I continued riding my bicycle to Arowi area where usually many children will call me, "mester-mester", or "sepeda gunung (mountain bike)." Arowi is a crowded new settlement area which the local government of Manokwari regency had built for victims of Manokwari Tsunami that happened several year ago.
I did not plan to stop at the Abasi beach initially. I planned to ride my bike to Cape Bakaro but then I decided to stop at the Abasi beach after seeing some children in the middle of the blue sea wave surfing with their simple wooden boards. I turned right and headed to the beach. I stopped under a coconut tree just a few meters from the breaking waves. The children did not know that I was watching them.
I was sad to find out that I did not bring my digital still photo camera - Sony DSC-W310 at that time. I only had a cell phone in my pocket. I immediately took it out and activated its camera feature. It was a Nokia Xpressmusic 5630. Its digital camera does not have the optical zoom device. So, I could only take pictures of these Papuan children doing the wave surfing without being able to magnify their actions into my photographs. To get clearer photographs of their actions, I walked closer to the beach near the breaking waves. But I had to walk back several times to avoid myself from being washed by the waves. Then the Papuan children were able to see me taking pictures of them trying to be on top of the wave slopes with their very simple wooden surfboards. They were calling me, "mister, mister" I smiled at them and waved my right hand to them.
After taking some pictures of their wave surfing actions, I walked back to my mountain bike again. I decided not to continue cycling to Cape Bakaro. The scene of the Papuan children wave surfing at the Abasi beach was a good view that I had that afternoon. When I was leaving the beach, they called me again, "mester-mester, besok lagi (meaning mister-mister, tomorrow again)." Then I replied to them, "Ya, besok lagi."
When I was a child, I used to try wave surfing at Amban Pante beach in the north coast of Manokwari. The waves there are bigger between December and February than the ones that I saw at Abasi beach but more dangerous due to the big rocks that are scattered around the shallow waters of the beach. I will go back again tomorrow to the beach for taking pictures of these Papuan children doing their wave surfing actions. I will bring my digital camera, of course. These very potential Papuan children can one day become natural world class wave surfers should they receive supports from the national committee of Indonesian sports (KONI) in the form of better boards supplies and proper guidance from experienced athletes. For advanced surfing techniques, I think, they will be able to master them naturally.
Abasi beach is not as popular as the Pasir Putih beach but it is a good destination for those who are brave enough to conquer the waves of this tropical island. by Charles Roring Also read: Mountain bike tour to Cape Bakaro
Dragon fly can easily be seen when we go hiking in the tropical rainforest of the Table Mountain of Manokwari. A dragonfly looks like a helicopter often hovering above running water or standing still on a tiny stalk of a plant. I like to watch a dragonfly from a close distance. I don't know the number of species that we can find in the rainforest of the bird's head region of Manokwari - West Papua but I believe that there are many of them. Some have red bodies whereas others have dark black or brown colours.
If we want to watch dragonflies from close distance, we must move slowly. Our digital camera should be ready before we walk towards the insects. I saw many dragon flies while hiking a long the banks of a small river in the morning time when the weather was clear. Besides watching dragonflies, we can see other species of rainforest insects in the mountain. by Charles Roring
We are still in rainy season now and green leaves from the vegetation in the rainforest of the Table Mountain of Manokwari grow well. This is a time when rainforest insects such as grasshopper and beetles eat the young green leaves as much as they like to. While hiking in the Table Mountain of Manokwari last November 2010, I came across with various kinds of grasshopper that were eating the young leaves or just taking a rest on a small twig of a tropical plant. Some has colors that look like the plants which they were holding whereas others have dark brown colors.
There are thousands of species of rainforest insects in the tropical rainforest of Manokwari. Unfortunately, I could not identify them all. All I know about them are their main type names such as mosquitoes, beetle, wasp, grasshopper, orb spider, dragonflies, and butterflies.
Insects are delicious food (prey) for birds and lizards. As part of food chain, insects eat the young leaves of forest trees and bushes but they will be eaten by lizards, and birds. Insects are important for the environment because some of them such as butterflies are agents of pollination for flowers plants.
Ecotourism activities which tourists can do in the Table Mountains of Manokwari that are related to rainforest insects are insect watching, and photographing. Because the rainforest in the area is protected by government, insect collecting is simply not allowed. Other activities that I recommend is hiking, caving and mountain biking. The tropical rainforest of the Table Mountain is not far from the city. It takes only less than 15 minutes to reach it by public transportation such as ojek and taxi. Don't forget to bring some snacks, water, and mosquito repellent lotion if you want to walk through the forest. For those who want to do the caving trip, hiking shoes and lamps are needed for that purpose. by Charles Roring
I have been promoting cycling or in another term Mountain bike tour in Manokwari since December 2010. I am not alone in doing this. There are hundreds of mountain bikers who have started this healthy lifestyle. One of them is Mr. Adi Bowo. I met him for the first time when I visited Numfor island. He was taking a rest at a coffee hut near the ship harbor of Numfor. I entered the hut to order a glass of hot coffee. Well, before continuing my discussion about mountain bike and cycling. I would like to explain a little bit about the term "a glass of hot coffee." When I was learning English, I read that western people use cup for hot coffee or milk and glass for cool or cold drinks. Unfortunately, cup is not always available in coffee hut. I call it a hut because it was a hut not a cafe. So, the Papuan woman who served coffee in the hut gave me a glass of hot coffee.
Back to the story of mountain biking in Numfor, yes, Mr. Adi Bowo explained how important it is to promote cycling in Papua for people who want to enjoy the natural beauty of this tropical island. He added that some cycling groups had been formed in Manokwari. Some of them are bike to work which was established by employees of the governor’s office, and cycling community from Bank Mandiri. During our conversation that afternoon, I stated my interest in promoting cycling and mountain biking both to city dwellers of Manokwari and tourists who come from abroad. I planned to buy some mountain bikes which I would use for traveling with tourists through the tropical rainforest of West Papua. West Papua as part of New Guinea island - the largest tropical island in the world, has got vast area of rainforest that is rich in biodiversity. The best way to enjoy this green beauty of the tropical region, besides hiking, is by mountain biking. I have arranged a number of routes which tourists can cycle through while traveling in Manokwari. Some of them are as follows:
Kota - Pasir Putih - Cape Bakaro - Pasir Putih - Kota
Kota - Sarinah - Tropical rainforest of Table Mountain - Mangoapi - Fanindi - Kota
Kota - Manggoapi - Amban - Amban Pantai - Nuni and Back to Kota
Kota - Swapen - Reremi - Wosi - Rendani and back to Kota again
Kota - Pasir Putih - Cape Bakaro - Susweni - Ayambori - Sarinah - back to Kota again
Kota - Cape Bakaro - Susweni - Amban - Manggoapi - Fanindi and back to Kota again.
Because Manokwari stretches along the Dorey bay whose terrain consists of flat land and hills, the most recommended bicycles that cyclists should use are mountain bikes that are equipped with 18 to 27 or 30 speed gears (mostly supplied by Shimano). For Manokwari city tour, the best time to do the cycling is early in the morning at 5.20 a.m. at this time, cyclists can ride their mountain bikes around the city without much disturbances from motorcycles and cars.
After cycling regularly in the afternoons for nearly three months, I begin to notice that more Papuans are now doing the mountain biking too. This is a good sign because when the indigenous people especially the adult ones ride bicycles, they have directly shown good example to other Papuan about how important it is to keep their body healthy by adopting cycling as their daily lifestyle. When there are more children, and adults ride bicycles to schools or to work, the atmosphere of Manokwari city will be cleaner. by Charles Roring
Yesterday I rode my mountain bike through the rainforest of Table Mountain twice. For the first round I used Polygon dirt jump Cozmic dx 2.0 whereas for the second one, I paddled the Celine 3.0. The road leading to the entrance gate of the mountain was quite steep. I had to adjust the front and rear gears to level 1 to climb it. It was quite exhausting especially after I arrived at the gate. The road condition after the gate was rough and steep. I tried to rode my mountain bike up the mountain but my rear tyre slipped. I had to get off my bicycle and push it up the slope. Around two hundred meters after the entrance gate, the terrain was moderate again but still rough. Also read: Mountain bike tour in Manokwari.
This time I was cycling down a little before meeting the flat road of the Table Mountain. When going down the little slope, I nearly fell of my bike because there were stones whose diameter was bigger than ten centimeters. After that, the road in the rainforest was quite good again. I sat down for a while on the stone bench to take a deep breath. Then I took out my cell phone to activate its digital camera feature. I took some pictures of my mountain bikes. I thought it would be more interesting to attach some pictures of this afternoon mountain biking tour in this tropical rainforest when I write a blog post about it. I saw some plastic wastes on the floor of the monument so, I picked them up and collected them on one place. I hope that other visitors of the monument would do the same to keep this Japanese war memorial monument clean. Several minutes before I continued cycling through the rainforest, I saw a Papuan came to the place where I was taking a rest. He liked to walk in this rainforest. I used to meet him last year when I was guiding a European tourist, together with my friend Paul Warere. We talked a little. I stated my concern about the plastic wastes and alcoholic bottles which forest goers like to through around the forest. These wastes really make the tropical rainforest of the Table Mountai of Manokwari look dirty. He also agreed with my opinion and began picking up some wastes.
Then I got on my mountain bike again and continued cycling. The air inside the forest was really cool. I like to be inside the forest whose canopy protect me from direct sunlight. I saw some wooden planks that had been sawn from a naturally fallen tree. As a nature lover, I fully support this exploitation method. We can harvest the wood or timber from the rainforest but only from the trees that have fallen naturally. There are a lot of trees in the rainforest of the Table Mountain which have fallen naturally. We can cut them using chain saw to make blocks and planks that are needed for house construction. It took around ten minutes to reach the Japanese war memorial monument. I stopped at the monument for around twenty minutes to take a rest and to enjoy the scenery of the surrounding green trees of the tropical rainforest. Department of forestry can charge tax from these timber blocks and planks from people who extract them from the rainforest.
What I don't agree or reject is the exploitation of wood from trees that are still standing on the ground.
My mountain bike tour through the rainforest of the Table Mountain of Manokwari city lasted for around three hours. I was exhausted by that but I really enjoyed it. I think I will do it again next week. This afternoon I rode my mountain bike again but to Cape Bakaro, my favorite cycling route. I have written some stories about them in this blog. If you are interested in reading them, you can read my post: Mountain bike tour to Cape Bakaro. by Charles Roring
Still in commemorating the Gospel Preaching Day, today the government of West Papua province conducted a Papuan cultural street parade which is also called "karnaval budaya." More than seventy groups participated in the event which started at 4 p.m. until night time walking from Sanggeng to Borarsi football field. When I am writing this post all the groups have arrived in Borarsi but the celebration is still going on. The participants of the cultural parade come from tribes in Papua and most of the tribes in Indonesia (or known as Nusantara). Thousands of people watched the parade on both sides of the streets of Manokwari city.
Papuan Cultural Street Parade is an annual event which is conducted every 6 February, one day after the celebration of the Gospel Landing Day in Mansinam island. by Charles Roring
Cultural carnival along the street of Manokwari
Video of Manokwari cultural carnival
Manokwari street parade commemorating Gospel Landing Day
Today is 5 February 2011. It's a big day in Manokwari. Thousands of people gathered in Kwawi to celebrate the 156 anniversary of Gospel Preaching Day. On 5 February 1855, two European evangelists C.W. Ottow and Geissler landed on a beautiful tropical island, Mansinam, to preach Gospel to the indigenous Papuan people.
This morning, I attended the GKI in Papua land service. The great-granddaughter of Ottow, Mrs. Minneke Ottow, and the great-grandsons of Reverend W.L. Jens also came to the service. Thousands of Christians who came from all corners of Manokwari city as well as other regencies in West Papua attended the church service in Kwawi and Mansinam island that day.
After the service, the committee of the event gave the opportunity to Mrs. Minneke Ottow and Mr. Renier Jens to go to the front stage for giving a little speech about their ancestors' works in the Papua land in preaching the Gospel and how they feel about the anniversary. As an interpreter, I went to the stage together with them. At the end of the speech, Mr. (Renier) Jens gave a book that is the diary of their forefather, Rev. W.L. Jens, who worked in Mansinam, Kwawi, Andai and Doreh from 1877 to 1899. Mr. W.L. Jens' wife and his son died in Manokwari. He worked as priest and doctor. We tried to find the grave of Mrs. Jens on the 4 of February in Amban but we did not succeed. The old missionary house, the church was destroyed by the Japanese during World War and have never been restored again.
In his sermon that morning, Rev. Dr. Mawene who led the service stated his concerns over a number of issues such as the environmental degradation and the rapid spread of HIV AIDS in West Papua. He said that parents must control their youth so that they will not be trapped in free sex lifestyle otherwise the whole next generation of Christians in Papua will die and no one will take care of this land anymore. Youth must adhere to alcoholic and sex abstinence. He also urged Christians especially the women to wear proper dress in their daily activities to protect themselves from becoming victim of rape, or sexual harassment or abuse.
Every 5 February thousands of people go to Mansinam island. Although it is a religious festival, it is also a kind of picnic for the city dwellers who want to enjoy the day which is now an official holiday in West Papua. They usually visit the foundation of the old church, van Hasselt's well whose water is believed to have a healing power for curing various kinds of diseases and see the village of Mansinam.
Foreign tourists often go snorkeling or hiking in the southern area of the island. As the largest tropical islet in Doreh bay, Mansinam is now facing environmental degradation due to the continuous flow of plastic wastes from Manokwari that lands on its shore every day.
At 4 p.m. I guided the Jens to the Japanese War Memorial Monument in the Table Mountain, to Manggoapi slope, to a slope below the Bupati's house, and to SOGUN (Sowi Gunung) Hill near the DPRD office of Manokwari for taking some pictures of Manokwari city, Doreh bay and Arfak mountains. Tomorrow (6 Feb 2011), the Jens will leave Manokwari for the Netherlands whereas Mrs. Minneke Ottow and her husband, Henk will still be here until 10th February 2011. by Charles Roring
I guided the great-granddaughter of Ottow and her husband as well as the great-grandsons of Rev. W.L. Jens to Andai area of Manokwari. We went there to find the grave of the wife of Rev. W.L. Jens, the remnants of the missionary's house and the church near the bank of Andai river. We could not see many things. What we saw was an empty land filled with thick grass or bush. W.L. Jens worked in Doreh, Kwawi and Andai as priest and doctor from 1877 to 1899. After his first wife died, he married again to the daughter of Rev. F.J.F. van Hasselt.
Because we could not find the location the old church and the missionary's house, we asked the help of Rev. Drs. Terah Sombuk, M.Th. He had to leave his wife who is now ill at home in Kwawi to meet us in Andai for showing the real location of the old church and the missionaries' house which is now covered with grass and other green vegetation. During the World War II this historic Zendeling complex was destroyed by the Japanese troops and has never been restored again until now.
The Jens was sad that morning because they could not find the grave of their great-grandmother who died and buried just 20 meters from the front door of the missionary's house (according to the diary of W.L Jens).
At 3.30 p.m. we left Aston hotel of Manokwari to Kwawi for taking a boat to Mansinam island. The Jens were happy to be in the island. they saw the well, the foundation of the old Church and drank some coconut juice at Peter Rumbruren's house.
Tomorrow they will attend the Gospel Preaching Day which is now concentrated near the front yard of Gereja Elim Kwawi of Manokwari with thousands of Christians. In that service, Renier Jens (representing the family of W.L. Jens) is going to officially give the diary (now in a published book) to GKI. They hope that the book will give more light to the history of GKI in Manokwari.by Charles Roring
This afternoon, the streets of Manokwari city were crowded with people celebrating Papuan Cultural Street Parade. The event was conducted by GKI (Gereja Kristen Injili) in Papua land to commemorate the Gospel Landing Day in Mansinam island. On 5 February 1855, two European evangelists landed in Mansinam island to preach Gospel to Papuan people.
The families of the missionaries who used to serve the GKI church also attended the event. They are great granddaughter of Ottow and great grandsons of the Jens.
Tomorrow they will go to Andai area to see the GKI church where their great-grandfathers used to work there too in 1800s.