Link foto: Barry Kusuma
Lively Feast in West Papua
Papua is an exotic land that belongs to this country. The beautiful marine nature with the hidden fortune behind its huge rolling waves has a significant meaning toward the universe.
During this time, Papua is only famous for its unique culture amidst the society as well as the mainland where there is the highest summit well known all over the country. However, what the land of Cendrawasih has is definitely much more than that. The stretching vast sea along with its invaluably natural treasure can be found out in the west side of the island.
A number of environmental and maritime researches done by international institutions reported that the region known also as “the bird head” in Papua is actually rich of fish species coral reef. Furthermore, the region is claimed as the triangle heart region of the global coral reef. Raja Ampat, as the nearest regent of West Papua, truly possesses the wealth. In order to celebrate the 7th anniversary, the local government held a special marine festival known as Raja Ampat Marine Festival in 2010.
The festival was conducted in accordance with an effort to introduce Raja Ampat as the tourism destination that is feasibly to be visited by tourists coming from the entire of the world. The event is intended to preserve cultural values and long tradition deeply lasted in the lives of Raja Ampat’s citizens.
The event that lasted from May 2-9 was officially opened by the Special Staff Minister of Social Regulation, Drs. Surya Yuga. He attended to represent the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik. He greatly appreciated the local government of Raja Ampat Regency who persistently conducted some developments especially the infrastructures in order to support the regional finance as well as tourism sector. He hoped that the event would be able to elevate Raja Ampat as one of the marine tourism destinations in the world.
The Unique Events
During the event of the Maritime Festival of Raja Ampat, there were several exciting events that can be enjoyed by either visitors or tourists. The people who come from several districts in Raja Ampat Regency get involved in this event such as Ayau Island, North Waigeo, East Waigeo, South Waiego, Wawarboni, Mayalibit Bay, Meos Mansard, West Waigeo Island, Sagawin Strait, North Salawati, Kofiau, North Misool, Sembilan Island, East Misool, South Misool and West. The festival is concentrated in coastal tourism areas namely Waisai which is the capital of Raja Ampat, or to be exact on the beach of Beloved Waisai (Pantai Waisai Tercinta/WTC). Maritime Festival was held around the district capital in Waisai, about 3 hours speedboat ride from the city of Sorong. This festival invites other districts in Papua, which has a beach to participate. In addition, neighboring counties such as Wakatobi were also asked to enliven the event.
The marine activity was truly the significant program exhibited in the Maritime Festival Raja Ampat 2010. This program was divided into a few numbers of contests such as video, dragon boat, canoe, under the sea diving orientation. Each contest took place in different areas like South Misool District in WTC and the areas of Waisai Harbor.
The next was the traditional transportation parade. In this program, visitor had a good view of various model and any types of transportation vehicles used by Raja Ampat’s people for instance, striped boat, jawati, traditional sails and the kajang boat (house). It was the transportation of Raja Ampat’s fishermen to sail through the ferocious seas.
How do the people of Raja Ampat catch fish in the middle of ocean but still maintain the marine sustainability and what stuffs do the people utilize, these are part of the issues performed to all visitors. This time, visitors are presented by the attraction of local fishermen in catching fish using nets, kalaway (spear) or molo (arrow). The fishermen of Raja Ampat have also unique ways to “call” sharks and that is by using a tool made of coconut shell.
From Sago until Sago Worm Grilled
The Culinary World is one of the agendas come forth in the Raja Ampat Marine Festival. Here, the visitors were able to find out and taste a variety of the typical foods made by Raja Ampat’s people. The committee provides also a number of booths presenting the making of the dish.
Having more experiences in culinary is probably the visitors’ wish by tasting papeda, sinole, ganika, maba mafat (made of bamboo), mangrove fruit, baia kodo satay (shell satay) and sago worm grilled..Wow..Do you dare?
The Culture and Art Performance
Though located at the areas of vast islands, Raja Ampat owns different culture and art among the people who live in the Central and East Papua. Both the culture and art exist in the region is the combination between Papua and Islam from North Maluku. Hence, all is represented in a number of dances such as Mapia, Mamberfor, Wor, Wor Yeknan and the other cultural attractions.
The event was enlivened by the exhibition of maritime tourism conducted in the area of Waisai and showing the potential of marine tourism found out in each region of the regency that was established on May 2003.
Considering the current records, it seems the trend of tourism that people want to visit Raja Ampat looks delightful. There is a significant increase every year. The number of tourists visited the place in 2008 was not up to a thousand people. However, in the following year it reached till 4600 tourists.
By the festival, of course, many people expect that there will be an increasing number of tourists visiting Raja Ampat based on the target of the local government during this year and that is six thousands.
Raja Ampat in the Past
According to the myth that is believed amidst the native people, it is said that the name of Raja Ampat or Four Kings began from a woman who found seven eggs. Later on, they hatched and reincarnated to be four princes or kings. After several years being together, they split up and became a king in four different huge islands such as Waigeo, Salawati, Misool Timur and Missol Barat. Meanwhile, the other eggs turned into a woman and a stone
Referring the historical records, Raja Ampat had been occupied by fishermen who were applying the local custom of Maluku. They lived in some villages led by a king. In the triumphant era, the two kingdoms in Maluku (now North Maluku), Raja Ampat was the part of the Tidore Kingdom. However, when the Dutch occupied the region, they also took over the islands of Raja Ampat.
Text : Adi Supriyatna
Photo : Barry Kusuma
Taken from : Batavia Air Inflight Magazine
Online Source : http://en.discoverindo.com/?p=378