Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by mumunmumun on 29 January 2010 • Itinerary
Hey guys, meet Renny! Renny is a dear friend of Indohoy, having the same interest and opportunities to see Indonesia, and having a huge the drive to try new things. Her trip to Manado was on a business trip but it didn’t stop her from having a little fun in between, enjoying what she can!
(By the way, Mumun will butt in a little just adding some information from past trips, long before Indohoy)
Welcome to Manado! One of the many main tourist destinations of Indonesia. Those that love to dive and snorkel, then this is the place for you. Manado is the root for those visiting Bunaken National Park which is listed as a world heritage for it’s marine life and is the home to countless underwater wildlife. Manado is also a place known for ‘peculiar’ food, terrestrial flora and fauna, and people that love to have a great time!
Getting ready to bounce to Manado means you have to be ready for a long trip. I once went to Manado as a kid, and I went with the public boat. Man, it took forever! It was days using this ‘moderate’ size boat. I actually expected a bigger ship. Because of this moderate size boat, you can really feel each wave passing under. I could even feel the rocking motion even after we were finally on land. And I still remember it! What an influence! I felt this sea motion for about half a day when it eventually vanished. After that? Why not another ride? Maybe hehehe…
After transiting about 30 minutes in SHIA, we continued our flight to Manado. From Makassar, the trip takes about another 2 hours. After being blown away by SHIA, don’t be surprised to find a more humble Sam Ratulangi International Airport, so you better prepare yourself.
Manado is the capital of the North Sulawesi province. By the way, some might know this island as Celebes but it’s not common for the Indonesian people. When I first set foot here, I imagine Manado to be a modern city, at least as modern as Makassar. But probably since it is geographically further and harder to reach, this city turned out to be less advanced then my imagination. On the contrary, the people are very much up to date. They are very friendly and they surely keep up to what is ‘in’. As one might say ‘If you got it, flaunt it’, here I think the more appropriate saying is ‘Flaunt is as if you got it’. Prestige is something that the majority Manado people love like many of the Indonesian ethnicity. And they’re not ashamed to show it. So you would see the most advance fashion, gadgets, hairstyles, on the streets. Wait… did I say they’re really friendly too?
At this moment, Manado is under a lot of development especially to host the World Ocean Conference. You can see a few places under construction. Even so, Manado is clean and beautiful. The angkots, which are the main and probably only visible public transportation, also looks in order. And these angkots hold the same ‘value’ as that most in the eastern Indonesia area, head turners. It’s loud and decorative.
Once arrived at the airport or certain tourist attraction, you will be greeted by the sound of Kolintang, the traditional Manado instrument. Kolintang is made from Bamboo and arranged like a Xylophone. It’s similar to the Balinese traditional instrument, but has a slight difference in sound. It also uses bigger bamboos so one must play it standing up.
There you will also be greeted by a doll alike to the Koala that is said to be an animal endemic to the Manado area.
Mumun: I’m butting in here just to add some IMPORTANT information! One of the most endemic animals which you can only find in this area all the way to the Philippines is the Tarsier. IT’S EXTREMELY CUTE! It’s a small koala like animal that is about 10 cm in size, has huge eyes and ears, also lives and jumps from tree to tree. It’s highly endemic meaning only found in this area and is very endangered. You can find some with tours to Tangkoko Nature Reserve on the south coast of Manado, right on the perimeter of Batu village about 2 hour drive. There are locals that can guide you to see these incredibly cute creatures in the forest. You can also check out the hornbills, various endemic birds, red butted tailless monkeys, and even snorkel on the beach seeing a quite vast area of corals still intact. If you are a fan of nature, come visit the area!
One of my favorite place to visit is the tree where you can climb the inside, not just the outside. I’m not sure what species it is but it’s the remains a wrapping tree. The main tree in the middle has died, but the vine tree wrapping it became stronger forming it’s own tree like shape. It’s a dare waiting to be done!
Ok.. ok… sounds like an ad bleh! Although true, let’s just scale it down to something real. For those visiting Manado, there are 5 Bs that should help you get the first feel on this city. Ready for #1?
B #1: Boulevard
The Boulevard is the main street of Manado which runs on the coast of the city. What’s interesting is strolling down the streets of Manado, a church happens to pop up every few meters. This is very distinct considering the majority of people there are Christians. They still have strong faith in their religion and so they still attend church quite often. What is also interesting, the unique land structure. The sea and the mountains are neighbors mixing the sea ambience with breezes from the mountain. It’s gooooooddd…
If you would like to find other souvenirs, Manado offers more! There is one store open 24 hours and what’s great about it is that they offer a delivery service for the buyers. Quite a unique business! Their shop offers a range of souvenirs and items for you to bring with you as a reminder of this city. They not only have food, but also clothes, and accessories. But beware of holidays when they close… something I should have in mind
B #2: Bunaken
One more thing that you should do when visiting Manado is that you should spend time at Bunaken. I didn’t have the chance to go, but I’m hoping you would. And don’t worry, there is so many information about the area.
Mumun: Ok, I actually have snorkeled this area for a day. The verdict: O Y G! Oh Why God is there a place so beautiful without the need to take out my own passport? At the time, which was around 2007, I didn’t have much experience snorkeling, but I happen to be stationed around the area. Being stupid as I am :D, I had to peek in even though I had minim experience, but had the guts of a stupid gal and an experience friend accompanying me. Not to mention, usually the boatman that takes you there can accompany you swimming through the area. But as weird as this sound,m I’m glad I was stupid. This area was said to have 27 sites with different characteristics. May it small creatures, soft corals, hard corals, napoleon fishes, rays, starfish area, etc. For my 5 hour swim, I did about 5 spots, and I was flabbergasted!!
When heading out to the Bunaken area, I happen to use the boat and services of Pak Saad. You can give him a call at +62-81340092733. His normal price is Rp 500,000 from morning to late afternoon or about 10 hours for a snorkeling trip. But this price is flexible depending on demand and what ever the economy air feels like in Indonesia. Pak Saad is very nice, he will dive in if necessary with you.
Now I’m not sure if he speaks English so you can contact us to help you communicate if you have any trouble. A’ight?
You would have to flip to the ‘eat’ sub page to see B #3. Manado is very well known for it’s culinary adventures.
Now B #4 and #5 might tickle you a little. These two are I guess ‘optional’. And again this is a saying that you will definitely be explained about. Since the Manado people are Chinese descendents, they are really good looking. Especially the babes, considering the Indonesian reference. So, #4 is Bibir… which means lips, which means the kiss from a Manadonese. And #5 is Buah Dada… or Breasts, another B for you there! Which means… enough said! But hey… it’s only a saying to enjoy all 5. But believe us when we say the 3 before will blow you away enough to ever consider the last 2 😛
Ok… happy visiting Manado 😀
Now the ambience definitely causes the munchies to kick in. As a matter of fact, Manado is a city that can be called as a culinary destination in this country 😛 There are food as strange as dogs, cats, bats (called Paniki dish), and forest rats. Something that unfortunately I did not experience this time.
B #3: Bubur Manado
Manado is very popular with its porridge. It’s called Bubur Manado. It’s a rice porridge mixed with various veggies such as corn, spinach, cassava, etc and sometimes that add a dash of fish. It’s a great breakfast meal and usually sold only in the morning. So be the early bird to experience this B.
Besides this dish, there are sweet sour dishes, and food that has the word ‘rica’attached to it which is identical with chopped chilly, onion, and tomoatoes. Other than that, what is also famous from Manado is the yellow rice and Klapertaart.
Klapertaart is a cake which consist mostly of young coconut. The coconut is not shredded but sliced and mixed with the cake dough, then baked as all cakes. What I know is that this yummy cake originally is from the Netherlands. Probably because there was a time when the Netherland people use to live here and the noni-noni (a term used to describe foreign women in the colonial days) showed the locals how to make this cake. Actually it’s a modification of a cake mixed with the abundant local ingredient which is coconuts. Hence, this cake became well known as the Manado cake 😛
You can bring this cake to share with those at home (in the Indonesia area of course). The best place to get this cake is in Cella or in Kartika (the current president, SBY, if traveling to Manado loves to order for the cake here). Both stores have a different taste to their Klapertaart, so which is better is depending on your own tasting. Try both if you must because it really is a polarized opinion. If you happen to forget during your stay, don’t worry, there is a stall at the airport ready at your service J. Another Manado cake is the Balapis, also available at both stores. It’s kinda like a jelly cake but made by a certain flour. Have a taste and see what the fuss is all about. These cakes can last for about 3-4 days when stored in a refrigerator. You would have to confirm the store when buying the cakes, just to make sure.
What intrigued me about the Manado yellow rice, is besides it is wrapped in palmyra palm leaf, it tastes less spicy then the usual Manado dishes. Inside this wrapped dish is the yellow rice of course, steamed egg, shredded meat, dried fried potatoes and chili paste.
The people say the best nasi Kuning is in Seroja restaurant. But so sorry I forgot the location.[Y9] Hehehehehe…
Land: You can always rent a car from to and from any city on the island. There is one main road all around Sulawesi, which is a great way to see the island.
Sea: There a numerous ships that go to Bitung, which is the biggest and closest port to Manado. Bitung is located on the south coast of the peninsula and is about 2 hours drive from Manado. You can check on www.pelni.com to see what route suites you best.
Air: Sam Ratulangi is an International airport. Besides flight from domestic areas, you can also catch a plane from Singapore if you want to skip the whole Jakarta and Makassar scene. Flights are provided by Silk Air from Singapore, with frequency of 4 times a week and takes about 3 hours, or Air Asia from Kuala Lumpur that runs 3 times a week and takes about 4 hours.