Diving The Tip of Celebes

“How many of your friends have traveled to Bunaken?” I mumbled to my buddy when our boat docked to the pier.

“Two, as far as I know.” She replied.

“Mine’s two as well, or maybe three.” I counted myself.

In fact, flight to North Sulawesi was neither short nor cheap. It took us 3 hours and almost 2.5 million IDR for round trip ticket, even though it was not a high season to travel. Maybe that’s the reason why majority of our acquaintances prefer Thailand or any other country as their travel destination.

Bunaken
My suggestion: Take left side window seat (A). You can see the island even before you land in Sam Ratulangi Airport.

But we did not regret our decision. Bunaken was totally worth.

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Marvelous sunset

We stayed in Bastianos Dive Resort, willing to pay some more than to commute 45 minute each way from mainland to the national park. I would recommend you to stay there too, since they provide warm hospitality and more importantly, delicious food.

The underwater view of Bunaken was fantastic. Colorful corals, school of fish everywhere, and a lot of sea turtles. If you’re lucky, you will meet sharks, too. The best time to visit: late April to November.

After 2 days and 6 dives, we are going back to the mainland. This time we will walk, instead of swim, to meet some other creatures in Tangkoko Nature Reserve.

Tangkoko Batuangus Nature Reserve is a lowland rainforest, 2 hours drive from Manado. Here you can meet the ‘fusion’ of Asian and Australian Faunas: the tarsiers, the black macaque monkeys, maleo birds, cuscus and the hornbills who make this their habitat. Unfortunately, as the land diminished, some animals have become endangered or even extinct.

Wasn’t lucky enough to meet the big monkeys but still, worth the 8 km hike. Here are some Pals I met during my visit (too bad I did not bring a tele):

Again, we were the only local tourist visited. Our guide, Meldy, said that almost all of the visitor are foreigners. It was a shame, that even his relative from Manado, did not know that Tarsius lived on the same island as theirs. Well, some road are less traveled for some reasons, right?

If you are wondering, how I arranged this tour. I googled about Tangkoko, then found contact of a recommended guide in Lonely Planet forum. He already had a reservation on our wished date, however he referred his friend to us. On the date of our visit, Meldy and a driver picked us up on the port.

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We were back to the city at the end of the day.

It felt weird to be surrounded by a lot of people, after being secluded on the island and forest. We missed the solitude already.

On the final day, we explored the city and of course, the culinary~

First stop of our city tour was the North Sulawesi Museum. They provide nice information about the province’s history and culture as well as basic information about human evolution. It is currently the only museum in Manado.

Second stop, Nasi Kuning Seroja. It is located on a walking distance from the museum. They provide a fancy leaf-wrap if you order take away.

Then we head to the chinese area to visit Ban Hin Kiong temple. Actually there were a bunch of temple on the area,but Ban Hin Kiong is the largest temple. We still saw some Cap Gomeh decoration along the street.

Not far from the temple, there were Wakeke Culinary area where you can find a lot of kiosk selling Manadonese traditional food: Mie Cakalang, Tinutuan (Bubur Manado), etc. Despite of its relatively cheap price, they serve quite big portion.

On our way to visit Christ Blessing Monument, we stopped in Merciful Building to buy some souvenir. They provide a wide variety of this, including outside North Sulawesi.

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Christ’ Blessing Monument

Unfortunately it was raining when we arrived at the monument. The statue located in a real estate residential area. On top of a hill, facing the city. It is the third largest statue of Jesus Christ after the first in Brazil and the second in Poland.

Lastly, we stopped in Christin’s Klapertaart on the way to the airport . We forgot to take pictures because the tart was too good. Yumm 😀

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What I’ve learned

Never, ever judge people by their actions and their decisions. They didn’t earn them instantly. You might not understand the proccess they’ve been through, battles they’ve fought, and home where they’ve been grown.
The more you think you know about something, actually the less you know about everything.
God speaks through various languages you might not understand. Don’t hate what you don’t understand.

Technofinity

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A couple days ago I watched the film Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. Well, I don’t want to spoil the story, but it was reflected by the picture.

Civilizations had brought us further ahead. We’re too amazed by the technology and start leaving the common beautiful ways of living. Gadgets had been stolen the fun of playing outdoor for kids. Internet has made the further people closer, and closer people further. Teenagers and even parents are busy with their gadget on family quality time. We’re losing the meaning of presence and present.

Do you know that…. even Steve Job didn’t let their kids play iPhone and iPad? He knows that what He invents would affect values of human living, and he’s protecting his family. Well, that’s exactly what I’m gonna do in my family in the future.

Everything has its cost, every invention of a civilization has a risk to treaten us, too. We should be smart to choose. Yeah, technology should improve our life, not become our life.

Moving On

Year ends, a year passed, a new year begins. Well this year, 2014, was too memorable.

2014 was a year of transformation, I guess. Not only for myself but also for the world. It taught me a lot of life lessons; leading a team I barely meet, working on a brand-new atmosphere, testing my faith to study medicine, reminding me of how’s falling in love feels like, and finally, 2014 teaches me necessity to stop doing things, no matter how much you love, when it starts hurting you.

I learned about destiny. That life’s not always about how hard you try. Life’s not just about what you have and where you’ve been. Well, life is all about being the best actress for God’s scenario which had been written for you.

Here’s a quote from Kamran Pasha on a book I read lately:

“I know that we’re all deers while the lion hunting us is a hunter with no sympathy called destiny. And life’s tragedy don’t care how far we go, the lion will always win.”

We need to let things go. As time flies, it would be just a story, a memory. There will be no fear, no more obstacle. We will able to breathe easier. Much easier.

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It’s been 4 years since I passed the new years eve with friends. Yeah, my dearest highschool best friends, Perwakilan Kelas XVI. It’s not about the celebration; there’s no fireworks or bonfire. Just some chitchats and skype with the others who’s oversea are enough to warm the atmosphere of the rainy night.

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Thank God for this lovely beginning. May this year would be blissful and better 🙂

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All the praises to Allah, the Lord of the universe. The most gracious and the most merciful. Thanks for this wonderful life.

And I know, the end is not the end. We have tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, which gonna make us stronger and wiser.

Hello, 2015!

Hatta #2

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The thing from Hatta I loved the most is that he knows the border. He had a clear target of his works, the nation’s independence. He worked all the way through it, he built the nation’s economy afterwards. In the end, he knows where to stop.

It was July 1956, he wrote a letter to DPR stating he would resign from his position after the general election. He thought that after a new DPR formed, then the nation would have a new era.

Hatta often had a different opinion with Sukarno since the national’ movement era. Later, the disagreement wasn’t only about the political and governmental issue. Hatta could not accept Sukarno’s ignorance to Fatmawati, and moreover, Sukarno marriage to his new wife Hartini. He assessed that Sukarno wasn’t attached with his position as a constitutional president anymore.

DPR committee that was assigned to look for a shape of the two’s collaboration result on nothing. Sukarno said it would be hard for them to cooperate if Hatta be the vice president, while Hatta refuse because of the great responsibility.

On 1 December 1956, Hatta finally resign and become an ordinary civilian.

Mohammad Hatta – Hati Nurani Bangsa by Dr. Deliar Noor. Kompas Media Nusantara, 2002.