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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Hatta #3

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Meskipun Bung Hatta telah tiada, Bung Hatta akan tetap hidup dalam hati kami, cita-cita Bung Hatta akan senantiasa menyinari perjuangan kami.

Berbeda dengan makam Sukarno yang terpelosok tapi tetap didatangi orang dari berbagai penjuru, makam Hatta ini terletak di tengah kota dan justru sepi.

Di akhir karir politiknya, beliau menolak menjadi wakil presiden; mundur dan memilih untuk menjadi rakyat sipil.

Jasamu sungguh besar, Pak. Tetapi engkau memilih untuk dikenal sebagai rakyat biasa.

Terima kasih atas pengorbananmu, Bapak Koperasi Indonesia. Inspirasi perjuanganmu akan selalu mewarnai negeri.

A journey to the west #3

This is Switzerland. The scenery I see reminds me of Heidi; the girl who lived in the Alpine.

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That’s just one of the infinite-breath-taking views during my journey. And that’s what makes Switzerland is special; it’s geographical location. Swiss is about mountain, lakes, and of course cows.

Interlaken is the first city I visit. As it names inter.laken; the city is located between two lakes. Two green lakes on its East and West, and  a view of the Mount Eiger on its South. Cool.

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Then with a panoramic train; train with big windows, we’re passing through the hills to Lucerne. Lucerne is a lovely city for a traveler; medium sized, with old buildings, flowers, and swans.

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I’m loving the country. Calm and peaceful.

I am Switzerland. Neutral as can be, with a great chocolate.

Fun facts about Switzerland; it has a dour different national languages. French, German, Italian, and Romansch. Yeah, Switzerland consist of a diversity of the country surrounds it. That’s why they remains neutral; to maintain its national stabilization.

Even they’re different, despite of their language differents, but I don’t doubt their nationalism. They’re loving their country; at least that’s what I see. I rarely see the red-and-white flags hanging on some houses in any neighborhood back in Indonesia (except on the independence day), or seeing my national flags on sale in the souvenir shop. However, it does here in Switzerland.

Being a Swiss is a pride, I guess. Then the pride become something to unite their diversity; one for all, all for one.

A journey to the west #2

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” – Ernest Hemingway

You probably have heard that quote before. But if you’re not, it’s okay. Because I’ve never heard it before, too. Hehe.

I was wondering: Why does people adore Paris? Is it that great as what people talking about, or is it just overrated? Even now, after I’ve been here in this city for 2 days, I still can’t decide. One thing I am sure is…I am amazed with this city.

I wasn’t amazed by of the Eiffel tower or the fashion industry here. I am simply amazed by the civilization of the city, the history. This city was the center of learning and arts in the past, which I still can feel  it now. France has been developed since ages and now they’re living with one of the highest standard in the world. They don’t get there by instance; they’ve been on a long way. Have you heard about the French’ Revolution? Or about Napoleon Bonaparte and all of the wars? Yeah, they’ve fought so hard.

These are some highlights of my visit:
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Here’s Louvre. Despite of my brother’s comment: “kayak taman burung”, this is a museum where you can learn about the history of Europe, Middle East, and around. You’ll get lost in the middle of paintings, sculpture, and anything else. Even the real Monalisa paintings is here.

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Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile. Arch of The Triumph of the Star. This is a monument of honours to those who died and fought the French Revolutionaires and Napoleonic Wars. They said, all of French victories is written here. However, I couldn’t get closer to the Arche, as they were closed for the Tour de France. Luckily, so I can watch the famous bicycle competition live.. At least, their shadows, as they pass soooooo fast!

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Do you know what he’s watching? A basketball game, clearly. But the adorable thing is: it’s a basketball game of the disables! Brilliant.

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Now that we’re cruising on the river, we’re kind of jealous with people here. They hang outs freely. They don’t go to malls, but just ‘picnic’ around the river or on the park. There’s even a dancing-class on public spaces.

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What else can I say about France? Hmm. I find out that behind their perfect-alike postures, they’re living a balanced diet. Not everyone, but mostly. Beyond the great French desserts, the main course are almost plain veggies. Well, no pain no gain, right?

I guess the quote’s right; if you’re living in Paris as a young man, then you’re lucky. Because this city has a thousand years of history you can learn. You would’ve lived longer than your age.

Catatan KKNM #9: A month to remember

Seperti apa rasanya tinggal sebulan bersama orang-orang yang tidak kau kenal?

Bukan lagi 24/7, bahkan 24/30 bersama mereka. Kemana-mana bersama; makan bersama, jalan-jalan bersama, merancang kegiatan bersama, bahkan kau perlu masak dan mencucikan piring mereka.

Semua punya karakter masing-masing, latar belakang beragam, dan gaya hidup yang berbeda-beda. Tetapi kita disatukan; dipaksa untuk tinggal satu rumah dengan fasilitas seadanya, di desa yang bahkan lebih terpencil dari Jatinangor. Memang perlu usaha untuk beradaptasi di awal tetapi setelah kau berhasil menyesuaikan diri: voila! mereka akan jadi teman-teman yang sangat menyenangkan. Continue reading “Catatan KKNM #9: A month to remember”