Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Introducing new tourist guides from Numfor island

Eco-tourism project in Numfor island that I promote through this blog is now running. I began providing tours to Numfor island since last year. However because this tropical island is far from Manokwari city, I often face difficulties in arranging trips there. As a solution, I need a local English speaking guide who can do the job. On 22nd March 2011, I went with 4 tourists from Czech Republic to Numfor by ferry boat KM Kasuari Pasifik IV. It took five hours from Manokwari city to reach the island. Because we were two hours late when leaving Manokwari, we arrived at around 5 p.m. When we were at the pier, I met a young Papuan girl named Dina Prawar. She introduced herself and began talking to me in English. I was a little bit surprised to find out that she was speaking very good English. After having some conversation with her for a few minutes, I knew that she lives in Yemburwo village. She and her family came from Papua New Guinea. Her father who was originally a Numforese went to the neighbor country to work as football player when he was still young. Now he is old and prefers to spend his time in his home island.

Dina said that she was interested in working as tourist guide through this eco-tourism project. I was happy to hear it. I had been looking for Papuan Youth in Numfor island for guiding tourists doing the snorkeling, hiking, bird watching and other activities that are related to travel and tourism business. Finally, I met this girl and his brother.
Besides Dina, there is another young man who also speaks some basic English. His name is Willy Prawar. He is Dina's brother. Through this post, I introduce them to you so that whenever you have the chance to visit Numfor island and need a guide to accompany you and show you interesting tourist destinations, you can contact one of them. Dina's cell phone number is +6285243310326.Willy Prawar does not have a cell phone at the moment. If you need him, you can go to Yemburwo village.

Since one of my goals in promoting eco-tourism in West Papua is to create jobs to Papuan people, I highly recommend you to hire a Papuan tourist guide like Dina or Willy when you visit this beautiful tropical island. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mountain Biking in the Morning

Once upon a time in January 2011, I rode my mountain bike in the morning. It was not my usual time for mountain biking but I felt that I should try some exercises in the morning to keep my body in fit condition. Manokwari city dwellers were still sleeping when I pushed by Cozmic DX 2.0 out of my house. I got on to the bike and started riding it to the east of the city. The cool air hit my face and my hands. I pressed on faster and faster. As usual, my destination was Pasir Putih beach. I wanted to reach the area before sunrise.
It took around 25 minutes for me to reach the beach. I stopped there for a while admiring the beautiful view of the Manokwari bay and the blue sea that was very calm that morning. When I arrived at the Pasir Putih beach, the sun had not risen. After taking some deep breathes to restore my energy, I continued riding my bicycle again. This time my destination was Abasi beach. It took another fifteen minutes to reach the beach whose waves could reach up to three meters between November and February. At Abasi we could sometimes watch children wave surfing during the high waves season. I stopped my mountain bike near the white sandy beach of Abasi.
The rising sun creates a band of red sky at the south above the Arfak mountains. It was really beautiful to sit on my bicycle admiring the magnificent view of the blue Arfak mountains with the bright pink sky. I really enjoyed the morning cycling journey at that time but I knew that I had to return home immediately, otherwise the streets of Manokwari city would be filled with cars and motorcycles again. As I ascended a slope behind the governor's office of West Papua province, I stopped for a few minutes to take pictures of a Pelni passenger ship that was mooring at Manokwari harbor. While I am writing this article, I feel that I will do the morning mountain biking again when I have free time next week. by Charles Roring
Also read:
Mountain bike tour in Manokwari
Mountain bike tour to Cape Bakaro

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Papuan Children and a Dutch tourist called "Arjen Robben's sister"

The presence of foreign tourists always attracts the attention of local people in places where the tourists visit. This also happens in Anggrem area of Manokwari. Anggrem is located in Dorey bay. It is the place where sailors who travel around the tropical islands in the Geelvink bay of West Papua park their wooden boats. Anggrem is also the place where some Papuan artists live. They are wood carvers and painters.
Early this month, I guided some Dutch tourists to Anggrem. After visiting the artists, we walked to the beach to see the wooden boats and to take pictures of the Manokwari bay. When we were there, we met a lot of Papuan children who were playing at the beach. We were really upset to see that the sea was very dirty. The children were very happy to meet us. They called us, "mister-mister" both to the male and female tourists. I tried to explain to them that they should call a female tourist Miss or Ms. (Misz). Some followed but others just continued to call mister. The Papuan children liked the tourists very much. They showed their skills by jumping into the water from the wooden jetty where the wooden boats were being moored. Some boys were in the water shooting urchins. Urchin has thorns around its body. I remembered my childhood experience when I was swimming at "batu petak" of Manokwari harbor when I accidently stepped on some urchins. The thorns hit my foot and I felt that it was really painful. To reduce the pain, some of my friends stood around me, while I was sitting on the white sandy beach crying, peed on my foot. Their warm urine washed my foot and could effectively reduce the pain.
"Arjen Robben's Sister"
Back to my story about children in Anggrem area. Some of the boys shot some urchins and took them out of the water. A little boy showed his bravery by putting the poisonous urchin on his palm and showed it to Anne Bijleveld and Victor. Anne took some pictures of the urchin and the smilling boys and girls who gathered around us. The boys told us that they were fans of Dutch soccer players. They said that they like Arjen Robben. I smiled to them and said, "oh, that's great. This is Arjen Robben's sister" pointing my finger to Anne Bijleveld. The Papuan children thought that I am serious when saying it. They asked Anne whether she could tell her brother to visit them in Manokwari. Anne replied she would try but she could not promise it because Arjen Robben might be very busy. As a result, they kept following us while we continued our walk around the town to visit some Papuan artists at the Merdeka street and Komplex Missi.
Several days later, when these Dutch tourists were about to leave Manokwari for Biak by ferry boat Kasuari Pasifik IV, two little boys walked along the way from Anggrem to Manokwari. They met me in my bookstore saying they wanted to meet the "misters" especially Arjen Robben's sister." I said that they were not staying in Losmen Kagum anymore. They were in Wisma Jati. These little boys continued to walk to Jati area but fifteen minutes later they returned. They said that Wisma Jati was too far for them. I felt sorry for them. I offered an ojek to bring them to the hotel but I rejected the ride. I saw the little boys walking back to Anggrem.
The boat would leave in the afternoon at 4 p.m.. I arranged a car to transfer them to Manokwari harbor. When the car arrived, they boys showed up again. They did not walk back to Anggrem. They kept on waiting for Anne - the "Arjen Robben's sister." They really wanted to meet her. I took them into the car and we went to Wisma Jati. When we arrived at the hotel, they children looked happy because they could see Anne again. I took some nice photographs of them with their "favorit football star's sister".
Victor and Anne went to Arfak mountains for some hiking tour in the forest where they saw the magnificent birds of paradise, and bower bird by Charles Roring
Also read: Papuan Children Wave Surfing with Victor Dykman

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Cheapest Way to Travel Around Manokwari regency

Some tourists say that traveling around Manokwari regency in the province of West Papua is expensive. Yes, it is true. I cannot deny this statement. For instance, the cost of traveling from Manokwari city to Kebar valley and Senopi is around Rp. 5,000,000 (five million rupiahs) or around 588 US dollars for a rent car. If you are a budget traveler, I suggest that you travel in group of three to four people to share the cost. I know that it might be difficult due to different interests. Another alternative way to go to the valley is by airplane. Susi Air fly to Kebar valley of Tambrauw mountains. Ticket price is very cheap because it is subsidized by the local government to boost the economic activity in the remote inland areas of Kebar valley and its surrounding region. The cheap ticket price is provided by the airline under a program called "penerbangan perintis" or "pioneering flights." Because the ticket is cheap, a lot of people buy them. I tried to reserve the tickets for Czechs tourists in March 2011 but I did not succeed.
Besides Kebar and Senopi, another interesting destination in Manokwari regency is the Arfak mountains. Again, some tourists have expressed their concerns over the expensive cost. The normal rate for car rent to Mokwam villages is 2 million rupiahs (go and return) or around 232 US dollars. It is the same as the price of a jet plane ticket for a flight between Manokwari city and Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. The rates that I mention above are the real rates that have been charged by car drivers. I never mark up the prices. So, if you are really interested in visiting Kebar, Senopi and Mokwam, the cheapest way to travel to these villages is by going in groups of three or four tourists.

In addition to the mountaineous region, interesting travel destination that I promote in this blog is the Numfor island. This tropical island lies between Manokwari city and Biak island. It can be reached by boat and airplanes. Check the schedule of the boat at Manokwari ship harbor if you want to go to Numfor island. Although traveling to Numfor by boat is very cheap, you will be shocked to find out that the price of Ojek ride in the island is much higher than the normal rate that you usually pay in Manokwari city. If you do not want to deal with matters related to arranging cars, flights and accommodation while visiting Manokwari, you can contact me via email charlesroring@gmail.com. As a tourist guide, I will be happy to arrange them for you. Do not forget to mention the date of your arrival in Manokwari and the duration of your trip when you contact me so that I can develop a good program or itinerary for you in a reasonable price. by Charles Roring
Also read: Buying Tickets of Susi Air and My New Discovery of Rendani Lake

Mangrove forest of Numfor island

Mangrove forest in Numfor plays is important both for the people and the environment of the tropical island. It protects small fish, prevents erosion can reduce the power of Tsunami. Numfor island is a beautiful travel destination that I recommend to tourists. When I first landed on the ship harbor of Numfor island, I saw a lot of fresh fish was being sold by fishermen on the pier in cheap price. I have visited this tropical island for three times. And this time, I just returned to Manokwari city from Numfor after flying for around twenty minutes by Susi Air. I am very surprised to find out that fish is abundant in Numfor's waters. Located close to Manokwari city, the capital of West Papua province, Numfor is an important supplier of fresh and salted fish.
As a tourist guide, I have several opportunities of traveling around the shores of Numfor to see the coastal environment and the daily life of the villagers who live along island. Much of the shores of Numfor island is covered with such trees as coconuts, catapa and barringtonia. Swampy areas are dominated by mangrove forest. When I visited the mangrove forest, I saw large amount of fish in various species living in the waters among the roots of the mangrove trees. This small fish makes the mangrove forest as safe shelter to protect them from predators which are usually bigger fish and birds that can hunt them easily in an open waters.
In areas where vast areas of mangrove forest exists, fish stock is abundant. I now understand that mangrove forests are really important for us because of their function in providing safe nursing ground for fish before they become big enough to live in the open sea. Besides its vital function as home for small fish, mangrove trees protects islands from big waves that cause erosion.
When I was in Yemburwo village located at the northern part of the island, I saw that the people there had planted the tidal areas of the northern shores with endless rows of mangrove seedlings. They did this to protect their homes or villages from possible Tsunami attacks that could hit the island anytime in the future. Numfor and Biak frequently experince tectonic earthquakes. Numfor island is quite flat compared to the maind New Guinea or Papua island whose northern areas are mountainous. The islanders know that mangrove forest is not only important in protecting small fish and preventing erosion, but also reducing the destructive force of Tsunami that could hit this beautiful tropical island in the future.
If you are interested in visiting Numfor island, and are looking for a tourist guide to accompany you and arrange your travel, please contact me via my email: charlesroring@gmail.com
Also read: Traveling to Numfor island

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Papuan Children Wave Surfing with Victor Dykman at Abasi beach of Manokwari

I went with Victor Dykman and Anne Bijleveld this afternoon to Abasi beach of Manokwari. We wanted to watch how the Papuan children perform wave surfing. Although Victor and Anne had just arrived this morning, they showed their interest in seeing these Papuan children. We went there by ojek - motorcycle taxi. When we arrived at the front yard of Utrecht church, we did not see children at sea. So, I called some children to find the little wave surfers whom I met two days ago. It did not take a long time to see them coming with their wooden boards. The shops that sell standard surfboard do not exist in Manokwari so, they could only use their "wooden surfing boards" which actually were only some pieces of wooden panels. They did have any discussions about surfing techniques before going to the sea. It seems that surfing for them is a natural thing. Before going surfing, they stood in front of me and Anne for some photographs. I did not bring long lens camera, so I could only show you how these surfers holding their boards stood on together at the beautiful beach of Abasi.
The best time for wave surfing in Manokwari is between December and February. This is the 2nd  March 2011. The waves are getting weaker but still good enough for an afternoon sport. Victor said he really enjoyed wave surfing with the Papuan children. After doing or watching the "beach show," all of use enjoyed some fresh coconut juice hand picked by one of the Papuan surfer. by Charles Roring - peace4wp@gmail.com
Also read:
Photos of Papuan children wave surfing at Abasi beach of Manokwari
Papuan children wave surfing at Abasi beach

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