Monday, June 27, 2011

Vocal Points of Ecotourism Program in Manokwari

As a painter, every time I make an artwork, I will try to identify and show its vocal point. For me, eco-tourism promotion in Manokwari is centered in three vocal points.
  1. The first is the Papuan people themselves,
  2. the rainforest, and 
  3. the marine environment. 
I have frequently stated that my main motivation in promoting this eco-tourism program is to create jobs for the indigenous people so that they will be able to improve their standard of living without needing to destroy their natural resources. Tropical rainforest and coral reef environment can be "exploited responsibly" to bring prosperity among the indigenous Papuan people through this travel or eco-tourism program.
Two weeks ago two European travelers went to Akmuri village in Kebar valley. They helped the local Papuan people built the well, water tower and washing platform. The construction of this clean water facility was organized by Wally and Coby from SDSP foundation who raised the money from members of a Protestant Church in the Netherlands and children in their neighborhood. This simple but important project greatly improves the health condition of the villagers because they are now able to drink clean water. Eco-tourism is not only about bird watching, or snorkeling. It is about how we can bring positive impacts to the local people.
A few days after publishing a post entitled Clean Water Facility for Papuan People in Akmuri Village, I received an email from a tourist who wants to support such project. I explained that he can participate in other program such as free books for Papuan children. Another tourist who visited Arfak mountains also contacted me and said that he is interested in constructing micro-hydro power plant for villages in West Papua. The interaction between tourists and the indigenous people will bring new ideas on how we can improve the living condition of the indigenous Papuan people. From little projects that the tourists support, we will be able to see a brighter future for West Papua. by Charles Roring

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bird Watching Tour in Manokwari

This is now a right time for you to travel to Manokwari for bird watching or other adventure tours or trekking trips in the tropical rainforest of Arfak mountains. Why I say it is the right time? Because the red fruits (pandanus conoideus) that have been the staple food for the birds of paradise are nearly ripe. Various species of birds of paradise can easily be watched on the slopes of the Arfak mountains when they land to eat the grains of the fruits. In addition to the paradise birds, travelers may also have the chance to watch spotted catbirds (ailuroedus melanotis) that eat banana fruit, hornbills, sulphur crested cockatoos, and hawks that often fly among the branches and trees of the mountains.
Beside bird watching and trekking in the jungle, travelers who come to Manokwari can also enjoy mountain biking, butterfly and insect watching as well as snorkeling. I also have explored the Kebar valley which is very potential to be developed as tourist destination. District Kebar is located between Manokwari and Sorong. Bird watching in Akmuri village trip is now available to tourists who want to see hundreds of species of tropical birds of New Guinea. Don't forget to bring your long lens camera and extra batteries if you want to visit Manokwari.
Manokwari also has a number of beaches that are beautiful. The most famous one is Pasir Putih beach that is located not far from the city. City dwellers like to go swimming at the beach on weekends. Whether you want to travel to Arfak mountains, or Tambrauw mountains, I will be happy to arrange the trips for you. Contact me via my email: charlesroring@gmail.com
Also read: Manokwari Street Parade

Friday, June 24, 2011

Tourists Destination in Manokwari's Arfak mountains

I have been promoting Arfak mountains as tourist destination for foreign travelers since the last two years. I am quite happy with the result because the number of visitors is increasing from time to time. The main objective of the promotion of this mountain range is to preserve the tropical rainforest and the high bio-diversity in it and at the same time to create jobs to the local Papuan people. If you are now thinking of visiting Manokwari in the coming months, I recommend Arfak mountains as your destination.
Here are a number of interesting places to visit:
Syoubri village - you can walk up the slopes above the village to watch bower birds, western parotia and also explore the nearby river at night for watching tropical frogs.
Kwau village - this village is quite isolated from the main road. For elderly tourists the time they spent to reach the tourist house is two hours. If you are an energic person, you might only need around 1 hour. The places for watching the magnificent birds of paradise (Cincinnurus Magnificus) are only five to ten minutes walk from the tourist house. The bird watching huts for bower bird and western parotia are even closer to the main road. For Kwau village, you can also learn traditional medicine that has been practiced by the local people for generations. Insect watching for butterfly, spider and beetles is also an interesting activity that tourists can do in Arfak mountains.
Other interesting destinations for foreign travelers are Minyambouw, and Anggi. Anggi lakes have been listed in Lonely Planet's travel guide book for years. Don't forget to bring warm clothing if you want to go to Arfak mountains.
If you are not used to staying in cold climate region, you still can see the rainforest of Arfak mountains that are located in lowlands. My recommendation will be Warkapi village. You can go there by public transportation or rental car. Although Warkapi is easy to be reached from the city, it does not have guesthouse for tourists. So, you need to bring your own tent. Other important items that you must not forget to bring are flash lights, and food.
If you still need more information about traveling in Manokwari and its surrounding villages, don't forget to contact me via my email: charlesroring@gmail.com.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rainforest Flowers Blue Trumpet Vine in the Table Mountain of Manokwari

This vine plant flowers throughout the whole year. According to a book entitled Tropical Plants, the genus of this rainforest flower is thunbergia. The species name is Thunbergia grandiflora Roxb. Its English name is Sky Vine or Blue Trumpet Vine. We can easily see them in open areas of the rainforest that receives full sunshine. The pale blue colors of these rainforest flowers look contrast in the middle of the dark green leaves of the plants and their supporting trees. The petals of the blue trumpet vine are soft. I photographed them when I was hiking in the Table Mountain of Manokwari. City dwellers in Manokwari have not considered the vine as a commercial decorative plant. So, it's relatively easy to find them at certain empty land areas in the city where bush plants and vines still grow.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Rainforest Flower from Passion fruit

Flower from Markisa or passionfruit is very beautiful. The white petals of the flower support the purple striped filaments that surround the style. Markisa is a delicious fruit that we can eat while traveling in Arfak mountains. Its taste is a combination of sweet and a little bit sour. When it is ripe, its skin surface looks yellow. The extract of the passionfruit is used to make syrup. Because the plant is a woody vine, this rainforest flower needs supporting trees to grow well. In addition to passionfruit flower, tourists can also see various species of other rainforest flowers that are endemic to the tropical rainforest of New Guinea island. Because flowers have close connection with insects, particularly the butterflies, tourists can enjoy butterfly watching in Arfak mountains too.
If you are interested in traveling to Manokwari regency and Arfak mountains to see flowers, to watch birds, or to walk in the jungle, please contact me via email charlesroring@gmail.com

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Clean Water Facility for Papuan people in Akmuri village of District Kebar

Last week I, together with Yerry and Iwan, accompanied Wally and Coby - two volunteers from the Netherlands to Akmuri village in Tambrauw mountains. Wally and Coby would build a clean water facility for the villagers there. It took around six hours from Manokwari city to Akmuri village by a 4WD car. However, the ride can be longer during bad weather condition. The indigenous Papuan people were very happy to receive us in their village. They worked hard to build a water tower, dug a well and made a washing platform in one week. The fund for the construction of this clean water facility was raised by Wally and Coby from members of a Protestant church in the Netherlands, his friends and some children in their neighborhood. Wally is a staff of SDSP. This Foundation has been working in West Papua for tens of years trying to improve the health condition of mothers and children as well as the standard of living of Papuan people.
Akmuri is also a potential destination for tourists who want to see the beauty of the tropical rainforest of New Guinea island that is rich of animals and plants. From this village, tourists can see the unique biodiversity of this tropical island. Butterfly watching, bird watching and hiking are some of the outdoor activities which tourists can enjoy in Akmuri village of Kebar valley. If you are interested in visiting Akmuri village, please contact me via email charlesroring@gmail.com.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Whaleshark Watching

Some people who want to go to West Papua often ask me whether I also arrange snorkeling trip to waters where they can watch whale shark. Through this post, I want to say: Yes, I do. However, because whale sharks that you want to see live in their natural habitat, I cannot fully guarantee that you will always find them when we go to the usual place where they play or come to eat ikan puri. Whale shark snorkeling is a favorite activity in the eco-tourism world. The place where visitors can go to watch these is in the front waters of Bitsyari bay between Namatota and mainland West Papua. From my personal experience, I highly recommend the Bitsyari bay.
Whaleshark watching
Bitsyari bay of Kaimana
Visitors need to fly from their country to Jakarta. The next flight to Kaimana town can be done by taking Lion Air and then Wings Air. It takes around one and a half hour by speed boat to the bay for watching whale shark. The best time to see whale shark is early in the mornings.
The best time to see the whale shark is during the puri fish season and when there is no moon at night. Puri fish is tiny fish that the whale sharks like to eat. This tiny fish is collected by fishermen at their bagan (floating fishing platform). I can arrange such trip to anybody who is interested in watching whale sharks. To share the cost of transportation and accommodation, you had better travel in a group of at least 2 or 4 people.
Tour
I offer 5 days/ 4 nights Sightseeing and Snorkeling Tour in Kaimana regency where visitors could see beautiful marine landscape, a lot of species of fish and birds.
Booking
Please, read my other post in the above link or contact me at the following email address for further info.
by Charles Roring/ E-mail: peace4wp@gmail.com

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Traveling to Manokwari and Bird watching in the rainforest of Arfak mountains

Most tourists who travel to Manokwari like to do bird watching in Arfak mountains. These mountains are located in the south of Manokwari - the capital of West Papua province. The rainforest that covers the Arfak mountains is home to hundreds of species of birds which among them are the magnificent birds of paradise, western parotia, and vogelkop bowerbird that are endemic to New Guinea island. Tourists who want to go hiking and bird watching in Arfak mountains need to bring camera with extra batteries. Another birding device that tourists  need are binoculars. Book entitled Birds of New Guinea by Beehler is also helpful when tourists want to identify the species of birds which they photograph after birding in the rainforest.
The above photograph shows how male a bower bird collects fruits and bright colored rainforest flowers to attract female bower bird. This is a main tourist attraction in the tropical rainforest of West Papua. It is sad to see that the bird also collects plastic bottle and cups of mineral water to his bower. It means that we, as human, MUST STOP throwing inorganic wastes everywhere including inside the rainforest or they will end up at every bower of the bower birds.

The indigenous people in Kwau village and Syioubri village have built huts (also called blinds) which tourists can use to watch the magnificent birds of paradise and the bowerbird. There are also houses which have been provided for tourists to stay. As a tourist guide I have guided tourists to travel around the Arfak mountains and other areas in the bird's head region of New Guinea island many times. This eco-tourism project greatly helps the local people in getting alternative income and in improving their economic condition. The Papuan people in Kwau and Syioubri villages cannot easily be tempted to give up their lands and forests for irresponsible exploitation that could be harmful to the environment. Traveling to Manokwari of West Papua is possible all year round.
When you have arrived in Manokwari city, you can contact me if you want to go to Arfak mountains. We will go there by a 4WD car that is able to climb steep slopes and rivers in the Arfak mountains. The beauty of the rainforest in this largest tropical island in the world is always waiting for you to come and experience it. It will reveal its beauty to anybody who loves nature and who wants to preserve it for future generations of human being. by Charles Roring
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