Exploring the Other Side of Wakatobi as A Maritime Regency
Author: Martina Rahmadani (Responsible Marine Bussiness Officer, WWF-Indonesia)
Translated By: Ahmad Shadiqi
Wakatobi National Park in Southeast Sulawesi, is well known as a world-class tourist destination. However, is it true that the isle’s main attraction is the underwater life and the culture only? Eventually, Wakatobi provide more as it has become a maritime regency.
WWF-Indonesia’s Southern Eastern Sulawesi Subseascape just hosted a five-day trip exploring Wakatobi. Earlier in November, Jelajah Biru – the operator of sustainable marine tourism, and a property company, Synthesis Development, got the chance to explore the other face of this national park with sixteen participants. They are the honorable customers and the best staffs of Synthesis Development, and the honorable guess of WWF-Indonesia.
The trip lasted 5 days in Wangi-wangi, Kaledupa, and Hoga island. They got to experience not only the wonderful underwater view and the local culture, but also a chance to set sail with FRS Menami.
FRS Menami, WWF-Indonesia’s research ship, just finished its # XPDCSULTRA mission. The ship boarded the participants and sailed for four hours from Wangi-Wangi island to Hoga Island, the first stopover.
An effective eco-tourism contains not only activities concerning conservation, but also those concerning individual empowerment. This is the other side of Wakatobi, an interesting side to explore. Toudani, a community-based tourism group assisted by WWF-Indonesia was appointed as the event organizer during the stay in Kaledupa Island. Blatantly, Toudani’s local tour guides explained to the people the function of mangroves to be planted in Sombano the next day.
The activity is chosen due to a reason. The decreasing mangrove vegetation has caused abrasion in Sombano Beach resulting in the loss of habitats for several species living around it. In this trip, sixteen participants contributed in repairing the beach. It felt special.
We – and all the participants, also joined a cooking class of Kaledupa’s traditional menu. Soami, Parende, and Kosea nu kaudafa were some of our trial menu in Forkani Headquarters, Ambeua, Kaledupa.
Soami is the alternative of rice made with grated yam which is boiled and shaped into a cone. Soami is usually served with a tasty and sour fish soup (parende) and a salad from moringa leaf and papaya leaf (kosea nu kaudafa). The meals were prepared without any flavoring so it is guaranteed to be healthy. The participants seemed enthusiastic and they praised the meals that they actually prepared by themselves during lunch.
The trip continued to Pajam Village, a customary village on the plateau. The traditional life was seen as the participants were welcomed by knitted scarfs from the mothers of Pajam Village. The mothers asked them to join the homuru (kintting) process using traditional equipment, needing patience and thoroughness.
“We couldn’t even think to bargain the price of this beautiful woven cloth,” said Davina, one of the participants. Homuru with the traditional ways undergoes a considerably long process, but with magnificent woven result.
The second day exploring Wakatobi ended with a traditional dance performance of Lariangi. The dance performed by the Pajam’s women, has its own place in the participants’ eyes. For them, Lariangi contains miraculous values attracting with the movement and the singing of the dancers. On the following three days obviously, more miraculous things awaited the participants here in Wakatobi.