Friday, January 28, 2011

Manggarai Awarded the Most Unique Destination at Indonesia Tourism Award 2010

2 December 2010 marked an important stage in the development of Flores as a new tourist destination when Mr. Agustinus Ch Dula, the newly elected Regent of West Manggarai on behalf of West Manggarai province received the award for the Most Unique Destination at the Indonesia Tourism Award 2010. The award presentation was attended by the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mr. Jero Wacik, Director General of Marketing, Mr. Sapta Nirwandar and SWA Chief Editor Kemal Effendi Gani. The award is an appreciation dedicated to regencies and cities as well as national tourism players to continuously develop, promote and strengthen all tourism sectors in the Indonesian Archipelago to attract more travellers visiting Indonesia to achieve the targeted seven-million visitors for 2010.

The prestigious award was presented on 2 Desember 2010 by The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia in association with SWA Magazine as a result of a survey done in 25 cities and regencies from 16 Augustus - 14 October 2010 involving 1,169 respondents consisting of 1,470 local tourists and 149 overseas travellers. The survey questionnaire comprised best city/regency in tourist services, the most favourite tourist destination, most favourite tourism object, best tourism support service which is divided into nine sub-categories: non-starred hotel, starred-hotel, airline, tour operator/travel agent, taxi, restaurant, golf, spa service provider and shopping mall. Another category is also dedicated to provinces with highest committment in tourism development.


Source and photo courtesy of:
Mr. Paulus Selasa, Head of Tourism Department of West Manggarai Regency

Flores Exotic Tours

Flores Exotic Tours

We are a group of 8 young Florenese, having many years of experience in the field of tourism in Flores and Bali and have done local and international tourism training.

Our aim is to share our experiences with those who wish to know more about our Flores island and Komodo dragon island, including Komodo National Park and tiny surrounding islands near Labuanbajo in west Flores and Lembata and Alor islands to the east of Flores. In addition, we wish to show closely our pure nature, for others to enjoy the stunning beauty of Flores nature, to get closer with the friendly local tribes, to see with their own and wonderful arts and cultures, and to discover the world’s most diverse and exotic wildlife.

We also focus on ecotourism, community-based ecotourism, trekking and bird watching, as programs offered in Tado, Werang, Mbeliling, and Wae rebo Village, located in West Flores. This may help develop local community development, local economy and local resources

We are concerned about sustainable tourism development by helping local economy and resources and every visitor has high respect for local culture, people and nature.
Address : Jalan Kakatua 8 Ngencung Ruteng 86511 Flores East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia
Phone : +62 385 2705022
Fax : +62 385 21824
Email :
Website :

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Reba, Thanksgiving Celebrations and Hopes for a Better Year

Reba, Thanksgiving Celebrations and Hopes for a Better Year

Ngadha or Ngada, is a famous region of Flores’ indigenous cultural richness and famed for its preservation of ancient rites, physical and non-physical artifacts that is searched for, observed and enjoyed by travelers coming to the island.
Bena, a village approximately 13km from Bajawa on the southern mountainous landscape, Ngada’s capital city, has been exposed by many travel guidebooks including the traveler’s bible “The Lonely Planet” as “the” place to experience the amazing Florinese tradition and culture. The existence of Bena can be traced down to the Megalithic remains found in most areas of the village. Lying at the feet of Mount Inerie, Bena offers not only a scenic view of the blue-colored mountain but also a hiking trip along its winding hilly path. For the art lovers, Florinese Ikat weaving is an inseparable artistic feature of Bena.
December is an important month for the community of Bena who holds an annual celebration called Reba. Reba is the festival similar to Thanksgiving, paying respect to the Almighty for the blessing of the great harvest and the people’s wealth. The three-day festival consists of communal ceremonies where rituals involving a huge amount of crops and livestock collected. Historically, Reba tells the story of the community’s ancestors who traveled from time to time to different places in search of better livestock and crops, especially yam, as well as seeking farmland in the neighborhood.
It is amazing to see that the villagers still hold up their traditional way of life with a strong commitment inherited and inspired by their ancestors. The role of the ancestors is not only admitted but respect of their existence is also shown in every part of their lives.
For religious reason and based on communal consensus, the yearly ceremony of Reba is held on 27th of December annually. Bena is being considered as the eldest village compared to surrounding related sibling villages, which makes it the first place to hold Reba, followed by other villages after a certain number of days.
Animal offerings are part of the sacred rituals during the festive days. A series of ceremonies will be held in the Kisanatha, the village’s yard, where all the rites and meals will be held and served. Nga’dhu, a tall wooden trunk with carvings and a conical thatched-roof on top, representing the first male ancestor and Bhaga, a miniature of a traditional house representing the first female ancestor will be at the center of the rituals.
Rites related to Reba actually already started one week before the actual festival. Some pre-ceremonial rituals as the initiation of Reba, like Paki Sobhi (comb making), a thirteen-rowed comb made of thin bamboo believed to prevent the village from wind or storm, and Bui Loka, a ceremony meant to clean the Loka or Lanu--structured stones where the blood of the offered animals is spilled on, both rituals are held at the outskirts of the village.
In general, Reba in Bena is performed in the following stages:
Dheke Reba is the initial stage where materials or ceremonial instruments including animals to offer such as pigs, dogs and chicken are collected. The collection process called Ngapa is done by the members of the clans (Woe). At this stage, Kobe Dheke is the gathering where all attending participants discuss about the work to be done, problems, and observations to each member of the family. The discussion is usually held in Teda One, the main house of the Ngadanese. The night will be closed with a communal dinner called ‘Ka Maki Reba’.
Sedo Uwi is the day when all members of the village proudly dress up in their best traditional costume and dance together. Songs telling stories adoring the yam, a typical staple food in their olden days, accompany the dancing. ‘O Uwi’ meaning “oh yam” is sung many times during the song. The ceremonial dancing is commonly done the day after the first night of Reba. In this special occasion, the cheers are shared to all including any visitors who are encouraged to participate in the amusing dance.
Kobe Dho’I is claimed to be the most expressive part of the ongoing Reba ceremony when people of the village invite relatives from other villages or any outside traveler to enjoy meals served in the house.
Su’i Uwi is the most sacred ritual in Reba where the Tua Adat (the elderly chief) cuts a yam and recite poetic verses telling an ancient story of their ancestor’s journey from a land called ‘One Sina’ that has long been interpreted by some anthropologists as China. They had sailed across oceans and hiked mountains, then migrated through Java, Bima, Sumba and then on to the north until they arrive in Ngadha. Yam is adorned in many lines of the verses as their ancestors’ staple food.
Rora Wuki Uwi or throwing out the yam peels at the village’s backyard closes the festival of Reba.
If you wish to experience this inspiring and rich-of-Florinese culture festival, Reba, please circle these important dates:
• 1 January 2011, in Gurusina, 4 km South of Bena, (Lat: 8°53'44.18"S, Long: 120°59'24.68"E)
• 15 January 2011, in Langa, 8 km North of Bena (Lat: 8°49'34.91"S, Long: 120°57'49.19"E)
Other villages such as Nage in Jerebu’u, Wogo in Golewa, and Beiposo in Bajawa will also hold Reba in January, while Deru in Jerebu’u, Ruto in Aimere, Turekisa in will do Reba in February. It is recommended to dress up politely if you wish to participate. Even though not obligatory, it is advisable to wear Ngada traditional costume especially during the sacred ritual procession.