Posted by: ghostdawg2 | May 8, 2009

Manado,A Tour Of Duty In North Sulawesi,Indonesia by Adam J. Fenton

Okay so we know about Bunaken and its startling biodiversity.

But what else does the capital city Manado have to offer? As Wallace pointed out, it is a "pretty" city with some of the most spectacular sunsets over the perfect cone of Manado Tua island to be seen anywhere in the country.

The city itself boasts a Provincial Museum. For a nominal entry fee you can stroll around the museum’s three floors of exhibits, which display traditional costumes, and modes of transport like the bendi a small horse trap which is still in use in many places. There is a good collection of ceramics, from China, Japan and Europe as well as some furniture that was used by national heroes during the independence struggle. A display of weapons includes some Javanese krisses, and an excellent example of a Portuguese helmet with its distinctive peaked shape like the hull of a boat. If you’re lucky you might even catch an impromptu performance on the museum’s set of kolintang a type of wooden xylophone orchestra, which sounds truly divine when accompanied by some of the famous North Sulawesi singing voices.

Bang Hian Kong Buddhist Confucian temple, Manado
Bang Hian Kong Buddhist Confucian temple, Manado

The city also has a good number of hotels and restuarants as well as bars and karaoke lounges, which makes it the only option in the province for any kind of nightlife. Places seem to open and close fairly regularly so try to get some local knowledge before setting out for a night on the town. A string of seafood restaurants and stalls along the waterfront set up in the evening, offering visitors a taste of the fiery Minahasan cuisine. If you like it hot sample the Ikan Tude (pronounced "tooday"), a traditional fish recipe with an abundance of chilli – but remember you were warned!

Manado has also become the focal point of Minahasan culture, and while it seems to be fading somewhat, with some luck and persistence you may be able to witness a performance of either of the two main traditional dances. The most engaging is certainly the Cakalele or war dance. Derived from the words for "fight" and "shout" this pretty much describes the Cakalele. Wide-eyed warriors decked out in blood red costumes with a profusion of hornbill beaks and feathers arranged on their heads gives them a frightful appearance as they scream and engage each other in mock fighting. Originally designed to deter invaders, the dance is now used to welcome visitors.

Sunset over Manado Tua Island, Manado, North Sulawesi.

The other more sedate performance is the Maengket. With colourfully attired singers in bright pinks, greens and yellows, the full harmonies of the Maengket are as much a joy to hear as they are to see as the dancers continuously move in carefully choreographed unison. This dance once had connections with the rice harvests and building of new houses but seems to be performed now only for the benefit of visitors. Finally, for sighteeing and perhaps a bit of retail therapy, check out the Chinatown disrict. On Jl Panjaitan you’ll find the Ban Hian Kiong Buddhist Confucian temple. Originally constructed in the early part of the 19th century, the temple had to be rebuilt in the 70s following some severe vandalism, which partially destroyed the structure. Now though it is functioning as a place of community worship and its colourfully decorated walls also contain a selection of Portuguese and Dutch artifacts including an ancient set of cannon.

There you have it, a diversified tour of the best of North Sulawesi’s non-diving culture and attractions. There is much more to this extraordinary province than just those amazing sights to be found under the surface of the water. Spectacular scenery, colourful culture, brilliant beaches, diverse diving and awesome adventure – all of these and more await you in North Sulawesi – so go on, take the plunge!

source : http://www.north-sulawesi.org/manado.html

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