Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Other blog

Apologies for the lack of updates - sadly I haven't been traveling lately since I'm occupied with my graduate studies. However, I often blog in the Jakarta Post's public blog here.

Please drop by to my other blog and feel free to write to me.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Blooming Mushrooms

Catch of the Day

The next day after the Tangkoko Nature Reserve trek, we went to Pulisan Jungle Beach Resort which is located in Pulisan village, North Sulawesi. We managed to book a taxi who is willing to take us to the resort, and if I can remember it was around a 2 (or was it 3?) hours drive from Manado. There were no roads leading directly to the resort, so we stopped at the point where the road ended and trekked through the jungle and finally arrived at the beach where the resort was located (hence the name jungle beach resort).

Along the way we met a fishermen who just came back from his daily fishing chore, and he managed to show his catch of the day.

Batuputih Beach, Tangkoko Nature Reserve

Inside the Tangkoko Nature Reserve, they have a beach area named oddly Batuputih, which means white stone. But the sand there, or at least the ground beneath are surprisingly black. The view from the beach was amazing, especially when the sun glistens and shines through the nearby landscape, and although it's not necessarily good for swimming, it's nice to splash around there because there were no reefs around.

Spectral Tarsier, Tangkoko Nature Reserve

The Spectral Tarsier (Tarsius tarsier) is one of the stars of the Tangkoko Nature Reserve. It lives in the giant ficus tree and it is nocturnal, thus we have to wait for a while until the sun sets for this little primate to come out. The guides lure these huge-eyed animals out of their resting place with a cricket, and they quietly creep out to snatch them. According to IUCN, they are vulnerable to extinction.

Giant Ficus Tree

This giant ficus tree is home to the Tarsius spotted in the Tangkoko National Park. My guide said that it is approximately 60 years old.

Note: Apologies for the lag in updating, will try to do some catch up now.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Macaca nigra, Tangkoko Nature Reserve

Next stop was the Tangkoko Nature Reserve. Head to Bitung, another big city in North Sulawesi, and there will be a small sign (you can barely see it) stating that this is the road to the Tangkoko Nature Reserve. The roads are small and hilly, and make sure you ask people where it is because you can easily get lost in the area. Arriving in the nature reserve, each guest must pay an entry fee (they differentiate between local and international tourists - foreigners pay approx IDR 85,000 each), and they will provide you with a guide. I forgot whether you also have to pay for the guide or not, but it is better for you to have one because the forests are lush and deep and it's hard to get around if you don't know the field. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes, and don't forget to use an mosquito repellent lotion.

We were lucky that right away, we spotted a Celebes Crested Macaque (Macaca nigra) on top of a tree, and our guide suggested that this fellow is one of the scouts for the macaque groups. He said that these macaques travel in groups, and usually they put one scout in front of the group and this scout will report to the group's leader on the situations ahead. Their body and skin are entirely black, except that their bum is a bit white (or reddish) and hard. We can't get too close to them, and were advised not to look at them directly to their eyes (as it shows an offensive gesture) but we were very lucky that we saw them in their natural habitat. According to the IUCN list, they are critically endangered.

Waruga in Airmadidi

Our first visit on the next day during our trip around North Sulawesi was Airmadidi (which literally means Boiling Water), that had some ancient Minahasan tombs called waruga. Corpses are not buried underground, but they are placed in a fetal position inside the tombs, together with jeweleries and other material possessions that they have. Of course there are no corpses inside the waruga in Airmadidi now, and most of the treasures inside them are either plundered, or some treasures that luckily survived is housed inside a museum (somewhere which I do not know). It's very interesting to see the carvings on top of the tombs.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Portrait: Children Playing at the Airmadidi Waruga

Cute kids. Until they said "minta doi" to me. I asked my guide on what is the meaning of "minta doi", and he said, they're asking me for money. Hmm.