Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Coral reef and your car

Your car and coral reef have in indirect connection. If you drive a lot then you emit CO2 and other toxic gases into the air. These exhaust gases, together with other CO2 equivalent emissions from industry and other human modern activities, cause acid rain and global warming. The increasing amount of acid rain deteriorates the coral reef condition.



DSC06522.jpg


El Nino which happened a few years ago which might be due to global warming caused massive deaths of coral reefs around the world.


If we can reduce the use of car and other motorized vehicles, it means we can reduce the amount of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. If we travel on short distances, it is better to use bicycle or public transportation such as bus.


There are other ways that we can do to lower the CO2 emission of our cars. Suppose that we park our car at an outdoor parking lot of your office or a mall during a sunny weather. One or two hours later the inside of the car will be very hot. When you get back to your car again and feel the hot temperature, you'll tend to turn on the AC. If you are environmentally conscious person, you will not turn on the AC. The alternative that you can do is opening all doors of your car to let the hot air flowed out and the cool air entered it again. It is the best way that you can do to safe energy and at the same time prevent or reduce the CO2 emissions. You will want to turn on the AC for a while.


Every car has battery that is used to start the car, run the CD players and light the lamps. When it has been exhausted, you will need to replace it with a new one. Don't throw it anywhere. There are recycling centers where you can deliver the used battery for recycling. If you do it, you have done good thing for the coral reef and the environment as a whole.


Another important thing that we should do is keeping the performance of our cars in good condition. We have to make sure that the valves in the combustion chambers of car engines are well positioned so that the combustion processes run well. If the performance of our car is good, it will consume less fuel and also emit less toxic or poisonous gases. This is also good for coral reef.


Coral reef is a fragile environment that provides food and shelter to various marine animals. Coral reef also conducts photosynthesis that produces clean air which most living things need. If the condition of coral reef is well protected, not only marine animals will get more benefits from it but also the human beings who live for on land will have a better and healthier life from it. Read: The relation between coral reefs and our daily activities

Monday, April 27, 2009

Women emancipation Movie in Cuba

I just watched a film in Cuban Television. It's an old movie with English subtitle to help non-Spanish viewers understand the whole story. Unfortunately, I don't know the title of the film because when I began watching it, it had been running.The film is very good. It depicts about the daily life of Cuban housewives who have to work hard at the factories and serve their families. The actress acts as Teresa whose husband works as a TV repairman. At home Teresa has to wake up early in the morning, preparing milk and giving it to her children.



DSC06783.jpg


At the same time she has to prepare breakfast for her family. Teresa, under the influence of revolutionary and communist thought, thinks that men have to also share the house chores. She sees the chores as part of slavery. After work, she participates in dancing rehearsal to compete against other dancing groups for international contest.


I admire this film because in Communist country like Cuba the emancipation of women is openly discussed. Women also need to have time outside the four side walls of their homes, socializing with friends, or participating in labor union. The state owned textile factory where Teresa is working at has increased the production target to around 20 million meters a year and women workers have to work in rotating shifts to reach the target. They also use this issue against their husbands to have more time outside of their homes instead of devoting all their time in the kitchen cooking and washing the dishes. Teresa's husband left her and met with another woman. Later he realized that he loved Teresa very much and was willing to return to his wife. He begged her to receive him again but she rejected him. She preferred to live as an independent woman.



DSC06780.jpg


In many countries, married women are still treated unfairly by their husbands. They have to work hard at home and do not have time to socialize with their friends.


This film teaches its viewers about how important it is to share the family chores. Washing the dishes, cleaning the room, sweeping the floor are chores that mainly done by women, Cuban communist party see them as a kind of slavery. They created the film to teach their citizens about the needs to share the family burden. Such film is not only good for Cubans but for all of modern people who respect and protect women's rights.

Papua a great province which is lack of medical workers

High mortality rate among newly born babies, malaria and HIV are some of the many problems which we face in Papua. There is an increasing need for nuns, doctors and nurses in Papua. Catholic missionaries opened health clinics to serve the local people. Most of them are run by nuns. The increasing complexity of the diseases in Papua needs medical workers who have knowledge and expertise especially those from medical faculties of universities or nursing academies.



DSC06465.JPG


I see that dioceses in Papua have known about these needs. And the Papuan people must not depend on medical workers from outside of the island. The government and churches here must think about the importance of producing doctors and nurses locally. It means that they have to set aside a lot of money on setting up a medical faculty at least at two state owned universities in Manokwari and Jayapura of Papua. If this issue is not tackled immediately, Papua or West Papua provinces will always be lack of doctors.


The investment which the government will spend for opening the medical faculties is high but given the current health problems, it will be one of the best decisions for the sake of Papuan alone.


Papua is the second largest island in the world after Greenland. It is located north of Australia and it is the eastern most territory of Indonesia. Western missionaries came to Papua as early as 1855 introducing Christianity, opening this island to modern western civilization.


Today the eastern half belongs to Papua New Guinea and the western half belongs to Indonesia under the West Papua and Papua provinces.


Many denominations of Christianity operate in Papua. Besides working on religious matters, these churches run schools, polyclinics, hospitals, and missionary airlines that connect remote mountainous regions with towns along the coastal region.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The relation between coral reefs and our daily activities

by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia


Coral reef is very important to us. It protects the coastal areas from stormy weather and high waves. It is the habitat of thousands species of fish. And it has been an important factor for the success operation of scuba diving industry and other marine related tourism development. Coral colonies are closely related to our daily life although we live far from them.



DSC06686.jpg


Most of us do not know that our daily activities directly affect corals. When we irresponsibly throw garbage to the streets it will end up at sea during rainy season. Empty tote bags and other plastic materials can choke marine animals or cover mounds of coral reef thus blocking the sunlight which is essential for the photosynthesis of the corals.


Modern societies burn a lot of fossil fuel. They use gasoline to power cars, diesel oil to generate electricity. The CO2 emissions from these modern engines increase the global temperature. The famous term for this is Global Warming. In addition, the CO2 emissions increase the amount of acid rain which harms the corals. During El Nino huge areas of corals in sub-tropic and tropical region had died. It takes tens of years for the corals to restore their condition back to normal again.


Corals transplantations have been conducted by marine biologists and concerned people around the world hoping that they can revive the condition of corals. There are also other activities such as regular beach clean-ups, the banning of bottom trawling that are good for protecting coral reefs. But the most important thing that all of us have to do is changing our lifestyle. We can burn less fossil fuel by riding bicycles or public transportation to work. We can reduce the use of plastic bags by bringing our own bags to the nearby grocery stores. We can plant more trees at our own back yard. Or we can participate directly in beach clean up activities.


If all of us care about the survivability of coral reefs and change our lifestyle, the revival of coral reef colonies will be faster. Also read: Coral reef preservation websites; The damage of coral reefs caused by anchoring; The impact of marine tourism to local communities and coral reef environment

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Minahasa the regency of thousands of churches

by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia


Minahasa, a beautiful mountainous region in North Sulawesi, is famous for its world class diving site - Bunaken National Marine Park. Now it is under the jurisdiction of Manado municipality. Minahasa besides being famous as one of the most favorite tourist destinations in Indonesia is also famous for its devout Christianity. The Dutch and Spanish brought Christianity some two to three hundred years ago to this land through spice trade.



DSC00342.JPG


Along the roads of Minahasan villages, we can see churches from various denominations that are built according to local, western and contemporary architectural designs. I took some pictures of them here.


While I was working at a Diving resort, I had a chance to talk with a foreigner the UK. While we were talking about churches and the people he gave his controversial comment saying that the locals did not pay attention to the empowerment of their economy. They were only focusing on building beautiful churches. I was not angry to his statement. I fully supported that. His opinion is a good criticism to Minahasan people.



DSC00455.JPG


Yes, beautiful churches the Minahasan people have do not automatically reflect that the people live in prosperous life. I see that unemployment is still a serious matter. Every year thousands of job seekers go out of the region to find jobs in other islands such as West Papua, Kalimantan and Java. Some even go abroad to realize their dream.



DSC00274.JPG


Minahasa is beautiful regency, once I again, I said. I hope that the local government can see this potential to invest more in tourism industry. Tourism can boost the local economy and create jobs. During this economic down turn, tourism will still be a lucrative business for Minahasa. I wish the local government could realize it. Related post: Earthquake resistant wooden house of Minahasa; Datsun Trucks of Minahasa Indonesia

Coral reef preservation websites

I have written many articles about coral reef preservation and scuba diving but there are still many things about this wonderful underwater environment which you can learn about both from this blog and other websites.



DSC06377.jpg



Preserving the underwater coral reef is one of the most important tasks that we have to do to revive the thriving of coral reef and nearly extinct marine species. I used to write about how the local communities practice sustainable fishing in Maluku islands, West Papua.


In Maluku, there is a famous tradition called Sasi. During Sasi period, certain kinds of fish are not allowed to be caught by the locals to let them breed and develop. When the Sasi is opened again, coastal villagers can catch mature fish which have already laid their eggs. In West Papua, in an article, I wrote about how local Papuan protect dugong-dugong, dolphins and turtles by retelling old stories and traditional beliefs that these endangered marine species were their ancestors. So, the new Papuan generations in certain coastal villages are afraid to catch them fearing that they will hurt their ancestors spirits.


There are many websites which you can read to enrich your knowledge about the importance of preserving coral reef ecosystem. A comprehensive reading material which I recommend here is Sustainable Tourism for Marine Recreation Providers which you can download from CORAL. Other webistes for studying coral reef are The Ocean Conservancy; NOAA'S Coral Reef Information System; International Coral Reef Initiative; EPA Coral Reef Homepage.


In today's internet technology, nearly all of the subjects that we want to study are now available for free. It is hoped that the abundant availability of readings on such subjects as coral reef preservation and scuba diving can increase public awareness about the importance of how we can protect the underwater environment for better future. by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The damage of coral reefs caused by anchoring

by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia


Most moveable floating structures such as boats, yachts and ships have anchors. Crews of diving boats sometimes throw anchor in coral reef areas thus breaking up the reef structures. This kind of practices causes massive damage to coral reefs in many diving sites around the world especially on locations where sustainable tourism principles have not been introduced.



DSC04507.jpg


When an anchor falls on corals it will crush the reef structures and kill the coral and other marine organism that live in or depend on the corals. In addition, repeated anchoring practices upon coral reef communities will degrade their economic values. The number of fish population will decrease a long with the spread of destruction of coral reef. In addition, damaged coral reef will not be interesting for scuba diving tourists anymore.



DSC06365.jpg


To certain extent the landing of anchor to sandy area between the coral reefs will cause the clouding of water by the disturbed sediment. The particles of the sediment will cover the coral thus blocking the sunlight that is very important for the symbiotic algae to carry out photosynthesis.


As a way out, the scuba diving operators that frequently take advantage the economic value of the coral reef and the marine park administrator must work together in installing mooring systems in areas where coral reefs live or thrive. The mooring system will reduce or minimize the number of damages or break up of corals. The crews of diving boats and yachts will not throw anchors into the sea instead they will tie them to the mooring system. Also read: The impact of marine tourism to local communities and coral reef environment; Traveling and scuba diving in Bunaken of North Sulawesi; Cheap hotel for travelers and scuba divers in Manokwari of West Papua; Traveling and scuba diving in Okinawa Japan

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The impact of marine tourism to local communities and coral reef environment

A crew of MV Kasuari Pasifik IV was throwing wastes into the sea
The rapid development of marine tourism brings positive and negative impacts to local communities as well as coral reef environment. The need to generate revenues and create jobs from the available natural resources has influenced maritime countries in the Pacific to develop marine tourism. This lucrative business slowly changes the economic pattern of the local communities from subsistence farming and fishing to service economy. The shifts to the service economy bring a lot of changes to the lifestyle, culture and customs of the local people.
The pace of living which was relatively slow in traditional fishing villages has now turned into a faster one. The introduction of modern airstrip, luxurious hotels and motorized vehicles will directly change the lifestyle of the traditional villagers who might previously not know all these modern lifestyles. They will have to adapt to these changes.
Also the fish that they catch from nearby coral will not only become their food but commodities that people in tourism industry need. Traditional fishermen might be tempted to apply irresponsible fishing techniques in order to catch as many fish as possible to meet the demand of the market. They will also have in their mind the need to live a modern life having motorcycles, speedboats, refrigerators, TV and mobile phones. Coral reef as their only natural resources will have to bear additional burdens both from scuba diving industry and irresponsible fishing as well as coastal reclamation.
The presence of marine tourism also changes economic livelihood of the surrounding environment. Wastes produced by the activities of tourists and people who work in hotels, diving centers and boats have to be properly treated so that they will not pollute the environment particularly the coral reef. In addition, the development of airstrip, jetties, hotels, and resorts a long the coastal region will consume construction materials such as stony corals, sand and wood which are available in the region. It is therefore important to inform the hotel owners not to destroy corals in the shallow waters for the purpose of the construction. If properly managed and informed, the negative impact of marine tourism can be minimized. by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia

Monday, April 20, 2009

Traveling and scuba diving in Bunaken of North Sulawesi

by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia


Traveling and scuba diving in Bunaken of Manado city North Sulawesi has been a standard tour package offered by many tour and travel agencies in Indonesia. Bunaken National Marine Park is considered world class coral reef of the South East Asia.


Every dry season, travelers and scuba divers from Asian, Australian, European and American countries come to scuba dive in Bunaken. The increasing number of tourists coming to Bunaken should be accompanied by the seriousness of the city dwellers of Manado to protect the coral reefs in the region.


It seems that the public awareness among the Manadonese is still low. This can be seen from the increasing number of coastal reclamation which continues to cover the coral reef site along the beach of Manado city and the garbage thrown to the sea by the city dwellers.


The municipality of Manado city should enforce strict law to their citizen if they are really serious in developing and maintaining the Bunaken national marine park as world class diving center.



DSC00163.jpg


The beauty of the underwater is also balanced by the beauty of the mountainous region of Minahasa. Minahasa has a number of active volcanoes which make the land very fertile. Along the roads of the mountainous region, we can see how the farmers work on their farms, plowing their lands with cows. A tour to Bunaken National Marine Park is not complete if you don't add it with a tour across the beautiful mountainous region of Minahasa.

Cheap hotel for travelers and scuba divers in Manokwari of West Papua

Budget travelers and scuba divers who come to Manokwari and want to stay in a hotel that is not expensive and is more affordable to them can stay in Kagum inn. It is a cheap hotel run by my family. It is located on Jalan Brawijaya Kompleks Missi at the back of Xavier bookstore. The rate of a room per night varies from 10 US to 18 USD depending on the size of each room. The operational manager is Ivanna Roring. She can be contacted through her mobile phone: +62 81 283 07 331 or via home based telephone: +62 986 211618. An Affordable Inn for Eco Travellers in Papua Island.

The view of Manokwari town from Kagum inn is spectacular. You can see Arfak mountain, the bay, and the town simultaneously. If you want to stay in the inn, you can e-mail me. I can arrange the accommodation for you.

Manokwari is a beautiful town located a long Dore bay.

manokwari.jpg
There are two islands in the middle of the bay, Mansinam and Lemon islands. Shipwrecks at the back and the front side of the Mansinam island remain intact for tens of years. The best time to dive in Manokwari is during the dry season.


DSC04692.jpg

If you want to travel and scuba dive in Cendrawasih National Marine Park, you can take speed boat from Manokwari. The duration of your trip from this town to the largest marine park in Indonesia will be around 4 hours. Before traveling to Cendrawasih marine park, make sure that your diving equipment is in very good condition. There is not any diving center in the park but you can contact the park administrator for some help. They work together with people from WWF.

pilatus-porter-in-papua.jpg

Besides the underwater beauty of the Marine park in Cendrawasih bay and shipwrecks of Dore bay, you can enjoy the exotic beauty of plants and flowers, as well as the birds of tropical rainforest of West Papua. You need a guide to travel along the forest. I can provide one who is an experienced forest guide for you. Your trip or travel to Manokwari will be an enjoyable experience. by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia Also read: Traveling around the traditional market of Manokwari

Traveling and scuba diving in Okinawa Japan

If you plan to travel during this Spring, I should recommend that you make a trip to Japan. Okinawa islands, located in Southern Japan, have vast area of coral reef. The region is regularly visited scuba divers from around the world. Okinawa islands' climate is sub-tropic. Tourists who don't scuba dive can enjoy the beauty of the underwater world by visiting marine aquarium. It is one of the largest marine aquariums in the world.
DSC06674.jpg
Marine biologists work together in Okinawa to revive the coral reef there which mostly had bleached during the El Nino. Baby corals are grown in ponds for two or three years before transplantation. By Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia Related post: 

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Coral bleaching and Global Warming

Travelers who travel and scuba dive in island countries will see weird phenomenon which occurs to the under water coral reef in most of the diving sites. Several years ago, scuba divers found that most of the coral reef turned white. This is called coral bleaching. The cause is global warming. The worst coral bleaching event happened during El Nino. Human activities which release a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere has triggered the rise of sea surface temperature, ultraviolet light, increasing acid rain that harmfully affect most of the coral reef.
DSC06685.jpg
If exposed to intense heat and ultraviolet light, coral polyps will expel their symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae). Marine biologists and scuba divers have tried to restore the coral reef condition by transplanting new baby corals to dead corals. This only brings small impact compared to the massive bleaching events to destroy most of the corals around the world.
DSC06687.jpg
The most effective way that human can do to stop coral bleaching is reducing the release of green house gases. It means that we have to reduce the burning of fossil fuel, creating more efficient machines, investing more in renewable energy technologies, and consuming less plastics. The less fossil fuel we burn, the better will be the coral reef condition. by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia. 
Related posts:  

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Traveling to Okinawa to see coral farm

Have you ever traveled to Okinawa islands of Japan? This is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan. Travelers go there to enjoy the beautiful nature. One tourist spot that attracts thousands of tourists is marine aquarium and coral farm. Coral reef plays very important role in the marine ecosystem. Yet coral reef community is facing many threats from irresponsible fishing, predators and global warming. Massive coral bleaching that happened several years ago was the result of El Nino.
DSC06709.jpg
It takes tens of years to restore the growth of coral reef in the already damaged region. Marine biologists, scuba divers and every concerned individual have worked hard to help corals grow again. In Okinawa Japan, there is a coral farm that is run by Kouji Kinjyou. He grows corals in ponds. It takes up to two to three years until tiny corals can be transplanted into the damaged corals to restore them again. The pictures in this article were taken from NHK Japan
DSC06698.jpg
If the transplantation of coral runs well, the next two years, on the full moon of the second spring, coral will spawn and release their eggs. The coral eggs will be carried away to many distant places to grow again to form new communities of coral reefs.
Coral reefs are very important as food supplier for fish and other marine animals. They also have become the main attraction for scuba diving tourists who want to enjoy the natural beauty of the under water world. by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia 
Also read:

Traveling to Okinawa to participate in coral reef preservation

If you are a scuba diving tourist, you might consider of traveling to Okinawa islands to participate in the beach clean up and the taking of star fish from coral reef. Travelers like to join this kind of activity to create public awareness about the importance of preserving coral reef and protecting the marine environment. Crown of thorn star fish is an animal that eats coral reef. It causes many deaths on coral reef. Crown of thorn star fish breeds fast. They are serious threats to coral reef. This marine animal actually is not coral reef fish
scuba-divers.jpg

Coral reef as the food supplier for fish and other marine species have to be protected. The taking of crown of thorn starfish that cover the top surface of coral reefs is important to protect them from dying. In shallow water, volunteers like to take the crown of thorn and dump them far from the coral reef. This kind of activity has to be done regularly in order to protect and restore the coral reef community which was once destroyed by crown of thorn star fish and other harmful activities. It is expected that scuba divers can participate in the taking of crown of fish in deeper water. by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia
Also read: Diving site and Coral Reef in Timor Leste

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Old Wooden House of Minahasa

by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia

You might wonder how long a wooden house construction can stand. Wood is one of the most versatile construction materials for housing. It can withstand frequent stress and strain to the changing live loadings. The main factor that deteriorates its strength is weather. Water can trigger the growing of moulds on the surface of wood panel.


wooden-house-minahasa.jpg

Besides water, termites coming from underground, can eat the wood and cause massive damage on pillars, beams and wall panels of the house.
If properly dried and constructed wooden house can stand on the ground for hundreds of years. One of the wooden house constructions which has stood for hundreds of years can be seen in Japan. Even in tropical region with frequent rain and high humidity, wooden house can have lifespan that is long. One of the good examples is the main building of Pinabetengan Resort in Minahasa regency. This multi storey wooden building was built several hundred years ago.
Wood as the raw material has to be mature enough and properly dried to be used for home building. The older the wood, the stronger will be its fiber in resisting loads, water or termites.


old-wooden-house-leilem.jpg

For generations to come, wooden houses of Minahasa will still play important roles in providing shelters to the people and will still be the only viable sustainable construction materials that are suitable and affordable for every body. Also read: Special treatment for wooden house construction and How to buy a good wooden house

Special treatment for wooden house construction

by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia


Wooden house is a favorite construction for an earthquake zone. It can withstand frequent ground shocks without failures. Although wood is strong, it will decay if continuously exposed to water. When the wood is wet or damp, mould will grow on its surface.



DSC00401.jpg


There are some treatments which can be applied to the wood surface to protect it from decaying. The most common treatment is applying wood paint or varnish to all exposed panels of the wooden house. The paint has to be of water resistant material. Every two or three years, carpenters must clean the wood surface again and apply protective coating.


We have to remember that to obtain the best wooden house construction, the wood as the main material has to be adequately dry. If it is still wet or contains high percentage of water, mould will grow and destroy the painting or coating which has been applied to its surface.


In Japan, experienced home builders apply a unique treatment to the panel surfaces of wooden house. They burn the surface of the wooden wall until it is wholy covered with cinder. By then, mould will not grow. This cinder layer is more weather resistant compared to conventional wood painting or varnish. Also read: How to buy a good wooden house and Earthquake resistant wooden house of Minahasa

Thursday, April 16, 2009

How to buy a good wooden house

by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua of Indonesia


The demand for wooden house in earthquake zone is increasing at the present time. People have known that wooden house is strong and sturdy construction that can withstand ground shocks and wind blowing. Besides having light weight construction, wooden house looks beautiful and well blended with nature.



DSC00287.jpg


If you want to buy a good wooden house, you must pay attention to some of aspects that are related to wooden house design and construction.


The type of wood - In tropical region, wood such as Cempaka, Merbau and Jati are some of the best types of wood that determine the quality of the end products whether they are furniture or house.


The age of wood - wooden material for house construction should be at least 30 years old. At that time, the wood fire is mature and strong enough to withstand stress or loads.


The dryness of wood - the drier the wood fiber the better will be the wood material for housing. If the water content is the wood is high, when the wooden has been constructed, after several year the wooden board, pillars or panels will buckle due to the drying process of the wood itself.


Wood is a versatile material for house construction. If wisely used, it can be one of the best renewable resources that continues to serve human needs for housing, furniture and any other needs. Also read: Earthquake resistant wooden house of Minahasa

Earthquake resistant wooden house of Minahasa

by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia


In recent days the demand for earthquake resistant houses is increasing. The recent earthquake in Italy has caused massive destruction on concrete buildings with hundreds of people dead. It has been a reality that when an earthquake happens, wooden house constructions can withstand the disaster well. Very few wooden houses failed compared to "modern" concrete houses.



DSC00235.JPG


When I was traveling around Minahasa mountainous region, I saw that most of the houses were wooden houses. People in Minahasa build their houses with wood because they know that it is strong enough to withstand frequent ground shocks. There are some active volcanoes in the region.


In addition to its superior strength, wooden house looks natural with the surrounding environment. The aesthetics of wooden house design is one of the most important factors that attract people to buy or build houses made of wood.


Wooden houses of Minahasa are sold in knock down units in Woloan villages. If you are interested in buying one, just visit Woloan, choose the wooden house that you like and proceed with the buying procedures stipulated by the exporters. They will help you ship the house and if necessary send carpenters to your country to re-erect the house in your place. Also read: The number of Archicad users is rising in Indonesia

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The right time to scuba dive in Indonesia

by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia


Scuba divers, when traveling to Indonesia, often feel sad because the visibility in the waters around the coral reef site is not good. They have spent a lot of money to come to Indonesia but the under water beauty which they expect from the many of the coral reefs cannot be enjoyed.



DSC06515.jpg


The visibility of the under water depends on many factors. The most important one is weather. If you come to scuba dive in Indonesia during rainy season you will not fully satisfied with the dives they you experience. During the rainy season, run off of organic and inorganic debris from the land make the water dirty. It takes time for the marine organism to consume and decompose this debris. Traveling during a rainy season is not recommended.



anemone_fish_2.jpg


The sea water will clean again after two or three months dry season. This is the right time for scuba divers to come to Indonesia. When is that? It is around June to September. If you are not sure about the best time to dive in Indonesia, I suggest that you contact the diving operators or resorts and ask them about this. Scuba diving is breathing under water with man made equipment. So, make sure that the diving equipment you will bring is in good condition. Also read: Coraf reef sites in Papua Indonesia; The Change of Gender in Yellow Tailed Anemone Fish; Preserving the coral reefs in Indonesia

Coraf reef sites in Papua Indonesia

by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia


Scuba divers around the world always want to explore new coral reef sites. After visiting marine parks in Bunaken, Great Barrier Reef or the Carribean islands, scuba divers want to find new diving sites.



mansinam-1.jpg


Most of the coral reefs that are still in pristine condition are located in the Pacific region. My recommendation for you will be the coral reefs in Papua. If you are really an adventurous scuba diver, you should try Mapia island, Numfoor island, Raja Ampat islands, and the Cendrawasih National Marine Park which is the largest marine park in Indonesia. Or You might be interested in diving through the shipwrecks in Dore bay of Manokwari.


Papua is the eastern-most province in Indonesia. Indonesia itself is the largest archipelago in the world. It has more than 17,000 islands.


Besides having beautiful coral reef, Papua has snow capped mountain and vast tropical rainforest waiting for you to explore. Do you want to visit Papua? Just buy a travel book from Lonlelyplanet, it will be your efficient tour guide to Papua and other islands in Indonesia. Read more: The Change of Gender in Yellow Tailed Anemone Fish and Preserving the coral reefs in Indonesia

Energy Efficient Wood Stove from Sonder Minahasa of Indonesia

Wood stove is still used by a lot of people at the present time. Wood as renewable energy resource is still important in supporting households both in developing as well as industrialized countries. In the developing countries, wood stoves are used for cooking whereas in modern countries they are used for warming rooms of houses during the winter.
When I was in Sonder of Minahasa Indonesia, I saw wood stoves. They were being dried under the sun by a worker. When the price of kerosene was going up, Minahasan people stopped using their kerosene and gas stoves and returned to wood stoves.
Will the wood stove trigger the deforestation of tropical rainforest in Indonesia? My answer is No. When people see that the price of wood for cooking is good, they will plant trees that grow fast to meet the demand of the wood market. In Minahasa, it is not only wood that is used as cooking material. The coconut shell is one of the best cooking fuels. Coconut trees which are not productive will be cut and turned into raw material for furniture industry. Some of the unused coconut wood will be sold as cooking fuel.
Wood stove is very energy efficient compared to fire place that we often see in houses in Western Countries. Its design is very small and with only three to five small pieces of woods, a homemaker can cook food for her family's breakfast, lunch and dinner. The price of a wood stove in Sonder of Minahasa Indonesia was Rp. 30,000 or around 3 USD dollars. It is made of clay and fine sand. However it will be difficult to ship it to international buyers due to the expensive shipping cost.
Wood stove is still the most preferred choice of cooking equipment in developing countries even in today's internet era. by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Traveling Across Papua

by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia

Papua or West Papua is the eastern most region of the Republic of Indonesia. This second largest island in the world, after Greenland, has many beautiful places for travelers to visit. In Puncak Jaya, we can see snow capped-mountain of the equator, and in Kebar we can enjoy the wild life animals feeding along the grass of the great plain Kebar.


kwawi_manokwari_west_papua.jpg

Or perhaps you like to enjoy the beauty of the coral reef in Cendrawasih National Marine Park and Raja Ampat islands. These are many tourist attractions which you should enjoy as a nature lover. Mountainous villages in West Papua are not well connected with roads. Therefore, the fastest way to visit a village is by flying with small aircrafts. In Papua, Christian missionaries use Pilatus Porter to transport goods and people. You can also use these planes to reach remote villages in the mountainous region of Papua. Or you can take hardtop. This type of vehicle, manufactured by Toyota, is a favorite choice for off-roaders. Sometimes, you will need to stay in the middle of the Papuan tropical jungle waiting for the hardtop crews to take the car out of the mud trap or to repair their vehicle before continuing the trip.


DSC04294.jpg

For those who enjoy the coral reef, the wooden boats of the local fishermen can be rented in an affordable price. The political turmoil which you might have read from websites should not be an obstacle for you if you want to visit the island. Your presence in Papua will be helpful in creating awareness about the importance of preserving Papuan nature and wildlife. Also read: Ship Wreck Diving in Dore Bay of Manokwari West Papua and Pilatus Porter, a suitable aircraft for travelling across mountainous region; and An Affordable Inn for Eco Travelers in Papua Island
DSC04295.jpg

Datsun Trucks of Minahasa Indonesia

by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia
Minahasa, a beautiful regency in North Sulawesi, is not only famous for its Bunaken National Marine Park that is visited by a lot of scuba divers, but also for its agricultural region. The beauty of Minahasa's coral reef is balanced by the beauty of its farmlands, mountains, valleys and mountainous villages. Many people in Minahasa work as farmers. They grow rice, corn, peanuts, vegetables, clove, coconuts and many other plants that have high economic values in the market. To transport these agricultural commodities the Minahasan farmers use small trucks that can enter narrow roads leading to their gardens so that they can bring the produce to their houses or markets.

DSC00292.jpg

One of the types that is famous in Minahasa is Datsun. This is the type of truck that has served the Minahasan farmers since 1970s. In the past, a Datsun equaled to two or three sacks of clove. Now, the price of the clove is not high. Minahasan farmers cannot easily buy small trucks anymore. 
Datsun trucks are sturdy and robust. They do not have complicated instruments on their dashboard. Farmers like their simple design. Nissan Motor was the Japanese company that manufactured Datsun. This brand was discontinued in 1986. No new types of Datsuns have been released until now. In addition, the spare parts for these trucks are getting fewer. To keep them roaming the roads and streets of Minahasa, mechanics must apply "cannibalism." The parts of Datsuns that cannot be repaired anymore are dismantled and sold to other Datsun owners.

DSC00468.jpg
I often see that farmers who own a Datsun is very proud of his car because it is not only seen as a transport car but an antique one. A reconditioned Datsun can still be sold in higher price in Minahasa and run on the streets and roads of this beautiful mountainous region for the next one or two decades. Recently the company announced that it will relaunch Datsun cars as a low cost vehicle to Indonesian, India, South Africa and Russian markets. Farmers in Minahasa will be glad to buy Datsun pick up trucks again if they are affordable and reliable as their old brothers.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Change of Gender in Yellow Tailed Anemone Fish

by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia


Coral reef is a unique environment. There are thousands and even millions of marine species living in coral reefs. Two of them are yellow tailed anemone fish and anemone. Anemone fish lives in symbiosis of mutualism with anemone. The tips of anemone shoots have venom that many fish cannot stand. Only the yellow tailed anemone fish that can live among the shoots of the anemone.



DSC06528.jpg


Sometimes when other fish are eating food, the yellow tailed anemone fish will steal it and put it under the holding of the shoots of the anemone. Other fish cannot retake the food because of the venomous shoots.


Sometimes the sea experiences hurricane. This influences the habitat of the coral reef. After a hurricane some marine species have been displaced to other places. For instance, the mother from a family of yellow tailed anemone fish left her husband and son when a hurricane happened. The husband will later change its gender from male fish to female fish. The son will later become the husband for his previous father that has now become a mother. So, they form a new family. The change in gender among yellow tailed anemone fish occurs naturally.


The existence of coral reef to us is very important. Most of the coral reefs eco-system are located in the tropical region along the equator. Coral reefs are part of the whole world's ecosystem which we should maintain and protect for future generations. Read more: Manado a well known city for scuba divers and Diving site and Coral Reef in Timor Leste

Preserving the coral reefs in Indonesia

by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia


Indonesia is one of the few countries in the world to have many coral reefs that are still in pristine condition. Coral reef is important not only for the fish and fishermen but for everybody who lives on this earth. Scuba divers of course are the ones who enjoy the most the underwater beauty of various marine species living among the coral reef.



DSC06544.jpg


Yet these pristine coral reefs of Indonesia are now facing rapid destruction due to irresponsible fishing and many reclamation activities as well as water pollution. For instance, the rapid expansion of Jakarta city has destroyed most of the coral reefs in Kepulauan Seribu thus depleting the fish population in the area. In addition, industrial and domestic wastes released by the city keep on flowing to the sea every day. This condition also occurs in Bunaken National Marine Park that is located near the Manado, read: Manado a well known city for scuba divers, another rapidly expanding city in the Province of North Sulawesi.


In general, diving operators in Bunaken, Raja Ampat as well as other marine park in Indonesian have known the aspects of how to run a sustainable and environmentally friendly scuba diving industry. They are now actively promoting the importance of preserving coral reef environment to future generation.


The main problem that the Indonesian people face in preserving their coral reefs is how to create public awareness. Most city dwellers in big cities of Indonesia do not realize that the garbage or plastic bags that they throw to the streets and roads will later end up at sea covering the coral reefs. Massive beach clean up activities cannot fully solve this problem. Garbage continues to flow to the sea especially during the rainy season.


Marine environmentalist, scuba diving operators and individuals, as well as the government and other concerned parties, should join hands to restore the already damaged coral reefs and protect the ones that are still in pristine condition.


In this place, mass media plays an important role in creating the awareness of the public society about the importance of coral reefs in our life. Simple public ads can make a big difference. People will not throw plastic garbage to the streets anymore if they know that these durable materials will end up at sea thus killing the coral reefs and other marine organism that live on them.


If we don't act now, the beauty of coral reefs in Indonesia will one day in the future can only be enjoyed from scuba diving magazines or videos left by the current scuba divers. Also read: Diving site and Coral Reef in Timor Leste


Manado a well known city for scuba divers

by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua Indonesia


Scuba divers around the world should know Manado. It is a city that is located near Bunaken National Marine Park. Manado is also the capital city of the province of North Sulawesi. Its location that is closer to Bunaken has been a dilemma to marine conservationist. Every day plastic trash and domestic garbage flows from the city to the coral reef around the Bunaken national marine park. This is a serious problem that needs attention from all the city dwellers.



DSC00566.jpg


In addition, the rapid growing of population in Manado city creates problems related to traffic jams and air pollution. The layout of the city needs more improvement in the future. The decision on coastal reclamation actually is not an ideal one because it will destroy the coral reefs that exist along the beach of Manado city.



DSC00567.jpg

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Commemorating Silent Saturday in Manokwari Papua

by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia


Today I don't write a travel story. I just visited the Roman Catholic Cathedral St. Agustinus in Manokwari to see how the Papuan people were commemorating the silent Saturday. Yesterday was Good Friday. And tomorrow will be the celebration of Easter. Papuan people are predominantly Christians. They traveled from every corner of the town to this church for praying to the crucified Jesus.



easter-in-papua-2009-c.jpg


It was hot and a lot of people gathered around the yard of the church singing hymns and gospel songs. Actually for Catholics, according to the tradition of the church, the Christians do not ring metal instruments. Most of the pilgrims today were protestant of many denominations. The relation and tolerance among these different faiths are good. They are now united under the cross of Jesus Christ.



easter-in-papua-2009-b.jpg


Manokwari is an important town for Papuan due to its statues as "Gospel Town." In 5 February 1855, two European evangelists landed on Mansinam island of Manokwari to preach Gospel to the tribes in Papua. Every year that day is celebrated as the day of the landing of Gospel in Papua.



easter-n-papua-2009-a.jpg


West Papua is the second largest island in the world now experiencing rapid deforestation and irresponsible exploitation of its natural resources by a number of multi national companies. Such destruction to the environment has caused rapid shrinking in the number of wild animals both on land and under water. Also read: Traveling to Mansinam island of West Papua and Traveling around Manokwari

Friday, April 10, 2009

Traveling around Surabaya the city of commerce

by Charles Roring in Manokwari - West Papua - Indonesia


I often visit Surabaya. It is the second largest city in Indonesia. Its population is more than three million people and continues to grow. Travelers like to visit Surabaya after spending three days or one week in Bali, the most important tourist destination in Indonesia. Tourists, before going back home, stop by the city for one or two days shopping. There are many shopping centers in Surabaya.



DSC02628.jpg


Every day, when you walk a long the alleys of malls in Surabaya, you will see tourists buy various kinds of goods as gifts to their relatives. After buying gifts or souvenirs, tourists can enjoy various kinds of Indonesian and Chinese or Western cuisines sold by a lot of restaurants.


I visited the port of Tanjung Perak. It is one of the busiest ports in South East Asia. Here every day thousands of ships and boats load and unload cargoes and passengers. It is not surprising if Surabaya is an ideal place to run a business.



DSC02604.jpg


One that I cannot stand about the city is the level of air pollution. As a coastal city in tropical region, the temperature in Surabaya is quite high and full of moisture. The problem is that the hot and humidity are worsened by the smokes released by motorized vehicles and factories.


When travelers have finished shopping in Surabaya, they can continue their trip to Malang, Yogyakarta or Jakarta or they can even fly home via Juanda international airport. Also read: Traveling and Having Lunch with Friends in Malang and Surabaya and Traveling and Enjoying the Nightlife of Surabaya

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Instead of traveling people went to polling station today


DSC06460.jpg


by Charles Roring in Manokwari West Papua - Indonesia


Many Indonesian do not travel long distances today nor take a vacation to remote tourist destination. They prefer to spend their time today by going to polling station. Today Indonesian went to poll stations across the country to cast their ballots for their representatives in local, provincial and national legislative bodies. I also went to the poll station at 5.15 p.m. unfortunately I couldn't cast a ballot letter. The election committee had just run out of ballot paper when I was about 5 meters from the ballot box queuing. I am concerned because I could not use my right as citizen of this country. It was not I alone who could not cast the ballot Paper. According to Mr. Yawa, the chairman of RT, hundreds of people in my neighborhood could not cast their ballot because they were not listed in the DPT or Daftar Pemilih Tetap. I hope, I can still have a chance to cast a ballot paper during the next presidential election. Also read: Traveling and Having Lunch with Friends in Malang and Surabaya; Traveling and Enjoying the Nightlife of Surabaya

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Traveling and Having Lunch with Friends in Malang and Surabaya

by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia


If I make a trip to Java, I will always have to visit Malang. I spent three years there working as Academic Coordinator of Englishland. It is an English school which I and Dewi founded on 8 August 2002. Many travelers come to Malang every year. The temperature of the city is cool. I like Malang. Tourists who want to go to Mount Bromo must stop in Malang for logistics and some rest.



DSC02367.JPG


My trip to Malang was for visiting former and new friends. They were staff of the English school. I and Dewi had lunch with them. These girls were young and smart. They are beautiful too. While eating our lunch, one of the staff took some pictures. Malang is a well-known educational city in Indonesia. I like the city very much. When I was still living in the city, I often went out with Dewi to enjoy dinner or lunch in restaurants. The price of food here is very cheap compared to similar menu people eat in big cities such as Jakarta and Surabaya. Maybe in the near future, I will fly to Malang again and continue my trip to other interesting places in Java.



DSC02359.JPG



Also read: Traveling and Enjoying the Nightlife of Surabaya


Traveling to Love Hill of Kanonang Minahasa

by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia


My trip to Minahasa was not complete if I did not visit the Love Hill of Kanonang. Love hill is a hill for lovers, lovers of peace, lovers of nature and lovers of humanity. I recommend this hill to every traveler who plan to fly to Minahasa of North Sulawesi to enjoy the beauty of the nature of Minahasa.



DSC00714.jpg


When I began climbing the hill, I was doubtful of my physical ability whether I could reach the top of the hill. I really had to straggle at the time. There were thousands of concrete stairs leading to the top. If you are interested to climb this hill, I suggest that you bring some food with you so that when you are tired you can take a break for a while.



DSC00723.jpg


The time needed to climb the love hill of Kanonang is around 45 minutes up to 1 hour. Actually, I cannot give you the actually time duration due to differences in physical condition of every traveler. There, in Minahasa alone, people like to call the visitor as pilgrims. Climbing the love hill of Kanonang can be considered as a religious pilgrimage.



DSC00734.jpg


The surrounding view of Minahasa mountainous region is really beautiful. I feel that I should return to the top of this hill again just to have a glimpse of my ancestor's land. No matter how high this hill is, once I am at the top of it, I will feel refreshed again. That might be because of the power of Love. Also read: Traveling with horse in Minahasa and Traveling and Enjoying the Nightlife of Surabaya