Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Unique Wooden House in Asai village of Manokwari

There is a unique wooden house in Asai - a small village that is located in the northern coast of Manokwari. It was built on a slope facing the Pacific Ocean with tropical rainforest as its background. It has got unique design that is not rectangular. From outside, we see it as a hexagonal structure but when we entered the house, it is just like any other homes that are composed of rectangular rooms. Asai is a nice destinations for tourists who want to go hiking in the jungle along Asai river or snorkeling over coral reef of Asai bay.

Almost all of the frames, and walls are made of iron wood. Only the roof that is made of corrugated metal sheet. The owner of the house designed the house by himself. He also constructed some parts of the house by himself. One thing that I really like about the house is its open space on the second floor. From this area, we can see the magnificent view of the Asai bay and the tropical seas of Pacific ocean. Visitors may stay in the house for a few nights. Mr. Munneke, intends to sell it to anybody who is interested in buying it.
The design of this house is totally different from the wooden houses in Minahasa. Mr. Munneke, as the owner of the house, put the living room as an open space. It was a smart decision because it would create a cool atmosphere for the tropical house. He and his wife grow flower plants around their house. To block or reduce direct sunlight, he placed rattan screen in the north and east parts of the house. by Charles Roring

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Coral Reef in Dorey bay of Manokwari

Coral reef in the Dorey bay is now facing more pressures than ever before from human activities due to the increase of human population in Manokwari city. In recent years, housings for city dwellers, buildings for markets and offices are being constructed along the coastal areas. Such development directly deteriorates water quality in Dorey bay. More sediments and plastic wastes are now formed in the bay which was once a pristine marine environment in the bird's head region of West Papua. Whales and dolphins used to live in the bay but now they are gone. The construction of office buildings, including the drainage tunnel to the beach, in Arfai hills for the Provincial Government of West Papua is now underway.

In recent years, liveaboard diving operators from Bali and the nearby Sorong town make Dorey bay as their port of embarkation for tourists who want to see shipwrecks in the bay or watch whale sharks in Cendrawasih bay. Underwater pictures of the shipwrecks and coral reef in the Dorey bay made by the tourists greatly help us tell the city dwellers and the local government of West Papua about how important the Dorey bay is for maintaining the fish stock of Manokwari. The Dorey bay is also one of the few coastal areas in the northern New Guinea that has got mangrove forest. Most of the mangrove ecosystems in this tropical island can be found in its southern coast.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Simple Wooden House for Ecotourism Program in Manokwari

I am in the process of designing a simple wooden house for my rainforest eco-tourism program in Manokwari. The program is aimed at creating alternative income generation scheme to indigenous Papuan so that they will not be tempted to sell their forested lands to logging companies. The program also targets hunters in Manokwari to support their livelihood so that they will not hunt endangered animals such as tree kangaroo and birds of paradise or other wild animals that are facing extinction. There are 4 hiking and birding destinations (i.e., Dopi river, Asai river, Warmarway village and Aiwatar hill) that I am promoting at the moment. Each destination needs at least 3 wooden houses (also called cottages). Two cottages will be used by tourists whereas one by the guides and porters. Instead of using Archicad to visualize the foundation, pillars, floors, windows and wall structures, I choose Google Sketchup 8 Pro. Today the CAD software has been under the management of Trimble. I plan to cover the cottage with thatched roofs. Sago palm leaves will be the base material.
Tourists who stay in the house will have the opportunity to watch the birds of paradise in the morning. If they stay at a hotel in Manokwari, they will not be able to watch the birds. My first proposal of tourist house for Kwau village was approved by the Department of Forestry. It is being constructed this month and will be finished in November or December.

The contractor does not use my design that I presented in the proposal. Instead, they create a big wooden house that will be built around two meters above the ground. I personally agree with them because it will be better like that.
The above photographs is the landscape of tropical rainforest in Dopi river. It is a tributary of Pami river that flows to Amban beach in the north of Manokwari. Since there are coral reefs in the region, visitors are not allowed to throw any plastic wastes into the water while walking through the river. This is to ensure that the coral reefs in the coastal areas are preserved.
Tourists who visit this river stay in a small camp that we built to serve them. Unfortunately, it is not always comfortable for many tourists who want to experience staying in the jungle for the first time. Only those who like adventure will feel ok with this camp. That's why I am now designing the above simple cottage to replace it.
The design of this simple cottage is different from the traditional wooden/ bark houses in Arfak mountains. However, wood is still used as the main construction material. I hope to finish the design of this wood house early next year. I still haven't got the fund to build them but I plan to raise funds both from the government and anybody who is interested in supporting the preservation of rainforest of New Guinea through eco-tourism program. by Charles Roring
P.S.
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Friday, October 5, 2012

Birds of Paradise in Tropical Island of New Guinea

Birds of paradise are the icon of New Guinea - the largest tropical island in the world. They live in the rainforests but now their natural habitats are being destroyed by massive deforestation. The rise of fuel prices has triggered the search for alternative fuel oil other than petroleum. When processed palm oil is believed to be the alternative fuel for diesel engine that drive cars and trucks, massive monoculture sawit palm plantations are now being opened in West Papua and Papua New Guinea. With the approval of local governments, hundreds of thousands of hectares rainforest are now being cut for the development of the sawit plantations. Tropical rainforests that are rich in bio-diversity are now shrinking every minute.
Birds of paradise have also been hunted since hundreds of years ago. They are traded life and dead to collectors who are happy to hang them on the walls of their houses or to put them in glass boxes.
Birdwatching is an alternative income generation scheme that I try to introduce to local people in Manokwari regency at the moment. Birdwathers from Europe, the United States have come to see the birds of paradise in their natural habitat. There are three locations in this regency where tourists can go to watch birds of paradise.
They are Camp Mawowi, Camp Dopi and Aiwatar hill. The nearest on to the town is Camp Dopi. Birdwatchers who want to see the birds of paradise in Camp Dopi need to hiking through the jungle for three hours to reach the birding site. I deliberately do not put the GPS coordinates of the site in website to prevent hunters from visiting the jungle and shooting the birds. If you are interested in taking a vacation for watching the birds of paradise in the jungle of Manokwari, please, contact me by e-mail to peace4wp@gmail.com

Related post: Facing Extinction Birds of Paradise and Western Crowned Pigeon

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bali Tropical Lifestyle

Bali is perhaps the most famous tropical island in the world. It is a tourist hub of Indonesia. Every year millions of visitors come to Bali. They want to enjoy swimming and sunbathing at Kuta and Legian beach or explore the beauty of terraces of rice fields in the inland areas. Although agriculture still provides the the largest employment, tourism is the driving power of the economy. Bali is also the center of art. Art lovers will feel that Ubud town is more suitable for them. Art galleries and museums present the superior craftsmanship of Balinese woodcarvers and painters.
Some businessmen make Bali as their trading hub. They import carvings, furniture, or even wooden houses for their clients in Europe, South America or Australia. Balinese carpenters can build timber frame houses that are decorated with artistic reliefs on the walls and carvings on the pillars. For Balinese, art is an integral part of their daily life.
In Bali - the island of the gods, everyday is a holiday. There are plenty of attractions which travelers can see, and enjoy. From hiking the mount Batur to watching dolphins at Lovina, travelers may choose activities and adventure packages which they want to experience in this tropical island. Lovers come to Bali to enjoy their honeymoon too. Feeling stressed with office works? Don't worry, Bali has got endless rows of tropical beach resorts and spas where you can stay to book for massage service or taking some yoga classes.
I have visited Bali several times. My last visit this year lasted for 3 months. I stayed in a nice tropical house in Ubud on Jalan Sukma. I ate Balinese nasi campur, I rode a mountain bike to explore the slopes of Ubud. I visited Neka and Anthony Blanco art galleries and Museum Puri Lukisan to see traditional and modern paintings. Drawing is my hobby. When I was on the second floor or Neka art gallery, I saw pastel paintings of Gerard Hofker. Such fantastic artworks from Western painters depict the traditional Balinese lifestyle that are slowly being mixed with cultures from all corners of the world.
Balinese are a religious society. Hinduism is the main religion here. However, the Balinese are tolerant to other cultures and religions. Temples are every where even in business centers such as Ubud market or the shopping center at Kuta main street. Yet, the Balinese culture will not be eliminated. It continues to exist side by side with other cultures that have entered this beautiful tropical island. So, culturally Bali does not belong to Indonesia anymore. It belongs to the world. It is a cosmopolitan. Come to Bali and you will feel as if you are at home. by Charles Roring
For more information about Bali, please, order the following books: