Since Sorong is the most developed city in West Papua, it is, of course, more popular. However, Sorong is not the one and only worth the attention. We also need to get to know other cities in West Papua too. This time, let’s get to know all about Manokwari in West Papua.
The Capital City of West Papua
For starters, Manokwari is actually the capital city of West Papua. Still, it is a coastal town, so Manokwari is not exactly a real city. It stands on the top of Cendrawasih Gulf (Teluk Cendrawasih), close to the northeast corner of the Vogelkop. It is also surrounded by natural attractions. One of the attractions is Arfak Mountain (Pegunungan Arfak).
Manokwari is three meters up from the sea level. Its average temperature is 26.3 C, which makes it a mild, humid coastal town. There are more than 24 different tribes living here. Each has its own unique language and culture. Asmat and Dani are the most prominent ones, especially Asmat, whose woodcarving skills have been widely known.
Manokwari is also the town where you can find Honai. It is a traditional house made of wood and grass as the roof material. The shape of Honai is always round. The various cultures in Manokwari have turned several regional instruments to include the Atowo, Tifa, and the Fu.
As a coastal town, a part of Manokwari has already been urbanized. However, some regencies in Manokwari still have their traditional garb. Koteka is one example. It is a hollowed-out gourd worn by tribesmen to cover their genitals.
Manokwari is also a place for famous wooden sculptures to represent beauty and virility. These sculptures have already become Manokwari’s export goods.
The Education and The People
The majority of the Manokwari residents practice Catholicism. In fact, Manokwari is also one of the Roman Catholic Diocese’s seats of Manokwari – Sorong.
In Manokwari, there is a university called The State University of Papua. This university was established on the 3rd of November 2000. This university has already got its own academic journal called “Beccariana”. This journal consists of a collection of all the research on herbalism.
Since the university is located on a hill and facing the town, it is really strategic. This area is also surrounded by the rain forest, which makes it easier for students to find biological samples as part of their research.
If you are into hiking, you can check out Kota, where the travellers’ facilities are. It is on the eastern side of the inlet of Teluk Saiwasu.
Things To Do In Manokwari
As the capital city of West Papua, Manokwari has a lot to offer too. Here are some of the things that you can do while you are here:
For Christians looking for a spiritual journey during the holiday, Mansinam Island might be the right destination for you. It is 6 km from the city of Manokwari. To come here will require a speed boat ride, which may take about ten to fifteen minutes.
Some time back in 1885, two German missionaries settled here and later became the ones who spread Christianity teachings. An interesting icon here is the white statue of Jesus Christ that resembles the one in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Pasir Putih Beach (Pantai Pasir Putih).
Pasir Putih Beach is located in the East Manokwari District. Just like the name, this beach consists of clean, white sand and blue-green seawater. This is the place where you can simply relax on the beach or just go swimming. The locals sell foods and drinks nearby, which means you do not have to go so far when you feel hungry.
Although Pasir Putih Beach is listed as one of the tourist attractions in Manokwari, West Papua, its maintenance is not only up to the government. In fact, the locals are more enthusiastic in keeping this part of the coastal town clean. No wonder the beach always looks clean and very well looked after.
If you spend some time walking along the beach here, you will see a freshwater spring directly connected to the ocean. It is beautifully decorated with several rocks. Many tourists love coming here and taking pictures of themselves.
If you swim in the spring, you will feel an unusual sensation. It is definitely like swimming in the sea, but the water tastes fresh and raw instead of thick and salty. Only in Pasir Putih Beach, you can find something like this.
If you are looking for a quiet place for the holiday, Pasir Putih Beach is probably the suitable place for you. Of course, you might need to pay attention to the season, so you will know when is the best time to visit.
As the capital city in West Papua, Manokwari is also interesting to visit. It may be small as a coastal town, but it offers a temporary escape for those looking for some spiritual enlightenment. If not, you can always just enjoy the beaches while you are here.