Arguni Island is located in Burau Bay, approximately 72km from Fakfak, West Papua. Home to wild orchids, it offers white sandy beaches with beautiful promontories and truly is a sight to behold for everyone who visits it.
Arguni Island has been known to Europeans since 1678 when a sailor named Johannes Keyts set sail in Berau Bay. He drew beautiful sketches of the cliffs with their prehistoric paintings in Berau. From these sketches, an expedition team was formed to inspect this prehistoric site even further in 1937-1938. The expedition called the Forschungsinstitut für Kulturmorphologie from the University of Frankfurt traveled to Aguni Island.
The publication of this exploration entitled Ergebnisse einer Probegrabung in der Hohle Dudumunir auf Arguni, Mac Cluer-Golf (Holl. West Neuguinea) was written by J. Roder in 1940. It stated there are cave burial sites, prehistoric sites, and prehistoric paintings on the karst cliffs in Berau Bay, Fakfak Regency.
The beauty of the underwater ecosystem in Arguni Island can be compared to the famous Raja Ampat site, West Papua, since Arguni Island is often used as an alternative for a diving spot or snorkeling in Fakfak Regency. In the summer of June, groups of tourists from Bali set sail to Raja Ampat will drop by to this island to enjoy the underwater view or sunbathing on its white sandy beach.
Not only famous for its underwater scenery and prehistoric sites, but Arguni Island is also unique compared to other islands in West Papua. Here are several interesting facts about Arguni Island:
Pertuanan Center of Arguni
Pertuanan means kingdom in the local language of Arguni, led by a king or chief from the house of Pauspaus. Arguni Island is the home of Chief Arguni, with its distinctive materials made from sago tree branches, built according to the way of their ancestors.
This Pertuanan history started back in the 16th century after visiting Bacan Kingdoms in North Maluku by all the leaders and chiefs in Onin Cape. These Pertuanan are formed in Fakfak Regency; one of them is located in Arguni Island until now.
The people of Arguni have a unique moniker to their chief. They called him Raja Bule or White Chief because the lineage of the chief has albinism in their genes, and by that time is similar to white Europeans. Chief Arguni often leads the welcoming ceremony to the guests from outside Papua and routinely interacts with his people.
All of the People in The Island Are Muslims
These Pertuanan in Fakfak play an important role in spreading Islamic influence in West Papua. It’s even more so in Arguni Island. Because of their strong connection to their culture, all Arguni people are Muslims.
Another unique thing in Arguni Island, West Papua, is that the people of Arguni color their house roofs in different colors from each other. These colors marked their community and differentiated their regional village from each other.
Green-colored roofs are for the Kampung Tavar or Tavar Village area, while blue-colored roofs are in Kampung Arguni or Arguni Village. Another distinctive feature to differ in this area is the material used on their fence. In Tavar Village, brick half walls are used as fences, while in Arguni Village, the material used is from steel.
These two villages separated with an arched gateway but still in a Cultural Pertuanan led by Arguni Chief.
Goats. Goats Everywhere.
The visitor of Arguni Island may recognize that there are herds of goats everywhere in Arguni Island. Goats are the favorite pets of Arguni people, and the population of goats is more than the population of humans on Arguni Island. Until now, Arguni Island is home to 300 families.
On the island, these goats were free roamed and marked with colorful tags on their necks by their owners. These goats are free to go everywhere, and more often than not, you may see them in your neighbors’ yard to search for food or even in the kitchen to find some rice!
Those are some information about Arguni Island in Fakfak Regency. Ready to visit this beautiful island?