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Welcome to Manado, the capital city of North Sulawesi province in Indonesia and the sister city of General Santos city in the Philippines. A city of about 500,000 inhabitants (as of 2007) and also known as the city of churches, where you can see churches in almost every 100 meters, particularlsy in Manado hinterland! North Sulawesi has a few regencies, Manado city (a town), Tomohon city, Bitung city (the sister city of Davao city in the Philippines), North Minahasa, Central Minahasa (the sister providence of Rhode Island USA), South Minahasa, et cetera, with a total population of more than 2.2 millions.

...churches almost every hundred meters...

Local people in North Sulawesi are called Minahasans and they speak Minahasan dialect, with minor differences between North, Central and South. Minahasa literally means "unity" or "becoming one united" and they called themselves Minahasa after a war among kingdoms in North Sulawesi many centuries ago ended.

The Minahasans believe they are descendants of Toar and Lumimuut, a myth couple who were actually mother (Lumimuut) and son (Toar). Lumimuut descended from the gods and was eternally young and beautiful. Their descendants were then basically broken up into three groups, which are priests, officials and citizens/people. It is believed that around mid 600s AD these group of people sat down and discussed about territories and law enactment in an area called Pinawetengan (click here for more about Pinawetengan) and they drew lines and other symbolic drawing on a big stone, which still can be seen today.

...a 1400 years old civilization...

European explorers (Portuguese and Spanish) started spreading their influences to Minahasan culture in the early 1500s and they brought christianity for the first time in the mid 1540s, lead by a Spanish priest Fr. Francis Xavier, who passed away in China a few years later. Hundred years after Fr. Francis Xavier left Minahasa, Dutch missionaries came and intensively taught christianity to local people and by the late 1880s almost all Minahasans had been baptized. The Dutch East Indies government had controlled Manado port since 1670s. This European influences can also be seen in an ancient tomb of Waruga (click here for more about Waruga).

Today Minahasa people still love having parties, gathering and thanksgiving, said to be influenced by the Spanish and Portuguese. Their thanksgiving day is usually held once a year between July to August on every Sunday and rotated from one district to another. This is the moment where people, including yourself, can enjoy free meals!

playing traditional music of Kolintang
transportation in villages
said to be the second biggest Jesus statue in the world

In the past this Northeastern part of Sulawesi peninsula was famous for its spices. A village called Sonder in Central Minahasa was then famous for its cloves. They were one of the richest villagers in Asia during 1970s to early 1980s before one of the Indonesia's second president's sons took their golden era away. Today the village looks pretty much in similar condition to the other villages in north Sulawesi.

Going down from mountaineous areas towards the bay of Manado, there is a well known underwater garden, Bunaken, which is one the world's best marine park (click here for more about Bunaken). Just like many other Indonesians, people know Manado or Minahasa land only for its Bunaken or Lembeh Strait. Here in this website, you will find that there are actually more to see than just visiting Bunaken or Lembeh Strait.

...underwater and mountainous activities...

Minahasan food is also somehow different to their counterparts in western Indonesia. Minahasans eat almost every moving living creatures and like to have their meals hot and spicy. There is a famous joke among themselves, "everything has legs can be eaten, except table legs and humans!" Just click Food, Drinks and Entertainments on the left column to find details about their fascinating dishes.

Apart from eating unusual dishes, they also have a unique way of finding directions. If you want to go to a small particular hotel or souvenir shop in Manado city, locals most likely won't have a clue if you just tell them the address (unless they are frequent city explorers!). You need to mention any big landmarks or buildings or districts near your destination to get right directions. For instance, "a small hotel of ABC near the Cathedral" or "near the police HQ", "a small hospital of ABC in Malalayang district" or "near a statue of Sam Ratulangi".

Manado/Minahasa, home to Tarsius, the smallest monkey on earth, is a place where you can get a tan on beaches and cool down in highlands, a place where you can see underwater lives and lives inside active volcanos, a place where you can see a stronghold of christianity in a predominantly muslim country, just to name a few.

Have a great holiday!


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