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Ancient Civilizations and Caves

Watu Pinawetengan

As mentioned earlier on the first page of Manado, Watu (stone) Pinawetengan is believed to be a place where Minahasans ancestors sat down and discussed about territories and law enactment in mid 600s AD. A few carvings of lines and other symbolic drawing on this big chunk of stone are still visible, along with a few irresponsible graffiti and concretes.

With a comfortable climate as a result of standing on a hill of over 900 meters (2,953 feet) above sea level, you can see Tondano lake from the stone shelter if you look towards the East. Click the picture above for more and bigger photos of Watu Pinawetengan.

Location: sub-district of Tompaso, approximately 2 hours driving from Manado city.
Operating hours: it is recommended to visit during day time since the stone shelter is not powered
toilets with warm fresh water
How to get there:
by taxi or own transportation; by public transport: from Karombasan terminal in Manado take a bus that goes to Tomohon (fare: Rp. 6,000) and change to local mikrolet that goes to Kawangkoan village, then take ojek from Kawangkoan village to Kanonang village (about 2 km (1.2 mi) away - fare: Rp 4,000), then another ojek from Kanonang to Bukit Kasih, the same fare for similar distance, followed by short trekking from Bukit Kasih to Pinawetengan.
Remarks: at this moment, there is no explanatory board and it is located just behind (east of) "Bukit Kasih". You can plan to visit these two places together, unless you are really keen to see ancient stones.

Waruga Ancient Tombs

A collection of ancient tombs named Waruga ( /whâ-roo-ghâ/ ), a local language, Tonsea, which literarily means "a stone house for human body to decompose". These Warugas were collected from local people's backyards in 1917.

The oldest tombs are as old as 1200 years and the "newest ones" are as "new" as 400 years. There are no reliefs on the oldest tombs, while you can see many reliefs that descript the professions on the newest tombs, such as nurse, leaders, shaman, etc. The later generation of tombs show carvings of European influence into their lives, such as Portuguese and Spanish.

These Warugas, where they were found, all were placed into the same direction, to the North. This is thought that these people believed that the North was the place where their ancestors came from (said to be Mongolia).

One big Waruga can hold up to 7 bodies, usually for a family. All bodies positioned, also, towards the North and placed in squatting positions.

History said one Waruga stone lifted and transferred by only one big man. The historians believe these big men had sort of like black magic to help them moving heavy stones like Warugas. Click the picture on the left for more and bigger photos of Waruga.

Location: Sawangan Village, about 25 km (15.5 mi) from both Manado or Bitung, 20 km (12.4 mi) from Tondano
Operating hours: daily, 6am-6pm, expect late opening on Sunday (around 11am)
Admission charges: free, though voluntary donation expected
souvenir shops, toilets, English speaking guides
How to get there:
by taxi (fare: non-meter around Rp. 100,000-Rp. 150,000 one way) or own transportation; by public transport, take "mikrolet" to Paal 2 terminal (fare: Rp. 2,300) then continue by mikrolet or bus that goes to Aermadidi town (fare: Rp. 5,800) or Bitung direction and inform the bus driver or his assistant that you want to go to Waruga (fare: Rp. 7,800 up to Bitung). After getting off in Aermadidi, the easiest and fastest is taking a few minutes ride on "ojek" to Waruga (fare: around Rp. 4,000 one way).
Remarks: not to miss! This one of interesting places to visit in Manado/Minahasa is located approximately half way from Manado city to Tangkoko Reserve or Lembeh strait.


A few historical Japanese caves in Minahasa, built by deploying local people during their occupation in Indonesia (1940s).

Click the picture on the left for more photo of Japanese caves.

Location: a few locations: Kawangkoan village (between Sonder and Bukit Kasih), between Waruga and Tondano, etc.
How to get there:
by own transportation; by public transport, you will see these caves on your way to either Watu Pinawetengan or Bukit Kasih
Remarks: a few of them are currently abandoned or inadequately maintained, and some are even closed (locked). If you insist in going into the caves at Kawangkoan village (photo above), you need to walk about 100 meters (110 yards) to the left to see the caves keeper.


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