Watu Pinawetengan | Waruga Ancient Tombs | Caves

Watu Pinawetengan

As mentioned earlier on Manado's main page, Watu (stone) Pinawetengan (about 4 meters/13 feet long) is believed to be a place where Minahasans ancestors sat down and discussed about territories and law enactment in around 650 AD. A few carvings of lines and other symbolic drawings on this big chunk of stone are still visible, along with some irresponsible graffiti and concrete.

In a comfortable climate, as it lies on a hill of over 900 meters (2,953 feet) above sea level, visitors can see Tondano Lake if they look towards the east. Click the picture above for more and bigger photos of Watu Pinawetengan.

Location : sub-district Tompaso, approximately 2 hours drive from Manado City
Operating hours : it is recommended to visit during the day time since the stone's shelter is not powered by lights
Facilities : 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 and change to local mikrolet that goes to Kawangkoan Village, then take an ojek from Kawangkoan Village to Kanonang Village (about 2 kilometers/1.2 miles 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 : there is a small explanatory board nearby. This place is located just behind (to the east of) "Bukit Kasih", hence you can plan to visit these two places together. Currently the road to Watu Pinawetengan needs a little improvement.

Waruga Ancient Tombs

A collection of ancient tombs named Waruga ( /wh�-roo-gh�/ ) in a local language of Tonsea, which literarily means "a stone house for human bodies 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. You will see many epitaphs that describe the professions of the people who were ?buried? in the newer tombs, such as nurse, leaders, shaman, and so on. However, there are no epitaphs on the oldest tombs. The later generations of tombs also describe European influences, such as Portuguese and Spanish.

These Warugas were originally found facing the north. This is because it is believed that the ancient Minahasans understood that their ancestors came from the north (said to be Mongolia).

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

A legend says that one Waruga stone was lifted and transferred only by one big man. Historians believe this group of big men had a kind of black magic to help them moving heavy stones like Warugas.

This Waruga has even been visited by Queen Juliana and Queen Beatrix of Holland in 1971 and 1995, respectively.

Click the pictures above for more and bigger photos of Waruga Ancient Tombs.

Location : Sawangan Village, about 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) from either Manado or Bitung, 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) from Tondano
Operating hours : Monday-Saturday, 6am-6pm, Sunday, around 11am-6pm
Telephone : contact person: +62 85256703320 (Mr. Anton) or +62 431 891709
Admission charges : free, though a voluntary donation is expected
Facilities : toilets, English speaking guides
How to get there : By taxi (fare: non-meter taxi costs around Rp. 100,000-Rp. 150,000 one way) or own transportation
By public transport, take a mikrolet to Paal 2 Terminal, then continue by a mikrolet or a bus that goes to Aermadidi town or in Bitung City direction (mikrolet fare: Rp. 3,600) and inform the bus driver or his assistant that you want to go to Waruga. After getting off at Aermadidi, the easiest and fastest way is to take a short ride (a few minutes) on an ojek to Waruga (fare: about Rp. 5,000 one way)
Remarks : not to miss! This interesting place to visit is located approximately half way down from Manado city to Tangkoko Reserve or Lembeh strait. The entrance gate to waruga is usually closed. Once you arrive, somebody will open it for you, otherwise you can contact Mr. Anton (one day before arrival would even be better). He then will guide you too to visit the Waruga Museum that keeps important artifacts.


Japanese Caves

A few historical Japanese caves in Minahasa were built by deploying local people during the Japanese occupation of Indonesia that happened in the 1940?s.

Click the picture on the left for more and bigger photos of Japanese caves.

Location : between Sonder-Bukit Kasih (Kiawa Village, Kawangkoan sub-district), between Waruga and Tondano
Facilities : local restaurants and Rumah Makan
How to get there : By own transportation you will see these caves on your way to either Watu Pinawetengan or Bukit Kasih
By minibus: take the one that heads towards the direction of ?Kawangkoan?. Tell the bus driver or his assistant that you want to get off at the caves
Remarks : a few of the caves are currently abandoned or inadequately maintained, and some are even closed (locked). If you insist on going into the caves at Kawangkoan Village (photo above), you need to walk about 100 meters (110 yards) to the left to find the caves' keeper. It suggested to bring a torch, as it is quiet dark inside the caves.

Mahawu Cave

A natural cave that is located in Mahawu foothills. Visitors sometimes, after hiking the Mahawu mountain (started early in the morning to enjoy the sunrise on the top of Mahawu), continue their journey by visiting the cave. It is recommended to be accompanied with a guide. You can arrange for a guided trip through any local travel agent.

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