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Information about Manokwari
Manokwari is a small and compact town, situated around Teluk Doreri, a narrow bay facing south, and surrounded by hills covered with primary rainforest. The main government buildings and the deep-sea port are in Kota, on the east side of the bay, while the central market is in Sanggeng, on the west side of the bay. West of Teluk Doreri is another bay and the suburb of Wosi. Pasir Putih, a beautiful white-sand beach, is a 10-minute drive to the northwest, and the offshore island of Mansinam is accessible by a short ride on an outrigger.
The airport is a 10 minute drive past Wosi to the southwest of town, while the conference venue, Universitas Negeri Papua, is the hills to the north, in a suburb called Amban, about a 5-10 minutes drive from town.
Rendani airport, situated a few kilometers southeast of town, is small and rustic.
On arrival, if you have checked-in luggage, you should be prepared for the local way of doing things. Some 20-30 minutes after you've entered the luggage claim area (by then your plane may have already left for its next destination), a cart stacked with luggage will be wheeled into the room, and parked behind the counter. But the fun is only just beginning. Like everywhere else in Indonesia, you need your luggage stub to retrieve your luggage; but here the stub serves an additional purpose. One by one, an airport worker picks up a piece of luggage, puts it on the counter, and then calls out the number on the stub. Check the number on your stub, and if it matches, and if you can push your way to the front of the crowd, you may retrieve your bag. As you can imagine, this procedure takes some time. Depending on how proactive you are, you can speed things up for yourself by elbowing your way to the front, and trying to grab hold of your bag for yourself. Or, if you've already been approached by a taxi driver and arranged for a ride into town, you can get him to be proactive on your behalf. Alternatively, just relax and enjoy your first exposure to the sounds and smells of Papua.
The pretty much fixed going rate for a hired car into town is an exorbitant (by local standards) 100,000 Rps. By ojek (motorcycle taxi) it is 20,000 Rps. True shoestringers can walk out to the road and catch a "taksi" (shared minibus) to the Wosi market for just Rps 3000, and catch another taksi or ojek from there.
Safety and Security
For the visitor, Indonesia is one of the safest countries that there is, and Manokwari is one of the safest places in the archipelago.
One day I was on the beach with some friends, and they suggested that we go for a long walk up the coast. Just a minute, I said, let me fetch my bag. No need was their response, just leave it here, nobody will touch it. This is the kind of feeling that you get in Manokwari. The only problem is that you can grow accustomed to leaving your handphone behind and walking off and having some total stranger calling after you waving it at you, then you go back to the rest of the world where this doesn't always work as well.
Unfortunately, the western half of the island of New Guinea is a zone of political strife. Actual armed conflict, however, is localized and sporadic, and Manokwari has been totally peaceful for years. Moreover, foreign tourists and travelers are never targeted, as it is generally assumed that they are supportive of the local population. As visitors, though, we should remember that our presence in Manokwari is due to the gracious hospitality of the Indonesian authorities and the local population, which means that we must tread a fine line in order to meet the divergent sensitivities of our different hosts. In practical terms, though, Manokwari feels as though it's a million miles from any conflict, and in your short stay you are unlikely to see anything more threatening than a smiling traffic policeman.
Like most of the region, Manokwari is in a malarial zone, so take your pills.
There are several pharmacies located around town. The following two, both near the hospital, have good supplies and are open 24 hours.
Apotik Wondama Farma
There are three ATMs where you can withdraw Rupiah from a foreign bank account: (1) BNI, opposite Hadi Mall and the Swiss Belhotel; (2) Bank Danamon, in Sanggeng, on Jl. Yos Sudarso, about half way from the main market to Hadi shopping center, on the bay side of the street; and (3) Bank Mandiri, by the entrance to the Governor's Office, just past the harbour. Note: for those who have accounts with the Indonesian BCA, there is no BCA branch or ATM in Manokwari, but you can use your BCA ATM card to withdraw cash from the BNI ATM.
Internet access has improved greatly in recent months, but is still spotty and unreliable, and as changeable as the weather and the flight schedules to Manokwari. Most of the larger hotels have, or had, or will have, or would like to have either wifi or their own terminals with internet access. The best internet cafe in town is PapuaNet, Jl. Yos Sudarso 7, a couple of blocks north of Hadi Mall opposite the big church, with lots of terminals with slow access in the front airconditioned room, a few more terminals with faster access in the back hot-and-sweaty room, and excellent wifi in both rooms. Another old faithful is Toko Biak, on Jl. Merdeka in Kota, across the side street fro the Mokwam Hotel.
There are no taxis other than the few airport taxis, and no busses or trains in Manokwari.
Minibuses ply the main routes, and the fare is a flat Rps 3000. The two most important routes for conference participants are:
(If you want to get from Kota to UNIPA, you need to change at the corner where routes A and B meet.)
Ojeks (minibus taxis) are ubiquitous, and are easily identifiable by the drivers yellow helmets. For anywhere around town the fare is a flat Rps 4000, no bargaining needed. (And the driver will readily have change for a 50,000!) From town up to UNIPA the fare seems to range from 6000 to 8000.
Outrigger boats (perahu or jonson) make the trip to Pulau Lemon and Mansinam. Regular departures are available from Kwawi, about 1 km along the road from the harbour east towards Pasir Putih, but these are infrequent. For chartering, boats are available from just about anywhere along the waterfront: try the wooden bridge behind the Hadi shopping center, or the fish market in Sanggeng. Prices will vary from Rps 100,000 to 150,000 depending on where you're going, how long you want to stay there, and so on.
Transportation from the hotels to the UNIPA conference venue will be provided each morning, as will the return trip each afternoon.
For a place of its size, Manokwari has a range of good eating possibilities.
Although there are wonderful sea views, there are few places where you can combine one of these views with a meal. (If only they had a row of waterfront warungs like in the next town, Sorong!) One excellent option is the recently opened Beach cafe (see below). Alternatively, there is a cluster of simple waterfront warungs in Kota, right where (coming from town) Jl. Merdeka meets the sea and bends east towards the port.
For those hoping to try indigenous Papuan food, there are relatively few options. Most of the restaurants and warungs in town are run by migrants from various provinces of Indonesia and offer different kinds of regional Indonesian cuisines.
There is no McDonalds, Wendy's, Pizza Hut or Starbucks, but KFC has finally arrived in Manokwari, so if you can't do without your fastfood fix, head to Hadi Mall for your Colonel Sanders.
But if you can't do without your nightcap, then you have more of a problem, as Manokwari is a dry city, and alcohol of any kind is unavailable and may not be brought in from elsewhere. Try chewing betelnut instead.
Rumah Makan Kawanua
Coto Makassar, Ikan Bakar
Coto Makassar Borarsi
Warung Sate Ketemu Lagi
Rumah Makan Tamanria
Chinese and Seafood
Rumah Makan 89
Manokwari does not have much to offer for the serious shopper. The main market, called pasar tingkat, is in Sanggeng, opposite the Hotel Mutiara, and is worth a stroll. On the second floor, facing the street, there's an arts and crafts store which seems to be permanently shut. A couple of hundred meters behind the market (follow your nose) is the main fish market. There's also a good market in Wosi. For those who cannot survive without malls, well there's Hadi, situated right at the apex of the V shaped Doreri bay, which has a supermarket, a department store, and that's about it. Otherwise, there's a smattering of general stores along Jl Merdeka in Kota.
For those interested in local art and handicrafts, or just looking for souvenirs to take back home, we are hoping to be able to arrange for some items to be made available at the conference venue.
Beaches don't get any better than the ones located in and around Manokwari. And what's more, there's an incredible variety: for sand you can choose between white powder, golden granular, or fine grey, and for sea you can take your pick of calm turquoise, rocky reef or crashing surf. Having said that, Doreri bay, around which Manokwari is situated, is a garbage-littered tidal flat: to get to the good beaches you have to go out of town. Except on Sundays, the beaches are generally deserted, which is wonderful, but don't forget to bring your own water and whatever other supplies you may need.
To get to the beaches on the mainland, you can take one of the infrequent taksis (shared minibuses), or hire an ojek. A group of people may consider chartering a taksi: for Rps 80,000 - 100,000, you can go out to any beach, and arrange for your driver to pick you up a few hours later. Alternatively, you might want to rent your own motorcycle and go exploring. To get to the beaches on the offshore islands, see under "Local Transportation".
Or you can go exploring and find your own beach, either the old fashioned way, or, for techies, using GoogleEarth (see above). But if you do use GoogleEarth, remember that it may be great for locating white sand beaches, but it doesn't tell you what lies beneath the water: more white sand, or perhaps rocks and sea urchins and other nasty thingies. Just one thing: if you do find the perfect beach, keep it perfect by not telling anyone.
5th of February
The 5th of February is celebrated each year in Manokwari as the anniversary of the first missionaries' arrival in Papua, in Mansinam Island just across from Manokwari. This is a great time to visit Manokwari, even if you're not a big fan of missionaries. On the 5th itself, the whole world seems to descend on Mansinam for a prayer, ceremony, and gigantic beach party, and the island metamorphoses from deserted tropical paradise to Coney Island -- but it's a spectacle well worth witnessing. On the day after, the 6th, there will be a colorful parade marching through town, with groups from all over Papua decked out in local garb singing and dancing their way down the street -- a great carnival atmosphere, with everybody joining in the celebrations. If you can come to Manokwari a few days early, this is an event that is well-worth experiencing.
The Linguistic Landscape of Manokwari
The island of New Guinea contains about 20% of the world's languages, and although only a small proportion of them can actually be found in Manokwari, that's still quite a lot.
The official language in Manokwari is of course the national language, Indonesian. However, the language of everyday oral communication, the language that you'll hear all around you most of the time, is Papuan Malay. Like in many other parts of Indonesia, there is a continuum of registers from the acrolectal standard language to the basilectal Papuan Malay. Thus, the kind of Malay/Indonesian that a vendor in the market would use to an Indonesian-speaking visitor will be quite different from that he or she might use to another local person.
An example of Papuan Malay can be seen in the advertisement slogan above, for a mobile phone provider: Trada Yang Blok Tong Pu Kartu 'Nobody blocks our card'. In Standard Indonesian this might read Tak Ada Yang Memblok Kartu Kami. The above slogan thus exhibits a number of peculiarly Papuan Malay features: (a) a suppletive form trada for the combination of negative plus existential; (b) the absence of prenasalization marking an active verbal form; (c) the absence of a first person plural exclusive pronoun, the general first person plural pronoun tong being a reduced form of kita 'we' plus orang 'person'; (d) a prenominal genitive construction containing pu, a reduced form of punya. In general, Papuan Malay is seldom written; its use in advertisement slogans such as the above may thus be considered to be "emblematic", reflecting a conscious effort to sound folsky and authentic.
Like most cities in Indonesia, Manokwari is a magnet for migrants. In the central parts of town, around half of the population are from outside of Papua, from other islands to the west. One obvious measure of this diversity is in the foodstalls: if they advertise paniki they're probably from North Sulawesi, coto and they're Makassarese, soto and they're Javanese, nasi Padang and they speak Minangkabau. Of these languages, at least Javanese would seem to have already developed its own indigenous Papuan variety.
Most of the Papuan residents of Manokwari are also migrants from other regions. When asked, a large proportion of the population will identify themselves as either "orang Biak" or "orang Serui", however these are both labels covering a variety of ethnicties and linguistic groups. Biak is the name of one of the two major islands in the Cenderawasih bay; it is also the name of the Austronesian language spoken on the island, and in many other parts of the Cenderawasih bay region, where it functions as a lingua franca. Serui is the name of the major town on the other major island in the Cenderawasih bay, Yapen; but there is no Serui language. Rather, there are around a dozen Austronesian languages spoken on Yapen, plus the non-Austronesian language Yawa, and an "orang Serui" could speak any one of them. In addition, speakers of yet other languages, on the New Guinea mainland opposite Yapen, might also identify themselves as "orang Serui".
Speakers of different languages typically congregate in little "diaspora" villages, some located right in the middle of town. If you walk down to the waterfront behind the Hadi mall, you'll find that everybody there speaks Ansus, one of the Austronesian languages of Yapen. Keep walking along the shore towards Kota, and you'll pass through a settlement of Butonese migrants from Southeastern Sulawesi. Next, you'll reach a village where most of all of the inhabitants are from Roon (a small island in off the southwest shore of Cendrawasih bay), and whose language is closely related to Biak. All in a leisurely 10 minute stroll.
The two local Non-Austronesian languages of Manokwari are Hatam and Meyah, both belonging to the West Papuan family; although typologically similar, they have a low rate of shared vocabulary. However, these languages are spoken in villages that are not accessible to the casual visitor to Manokwari. Still, if you spend enough time in Manokwari, you'll probably come across speakers of dozens and dozens of the local languages of Papua.
External link to Ethnologue list of languages in Papua
External link to Ethnologue map of the Birds Head
Where Is Manokwari These Days? A Note on Geographical Terminology
The Indonesian-controlled half of the island of New Guinea has recently undergone a number of official name changes. During the Suharto era it constituted a single province that went by the name of Irian Jaya. This name is still commonly understood. However, in the post-Suharto period, it was decided to split Irian Jaya into two provinces: a larger eastern one called Papua, and a smaller western one called Irian Jaya Barat. Then, in February of 2007, Irian Jaya Barat was renamed as Papua Barat. So Manokwari is now the provincial capital of Papua Barat.
Unfortunately, there is now no obvious way to refer to the geographical region that was once known as Irian Jaya.The Former Irian Jaya? The Western Half of the Island of New Guinea? Ex Dutch New Guinea? Indonesian-controlled New Guinea? Papua Plus Papua Barat? However, in everyday parlance, the region is usually referred to simply as Papua. If you need to refer to the somewhat smaller province of Papua you can specify Propinsi Papua, and if you're talking about the independent country to the east, well that's generally called PNG.)
But the dust has still not settled, and there are some people who would like to see additional provinces created, or alternatively the present two provinces reunited. Watch this space for further changes.
Click here for a series of photos of Manokwari and its environs.
GoogleEarth views of Manokwari
Note: If you have GoogleEarth installed, you can click the "GoogleEarth" links below. Otherwise, click the "web" links. GoogleEarth can be downloaded from http://earth.google.com.
Page location: https://lingweb.eva.mpg.de/archive/wlp/2/about_Manokwari.html
Page last modified: 23 Jan 2010, Leipzig