Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Meet The Bolang From Papan Island

Papan Island, Feb 16, 2015

Initially, delivered by Pak Nuir with his wooden boat, we had planned to move from Sera Beach Cottage to Lestari Cottage (both located in Malenge Island). But suddenly we changed our mind and decided to stay at Papan Island, which exactly located in the opposite of Lestari Cottage. Eventually, Pak Nuir had a colleague living on that tiny island. He referenced them to be a potential host for us.

Once we arrived at Papan Island, we were nicely welcomed by our potential. The one who was most excited was Rafli. That eleven-year old boy was the oldest kid on that family. Even he 'forced' his father just to accept us as guests when negotiation is still going on. "Come on Papa, accept them!"

© 2014 sita ariana pangestu
Finally we agreed to pay 60 k IDR/person/night to stay at their house. That price included meal 3x a day and free flow of water, tea, and coffee. While waiting for our room to be prepared, we had a rest at the porch of their wooden house built above the sea. Rafli was so enthusiastically talked with me. Proudly he said, "Ari, I am the Bolang from Papan?"

"Really?" I got amazed. As per I know,  Si Bolang has been one of TV series knows as 'provocator' not only for kids but also adults to explore each inch of Indonesia's beauty. Even 'ngebolang' has been a slang (phrase) for traveling + adventuring.

"Yes!" he answered proudly. "The shooting was taken last year but I forgot on which month. If you want to see the video, my teacher has it." Then he ran into his room. Once he was back, he brought his Bolang uniform and showed that t-shirt to us.  He said that through hom-pim-pah, cap, slayer and the bag had been distributed to another kids who were also filmed for that episode.

"How come you became The Bolang?" I asked.

"They (the film crew) gathered all the kids in one class. They interviewed us about our daily activities. And in the end they ventured us to dance in front of the others. I stood up, came up front, and danced. So they chose me because I was the fussiest and bravest one," he answered with proud smile on his face. I became proud of him too and felt lucky for having chance to get to know him.


Once I arrive in Jakarta, I searched on YouTube and found this video capturing Rafly as the Bolang at Papan Island. Enjoy the video :)

Thursday, 26 March 2015


Papan Island, Feb 15-18, 2015

© +sita ariana pangestu (2015)

Papan Island is so petite. It covers an area of 1 kilometer square only and inhabited by few dozen families who mostly build their wooden houses at the perimeter of the island. There are 3 large stone mounds there. The highest peak is considered as 'mountain'. It's said that there's phone signal at that peak. But we found nothing when we were there.

The island is connected with Malenge Island via a sturdy wooden bridge, approximately 1 km long. The bridge has just been built to replace the former bridge which had already been old and broken. The main users of that bridge are Papan Island kids who go to elementary school located in Malenge Island.

During our stay, Om Jos and I loved to walk along the coastal village both in Papan Island and Malenge Island. When we were passing, almost all kids would enthusiastically greet and approach us. "Hallo Mister!" they said to Om Jos.

Since I walked next to Om Jos, automatically they greeted me," Hallo Miss!" 

Kids on both islands really love to be photographed. Once they saw a camera hanging around Om Jos' neck, they directly asked him to take their photographs. "Mister photo! Mister photo!" they said while giving their best poses and smiles.

© +sita ariana pangestu (2015)

The water around Papan Island is so clear even wit naked eyes we could see the beauty of sea life on it. Be careful if you want to swim and snorkel around the Papan Island because there are quite a lot of sea urchin and mambo snakes (sea snakes with black and white stripes and super sticky, living in shallow water seabed). If you want to swim safely, come to one segment of the bridge near the Malenge side where there is a wooden stairs toward a shallow water paved with white soft sand and is free from coral reefs and sea weed.

© +sita ariana pangestu (2015)
© +sita ariana pangestu (2015)

For more adventurous thing, try to swim across the 'strait' between Papan Island and Malenge Island. At first I was not sure for doing that because the distance looked so far. But after being provoked and challenged by Om Jos (plus given a life jacket by Rafly), I finally ventured myself to take the challenge. It turned out that crossing that strait was not that difficult. The sea was so calm and our body could easily float. With huge self determination we finally could swim from in front of our host' house and safely arrived at Malenge Island.

Eventually our host' house is located in the opposite side of Lestari Cottage. But our host highly recommended us not to step our feet there because the place is guarded with 'fierce' dogs that would bark and even bite the unwanted guest. Fortunately, there was a separated tiny beach located next to that resort area where we could have a rest for a while before swimming back to our host' house.

© +sita ariana pangestu (2015)

In the afternoon, it's best time for canoeing while waiting for sunset. We were so lucky because our little host, Rafly, lent his family's canoe to us. Initially he had planned to join us canoeing but since the twilight almost come he cancelled his mind. He was afraid to miss the communal evening pray time at mosque. So, it turned out that only Om Jos and I were together paddling in the sea of love. LOL!


MALENGE STAY: Sera Beach Cottage

© +sita ariana pangestu (2015)

Sera Beach Cottage. After having been through a tough negotiation, finally Om Jos and I (and also two couples who became our impromptu travel buddies from Wakai) got the price of 150k IDR/night/person to stay at that cottage located at the north side of Malenge island. That cottage has just been operated since mid 2014. It consists of 7 small wooden cottage unit and 1 big wooden building functioned as common room, dining venue, and also living place for its staffs.

© +sita ariana pangestu (2015)

In front of the cottage, there is a tiny beach with soft and white sand. The sea has blue shades that calm us down as far as we could see. You could just jump on it if you want to swim and snorkel. The water is clear, the feasibility is good, and coral reef and fish living there are beautiful. Even if you're lucky enough, you could find sting rays and baby sharks which occasionally pass through. If you want to go to a better snorkeling and diving spots, you could rent a wooden boat from the cottage to bring you to Reef No. 4 and Reef No.5 locations. If you're just too lazy or tired, you could relax yourself in the hammock installed on each front part of each cottage unit or in benches under the coconut trees near the sea shore.

In orange cocoon

Toward dining time, all the guest would be gathered in the common building. We would sit around a long wooden table where the food is nicely prepared. For breakfast, usually they will serve sweet cake or pancake and slices of tropical fruit like pineapple. For lunch and dinner the main menu is grilled barakuda fish with slices of fresh tomatoes and onions. In this common room, there is also a small wooden shelf consisting of some books left by previous guests. Mostly are novels written (translated) in German. There are also some chess sets. You could borrow them any time you want.

Pak Nuir
Coconut crab

The best feature on this cottage is Mr. Nuir, a native of Malenge island who becomes the operational manager of this new-built cottage. He is so informative and talk-active to guests. He has fluent English. Besides giving us useful information, he also tries hard to satisfy the guests staying at this cottage. On our first night staying there, he showed us the presence of plankton scattering the beach that would shine once we stepped our foot on them. On the second night, he showed us a coconut crab, one of signature animal living in Togean islands. In particular, he told me and Om Jos about the hidden beach located not far from the cottage.

This cottage also provides a free shuttle boat from and to Malenge local jetty. Meanwhile for moving to another island, we could charter the wooden boat owned and sailed by Mr. Nuir with a negotiable and affordable price.

With all those mentioned quailities it has, I personally really recommend Sera Beach Cottage for you who wants to spend holiday at Malenge island.



You may call this number for making reservation at Sera Beach Cottage +6285145906028

Tuesday, 24 March 2015


Togean Islands. This tourism destination is the heaven for beach and sea lovers because it has beautiful spots for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. Even for just relaxing, this place is the best. But... It needs huge determination if you want to have vacation there because the access to go there is not quite easy and fast. From Sulawesi mainland, it needs many hours to reach these islands located in Tomini Gulf. But... Once you get there, you'll be so resistant to leave.

There are 2 main accesses to reach Togean Islands i.e. from Gorontalo and Ampana. From Gorontalo, we'll need around 13 hours of sea voyage to reach Wakai, central of Togean Islands. Meanwhile from Ampana, it only needs 6 hours. But, since Ampana couldn't be reached through airway, inevitably, we should fly to its neighboring city first such as Palu and Luwuk. From those cities we need several hours of road trip to reach Ampana. I personally suggest you to go from Gorontalo.

Waiting for our departure from Gorontalo to Wakai

#Gorontalo : To reach ferry port, from Jalaluddin airport Gorontalo, take Damri bus Airport - Port with daily departure at 11.30, 13.15, and 21.30. Sea voyage duration from Gorontalo to Wakai, the center of Togean, by using KM Tuna Tomini is around 13 hours. The fare for economy class is 54k IDR per person, and for business class is 89k IDR per person.

#Ampana : In average the sea travel time from Ampana to Togean is 6 hours. But, since there is no airport in Ampana, we should fly first to its neighbors such as Palu and Luwuk. From those cities, it requires a quite long road travel time to reach Ampana.

  • From Mutiara Airport Palu, take bus to Palu Bus Station, there are buses with route of Palu - Poso - Ampana departing at 10.00 and 17.00 (with duration of journey for about 10 hours.), or travel agent serving route of Palu - Ampana such as Touna Travel (Jl. Sam Ratulangi, 0451-454808 jam 08.00 dan 16.00), Sansarino Travel (Jl. Sisingamangaraja, 0451-425807 jam 09.00), Togean Indah Travel (Jl. Suprapto, 0451-422829), get off at Ampana port.
  • From Bubung Airport Luwuk, take bus to the Luwuk Bus Station, there are buses serving route of Luwuk - Ampana departing at 21.00, or to travel agent Kesayangan Anda (Jl. Yos Sudarso, next to Rosalina Hotel, 081341009960, 0852566267368), get off at Ampana port.

Below is the boat schedule from and to Togean:

Note(s): All the time stated above are in Central Indonesia Time, GMT+8

Once arriving in Wakai, there would be several boats from the resorts located in Kadidiri Island, the most popular island in Togean Islands, such as Kadidiri Paradise, Black Marlin Dive & Resort or Pondok Lestari Kadidiri. While if we want to go to another islands, without relying on public boat, we need to rent the wooden boat from the local people with negotiable price.