Riri and Thatha took a 5:30 am flight from Jakarta to Manado last Saturday. We arrived in Manado at around 9:30 local time since the flight takes about 3 hours and Manado is one hour ahead of Jakarta.
This was my second time coming to Manado, but I had no memory of this city. Judging from the art deco glass and the tenants at the airport of Manado, the city of Manado should be more promising than Pontianak.
Outside the airport, Thatha saw an interesting phrase Si Tou Timou Tumou Tou and immediately guessed that the meaning must be “welcome”. Apparently, the phrase is the motto of Manado city, which means “Manusia hidup untuk menghidupkan manusia lain” (“Men live to help others live”). What a beautiful phrase that identifies Manado people.
We stayed in Manado Tateli Beach Resort. According to some locals, this resort was used to be Hotel Sedona, and it is going change into Grand Mercure Resort.
The confusion of the name can be seen from the bath
room amenities. After checked in, we had lunch at the hotel restaurant. I like the placemat that looks like a traditional satay fan without the stick. Homemade bread before the meal After waiting for an hour, our orders finally arrived. The appetizer, Pisang Goroho (Minahasa Fries), came out at the same time as the main course. This is a very unique fried banana that can only be found in Sulawesi. Javanese usually eat fried banana with cheese, condensed milk, chocolate butter, or fruit jams; Pontianak people usually dip fried banana into srikaya (coconut jam). In Manado, the fried banana is accompanied with spicy chilli sauce. The banana used is not the normal soft and sweet banana, it is more like plantain, a bit hard and bland. The chilli sauce in this restaurant is so addicting. I really love this dish.
For main course, Thatha had Chicken and Beef Satay, Riri had Ayam Woku Bakar, and Franky had Spinach Tagliatelle Carbonara. The peanut sauce for the satay was a bit disappointing, not enough peanut flavours and the texture was too smooth, looked like an instant sauce.
Riri & Franky went diving in the morning. The lunch is included in the diving package. There were several options for lunch menu: nasi kuning, nasi/kwetiau/bihun goreng, sandwich, etc. The most special menu is nasi kuning (yellow rice). The Manado version of nasi kuning is different from what we normally see in Jakarta, even the packaging is very different, as the nasi kuning Manado is usually wrapped in woka leaf. The nasi kuning Manado consists of the yellow rice, shredded beef,abon cakalang, and boiled egg.
Thatha didn’t snorkel on day 2, so Thatha walked around the resort, capturing beautiful panoramas. There was a wedding photo shoot at the chapel by the beach, and there was a mountain on the background.
Riri looked tired after 4 consecutive
days of diving, 3 dives on each day. Here is a more detailed information of dive sites in Manado.
Bored of eating dinner at the resort, we decided to head out to downtown to find some local restaurants. Our guide took us to Mega Mas, an open-air area behind Megamall Manado with many food stalls, ranging from seafood, meatballs, and non-halal food. There were just too many food stalls to pick from, and we randomly chose Minahasa Star.
Bobara Bakar (Bobara Grilled Fish)After dinner, the guide took us to look to Kartini Bakery, which is famous for its local pastry Klappertart – a traditional cake of Manado, influenced by the Dutch, made of coconut as the main ingredient.
In Manado, I witnessed a really fancy mikrolet (public transportation), which is decorated with LED light and loud speakers, and also facilitated with LED TV screen. The seatings are all facing front, unlike in Jakarta or other cities facing sideways.
The fruit jams served at the resort breakfast restaurant are homemade. Moreover, the resort plants its own fruits, vegetables and herbs, including papaya. No wonder there’s always papaya served for breakfast, lunch and dinner at the resort, and the papayas are always sweet.
I was a bit reluctant to leave this resort and go back to Jakarta. We could hardly see blue sky and green trees in Jakarta. I really love the view where there’s one red-leaf tree in a row of green trees. Before heading to the airport, we stopped by for lunch. Our guide took us to Soto Rusuk Ba Ko’ Petrus to try its famous pork rib soup.
At the airport, I bought Manado / Minahasa batik cloth for my mum. I like how they describe the meaning of each element that make up a pattern. I also brought back a really interesting stuff from Manado to Jakarta: daun woka (woke leaf), which looks like a huge fan. Some snack souvenirs for my coworkers: Dodol Kenari (Chestnut cake), Lapis Regal and Lapis Wafer. The Dodol Kenari is also wrapped in woka leaf. I bought Manado coffee powder since I couldn’t find the beans. I think Manado coffee tastes smoother, not as bitter as Pontianak coffee. It is funny that the coffee is labeled as “Export Quality, from ancient Chinese recipe”.
Sadly, I didn’t get change to try Saraba, a traditional beverage from Mando that is made of ginger. There’s a row of stalls along the street selling Saraba, which is always full of people at night sitting on plastic chairs. This scene is similar to Jalan Gajah Mada in Pontianak.
The schedule for day 5 was to travel around the city of Manado and visited some tourist attractions. Thatha requested to try Nasi Jaha, so our guide took us to Rumah Kopi Billy, a traditional coffee shop that serves coffee and some snacks.
Nasi Jaha (Ginger Rice)
To add protein to the Bubur Manado, we ordered Nike Goreng (Nike Fritters) and Cakalang Goreng (Deep Fried Skipjack Tuna). Both “Nike” and “Cakalang” are types of fish. Nike Goreng contains ubi bete (taro / yam). After breakfast, we went to Bukit Kasih in Kawangkoan, which is the symbol of unity of five different religions in Indonesia. Just like the Great Wall of China, there are stairways along the mountain of Bukit Kasih. However, the weather was heavily cloudy and started to rain, so we didn’t finish the trail that required approximately 1.5 hours. Sadly, this place is kind of abandoned, the area looked dry and dirty, which could be why not many tourists are willing to go there. There’s a legendary coffee shop with its famous bakpao in Kawangkoan, near Bukit Kasih: Rumah Kopi Gembira. The menu is quite simple just like other traditional coffee shops, such as drinks (coffee, tea, chocolate, soft drinks), biapong (steamed buns), roti bakar (toasts), pia (pie) and eggs.
The steamed buns with pink dots are the Biapong Ba, whereas the bigger bun is the Biapong Temo.
The steaming process and the interior of the coffee shop are very traditional, which might invoke nostalgic feeling to all customers.
There’s a famous coffee shop in Kelapa Gading Jakarta called Kedai Kopi Kwang Koan, which has a very similar concept to this one. I guess the owner of the one in Jakarta is originated from Kawangkoan, Manado, where Rumah Kopi Gembira is.
After visiting Kawangkoan, we went to see the traditional house of Minahasa called Rumah Panggung Woloan. It is very interesting since the structure of the house is made of knock-down woods, which means you just need to purchase a land and stick this structure onto it. The house comes in many different sizes, and you may customise the number of bedrooms according to your needs. I couldn’t take good pictures since it was raining heavily.
There’s a second largest statue of Jesus Christ in the world located in Citraland Manado. The world’s largest statue of Jesus Christ is in Brazil. We went to the hippest shopping mall in Manado: Manado Town Square (Mantos). Judging from the tenants, interior and traffic of the mall, I think Manado is far more developed than Pontianak. The chain coffee shops, such as Excelso, Dante and Black Canyon had already entered Manado, whereas in Pontianak, you can only find Excelso. The Excelso in Mantos was one of the prettiest one I’ve ever seen.