‘Yeayyy.. We finally here!’ said us happily with panting breath yet still full of excitement.
‘We should take a picture guys!’ said one of us while taking her camera out
‘Ladies, Welcome to WaeRebo Village, I am sorry that you cannot take any picture or video or do anything before you enter the Main House and prayed by the Chiefs of the village’ said our kind and funny local guide who suddenly turned so serious by that time.
Out of a sudden, this seven noisy girls became very well behaved and listen to the instruction of our local guide. We were escorted into the dimly lighted Main House with a heavy cigarette smells all over the house.
The chiefs of the village greeted us with their warm smile, asked us to seat in a row, and they started the welcoming ritual. All guests must be prayed over first with Manggarai language (the local language). The purpose of the ritual is for all the guests to be kept safe at WaeRebo, because they still believe the human and the spirit in WaeRebo are still living together and helping each other.
After the praying session ended, we were escorted to one of the guest house to drink some Robusta coffee as their welcome drink. I am not a big fan of coffee, but since i am already there, and i want to respect their culture, there i was, sitting quietly and pouring sugar to my coffee and listening to some stories of the village that we will spend the night at.
A mysterious village – that’s the word that came to my mind after visiting this UNESCO World Cultural Herigate site. Relax, nothing mystical during our stay. I would say that it’s a mysterious village, because no one knows how long this village has been there for. It is only written in the history that someone named Empo Maro, an adventurous man from Minangkabau, West Sumatra sailed his way to the East side of Indonesia, and established this village. The story on why Empo Maro sailed away from Sumatra and how he ended up establishing this village on a mountain top is still a mystery.
Our two days one night stay at WaeRebo is very memorable (at least for me). I never stayed with local people before. When some high-schools in Indonesia has live-in programme (staying in some Indonesian village and live like villagers), my school just had some outings to some places in Jakarta. Yeap, thats the minus point of studying in National Plus school back at that time.
For some of you who have done the ‘live-in’ program. This trip may offer you the same conditions, where you got the chance to stay with the locals, eat with the locals, listen to the local’s music, bath in a cold-water with minimum lights (they only have lights from 6-10pm), sleep on floor with a thin mat accompanied by another traveller at your sides (Yes, it’s a communal type of stay, luckily it was seven of us, so we got the side space for ourselves), no air-con but super cold, and use torchlight whenever you need the bathroom once the sun goes down.
It was a super memorable trip, apparently the city girls can survive staying in Mbaru Niang (the cone-shaped 5 levels of traditional house) in the middle of rain-forrest with two-three days without any-connections to the outside world. Hahaha.
How to go to WaeRebo
*DID some VLOG along the way* Hope you like it – sorry for the shaky videos, as i literally took it while i hiked.
WaeRebo is located at the heart of Flores mountains, if you are looking for a pleasant, serene and nicely-isolated feeling of mountain scenery, and of course with the high cravings for interactions with the locals. WaeRebo is a perfect place for you to go.
It was such an effortful journey for us to reach this traditional village. We need to fly to Labuan Bajo from Bali (since no direct flight from Jakarta or Singapore). Let me break down for you on how i reach there from Jakarta:
– Jakarta to Bali : 1 hour 50minutes (flight)
-Bali to Labuan Bajo (Flores) : 1 hour 15 minutes (flight)
-Labuan Bajo to Dintor : 6 hours of bumpy car ride
-Dintor to Denge Village : 20 minutes of car ride
-Denge Village to the foot of the mountain : 10-15 minutes of Ojek ride (motorcycle)
-Foot of the mountain to WaeRebo : 2 hours 15 minutes of a quite challenging hiking
Imagine how effortful the trip was. It feels like you are travelling to the other part of the world, which is still located in Indonesia. hahaha. Lucky i have a fun travelling partners with me!
We decided to join a local tour for the whole Flores trip, because we heard that if you go by yourselves, the local people may overcharge you for everything, since they still have minimum access over there.
Fun-Facts about WaeRebo
-They only have 7 Mbaru Niang (the cone-shaped traditional house) with 6-8 families in each house, and they cannot add the number of the house.
-The 7 house that we see now is already renovated, and built with NO nails at all. They have 5 levels in every house, but the locals can only stay at the first floor, since the 2nd to the 5th is to save their harvest.
-Stone altar in the middle of the village cannot be seated on nor walked through it, since they still offer their offerings to their God on that altar in every rituals.
-Electricity is only ON from 6-10pm by solar power.
-The Rain-forrest that we hiked to WaeRebo has stunning biological diversity, including many kinds of birds that will always sing along your trip.
-WaeRebo locals work out on their coffee plantations (Robusta, Arabica and Luwak). They also sells their ethnic handwoven cloth that you can bring home. Price is about Rp 600.000
-Received UNESCO World Cultural Heritage award on 2012.
**ps : do bring warm clothing since it will turns very cold at night and you can bring sleeping bag if you want to (saw some european brought that for sleeping)
Photos are all unedited, Taken by Me and Salam Ransel