6) Tanah Merah Bay Maritime Festival Celebrates Papuan Diversity
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Jayapura Regency's Administration will hold the inaugural Teluk Tanah Merah Maritime Festival between Octber 24-26, 2015. The Festival, which aims to promote the beauty of the coastal region, is designed to entice travellers into the region that has so far been overshadowed by Lake Sentani - the region's premier tourist destination. The event is set to be held annually - along with Lake Sentani Festival, which has been held every year since 2008. The festivities will be focused on Amai Beach, in Depapre District, where a variety of activities will be held, such as a diving competition, underwater photography competition, traditional boating competition, as well as a traditional dance festival that showcases dances native to the coastal region.
The Regent of Jayapura, Mathius Awoitauw, said that the festival aims to promote the natural and cultural diversity of the region by establishing it as a tourist destination. "As such, the local economy could grow because local residents could capitalise on their customs - which provides an incentive to preserve local customs and traditions," he said. Mathius added that the residents of the coastal area have customs that vary quite significantly compared to the customs of locals residing around Lake Sentani - which could be used as a selling point to attract tourists from all around the region. "Through this festival, we aim to showcase this diversity - both its' natural diversity, as well as its' cultural diversity," he said. In addition to Amai Beach, tourists could also explore the turquoise waters of Harlem Beach, which is known for its' sandy beach, accessible coral gardens mere metres from the break, as well as a fresh water pool some seven metres from the beach. Formed hundreds of years ago - the pool is a sanctuary for several species of fish, which cannot be found on the beach's salty waters.
Tablamusu Beach is also a gem that could be explored. Its' black corals emit a sound dissimilar to a cry of despair when stepped on; because of which, the nearby village is known as the Wailing Rock Village. History is also a selling point - it was on Tanah Merah Bay when the American fleet led by Gen. Douglas MacArthur first stepped foot on Papuan soil during World War II. The evidence of this encounter could still be seen - abandoned fuel tanks, cannons, shipwrecks, and bunkers litter the area, reminiscent of a time that has long since passed. The festival will be closed by a Bible ceremony on the Island of Metu Debi, where a dance - that tells the story of when the locals first began to embrace Christianity - will be performed. There are so much more to Papua than Lake Sentani - and the Tanah Merah Bay Maritime Festival, is a perfect starting point, to celebrate and explore the diversity of Papua.