More about Manado
Manado is the capital of North Sulawesi and with its approximately 450.000 citizens more than a medium sized city. Bordering one side, the Celebes Sea with Bunaken marine park and on the other side beautiful green grown highlands and towering volcano’s, Manado offers one of the most prosperous and spectacularly scenic area’s in Indonesia.
The Minahasa district is the hinterland of Manado and possesses some of the most fertile soils in Indonesia. Traditionally, agriculture of coconuts, cloves and nutmeg have brought great wealth to the Manadonese and Minahasans. No wonder that in Dutch colonial times Manado was an important stronghold.
Whereas the first 200, of 400 year of colonialism, war and trade marked the Dutch presence, the 1800s brought rapid and massive conversions to Protestantism. Thus Christianity became an emblem of Minahasan culture and identity and helped to establish a local attachment to European culture. By the turn into the 1900s, health services, education and infrastructure were on a much higher level than in other regions in Indonesia. In the 1930s Minahasa registered the highest literacy rate in the country. After the Japanese invasion, the Dutch reoccupation efforts and the revolutionary activities that eventually brought independence in 1949, many Minahasans still nicknamed the region the “12th province” of Holland. But all that have long been forgotten now and main talk today is economic development.
The majority of the population is still of Christian believe and that alone sets Manado and Minahasa apart from the rest of Indonesia, which is mainly Muslim. Manadonese and Minahasans are fun-loving, extrovert in their expressions and like to make jokes. They love singing and are throughout the country famous for their vocal skills. The richness and diversity of marine life in Bunaken marine park are the reasons tourism is blooming and developing in Manado now and marks a new era in this part of paradise on Earth.
More about Bunaken
Bunaken National Marine Park is an officially protected and recognized nature reserve. With a Northern and a Southern, section it exists out of two main parts. Its total size is 79.056 hectares of land and marine area.
Whereas the Southern section consists entirely of coastal area, the Northern section has, beside coastal area, 5 islands within its boundaries. These island are: Bunaken (after which the park is named),Siladen, Manado Tua, Mantehage and Nain. In total almost 22.000 people live inside the park, divided over approximately 30 villages (kampungs). The park has been populated for many generations. Long before this area was declared National Marine Park in 1991. They mainly live from fishing and farming.
Though Bunaken is already a marine park for almost 25 years, It is only since 1998 that there also came some real effective protection. With the introduction of an entrance fee in 2001 the park became a role model for other marine reserves and in 2003 even global winner of the prestigious Brittisch Airways,”Tourism for Tomorrow” Award.
Today the Bunaken park is one of the best diving area’s in the world. Clear blue, warm water, dramatic drop-offs, an enormous variety of corals, big pelagics, small critters, whales and dolphins………. too much to name it all. A true paradise for beginning / experienced divers and photographers. Most diving sites are excellent for snorkeling as well, so if you don’t dive but like to enjoy the underwater wonders from a shallower depth, you don’t have to be afraid you miss out on something.