Tomohon

Tomohon is the third-largest city in North Sulawesi after Manado, the capital and then Bitung, the harbor city. It is south of Manado.

Eruption of the Lokon-Empung volcano (2013) photographed from Tomohon

Districts

Understand

Tomohon is an important town in Northern Sulawesi. It is young but holds an important role in tourism of the province. The panorama and nature of Tomohon are attractions for those who travel this far. It lies between two volcanoes, Mt. Mahawu and Mt. Lokon. The town is shaped like a starfish, with long tentacles visible from higher ground. Because of its position on the highland, Tomohon has a very mild climate, for which it is famous. The friendliness of its people is also well known in the region.

Most people in Tomohon are Christian. Christianity plays an important role in all aspects of life. The Christians are diligent churchgoers. Mostly are Calvinist Protestants, members of Gereja Masehi Injili di Minahasa (abbreviated as GMIM). Instead, the synod of the churches that spread over the Minahasa region is in Tomohon. Christianity has been developing in the area ever since the time of Dutch colonization. Every village in Tomohon has a church from this denomination. The oldest one is GMIM Pniel Kakaskasen 2.

Besides the Calvinists, there is also a Catholic congregation, which is the second biggest in Tomohon. Several parishes exist in Tomohon. The big ones are St. Fransiskus Xaverius in Kakaskasen and St. Joseph. In Kakaskasen, there is a Monastery called Biara Bukit Karmel or Karmel Monastery. There are also other congregations from other denominations such as Pentecostal, Adventist, and several minor denominations. Every village from north to south and east to west has luxurious churches (or at least luxe for its congregation). And also, one village would normally have more than one building according to the number of the denominations. That is one reason you will see a church every several hundred meters.

Holidays

During holiday times, the people will decorate their houses, the lanes, the streets and so on with special themes. For example, during Christmas and New Year Christmas ornaments can be easily found anywhere in town. In several corners and intersections or in front of the church, a big white candle would stand up illuminating the lightless surrounding or a big decorated Christmas tree. Christmas musics starts playing as soon as September. They normally say "the months end in '-ber' are Christmas." During 1st - 24th December, the smell of Christmas cookies usually feel the air. The standard Christmas cookies in Tomohon such as nastar, kastengels, rambutan, biji-biji, sultana, snow white, kacang koek, corn flakes, and so on. The names of Christmas cookies are varied too. Christmas season would normally end with together with New Year on January 31st. During December, there would always be celebration they called it pre-christmas. In one month, a person could attend more than 10 pre-Christmas celebration, for example pre-Christmas of the office, of the church, of the neighborhood, the school, the relative, family, youth organization, woman organization, from NGO, Sunday schools and so on. All the celbration will end in a certain day called "kuncikan", literally means closing day.

The Chinese in Tomohon also still maintain their tradition of celebrating Chinese New Year and the biggest festival is on the 15th day after New Year, called Cap Go Meh. There will be a procession of calling the spirits of the Chinese Gods or Goddesses to possess mortal human bodies and they will be carried on sedan chairs from the temple around downtown to bestow their blessings on its believers. In this procession, the possessed mortal will perform magical things such as piercing the his own cheek with some solid and sharp stick without from one to the other side without any bleeding out, a sword carrier will hit his own back with a very sharp sword without injuring himself, the other will cut his own tongue without injuring himself as well. This procession usually attracts attention of the whole town.

Islam believers, although, a few, but they still have number in Tomohon. There is a special community in Southern Tomohon, they lived in a village called Kampung Jawa, literally means Javanese Village. Idul Fitri and the Month of Ramadhan are also celebrated here. However, there is not special procession for the holidays like at the other cities in Indonesia but praying in the open field on the day of Idul Fitri.

Culture

Tomohon is one of Minahasa Tribe region. Therefore, the Tomohoners are Minahasans. However, Minahasa Tribe is divided into several sub tribes, Tomohon belongs to a sub tribe called Tombulu. Pakasaan Tombulu spreads from Tombuluan in the east of Pineleng and Tombariri in the west and from Tomohon in the south to Manado in the north. Pakasaan Tombulu speaks Tombulu Language, Manado Malay, and Bahasa Indonesia. It is believed that Tomohon is the center of Pakasaan Tombulu. Pakasaan Tombulu in Tomohon, especially those who lives in the region of Kakaskasen has special customs that is still maintained up until today.

This is a tradition of steam bath to a woman in several weeks after giving birth to a child. This is a traditional body cleansing process. The process of bakerah will be started by a special woman who has ability to arrange the process. She will boil a pail of water and while in the process, she will also put several special herbs such as leaves of agati tree (sesbania grandiflora) or leaves of hummingbird tree, lemon grass (cymbopogon nardus), kajuputih oil, and several other herbs into the boiling water. After the water boils, she will prepare a bucket or pail and pour the water and the herbs in side the container. The new mother will be asked to seat on special chair where under it where the bucket is placed. She will be sitting and having steam bath for around one hour. She will repeat it the process for 7 days in a row.

This is a tradition of working together in the farm. Long time ago when modern technology of cultivating was still a dream and rare to be found, people in the highlands of Minahasa especially in Tomohon created a system of working the land together called mapalus. Mapalus is a group of male and female farmers who were associated in a system, bounded with their own or the village regulation to cultivate their farm lands. The farmers usually were divided into a timer and the workers. The timer had function to watch the time while working, carrying the drum and hitting the drum or another instrument called tetengkoren. The process starts at the dawn around 04.30 AM by the sound of the drum. As the timer hit drums with special pattern of hitting, the other member of the group would come to the appointed time that could be at a house of one member, at the intersection, at street corner or anywhere possible for the meeting. And then by the guiding of the drum carrier, they would go to one member's farm. They would work as the sun ray started showing up. While working, the worker usually sang songs either with group or repeating one person to the other.

This is a first or second Sunday of mourn after funeral. Kumawus derives from kawus means finish. I kawus ola, means just finish it, which means the mourn shall be finished. Kumawus means an activity to finish the mourning and all things or issues regarding to the late person. The other point also is that the left family will not have any more customs debt of those who have gone. Also with kumawus, the family was relieved, comforted and strengthened through meetings, fellowship with even more devotions.

The name of this activity at first was 'muntep remdem' or 'Maso Itang' the meaning 'enter in black'. The point is the family by wearing black clothing entered the worship in the church at 09.00. Another custom in Kumawus is the people will eat on the table covered with banana leaves by hands.

Get in

By plane

Tomohon is reachable from any place in Indonesia. The nearest airport is Sam Ratulangi in Manado about 33 km and can be reach in 1 hour via Ring road or 1,5 hour via Manado. There are many airlines destination in this airport are from Jakarta, Makassar, Bali, Gorontalo, Tahuna, Ternate, Sorong, Singapore, Balikpapan and several other minor cities. The airlines with route to Sam Ratulangi airport are Garuda Indonesia, Silk Air, Lion Air, Batavia Air, Sriwijawa Air, Merpati Air, Wings Air, and several chartered air lines.

By ship

Tomohon is also reachable by ship and the nearest harbor is Manado harbor for provincial area, and Bitung Harbor national and international service. There are several ship route by PELNI harboring at Bitung Harbor.

SHIP ROUTE

1. KM. DOBONSOLO

MAKASSAR (South Sulawesi) - BAUBAU (South East Sulawesi) - BITUNG (North Sulawesi) - SORONG (Irian Jaya) - MANOKWARI (PAPUA) - JAYAPURA (PAPUA)

2. KM. LAMBELU

MAKASSAR (South Sulawesi) - BAUBAU (Buton Island, S.E Sulawesi) - AMBON (Maluku) - NAMLEA (Maluku) - TERNATE N.Maluku) - BITUNG (North Sulawesi)

3. KM. DOROLONDA

BALIKPAPAN (East Kalimantan) - PANTOLAN (Central Sulawesi) - BITUNG (North Sulawesi) - TERNATE (North Maluku) - SORONG (Irian Jaya) - MONOKOWARI (West Papua) - NABIRE (West Papua) - SERUI (West Papua) - JAYAPURA (West Papua)

4. KM. TILONGKABILA

BENOA (Bali) - LEMBAR (Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara) - BIMA (West Nusa Tenggara) - LABUAN BAJO (Flores, East Nusa Tenggara - MAKASSAR (South Sulawesi) - BAUBAU (Buton Island, S.E Sulawesi) - RAHA (Muna Island, S.E Sulawesi) - BITUNG (North Sulawesi)

By car

Tomohon is reachable also by BUS or Car from cities in Sulawesi or Celebes Island such as Makassar, Pare-Pare, Toraja, Poso, Tentena, Palu, Toli-Toli, Ampana, Gorontalo, Bitung, Kotamobagu, Manado and other minor cities.

Bus Terminals to Tomohon is from Tondano, Kawangkoan, and Manado and destined to Terminal Beriman, Tomohon.

Get a rental car direct from the airport on arrival. Cost around Rp. 500,000 per day Included Driver, or Self Drive approximately Rp.300,000.- per day, can be used for around minahasa. For Central Information tel +62 852-4022-0620 or +62 431-892-979

Get around

In Town

  • By mikrolet
There are several ways to get around Tomohon area. The first one is by Mikrolet. Mikrolet is the light blue Mitsubishi Colts and can be found everywhere with various destinations. They operate on set routes with established fares but also can be chartered when it is empty. The passenger seats in a Mikrolet face forward with maximum 9 passengers. Some mikrolets are fully furnished with a small LCD TV, CD Player or music player, comfortable seats and so on. All regular routes begin and end in the main terminal called Terminal Beriman.
  • By cart
Bendi is a local name for horse cart and can be a second option to go around Tomohon. Just like Mikrolet, Bendi also operates on set limited routes. Only from downtown to Areas such as Matani, Walian, Kamasi, and Kolongan. This bendi is the old transportation along with cow cart called Roda Sapi. While bendi served for public transportation in town, roda sapi served the route to the farm or rice fields. Nowadays, the fare for a trip by bendi is Rp. 2.000. And can be chartered up into 4 hours to go around downtown Tomohon.
  • By ojek
Ojek is an Indonesian term for Public Motorbike. The fares are various depend on the distance of a particular destination but it usually starts from Rp. 3.000 until Rp. 20.000. This Ojek can also be chartered daily. The chartered fare is around Rp. 50.000 / per day without Fuel. By ojek, we can reach the places unreachable by Mikrolet or Bendi, even by Rental cars.
  • By taxi
Daily in front of Bethesda Hospital, at downtown, you can find many cars lining up. They are called black taxi or Rental Cars. The cars can be hired daily, weekly, monthly and even annually. The rate is various between Rp. 250.000,- up to Rp. 500.000/day. The service can be include driver and fuel or without them as well.

Out of Town

You also can reach other destination in Main Land of North Sulawesi from Tomohon.

  • To Tangkoko National Park, in Bitung (Via Tondano or Manado),  +62 897-1636659, e-mail: . Starts from 8AM. Tangkoko National Park is reachable from Tomohon also. It is two hours driving by rental car. You can ask the service from hotel but also from the address mentioned in the listing. €35 - €40/day (max 8 hours).
  • Lake Tondano, Rental Car Service | Kakaskasen - Tomohon Utara (Via Kawangkoan and Langowan),  +62 819-4047804. Lake Tondano is more or less 15 km from Tomohon. To reach the lake, someone can hire a motorbike starting from Rp. 50.000 - Rp. 75.000 a day, or chartered a Mikrolet about Rp. 125.000 - Rp. 150.000 a day, or if preferred extra privacy and comfortable someone can rent a car for Rp. Rp. 250.000 - Rp.350.000 a day. You can call the phone number above or send text message for more information.
  • Mt. Soputan (Gunung Soputan), Tombatu (Via Langowan),  +62 431-3488659, e-mail: . Start from 8AM. Mt. Soputan is also reachable from Tomohon, it is about 2 hours of driving to the southern area of Minahasa. If you are interested to go to Mt. Soputan you have to plan the trip very carefully. It is better to hire a guide who know the area very well. Mt. Soputan is one of the most active volcano in the region, even in Indonesia. € 50 per pax.
  • Bentenan Beach.
  • Nimanga River.
  • Bukit Kasih (Hill of Love), in Kawangkoan.
  • Batu Pinabetengan.

See

As a cool highland, Tomohon has some very pleasant hiking and walking.

Do

Buy

Eat

Tomohon is very famous for Minahasan cuisine. Minahasan food or Manadonese food is usually very spicy. Among Indonesian Cuisine, Minahasan Cuisine is one of the spiciest cuisines. Traveler must pay attention to what they are asking in the restaurant. If you are not accustomed to spicy food, you will have to communicate with the waiter or waitress.

Cuisine

Appetizer

Main Course

and so on.

Dessert

Minahasan Cookies

Curut, Apang, Apang Coe, Apang Polote, Nasi Jaha, Dodol, Bobengka, Ongol-Ongol, Geto', Gabin Fla, Biapong, etc.

Restaurants

Drink

Cap Tikus and Saguer are two kinds of famous drink in Tomohon. Cap Tikus is distilled beverage from Zap. While Saguer is the Zap harvested from palm tree. Saguer has several tastes that are sweet, sour, bitter, sweet and sour, sweet and bitter, bitter and sour, all the tastes comes out depend on the technique of the farmers harvesting the zap.

There is also a certain kind of drink called Sukur, made of red ginger cooked with traditionally made of brown sugar in a clay pot. This drink is very good for health. Often time used when somebody get cold or cough.

Sleep

Go next

There are daily flight from Manado to several cities in Indonesia, and several days a week of Silk Air from Singapore. And Tomohon is only 33 km from the Sam Ratulangi International Airport, if you need a flight 1.5 hour from the check in time is the best time to go.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, September 15, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.