Wae Rebo is one the Traditional Village of Manggarain ethnic, which is still original and preserves ancestral traditions from generation to generation.Wae Rebo is located in the village of Satar Lenda, Satarmese Barat Sub District, Manggarai Regency-NTT, while geographically this village is at an altitude of 1,200 masl, and surrounded by mountains with dense tropical forests. This area is quite isolated from outside life, for people’s food needs rely on rice fields and plantations which is managed manually by relying on harmony of life with God’s created. If you are tired of the busy city life take a moment to retreat in Wae Rebo village while enjoying a glass of hot coffee served by manggarai girl, breathe in the fresh morning air mixed with steaming hot coffee juice. Imagination will float through the morning mist by imagining the warmth of the community “Wae Rebo, a Village above the Cloud”
According to hereditary oral history, Wae Rebo’s ancestors were named Maro and come from Minangkabau (West Sumatra).Upon arrival from Minangkabau Maro lives in Warloka, West Flores (Warloka is a place of discovery of Megalithic site in the form of blocks and stone chairs) then Maro moved to Nanga Pa’ang then move again to Todo(one of the Traditional Village of Manggarain Ethnic) from Todo move again to Golo Pandu and finally settled in Wae Rebo.Since the arrival of Maro from Minangkabau up today Wae Rebo’s traditional village has entered the 20th generation.
Niang “The Traditional House”
The traditional house of the Manggarai people is generally called “Niang” and in Wae Rebo Village there are 7 Niang, namely:
- Niang Gendang Maro (as a main House)
- Niang Mandok
- Niang Jekong
- Niang Ndorom
- Niang Pirong
- Niang Jintam
- Niang Maro
Overall the traditional house cannot be more than 7, each house is inhabited by 6-8 household heads, if there are villagers who want to build a new house, they must be outside the traditional village. The uniqueness of each house is its cone shape with palm fiber roof, at the bottom is round with 1 arched door on the front.Of the 7 traditional houses above, Niang Gendang Maro is the main traditional house and is the residence of the first ancestor “Maro” who came from Minangkabau.Niang Gendang Maro has a height of 14 meters, much higher than others and on the ridge of the roof of Niang, the head of the buffalo is embedded as a symbol of the main House.
These seven traditional houses have 5 floors, such as a ground floor for residence then the second to fourth floors are used as barns to store a food reserves and seeds such as rice, corn, and tubers while the very top part used to honor ancestral spirits.
Every September or November the people of Wae Rebo village holding a traditional ceremony called “Penti” that is an expression of gratitude to God for the harvest for a year and ask for blessings on the Almighty God in the coming year. In this event the community performs various rituals including giving an offerings like Pigs and chickens to honor ancestral spirits. During the event the entire community wore traditional clothes typical of Manggarai both men and women, to enliven the ceremony the community performed various types of traditional dances and one of it is “CACI” Dance, which is a war dance performed by men.
The CACI dance comes from two syllables that is “CA” means one and “CI” means test,so CACI is a dance to test dexterity, usually two participants take turns hitting using a whip called “Larik/Kalus” and fend off using a shield called “Nggiling and Agang” made of buffalo leather and bamboo.Every wounded skin and blood dripping from a caci player is believed as a gift of the Almighty for prosperity and the balance of life between humans and nature.
Access and Transportation
To reach the village of Wae Rebo needs a struggle. However, the fatigue of each visitor will be paid by the stunning scenery and the hospitality of the people in welcoming every visitor who comes.There are two routes to reach Wae Rebo Village, that is:
First, the route Labuan Bajo – Pela (Pasar Sotor) is around 4 hours with a public transportation then headed to Denge using rural area transportation called “Oto Kol” around 3 hours.Denge Village is the starting point for Wae Rebo by crossing the Coffee Plantation and tropical rain forest around 2.5 hours by foot.
Second, through Ruteng – Denge for about 5 hours by public transportation and continued by walking to Wae Rebo village for about 2.5 hours. If the visitor feels exhausted because of a long journey, It is recommended to stay overnight in Denge Village.There are several resident homestays provided for visitors.
If visitors choose private transportation, there are several local travel agents in Labuan Bajo who provide tour packages to Wae Rebo Traditional Village, one of them is “Komodo Amazing Tour&Travel”.You could find them on their website www.komodoamazingtour.com.
Since Wae Rebo Village won the Award “Asia Pacific Award for Culture Heritage Conservation” from UNESCO in 2012, there were thousands of domestic and foreign tourists visiting Wae Rebo.To support this sector, the Government of Manggarai regency has trained the people of Wae Rebo in serving in serving a visitor who comes and the Management of Tourism based on Culture.
Through this sector as well the community can promote various types of handicrafts such as hand weaving (Songke Manggarai), the webbing of Pandan leaves and bamboo and coffee beans which is the mainstay of the plantation sector in Wae Rebo.As for the entrance ticket each visitor is charged a tariff of IDR.325, 000 / person. This price is quite economical because it includes lodging in a traditional house with dinner and breakfast.
The Tourism Sector is quite promising in improving people’s lives; moreover the existence of this Village is still one area with “Komodo National Park” where the Visitors can visit both objects in the same time.