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Published: April 11th 2014
After my new year dive trip to Gorontalo, I stayed over night in Manado as my connecting flight to Singapore was the next day (Silk Air does not fly on Sunday from Manado to Singapore). Before I left, I had made an arrangement with Manado Safari Tour for a day trip to Tangkoko National Park, and I must say the online reservation was efficiently done (www.manadosafaris.com)
Upon my arrival from Gorontalo at around 7 am, I was picked up and greeted by the friendly driver, Freddy, from Manado Safari Tour, who drove me to Tangkoko, which took about two hours. It is located at the foot of "Dua Saudara Mountain" near Bitung at Batu Putih area. The drive was easy and scenic as I could see the mountain clearly but was too sleepy to stop and took photos of the Mountain in the morning.
Upon arrival at Tangkoko Lodge at around 9 am, I was greeted by the park ranger, Medi, who is originally from the area. I was explained about the park which covers an area of 9000 and is the home of Tarsiers, couscous (which I didn't get to see), black crested macaque, hornbills (didn't see it
either) and many other animals. The first leg of the trek was to see the black crested macaques which were plentiful at the beach. To my surprise, the beach, black sand, was beautiful and untouched. The park ranger has an eagle eye that he easily spotted flying lizards of which colour resembles the trunk of a tree and woodpeckers which I could hear the sound only but failed to see it. I spot a yellow kingfisher and also red one perched on the branch of a tree; unfortunately, my tele lens was not long enough to get a close up shot of it. He also explained the turtle breeding and the release of the turtles to the sea.
After walking for about an hour, he finally spot the trees where the Tarsier would usually hide (they are nocturnal). Our first attempt to find Tarsier failed as we didn't find any, and he walked further until he saw a large tree and pointed at the small hole at its trunk. It's difficult to see the Tarsier as it is small and usually hide in the hole. Seeing a Tarsier in the wild was quite rewarding. The ranger also explained that
this was one of the most faithful animal, as the couple usually stick together and if one of them died, it can be expected that the other one will die as well.
By the time we reached the lodge, it was close to noon, and soon, I was served lunch. While having lunch, I was called as the ranger had spotted a small green (not poisonous snake) on a plant. I had to grab my camera in a hurry and took the pictures of the snake (hardly that I had a chance to take snake photo in the wild). After lunch, he called me again and pointed to a tree top where he said there was a couple of owl (after 10 minutes of peering, I finally spot them but could not capture them on camera).
At around 2 pm, we were ready for the second leg of the trek, and this time, we were going to visit a waterfall nearby. I was ready with my camera and swim suit, and after about one and a half hour walk, we reached the waterfall to find out that it's a small one (the water didn't flow much as it
was not a rainy season). Disappointed, I took a few shot and decided to have a dip which felt rejuvenating after a long walk. This trek was not as easy as the first one as it was a bit hilly. By the time we reached the road, I was so tired that I decided to get a ride from a pick up mini truck that passed by - back to the lodge. My trip didn't end here as I was told this was the last day of the New Year (it's the 6th of January 2014), and it is customary for the married ladies in the nearby village to sing along, visit every houses in the neighbourhood, greet the host to celebrate the end of New Year - while dancing. I could not miss it. Thankfully, Freddy agreed to take me to the village to witness the event. Excited, I joined the parade, danced on the street and greeted the people, and it was an experience of a lifetime.
I ended my trip exhausted from the hike to the waterfall, the heat and the fun. One thing for sure is that this is an area that is not frequently
visited, unlike Bunaken or Bitung for its diving.
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