WAE REBO VILLAGE overview
Wae Rebo is an old Manggaraian village, situated in pleasant, isolated mountain scenery. The village offers visitors a unique opportunity to see authentic Manggarai housing and to experience the everyday life of the local community.
The village can only be reached by way of a three-hour hike (depending on your physical condition) from the lowlands. The hike is definitely worth the effort: the dense rain forest along the narrow path to Wae Rebo is one of a stunning biological diversity. Not only does it host interesting vegetation, including orchids, palms, and different ferns, but also an impressive population of singing birds.
Wae Rebo’s main characteristics are their unique houses, which they call Mbaru Niang that are tall and conical in shape and are completely covered in lontar thatch from its rooftop down to the ground. It appears that at one time such kind of houses were quite common to the region. The house has five levels, each level designated for a specific purpose.
The first level , called lutur or tent, are the living quarters of the extended family. The second level, called lobo, or attic, is set aside to store food and goods, the third level called lentar is to store seeds for the next harvest, the fourth level called lempa rae is reserved for food stocks in case of draught, and the fifth and top level, called hekang kode, which is held most sacred, is to place offerings for the ancestors.
Nowadays, it is still a place to hold meetings, rituals and Sunday-morning prayers together.
When you visit Wae Rebo, you will not only see the authentic Manggaraian housing, but also get an opportunity to experience the daily life of the local people. Most of the people work in their gardens from early morning until dawn, busy with harvesting coffee and processing the beans.
Even though weaving is not a major activity in Wae Rebo, you may encounter some women weaving traditional songket cloth. Visitors are welcome to spend the night in the mbaru niang, and to socialize and dine with the Wae Rebo community.
You will sleep on a tikar, a woven mat made out of pandanus leaf, in the mbaru niang, and get a taste of how life used to be when the extended families still lived their lives under one roof.
SPIDER WEB RICE FIELD
In Manggarai you will certainly notice the impressive lingko fields. The most amazing view over a number of these fields is offered at Cara Village situated on a small hill 17km west of Ruteng in Cancar. With their round, spider-web structure, these pieces of land are unique eye-catchers in Manggarai.
Long before wet-rice cultivation, the ancestors of the Manggaraian people grew dry rice, corn, and tubers in the lingko fields. Every village used to own several fields. During planting and harvesting time, ceremonies and ritual offerings were held at the lodok, the ritual center of the lingko. The lodok features a wooden pole and a rock.
These two objects symbolize the reunion of the male and female, the heaven and earth, and the creation of mankind. If a new lingko was developed, the sacrifice of a water buffalo was required. The division of a new lingko was guided by the tu’a teno, the Lord of the Land. This traditional leader had the authority over the land and the rituals and ceremonies related to the agricultural cycle. The distribution of the fields to different families was carried out at the lodok.
Every family of a community had the right to work a certain piece of land. Depending on the family’s size, the head of the family held a certain number of fingers to the pole in the lodok. The distance between the fingers was marked on this pole. From these two points, lines were drawn to the outer circle of the lingko, defining the size of a family’s land. These pie segments were called moso, which means ‘hand’ in the Manggarai language. The moso were not conceived as the private property of a single person or household.
Traditionally the lingko was farmed with a system of shifting cultivation, thus claims of constant land tenure were not yet common. After a two-year utilization period, the old fields were given up, and virgin forest – which in the past was abundant – or former fallow land, was cleared for new fields. Even though these fields still exist today, their agricultural and ritual context has changed drastically.
Nowadays the lingko fields are primarily used for wet-rice cultivation. With the dominance of this new form of farming, the significance of the traditional agricultural