Saturday, January 30, 2010

Eco Tourism and Souvenir Business in Manokwari

Here are the name of the artists and the kind of artworks which they make. I suggest that you buy souvenirs direclty from them instead of buying from shops. By buying directly from the artists, you can get cheaper products, give comments and encourage them to improve the quality of their artworks.
Xavier Bookstore - Selling Postcard and Watercolor Paintings
The artworks are made by Charles Roring and some Papuan artists
Address: Brawijaya Street next to SD Padma 1 Kompleks Missi Manokwari. Charles Roring and some of his Papuan friends can provide tour guide service for traveling to various tourist attractions in  and around Manokwari. He can be contacted through his cell phone: 081332245180 or email:

Mrs. Marice Fatie-Fonataba
This widow is a master in cloth weaving. She lives in Komplex Missi behind Catholic Church St. Agustinus, Manokwari. Her woven cloth and pandanus bags are beautiful souvenirs which you can buy for your loved ones.

Mr. Lucky Kaikatui
He is an oil painting artist. He paints birds of paradise, the beautiful beaches of Papua, village life and forest. Mr. Kaikatui lives behind SMP Katolik (Catholic Junior High School) in Komplex Missi Manokwari

Mr. Awom - a wood carving artist
Address: Merdeka Street, next to Suri Bakery Shop
Mr. Awom makes small number but high quality wooden carvings. H

Mr. Asaribab - a school teacher who is also a wood carving and painter
Address: Anggrem
Carving and painting have been an integral part of Mr. Asaribab's family for generations.

Mr. Tony Mansiraken Krey
Russian Tourists (Mike, Dima and Inga) were examining wooden statues made by Mr. Asaribab in Anggrem of Manokwari city January 2010A Multi Talented Artist (a Papuan intellectual, a writer)
Address: Ketapang Boat Station, Kwawi, Manokwari
His friends like to call him Tonci Krey. This artist is considered as a brilliant artist. Most of the public statues in Manokwari were made by him. Art lovers who come to Manokwari must meet him if they want to know more about Papuan art and culture. You can buy paintings, carvings, and get various information about Papuan people, their stories and culture.

As a travel guide who frequently accompany tourists around this town and its surrounding forest, beaches and islands, I see that most of the visitors, after going around, will ask me whether there are souvenir shops in this small town Manokwari. Of course, there are. I know two souvenir shops in this town that sell various items ranging from string bags to Wamena's penis gourd. I also know several Papuan artists in this town that constantly make handicrafts both for domestic and foreign tourists. Although this is not their main source of income, their love of art continues to encourage them making artworks from time to time. For example, Mrs. Marice Fonataba who lives behind the Catholic church St. Agustinus in Kota area of Manokwari town. Her home is not located on a strategic street where tourists can easily find it. But she continues to manually weave traditional Papuan cloth as her past time activities. When I visited her home last week, I was surprised to see that she had made many artworks worth of millions of rupiahs.
There is also another artist whose home is on Jalan Merdeka next to Suri Bakery. He is a wood carving artist who has made high quality carvings. I brought three Russian eco-travelers to his home one night to buy some of his artworks. These Russians were amazed by the quality of the carvings and they were even surprised when he sold it for only Rp. 20,000 rupiahs each which is considered very-very cheap according to local standard. I immediately told them that they should give him better price as their appreciation for his hard works. They did. They paid 300,000 rupiahs for three carvings which they bought from him. He looked happy and smiled at us. It was drizzling that night but the Russians were satisfied with the wooden carvings which they had just bought.
Souvenirs that tourists must not buy
There are no rules but please, follow my suggestions as voluntary guidelines. When you go to a souvenir shop and you find handicrafts that are made of corals, please don't buy them. Coral reef is one of the most important species for marine environment. Due to global warming and the increased dumping of wastes at sea, these fragile species are dying. As tourists we must not buy souvenirs made of sea corals to discourage the destruction of coral reef around the world which is the home to thousands of species of fish and other marine creatures.
This also applies to Kuskus fur - an endemic animal from West Papua, to preserved skin and feather of bird of paradise and to other threatened animals in Papua island. By not buying such souvenirs we have practiced responsible eco-tourism principles in our life. 

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