Manado – North Sulawesi
Gateway to Bunaken National Park & Lembeh Strait
Manado is the capital of North Sulawesi in Indonesia and with its approximately 450.000 citizens more than a medium sized Indonesian city. Bordering one side, the Celebes Sea with Bunaken National marine park and on the other side beautiful green grown highlands and towering volcano’s, Manado offers one of the most prosperous and spectacularly scenic area’s in Indonesia. Its international airport functions as a hub and gateway for scuba diving Bunaken National Park, the Lembeh Strait but also Bangka Island in the north.
The city of Manado with in the background Bunaken & Manado Tua island
The Minahasa district is the hinterland of Manado – North Sulawesi and possesses some of the most fertile soils in Indonesia. Traditionally, agriculture of coconuts, cloves and nutmeg have brought great wealth to the Manadonese and Minahasans. No wonder that in Dutch colonial times Manado was an important stronghold.
The fertile hills in the Minahasa highlands
Whereas the first 200, of 400 year of colonialism, war and trade marked the Dutch presence, the 1800s brought rapid and massive conversions to Protestantism. Thus Christianity became an emblem of Minahasan & Manado culture and identity and helped to establish a local attachment to European culture.
Churches are a common sight in Manado
By the turn into the 1900s, health services, education and infrastructure were on a much higher level than in other regions in Indonesia. In the 1930s Minahasa registered the highest literacy rate in the country. After the Japanese invasion, the Dutch reoccupation efforts and the revolutionary activities that eventually brought independence in 1949, many Minahasans still nicknamed the region the “12th province” of The Netherlands. But all that has long been forgotten now and main talk today is economic development.
The majority of the population is still of Christian believe and that alone sets Manado and Minahasa apart from the rest of Indonesia, which is mainly Muslim. Manadonese and Minahasans are fun-loving, extrovert in their expressions and like to make jokes. They love singing and are throughout the country famous for their vocal skills. The richness and diversity of marine life in Bunaken National Park and the Lembeh Strait are reasons why tourism is blooming and developing in Manado.