Lesser Sunda – (Bali – Flores islands)

On October 15, 2008 upon invitation from IKAPI we took PR 503 flight to Jakarta and GA 410 from Jakarta to Denpasar, Bali which is tantamount to whole day of travel.

It was unfortunate that upon arrival to Denpasar, all our bags were missing.  I bought some clothings to neutralize the anxiety of not being dressed properly on the impending speech the following day, coupled with the agony of sleeping with dirty clothes.

Thanks to Divine Intervention the bags arrived at around two in the morning (2:00 am) of the following day.  I could have obtained reimbursement for the cost of clothings but the delivery man got hold of claim complaint.  At any rate, any rancor  I developed was all forgiven because of the arrival of the bags”.

During the first day of the “International Forum on Publishing”, I posed several questions to the panelists.

On the second day I was active also in posing questions.  I gave my closing remarks analyzing the respective views of the speakers.

1

In the afternoon I bought many antiques and had them shipped by boat.

On October 17, 2008 we took the plane for Flores through Labuanbajo and then took another for Ruteng.

Along the way I saw many beautifully formed islands etched on the blue seas which are likened to a set of flowers which could help explain why the islands are called “Flores”, the Spanish terminology for flowers.

2

We were welcomed by our guide Simin (apologize for being maliciously inclined but it sounds like human emission) at the airport  stating that we have arrived at the promised land. He brought us immediately to Dahlia Hotel to check in and unload our bags before going out for lunch.  After lunch, we visited the traditional houses on top of piles of stones which served as burial grounds.

3

On top of each roof there is a wood carving of a man with carabao  shaped hat.  In order not to waste time, despite heavy rains we visited the market, other parts of Ruteng like the Cathedral, grottos and the biggest department store within the vicinity.

4

Then we took our dinner.  Our guide and driver wore heavy clothings but we, however, felt warm.

On the following day, we went out of Ruteng to primarily see the Hobbit Cave.

The Manggarai have long told folktales of ebo gogo – hairy little people with flat foreheads who roamed the jungles.  Not much attention was given to the folktales until September 2003, when archaeologists unearthed at the Liang Bua limestone cave at a depth of six (6) meters a skeleton of a three (3) year old child with a worn down teeth and bone structure of an adult.

5

They have unearthed later six more skeletal structures which corroborate with  the above.  Homo floresiensis was the name given to these species as they were eventually called the “hobbits”.

The hominid with the nutcracker jaw and gangly, chimp like arms are believed have lived until 12,000 years ago.

It seems that Homo floresiensis could represent the first ever example of human dwarfism, an evolutionary phenomenon that has been well documented in the animal world, particularly on islands.

In Jersey, one of the British Channel Islands, red deer shrank to a sixth of their normal European size in just 6000 years, California’s Channel Islands on the other hand were once  home to the ultimate oxymoron of the animal world – a pygmy mammoth.

Flores is particularly rich in these evolutionary quirks of nature.  It had mini elephants called “stegodon” as well as examples of giantism such as colossal  and Komodo dragons.

6

There are conflicting views on the matter but the earlier assertions appear to have greater weight.

After the visit to the Liang Bua limestone cave where the guide informed us where the supposed hobbits and “stegodons” were excavated, we were invited to the house of the cave’s guide whom my guide told me is knowledgeable of somebody who could represent the hobbit  if we would agree to certain monetary consideration.

We finally saw the probable descendant of the hobbit. He was melancholic when he was singing a song about his sister who is distinctly located and his wife who died long time ago.

7

We took lunch back at Ruteng. This time we tried the Padang (Sumatra) way.

In the afternoon we proceeded to see the spider web ricefield.  It was two steps uphill climb, the first leading to the traditional houses and then to  the hill wherein you would have a panoramic view of the rice field.

8

Upon our return, due to the heavy rain, we entered traditional houses.  The artifacts like caci war fare paraphernalia which I failed to see at the first traditional houses, together with rice containers, offerings, etc were all there.

Before our flight back to Bali, I got a chance to see the handicraft store.  The manager appears to be short and may also be a descendant of a hobbit.

9

Even Simin and the visitor are not that tall.

10

Upon our return to Bali, we stayed at the two bedroom Sanur Plaza Hotel.  It was prestigious and big.

The need not to waste time having embedded in me, I decided to have a three hour walk before breakfast time at 0700.

The result was over fatigue prompting me not to work for three (3) days upon arrival in Manila.  Anything in excess is bad.

 

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