West Papua is also very rich in cultures. So far, there are actually plenty of well-known cultural festivals that have taken place there. One of them is called “The Wondama Bay Festival” (Festival Teluk Wondama). This festival, which was held by the government of Wondama Bay Regency (Kabupaten Teluk Wondama), is hoped to raise more tourism potential in the area.
So, how was the Wondama Bay Festival’s debut?
How It All Began
The Wondama Bay Cultural Festival 2017 (Festival Budaya Teluk Wondama 2017) had officially begun on Monday, December 4, 2017. For the next three days after that, this festival would have a lot of cultural activities. There were ethnic dances, an exhibition of artwork, and local culinary competition.
For starters, the theme for the very first Wondama Bay Festival was “Building Wondama Bay as The Land of Civilisation for the Papuans Through Tourism and Culture”. (In Indonesian, it was called “Membangun Teluk Wondama sebagai Tanah Peradaban Orang Papua Melalui Pariwisata dan Budaya”.)
The governor of West Papua, Dominggus Mandacan, had been present to officiate the Wondama Bay Arts and Culture Festival (Festival Seni dan Budaya Teluk Wondama). According to the Head of Culture and Tourism Agency, Frans Mosmafa when he was in Wasior that Monday, there were a lot of tourism potentials that needed to be promoted globally.
“There are community cultures, art attractions like dances and music, decorative boat-making competition, body-painting, and local culinary competition,” Frans had stated. On the same page, Governor Dominggus Mandacan agreed about the benefits of the Wondama Bay Festival.
“With this art and cultural festival, we will not only have Raja Ampat to show as the globally well-known tourist attraction,” said Dominggus. “We also have Teluk Wondama, Kaimana, Manokrawi, and Arfak Mountain (Pegunungan Arfak). Almost all regions actually have tourism potentials.”
Another thing that Governor Dominggus Mandacan did that day included providing twenty coconut machines (mesin katinting) and coconut-grating machines to the people. He also had the opportunity to check out the art and cultural booths at the festival before returning to Manokrawi.
When the governor came to Wasior, he was accompanied by a member of West Papua’s House of Representatives, Djhoni Dimara, West Papua Province’s Head of Culture and Tourism, Edi Sumarwanto, and George Yarangga, The Head of Trade, Industry, and Cooperation (Perdagangan, Industri dan Koperasi or Perindagkop).
The Head Office of National Park, Benni Saroy, was also present with other related officials.
The Number of Participants in The Wondama Bay Festival
Despite being held for the first time from December 4, 2017 until December 6, 2017, the Wondama Bay Festival had already got many participants and received positive feedbacks. Not only there were plenty of activities related to culture and art, there had been many participants from 13 districts in Teluk Wondama Region (Kabupaten Teluk Wondama).
Other participants in the Wondama Bay Festival had also come from art communities and also non-governmental organizations.
Governor Dominggus Mondacan also believed in the benefits of the Wondama Bay Festival. This festival could preserve the noble values of the cultural art of West Papua’s ancestral heritage. Not only that, the Wondama Bay Festival was expected to improve the tourism sector there.
The regent leader (bupati) of Wondama Bay (Teluk Wondama), Bernardus A. Imburi, also believed that the Wondama Bay Festival would work out as a way to introduce Wondama Bay as the center of marine tourism destination in West Papua.
About Wondama Bay Regency (Kabupaten Teluk Wondama)
Wondama Bay (or Teluk Wondama) is one of the regencies in the West Papua province. Raisei is the capital city, and this bay area was formed on April 12, 2003, as a Manokwari’s regency expansion.
Wondama Bay consists of an area of about 3,959,53 km2. Based on the 2010 census record, Wondama Bay also consisted of 26,321 people in the population. The latest census record in January 2014 even showed an improvement, which was 30,371.
As mentioned earlier, Wondama Bay consists of 13 districts, which are:
- Kuri Wamesa.
- Soug Jaya.
In the north, there are Tahota district, Manokwari regency (Kabupaten Manokwari), and Cendrawasih Bay (Teluk Cendrawasih). In the south, there are Nabire regency (Kabupaten Nabire) and some parts of Kaimana regency (Kabupaten Kaimana). In the west, there are Kuri district, Idoor district, and Bintuni Bay (Teluk Bintuni).
Umar Bay district (Kecamatan Teluk Umar) is in the east.
Wondama Bay is rich with marine and biota diversity. Cendrawasih Bay National Ocean Park (Taman Laut Nasional Teluk Cendrawasih) consists of many islands, from: Rumberpon, Nusrowi, Roon, and Yoop. There are also Windesi and Aitumeri Hill.
More Wondama Bay Festival?
As mentioned earlier, Wondama Bay Festival is expected to be one of the festivals in West Papua as a way to promote their rich cultures and art, not just in Indonesia but also around the world. Since it started on December 4, 2017, perhaps it will be held on the same day next year.