Fakfak, Papua Barat

The Bloody Palm Cliff and Dark Dungeon of Fakfak, Papua

Last month, I was given the privilege to visit Fakfak, West Papua, the nutmeg town.

How to reach:

I took a 5-hour flight from Jakarta (CGK) – Makassar (UPG) – Sorong (SOQ). From Domine Eduard Osok Airport, we transferred to a smaller plane and flew for another hour to Torea Airport, Fakfak.

This eastern island of Indonesia impressed me once more. The green and blue mating is simply different from any other pixels of The Archipelago.

The river has the same color as the ocean, which is nice.

Surprise kept coming. I was wondering “Where’s that big and wide building we call airport?” once we landed. Oh… There it is.

Torea Airport, Fakfak, West Papua

The small airport has a ± 3 km runway and wooden boarding-arrival room. We were instructed to wait for our luggage ‘over there’. Right.

Missing or stolen luggage? Fear not. You could always watch them out by yourself, even from the arrival room.

I saw no conveyor belt and those specially designed luggage truck. After a brief analysis, I would predict how the airport staff will do their job.

“Son, would you mind to help? That’s my luggage. Yes, the big one..”

I didn’t even think to be mad. This whole airport was amazing! Couldn’t stop smiling since my first step on Fakfak, West Papua.

The sail

Along with local priest, we gave a visit to a parish in Kokas, a seaside district of Fakfak, West Papua, 2 hours drive from the airport.

There’s this family who live for generations in a house, precisely placed beside the harbor. They lent their speedboat so we may witness an urban legend here, the bloody palm cliff.

Before we discuss that, please enjoy Fakfak ocean, another version of Raja Ampat.

Our kind pace (Papua’s term for ‘sir’), leading the frontview. The guy in blue polo is Fr. Lukas Sasior, local priest from Sorong.
I drowned my hand, bashing against the enormous continuous current, while smiling seeing dozen inhabited islands welcoming our sail that noon.
Why do you think God made such rounded island? I thought it inspired the affogato.
It started to startle me once we approach these breathtaking cliffs.
Are you seeing those palms???

Our old captain had no idea how the phenomenon happened, neither the local citizen. The cliff is high enough that no man would reach that height to smear around.

“They said it was the WWII victim. They were punished, whipped wildly by the Japanese they started to bleed and the blood stained the cliff all around,” said pace.

Whipping in the middle of the ocean? But why?

Our pace even brought us to pass the sea route where a WWII aircraft was sunken. Eventhough we couldn’t see it, we believe him. Cool.

Before we went back to the town center, we visit an old dungeon made by the Japanese soldier. They would use this cave as a secret passage, shortcut, and or hiding spot from the enemy.

The goosebumps are intense!

There’s this drastic change to the whole atmosphere. If you look back after dozen steps, the entrance would be that small light of heaven. Welcome to another dimension.

My phone torchlight was no good. I relied on Fr. Lukas who walked after me. He brought a giant flashlight, lent by the same family who lent us their boat. Thank You, Lord.

I bet everyone’s claustrophobia sense were aroused on different levels. This naive fear made my neck stiff, focusing only to the visible light; not to wonder what’s lurking in the darkness.

I took a last picture of our exit. This other edge of the dungeon seemed so shy that the photo was mysteriously disappeared from my phone. I was pretty sure I hit the shutter button; I saw the photo in a glance too. But, where is it now? Don’t know. Big nope.

I enjoyed Fakfak, West Papua seafood in consecutive days. Seafood here means sea fishes, prawns, and lobsters. Lobster is not an expensive food here. The local citizen easily catch them by midnight. That one fine BBQ dinner, I had about four varied species of fish, and they were all appetizing. No high-rank cooking technique required, fresh ingredient will do all the trick.

That’s the highlight of my journey to Fakfak, West Papua.

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