Ugar Island: the Hidden Paradise of Fakfak, Papua

If you’re being asked, what is the name of the beautiful island in Papua? Most of you will say Raja Ampat. However, Papua is not only about Raja Ampat. There are other hidden paradises in Papua. One of them is Ugar Island of Papua that is located in the District of Kokas, Fakfak, West Papua.

Ugar Island of Papua
Beautiful sight of Ugar Island from above. Via tsra.gov.au

If you want to come to this island, the crystal clear blue sea with smooth white sand along the shoreline will greet you as you arrive. Not to mention, a group of small islands in the green colored sea of Ugar that adds the beauty of these islands. The beautiful scenery of this group of small islands have been liken to Wayang Island of Raja Ampat which is already popular in the eyes of the world.

Ugar Island is the biggest island among the group of small islands. In this island,  you will find hand shaped blood paintings  and other shapes on the cliff walls. The blood hand paintings are reputedly made in the prehistoric era and can be found in other places in Papua, such as Kabui Gulf, Waigeo, Raja Ampat, and Nakayang Gegen.

Kap Island and Krek Island are the two islands among the small island group being recognized for its mysticism. Citing from Turisma, it is said that in certain days, these two islands can be seen being merged together, especially on Friday nights. Although it’s only mysticism and hard to be proven, people in the island believe those stories. The only island being inhabited in Ugar Islands is the Ogasmuni Island. Citing from Detik, Inside Ogasmuni island, there’s one village called Ugar Village. When we arrive in this village, we will be greeted by indigenous people from the Kokoda Tribe that have been inhabiting this island since early on. The majority of this village with a total 276 population are fishermen.

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The natural beauty of Ugar is not only the sea but also the fauna and flora from various genus of animal, especially aves, that can be found flying from one island to the other. We can also see Hornbill, yellow-crested cockatoos, crows and also sea eagles. Moreover, according to NKRI Expedition West Papua Corridor 2016 research, it is said that Ogasmuni forest has coral rock substraction with dense vegetation and at the top of its mountain there is a rock cliff that’s covered with various orchid types. As well as medicinal plants that can be found on the edge of the cliff.

 

The Sasi Custom on Preserving the Environment 

Besides its natural beauty, Ugar Island is attractive because it still holds the local custom of preserving the environmental sustainability. Sasi is a special custom that is still being applied in Papua and Maluku.

According to Wikipedia, Sasi can be interpreted as prohibitions to only take certain products of natural resources as an effort to preserve the environment, as well as maintaining the quality, population and biological diversity (animal and also vegetation). This custom also includes the relationship between human and nature and even between human within the area where the custom appliess. Hence, Sasi is essentially one of efforts to maintain fairness in the community, including equal distribution and profits from natural resources to all of the local people.

Sasi is applied, for example for the fishermen’s activities. Hence, based on Sasi, although the majority of the people in Ugar are fishermen, they can’t fish everyday. With this system, people can only fish on certain times. This is intended to keep the capacity and quality of the catch. Therefore, they can also maintain the natural balance and would value the nature.

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The Route to Ugar Islands

For those who want to experience the wonderfulness of vacationing to Ugar Islands, just come to Fakfak City. From there you can go by public transportation through the Fakfak-Kokas route. The fare of this public mini van is 30,000 IDR per person for one way trip. This journey is around 45 km or around 2 hours with a motorbike.

When you arrive in Kokas Port, you can continue the journey to Ugar Island with a long boat. Usually, the people in Ugar rent out the long boat for a fare of 30,000 IDR per person, with a travel duration of 30-45 minutes, depending on the sea conditions to Ugar village.

As soon as we arrive there, as a newcomer, you will be greeted by a traditional ritual, lead by their village leader. This ritual is performed as a respect for the nature and the ancestors. This ceremony will be done with many traditional rituals, lead by the the elders. Furthermore, we are going to follow the elders to go to sacred places.

Tourists who visits are asked to be orderly in exploring the island, besides caring for the beautiful nature and also because this place is known for its sanctity.


 

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