Visited in April 2013 with Marius (Arie) Saridin and Silvester Deni Harsisi
Not so long ago – in the mid 1900’s – Manggarai was a Kingdom. The king resided in Todo.
Todo is situated in a valley surrounded by a mountain range. I was told that in the old days the king’s village was protected by villages high up those mountains – the watchmen – and the road leading towards Todo was protected by the warriors in Ketang. The ancestral house has been restored in the 80’s and 90’s. The last King of Todo, Raja Ngambut, passed away some 23 years ago.
From Todo village you can reach Welo. It is a 1 hour hike along a flat path to get there and it is also possible to reach by mountain bike. On the way you pass a spring where you can have a swim or a wash. In Welo you will find a Rumah Adat. The original roof has been replace by zinc, but the inside is still intact. There are megalith and a special oval stone on a stone base. Sometimes this stone disappears without reason, usually when something bad happens, sometimes it is gone for one or two months, to then suddenly return. Never touch that stone !
Another village to visit is Weriata. It is a 2 hr hike up hill (medium) , not suitable for mountain bike. In Weriata you will find some sacred objects of ancestors, a stone axe and stone rice pounder. From there you can walk to Desu (15 minutes). In Desu you can spend the night in the house of the Kepala Desa or in the Rumah Gendang, the community house which offers space up to 50 people. The facilities are very basic, you need to bring a sheet and towel.
From Desu you can hike up to mountain Nggesak. On the top which is flat, you will find an old and deserted village. The view is spectacular. On clear days you can see up to Maumere, Ende and Lembor. In all locations accommodation and sanitary facilities are basic.
Every one in Manggarai knows the way to Todo, there is two ways, it’s easy to find. Turn off the Trans Flores road at Ketang – there is a sign. Also great for mountain bikers! In Todo village you register as visitor and pay entrance fee. You can enquire about guide assistance to accompany you to the various locations.