The third-largest city in North Sulawesi after Manado, the capital and then Bitung, the harbor city. It is south of Manado. Nowadays Tomohon become an important town in North Sulawesi. It is young but holds an important role in tourism of the province. The panorama and nature of Tomohon are attractions for those who travel this far. It lies between two volcanoes, Mt. Mahawu and Mt. Lokon. The town is shaped like a starfish, with long tentacles visible from higher ground. Because of its position on the highland, Tomohon has a very mild climate, for which it is famous. The friendliness of its people is also well-known in the region.
Most people in Tomohon are Christian. Christianity plays an important role in all aspects of life. The Christians are diligent churchgoers. Mostly are Calvinist Protestants, members of Gereja Masehi Injili di Minahasa, abbreviated as GMIM /ghemeem/.
Besides the Calvinists, there is also a Catholic congregation, which is the second biggest in Tomohon. Several parishes exist in Tomohon. The big ones are St. Fransiskus Xaverius in Kakaskasen and St. Joseph. In Kakaskasen, there is a Monestary called Biara Bukit Karmel or Karmel Monestary. There are also other congregations from other denominations such as Pentacostal, Adventist, and several minor denominations.
CULTURES –Tomohon is one of Minahasa Tribe region. Therefore, the Tomohon people are Minahasans. However, Minahasa Tribe is divided into several sub tribes, Tomohon belongs to a sub tribe called Tombulu. Pakasaan Tombulu spreads from Tombuluan in the east of Pineleng and Tombariri in the west and from Tomohon in the south to Manado in the north. Pakasaan Tombulu speaks Tombulu Language, Manado Malay, and Bahasa Indonesia.
Bakerah Tradition – This is a tradition of steam bath to a woman in several weeks after giving birth to a child. This is a traditional body cleansing process. The process of bakerah will be started by a special woman who has ability to arrange the process. She will boil a pail of water and while in the process, she will also put several special herbs such as leaves of agati tree (sesbania grandiflora) or leaves of hummingbird tree, lemon grass (cymbopogon nardus), kajuputih oil, and several other herbs into the boiling water.
After the water boils, she will prepare a bucket or pail and pour the water and the herbs in side the container.
The new mother will be asked to seat on special chair where under it where the bucket is placed. She will be sitting and having steam bath for around one hour. She will repeat it the process for 7 days in a row.
Mapalus – is a tradition of working together in the farm. Long time ago when modern technology of cultivating was still a dream and rare to be found, people in the highlands of Minahasa especially in Tomohon created a system of working the land togehter called mapalus. Mapalus is a group of male and female farmers who were associated in a system, bounded with their own or the village regulation to cultivate their farm lands. The farmers usually were divided into a timer and the workers. The timer had function to watch the time while working, carrying the drum and hitting the drum or another instrument called tetengkoren.
The process starts at the dawn around 04.30 AM by the sound of the drum. As the timer hit drums with special pattern of hitting, the other member of the group would come to the appointed time that could be at a house of one member, at the intersection, at street corner or anywhere possible for the meeting.
And then by the guiding of the drum carrier, they would go to one member’s farm. They would work as the sun ray started showing up. While working, the worker usually sang songs either with group or repeating one person to the other.
KUMAWUS – This is a first or second sunday of mourn after funeral. Kumawus derives from kawus means finish. I kawus ola, means just finish it, which means the mourn shall be finished. Kumawus means an activity to finish the mourning and all things or issues regarding to the late person. The other point also is that the left family will not have any more customs debt of those who have gone. Also with kumawus, the family was relieved, comforted and strengthened through meetings, fellowship with even more devotions.
The name of this activity at first was ‘muntep remdem’ or ‘Maso Itang’ the meaning ‘enter in black’. The point is the family by wearing black clothing entered the worship in the church at 09.00. Another custom in Kumawus is the people will eat on the table covered with banana leaves by hands.
HOW TO GET THERE
By plane – Tomohon is reachable from any place in Indonesia. The nearest airport is Sam Ratulangi in Manado about 33 km and can be reach in 1 hour via Ring road or 1,5 hour via Manado. There are many airlines destination The airlines with route to Sam Ratulangi airport are Garuda Indonesia, Silk Air, Lion Air, , Sriwijawa Air, Wings Air, and several chartered air lines.
Bus – Tomohon is reachable also by BUS or Car from cities in Sulawesi or Celebes Island such as Makassar, Pare-Pare, Toraja, Poso, Tentena, Palu, Toli-Toli, Ampana,Gorontalo, Bitung, Kotamobagu, Manado and other minor cities. Bus Terminals to Tomohon is from Tondano, Kawangkoan, and Manado and destined to Terminal Beriman, Tomohon.
WHAT TO SEE – As a cool highland, Tomohon has some very pleasant hiking and walking. Lake Linow (Danau Linow), Mount Mahawu (Gunung Mahawu), Mt. Lokon, Mt. Masarang, Tintingon Hill, Via Dolorosa at Mahawu (Jalan Salib Mahawu), Tumimperas Waterfall, Wawo Hill, Knockdown House Industry, Ancient Site and Amphitheater Woloan, Tinoor View Point, Inspiration Hill (Bukit Inspirasi), Tinoor Waterfall,Tomohon Traditional Market, Temboan Hill, Rurukan, Geothermal Lahendong, Palm Sugar Industry, Pagoda and Buddhayana Temple, Sony Art Gallery (Painting Gallery)
WHAT TO DO – Bukit Doa Mahawu (Jalan Salib Mahawu), A quiet area made for Christian pilgrim to remember the sacrifice of Jesus until He died on the cross. Inside the area is a Chapel of Virgin Mary, amphitheater Mahawu and man made grotto.
Buddhayana Monastery, Sunge, Kakaskasen tiga a Buddhist religious and meditation complex. Chinese culture preserved in architecture of statues, Kwan Im goddess palace and pagoda. Religious service every Sunday 15.30.
Sightseeing arround Tomohon, When you stays in one of the resorts in Tomohon, having nothing to do, one of the option is go around Tomohon.
Bird Watching – There are several and special as well as incredible birds can be found in Mt. Mahawu and Mt. Lokon in Tomohon as well as the other part of North Sulawesi such as Rufus Bellied Eagle; Brown Cuckoo Dove; Mountain White Eye; Dark Fronted White Eye; Scarlet Honey-eater; Crimson Crowned Flowerpecker; Sulawesi Spotted Goshawk; Sulawesi Serpent Eagle; Bay Coucal; Yellow Bellied Malkoha; Superb Fruit Dove; Citrine Flycatcher; Streaky Headed White Eye; Grey Sided Flowerpecker; Island Verditer; Sulawesi Dwarf Woodpecker; Mountain Tailorbird; White Browed Crake; Cinnamon Bittern; Scaly Breasted Munia; Cinnamon Munia; Little Egret; Wandering Whistling Duck; Ziting Cisticola; Lesser Coucal; Glamorous Reed Warbler; Javan Pond Heron; Black Kite; Bhraminy Kite; Blue Breasted Quail.
Horse back Riding. There is a very interesting activity can be done in Tomohon, Horse Riding. The 4 hours trip is to Wawo hill.
CAP TIKUS – LOCAL PALM WINE – Cap Tikus and Saguer are two kinds of famous drink in Tomohon. Cap Tikus is distilled beverage from Zap. While Saguer is the Zap harvested from palm tree. Saguer has several tastes that are sweet, sour, bitter, sweet and sour, sweet and bitter, bitter and sour, all the tastes comes out depend on the technique of the farmers harvesting the zap.
There is also a certain kind of drink called Sukur, made of red ginger cooked with traditionally made of brown sugar in a clay pot. This drink is very good for health. Often time used when somebody get cold or cough.
GET OUT – There are daily flight from Manado to several cities in Indonesia, and several days a week of Silk Air from Singapore. And Tomohon is only 33 Km from the Sam Ratulangi International Airport, if you need a flight 1.5 hour from the check in time is the best time to go.
- Terminal Malalayang to go to Gorontalo, Palu, Poso, Makassar. Manado harbor to Bunaken, Siladen, Sangihe, Talaud.
- Sam Ratulangi International Airport to Jakarta, Bali, Makassar, Singapore, Balikpapan, Raja Ampat, Ternate
- Bitung Via Tondano or Manado and to Bitung Harbor and Lembeh Island
- Bitung Harbor travel by ship to Eastern Indonesia such as Maluku and Papua, also to Central Sulawesi and South East Sulawesi