Various indigenous tribes (indigenous people) and immigrants, who later blended into local people of Raja Ampat live dispersed on the islands of Raja Ampat. This diversity inherits the cultural richness of Raja Ampat, both tangible and intangible.

Tangible Cultural Heritage

The relics of historic objects in Raja Ampat have a uniqueness that has been passed down since prehistoric times – in the form of art-rock/wall paintings (allegedly made 4,000 years ago) found at the geosites, Sumalelen, Pef and Selpele island, thus sacred objects that are believed to be evidence of the truth of folklore about the origins of Raja Ampat – in the form of egg stones in the Raja – Wawiyai river.

Intangible Cultural Heritage

Not only relics of historical objects, Raja Ampat is also rich in intangible cultural heritage in the form of dances and traditional ceremonies that illustrate the connection of local people with the natural surroundings.

Stories of legends and Folklore

One of the common and well-known stories of the origin of the indigenous people of Raja Ampat is the Legend of the Kings, which relates to one of Raja Ampat's heritage objects that still exists today, namely the king's egg stone. Here's the story;

Once upon a time, a husband and wife named Alyab Gaman and Bukudeni Kapatlot lived in a place called Waigi for gardening. Around the land they cleared, they found a pile of eggs, which were approximately seven in number. Because of the location of their garden, they both live far from the beach and there are no side dishes, so the husband of Bukudeni Kapatlot, Alyab Gaman, offered his wife to eat some of the eggs. However, Bukudeni Kapatlot rejected her husband's offer and suggested that the seven eggs be kept. Bukudeni Kapatlop feels that these eggs are not random eggs, because after living there for so long, he has not found any birds or other animals that are able to lay eggs and live around his residence and garden. Her husband also agreed to the request.

A husband and wife find eggs which then hatches into an ancestor of Raja Ampat

(Illustration taken from the "Raja Ampat Myth and Legend" book by Ayu Arman)

Over time, one by one the eggs hatched and what came out of the shell was a human. Of the seven eggs, only six hatched, and one of them has not yet hatched. This Raja Egg is then sacred by the entire community of Raja Ampat, who then performs a special ritual every 5 years, which invites traditional leaders throughout Raja Ampat for this Raja's egg.

Of the six eggs that hatch, one of them is female and the rest are male. At that time, these six kings decided to move and build a village in a place called Tip Nukari. In the Mayan language, Tip Nukari is a combination of two words, namely 'Tip' which means bay and 'Nukari' which means coconut tree. The bay with thick coconut trees can be found until now because it is still located in the Kali Raja area in the Wawiyai tourist village.

The life of the kings in Tip Nukari's village is mainly about keeping turtles. Each person is only allowed to keep one or two turtles. Day after day, they are busy caring for and feeding the turtles in the same location. These six kings lived side by side and loved one another. Until one day, their only sister named Pintaki became pregnant and it is not known who or what caused it. There were only six of them in the village. So they feel ashamed of what happened to Pintaki, especially since they are siblings. Finally they decided to throw Pintaki into the sea using a large plate to get rid of the embarrassment. In this attempt to wash away Pintaki, several times failed and Pintaki was pushed back to the village. On the third attempt, Pintaki managed to drift away and the large plate that carried her was stranded in Biak, which at that time was called Nu Apasiw, which in Mayan means 'the Ninth Village'.

Meanwhile at Tip Nukari, the Kings stay behind and look after their pet turtles. However, misunderstandings began to occur between them. This is because one of their pet turtles was injured which then led to accusations between them. The quarrel finally separated them.

The following are the names of the kings in order of genealogy. The first king was Raja Kalan Agi War or hereinafter referred to as King Waigeo and resided in Mumes with a territory starting from the village of Mumes, the entire Bay of Mayalibit then reaching the village of Salio and its surroundings. The second king was King Betani, he left Tip Nukari and lived on the island of Salawati, where his territory started from Salawati as a whole, the island of Batanta in its entirety and the southern part of the island of Waigeo, namely the villages of Wawiyai and Selpele. The Third King was King Johar, who chose to leave and resided on the island of Misool, where his territory was all of Misool. The fourth king is King Fun Sem, but he does not stay in a certain place, he chooses to move from place to place. The fifth king, King Kelimutu who lives on the island of Seram.

Local Wisdom, Sasi

Appointed as a national cultural heritage by the ministry of education and culture of the Republic of Indonesia, as a form of cultural preservation that is almost extinct in 2019. The sasi ceremony is a system of knowledge of Raja Ampat's ancestors to maintain the existence of animal populations in the sea and plants on land.

It is carried out at certain seasons. The Sasi Closing Ceremony is when people are prohibited from taking seafood and The Sasi Opening Ceremony, when the community is invited to harvest. This is an expression of gratitude of the people in Raja Ampat to the surrounding nature, for the abundance of marine products and food ingredients for them.

The Sasi ceremony performed by people in Kofiau Island

"The Forest is the Mother, the Sea is the Father, and the Coast is the Child"

Through this philosophy, the ancestors of Raja Ampat have taught their descendants to protect their nature as a whole.

Raja Ampat, Mitologi, Legenda dan Kepahlawanan (2019)

A book that documents folk stories, myths, and legends that are spread and retold from generation to generation in Raja Ampat.

Abob, Raja Ampat Traditional woven storage container with lid

The local wisdom of the Raja Ampat ancestors is very closely related to the conservation mission carried out by us today. No wonder, until now, the area has become one of the most beautiful on Earth, hence it called The Last Paradise.

Communities in Mayalibit Bay, Teluk Mayalibit and Tiplol Mayalibit Districts, strive to preserve their ancestral weaving tradition by using natural raw materials and dyes, in an environmentally friendly process. They sell it as souvenirs for tourists, as an alternative livelihood for them.

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