A Challenging Path to the Forgotten Ones

Map of Ambon Island
Passo, located on Ambon Island's neck, means a lot for the island and its people as those who want to go from the provincial capital toward the northern places (like the airport, Natsepa, Tulehu, etc) and the other way around by road have to pass over this small town. The current biggest shopping mall on the island, Ambon City Center, is also in Passo. Actually it can be reached easily in 20 minutes or less.  But this time we had an unusual trip to Passo by opting a really different route. Instead of taking the main high road, we took a bending mountain road. Our aim was to discover the forgotten yet lovely places on the southeastern part of Ambon Island.

Starting at the World's Peace Gong in Ambon, we followed the Pattimura Street till we passed many important landmarks like Maranatha Church, Bank Indonesia, and the Cathedral. On the junction, we kept going straight, entering the road right beside the police headquarters. This escalating road would lead us to Sirimau Mountain. We made it to reach the road's end where there was a board saying "Mae Mae Mena di Objek Wisata Soya" (which means 'Welcome to Soya Tourist Attraction'). We must park our scooter there.  This would be the starting point for us to climb the mountain. Near to the welcoming board, we could also see an interesting traditional church built in 1800s.

First, we had to walk through some houses of the Soya Village. It's not too difficult to climb as the stairways up were in good condition. The problem for us was it was raining and so the ground was getting slippery. After hiking carefully for couples of minutes, we saw a gate. At the mountain top, which was not far from the gate, we could find what is called the 'Tempayan Setan' or 'Devil's Jar'. The jar is always filled with water regardless the season. Locals believed the water can heal any diseases. For us, it was nothing to do there. I think the local government could have done better than this to manage the place as one of the main tourist destinations. It has a big tourism potential indeed. Located 200 m above the sea level, the village was once a dominant sultanate on the island before being defeated by the Portuguese and the Dutch later. Many unique cultural ceremonies are still performed here. Its friendly villagers becomes another good point as when returning down we met some men and women, who greeted us very warmly. They seemed to be on their way to the forest to collect woods. Well, back to the scooter now we again got a problem. We forgot to bring our raincoat so we had to go through the rain.

The starting point to climb Sirimau Mountain
Stairways to the mountain top
The Gate was unlocked
The next place we visited was Hukurila Beach. From Soya, we turned back to the T-Junction we met before with the direction board to Passo now on our left. We turned left once again when we found another T-junction ahead. After few kilometers, we saw on our right the gate of Naku Village which also has an excellent beach but needs extra efforts to reach. Click here to read the story of my journey to Naku Beach. We kept on the road till we got into Hukurila Village. Seeing no beaches, we asked the people there who gladly told us where.

Enjoying the beach for a moment, we then left the village by crossing a bridge. From here, the scenery would be fabulous. But on the other side, the road was getting more challenging. It rained heavily these days and landslides occurred in several places on the island. In fact, one of the landslide spots was on our way! We did not know it before. It's now quite far to turn back and giving up so easily was not my type at all. In fact we were still lucky. There was another couple on scooter having the same problem with us. We were not alone now though we saw almost no people all the way here. They helped me when I was trying to pass the small slippery path (just outside the safety fence) and stuck on its muddy ground. Hard to believe, I was once on the edge of a cliff! Hope it's already fixed by now.

Hukurila Beach, a perfect combination of hill and beach
We were the only tourists on the beach.
The landslide blocked the way
The narrow slippery dangerous path was the only choice we had to keep moving forward
The most interesting village on this journey was Hutumuri where many pigs were wandering around. It also had an old church here. Just outside the village, there was a beach named Lawena. About 15 km out there we found our way connected to Passo. We went into the Ambon City Center Mall and felt so relieved as if we'd been out of civilization for years and now back to a modern life.

Low tide sea water seen from Hutumuri Village.
These papaya trees were planted on corals. How come? I wondered....
Simple welcoming gate to Lawena Beach

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