The First Day of Pano-Pano

Five minutes outside the airplane, just after after we landed, the sun attacked our skin somehow. After this painful sun attack, finally we arrived at Watubo’s gathering place in the middle of Watublapi Village. No phone signal, voiceless, all I could hear was the children played at the orphanage. Slowly, I started to hear this witty voice, screaming in high pitch, with just “lililililililili” … It felt so good to be back.

All the participant was greeted by my personal favourite dancer, Simpe. A tall and build with angry-gestured-body all over it. But after you see him dancing, it change right away to this goofy kind of man. Simpe whip this leaves that dipped in the water before into each of our forehead, and said “Bliran ganu wair,blatan ganu bao. Waning ata lamen” it means “Fresh and cool like a water, let the music begin!” and all of the dancer start dancing, the music starts. They were perform Papak Dance, the welcoming dance for guest.

The blue colour of Indigo was taken over all the scene, with a combination of green that comes from that banana tree behind. All of Watubo’s member was dancing with their jingle ring on their feet. We walked slowly and found that most of the man was playing the music That repeatable beat, they hit the Gong Waning with their big smile all over their face. Then we walked to the center of this place, they told us to come in to some kind of bamboo shelter, they called it Tedang. And then, the dance and music stopped.

One of the Mama told us to sit in a circle. We wait while she prepared for something. One of them is light up the candle in the corner, say a prayer and then gave us snack, coffee, sirih pinang and tobacco. We have to ate a bite and took a sip of the drink they’ve served and pass it to the person next to us. It called, Piong.  Piong is a symbol to ask their ancestor for permission, so the ancestor would take care of us while we stay in Watubo’s place. With a combination of this empty stomach and the heat of the sun, I could eat all of the food for Piong all by myself if allowed to. After this tranquil rituals, they laughed at us when we attempted to ate sirih pinang and smoke the traditional tobacco (tobacco leaves rolled with dried corn skin).
We had lunch together, had conversation with other and of course captivated with their Ikat Weaving hanged in front of Tedang. For the next 10 days, we would learn how to make Ikat Weaving from the zero. We finished the Piong and ready for our mini survey trip and workshop, Pano-Pano.

“Observing local rituals while travelling is important, not for its dubious sanctity, but because the set of gestures in rituals reveals, the inner state of the people involved and their subtle protocol”Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Paul Theroux

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