The City of Possibilities
Discover why so many people love Tomohon City. It’s a city that constantly evolving and reimagining itself through people who are passionate about new possibilities. There’s plenty of spots, events, attractions and cafes to experience.
- About Tomohon
- Tomohon's Culture
Tomohon is a city located in the heart of Minahasa lands, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Tomohon became a city on August 4, 2003 as Tomohon separates from Minahasa Regency. From time to time, Tomohon has developed in tons of industry. Tomohon is a heart-capturing city, as Tomohon serves as a countryside area with beautiful natural landscapes. Let’s take a closer look of Tomohon!
In general, there are two volcanoes which borders Tomohon, Mount Lokon and Mount Mahawu, as it locates in the Ring of Fire. Not only gifted with volcanoes, there is also a crater formed by volcanic eruption, Lake Linow, which takes place in the southern part of Tomohon. The soil which contain volcanic ash materials is highly fertile due to the volcanic activities. Thanks to the geographical features, Tomohon people can take advantage for the agricultural industry with fruits, vegetables, and flowers production. There are also various geothermal landscapes formed by the volcanoes such as hot springs, mud pool, and fumarole which benefits a lot as natural resources and tourism spot.
With the mountainous area embedding the city, Tomohon situates at an altitude of 700 to 1000 meters above sea level. It gives Tomohon its cool temperature despite of being in a tropical country. Flowers grow best under Tomohon’s tropical rainforest climate, as wide varieties of flowers add colors to the city park. Therefore, Tomohon people and local government labels Tomohon as city of flowers, or Tomohon Kota Bunga.
To promote Tomohon’s flowers to more people, the local government holds Tomohon International Flower Festival (TIFF) along with the local florists. The florists will arrange fresh flowers into flower-decorated vehicle which participates in a parade on the main street of Tomohon as the people watch the parade from the sidewalk. The festival launched initially as an event on a national scale. Later, TIFF became an international festival on 2010 as 82 countries joined the festival and it succeeded to attract 25,000 visitors.
Tomohon also has several unique tourism attractions aside of the flower festival. The city offers several choices of natural beauty exploration, such as agritourism, volcano hiking, volcanic lake, waterfalls, and even some religious city icons. The Rurukan highland is potential for fruit and vegetable planting meanwhile the planting site is also used as tourism spot where tourists can both enjoy the green sceneries and experience harvesting certain varieties of fruit or vegetable on their own.
For tourists seeking for natural adventures and experiences, exploring the iconic places of Tomohon such as Mount Mahawu crater, Mount Lokon and Mount Tampusu hiking site and Lake Linow. Tomohon has some religion tourism spot as the diversity brings the locals together, manifested into some city landmarks from different religions, call it Tomohon Prayer Hill for the Christians and Catholics and The 9-level pagoda of Vihara Ekayana for the Buddhists. Each place welcomes thousands of visitors every year, either to pray or sight-seeing.
Of course, the trip will be incomplete without exploring Tomohon culinary center. Tomohon has a place for extreme food lovers. The Tomohon Extreme Market is a wet market where people sell and butcher raw or cooked beef, pork , chicken, snakes, tree rats, bats, and fish, both sea fish and freshwater fish. Some people may find this market uncomfortable to visit, but locals will still recommend visiting this rare kind of market to have a glimpse of the authentic Minahasan cuisine.
Tourists can appreciate the less extreme side of Tomohon’s unique palate mainly at Central Tomohon or any kind of Minahasan restaurants nearby. In general, Tomohon shares the similar culinary as Manado, its neighboring city. The distinct types of spices in Tomohon deeply influenced the cuisine. Most dishes vary from seafood, extremely spicy condiments, European-style snacks, and dishes with rich spices seasoning. Some tourists say that they find the common Minahasan snack, banana fritters or pisang goreng, is unusual because banana dishes are usually sweet and not savory. The Minahasan banana fritters are typically served with the roa fish chili dipping condiment, dabu-dabu roa.
The Woloan Wooden House center has become a big influence towards the stays available in Tomohon. Most hotels and villas are stilt houses or cottage-styled buildings. The prices are considerably affordable because most hotels provide room with standard facilities and amenities. There are abundant choices of hotels at Tomohon, but if you are willing to pay for a more luxurious stay, hotels with higher prices and better facilities are also ready to welcome you. Visitors in the Tomohon hotels and villas varies from domestic tourists visiting Tomohon on weekends or public holiday to international tourists looking for a countryside vacation.
Tourists can take the airplane to Manado’s Sam Ratulangi International Airport then take the car or bus to Tomohon. The city is comfortable for international tourists to walk around because popular places have English translations for signs, menus, or notices. Tourism information center is there to help you with any questions about Tomohon tourism. Some places even give Chinese translations and Chinese speaking employees due to the increasing amounts of Chinese tourists during the past years.
Tourists can take the airplane to Manado’s Sam Ratulangi International Airport (MDC) then take the car or bus to Tomohon. The city is comfortable for international tourists to walk around because popular places have English translations for signs, menus, or notices. Tourism information center is there to help you with any questions about Tomohon tourism. Some places even give Chinese translations and Chinese speaking employees due to the increasing amounts of Chinese tourists during the past years.
Tomohon offers a complete package of holiday. It is a great destination with a rich cultural history, friendly people, delicious food, and outstanding nature. Going on a trip to Tomohon is obviously a must-considered option because Tomohon will capture your heart and make you think twice to leave Tomohon early.
Tomohon is that one city that will leave you in an awe for the people’s warmth and the story that they reenact on their lives. It is a well-known fact that Indonesia is an ethnically diverse country and the cultural diversity in Tomohon reflects so. The heterogeneous demography consists of different race, ethnicity, religion, and languages. That is why to know Tomohon better, you will need to also know the people and the culture better.
The name Tomohon came from the term Tou mu’ung from the Tombulu language. History records said that Tomohon is one of the areas that includes the Tombulu tribe. The development of civilization and the dynamics from year to year have made Tomohon one of the sub-district capitals in Minahasa regency. With a total population of 106,917 people per 2019, most Tomohonese are from the Tombulu tribe, one of the Minahasan tribe alongside of Toutemboan, Tonsea, Toulour, and Tonsawang.
In their daily lives, the people in Tomohon communicates in Manadonese, Indonesian, and even Minahasan for some conversations. The Minahasan language itself consists of 8 different dialects from the 8 existing tribes, such as Toutemboan, Toulour, Tombulu, and so on. The most used dialect is Tombulu, because most Tomohonese Minahasans come from the Tombulu tribe. Alongside of the mentioned conversational languages, it turns out that there are some people, in specific elders, who speaks Dutch because of the Dutch invasion and the schools during the invasion era tends to use Dutch as the main language. Nowadays, the Dutch-speaking people tend to decrease by numbers due to the decreasing numbers of elders, respectively.
Indonesia is a religiously diverse place, and so is Tomohon. The majority of Tomohonese are Christians (96,52% with 72,83 being Protestants and 23,69% being Catholics) because Tomohon is Protestant Christianity center in Minahasa. The Head Office of the Evangelical Christian Church Synod in Minahasa (GMIM), which is the largest church assembly in North Sulawesi, is located in this city. Likewise, The Roman Catholic Church also has a long history with the believers in Tomohon. There are some Buddhists who come to the vihara at Kakaskasen III to worship and pray. Most Muslim Tomohonese are living at the Kampung Jawa area. There is also a pesantren, a Muslim boarding school, at Kinilow.
As most of the people are Minahasans, the Tomohon culture shares the common roots with the Minahasan culture as well. One of the most popular dances from Minahasa is Tari Kabasaran. Tari Kabasaran is the traditional war dance where a group of men wear the Minahasan traditional war clothes and hold the traditional weapon as they perform the dance. Most of the time, the clothes are in red. The Minahasan performs Kabasaran during special events like parades and events to welcome important people.
Tari Maengket is also another traditional dance from Minahasa, usually performed during the harvesting thanksgiving events back then, but as the civilization and cultural function changed, Tari Maengket is mostly perfomed in cultural shows or activities. Tari Maengket compiles a lot of artistic aspects together, blending dancing, choir, music, singing, and lyrics into one single performance.
On the other hand, Tomohon with the Minahasan roots has the world-famous wood instrument, Kolintang. Kolintang is a traditional instrument composed on a row of gongs arranged horizontally that function to provide melodies to the music ensemble. Name “Kolintang” itself derived from the sound that the instrument creates, which are tong (low notes), tang (medium notes), and ting (high notes), therefore the people started to call the instrument as kolintang. The wood used to assemble a kolintang is from the woods likely found in Minahasa, North Sulawesi. Kolintang usually requires a group of 5-6 with individual kolintangs to perform. Kolintang functions as a musical accompaniment or even a standalone performance.
Aside of the art cultural heritage, Tomohonese has a traditional legacy that hints how the people work hand in hand to help one another: Mapalus. The word “mapalus” came from the Minahasan word “ma” which stands for an active verb prefix and “palus” which stands for “to be shared”. As a work practice, mapalus means to work together or work in turns, formerly in agriculture. Mapalus is a moral and cultural value that the Tomohonese believe in until now. On certain occassions like wedding, funeral, or disasters, people will be helping with manpower or money to support their peers. This philosophy highlights the ethical value that the Minahasans hold such as responsibility, solidarity, leadership, trust, and even equality.
This culture has been there for ages and one of the results is the architectural heritage of Rumah Wale or Rumah Panggung. Rumah Wale or Rumah Panggung is a traditional architectural house style from Minahasa, North Sulawesi, that comes in a shape like a stage. Rumah Wale identifies as a log house with the frame support structure system using wooden beams and columns. The tall figure is to avoid flood and wild creatures attacking the humans. A village at Tomohon, Desa Woloan, is one of the places that you can visit to see the Rumah Wale in person. The people from Desa Woloan are skillful carpenters and their log houses are built firmly and durable.
The cultural heritage and story of Tomohon deserves tons of appreciation. The legacy of their philosophy and moral values represents well through the present-day society. Although it will not take a short time to wholly explore and learn about the cultures of Tomohon, but there are lots of thing that tourists and even the Tomohonese themselves can get from revisiting the culture. As you know the culture closer, then you can finally see how Tomohon’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.