My Thoughts On..

L'endroit j'établis mon esprit -The Place I Lay Down My Mind-

First Day in Larantuka

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Not really the first day, but since we arrived at the night before, so it’s not totally wrong to call it as our first day. Our first day in Larantuka was cloudy, literally, which was good for us who wanted to wander around walking to see what’s nearby. Our hotel was located not far from the pilgrimage site of Semanta Senta, such as Mater Delarosa statue as well as Apostles’ sites. The site was also right next to the sea. So beautiful. What caught our attention then was a signboard of Palace of Larantuka King.

Mater Delarosa Statue

I did not know that such a palace exists in that city. Feeling curious, and expecting that it’s a tourism object that was free to visit by any tourist, we came to the building. The shape of the building was not attention grabbing, since it’s quite the same with the other neighboring buildings. What made it different was the cannon replica in front of the house, a Jesus statue, and noticeably large front yard.

There was a guy there, he greeted us and let us enter the palace. Apparently, it was not a regular tourism object. The descendants of the King was still living there. Entering the palace, we saw there was an altar and some condolences flower bouquet. Apparently, the first daughter of the very last King of Larantuka passed away few weeks prior our arrival.

The existence of the kingdom had been nullified since the integration of the region of Larantuka to Republic of Indonesia.

We were welcomed and received by the grand-daughter of the last king of Larantuka as well as her husband. They were very nice, told the story about history of kingdom of Larantuka, and also provided us with snacks and tea. He also told us that in the night, there would be a corpus christi procession in that town, and one of the stops would be in front of the palace. We’re so excited knowing that we would see a very interesting event shortly after arriving in the city.

Another agenda for that day was to find accommodation for the rest of our stay in the town. Google Maps provided little to none help for giving the landmark position. An offline map that we obtained from somewhere also gave wrong information. We walked around 1 km to the west to find a particular building, but apparently it was located  only 50 meters in the east of our hotel. Nice! *sarcasm*

In the afternoon, we also spent some time to visit my mother’s friend, Bu Ummi, in Larantuka. She and 3 or 4 of her friends gathered at her house at that time. It’s so nice of her, that we were served with Es Palubutung, Jagung Titi, and some of the other snacks. She, also her friends, also accompanied and delivered us, using pick up truck, to several accommodation options that she had identified.

We were like visiting from one corner of the city to another corner, to see the accommodation options. There was a kost which located in a very condensed area. When we arrived, a bunch of kids came and surrounding us. I know, not us, it must be for the foreign friends :p.

At night, we went to see the Corpus Christi procession. We got different information about what time the procession would be started. Some said that it would start at 6pm, some said 6.30pm, and others said 7pm. What we knew for sure that the procession would start from Cathedral, and end also in Cathedral.

Since the mid-day, citizens that lived in the road where the procession began to prepare for the event. The most noticeable ones were the altars for the stops as well as the bamboo fence that they put along the road. The bamboo fence was acted as the holder for candles.

Finally the procession started at around 7 pm. The parade which was involving dozens of priests, nuns, as wells hundreds of pilgrims began to move from Cathedral. They spelled the praying chant while walking. Few of them brought bells and rang them. Few of them brought along the candles with them. If the candles on the fences on the sideways were off because of the wind, they would light up them again with the candle that they brought. I do think that it’s really majestic.

They marched 1 kilometer long to the road in the west side of the cathedral, and stopped at the dedicated points. One of the stopping points was St. Philippus Chapel, right in front of Kopernik Office in Larantuka.

After watching the commencement of the march near cathedral, we ran to the Kopernik Office using a shortcut path. We needed to be ahead of the parade and arrived earlier in Kopernik office to accompany Ka Teresa and Ka Yan – Kopernik staffs in Larantuka. At that event, our office provided free drink and displayed Kopernik products (e.g. solar lights and bright box). Ka Teresa suggested the presence of the foreigners might attract attention :p. And it would also be great moment to see how the procession going from nearby.

And then we arrived at Kopernik office. And apparently, we're way ahead of the Corpus Christi march. Ka Yan and Ka Teresa had prepared the product display. As the replacement of regular candles, they used the solarlight in the altars as well as in front of the chapel.

Stopping in the chapel, the lead priest’s assistant noticed the brightness of the solar light. And then he took initiative to replace the candle that was being used for the lead priest to read the script with the solar light. It’s not very easy to read the script in the night just only relying on the dim light from the candles.

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