What is “Caci”?
“Caci” is a traditional dance from West Manggarai. It’s a whip fight between two rivals, in which the fighters will dance following the rhythm of some traditional acoustic instruments (drums). A group of people will sing something that is a bit difficult to follow, because for those who are not familiar with the local language, the lyrics will sound like someone’s hum.
In Kampung Melo (kampung means village in Indonesian language), you can enjoy this “Caci” performance whenever you want. There is a cultural group called “Compang To’e” who organizes a “Caci” performance for tourists. With Rp 1,000,000 tourists will have the opportunity to be involved in a traditional ceremony, where they will be served a cup of local wine called “Sopi”, before watching the “Caci” dance. The cup of the local wine is special, too. It’s made of coconut shells. Very exotic!
The “Caci” performance will take around 2 hours, in which, the dancers will take turns to whip. At first, I got a goose bump seeing those guys whipping each other. But after a while, I got used to it. They all seemed strong enough and able to bear the pain. Hmm… I wonder what it because of from the local wine that they had before they performed? It reminded me of a special drink made by the medicine man in the “Asterix & Obelix” comic books, if you’re familiar with the story .
Anyway, another reason to go to Kampung Melo, apart from witnessing the traditional “Caci” dance performance is to enjoy the beauty of the nature. From “Panorama”, where the “Compang To’e” cultural group is located, you can see Komodo National Park from the mountains’ view. It’s such a spectacular view, because you don’t only see the sea, but also the mountains and the islands. Try to spend your sunset here. You’ll be hypnotized with the scenery.
Pak Yoseph Ugis, the founder of “Compang To’e” cultural group, built the traditional house on the hill, that’s now called “Panorama”, with the vision of making this place a place to rest for tourists who are traveling to and/or from Komodo National Park. Tourists can stop by having a cup of local coffee or tea before continuing their journey. For me, it’s such a perfect place to daydream.. and to realize that life is full of beautiful things. And at night, I see hundreds of stars in the sky from here. Very pretty. Kampung Melo has successfully became my favorite getaway spot in West Flores.
How to get here?
Pretty easy. Kampung Melo is located around 30 minutes by car/motorbike. You can rent a car or ask any tour agent to take you to “Panorama”/”Compang To’e” cultural group in Kampung Melo. They will know the place. If you want to witness the “Caci” performance, ask your tour agent to make a booking arrangement for it.
You can also go by public transportation. There are busses going from Labuan Bajo to Ruteng everyday. You can hop on these busses and ask the driver to stop at Kampung Melo where the “Caci” dance performance is located.
Have fun in Kampung Melo, guys! 🙂