Mapalus Tradition in Tomohon City, North Sulawesi Province


Learning the local culture becomes one of tourists’ agenda when spending a vacation in Tomohon City, without a doubt. So, what can they find there? The most popular tradition is called Mapalus. In a nutshell, it is the way how villagers work together in achieving something (especially in cleaning the environment and constructing buildings). Even though modernization has a significant effect in Tomohon, the locals retain Mapalus because it is the heritage of their ancestors. After all, the Minahasa and community service are two inseparable things. For tourists, they can take the opportunity to watch how cheerful those people when working together in the field. It gives them the chance to do photography too!

The Nuance
As mentioned before, Mapalus comes in different forms. The most common one is when villagers gather in the farm and work together on the site. They carry required equipment and prepare some foods or drinks as well. The nuance is indeed festive, as these people work harmoniously regardless of the experience and skill. After all, the purpose is to achieve something together on someone’s behalf. Here is the good news. Tourists are allowed to join it!

More about Mapalus Tradition
In terms of name, Mapalus derives from two words which are “Ma” and “Palus”. The first one means “each other” while the other means “helping”. Thus, the whole meaning is an event when people help each other, especially to accomplish something. The Minahasa wants to retain such community service habit for generations, after all. It is because modernization makes people more selfish gradually. Tomohon City is one of the regions that remain unaffected with such social alteration (especially among those who live in the villages).

As for tourists, they can even learn the history of Mapalus! It is said the tradition was once utilized by the locals to work on the farms together. These include creating a new farm, planting, and harvesting. However, as the time went by, the tradition applied in other fields including traditional ceremonies, weddings, funeral, building houses, etc. The purpose is to make the job easier and more efficient to do. Moreover, those people don’t ask anything in return. That means they do the job based on solidarity and sincerity.

Mapalus Tradition is, somehow, helps villagers to build a stronger relationship with each other. What about tourists? Well, they can watch the activity directly and learn how beautiful a unity is. Not to mention the tradition can be an interesting background for photography. Thus, everyone should carry a camera while watching it later.

Nearby Attractions

  • Kali Waterfall
  • Doa Hill
  • Alfa Omega Tower
  • Taman Kota

How to Get There
In order to watch Mapalus, tourists should come to Tomohon City directly. For those coming from Manado City, they should find the best transportation service and head to Tomohon right away. The trip may take around 52 minutes, as the distance is 25.1 km. It can even be faster if tourists take only Raya Manado Tomohon Street. The tradition usually occurs in a village, so everyone should head to the nearest one.

Where to Stay

  • Leos Hotel
  • Mandey Inn
  • Candlenut Treehouse
  • Airy Hotel


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