Journey to Cunca Plias; the Biggest Present after Consistently Preserving the Forest

Apr 7 2024

On April 2 2024, all of us from Flores Traveler went on a trip for survey to a new viral tourist object called Cunca Plias waterfall.

The location is about 3 hours drive away from our office in Ruteng but this object is nearer to Labuan Bajo on the western part of Flores, just an hour drive by car.We met Alan Romarhon (32) whose nickname is Alan, a local to Langgo who I knew from online searching that later I call as a local champion. He is an admin of Cunca Plias waterfall on Facebook who is actively promoting this wonderful place that makes it well-known and had engaged us to reach him out for a mission to see by our own eyes how much this place has paused people from just passing by.

We planned to visit Cunca Plias two weeks before but due to an unpleasant weather, we decided to postpone it till we were able to get our footprints here thankfully on a sunny day.

Together with our two drivers, Tony and Mus who surely will be there over and over as well as Erlan who is a tour guide from our company, we drove early at 7 AM from Ruteng. We stopped in Lembor 2 hours later to grab our lunch for taken away to eat after trekking to the waterfall.

While waiting for our food ready, I contacted Alan to guide us where we should go by sharing his location on WhatsApp. We were a bit surprised because later when we arrived at the pinned location, we realized that the destination is almost on our daily road to pass by from Ruteng to Labuan Bajo or the opposite, it is just literary hidden in the jungle.

As we arrived at the main entrance, we have been kindly waited by Alan and his friends who are members of Tourism Awareness Community or POKDARWIS whose role is to be responsible for all the tourism management of Cunca Plias Waterfall. We are directed to park our car properly and then registered at the tourism information office few steps away from parking area. For locals, we were charged for 5k Rupiah and 10k rupiah for foreigners to pay the entrance. For those who trek to the spot, they will be accompanied by a local guide from the community with a charge of 50k per group.

Alan himself was our guide to lead us to explore the lush forest right on the backyard of the village Langgo, Wae Lolos Village, Sano Nggoang sub-district, West Manggarai Regency. We started to do the trekking at 11.20 from the starting point. The distance is about 1 km. For half km, the trek is relatively flat and passing through a quiet wider road. It is said to be the road for villagers to go farming and then another half is downhill from 30 to 40 degrees which led us to a sound of water in the middle of the jungle. The last part of the trek is completely in the jungle through a well-trodden forest path which is responsibly constructed by the villagers with an attempt of keeping the nature as it is without cutting the trees despites the fact that they have done robotizations near the river as explained by Alan.

After 10 minutes walk, Alan eagerly showed us the first attraction. It is a waterfall which is called Cunca Plias. Cunca itself in Manggarai means waterfall and according to Alan, plias in local language means unfortune.

“long time ago our ancestors used the waterfall as the last treatment for curing sick people. By washing the body from Cunca Plias water, the patient is expected to be purified from all sickness”, Alan told us.

From here, Alan guided us further down to see another waterfall which he convincingly informed that there are number of waterfalls around this area which he said as a river with thousands of waterfalls.

We cannot deny the fact that our eyes were widely opened to see how beautiful this place with the lush forest that covered the entire journey through the riverside. Alan pointed out to some spots where most visitors usually spend time for swimming till we arrived at the famous spot that most people called a pool above the cloud.

We spent here for almost an hour. Erlan is seen to get ready to jump into the pool after being instructed by Alan what to do. Erlan is warned to be more careful as the pool is directly headed to the cliff that forms a waterfall called Cunca Ri’i.

Alan turned out to be a passionate photographer. He made sure he did not miss any moment. Because of his excellent work rates by capturing great pictures and videos from Cunca Plias coupled with the vibes of visitor,  many people come to visit this place and since a year ago there has been recorded over 6.000 visitors to this wonderful place. That’s why he so admired of how much internet has helped locals so that the waterfall is widely known and locals have more opportunity to work.

While Erlan enjoyed swimming in the pool which is about one meter deep, two Spaniard girls arrived with a

companion of local guide. They made their tour starting from Labuan Bajo. We also met some local visitors walking down to the waterfall with their families on our way back to the parking area. I thought this is a very good gesture for locals and tourists themselves as there are more alternatives for touring around the city of Labuan Bajo.

I do believe that after listening to the story of Alan on how their ancestors long time ago tried to preserve the forest by making it as a “customary land” status or non-individual ownerships makes this place avoided from deforestation. As local, they deserve to have this present after their huge respect to ancestors and nature.

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