Sangihe - Talaud

Visiting Sangihe and Talaud Island is sometimes is not easy. Sangihe and Talaud Island are a chain of islands stretching North Sulawesi in the direction of the Mindanao Island - Philippines, includes the three clusters, which is Tatoareng Cluster, Cluster Sangihe, and Cluster Border.

There are many active volcanoes here and a very fertile soil. The total land area is about 813 sq. km, population about 240.000. The largest islands are Sangihe, Siau, Biaro and Tahulandang.

An archipelago of about 77 islands, Sangihe and Talaud like most unspoiled areas is not easy to get there. A ride speedboat makes the trip from Manado in about 11 (eleven) hours, stay overnight and back the next day. The administrative capital and largest town is Tahuna on the island of Sangihe Besar.

The major islands in Talaud are Karakelong, Salibabu and Kaburuang. Sangihe and the neighboring Talaud islands are supposed to be a paradise for divers, you can for example dive on an active, underwater volcano here. The island groups can offer peaceful, lovely beaches, some ruins of Portuguese fortresses and several volcanoes where you can climb to the top. In addition you can explore caves and waterfalls. Sangihe Talaud is also getting more and more popular with bird lovers. The islands are home to nine endemic species, and new ones are being discovered regularly.

There are several hotels here offering basic but passable accommodation. In town, shop for the carved ebony wood for which the area is famous, as well as embroidered fabrics from the island of Batunderang. There’s also an interesting house of Dutch design and unknown age. If you have a couple of days and plenty of extra energy you could climb Gunung Awu the spectacular volcanic peak. First check in at the monitoring station at Tulusau, to make sure conditions are right. To the south of Sangihe Besar, the island of Siau has a glorious 1800m volcanic peak known locally as Siau volcano (Gunung Api Siau). This volcano had a major explosion in 1974, which destroyed much of the infrastructure of the island. It can be climbed but should be approached with caution.

Getting all the endemics on Talaud is quite a tall order, and probably requires a stay of several days. Natural forest is much more extensive on this island, giving a greater range of sites to try, and also allowing plenty of scope for exploration.

A good site to try first for an introduction to Talaud is to the north of the town of Beo. Following the coast road for a few km brings you to a large box-girder bridge over a river. Paths follow the river on both banks and soon enter nice forest. Here you have a chance at the local variation on Red-bellied Pitta (a candidate for species status), the three Tanygnathus parrots, Red-and-Blue Lory, Rufous Paradise-Flycatcher and Talaud Kingfisher.

Here some place interest and tourism object at Sangihe and Talaud Island, North Sulawesi :

The Kings Palace.
The Kings Palace is the old royal residence used during the period of the Tahuna Kingdoms, Manganitu and Tamako. Inside the building you can still see relics of the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and Tagalog episodes. This is a definite must see.

Mount Awu Crater Lake.
Situated on Sangihe Besar Island, Mount Awu (1320 m) is still active and it last erupted in 2004. The crater lake is particularly beautiful with dark green, light green and white colours contrasting. Those interested in climbing it should inquire at the Volcanologist Office in Tahuna.

Mohara Island.
This is a beautiful tiny island, located on the eastern side of Siau Island. Justly proud of the beauty of its own, tour at this island is a wonderful opportunity to visit a Portuguese ruined fortress. Only a few minutes by a motorized outrigger canoe from Siau harbor

Sara Island.
Heavily forested with lush verdant tropical vegetation, this tiny island bustles with the activity of Maleo Birds, cockatoos and other birds. It is surrounded by white sandy beaches and there is extensive coral reefs nearby. Take a motorized outrigger canoe from Lirung harbor (about1 hour ride) or from Melangguane Airport (about 60 minutes) to this splendid island.

Pananualeng Beach.
This white sand beach located at Pananualeng Village in about 24 km from Tahuna. The beach it self is ideal for sunbathing, swimming, relaxation with family.

Karangetang Volcano.
Karangetang Volcano is towering 1.800 m in Siau, this volcano is still active and last erupted in 1974. Karangetang Volcano graces the entrance to Siau harbor.

Santiago Mausoleum.
Lying among towering coconut palms and a flowery garden, overlooking a beautiful stretch of forested mountains and sea views, is the King Santiago Mausoleum. The kind ruled Manganitu Kingdom from 1670 – 1677. Only 14 km from Tahuna by a small public transport.

Mahangetang Underwater Volcano.
Lies about 4 – 8 meters underwater, only about 300 m off the island of Mahangetang, this underwater volcano affords a magnificent view of water boiling under the sea. Located 18 miles away from Tahuna, it is easily reached by hiring a motorized outrigger canoe from Tahuna harbor.

Also close to Beo, to the south-east, are some forested slopes that have much of the above, and also a chance at the recently described Talaud Rail. A track heads in towards a spring in one location, passing through some wet and swampy patches of forest along the way. This track could be worth an early morning walk to have a chance at the rail, that otherwise only ever seems to be seen as chance roadside drive-bys!

For the more adventurous, a trip to the forested interior is a good one. Several sites are accessible from the cross-island road heading east from Beo towards the village of Rainis on the east coast. Taking a path in from across the big river, that the road passes by after a few km, soon brings you to nice condition forest on the ridges and slopes above. The path leaves from the vicinity of the village of Bengel, if you need something to aim for. Here you have a chance at Talaud Bush-hen, although it is easier to hear than see. The forest also has many of the same birds as above, plus Everett’s White-eye and Grey Imperial Pigeon can be seen. There is also a Red-and-Blue Lory communal roost tree in this area, where you can see the amazing spectacle of hundreds of lorys coming to roost in the evening. You can visit this area as a long day trip from Beo, or camp out for an extended stay.

The main attraction on Siau is the critically endangered and almost virtually unknown Siau Scops-Owl. This remains only known from the type specimen, but in 2007 a recording was made of a owl that may well be it. The location the recording was made is on the road rising up from behind the town of Ulu (and eventually crossing the island), just beyond an obvious old lava flow.

The owl was heard here again in 2008, but remains unseen. While birding at night in Siau make the most of the spectacular volcano, the summit of which glows red at night, and don’t be surprised by the frequent earth tremors.