A Piece of Minahasan's History
What does Minahasa Minahasa means ? "Minahasa" or "Minaesa" means "to become one." "Esa" means "one." Minahasa represents the unification of the ethnic groups, who lived on the northern tip of the island of Sulawesi, into one group. One main reason for this unification was to be able to face outside attacks together, especially against pirates.
The word Minahasa was not used formally to represent the people of the northern tip of Sulawesi until 1789 by J.D. Schierstein, the local Dutch official at that time. Previous names included "Batasaine," which was used by the Spaniards. Batasaine is the Spanish sounding version of "Wata Esa Ene," which means "one yes word." When the Spanish arrived in Minahasa, they found that the people had leaders who were of "one word," with a sense of unity.
The original Minahasans are said to originate from Lumimuut, who rose from the sea and gave birth to Toar. After many years separation, mother and son met again. Not recognising each other, they married and their descendants populated the region. Minahasan lands and languages were divided by the god Muntu Untu at Watu Pinabetengan ( the'the dividing stone' ), a carved rock near Kawangkoan.
The Minahasans have never been subject to dynastic rule. Pressure to institute royalty led to a meeting of the linguistically diverse Minahasan states around 670 AD at a stone now known as Watu Pinabetengan ( near Kawangkoan ). That Meeting paved the way for a durable system of independent states. Threat from outside forces, notably the neighbouring kingdoms of Bolaang Mongondow, unified the Minahasans backlash in 1655; one of the few occasions when the independent states were forced into a defence alliance.
At the time of the first contact with Europeans in the 16th century, northern Sulawesi had strong links with the sultanate of Ternate ( northern Maluku ) and Bugis traders from Southern Sulawesi. The Portuguese used Manado as a supply stop, and Portuguese missionaries had some success in Minahasa and Sangir-Talaud islands in the 1560s. The Dutch then toppled the Ternate sultanate collude with the local powers to throw out their European competitors. In 1677 the Dutch occupied Pulau Sangir and, two years latre, a treaty ( possibly forced ) with the Minahasan chiefs led to Dutch domination for the next 300 years
Although relations with the Dutch were often less than cordial, and the region did not actually come under direct Dutch rule until 1870, the Dutch and Minahasans eventually became so close that the north was often referred to as the "Twelfth Province of The Netherlands". ( A Manado-based political movement called Twaalfe Provincie even campaigned for Minahasan's integration into the Dutch state in 1947 ).
Christianity became a force in the early 1820s, and the wholesale conversion of the Minahasans was almost complete by 1860. Because the school curriculum was taught in Dutch, the Minahasans had an early advantage in the competition for government jobs and positions in the colonial army. The Minhasans also fought alongside the Dutch to subdue rebellions in other parts of the archipelago, notably the Java War of 1825 - 1830.
The Minahasans sense of being different became a problem for the Indonesian government after independence. In March 1957, military leaders of both southern and northern Sulawesi launched a confrontation with the central government with demands for greater regional autonomy, more local development and a fairer share of the revenue. The Minahasans leaders were dissatisfied with the subsequent negotiations, and declared their own atonomous state of North Sulawesi in June 1957. The Indonesians government then bombed Manado in February 1958, and, by June, Indonesian troops had landed in northern Sulawesi. Rebel leaders retreated into the mountains, and the rebellion was finally put down in mid-1961.
Like most export-oriented commodity-producing regions in Indonesia, North Sulawesi province has done well under the subsequent stability and pro-development orientation of modern Indonesia. The province's infrastructure is probably the best in Indonesia, and export demand for its varied cash crops has offset the disadvantage of distance from domestic markets. Visitors to North Sulawesi will see little evidence of the economic crisis affecting the rest of Indonesia.
Minahasa's Heritage
Tomohon is one of the interesting towns in the highlands. From Manado you go straight to the southern Minahasa, by car or by bus ( from Karombasan Terminal ). Before you get into Tomohon, you will find a nice and comfortable restaurants to stop by and having lunch. There is Tinoor Restaurant, Heng-Mien Restaurant, or Pemandangan Restaurant with a view of Manado Bay and Bunaken Islands.
Tomohon is a pleasant, cool respite from Manado, with a setting below Gunung Lokon volcano. It's popular with city folk on weekends; and for travellers, it's a popular alternative to Manado, and an ideal base to explore the many nearby attractions.
When you entering the first village of Tomohon district, Kinilow, there are a couple of nice places to stay, the Highland Resort and Kinilow Indah Hotel. There is a pool called Indraloka Pool, a nice place forrelaxing.
After Kinilow you will find Kakaskasen village. There is Happy Flower Homestay, Gardenia Hotel, Kawanua Cottages, and Lokon Mega Mendung. For places to eat, there are Palmtree Restaurants,  
Puncak Kasuang, Tinton, Sineleyan Restaurants and Fishing Area. For you who love adventures you can climb Lokon Volcano and Mahawu Mount. Or you may visit the Flower Market at Kakaskasen Village, the Traditional Market at the centre of the city, and then sit, relax and take a deep fresh breathe at Inspiration Hill, behind Tomohon Christian University, and watch the scenery of Mount Lokon and Tomohon City. The Buddha temple ( Pagoda ) is one of the attractive sites in Tomohon. Out from the Tomohon city, at Woloan, on the way to Tanawangko, you may find a Traditional Wooden House. You may see or even buy one.
Gunung Lokon volcano ( 1530 m ) contains a constantly simmering crater lake of varyling hues, which takes about three hours to reach ( another hour to the peak ) from Tomohon. Before climbing any volcano in the area, report to the vulcanology centre in Tomohon. The centre can provide advice about the hike, and it also has spectacular photographs.
Gunung Mahawu ( 1311 m ). Another of three active volcanoes in the area. Inside the crater is a steaming, emerald-green lake ringed with yellow sulphur deposits. From the summit, you can see neighbouring Mt. Lokon with its ever-present plume of smoke.
There are numerous other wonderful places to explore from Tomohon, and all are accessible by mikrolet from Tomohon. Danau Linow (35 ha ), a small, highly sulphurous lake, which changes colours with the light, is home to extensive birdlife. Warning : do not close to the lake cause there is hot mud can boiled your feet. Take a mikrolet to Sonder, get off at Lahendong and walk ( 1.5 km ) to the lake. From Danau Linow, you can also hike ( 8 km ) to Danau Tondano, but you'll need to as directions.
From the Matani Intersection take a left turn on the way to Tondano. There is Kasuang area, with a few restaurants you can choose, and then at Tataaran intersection you can go either straight ahead to Remboken or take a left turn to Tondano City.
If you take the road to Remboken you may pass the Universitas Negeri Manado ( UNIMA ) Campus. At Remboken you will see the Pottery Making at Pulutan. It all hand-making and some of them good to be a souvenir.
From Tataaran intersection, take turn to Tondano city, you may pass the rice field, greeny but  
sometimes yellowish which means near the harvest time. The view of the rice field and mountains were very attractive. In Tondano City you can make a city tour by 'bendi', a vehicle pull by a horse. Lake Tondano, one of the famous lakes in Indonesia, is located 30 km south-west of Manado and 600 m above sea level.
To visit Lake Tondano, from Tomohon Terminal go to Tondano Terminal, and take a bemo to Remboken
Lake Tondano, the largest lake in Minahasa, has a beautiful area for hiking, or just to enjoy the view of the lake. Having the same name as Minahasa's capitol, it is surrounded by mountains. Around the lake there are rice paddies, that use the lake as a source of irigation. Towns are also spread out around the lake, and are treated with cool temperature, because of the lake and the considerable height of the region above sea-level. Unfortunately, boats are not in abundance in this lake. Only small canoes can be seen here and there. Around the side of the lake, you may find wonderful restaurants and some of them have some gardens to wander around. For a nice tourism place at Remboken you may stop by at Sumaru Endo, where you can sit and relax.
Near Tondano, you can find a Hotspring, Ranopasu ( air panas - hot water ). Try an extremely relaxing bath in hot sulphurous water. Private bathrooms available. From Tondano City. except the road to Tomohon, there is many ways to go out. You can take a road to Bitung via Airmadidi, the road to Remboken, Kakas and Langowan, or take a road to Eris.
During WW II, the Japanese dug caves into the hills surrounding Manado to act as air-raid shelters, and as storage space for ammunition,. food, weapons and medical supplies. One accessible Japanese Cave is 3 km from Kawangkoan.
About 5 km from Kawangkoan is Watu Pinabetengan, a place of immense spiritual significance for the Minahasans. It is a megalithic stone, that is four meters long and two meters high, and are filled with carvings, that until today have not been deciphered. According to Minahasan history, this is the place, around 670 AD, where the ansectors of the Minahasan people, chiefs of seven Minahasan tribes met to discuss and determine the division of land, to ensure peace among the tribes. The seven areas that were divided were called Tombulu, Tonsea, Toulour, Tontemboan, Tonsawang, Ponosakan and Pasan Ratahan.
Other Places
There are also hot springs, private mineral baths and nice walks near Langowan. From Tondano Village, take a mikrolet to Langowan, and ask the driver to drop you off nearby. Several kilometers out of Tomohon, on the road to Tara Tara, are caves, which were used by Japanese forces during WWII. Komplex Walepapetaupan Toar-Lumimuut is a park, swimming pool and landscaped garden dedicated to the Minahasans' origin myth in Sonder. From Sonder, occasional mikrolets go to Tincep, from where it's a short walk to more pretty waterfalls. Some of the 
best Japanese caves are just outside Tondano village on the road to Airmadidi. A bus from Airmadidi to Tondano will get you to the caves in 45 minutes. From the caves, you can hitch or walk ( one hour ) to the mikrolet terminal in Tondano village. From Terminal Karombasan in Manado, mikrolets regularly leave for Tondano village ( about Rp. 2000 - 2500 ,- ), or you can get there by mikrolet from Tomohon. From Tondano, catch another mikrolet to Remboken, and get off anywhere you like along the main road around the lake. From Tondano, you can also take a leisurely bandi to anywhere you want. At Sawangan, you can see the Waruga (old pre-Christian tombs of the ancestral Minahasans).