There are many interesting villages in Flores. Not only you get to see how the people live and interact with each other and visitors, but you can also see how local cultures are maintained and preserved. You also learn from them on how to stay in balance with nature. Once you get to know all about Tado Village, then you will see it all.
Tado Village is about 45 kilometers in the east of Labuan Bajo Harbour. If you want to see how the Manggaraians live and stick to their cultures, this is the right place to go. You will see them proudly wearing their traditional costumes. You will also feel touched by their warmth and friendliness when they receive you openly with their traditional welcome ceremony.
Along the way from Labuan Bajo to Tado Village, you get to enjoy natural treasures right in front of your eyes. It is filled with local villages, beautiful hills, and lush rain forests. Another sight that you should not miss is the spiderweb-like rice fields. They are called ‘lingko’ in their local dialect. The unique and eye-catching structures had their purpose in the past, though. It was to divide land ownership for different families in the village.
Tado Village is very rich in culture. They practice ecotourism in the community. They run a lot of cultural events and gatherings that involve singing ancestral songs, telling folk tales or local stories, and dancing. It is perhaps their way of preserving their culture. Each generation is obliged to learn all the songs, stories, and dances so they can pass them down to the next generation. No wonder they can still survive, even without modern technologies. They have their source of entertainment and creativity. They are proud of their cultural heritage, but they are also humble and open to visitors.
What to do in Tado Village:
Forget your gadgets or even hope to find an internet connection. It is time for you to interact with the locals and get to know them. Since they love gathering for their art festivities, why not join to watch them perform instead? As usual, do not forget to bring your camera with you.
Tado villagers are also open to visitors. If you want to join them in their cultural, ecotourism activities, you need to give them contribution or fees as a sign of appreciation. Perhaps you have no idea how to speak their local dialects, so singing and storytelling may not be the option. You can still do other interesting activities that they offer e.g learning how to use pandan to do mat weaving. You can also learn how to prepare some things that they prepare every day, like traditional medicines, manufacturing oil-seed lamps, coconut husk dishes and other traditional foods. Making ropes from sugar-palm fibers, weaving bamboo baskets, and carving wooden toys for children or participate in their ancestral rites, which are tied to their rice agriculture.
How about challenging yourself with some edible insects? Insects consist of protein too. You might like them.
If you are into more outdoor activities, you can request a special tour to check out the inner parts of Tado Village, especially their cultural conservatory program. One of their traditional dances that you can watch is their famous war dance called ‘Caci.’ Caci is a dance that shows a duel between two warriors. One holds a leather whiplash while the other holds a shield. It is surely much better than witnessing unfair school brawls in the big city. Nobody gets hurt, although feeling the slap of the whiplash does sting a little.
Another thing that you can do is watch an old-fashioned, palm wine extraction before it is made into a tuak. Tuak is a local alcoholic drink.
How to get to Tado Village:
Are you curious already? Good. It is time for you to know how to get to Tado Village.
Take the main road from Labuan Bajo to Ruteng. Find a yellow sign that says “Tado Ecotourism Community.” Take the next turning on the right. As you pass the village called Nampang Macing, take another kilometer to Golo Leleng. Speaking of both, they are part of Tado.
If this is your very first tour, it is recommended that you hire a driver and a local guide. Other choices of public transportations include ojek (motorcycle taxi) and a local bus called bemo.
If you are the more adventurous type, you can rent a motorcycle from Labuan Bajo and ride all the way to Tado.
There is also another thing for you to know regarding all about Tado Village, though. Since you are the visitor, please respect their code of conduct. For further guidance, you may ask your local guide or a host family about the “do’s and don’t’s” while you are staying in Tado Village. That way, you can go home and leave them a nice impression of you.