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Word: Ayu Arman

The History of Asam Kembar (the Twin Tamarind Trees)at the Gate of Spermonde

“Welcome to the Gate of Spermonde Islands

The scent of the sea immediately greets us upon arrival at the edge of Machini Baji pier, the Regency of Pangkajene and Archipelago–hereinafter referred to as Pangkajene Archipelago or Pangkep. Only an hour driving from Sultan Hasanuddin Airport, Maros, South Sulawesi, the city offers three beauty of natural panorama at once, namely, the beauty of mountains, land, and islands.

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The beauty of Pangkep Mountains. Foto- Bary Kusuma

At the sea, Pangkep keeps unspeakable charm of waters. Geographically, almost 93 percent of the total land area of only 898.29 km2 is the sea. The sea area of Pangkep is approximately 11,464.44 km2. With such geographical contours, Pangkep is definitely a water country filled with small island clusters. Some of the islands are inhabited with high population density, others are empty islands with a variety of coral reefs which create amazement.

In Pangkep, there are 115 islands. Those islands, both inhabited (80) and empty (35) islands, are scattered across three clusters: Kalukuang Group Islands Cluster (Liukang Kalmas) that consists of 14 islands, Paternoster Islands Cluster (Liukang Tangaya) that consists of 58 Islands, and the Spermonde Islands Cluster (Liukang Tupabbiring /Tupabbiring Utara) that consists of 43 islands.

At the end of March 2018, we explored the Spermonde Islands region. This coral islands is located in the Makassar Strait. Precisely on the southwest coast of Sulawesi Island, it spreads from Takalar Regency bordering the Java Sea to Pangkep Regency in the north. Some people call this islands the Sangkarang Islands.

It is called Spermonde since its small islands generally have white sand and a beautiful diversity of coral reefs. From above the waters of the sea, the spread of Spermonde islands are seen floating like spreading splinters of cells. There are approximately 130 of both inhabited and uninhabited islands.

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Pulau Salemo – Bary Kusuma

The islands within this Spermonde Islands cluster have their respective names. When the Tallo and Gowa kingdoms were still separated, the naming of the islands is also different. The islands which were under the reign of Tallo Kingdom was named after prefix “sa”, such as Sabutung, Salemo, Saugi, and so on. Meanwhile, the islands under the territory of Gowa Kingdom are Ballang Lompo, Baddi Balloon, Barrang Lompo, Barrang Caddi, Kodingareng, etc.

N. C. Baudekker who was the head of Makassar’s regional government in 1946-1948 wrote that before the 18th century, there were no permanent residents on the islands. The islands was merely a place of recreation of the nobles and royal relatives, a transit of sailing ships, and a temporary place of Bajo tribe to take fresh water.

In the historical record, the naming of Spermonde on a group of islands on the west coast of Makassar was first pinned by the Portuguese. “Spermon” comes from Greek, which refers to the name of a goddess, “Spermo”, the grand daughter of Apollo in Greek mythology. “Spermo” is a goddess who is able to change whatever she touches into seed or grain.The Dutch reached this area in the 17th century and continued the use of the name on their map today.

In the 18th century, this islands began to be inhabited. Initially, the traders from all over areas such as Arabian and Indian came and transit in Makassar which at that time was popular as a trading city. Due to the economic element, a number of islands was used to be meeting places until some of the traders were settled there later. That was the beginning of the Spermonde islands becoming a permanent residence of ethnic groups in Sulawesi, such as Bugis, Makassar, Mandar, and others.

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Machini Baji Dock – Bary Kusuma

Fifteen minutes from Macini Bajji, the port that connects the islands of Pangkep
District, is seen an island forming an arc similar to Arjuna’s bow of the archipelago
puppetry legend. Its sea water looks clear with white sandy beaches. This is our
destination. Camba-Cambang Island. The tourist gate of Spermonde Islands .
We soon explored the island corner to corner. On the island of approximately four
hectares breadth, stand all modern building facilities. From the pier where our speed
boat rests, the red-colored villas are seen neatly lining up, floating above sea level,
with parks filled with leafy trees and gazebos here and there. There are also cafes
and health service posts.

Camba-Camba Islands- Bary Kusuma

A sports hall and a multipurpose building also stand majestically on the island. This
multipurpose building is leased to anyone who holds a training event or series of
meetings. Do not worry, religious facility such as a mosque gallantly stand right at
the end of the island. It is from this mosque we can enjoy the most beautiful sunset
in Makassar sea. You can also watch a group of seagulls flying to and fro hunting the
fish surfacing in Camba-Cambang’s water. This scene takes place nearly every time.

How ? Curious about Camba-Cambangan Island. Let’s continue in Part II