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Home » Halmahera Island » Sigofi Ngolo: The Ocean Cleansing Ritual of Jailolo Bay, Halmahera

Sigofi Ngolo: The Ocean Cleansing Ritual of Jailolo Bay, Halmahera

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    halmahera island by santimano
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    clouds over the halmahera island by santimano
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    beautiful view of halmahera island by santimano
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    picturesque view of halmahera by arnold binas
  5. halmahera

    sunset in halmahera island bi arnold binas
  6. halmahera

    halmahera from above by santimano
  7. Sigofi Ngolo

  8. Sigofi Ngolo

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  10. Sigofi Ngolo

  11. Atraksi Beca Motor

  12. Atraksi Beca Motor

  13. Atraksi Beca Motor

  14. Atraksi Beca Motor

  15. Atraksi Beca Motor

  16. Sasadu

  17. Bentor Jailolo

  18. Bentor Jailolo



Every year, for hundreds of years, the Sigofi Ngolo has been faithfully observed by the people of Jailolo Bay, in West Halmahera. A festival alive with vibrant decorations and rhythmic sounds, Sigofi Ngolo is a festival of honor to God, giving thanks for abundant crops, and becoming one with nature: all things on earth and under the sea. The ritual, though translated to mean ‘cleansing of the ocean,’really represents the cleansing of our hearts and inner selves from wordly intentions, and asking permission to celebrate with a sincere heart. Nowadays, Sigofi Ngolo is held in time with the Jailolo Bay Festival, a 3-day festival created by the West Halmahera government to promote its culture and natural beauty.


North Maluku consists of four kingdoms: Ternate, Tidore, Jailolo (on the island of Halmahera) and Bacan, each of which will send representatives to participate in this event. Additionally, many tourists gather on this day to witness this occurrence and obtain inner cleansing.

 Sigofi Ngolo - Indonesia Travel


On the day of the ritual, as the sun rises over the horizon, a large boat, filled with people can be seen making its way across the bay. Resounding across the waters are the sounds of beating drums, gongs and singing choruses, sounding in sync with large speakers booming out traditional tunes. Following in procession are 8 more boats, festively decorated with large banners, colorful flags and even yellow palm leaves.

 Sigofi Ngolo - Indonesia Travel


The ships then set sail towards Baubau Island, not too far from Jailolo. The ships will circle the island 3 times, before one will dock. Other ships will stay at sea and wait while members of the docked ship will disembark, leaving wreaths of flowers, ornaments and offerings on the sandy edge of the rocky island. This act is also a form of respect to the ancestors who fought and were killed at sea, while fighting against the Portuguese invaders.

 Sigofi Ngolo - Indonesia Travel


Jailolo Bay is located in the west side of the Halmehera island chain in North Maluku. To get there you can first fly to Ternate, the closest airport to the Halmehera Islands. From there, you can take a speedboat to Jailolo. A few hotels are scattered throughout the area, as well as dozens of homestays.


Aside from the Jailolo Bay Festival, there are other points of interest, especially those related to nautical tourism. Jailolo has many spectacular diving spots, such as Sosota Reef, Paniki, Rodeo Rock, Marble Reef &Irama Rock, just to name a few. If diving isn’t your thing, stay ashore to visit the village of Gamtala or go bird watching in the nearby forests.

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Sigofi Ngolo: The Ocean Cleansing Ritual of Jailolo Bay, Halmahera

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