EAST MANGGARAI – The morning sun was shining on a small and barren plain near the river, and making the surface of the plain looks golden yellow. This condition is in contrast to the surrounding areas, which is green with trees and rice fields. The yellow color which is visible on the surface of the plain turned out to be sulfur remnants bursts from the point of hot water flowing across the surface of the plains. The deposition of sulfur is so prevalent everywhere and covers the entire plain, so that it looks like golden yellow crater. That’s the picture of the condition in the early morning in Rana Masak, a natural hot spring in the north of Borong.
Rana Masak hot spring is located in a plain on the foot of Golo Ndele Hill. There are four points of fountain geysers. Each point has the size of a big cooking pot. The water bursts from the hot spring is like boiling water. It is probably the reason it is called Rana Masak, which means the lake of boiling water. One point to another is separated as far as 20 to 50 meters. The water temperature can reach 40°C and boil egg within 15 minutes. The hot spring covers an area of around one hectare.
Some visitors were bathing under the shower and pool built in the hot spring. They came from Borong and surrounding villages to enjoy the hot water. They came with different purposes, some were for health therapy like those with skin problem and others were just having fun and relaxing. “Bathing here refresh our body and relax the muscles,” said Ardi Jehaman from Borong who often visits Rana Masak. Cultural and Tourism Bureau of East Manggarai Regency has built bathing pool and toilet facility in Rana Masak for accommodating the need of visitors and attracting more tourists.
The Legend of Rana Masak
There is a legend of Rana Masak, which is popular among people in the village of Purak and Balus, two villages located near Rana Masak hot spring. Purportedly, long time ago the place was a village. One day, most of the villagers went to the garden. Those left in the village were a paralyzed man and a blind man. They lived in different house but close to each other. In the afternoon, the blind was going to cook, but he did not have fire to light the furnace. He asked for a help from his paralyzed neighbor to get him fire. His neighbor said that he had fire, but he could not bring it there. At home, he had a dog, he took a burning wood from furnace, tied it to the dog’s tail and asked the dog to go. The dog with a burning wood on his tail did not go to the blind’s house; instead it ran in panic around the village. This incident made villagers who just went back from the garden laughed out loud.
At night, one of the elders of the village dreamed. In his dream, he was approached by an old man with white hair and long beard. The old man asked him about the afternoon incident, about the blind and the paralyzed man who tied burning wood to dog’s tail. The old man was angry and asked the elder to choose one of the two options given: “ngoeng hang kar, ko ngoeng hang m’belek” (do you want to eat hard rice or rice porridge?). Since he was already old, the elder chose rice porridge (hang m’belek).
A moment later he was awake and heard the roar of wind and heavy rain. Landslide buried and ruined the village. The villagers were running around in panic, some were safe and others were buried under the landslides. Those who survived fled towards the east, but when he turned back to his village, he became a rock, and then there is Watu Ata (Stone Man) in the village of Golo Tolang. Moments later, on the former village, came a blast of hot water, which is named after Rana Masak hot spring.
Access road to Rana Masak
Rana Masak hot spring is located in the village of Golo Ndele, around 10 kilometers to the north of Borong. This area can be reached from Borong via the village of Warat and then heads east to Purak village in Ngampang Mas. Paved access road can only be found up to Purak village. Vehicles can be parked in the village yard of Purak. After that, we need to walk for about 500 meters down the coffee plantation and passed Wae Moi river and after 10 minutes walking, we will arrive in Rana Masak hot spring.