Village & Culture
Hollow Tree’s Resort is located on Katiet Beach in south Sipora, one of the big four islands of the Mentawais. From our resort you have views of one of the best surf breaks in Indonesia, arguably the world – “HT’s” short for “Hollow Tree’s” or also known as “Lances right”.
Despite their close proximity to mainland Western Sumatra, the Mentawai Islands archipelago – consisting of 70 islands and islets – was isolated in the Indian Ocean before the 19th century, with strong currents, winds and sharp coral kept outsiders away. But today, with easy boat access from Padang, surf travelers in search of the best waves in the world make the pilgrimage.
Culture & Tradition
Although it is widely accepted that The Mentawais broke away from Sumatra around 500,000 BC, the origin, and date of people populating on the archipelago are uncertain.
Today, the largest of the Mentawai Islands, Siberut, is home to the majority of the populace. Animism followed by Islam and Christianity are the predominant religions. Originally, The Mentawai people worshiped Arat Sabulungan (the religion of leaves), a philosophical journey toward heaven by embracing all in the environment, past and present.
From monkeys to human, stones to storms – spirits dwell everywhere. They have a very unique tradition called Titi, which involves tattooing their entire body. This identifies their role and social status. The tattoos are made from cane and coconut charcoal dye, which is designed by using a nail, needle and two pieces of wood fashioned into a hammer-like stick. It’s known to be a very painful method of tattooing.
Sikerei (Mentawai Shaman) is the leader of the traditional rituals of the Mentawai people.
They still worship Arat Sabulungan today and play a vital role in the Mentawai tribe because of their ability to heal sickness, communicate with ancestors and the spirits of nature. To become a Sikerei is a huge honour within the tribe and requires dedication and learning how to communicate with spirits through Sikeri poems and dance.
Today, with the influences of modern culture, it’s becoming harder for the Mentawai people to find those who are willing to become Sikerei.