The long history of Catholicism in Flores has produced many legends. One of these charismatic figures is St Francis Xavier – Wair Nokerua is a natural spring named after him. Wair means ‘water’ in the local language, and nokerua is derived from ‘he who lives celibate’, or ‘pastor’. The local people believe that this spring is a trace of St Francis Xavier’s worked miracles.
The spring is located on the beach of Kolisia Village, only about 20km away from Maumere. Visitors can enjoy Florinese nature and rural life at its best here. Before you enter the village, lush green scenery unfolds in front of your eyes. During the planting season, the land along the path turns into a large green carpet filled with corn plants. If you go further, the corn fields change into vast rice fields replacing the thick bushes of corn fields.
To make the excursion more informative, it is a good idea to engage a guide who is familiar with the local plants and their use: biduri (Calotropis gigantea), for example, is a wild coastal plant used by the locals for herbal medicine; lamtoro or petai Cina (Leucaena leucocephala) is useful for composting, while the seed is not only delicious cooked in dishes but also provides relief from symptoms of flatulence if eaten fresh. There is also jarak seed (Jatropha Ricinus communis) that makes a potent bio-fuel.
Local fruits such as the passion fruit (Capparis spinosa subsp. Nummularia), wild fig (Ficus sp), kesambi (Schleichera oleosa) or tamarind (Tamarindus indica) grow wild along the road and you can pick them to quench your thirst. One of the well-known herbal plants is mengkudu (Morinda sp), which, unlike those commonly found, has smaller fruit with skin that even resembles a Javanese batik pattern. Wair Nokerua is also home to interesting birds such as the tekukur (spotted dove or Streptopelia chinensis).
During the 3km hike, you may also see water buffalos enjoying cool fresh water; cows and goats grazing in the fields and hills surrounding Wair Nokerua; and farmers plowing the land or planting and weeding rice fields – daily, agrarian life of which the local people are proud of. Early morning is the best time to soak up the peace and quiet of Wair Nokerua.
If you feel like relaxing and unwinding at the beach, Wair Nokerua’s gentle waves will sway you into tranquility. Situated in a lagoon arching the coast, the beach is very far from the town’s hustle and bustle. Take your time climbing up the highest hill for breathtaking scenery of paddy fields that look like a green ocean.
With tall coconut trees on one side and the endless horizon of the deep, blue sea on the other, you will agree that St Francis Xavier really worked miracles on Wair Nokerua.
As Wair Nokerua is located just 20km from Maumere, you can make use of all the numerous facilities such as accommodation, restaurants, and shops there.
How to get there
From Maumere, take the north coast Transflores ‘highway’ and turn right after about 10m at the Kolisia Village sign. You will enter an unpaved road just wide enough for one car to pass.