Tanna, Vanuatu

From where Vanuatu Conquered the Western World

A native of Tanna descends a staircase towards one of the beaches in the vicinity of Port Resolution.
waiting for lava
Tanna residents and visitors await another eruption over the crater of the Yasur volcano.
lava explosion
A small Strombolian eruption illuminates the dark depths of Mount Yasur crater.
volcanic desolation
Sand and ash prevent the proliferation of tropical vegetation around the Yasur volcano, a small active volcano in Tanna.
Little underwater fishing
Two children try to catch fish caught at low tide on a wild beach in Tanna.
Nasiroro Fashion
Natives at the entrance to one of the huts in the village of Nasiroro.
pure melanesia
Inhabitants of Tanna during their homecoming from Bethel Market.
volcanic races
Tanna's children have fun descending the gentler slope of Mt. Yasur on slides made from coconut fronds.
bridge trunk
Dena Charlie crosses a makeshift bridge over a stream in Yakel.
Airada Life Trio
Young ni-vanuatu (inhabitants of Vanuatu) have fun on a beach in Tanna.
Chat on Nakamal
Yakel youth converse in the village's Nakamal (ceremonial wide).
at the door of the house
Woman and pigs outside one of Yakel's huts.
heavy load, easy smile
Yakel elder carries a pile of bamboo reeds.
The TV show “Meet the Native” took Tanna's tribal representatives to visit Britain and the USA Visiting their island, we realized why nothing excited them more than returning home.

The infrastructure is non-existent but the surrounding trees boast huge canopies that are in charge of blocking the tropical sun. In its shadow, Bethel's little market is ablaze with color.

The South Pacific winter announced itself just a few days ago. All over the island, tangerines are ready to be picked and are displayed as part of long artificial bunches that the natives arrange around stakes.

There are hardly any men in this makeshift trading post. And the long gaudy and floral dresses of the Melanesian matrons stand out from the verdant scenery and attract neighbors who also end up supplying themselves with taros, cassava, pineapples and huge grapefruits.

Bethel market, Tanna, Vanuatu to the West, Meet the Natives

Women sell fruit and vegetables at Bethel Market on the Tanna coast.

Jimmy Nasse has no shopping to do. He is eager to show off his favorite spots on the island and appears across the street to rescue us from the ethnic spell that holds us back long beyond the appointed time. “Come on friends, there is a lot to discover in Tanna.

If you get so caught up in the first place we stopped, it's going to be difficult to take you everywhere. And look, the roads don't help”.

We landed from Port Vila, island of ephath, two hours ago and the fascination for what we found is such that we continue to delay entering the small Tanna Lodge. On the way again, we pass by the mouth of a river and the black sand cove that welcomes it.

Children, Tanna, Vanuatu to the West, Meet the Natives

Young ni-vanuatu (inhabitants of Vanuatu) have fun on a beach in Tanna.

Some women bathe and wash clothes in the last meters of fresh water in the stream, and the contrast of the gaudy fabrics against the gray background of the ground and the blue of the ocean require us to take another slight detour.

Jimmy boosts your patience levels. Begins to get used to what awaits you.

Soon, he will confess his Bahai faith to us. We know the biggest temple of this religion, located in Haifa, Israel, and its principles of union of different beliefs, the search for justice and peace on Earth. We soon realize that we are in the hands of a kind of ni-vanuatu (natives of Vanuatu) angel.

We install and return to pick up in a few minutes. Jimmy leads us uphill towards the Yakel waterfall, along a muddy road that demands all the traction of the vehicle.

We pass through Nasiroro, a village formed by hundreds of huts and with a spiritual center in a large clearing sheltered by three majestic fig trees.

Nakamal, Tanna, Vanuatu to the West, Meet the Natives

Yakel youth converse in the village's Nakamal (ceremonial wide).

Discovering the Amazing Tanna, Guided by Dena Charlie

It is at this nakamal that we are greeted by Dena Charlie, the young host charged with introducing us to the village and revealing the way to the stream.

bridge trunk

Dena Charlie crosses a makeshift bridge over a stream in Yakel.

Pigs and dogs of the tribe cross the path that winds through the huts and trees, but ends up descending into a wide, green valley that looks like something straight out of an old science fiction book. Dena's English is at the level of the bislama native.

And the half-naked boy plays his role with impeccable ease. Meanwhile, the sun goes down. Dena hugs herself and complains about the cold that starts to bother him.

Dena Charlie, Tanna, Vanuatu to the West, Meet the Natives

Dena Charlie grabs a tree near the village of Yakel.

We wear t-shirts and stay warm. It gives us the feeling that the temperature has never dropped below twenty degrees, but other villagers are already wearing straw coats.

When we question Dena about the vulnerability of the natives to those temperatures, he justifies himself with elegance and good humor. “Yeah, we're different in so many things.

You must have already noticed the shape of our feet, right? Yours are much narrower and flatter, and many Westerners find ours amusing. Another distinction is in cold resistance. Here, at this temperature, we are all shivering.”

Nasiroro Fashion

Natives at the entrance to one of the huts in the village of Nasiroro.

Then, as part of tribal protocol, he takes us to the hut of the village chief Yakel.

Kauia is 111 years old and fought the Japanese invasion in World War II. As his age justifies it, we find him quite weakened, lying on a bamboo bed, subsumed in the smoky darkness inside the hut.

We exchange a few words but the boss is too weak and surprised. Dena reminds us that her life is one of the longest in Vanuatu, in all of Melanesia and, she is told, in the world.

He also tells us that Kauia was one of the leaders who led the formation of the Prince Philip myth.

The Enigmatic Faith of the Tanna People in British Royalty

For some reason, the Yahohnanen tribe began to believe that Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and consort to Queen Elizabeth II was a divine being, the son of Keraperamun, the god of the highest mountain of Tanna.

volcanic desolation

Sand and ash prevent the proliferation of tropical vegetation around Yasur, a small active volcano in Tanna.

And also that he had once traveled to a distant land, married a powerful woman and would return. This idea was reinforced when the natives observed the reverence with which British colonial officials treated Queen Elizabeth II.

Later, in 1974, the royal couple visited the New Hebrides and the natives were able to observe Prince Philip who impressed them even more than in the images they had seen before.

The prince was not familiar with the cult but was informed of it by the resident commissioner who suggested that he send a photograph of himself upon his return to Britain. Philip followed the advice.

When the photo arrived, the villagers reciprocated by offering him a traditional stick. end-end. And the prince sent a new photograph of him wielding that staff.

meet the natives and the Natives' Relief for the Return to the Homeland of Vanuatu

These photographs were kept by Chief Jack Naiva and helped to prolong the service. So, in 2007, BBC Channel 4 created meet the natives a kind of reality show starring a group of natives belonging to the Prince Philip Movement visiting Great Britain.

His tour culminated in a meeting with the prince in which gifts were exchanged, including another photograph of Philip. It ended up revealing the undisguised happiness of the natives for returning to their beloved Tanna who welcomed them in celebration, even after they had seen their messiah and discovered the civilizational wonders of the West.

As we descend from Yakel to the waterfront, Dena Charlie and Jimmy Nasse add sordid details around the cults that contemplate disagreements between the tribes.

But we soon arrive at new unmissable places and they start transmitting us other information. We inspect the idyllic inlet of Port Resolution, where, in 1774, James Cook's eponymous ship anchored.

Airada Life Trio

Young ni-vanuatu (inhabitants of Vanuatu) have fun on a beach in Tanna.

We also pass by White Sands, a beach invaded by lush tropical vegetation, with large white sands where dozens of visibly happy children play and fish in their Melanesian paradise.

To the Rhythm of the Small Yasur Volcano

From there, we head to the Yasur mountain and volcano, the main volcanic expression of Tanna.

Jimmy Nasse leads us through small streams of water that he uses as a shortcut. Along the way, we see herds of wild horses roaming the tropical hay-lined plain, we pass women returning from the market and a group of men who have just sacrificed a cow.

Native and Cow, Tanna, Vanuatu to the West, Meet the Natives

Tanna's wife has the company of a curious cow.

At a certain point, we reach a high point that reveals the predominant forest expanse and the island of sand and ash opened there by the Yasur volcano.

Afterwards, we return to the plain and enter this desert-looking and inhospitable area decorated, here and there, by isolated exotic plants and shrubs.

volcanic races

Tanna's children have fun descending the gentler slope of Mount Yasur volcano on slides made of coconut leaves.

We approach the slope of Yasur and find kids who rejoice to show us their art of descending the slope, sitting on toboggans made of coconut tree trunks.

We go around that huge sandy ramp to reach the easiest access point to the crater, located at a mere 361 meters in altitude.

Halfway through this trail, we come across the emblematic mailbox of the Yasur volcano in which, even though we were a little afraid, we deposited dozens of postcards.

When we reach the top, the sun is about to set and the wind changes direction frequently. Sprays toxic gases on outsiders and natives around the summit.

waiting for lava

Inhabitants and visitors of Tanna, Vanuatu, await another eruption over the crater of the Yasur volcano.

The Toxic Crater and Mild Eruptions of Yasur Volcano

Sunset paints the clouds and scattered smoke orange and serves as an introduction to what is the most anticipated spectacle.

With twilight already installed, there is finally a first eruption that projects a profuse fountain of incandescent lava into the air.

As rashes from the Yasur volcano are Strombolian and almost regular.

lava explosion

A small Strombolian eruption illuminates the dark depths of the crater of the Yasur volcano in Tanna, Vanuatu

Aware of this fact, we wait for nightfall and the next, but Jimmy is already breathing with some difficulty, victim of an almost daily contact with the sulfur gas.

And we, deprived of really effective masks, also begin to experience some irritation of the eyes and bronchi. We agreed to descend to the safety of Sulfur Bay.

It had been a long day.

The next morning, a visit to the shrine of another of Tanna's intriguing messianic characters awaited us.

Waiting for John Frum and His "Position"

The New Hebrides were still jointly ruled by the French and the British when John Frum was first spoken of.

According to early testimony, a native named Manehivi, (though better known as John Frum) began to appear to the elders of the island. He wore a Western suit and said he would provide the natives with homes, clothing and means of transport.

One version of the myth portrayed this character as a spirit induced by the excessive consumption of kava, a traditional South Pacific sedative and numbing drink made from a plant, also drink, for example, in Fiji.

Another argued that it was a manifestation of Keraperaum.

Whatever it was, John Frum promised the dawn of a new era in which all whites, including missionaries, would abandon the New Hebrides and leave the Melanesians with access to the material wealth enjoyed by the colonists.

For this to happen, the people of Tanna would only have to reject all aspects of European society (money, education, Christianity, work on copra plantations, etc.) and return to principles kastom (traditional) of yours.

At the door, Tanna, Vanuatu to the West, Meet the Natives

Woman and pigs at the door of one of Yakel's huts

The Faith of the Ni-Vanuatu in Fulfilling John Frumiana's Professions

Around 1940, John Frum's followers began to dump his money. They left the missions, schools, villages and plantations. They moved inland, where they participated in feasts and other rituals.

European authorities sought to arrest the cult leaders and exile them to another island. That same year, 300.000 US troops arrived in the New Hebrides, prepared to recapture the Pacific from the Japanese and carrying enormous amounts of equipment and other goods that the locals simply called “cargo”.

With end of WWII, the Americans left and took with them most of this “treasure”. Dissatisfied, John Frum's followers built symbolic airstrips to encourage the planes to come back and bring them more “cargo”.

The cult also gave rise to a political movement that opposed the formation of the independent state of Vanuatu because it felt that a centralized government would only favor modernity in the West and the Christianity.

Heavy load

Yakel elder carries a pile of bamboo reeds.

The belief remains active. Chief Isaak Wan Nikiau – the leader – told the BBC: “John Frum is our god, our Jesus. One day he will return”.

The aspect of this mythological character is not, however, consensual.

Depending on the believer in question, it could be a ni-vanuatu, a white, or an American GI. In fact, for believers and other natives, it doesn't matter.

Until the prophecy is fulfilled, with or without the “charge” due, life will continue to flourish in Tanna.

Wala, Vanuatu

Cruise ship in Sight, the Fair Settles In

In much of Vanuatu, the days of the population's “good savages” are behind us. In times misunderstood and neglected, money gained value. And when the big ships with tourists arrive off Malekuka, the natives focus on Wala and billing.
Efate, Vanuatu

The Island That Survived "Survivor"

Much of Vanuatu lives in a blessed post-savage state. Maybe for this, reality shows in which aspirants compete Robinson Crusoes they settled one after the other on their most accessible and notorious island. Already somewhat stunned by the phenomenon of conventional tourism, Efate also had to resist them.
Pentecost Island, Vanuatu

Naghol: Bungee Jumping without Modern Touches

At Pentecost, in their late teens, young people launch themselves from a tower with only lianas tied to their ankles. Bungee cords and harnesses are inappropriate fussiness from initiation to adulthood.
Honiara e Gizo, Solomon Islands

The Profaned Temple of the Solomon Islands

A Spanish navigator baptized them, eager for riches like those of the biblical king. Ravaged by World War II, conflicts and natural disasters, the Solomon Islands are far from prosperity.
Gizo, Solomon Islands

A Saeraghi Young Singers Gala

In Gizo, the damage caused by the tsunami that hit the Solomon Islands is still very visible. On the coast of Saeraghi, children's bathing happiness contrasts with their heritage of desolation.
La Palma, Canary IslandsSpain (España)

The Most Mediatic of the Cataclysms to Happen

The BBC reported that the collapse of a volcanic slope on the island of La Palma could generate a mega-tsunami. Whenever the area's volcanic activity increases, the media take the opportunity to scare the world.
Pentecost Island, Vanuatu

Pentecost Naghol: Bungee Jumping for Real Men

In 1995, the people of Pentecostes threatened to sue extreme sports companies for stealing the Naghol ritual. In terms of audacity, the elastic imitation falls far short of the original.
Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

Divine Melanesia

Pedro Fernandes de Queirós thought he had discovered Terra Australis. The colony he proposed never materialized. Today, Espiritu Santo, the largest island in Vanuatu, is a kind of Eden.
Malekula, Vanuatu

Meat and Bone Cannibalism

Until the early XNUMXth century, man-eaters still feasted on the Vanuatu archipelago. In the village of Botko we find out why European settlers were so afraid of the island of Malekula.
hippopotami, chobe national park, botswana
Chobe NP, Botswana

Chobe: A River on the Border of Life with Death

Chobe marks the divide between Botswana and three of its neighboring countries, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia. But its capricious bed has a far more crucial function than this political delimitation.
Mount Lamjung Kailas Himal, Nepal, altitude sickness, mountain prevent treat, travel
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 2th - Chame a Upper BananaNepal

(I) Eminent Annapurnas

We woke up in Chame, still below 3000m. There we saw, for the first time, the snowy and highest peaks of the Himalayas. From there, we set off for another walk along the Annapurna Circuit through the foothills and slopes of the great mountain range. towards Upper Banana.
Engravings, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Architecture & Design
luxor, Egypt

From Luxor to Thebes: Journey to Ancient Egypt

Thebes was raised as the new supreme capital of the Egyptian Empire, the seat of Amon, the God of Gods. Modern Luxor inherited the Temple of Karnak and its sumptuousness. Between one and the other flow the sacred Nile and millennia of dazzling history.
Passengers, scenic flights-Southern Alps, New Zealand
Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand

The Aeronautical Conquest of the Southern Alps

In 1955, pilot Harry Wigley created a system for taking off and landing on asphalt or snow. Since then, his company has unveiled, from the air, some of the greatest scenery in Oceania.
drinks entre reis, cavalhadas de pirenopolis, crusades, brazil
Ceremonies and Festivities
Pirenópolis, Brazil

Brazilian Crusades

Christian armies expelled Muslim forces from the Iberian Peninsula in the XNUMXth century. XV but, in Pirenópolis, in the Brazilian state of Goiás, the South American subjects of Carlos Magno continue to triumph.
fastened by several wires
Curitiba, Brazil

The High-Quality Life of Curitiba

It is not only the altitude of almost 1000 meters at which the city is located. Cosmopolitan and multicultural, the capital of Paraná has a quality of life and human development rating that make it a unique case in Brazil.
Beverage Machines, Japan

The Beverage Machines Empire

There are more than 5 million ultra-tech light boxes spread across the country and many more exuberant cans and bottles of appealing drinks. The Japanese have long since stopped resisting them.
Parade and Pomp
Saint Petersburg, Russia

When the Russian Navy Stations in Saint Petersburg

Russia dedicates the last Sunday of July to its naval forces. On that day, a crowd visits large boats moored on the Neva River as alcohol-drenched sailors seize the city.
Spectator, Melbourne Cricket Ground-Rules footbal, Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne, Australia

The Football the Australians Rule

Although played since 1841, Australian Football has only conquered part of the big island. Internationalization has never gone beyond paper, held back by competition from rugby and classical football.
travel western australia, surfspotting
Perth to Albany, Australia

Across the Far West of Australia

Few people worship evasion like the aussies. With southern summer in full swing and the weekend just around the corner, Perthians are taking refuge from the urban routine in the nation's southwest corner. For our part, without compromise, we explore endless Western Australia to its southern limit.
Resident of Dali, Yunnan, China
Dali, China

The Surrealist China of Dali

Embedded in a magical lakeside setting, the ancient capital of the Bai people has remained, until some time ago, a refuge for the backpacker community of travelers. The social and economic changes of China they fomented the invasion of Chinese to discover the southwest corner of the nation.
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

life outside

Cape Town, South Africa, Nelson Mandela
Cape Town, South Africa

In the End: the Cape

The crossing of Cabo das Tormentas, led by Bartolomeu Dias, transformed this almost southern tip of Africa into an unavoidable scale. And, over time, in Cape Town, one of the meeting points of civilizations and monumental cities on the face of the Earth.
Fajãzinha, Ilha das Flores, Confins of the Azores and Portugal
Flores Island, Azores

The Atlantic ends of the Azores and Portugal

Where, to the west, even on the map the Americas appear remote, the Ilha das Flores is home to the ultimate Azorean idyllic-dramatic domain and almost four thousand Florians surrendered to the dazzling end-of-the-world that welcomed them.
Horses under a snow, Iceland Never Ending Snow Island Fire
Winter White
Husavik a Myvatn, Iceland

Endless Snow on the Island of Fire

When, in mid-May, Iceland already enjoys some sun warmth but the cold and snow persist, the inhabitants give in to an intriguing summer anxiety.
silhouette and poem, Cora coralina, Goias Velho, Brazil
Goiás Velho, Brazil

The Life and Work of a Marginal Writer

Born in Goiás, Ana Lins Bretas spent most of her life far from her castrating family and the city. Returning to its origins, it continued to portray the prejudiced mentality of the Brazilian countryside
Maksim, Sami people, Inari, Finland-2
Inari, Finland

The Guardians of Boreal Europe

Long discriminated against by Scandinavian, Finnish and Russian settlers, the Sami people regain their autonomy and pride themselves on their nationality.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Glass Bottom Boats, Kabira Bay, Ishigaki
Natural Parks
Ishigaki, Japan

The Exotic Japanese Tropics

Ishigaki is one of the last islands in the stepping stone that stretches between Honshu and Taiwan. Ishigakijima is home to some of the most amazing beaches and coastal scenery in these parts of the Pacific Ocean. More and more Japanese who visit them enjoy them with little or no bathing.
One against all, Sera Monastery, Sacred Debate, Tibet
UNESCO World Heritage
Lhasa, Tibet

Sera, the Monastery of the Sacred Debate

In few places in the world a dialect is used as vehemently as in the monastery of Sera. There, hundreds of monks, in Tibetan, engage in intense and raucous debates about the teachings of the Buddha.
Look-alikes, Actors and Extras

Make-believe stars

They are the protagonists of events or are street entrepreneurs. They embody unavoidable characters, represent social classes or epochs. Even miles from Hollywood, without them, the world would be more dull.
Mangrove between Ibo and Quirimba Island-Mozambique
Ibo Island a Quirimba IslandMozambique

Ibo to Quirimba with the Tide

For centuries, the natives have traveled in and out of the mangrove between the island of Ibo and Quirimba, in the time that the overwhelming return trip from the Indian Ocean grants them. Discovering the region, intrigued by the eccentricity of the route, we follow its amphibious steps.
Ice cream, Moriones Festival, Marinduque, Philippines
Marinduque, Philippines

When the Romans Invade the Philippines

Even the Eastern Empire didn't get that far. In Holy Week, thousands of centurions seize Marinduque. There, the last days of Longinus, a legionary converted to Christianity, are re-enacted.
Train Fianarantsoa to Manakara, Malagasy TGV, locomotive
On Rails
Fianarantsoa-Manakara, Madagascar

On board the Malagasy TGV

We depart Fianarantsoa at 7a.m. It wasn't until 3am the following morning that we completed the 170km to Manakara. The natives call this almost secular train Train Great Vibrations. During the long journey, we felt, very strongly, those of the heart of Madagascar.
Ditching, Alaska Fashion Life, Talkeetna
Talkeetna, Alaska

Talkeetna's Alaska-Style Life

Once a mere mining outpost, Talkeetna rejuvenated in 1950 to serve Mt. McKinley climbers. The town is by far the most alternative and most captivating town between Anchorage and Fairbanks.
Coin return
Daily life
Dawki, India

Dawki, Dawki, Bangladesh on sight

We descended from the high and mountainous lands of Meghalaya to the flats to the south and below. There, the translucent and green stream of the Dawki forms the border between India and Bangladesh. In a damp heat that we haven't felt for a long time, the river also attracts hundreds of Indians and Bangladeshis in a picturesque escape.
Fishing, Cano Negro, Costa Rica
Caño Negro, Costa Rica

A Life of Angling among the Wildlife

One of the most important wetlands in Costa Rica and the world, Caño Negro dazzles for its exuberant ecosystem. Not only. Remote, isolated by rivers, swamps and poor roads, its inhabitants have found in fishing a means on board to strengthen the bonds of their community.
Full Dog Mushing
Scenic Flights
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

It's almost 30 degrees and the glaciers are melting. In Alaska, entrepreneurs have little time to get rich. Until the end of August, dog mushing cannot stop.