Lying to the east of Bena, Wogo is another picturesque village which features all the richness of the traditional Ngada culture. The village of Wogo is actually a new comer in the Ngada landscape. Indeed, it has been inhabited only since 1932, when the inhabitants from the ‘Old Wogo’ decided to leave their original village with their ancestral megaliths behind.
As in Bena, Wogo’s vivid ceremonial and ritual life reflects the interplay of the animistic belief system with the Catholic religion. If you are lucky enough to take part in one of the lively house-building ceremonies, you will experience the Ngada house as a space divided by seniority and gender, which expresses itself clearly in the order of seating at ceremonial events.
A characteristic of Ngada culture, the village hosts impressive ancestral stone altars called ture lenggi. In the center of the village you can also see the well-known ancestral shrines Ngadhu and Bhaga, a pair that is owned by each clan. These shrines depict the symbolic status of the community. Thus, a massive and expensive ceremony has to be held for the construction of each one of these shrines.
Interestingly enough, weaving cannot be found in Wogo – due to a division between weaving and non-weaving villages which were structuring the trade relationships between neighboring communities in the past. Women in Wogo used to focus on basketry, while men’s most popular handicraft was black smithing.
One kilometer away from Wogo Village lies ‘Old Wogo’, which is the previously deserted site of the village. Its stony remains are protected by law. Hewn into different sizes and shapes, the flat stones represent the female, and the standing ones the male. These stones used to be used during ceremonial offerings, or more precisely, animal sacrifices. Hidden by the grass and surrounded by fog that sometimes visits this place, the stones create a mysterious atmosphere.
As Bajawa is the closest town that offers accommodation, restaurants, and shops, it is advisable to explore Wogo from here. In Wogo itself you won’t find home stays, but it may be possible to arrange an overnight stay with a local family.
How to get there
From Bajawa, take the Transflores ‘highway’ to Ende for about 12km. Just before the seminary of Mataloko, there is a small road on the right side. Take this road, and after around 1km you will find the entrance gate of the new village of Wogo. If you want to visit the megaliths of Old Wogo, drive south for another kilometer.