Ten years ago, the capital city of North Sulawesi was mainly known for its maritime park in Bunaken Island. But these days the list of itineraries within reach of the city has been growing with the addition of names such as Tomohon, Tondano and even the city of Manado itself. The city is known as the city of blessing especially after the creation of the world’s second largest statue of Jesus Christ after the one in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Since the majority of its residents are either Christian, Catholic or Advent Christians, Manado is also well known as City of Churches. Visitors sometimes find it confusing to differentiate between Manado and Minahasa. Manado is the capital city of the province while Minahasa refers to the name of the wider region as well as the majority group of people living in the North Sulawesi province. Manado today is developing into a city with malls and modern concept restaurants and lounges. But one can still enjoy views of the ocean and mountains without having to travel far from the inner city area. One famous attraction in greater Manado is Tomohon, a small charming city reachable by car or public transportation. The journey to Tomohon itself is quite a scenic one. What to See The Jesus Christ statue can already be seen during the journey from Manado’s airport Sam Ratulangi. To take a good picture of or with the statue, visitors usually go to the Citraland residential area where it is located. From there, the next stop can be Manado city or Tomohon to hike up Mahawu mountain, which is a good choice for a fun hike with easy access to the peak. If one is a more serious hiker, Klabat Mountain, which is the highest in the province, may be the best choice. While the Lokon Mountain is still likely to be closed due to recent eruptions, Klabat Mountain is no longer considered active. Before climbing, one can relax first by enjoying the hot springs, which can be found easily near the mountains. Aside from hiking and diving, there are still plenty more activities to do in Manado, such as exploring its history and architecture. What to eat Visitors can enjoy local dishes such as Gohu (spicy sour papaya), Bubur Tinutuan (vegetable porridge), Cakalang fufu (tuna), Biapong Temo (bun filled with mung beans), sautéed papaya flower-leaves, Babi Tore (fried pork), Ayam Rica-rica (spicy chicken) and many others. Seafood and vegetables are consumed abundantly in North Sulawesi. Minahasan local dishes are also famous for their unconventional ingredients such as Paniki (fruit bat), cats, dogs and forest rats. Some dishes are still prepared the traditional way using woodfire stoves and bamboo. Their typical dishes are super spicy, apart from signature desserts such as the delectable Klappertaart (coconut cream pudding), Balapis (layer cake), and Halua Kanari (Java Almond Fudge).