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An image commonly seen in western Flores is that of lingko -- or spider web fields -- where rice is cultivated as if on a massive pie chart.
Related to traditional communal land-use practices, segments of the "pie chart" were farmed by particular families within the community -- we were told the bigger the family and therefore labour supply, the bigger the segment they'd be given to work.
Known as a lingko field, at planting and harvest time a ceremony is held at the lodok -- the centre of the field -- where a wooden pole and a rock form the ritual centre. The pole (male) and rock (female) are seen to symbolize the reunion of the male and female and the heaven and the earth.
While you'll see examples of spider web fields as you travel from Labuan Bajo to Ruteng, one of the best examples is at Cancar, around 17 kilometres west of Ruteng. Any driver or guide will know where they are and there is a viewpoint beside a telecoms tower that offers an excellent view over the fields. If you have your own transport, be sure to stop before you get to Ruteng to avoid needing to backtrack.
By Stuart McDonald
Last updated on 27th May, 2014.