Pay a Visit to the Warmest Village
Chingpu, a village of warmth, called "Ca'wi," literally means "a platform in the valley" in Amis language.
Located as the junction of Hualien and Taitung county at the southernmost tip of Hualien east coast, Chingpu is an Amis-dominant tribe. The renovation of route 11 brought impacts on local industries, such as tourism and dining, since travelers would drive along their way without stopping by in this area. This phenomenon isolated the tribe, and people have to make their living by engaging in fishing and small-scale farming. The irreversible population loss left the community with less than 300 individuals in the tribe.
No Matter How Big the World is, Home is Where You Belong
Ho Chun-Hsiung, the president of Chingpu Community Development Association in Fengbin Township, Hualien County, used to be a part of the local population loss. Not until his father asked him to inherit the family property did he return to his homeland and rediscover the beauty of their culture. It's different from the urban area. A vision of tribal industry revitalization thus emerged.
"Welcome to the tribe of the sunshine, Chingpu community!" As vigorous as the sun, President Ho greets everyone in his husky, passionate voice, and can hardly wait to lead the crowd into the community to experience the beauty of Chingpu community. "Although the tribe is in a remote area, customers find themselves staying in natural surroundings. Travelers can dilute tensions from urban life, experience traditional culture, and be mentally satisfied in the end." The smile on Ho's face displays his satisfaction upon the results of community management.
▲Chingpu tribe provides various activities from the mountain to the ocean, either to be a sailor or a hunter. The tribe welcomes everyone's visit for challenges. President of the Association, Mr. Ho.
Its location is a disadvantage to the community to develop. It faces population loss and the cultural inheritance gap. Thus, in 2017, the tribe applied for the Empowering Employment Program (EEP) from the Workforce Development Agency (WDA), Ministry of Labor (MOL). Featuring with concpet of "Seeking the taste of C'awi to empower our brand," and with the assistance of subsidized human resources from EEP, the Association provided employment opportunities for those returning to C'awi. The tribe is shining for being a place where humans co-exist with nature and live with their traditions.
Mountain and Ocean Keep You Stay and Wander
"We are far away from cities, but we have mountains and ocean," said Ho as he pointed afar. Chingpu tribe has a unique fishing tradition since it faces both lands and marine areas. As a typical quote in Taiwan says: "People make a living by making good use of their surroundings." Therefore, the Association decides to set the theme of "seeking taste." The concept is not to search for exquisite cuisine. It is to focus on the tribe. To "find flavors" in their food, to emerge a taste based on the geographical advantage and brilliant Amis culture.
"Instead of wordy expressions, we would like to guide you through and experience the beauty visually, physically, and mentally." Ho believes action speaks louder than words. He decides to manifest through tribal eco-tours, bringing the customers up to the mountain and forward to the ocean. Archery lessons, meet up Hippaovalis at the seashores, participate in a rubber raft experiencing navigation, and cast nest (tafukor, in Amis language) fishery practice. Playing the role of hunters and sailors is impossible if you are living in a concrete jungle. Various activities exhaust the tourists in the day time, while campfire parties feasting local cuisine take place after the sunsets. The meals served here are unique and distinctive from home-made cooking, which is refreshing. It deserves a reputation as the authentic aboriginal Kaiseki cuisine.
Ho designs packed tours in half-day, one-day, and two-day duration for different groups, including cuisine, activities, and tribal guides. He connects the nearby harbor and Chimei tribe. The cultural tour with depth can maximize the revenue from tourism. In recent years, many tourist agencies spot a business opportunity and bring almost 3000 people to the tribe other than independent travelers. The trend is a shot in the arm for tribal tourism.
Other than that, the Association held up various festive activities, including traditional ocean ritual Sacepo' and annual festival Ilisin. Mid-summer festival, summer break, and moon festival, endless events come along with holidays. As the GMA's best female singer performed at the New Year's Eve in Chingpu Tribe, there were more than 1,500 visitors, which significantly increased the revenue of tribal businesses and hotels. Taking advantage brought by the activities, the Association recruits tribal youngsters hoping that the prosperity would increase will of staying. Although the status of tribal tourism is recovering, yet it is still hard to hire a proper workforce at the present stage. "We have two positions for the project manager, welcome to join us," Ho said half-jokingly.
The Beauty of Renaissance, the Root of Local Business
Currently, it's a bittersweet burden to the Association to improve the overall development. Although there are rooms for improvement, the assistance from EEP enabled the Association to host employee training. They acquired traditional techniques such as the manufacture of the creel, tribe house, and traditional crafts led by the seniors in the tribe, as well as courses for lifeguards and tourist guides training. The sessions are not limited to the tribal people only. They are also open to residents. There are over 20 people who obtain the certification, and ten can now integrate into the workplace. People who benefit from the project are now the front-line driving force and can move forward actively, bringing the virtuous circle to the tribe.
▲The locals are setting the sheds for the evening event, joking and chatting freely, aggregating the tribe with youth force.
While developing, the Association allocates part of the surplus to repay the society, such as subscribing to the elementary school lunch and student uniforms or purchase the local crops for making rice wine. The Association also sponsors elder welfare, parties, and harvest festival, hoping that more resources can be imported and create more openings for the local workforce.
"The Mayor of Taipei City, Ko Wen-je, and President Tsai-ing Wen both visited Chingpu tribe. I hope that one day we can become the example tribe on the east coast. It is our highest goal!" said Ho. He hopes that one day everyone can be proud of being a part of the tribe, and choose to co-exist with the tribe and live by the spirit of Ami tradition and culture. Presumably, it is going to take a heavy burden and embark on a long road.
If you like to indulge in mountain and sea, explore the tribe's stories, and pay a visit to traditional culture, the charismatic experiences will be the right choice.
Chingpu tribe retraces the fundamental human warmth, and bring surprises for your journey.
Case story: Empowering Employment Program
Interviewee: Ho Chun-Hsiung - Chingpu Community Development Association
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Please attribute this article to “Workforce Development Agency, Ministry Of Labor.”