Tsibu

Tsibu

“Tsibu” / Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea / November 2014

At the exact point where the magical waters of Buka Passage splits Bougainville, Buka, and Sohano into three separate islands sits this mysterious rock locals call “tsibu” and it’s not just a favorite conversation piece of local boatmen but it represents a hero in local folklore.

A story was told that the whole of Bougainville was once upon a time comprised of only one big island and inhabited by powerful spirits who lived harmoniously on this single island.  But time came when conflict arose among the spirits and they got divided into three rival groups.  The rivalry became so intense that the spirits started killing and hunting down rival groups to establish dominance over the island.  This angered Tsibu, the spirit god, so much so that he turned himself into a blazing solid rock and rolled himself across the island.  Tsibu’s power was so intense that the land where he rolled carved a deep gorge that the ocean quickly filled with treacherous waters and separated the three warring groups into three islands.  Then he placed himself right at the center of the three islands and, from then on, acted as a guardian of peace among the spirit groups.  Now, it is said that even the strongest of machines and the biggest of ships could not topple Tsibu from the rock where he stood.

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