Cuti-Cuti Kinabalu (Part 2 : The Culture)

At first we thought we wanted to go to the beach and sunbath in one of the island in Sabah. However, do to the level of fatigue and tiredness, we decided to save that plan for another time. Subsequently, we signed up the Mari-Mari Cultural Village tour package which brought us to venture and explore into the life of the aborigins of Sabah, 5 ethnics to be exact – Dusun, Rungus, Lundayeh, Bajau and Murut. Each of these ethnics has their own culture and lifestyle.

We signed up the afternoon session which start at 1.15pm with the coach transfer fetching us from our hotel. The journey took us about 30 minutes and rain started pouring along the way. However, the tour still went on.

Welcome to Mari-Mari Cultural Village! First, we arrived at the Dusun house where we were welcomed and demonstrated the process of rice wine fermentation, the local way. We were served with some samples too! Cheers!

The white coloured things are actually chunks of processed rice powder, shaped into round balls, tied up with a string to hang around the house to dry. After drying, they will become one of the main ingredients of the traditional rice wine.

 Outside of the Dusun house, near the kitchen area, we were given a chance to try out, mixing some local ingredients to be cooked in a bamboo. Mein was my chef that day. Hehe…

The next stop was at another booth of rice wine making demonstration. The wine made here are with higher alcohol content and we got the try out some samples too! But the dilluted version, of course…

At the second house, we were welcomed by a Rungus girl. Here, we were served with some locally produced honey. Genuinely and purely made by bees in the nature. The honey was real sweeeeeeet!!!

In the Rungus house, a “fire-making” master awaited us. He demonstrated on how to start a fire with only dried bamboos. It was really impressive and great for learning as we might need it as a survival skill one day. Who knows?!

The third house was the Lendayuh tribe’s. A Lendayuh man performed the way to make clothings and strings using only tree barks! OMG! Who could have such patients to make one?! But it was really warm after wearing one.

We have heard about the Bajau tribe during school time. Bajau was divided into the land gypsies and the sea gypsies. Also Bajau was the richest tribe of all as they were mostly traders and businessmen. We were welcomed with a type of Bajau’s delicacies – kuih jala and also some pandan drink.

In the house, there was a platform for Bajau’s wedding ceremony. So, we waited no more and camwhored… Hahaha!

The final destination was the Murut house. It was very special as we must queue up while entering the area. And the tribemen came out and asked our group leader some questions before letting us in. At the entrance, we were given a chance to try out a long blowpipe used by the Muruts to hunt.

In the house, there was a springy platform which was very interesting. The Muruts dance and sang on it while jumping up and down. Mein also got a chance to dance along with the group.

After the dancing, a Murut artisant drew some inai artwork on our arm. It was the traditional way of body art and decoration, something like a tattoo… but the natural way.

The last stop was at the main stage where the dancers and performers graciously danced and performed the traditional dances of the tribes.

Still remember the mixed ingredients Mein did at the Dusun house? It’s a mixture of chicken meat, chillis, lemon grass, garlic, pepper and others. It was served at the end of the tour where we had our simple hi-tea, served with some snacks like fried bananas, tapioca, fried meehoon and hot drinks.

Also see our tattoos before the inai dried… After it dried off, we washed it off and it became like this :

It lasted for about 1 week.

Both of us loved this tour so much. And we really think the Government should have come out with tours of this type to help boost up tourism Malaysia. It’s definitely educational and memorable experience for everyone, be it local or foreign tourists.




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