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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Life with the Murutian ( The Jungle Hunters)

This has been a long planned trip... Together with a very old friend cum ex boss of mine.. Datuk Richard Gunting ( A Murutian Warrior ), I finally made a point to visit his village in Kg. Saliku - Sapulut.

Sapulut is located at the interior of Sabah, about 133 KM away from Kota Kinabalu City, taking us about 4 hours to arrive. In between, one pit stop at Keningau to have our main shopping for groceries and food.

We were welcomed by bundle of village kids, lunch were already prepared and at my surprise Bruce ( A canadian nature lover) was already there waiting for us ..... and this is how the Murutian life begins....

I was observing the white board and this is what i found,
Children trying to introduce themselves to Bruce through drawing. Even one boy draw himself hunting a wild boar.. thats their
life hood.

And at the back of the house, the men are delegating their fruitful hunting result of the day. Separating them among families and its gonna be their meals
for the rest of the week.

Bruce, the villagers favorite teacher was enjoying learning his rhythmic gong with the guys while the kids ( below) were following my footsteps on their dance. For them this is life, and love.

"The Murut are mainly found in Keningau, Tenom, Pensiangan and minority in Kalabakan and kinabatangan. Traditionally they live in the long houses with a unique feature; the lansaran; an indegenous trampoline; the Murut villages are built along the river, they are expert boatmakers and animal hunters. In the ancient days, head hunting was part of their initiation rites. a young man could get married when he had vanquished his first enemy."

Sources from Sabah Travel

However nowadays with the rural development projects, logging activities as well as tourism industry bunging into the interior side of Sabah, some of the ancient activities has disolve due to the economy changes.

For them, a daily boat ride along the rapid shoot is a lively hood of a Murutian. Bringing you with their handmade boat is something they are so proud of and their sincerity came from the wisdom and wrinkles along the solid muscle yet skinny body.

A young guy like Dejohn is never an exceptional in maneuvering the boat. The young one are always battling around the boat while the old one will give commands so they know what to do in putting the boat to a correct position.

This is the Murutian Life.. a totally different experience with them in Sapulot. They live like there is no tomorrow, they work as hard as they love their families...

EAT , PRAY , LOVE.... motto of life...

Friday, January 14, 2011

How Beautiful ....

How Beautiful to receive such email of people around the world, sending you emails of their interest in coming to "THE LOST WORLD".


Anton Rijven

to me

show details 12/23/10
Images are not displayed.
Display images below - Always display images from
Hello Melissa,

Thank you for your email
your nice Season Greetings...

We did not forget about you
your animal love
your petshop
in KK...

We googled Meliau Basin
and found out
its a beautiful lost world
totally unspoiled nature
with huge waterfalls
and maybe a good reason
for a future visit..
Thank you very much !
So how is life over there?
(and on Bali ?)

We are doing fine here and
allready packed for
a small 15 day- holiday in
leaving tomorrow.

But before we leave we like to send you

Who knows...
one day our roads will cross again..
until then
take good care...

Huggzzz... XXX

Thursday, January 06, 2011

These not so INDIGENOUS People i met

Why do i have to specify a blog and talk about the people i met in my trip to Tawau..This is simply because i do not want to brag about the melting pot of Sabah community, but somehow the interesting details character they have has triggered my interest to study the origins of their community..

Name : Carynn Joshua Tanduba
Race :Sino Kadazan ( mix parentage of Chinese Kadazan)
Origin : Penampang Kota Kinabalu

Carynn is currently running an outdoor expedition Company that specializes in Jungle Trekking, Outdoor Rock Climbing as well as any other adventurers sports in Sabah with her English Husband. Perfect Mandarin and English speaking with strong character, as you can see how hard she study ( when i couldn't be bothered but sleeping in my cocoon sleeping bag) ... even on our little bed, she can occupied her MAC notebook and bent her waist while doing her portfolio.

Below is me.. most of the time sleeping, enjoying the companion, and fresh air....
Its a challenge for not being lazy in such a refreshing environment.

and.. yes its me again.. monkey to be..


Name : Grandus Verus
Race : Kadazan 70% Chinese 30% ( correct me Glen if i m wrong)
Origin: Inanam
This young boy basically is a very outspoken , spontaneous and absolutely straight forward guy. The genuinity in him can never makes you feel bored having a conversation with him. He has chinese Sharp features with tanned skin. With a tender beer belly that can never hide for a kadazan boy :)

KADAZAN- They are basically one of the largest ethnic in Northborneo. The Kadazan Dusuns form about 30% of the state population. However, with the mix marriage that been happening since long time ago.. the word "SINO" came in as a meaning of HALF HALF.. So dont be surprise when you ask any of the locals and they said "half-half" or "sino" and yet they look fair and they dont speak mandarin.

Name : Alim Biun
Race : Dusun
Origin : Ranau
Been serving for Sabah Park on conservation project for years and now venturing into lecturing and Specialize trail. Basically a very sincere and touch down man,
full of knowledge especially in birds, plants as well as wildlife observation. Specialist from around the world came and look for him, just for the specialized guide on nature trail from him.

Name : Theodore Dennis

Race : Dusun
Origin : Telupid
Very versatile and cheerful. Dusunic is very much in his character, as you can see in the photo below i shot, how he triggered the girls to drink "Tapai" , the local rice wine during our last day of camp.

DUSUN- is basically sharing the same language and culture with kadazans, mainly inhabitants
of flat valley deltas, which as conducive to paddy field farming. But this guy is smart, he is doing Tilapia fresh fish culturing just right behind his "kampung" h
ouse (village). I may have to visit him one day. The Dusun traditionally lived in hilly and mountainous regions of interior Sabah, they main activities were farming on vegetation as well as plugging wild plant to support their daily living.

Name : Rosyede and Halim
Race : Orang Sungai
Origins: Lower Kinabatangan, Sandakan
Community programme : Misowalai Homestay, koperasi Pela

They are the Malays for the River people.. mainly running the HOMESTAY , WILDLIFE as well as the cruise along Kinabatangan River ( which is the longest river in sabah 560km) , this 2 boys were not here to teach but they are here solely for their license after been tour guiding in the jungle and its time to be OFFICIAL for them. They were
like the Live Encyclopedia, they describe most of the animals through their observation, they can act a behavior of a proboscis, they live in the jungle like their home.. However, never underestimate the willing to learn, determination and will power of theirs, my salute to them... A pair of "Kampung ADIDAS" if you know what i mean (real rubber shoes), can cross a jungle without obstacle.

Well, we also have Murut, Org Brunei, Taroja, as well as some very interesting Chinese girls that rule the group. You know Chinese always rules... :) further more they are hotty girls that really spiced up the 20 days course. If i have enough time i will describe each one of them. However the point here is, they are all ready as the State ambassador, speaks for the state and of course, brings the best of their knowledge on Sabah destination to you. Here we go.. the people of Sabah, Land Below the Wind.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

An Enlightening 20 Days Localized Nature Course

Hey all, Happy New Year.. Its been a hectic year end, physically and mentally tired.. but end the new year with a blast in Ice Bar, 1 Borneo.. wasn't too bad.

Being a born bred Sabahan, i have always take things for granted, always pursuing the skyscraper metropolitan living lifestyle, and trapping in the confined air conditioning room, i attended this course for the purpose of pursuing a license, nothing else in mind, but also to bring my lost intuition to the Sabah Lost World, Meliau Basin.

My first impression when first entered Tawau Hillpark, was nothing to shout about and it is no where to be seen a foreign tourist, all i can see is very localized recreational area with very minimal of entrance fee charges. Since, Tawau Hill is one of the Secondary Jungle under the Sabah park Authority, i am really curious what does this forest can offer to my 20 days course.

My curiosity gone deeper, when i was preparing to checked in with my assigned room mate, the lodge bellboy was actually a bunch of naughty long tail macaque, welcoming us with their mischievous look...

This one actually stalking us ! of all the Course members, he peeped on us !

Yes, this is where we sleep, very basic and damp.. under the basic roof top, and a wide back door facing the deep jungle. Its superb, its refreshing.. My alarm clock is the symphony of cicada as well as the hauling of monkeys species red leaf monkey, macaque and even the gibbon. Occasionally, we even hear The Rhinoceros Hornbill, giving her way through the jungle.

The day of trekking doesnt really thrill me, i was too concern of the leech... they have been waiting for their prey, human like us :).. so the first trekking was more like a trial .. we had fun.. some of us even getting to know leech better.. Especially the "tiger leech"

Leech doesnt suck human's blood, they drink. They produce Hirudin which is a very powerful anticoagulant that enable the blood flow non stop bleeding.
You do not feel at all when they are attached on you skin or body, only slight itchiness and next you will see blood flow pumping out for a period of 2 -3 hours.
. Now we are leech friendly.

The destination of our treks were varies, someday we trek to Sulphur Spring, a hidden Utopia in this Hillpark.. about 3.2km from the park and it is a hidden romantic place for a deep spa.

The first view looks like a drawing right? Now the 2nd pictures shows you this is real, and yes.. you can dip into it and have a spa massage.

Now, the thrilling part here is not just about the destination. Its the journey to the destination, thats where we learnt along the way.. team spirit, jungle norm, leech, dos and dont, as well as helping hand.. some even chemistry bounced ( if you know what i meant ), it happened in a glimps and yes.. we are prepared for the 2nd trail.

2nd trail was very much easier.. it is to the tallest tropical tree in the world. Tallest tropical tree ( Pokok Seraya Kuning Siput) .. its just next to our doorstep, have you ever even thought about how tourist came all the way from other corner of the world just to have a hug on this "mother nature tree"? Yes, we are here.. this tree is about 88.32m height..

This is one of the Dipterocarp tree that is still preserved under the Sabah Park Authority. Despite being one of the logging activist target timber before.. This tree is still serves as a canopy and pillar to most of the lower land or climber vegetation.

No, we did not show off to the world that we have this tallest tropical tree and we want the Guinness book of record to be seen, in fact, this tree is somewhat humbling down, supporting his mates.. such the climber as a pillar, serving as a home to woodpecker birds, as well as a support tool for the Bird Nest Fern.

My experience of trail has created my curiosity towards the team spirit as well as the character of each and everyone in my team. They are ranging from people like me ;).. who has lost her intuition and looking for the direction by meditating towards tranquility; young girls who are taggling along their career for being in the tourism industries, some indigenous people like Org Sungai, Org Brunei, Taroja and even Kadazan Dusun ... I need to share with you about them... i am impressed and speechless...

Till then, will update you more