Leaping high - very skilful
'Mari- Mari' means ' come, come' in Malay and what a welcome it was to the Mari - Mari Cultural Village. Before departing for Kinabalu National Park, we did not want to miss this visit so we shared half day at Manukan Island and the other to experience the culture of some the tribes of Sabah.
The cultural village is situated in a remote forest about 30 minutes from Kota Kinabalu city. Be prepared to indulge in tribal customs, rituals and ways of life .
Verdict - insightful and a very hands-on visit with a wonderful guide to make our day. That day, there were only 4 of us - 2 Americans and 2 Malaysians ready to soak up old and gone traditional living of the tribes.
It was absolutely engrossing to see, smell, touch and do as we moved among the 5 longhouses of the tribes - Rungus, Dusun, Lundayeh, Bajau and the Murut. The bark of trees, the bamboo, the wooden utensils, the thatched roofs - nature in existence then and now, all meld to give us stories of each longhouse of the tribes. Very fascinating! Life 'As It was... As It Is' says the brochure lived up to its description.
Our adventure began with the high priestess, known as 'Bobohizan' appearing from the jungle and blessing the visitors with charmed water to ward off evil spirits that might intrude the village.
A green crocodile to show a head warrior lives in the longhouse.
Just lift the roof - let the breeze in and you are cooled ! Modernity takes a back seat here!
Happy feet doing the bamboo dance at the dance hall. It was fun and energetic. The Murut bamboo dance, the Magunatip gets your adrenaline pumping as the tempo quickens. The Sabah tribes make very good use of the abundant bamboo. Rhythmic stomping noises of the bamboo was music to our ears.
Getting ready for the leap from the trampoline. The other participants rhythmically move and shake the platform - the big trampoline made from bamboo. It looks simple but timing and skill are crucial to make the big leap and touch the ' prize' above.
The tobacco is rolled and now comes the smoking - for peace! It was strong. Didn't the men splutter trying it!!
Aim - blow! with a blowpipe. The young boy aced on his target, needless to say. We had more misses than hits! The blowpipe is made from bamboo. The poison (for real use) is a lethal prepared sap from the Ipoh tree (antiaris toxicaria)
We tasted the roti jala made the Sabahan way. Again, there's always bamboo used in some form or other in the daily lives of the Sabahans. We even prepared our own food of meat and herbs which we ate at the end of the entire tour.
Musical ingenuity with different sizes of the bamboo.
Painstaking method of making yarn
No matches to start a fire.
After the demo, it was our turn . Gosh, it was more than hard work ! Can you see the taut hands and face which got redder and redder and there was no fire - yet!!
Our guide holding up a vest - all made from the bark of trees. Real priceless piece of clothing.
The areca nut being shaved and then eaten with lime on a betel nut leaf. Want a 'high'? - this can give you some!
A group photo after the wonderful dances. A truly memorable visit to Sabah, 'The Land Below The Wind'.