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Monthly e-mAG

December 2011

Save our Turtle Tambunan Rainforest Carnival Mari - mari cultural village

From the CEO Editor’s Picture December 2011

Issue 01

CEO Jollence Lee Editorial Manager Collin D’owill PR & Publicity Advertising

ENQUIRIES Block E, Lot 8, no. 15, Phase 10A, 1st floor , Sri Kepayan, 88200 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Tel: 6088-235770 Cover: Mount Kinabalu Golden hour by Jollence Lee

Greetings Borneo! Borneo Geographic finally made it to it’s first edition of e-mAG. We had been publishing articles through website for several years now from blog into proper website. After so much thought, we finally adopted the new online technology where more and more people are using it. We are moving into the new era and we at Borneo Geographic is also growing with the technology. We finally publish our content through e-mAG which going to be available for everyone and it is also downloadable in pdf format which means people who travel with their portable computer or ipad can still read our e-mAG anywhere they want and that is includes on the airplane. Our e-mAG is covering from travel, environmental awarness, wildlife, photography, expedition, sciencetific research, educational, culture, history and more. It’s content are basically “BORNEO”. Our community on facebook are also growing bigger and more activities has been put such as the monthly photography contest and guessing the photo. So more prizes to be won monthly. Your support are what kept us going and togather we can create a better world and we can start it from our own home. Jollence Lee CEO


TAWAU HILLS PARK Text by Sabah Parks Photo by Jollence Lee

Tawau Hills Park lies 24 km NW of Tawau and was gazetted to protect water catchment resources for Tawau Town and the Semporna Peninsula. At least 7 major rivers originate here. The Tawau River flows through the middle of the 27,972 ha park and forms many natural deepwater pools and waterfalls, for example, the Table Waterfall. A network of roads leads to the park, passing through agricultural estates. A newly completed sealed road connected the park from Tawau Town. Oil palm, rubber and cocoa fringe the park’s boundaries. The terrain is hilly with two prime elevations

- Gunung Magdalena ( 1310 metres) and Gunung Lucia ( 1201 metres). Bombalai Hill (530 metres) is a major landmark. The Park Headquarters comprises of an office and staff accommodation. There are chalets, hostels and restaurants operated by KOKTAS, the Sabah Parks staff cooperative. Nature trails lead to waterfalls and hotsprings. The dominant original vegetation is the lowland diterocarp forest. However, nearly half the park, and almost all the forest below 500m. The remaining primary jungle is luxurious with many commercial timber species (dipterocarpus).

The mengaris tree - notorious for its beehives - is common here. The Shorea faguetiana called pokok Seraya Siput Kuning (88.32 m) was recorded as the tallest tropical tree in the world’s. Above 1,000 metres, thick damp mossy forest takes over. Orchids, epiphytes and forest herbs grow in abundance. About 150 orchid species were recorded and among the attractive collections is the Elephant-Ear Orchid (Phalaenopsis Gigantea) - largest orchid leaves in the world’s. Wildlife is abundant but animals tend to be shy and are not easily seen. There are large number of mammals varied ranging from Long Tailed Macaques and the Red Leaf Monkey.

A score of tree-top inhabitants, especially the Borneon gibbons (Hylobates muelleri), the Maroon Langurs (Presbytis rubicunda) and the Grey-leaf monkeys (Presbytis hosei). Besides mammals, Tawau Hills Park also possesses a rich comunity of other vertebrates - amphibians. Of the 8 species of Hornbills known from Sabah, 6 species are found here, namely, the Black, Bushy-crested, Helmeted, Rhinoceros, White-crowned and the Wreathed hornbills. While, 3 species of the rare pheasants occur here, namely, the Crested-fireback, the Great argus and the Malayan peacock pheasants.




TAMBUNAN RAINFOREST CARNIVAL Text and photograph by Jollence Lee

Every year the Tambunan Homestay Village is organizing the Tambunan Rainforest Carnival. It is a three days event and its normally held at the end of November till early December. This year the carnival was held between 29th - 3rd November 2011. The officiating of the carnival was done at the Pisompuruon Square at the heart of Tambunan Town. There were several things going on during the official launch which is native food display, miss rainforest competition, ride on the pygmy elephant, Singing contest, Photography contest exhibition and mini fun fair. The foods for the native food display are prepared by the local people that later it will be judge for best native food competition. Most of the native food were all jungle produce such as the fern leaf, tapioca, young bamboo, fresh water crab, yam and many more. All are prepared and display inside a cut bamboo. The tourism minister or its deputy normally does the official opening. The next day there will be an activity at the famous Mahua waterfall and also at some of the homestay village. Tourist will have a chance to take part some of the activities include rice planting, tree planting and more. This rainforest carnival objective was to promote Tambunan as one of tourism product and also to let the younger generation to carry on the tradition that slowly fade away.










Kundasang are well known for it vegetable farm and market. It is alway interesting to do morning walk around the area. Early morning landscape is aways a good photo apportunity.

Mesilau a substation of Sabah Parks is one of the best place to visit around Kundasang area. The scenery in the area are always a breath taking scene especially the Mount Kinabalu.

The people who lives in the area of Kundasang do planting vegetable for livelyhood. Their vege farm normally on the hill’s slope.

Mount Kinabalu is clear visible from Kundasang township during clear day.

MARI - MARI CULTURAL VILLAGE Text and Photography by John Prudente

Admisdt in an old Tropical fruit orchard surrounded with lush tropical forest, here nestled a cultural village set next to a crystal clear refreshing Kionsom river. Recently a newly transformed land into an exciting traditional, cultural venue reliving the lifestyle of Sabah more than a century years ago. The freshness of the air and the greenery at foreground decorates the village makes the place pristine and very relaxing. Sounds of Birds, insects and the gushing noise of Kionsom river will make anyone who visits this place to be reminded of their old nostalgic memories of an old village far-far away. Here roams native locals in old tribal and hunters costumes ever ready to expect visitors to come. An excellent place to see the real lifestyle of an old and gone traditional living of the Sabahans. A haven for photographers who wishes to capture an old and authentic scenery with traditional lifestyle. A place simply named Mari-Mari Cultural centre. Mari-Mari from a Malay word means “Come- come” and is self explanatory inviting anyone to come and visit this wonderful place. Situated at Kionsom Inanam. Just a stone throw away to a famous Kionsom waterfall nearby. About 40 min drive North of Kota Kinabalu city. Traditional houses, Native style in Bamboo cooking, Local cakes, Variety of traditional dances, intricate colourful clothing, hunting tools, carpentry tools are among many being displayed here. This place was recently launch and a brainchild of Mr. Octaviouos. A well known person locally in developing tourism products. It is indeed a very exciting place and built to a precision so as to copy a village that was once a common scenery in Sabah. A very comfortable atmosphere even as an international visitor will have no problem adjusting to the native settings. Some locals and tourist worldwide had visited this place and said such an exciting place and very authentic experience. Sabah’s culture is unique and even some local Sabahan have not even experienced such lifestyle which is hardly to be seen in this modern world. As modern lifestlye is swallowing the old cultures, here a good place to remind us how the old lifesytle works and we may ask ourselves how people those days can

survive without electricity, TV, handphones, computers and etc. Such a place should be promoted and be shown to the world how Sabah evolve from headhunting and pirating ancestors , into the most friendliest people on earth. This is the secret lifestyle of old Borneo revealed. Almost very realistic experience as one visit this place. Fun, exciting, thrilling, blood pumping experiences coupled with great traditional show is what is expected here. At the end of the tour, visitor will be fully educated on how natives in Sabah survive their life in the old and difficult days. A well designed old looking structure made from the finest wood and materials found locally. A very organized tour by the village staff to take you around and explaining all about the place. Some staff wearing the tribal costumes simply looks very real and living in their native homes makes this place realy alive! No doubt some of our Sabah’s culture had diminished and some are vanishing, this is the only way for our next generation to see and feel how was life use to be. Recently I was one of the tour leader to lead a group of 90 pax from an international Pharmaceutical company in Peninsular Malaysia to visit this very new but old looking place, it was a surprise for many of the group members for such a place looks so real, existed close to a modern city. As when we arrived near the place, the coach stopped by the road side near a forested area. No houses around and it seems nothing is in sight except the members of the group and the forest behind. It was 3pm in the afternoon and the weather was very cloudy. Suitable atmosphere of the mystical feeling of visiting old villages. Then Ms. Lydia Silas , the manager of Mari-Mari showed up amongst the trees and welcomed the group. From the eyes of the visitors, all felt strange and wondering where they are and where this place is. At the drop off point the village cannot be seen as it is situated across a river behind some fruit trees. One needs to cross a suspension bridge and walk for few minutes to see the first Native house. So the group was divided to smaller groups by Ms. Lydia and introduced them to their respected in house guide.

“a beautiful lady dressed in a colourful Rungus costume with its famous beads works attire attracting many photographers.�

As the guides took them away in separate ways, Feelings of excitement can be seen in their faces. We are scheduled to complete the village in 1 hour 30 minutes, however due to the overwhelming interest generated by the group we ended up leaving the place after 2 hours 30 minutes later. Despites cutting off some of the attractions. A visit to Kadazan Dusun Bamboo house with a demo of bamboo style cooking and rice wine making starts off the tour to the village. This tribe is known for headhunting more than a hundred years ago and at present the largest native group of Sabah. However due to the British colonization in early 1900’s headhunting in Sabah was put to a stop. Thus a lost in Sabah’s culture. Which I personally thinks it for the good of humankind. Next a visit to A Rungus Longhouse where a beautiful lady dressed in a colourful Rungus costume with its famous beads works attire attracting many photographers. Rungus a peaceful non headhunter tribe is still today some of them can be seen living in a Longhouse up north in Sabah near Kudat. A Rungus gentlement in the longhouse is displaying his skills lighting fire with just using bamboo material. The Ludayeh house made mainly from Sago palm roof and tree bark walls. A large Crocodile structure made of soil decorates the garden to tell visitors of a headhunter warrior is staying in this house. So an extra caution to be adhere when visiting such a place. A demo of how this former Bornean Sarawakian origins uses tree barks for clothing and materials for use of the house. Very unique traditional living even myself was overwhelmed by its ingenuity in the house architecture. A roof can be lifted in the case on a very hot day! A visit to the Land Bajau house is another exceptional experience. A large building built on very high stilt with very spacious living room built with Sago palm roof, walls made from tree barks and floor made of Nibung palm wood, spaced for air ventilation. An excellent way of construction in making the house cool troughout the day in this tropical heat. Outside the house Traditional locals cakes “Roti Jala” among others and a Pandan flavoured drinks are prepared for anyone to try. “Delicious” shouts some of the guest.

Next house is the most thrilling and heart pounding experience, The Murut Longhouse. A group of Murut hunters fully dressed in traditional Hunting gear equip with blowpipes surprised the visitors with very angry look with his warrior roaming around the group checking out the visitors and looking very suspicious and worried if they might be from another tribe looking for opportunities to attack the Muruts. The visitors face turns pale and fear overcome the feelings over the situation. A feeling of being attacked by vicious headhunters, a thrilling experience. After the inspection, the Murut Headman signals the warriors for they are “safe” visitors and to welcome the group in to the village. Then a ritual of blessing by the High priestesses locally known as “Bobohizan” to bless the visitors with charmed water using special leaves hoping to chase away bad spirits brought by visitor to the Murut Longhouse. After the cleansing, an invitation by the headman to visit the Longhouse is granted. Here a demo of blowpipe making and blowing , then a competition to a high jump on a Trampoline in the Longhouse is showcased. It looks very simple however a few tried but failed to do so. It needs precisions and timing for the jumping to be successfully executed. A demo on traditional Tattoo for visitors are available and a temporary Tattoo is a favourite for many of the group member. It will last a few days. Before we leave the Longhouse, a Skull kept by the corner of the house is a constant reminder of the tribe to be weary of and it is usually kept smoked to keep the spirits calm. A reminder of the aggresive. A signed of what a Murut warrior can do. With the Murut Longhouse visit a Traditional show at the large and open air stage awaits the visitor for an unforgetable show.Light refreshments was a heaven after a long walk in this tropical heat. An ever trhilling and exciting Traditional dance never fails to entertain the visitor.

Inobong Substation Sabah Park’s hidden getaway

Photo by Jollence Lee Photo by Jollence Lee

The Inobong Visitor & Research Station is situated in the district of Penampang and it just about an hour drive from Kota Kinabalu or 20 min from the Dongongon township via the old Papar road. Driving uphill will experience its cool climate and a spectacular panoramic view of Kota Kinabalu and all of the islands overlooking the waterfront. The same view could be seen from a vantange point at the station. Visitor facilities such as chalets and restaurant were available within the substation. Trails were available to a waterfall and a longer trail which form parts of the salt trail of the Crocker Range Park . It is suitable for people who want to get away from the city. It is also suitable for photographers, nature loversand birdwatchers.

Photo by Jollence Lee


“Save Our Turtle” Campaign by Sabah Parks was a success which held at the Main Atrium of Suria Sabah on the 3rd – 5th December 2011 recently. Officiated by the State Tourism, Culture and Environment Assistant Minister, Datuk Elron Alfred Angin. It was the second time Sabah Parks organized the campaign with the first one held at Lahad Datu in year 2008. Among the activities held during the event was a Among the exciting programmes during the event are Turtle Conservation Exhibition, Kids’ Colouring and Drawing Contest, Lucky Draw and Quiz. Datuk Elron stated that we the Sabahan are fortunate because God endowed us with rich natural resources and should feel proud to have a wealth of natural resources which is priceless state asset. If we observe, we can say we are rich with treasures from mountain top to the ocean deep. Diversity of flora and fauna of Sabah, whether found in land or in the ocean truly a unique world-class. That’s the reason why Kinabalu Park is recognized as a world heritage site in year 2000. Among the marine flora and fauna which are unique are sea turtles. Turtles are an ancient animal that still exists to this day. It can swim in the ocean for thousands of kilometers across continents and back nesting in a place where it is hatched which is a truly amazing phenomenon. In Sabah, a major turtle landing is located in the turtle islands, Sandakan where turtles landing took placed nearly every night. During peak season, the number of turtle landings can reach up to 30-50 pieces in one night. Turtle monitoring being carried out since 1979 to 2010, ie 21 years ago, a total of 218, 305 turtle nests have been recorded and incubated in the hatchery sites in the park. At the same time, a total of 13,071,060 (13.7 million) tail of hatchlings successfully released back into the sea. This heritage should be preserved and maintained so as not to become extinct in the state of Sabah. Many places in the country and around the world in which, the number of turtle landings declined rapidly, and are on the verge of extinction. Turtle landing fall very sharply until only a few nests recorded in the year. The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment has been given great responsibility to protect and conserve the areas identified as being unique and has been gazetted as protected areas, including for the turtles. Through the agencies under the ministry, particularly Sabah parks, and wildlife department and the department of environmental protection,

they can play an important role to ensure the conservation of this state are protected, managed and preserved properly In ocean habitat, sea turtle is one of the most protected species in the waters of Sabah. This has been proven by the urge of some Marine parks in Sabah under the enactment parks, 1984, under the management of the Sabah parks. For an example, turtle islands in Sandakan, has been urge since 34 years ago as well as the Tunku Abdul Rahman Parks, Pulau Tiga, Tun Sakaran Marine park and Sipadan island park which also provides protection to sea turtles. This undoubtedly shows how the government of Sabah is serious on turtle’s conservations. In addition, several other turtle conservation area in the state included in the SIMCA (Sugud Islands Marine Conservation Area) that involve a number of islands including the Langkayan island Sandakan which is also protected under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997, under the management of the wildlife department .Since the gazetting of the Turtle Islands Park in Sandakan in 1977, various efforts have been undertaken to ensure the conservation of turtle conservation can be managed. This includes the construction of the first hatchery in Sabah which has been implemented on the island interlude in 1966. In addition, turtle tagging program, which started in the 70s is one of the longest history of turtle tagging program in Malaysia. Until the year 2010 alone, a total of 54.904 turtles have already installed with marker (Inconel and Monel tags) and the turtle island parks are among the first to run the program. Turtle conservation efforts in Sabah through this campaign are necessary to create awareness among the public about important of sea turtle conservation. The encouragement of this campaign began in 2008 when Sabah parks involved in similar campaign and realized that the need for such campaign can promote and spread the message of the importance of turtle conservation in Sabah so that different segments of society are equally involved in this effort. With this campaign, people can appreciate the efforts and the role played by government agencies, particularly Sabah parks in conservation of turtles in the state. The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment is helping and supporting efforts on a campaign like this.

No doubt, the level of awareness of our community looks has improved, particularly in environmental conservation. However, there are still a few who are quite not understood. Through this campaign, to some level will be able to provide additional information to the community to better understands and thus can learn the turtle conservation and the environment. It is hoped that, the level of awareness of the society will be enhanced. According to the Director of Sabah Parks, Mr. Paul Basintal, turtle conservation efforts are entrusted by the state government since 1977, more than 30 years ago when the Turtle Island Park in Sandakan was gazetted as a park. Since then, the turtle conservation activities implemented actively. This effort is long and requires a high level of commitment for turtle conservation efforts. This campaign is actually one of the outreach methods of the Sabah parks to the community where it targeted larger population of the city and hopes that great impact will be acquired.


Do you know?

Western Tarsier These are the smallest primates in Borneo and it’s a nocturnal type of animal. They have long tails, large fingers and toes, and very big eyes. The Western Tarsier feeds on insects. It’s large eyes and keen hearing aid in the capture of it’s prey. It looks and listens for insects in the dark. The Western Tarsier can leap up to 17 ft. (5m). It has a gestation period of about 6 months after which the female gives birth to a single baby.


BG emag december 2011  
BG emag december 2011  

borneo geographic december 2011 issue