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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2017

Bringing All Types of Dances Together at Sibu International Dance Festival (SIDF) 2017

The Sibu International Dance Festival (SIDF) is back again this year for the sixth time!

 

SIDF is a platform where dancers from local, regional and international level can come together to exchange ideas and showcase choreography. This year’s event has been extended to include outdoor and indoor performance, as well as street corners, in a bid to draw more people to join the festival and to be directly involved with the performers.

 

Photo credit to Sibu International Dance Festival official website

 

The 6th edition of SIDF was held on August 29 2017 to September 2 2017.

 

Photo credit to Sibu International Dance Festival official website

 

Sibu International Dance Festival (SIDF) was first organised in 2012 by the Hornland Dance Theatre in Sibu. The Dance Festival is an annual event that portrays all forms of dances, traditional or modern, for all groups of age and of all races and cultures, both locally and internationally.

 

Photo credit to Sibu International Dance Festival official website

 

The first debut concert was held in 2012 and with the acknowledgement and support of the Sibu Municipal Council. It aimed to be held as an annual event during the mid-term school holiday of the second half of the year in Malaysia and it is located in the largest town in the central zone of Sarawak, in Sibu, next to the Rejang River, which is the longest river in South-east Asia.

 

Photo credit to Sibu International Dance Festival official website

 

SIDF aims to become the world platform for artists and arts organization from local, regional and international levels to exchange dialogs, concepts, experiments, explorations and displaying the diversity of dances, and boost tourism, art and culture in this region through this event.

 

Photo credit to Sibu International Dance Festival official website

 

The five-day festival had a wide variety of local and international dance performances in its schedule. The event included dance troupes from Singapore’s SIM Dance Art, KL’s DPAC Dance Company, USA’s Cohan/Suzeau Dance Company, Ivan Chan and Sudhee Liao from Hong Kong, Thailand’s Pathum Thanee Folk Dance Group, Kishiqata from Japan, Indonesia’s Loka Art Studio, and many, many more!

 

Photo credit to Sibu International Dance Festival official website

 

Apart from that, dance enthusiasts also had the chance to take part in dance workshops held by the professional artists from 12 different groups. Dance genres included street dance, traditional dance, modern dance and more.

 

Photo credit to Sibu International Dance Festival official website

 

Take a trip down to Sibu between the end of August and early September next year, and you’ll not only get to enjoy Sarawak’s largest town in its central zone but you’ll also be able to catch the Sibu International Dance Festival.

 

Photo credit to Sibu International Dance Festival official website

 

One thing awesome about Borneo is that we always have several cultural events happening throughout the month, and going on a road trip is a cheap and easy way to de-stress for the weekend and enjoy our Sarawak scenery!

 

You could also take the time to check out our website for affordable holiday packages! Just click here at SarawakBorneoTour.com!

Tags: Sibu International Dance Festival | Sibu | Festival | Visit Sibu 2017 | Sarawak | Dance | International | Malaysia | Travel | Friends | Family |

THURSDAY, APRIL 25, 2013

Main Reasons Why Sabah And Sarawak Must Be your Ultimate Destinations

  Sabah and Sarawak are two different locations in Borneo Island. The word Borneo has been there since year 1839 when James Brooke made his first landing in Kuching city itself with his ship by the name of The Loyalist. Ever since then, the White Rajah has been governing Sabah and Sarawak for several generations, which eventually gave Sabah and Sarawak a new chapter.

 

  As time flies by, Sabah and Sarawak now becomes the ultimate destination for domestic and international tourist spot. Both Sabah and Sarawak have so much to offer when it comes to travel. Be it for family vacation, business trips or personal visits.

 

If you are still unsure what Sabah and Sarawak have to offer you, then here are the main reasons why Sabah and Sarawak must be your ultimate destination.

 

 

Food

  Food alone is more than enough to represent the cultures in both Sabah and Sarawak. In Sarawak, places like Kuching City, is a heaven for food lovers on their personnal blogs. Some even described the taste of food in Kuching itself, is like a fantasy and filled with all sorts of colours and presentations.

 

  In Sabah, food such as the Sago worm is an exquisite dish that you can find in the jungle. It is usually served deep fried or you can eat after it is boiled.

Culture

  Both local and international tourists have so much to learn when it comes to culture. For an example, a visit to the longhouse deep within the heart of Sarawak is something to look forward to. Although it is generally known as longhouses, the ethnic groups in Sarawak especially the Ibans are divided into a few different ethnics as can be seen from their ethnic Ngajat dance have different version in the longhouse.

 

  If it is in Sabah, the most unique cultural dance you will find is the Bobohizan dance. Performed by a group of Papar Kadazan, the Sazau Bobohizan dance will be performed by the priestess. The dance is used to send spirits of the dead to a different realm known as Pongouvan.

 

 

Challenges

  The UNESCO heritage site, Mount Kinabalu or the Pinnacles in Mulu National Park will fulfill that desire.

 

  As for Mount Kinabalu, for those who had the experienced of climbing Mulu Pinnacles, Mount Kinabalu is much easier for them, but if you are a first timer, Mount Kinabalu is hard enough to be tackled for a first timer.

 

  Both offered different challenges respectively. Then again, most tourists who took up the challenge on climbing up Mulu Pinnacles mentioned that it was not easy getting up there. It is not just only about the weather, but also the mind and physical toughness is something that you need to prepare before you can attempt the climb Mulu Pinnacles.

 

 

Beautiful Rainforest

 

  The archipelago of rainforests both in Sabah and Sarawak, have been preserved and labelled as protected rainforests in the world. Visiting either one, will let you see how these rainforests in each state tend to grow on top of one another creating a beautiful canopy like you have never seen before.

 

  If you are tourists who happen to be doing some research and looking for new medical discoveries, then you might want to try out Sabah and Sarawak as the million years’ old rainforests will give you rare insights.

 

 

 

Historical values

 

  Every city has a story to tell. And every state changes from time to time leaving historical footprints behind. The Kundasang War Memorial in Sabah is a place where relatives and families of fallen heroes will gather and reflect back on their sacrifices. Those fallen heroes, consist of British and Australian soldiers who marched a total of 160 mile and leaving only 6 survivals to tell their tales.

 

  In Kuching, one of most prominent historical site it is the Kuching City Waterfront itself. Before it was converted into a Waterfront, it was also known as a place for early settlements of the sea Dayaks.

 

  Then in year 1864, after the landing of James Brooke, Chinese businesses started to grow like mushrooms. And the historical business district can still be seen across the road of the entire whole stretch of Kuching Water Front.

 


 

Festive Seasons

 

  Due to the mix culture in Malaysia, especially in Sabah and Sarawak, you will have the Christians, Chinese, Dayaks, Indians and Malays. The different believes and ethnicities, is what makes Malaysia unique. For an example, the Chinese will celebrate the Chinese New Year, Moon Cake Festival, Wesak Day and Chap Goh Mei. As for the Dayaks, it would be the Gawai festivities. Muslims on the other hand will celebrate Hari Raya which is also known as Eeid Season by international Muslims. Christians as usual, will be Christmas and Indians would be the Deepavali.

 

  With all the mixed ethnicities, during the festive seasons, you will see different kinds of cookies and food laid out on the table.

 

 

Food is cheap

 

  Food in Sabah and Sarawak is still considered cheap. All you need to bring is RM 10 in your pocket to have a decent meal and a glass of water from those outdoor street cafes for the day.

 

 

World Rainforest Music Festival

 

  Usually held every year, in the middle of June, the sound of traditional music comes from all over the world and can be heard during this time of the year. During the event itself you will get to hear music from other parts of the world and watch live performances.

 

 

  The above reasons would be good enough for you to decide to pack your bags and head over to Sarawak and Sabah in Borneo.

Tags: Sabah and Sarawak | Borneo Island | Sabah and Sarawak Food | Mount Kinabalu UNESCO Heritage | Mulu National Park | Mulu Pinnacles | Borneo Rainforest | Sabah Sarawak Rainforest | Sabah War Memorial | Kundasang War Memorial | World Rainforest Music Festival | |

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2012

The vibrant Sabah Harvest Festival

If you are in Sabah during the beginning of May you will be able to enjoy the colourful Sabah Harvest Festival or Kaamatan that is celebrated by the Kadazandusun people of Sabah. This vibrant Sabah Harvest Festival will sure to dazzle you with its showcase of rich Kadazandusun cultural heritage.

The Kadazandusun of Sabah celebrates the Sabah Harvest Festival or Kaamatan annually to give thanks for the bountiful rice during the rice harvesting period. Kaamatan is the largest festival in Sabah and is celebrated statewide by the Kadazandusun people. The Kadazandusun has been celebrating this Sabah festival for several generations from the time when these people were collectively agrarian rice planters. During the harvest time the Kadazandusun community would work hand in hand gathering the rice stalks with special knives said to be able to appease the rice spirits.

 

This festival in Sabah begins on the first of May and reaches its climax by the end of May where there will be a lot of festivities and merrymaking. One important feature of this festival in Sabah is where the local Kadazandusun high priestess would conduct a ritual inviting Bambaazon, the rice spirit, to the festival. It is believed that this festival in Sabah will not be able to commence until this spirit is present. In the far-flung past, this ritual would be conducted under the first full moon in the rice field where there would be a procession through the field led by a warrior wielding his sword to ward off evil spirits.

 

Apart from seeing the traditional thanksgiving ritual, you will also be able to see various events such as cultural shows, exhibitions, traditional Kadazandusun games and buffalo races being held to celebrate this Sabah festival. Every year since 1960, this Sabah festival has been celebrated on a statewide scale where the Kadazandusun community would showcase their rich cultural heritage through traditional songs, dances, cultural shows, agricultural exhibitions, handicraft sales and of course. The local community would turn out fully decked in their colourful traditional attire. The special rice wine called tapai is served throughout the festival. You will be amazed at the various colourful activities being held during this Sabah festival.

 

This year’s Kaamatan was celebrated all month long with various events being held throughout Sabah. The beginning of the festival was marked with a colourful cultural show held in Kota Kinabalu JKKN complex that presents a rich blend of the state’s cultural heritage. Towards the end of May, there was a Kaamatan grand finale celebration held by the Kadazandusun Cultural Association in Penampang. This place was where all the main festivities were held towards the final two days in the month of May. If you are in Sabah for the next Kaamatan festival, do make sure you mark these important dates!

 

By the end of this wonderful Sabah festival, you are guaranteed to leave Sabah with lots of wonderful memories on the ever-vibrant and colourful Sabah Harvest Festival. Why don’t you take a trip to Sabah during the month of May and experience the sights, sounds and colours of the Kaamatan festival yourself?

Tags: sabah harvest festival | kaamatan | sabah festival | sabah festivities | festival in sabah | kaamatan festival | kadazandusun |

TUESDAY, JUNE 5, 2012

Magrina Awing George is crowned as Miss World Harvest Festival (WHF) 2012

Miss World Harvest Festival (WHF) 2012 Magrina Awing George poses with 1st runner-up Gracia Vicky Chua and 2nd runner-up Karissa Kara Simon after being crowned at the Sarawak Cultural Village on Saturday. 

 

Magrina Awing George is crowned as Miss World Harvest Festival (WHF) 2012 at the Sarawak Cultural Village here on 26 May, 2012 and the 19-year-old said to be always be proud of your native heritage, strive to be the best and never look down on yourself.
Of mixed Kayan-Iban parentage, Magrina from Miri gave these words of encouragement particularly to the Orang Ulu people in the hope that her native community would go all out to achieve success and embrace development to be on par with advanced societies in the country.
Making her first foray into a beauty pageant, she beat 13 other finalists for the coveted crown, and walked away with a cash prize of RM3,000, a sponsored Diploma in Tourism Management course courtesy of UCSI University and a complimentary stay at Grand Margherita Hotel among others.
“I am very happy and excited. I have never expected this. With this win, I will continue my studies. The winnings will be used to help my family,” she told the press after the event.
The second of five children, Magrina who aspires to become a successful television personality cited her mother as her biggest influence. Apart from winning the Miss WHF 2012 crown, she also won third place in the Miss Talent subsidiary title through her rendition of Jessie J’s hit song ‘Price Tag’ earlier in the evening, pocketing a cash prize of RM500.
Coming in second in the Miss WHF 2012 pageant was 18-year-old Gracia Vicky Chua who is of mixed Iban-Chinese parentage from Kota Samarahan. The school leaver who aspires to become a teacher won a cash prize of RM2,000 apart from a sash, trophy and flower bouquet for the top three winners.
 
 
Gracia also spotted a lovely voice when rendering the late Datuk Sudirman Arshad’s ‘Salam Terakhir’ at the Miss Talent competition.
Karissa Kara Simon, 23, of Iban parentage, was third and got herself a cash prize of RM1,000. She also won RM700 for winning the Miss Photogenic subsidiary title.
As for other subsidiary titles, Miss Beautiful Eyesight went to 21-year-old Bidayuh Farahana Zita Joes. She also came second in the Miss Talent category after entertaining the crowd with her ‘Dangdut’ dance move to the tune of ‘Goyang Dangdut’. In total, she won RM1,400 for her achievements in both categories.
Twenty-year-old Stephanie Yiap Ai Nee who is of mixed Chinese-Bidayuh-Filipino-Japanese parentage was Miss Congeniality, and walked away with a cash prize of RM800, courtesy of 360 Hotel. The hotel also announced that all finalists would each receive a complimentary stay package.
Yiap, who is currently pursuing a Degree course in Business, also took first place in the Miss Talent title. Her lively performance of ‘Let’s Get Loud’ by Jennifer Lopez won her RM1,000. She also pocketed a further RM500 by winning the Miss SMS Favourite title with a total of 4,410 votes.
Miss Versatile subsidiary title went to 23-year-old Kayan-Canadian Rebekah Livan Balan. She won a cash prize of RM700 and a hamper. Rebekah who loves to play the ‘sape’ rendered Tuku Kame’s ‘Lan E’ instrumental and sang Misha Omar’s ‘Pulangkan’ as she opened the night’s Miss Talent competition.
Best Traditional Costumes title went to 19-year-old Iban from Sri Aman – Annie Salang. She pocketed RM500 while 24-year-old Helina Sarani Saba, an Iban from Bintulu, took home RM300 for winning Miss Best Catwalk.
All subsidiary title winners also received a bouquet of flowers and sash.
Prior to the announcement of the Miss WHF 2012, the audience was entertained by cultural troupes such as ‘Giring-Giring Bamboo’ from Sumatera, Indonesia, Sungai Asap (Belaga) Orang Ulu Cultural Group and the Orang Asli Jo’oh Mah Meri from Kampung Bumbun Selangor.
A theme play – The adventure of Kumang and Keling based on Iban folklore – was performed before the start of the Miss WHF 2012 programme.
Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg was the guest-of-honour at the event. Also present were Assistant Tourism Minister Datuk Talib Zulpilip, Tourism Ministry permanent secretary Datu Ik Pahon Joyik who is chairman of WHF 2012 and Sarawak Cultural Village general manager Jane Lian Labang who is also organising chairperson of WHF 2012.
Tags: WHF 2012 | World Harvest Festival 2012 | World Harvest Festival | Sarawak Cultural Village | Dayak | Dayak Culture | Gawai | Borneo | Kuching | SCV |

FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2012

World Harvest Festival

 

The World Harvest Festival 2012 is one of the highlights of the Gawai Dayak celebrations which is an ethnic festival. This will be its eighth year and is organised at the Sarawak Cultural Village from 26th to 27th May 2012, it also helps to bring both locals and foreigners together to experience the true Sarawak culture. World Harvest Festival 2012 is not only synonymous with the festivities of the Dayak, but has come to encompass other ethnic groups in Sarawak as well as the tourists, to help reflect the true Malaysian spirit of the people.

The World Harvest Festival 2012 was introduced in line with Ministry of Tourism Sarawak’s objective to position it as an international event on its tourism calendar. The World Harvest Festival 2012 provides the opportunity for the non–Dayak to understand the cultures, traditions and aspirations of the Dayak community. The awareness and interest created by the festival promises to benefit both the public sector and tourism industry.

Among the many highlights of the World Harvest Festival 2012 cultural event is the theme play held on May 26th, 2012. “Selanting Kuning & the Dragon King”, based on the Bidayuh legend was featured last year and this year it will be on the Iban legend entitled “The Adventures of Keling & Kumang”. What is unique about this theme play is that the whole Village becomes the stage, and the entire play promises to overwhelm the guests in audio and visual splendour.

Another highlight to capture the festival and mood of the guests is the ethnic beauty pageant “Miss World Harvest Festival 2012”. This beauty pageant revolves around the Iban community theme. Fifteen beauties will vie for the coveted title this year, which never fails to add colour and vibrancy to the festival. The proud winner last year was Miss Suljirina Lucas, 27 years old Berawan lass.

As always the Harvest Festival or Gawai is celebrated on a grander scale with the participation of cultural troupes from other countries. This is evident in the International Cultural Extravaganza, with day time workshops. This year our friends from Indonesia and Selangor will be joining the festivities. A series of joint workshop by the locals and the invited troupes will be held during the 2 days festival. This is the ideal time for the visitors to have the opportunity to learn about each community’s traditions, foods and handicrafts.

For those who want to prove their manly prowess, there is the Ironman World Harvest Festival 2012 competition. This is another highlight in the festival that involves 15 finalists who exhibit ‘superhuman’ strength in tackling the traditional based activities like blowpipe shooting, coconut dehusking, 50kg gunny rice lifting, wood chopping and mountain climbing. Last year, Encik Amir Hanafi emerged as the champion.

The WHF promises to be the fun-filled event for the young and old. Bring along your loved ones and make this an affair to remember. What awaits you is a cultural extravaganza like no other. Tickets are on sale for RM60.00 per person (adults) and RM30.00 for children (age 6 - 12 years old) at the Sarawak Cultural Village. Any inquiries that you have regarding the event you can e-mail to Ask@SarawakBorneoTour.com or browse through our interesting packages at www.SarawakBorneoTour.com.

Tags: WHF 2012 | World Harvest Festival 2012 | World Harvest Festival | Sarawak Cultural Village | Dayak | Dayak Culture | Gawai | Borneo | Kuching | SCV |

TUESDAY, APRIL 10, 2012

Come And Celebrate Gawai With Us At Sarawak Cultural Village

Gawai Festival is celebrated all over Sarawak, Borneo but the best choice to personally experience the celebration as a traveller will be the capital city of Kuching. Come to Sarawak Cultural Village - which is the same venue used annually for the Rainforest Music Festival - is a popular and convenient place for tourists to learn more about Sarawak's indigenous cultures.
 
Sarawak Cultural Village has the reputation of being the finest ‘living museum’ in Southeast Asia, which combines history, tradition, the lifestyle and architecture with a dash of education and portion of the theatre to create a unique multi-cultural extravaganza.
 
Now Sarawak Cultural Village is offering Special Gawai Packages for tourists who wish to celebrate Gawai Festival and get up close and personal with the Dayak people. Sarawak Cultural Village is offering tourist the Gawai Special Package. Held from 18th of May until 30th of June, tourist will get up close and intimate with the Dayak people, mainly Iban and Bidayuh and celebrate Gawai Festival while experiencing their culture and traditions. There are also various activities for a tourist to participate in learning the cultures of the Dayak people. For those who are curious on what Gawai is all about and want to experience it for themselves check out www.SarawakBorneoTour.com on what we have to offer.
 
Gawai Dayak Festival in Kuching is great fun; Iban and Bidayuh families’ offer guest with gallons of rice wine and real longhouse-style home cooking. Gawai Special Packge is a chance to get the feel of celebrating the festive Dayak season up-country, in the village and longhouses. This is a chance of spending your holiday in Iban Longhouses and Bidayuh villages, and has a great time in both, while experiencing something different and plus you get to get close with nature.
 
Gawai Festival is a celebration of good harvest. The Dayak communities celebrate this festival to give thanks to the gods for the good monsoon resulting in a plentiful harvest. This festival brings along all the members of these communities who eat, drink and dance together.
 
The festivities start right from the end of May and continue till the middle of July. Clothed in the traditional dress, everyone takes part in the various cultural functions. The elders however perform the traditional rituals. There are ample food and drink on offer for everybody. Tuak, wine (made from rice) and a wide variety of other food items are served.
Don’t forget to click on to www.SarawakBorneoTour.com and you can e-mail your inquiries to Ask@SarawakBorneoTour.com.
Tags: Sarawak Cultural Village | Sarawak | Borneo | Dayak | Gawai | Iban | Gawai Dayak | Bidayuh | Kuching City | living museum | Rainforest Music Festival | Gawai Celebration | Iban people celebration | harvest festival | rice harvest festival | Selamat Hari Gawai |

What Is Gawai Festival All ABout?

Every year the Dayaks of Borneo, Sarawak celebrates the Gawai Festival where the word Gawai means a ritual or festival on June 1 every year. Dayak is a collective name for the native ethnic groups which consists of the Iban and the Bidayuh people. Gawai Festival is celebrated as both religious and social occasion where the Dayaks normally visit (also commonly known as 'ngabang' to the native tongue) friends and family on this day.

The manner of festivity varies from place to place. But usually the necessary preparation starts early. Tuak (rice wine) is brewed (at least one month before the celebration) and rather traditional delicacies like penganan (cakes from rice flour, sugar and coconut milk) are prepared. As the big day approaches, everyone will be busy with general cleaning and preparing food and cakes. On Gawai Festival Eve, glutinous rice is steamed in bamboo (ngelulun pulut). In the longhouse, new mats will be set in place out on the ruai (an open walkway which runs through the entire length of the longhouse). The walls of most bilik (rooms) and the ruai are ornamented with Pua Kumbu (traditional blankets). A visit to clean the graveyard is also conducted and offerings offered to the dead. After the visit it is important to bathe before entering the longhouse to ward off bad luck.

The celebration usually begins on the evening of May 31st. In most Iban longhouses, it starts with a ceremonial rite called Muai Antu Rua (to cast away the spirit of greed), signifying the non-interference of the spirit of bad luck in the festivity. Two children or men each dragging a chapan (winnowing basket) will pass each family's room. Every family will throw some unwanted article into the basket. The unwanted articles will be tossed to the ground from the end of the longhouse for the spirit of bad luck.

Around 6 pm or as the sun sets, offering (known as miring) rite will take place. Before the ceremony, ritual music (gendang rayah) is performed. The Feast Chief thanks the gods for the good harvest, and asks for guidance, blessings and long life as he waves a cockerel over the offerings. He then sacrifices the cockerel and a little blood is used together with the offerings.

Once the offering ceremony is done, dinner is then served at the ruai. Just before midnight, a procession up and down the ruai seven times called Ngalu Petara (welcoming the spirit god) is performed. During this procession, a beauty pageant to choose the festival's queen and king (Kumang & Keling Gawai) is sometimes conducted. Meanwhile, drinks, traditional cakes and delicacies are served.

At midnight, the gong is beaten to call the celebrants to attention. The longhouse Chief (tuai rumah) or Gawai Festival Chief will lead everyone to drink the Ai Pengayu (normally tuak for long life) and at the same time wish each other "gayu-guru, gerai-nyamai" (long life, health and prosperity). The celebration now turns merrier and less formal. Some will dance to the traditional music played; others will sing the pantun (poems). In urban areas, Dayaks will organise gatherings at community centres or restaurants to celebrate the evening.

Other activities that may follow the next few days include: cock-fighting matches, and blowpipe and ngajat competitions. On this day, 1 June, homes of the Dayaks are open to visitors and guests.

Traditionally, when guests arrive at a longhouse, they are given the ai tiki as a welcome. From time to time, guests are served tuak. This would be called nyibur temuai which literally means "watering of guests".

Christian Dayaks normally attend a church mass service to thank God for the good harvest.

Gawai Dayak celebrations may last for several days folks, so check us out on www.SarawakBorneoTour.com to come and celebrate Gawai with us. We have various packages including homestay programmes so your Gawai Festival experience would be an exciting one. Any inquiries you can e-mail us on Ask@SarawakBorneoTour.com.

Tags: Tuak | Gawai Festival | Sarawak | Borneo | Dayak | Gawai | Iban | Gawai Dayak | Bidayuh | Kuching City | Gawai Dayak | longhouse |

Looking Forward To Gawai

The Gawai Festival is celebrated with excitement across Sarawak, Borneo in both cities and rural villages, Gawai Festival is a multi-day cultural festival to honour the native people of the Dayak community which consists mainly of Iban and Bidayuh.
 
They celebrate Gawai Festival on the first and second of June every year. Gawai Dayak is an up-to-date version of Gawai Padi, the rice harvest festival traditionally celebrated by both the Iban and Bidayuh people, to give thanks for a successful harvest.
 
More than just a touristy demonstration of indigenous culture for tourists, Gawai Dayak is celebrated with genuine joy and enthusiasm. Weddings take place, singing and toasts fill the air, and families are reunited with one another after being separated all year.
 
The traditions celebrated during Gawai Dayak are ancient, but the holiday is not. The first Gawai Dayak festival took place in 1965 after several years of renewed cultural pride within the oppressed Dayak community. When first asked to create a public holiday in celebration of the Dayak people in Sarawak, the colonial government refused; they were afraid that other minority groups would make similar demands. Instead, the government declared June 1 as "Sarawak Day". Eventually, once Sarawak was awarded independence, the holiday was officially changed to Gawai Dayak.
 
More than just a demonstration of indigenous culture for tourists, Gawai Dayak is celebrated with genuine joy and enthusiasm. Gawai is an occasion for parties, fun and games, processions and ‘open houses’. At rural dwellings, especially in roadside villages and remote villages, guests are expected to taste tuak and eat at each household. Thus in a 30 door Iban longhouse with a family living behind each door, it means partaking in festivities over and over again. Music and dancing usually follow to liven up the mood.
 
In Kuching, celebrations start a week before with colourful street parades and cultural activities. On the eve of the Gawai, a grand state dinner is held at the Civic Centre with singing, dancing and a beauty pageant which culminates in the crowning of several Gawai Queens, one each for Iban and Bidayuh communities.
 
Obviously, Gawai Dayak is the best and the most interesting time to visit Sarawak as you can see and sample the lifestyle and its festivities. All visitors are warmly received and accepted as new friends even if they happen to be strangers. It is a happy time for all concerned.
 

For those who are curious on what Gawai celebrations is all about and want to experience it for themselves come and check out www.SarawakBorneoTour.com and see what we have to offer. You can e-mail your inquiries to Ask@SarawakBorneoTour.com for more information or book online directly.

Tags: Tuak | Gawai Festival | Sarawak | Borneo | Dayak | Gawai | Iban | Gawai Dayak | Bidayuh | Kuching City | Gawai Dayak | longhouse | celebration |

Meaning Of Gayu Guru Gerai Nyamai

You must hear a lot of the local people say Gayu Guru Gerai Nyamai during the jovial season of Gawai but what does it means? It actually means long life, health and prosperity in the Iban language The Ibans has many festivals called ‘Gawai’ but the most popular celebration would be the ‘Gawai Dayak’ (harvesting festival). During such festival, besides the customary observance of ritual, there is usually a lot of drinking of the locally brewed rice wine called tuak, much merriment and dancing called ngajat and displays of elaborate traditional costumes.

“Gawai” or festivals are often held at the end of the Rice Harvest throughout most parts of Sarawak, Borneo and this is a celebration of unity, aspiration and hope for the Dayak which mark the end of the rice harvest and usher in another year of bountiful goodness. During this festival, almost everyone dresses in traditional costumes while the elders perform traditional rites.

First celebrated on 1st June 1965, it is the feast for the eyes with its colourful rituals, traditional music, cock fighting, feasting and games. It is simply a time for merrymaking.

Tuak (rice wine) and an array of traditional food are generously served. Widespread celebrations are held not only in the main cities and towns but also in the interior settlements. Gawai is an occasion for parties, fun and games, processions and open houses.

In remote villages, guests are expected to taste tuak and eat at each household. Another popular alcoholic beverage being served during Gawai is langkau. Langkau is made from fermented rice wine (tuak) and cooked in a barrel with a little hose hanging off the top of the barrel. The alcoholic levels in langkau is much stronger and is said to be the Sarawakian version of vodka. Music and dancing usually follow suit (which consists of mostly joget or dangdut hits).

In Kuching, for instance, celebrations start a week before with colourful street parades and cultural activities. On the eve of the Gawai, a grand state dinner is usually held with singing, dancing and a beauty pageant, which culminates in the crowning of several Gawai Queens, one each for Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu communities.


Obviously, Gawai Dayak is the best and the most interesting time to visit Sarawak as you can see and sample the lifestyle and its festivities of other various Dayak communities. So if all this interest you, come and check us out at www.SarawakBorneoTour.com and see what we have to offer to bring the experience of the Gawai Celebrations to you. You can e-mail your inquiries to Ask@SarawakBorneoTour.com for more info.

Tags: Tuak | Langkau | Gawai Festival | Sarawak | Borneo | Dayak | Gawai | Iban | Gawai Dayak | Bidayuh | Kuching City | Gawai Dayak | longhouse |

FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 2012

Benak Festival famously known as Tidal Bore Carnival in Sarawak


River Surfing Fun yo!


Sri Aman is a market town and port, and the capital of Sri Aman District and Sri Aman Division in Sarawak, East Malaysia. Sri Aman is also called Bandar Sri Aman, and was formerly known as Simanggang and has a population of 26,100. Sri Aman in the Malay language means "town of peace ." Sri Aman is located on the Lupar River, it is 193 kilometers, a three hour drive, from Kuching the capital city of Sarawak. It is a trade center for the timber, oil palm, rubber, and pepper of its mostly agricultural district.

Benak is the native tongue for tidal bore, and Benak happens everyday. During spring tide, tidal bore with a high magnitude, it can be observed clearly from distance. The 'Benak' continues its journey for another 30km inland, ending near the small village of Engkili in the same division.

Bores occur in relatively few locations worldwide, usually in areas with a large tidal range (typically more than 6 metres (20 ft) between high and low water) and where incoming tides are funneled into a shallow, narrowing river or lake via a broad bay.
 
Tidal Bore Surfer in Sarawak
Tidal Bore Surfer in Sarawak

The funnel-like shape not only increases the tidal range, but it can also decrease the duration of the flood tide, down to a point where the flood appears as a sudden increase in the water level. A tidal bore takes place during the flood tide and never during the ebb tide. A tidal bore may take on various forms, ranging from a single breaking wavefront with a roller — somewhat like a hydraulic jump — to "undular bores", comprising a smooth wavefront followed by a train of secondary waves (whelps). Large bores can be particularly unsafe for shipping but also present opportunities for river surfing!

There are only five spots in Asia where this unusual phenomena occurs and Sri Aman is sure to provide the excitement and fun to see for ourselves of one of the best waves in the world.
It has become an annual event and held every year. The festival is set to be one of the most exciting tourism destination.

I recommend to all to come over to Sri Aman to feel and experience Benak Festival that will promise only fun and excitement for you.
 
The red circle marks the location of the event.

Book your tours through www.SarawakBorneoTour.com to come and celebrate Benak Festival wih us or you may e-mail your inquiries to Ask@SarawakBorneoTour.com.

Date: 6 - 8 April 2012
Event: Tidal Bore Carnival (Benak Festival)
Venue: Tebingan Batang Lupar, Sri Aman
Tags: Benak | Benak Festival | Sri Aman | Sarawak | Sarawak Borneo | river surfing | surf | tidal bore | tidal bore carnival | Kuching | Kuching City | Sarawak river sport |

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY19, 2012

Shake Your Booty at the Rainforest World Music Festival 2011

 

Shake it to the right, shake it to the left, shake it all around… shake them booties to the pulsating beats of the Rainforest World Music Festival in Kuching city of Sarawak! The madness was here again with an adrenalin rush that would grip you and leave you spent, yet wanting more. I am talking about the contagious fever of the Rainforest World Music Festival, a well-known and much anticipated 3-day international musical extravaganza organized by Sarawak Tourism Board annually in the month of July.

Held in the heartland of Borneo, specifically at the Sarawak Cultural Village in Santubong area, 35 kilometres from Kuching, Sarawak, the Rainforest World Music Festival is renowned for its diverse representation of world music. Tickets to the Rainforest World Music Festival were grabbed up so fast it would make anyone’s head spin. I was lucky to be allocated two tickets, valued at RM110 per ticket, sponsored by my company, and before you could say “Wonderful”, I had invited my best buddy to go with me. We did not attend the music workshops during the day due to work commitments, but we definitely went to the music performances that evening, a night you would not want to miss.

Driving from Kuching City to the Rainforest World Music Festival pick-up point in Santubong took about 40 minutes, a bit longer as there was more traffic on the road. No private vehicles were allowed to drive directly to Sarawak Cultural Village; the main venue of the Rainforest World Music Festival located another 10-15 minutes drive away. From the pick-up point, we took the transfer coach, costing RM5 per person one way to the Rainforest World Music Festival.

What a sight to behold… there were hundreds and thousands of people, milling and gathering around the entrances, surrounding compounds and stage areas of the Rainforest World Music Festival; and at a glance, more than half of the people there were overseas visitors. That was how popular and famous the Rainforest World Music Festival had become after its first inception in 1998, making this year 2011, its 14th year as the largest and most successful music festival event showcasing traditional, fusion and contemporary music from around the world.

I briefly browsed the local handicrafts on sale at the Rainforest World Craft Bazaar held in conjunction with the music festival, but was not interested enough to buy any. On the other hand, the colourful range of ceramic pottery and ethnic-designed costume jewellery appeared to be hot items, especially with foreign visitors who presumably bought them as souvenirs.

The Rainforest World Music Festival had evolved over the years to become a major social event, and that was part of its worldwide or international appeal, because where there were people of varied backgrounds, young and old, music, food and drinks, including beers and wine, all gathered in one place, there were bound to be plenty of merrymaking!

This year, the countries where the music bands participating in the Rainforest World Music Festival, came from Australia, Canada, Dominican Republic, Eastern Europe, Finland, France, Iran, Italy, Kenya, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Senegal, USA and Vanuatu. Of the 21 bands represented, the favourites were Frigg from Finland, Joaquin Diaz Band from Dominican Republic, and Lisa Haley and the Zydecats from USA. Malaysia’s representatives included Agungbeat from Sabah and Masters of Sape from Sarawak.

All the bands were good but the fast exciting Afro-Caribbean merengue music by Joaquin Diaz of the Dominican Republic ruled the evening, as did the lively and energetic Louisana music by Lisa Haley and the Zydecats of USA. Lisa Haley is a grammy nominee who played progressive Louisana music in her own neo-traditional zydeco/Cajun style. The rhythmic beats combined with the intense atmosphere filled with diverse musical repertoire at the Rainforest World Music Festival were electrifying.

Surprisingly, in the midst of the huge boisterous crowds, standing room only, we met a couple of friends, ready to party long into the night and have a funky great time at the Rainforest World Music Festival. First came the beers and after five rounds of “one-go”, my buddy was dizzy and feeling the effects of the alcohol. Fortunately I was the designated driver and only had two beers, sipped slowly. Next on the list were red wines and by this point, we decided it was time to leave and head homeward.

We took the transfer coach back to the pick-up point and carefully drove back to Kuching. The ride back turned out to be longer than usual, as it was interspersed with abrupt stops for throw-up sessions by my buddy, about 4-5 times, I believe. I was considerably sober and looking forward to next year’s Rainforest World Music Festival and another unforgettable musical experience.

Tags: music festival events | music of the rainforest | rainforest music festival | Sarawak Borneo music | music Sarawak |