This is the final part of a three part article highlighting the Heart of Borneo Highlands Eco Challenge, an adventure event that relives history, culture and stewardship of nature initiated by the people living in the Maligan and Kelabit highlands.
Participants in this event will experience jungle walk across the old world Borneo forest, villages and historical sites where ancestors of the people in the highlands of Borneo used as migratory routes since thousands of years ago.
Haven’t read Parts 1 and 2 yet?
On the sixth day, and over the 900m steep Hill of Coffins, participants will descend into civilisation at Pa’ Lungan settlement where they will spend a night in a homestay, enjoy the feast prepared by their host which sometimes includes the exquisitely tarty Bario pineapples.
As mentioned earlier, Pa’ Lungan is the settlement which has the only known surviving yoke used for hauling felled trees. Participants will be able to see the yoke as it lies in a yard along the path to the homestay. Rest and relax in Pa’ Lungan as the journey for the following day will be short, and on flatter terrains. Participants can also take a short walk to Batu Ritung, a megalithic tomb which was excavated in 1962 by then Curator of the Sarawak Museum, Tom Harrisson.
On the final day, July 30, the journey starts with a walk through a buffalo trodden path towards Bario. Depending on the weather, there is an option to go on a one hour boat ride to Pa’ Umor jetty and then walk down the open road to Bario town. If the river water is too low, participants will take the other trail passed the jetty towards Bario. Sunscreen and hat is highly recommended.
July 30 also marks the start of the 10th Bario Slow Food and Cultural Festival. Slow cooked, wholesome traditional food awaits and it is also a time to party with the locals and visit the longhouses for quality handicrafts. A must-have to bring back for your loved ones is Bario pineapples.
The inaugural Heart of Borneo Highlands Eco Challenge will be held from July 25 to 30 from Ba Kelalan to the Church Camp on Gunung Murud and onwards to Bario. Organized by Forum Masyarakat Adat Dataran Tinggi (FORMADAT) and supported by the Sarawak government, Curtin University and WWF-Malaysia, participants of the event will explore the pilgrimage trail of the Lun Bawang and Kelabit people through primary, secondary, riverine, montane, moss and heath forests.
FORMADAT has appointed Planet Borneo Tours and Travel Services as their partner to market the event to local and international participants. Planet Borneo Tours and Travel Services has been operating since 1987 and has a collective experience of over 80 years in the tour industry.
“It is a challenge and a treat for the outdoors person looking to test their endurance considering the different terrains and altitudes; who are open to experiencing nature – its sounds, sights and smell; who are inclined to sleeping in sleeping bags or tents in the jungle, who does not mind drinking boiled rain or river water, or even enjoying that refreshing bamboo tapped water; who are looking for an unforgettable experience in Borneo away from their familiar urban spoils and be a participant in the natural world,” said Gracie Geikie, Principal Consultant for Planet Borneo Group of Companies.
“As this is an eco-challenge organized to promote our pilgrimage trail, I hope everyone will enjoy what nature has to offer responsibly and to take nothing but photos, and leave nothing but footprints. It is crucial that all participants understand that their trash should be carried out of the forests to be disposed at the nearest town,” said Penghulu George Sigar Sultan, Chairman of FORMADAT Sarawak.
To learn more about the Heart of Borneo Eco-Challenge, follow facebook.com/hobecochallenge, or contact Planet Borneo Tours at 085-414 300 (Miri), 082-241 300 (Kuching) and by email at [email protected]
Forum Masyarakat Adat Dataran Tinggi (FORMADAT) is a transboundary, grassroots initiative in the Heart of Borneo (HoB) highlands that was established in October 2004 by the elders and representatives of communities from the Highlands in Malaysia (Bario, Ba’ Kelalan, Long Semadoh, Ulu Padas) and Indonesia (Krayan and Krayan Selatan).
WWF-Malaysia (World Wide Fund for Nature-Malaysia) was established in Malaysia in 1972. It currently runs more than 90 projects covering a diverse range of environmental conservation and protection work, from saving endangered species such as tigers and turtles, to protecting our highland forests, rivers and seas. The national conservation organization also undertakes environmental education and advocacy work to achieve its conservation goals. Its mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the nation’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.
For latest news and media resources, visit http://www.wwf.org.my/media_and_information/media_centre/
For further information:
Alicia Ng, Senior Community Engagement & Education Officer, WWF-Malaysia
Tel: +60 82 247 420 Email: [email protected]
Zora Chan, Senior Communications Officer, WWF-Malaysia
Tel: +60 82 247 420 Email: [email protected]
Rumaizah Mohammad Abu Bakar, Head of Communications, WWF-Malaysia
Tel: +603 7450 3773 Email: [email protected]