News & Updates

Sabah Food and Ethnic Handicraft Carnival launched

TAMPARULI: Sabah Cultural Board chairman Datuk Seri Wences Angang yesterday launched the four-day Sabah Food and Ethnic Handicraft Carnival at Tun Hamdan Hall here.

The carnival which will end on May 25 is aimed at building up, promoting and preserving the cultures of Sabah.

“This year, we are combining the two programmes, which were held separately for the past few years, namely, the Traditional Food Festival and the Handicraft Fest, in this carnival to introduce the uniqueness of our food and handicraft to local and foreign tourists.

“As we all know, Sabah has about 35 ethnic groups with their variety of food and handicrafts. So this carnival will serve to assist all these groups to showcase what they have under one roof,” he explained.

A total of 12 ethnic groups will be participating in the carnival comprising, among others, the Dusun Lotud, Idahan, Irranun and Rungus, and various food exhibition booths have been erected in the community hall to showcase exotic foods like crocodile meat and also traditional food namely, Pinjaram, Kuih Sapit and Jala.

The programme lined up yesterday included cooking demonstration, karaoke, lucky draws, photography and cooking competitions and guessing the scent of spices.

For the second day today (May 23), there will be the eating Pinjaram, Ambuyat and Butod competition and also handicraft contest which will be open to the public.

On the third day, eating traditional food and handicraft coloring competitions will be the highlight, while on the fourth day similar contests will be held until the prize-giving ceremony at 6pm.

Present at the launch yesterday were Sabah Cultural Board director Datu Rusmadi Datu Sulai and Tuaran district officer Madiyem Layapan.

Source: Borneo Post

Babagon River a potential tourist attraction – Masidi

PENAMPANG: Babagon River, which flows through Kampung Babagon here, can be a tourism attraction for the district, said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.

Masidi, when met at a gathering with members of the social media at Kampung Babagon yesterday, pointed out that Babagon River is one of the most beautiful rivers in the state.

“It has its own special attraction and this location can be promoted to tourists from all over the world,” he said.

According to Masidi, he was made to understand that Kampung Babagon, which practises the “tagal” system, is already a popular destination among foreign tourists but is relatively unknown among domestic visitors.

The tagal system is a community-based fisheries resource management system practised by  many riparian communities in Sabah. It is a stakeholder-driven system of rehabilitation, protection and conservation of the river environments and the fisheries resources for its sustainable development.

At the moment, the number of tagal areas established in Sabah has multiplied to more than 200 involving 107 rivers in 11 districts.

Protection of the tagal system rivers’ environment and its enforcement are in the hands of the elected Tagal Committees. At present, the enforcement of the prohibitions is through the imposition of native customary laws that are backed by the Native Court.

Masidi also expressed hope that domestic tourists will choose Kampung Babagon as a location for recreational activities in the future.

He added that netizens on social media websites, such as Twitter, have a very wide influence in the promotion of tourism products.

The recreational area in Kampung Babagon is located just by the river side and is equipped with a mini hall, toilets and food stalls.

Anglers can also try their hand at fishing for “pelian”, but only on a catch and release basis for a fee.

Source: Borneo Post

Camp Borneo helps better life of indigenous folk

PENAMPANG: Camps International (Asia) has taken an active role to help make a difference in the everyday lives of underprivileged groups in Sabah over the past five years.

The subsidiary of Camps International celebrated its fifth collaborative year with Partners of Community Organisations (PACOS Trust) on Friday, with its vision of promoting peace and unity among indigenous communities.

Melanie Chu, the general manager of Camp Borneo, which is under Camps International (Asia), said they were raising funds to aid PACOS Trust by allocating STG1 (RM4.61) from the daily expenses of each visitor to their camps.

“We put it into a fund for PACOS Trust and it is handed to the non-governmental organisation (NGO) to be used for various projects in Sabah. Camps International (Asia) provides long-term support to complement the NGO’s work through our capacity-building resources.

“We help receive visitors to each of our community project sites, facilitate their introduction to the indigenous people, their culture and lifestyle, and later, provide supervision and guidance for building projects that may be implemented for the community,” said Melanie, who presented a mock cheque to PACOS Trust for RM40,272 at the latter’s office here in aid of its ongoing efforts yesterday.

Camps International (Asia) and PACOS Trust have set up four camps in Sabah — Tinangol (Kudat), Kipouvo (Penampang), Mantanani (Kota Belud) and Bongkud (Ranau).

PACOS Trust is a community-based voluntary organisation set up to help raise the quality of life of indigenous communities.

Its executive director, Anne Lasimbang, said the assistance from Camp Borneo had helped it raise the profile and improve the livelihood of the local indigenous people.

She said PACOS Trust hoped to provide more educational resources in rural areas, especially for children, as well as projects to help improve the income of families.

Source: New Straits Times

Star Cruises travel packages for top seven State Unduk Ngadau winners

KOTA KINABALU: Contestants who are placed first to seventh in the 2013 State Unduk Ngadau pageant will be receiving a Star Cruises travel package for two each.

Star Cruises travel service assistant vice president (Sabah operation), Edward Johann Leong said the winners will be tourism ambassadors for Star Cruises throughout the year.

“Kaamatan is a major celebration in Sabah, while Unduk Ngadau is the highlight of the event. We have seen the transformation of the beauty pageant into a higher level, where the selection of our Unduk Ngadau is now focusing on beauty with brains,” he said.

“There are many Unduk Ngadau winners having carved their names in the national level such as Daphne Iking and Jo-Anna Sue Henley Rampas, and we can see the quality of the women in Sabah. We want to be part of the women’s development in the state and appreciate them with what we have in our company,” Leong told a press conference recently.

He said the total sponsorship from Star Cruises this year is more than RM150,000, including lucky draws for guests at the Gala Night.

The first, second and third winners in the State Unduk Ngadau pageant will be receiving a 4 Days 3 Nights Super Star Virgo package for two (Singapore-Penang-Phuket-Singapore), while the fourth and fifth place winners will receive a 4 Days 3 Nights Super Libra package for two (Penang-Phuket-Krabi-Penang).

The sixth place winner will be given a 3 Days 2 Nights Super Star Virgo package for two (Singapore-Redang-Singapore) with two return tickets from Kota Kinabalu.

The seventh place winner will be receiving a 3 Days 2 Nights Super Star Virgo package for two (Singapore-Melaka-Singapore) with two return tickets to Singapore.

2013 State Unduk Ngadau organizing chairperson Joanna Kitingan said the organizing committee for the beauty pageant welcomes the support of Star Cruises to sponsor the traditional event, and she hoped this could continue in future.

“We are thankful to the sponsorship we receive from Star Cruises, not only for the winners and lucky draws, but also the cash vouchers which will be given to the guests who bought their tables during the Gala Night.

“Sponsorship is important for Unduk Ngadau as the competition is attracting more tourists to learn about our culture and traditions,” she said.

Source: Borneo Post

Sabah records sharp rise in China tourist arrivals

KOTA KINABALU: The tourism industry in Sabah is now ready to bounce back and seize new opportunities after the ugly episode of the Lahad Datu intrusion and the excitement and enthusiasm of the 13th general election.

Newly reappointed Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun said tourist arrivals to Sabah for the first quarter of this year increased by five per cent to 718,626 from 684,546 in 2012.

“It is unfortunate that the Lahad Datu incident had in many ways affected the confidence of tourists to travel to Sabah, resulting in heavy cancellations and changes to tourist travel plans. Some have suffered heavy losses due to the cancellation which was taken arising from various travel advisories advising tourists not to travel to Sabah or even Borneo.

“We are lucky that the unfortunate incident did not prolong following the active action taken by the government of Malaysia. I am very confident that the tourism industry will bounce back after the incident to even to a higher level than what we had achieved before,” he said.

Masidi also revealed that visitors from China accounted for the highest number of tourist arrivals in Sabah, with the figures in the first quarter this year showing a big increase of 79.2 per cent to 81,251 from last year’s 45,350. Chinese visitors include tourists from Hong Kong and Macau.

Korean tourists from South Korea accounted for the second highest number of arrivals at 27,665 during the period from January to March this year, which was an increase of 41.3 per cent from 19,567 last year.

Japan is third with 6,575 visitors recorded in the first three months of 2012 to 7,949 this year, recording an increase of 20.9 per cent.

Masidi also said the Europe market also showed positive growth, showing an increase of 4.3 per cent from 19,804 last year to 20,661 this year.

Masidi said this in the presence of several travel agents at the MASwings Top Agent Award 2012 Gala Dinner at Magellan Sutera Harbour on Thursday night.

As the main airline operating in Sabah and Sarawak, Masidi said MASwings plays a dominant role in shaping the future of tourism industry in the region.

He added that with its operation covering almost all major and secondary cities in Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Indonesia, it is without doubt that MASwings is the most preferred airline in the region.

“The future of tourism industry relies on travel and tour agents to work together with the airlines and other tourism players to introduce innovative products to promote Sabah to the rest of the world.

“In today’s environment, competition amongst key tourist destinations is intense and very challenging. I urge all of you to integrate your efforts and form a formidable alliance to attract more and more tourists to Borneo and in particular to Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

During the event, Masidi handed over Platinum, Gold and Silver awards to 19 Sabah and Sarawak-based companies which made millions of Ringgit through MASwings packages.

Source: Borneo Post