By the rivers of Tambunan

Patrisha Kitingan, the President of Tambunan Tourism Association (left) with residents of Kg Tikolod by the river enjoying snacks
Palasiah Kurapit and Naikol Kiting

Rivers with fresh clean water is always desired by any living being. It is vital for both human and wildlife to have this supply of water. Without running water from rivers and underground aquifers there can be catastrophe.

In Tambunan, rivers are kept as clean as possible to ensure that marine life have a chance to survive and multiply. Through river management and conservation called Tagal, the fish population is growing.

One such area is at Kg Monsorulung where three kilometres of the Pegalan river that flows through their village are placed under ‘Tagal.’

The river in Monsoruling

To take care and enforce the system, they had formed a Tagal Committee in  the village, headed by Naikol Kiting.

“We have divided the three kilometres to three zones, mainly one area where there is absolutely no fishing, one kilometre where we lift the Tagal twice a year   and one kilometre for research and study,” he shared adding that this ensures that fish are allowed to grow and breed.

“There are various kinds of fishes in the river the main one being the Mahseer (Pelian) besides Serawi, catfish, prawns and sometimes freshwater turtles called labi-labi.

The Tagal Committee Secretary Palasiah Kuraput shared that they lift up the tagal twice a year and the villagers especially members will go down to the river to catch fish.

“We will pool our catch by the river and divide them equally among the members. We usually bring a scale to weight the catch and divide them fairly. It is up to the members to divide the catch among family members,” she shared.

According to her, when the tagal is lifted they usually make it an event for all of them to interact. It enhances their friendship and rapport.

“We hope to do more in future. We want to make it a festival so our visitors who usually come to study our tagal system, as well as curious guests, will have an enjoyable time,” she shared.

There are rooms available nearby under the homestay programme, according to her, and this will serve visitors well.

Ketua Kg Tikolod Joumeh Galingai (left) and Biana Langang with fellow producers

Meanwhile, in Kampung Tikolod, the residents are actively making products from ginger. Since this village is known for its ginger farm, they are all trying to create value added products from ginger. The pride of that village is the ginger cultivated in the area is acclaim for its high content of juice.

One of the producers Biana Langang shared that their ginger are usually bought by wholesalers and retailers.

“However, we also want to produce our own merchandises from ginger, as a signature product of Tambunan. We have come up with many products including Ginger paste for soup, dried ginger for easy cooking and ginger floss or serunding,” she shared.

Handicrafts at Tikolod

There is a small station for these products in Kg Tikolod. Within the house, there are also traditional musical instruments being sold as souvenirs.

These items include sompoton, bungkau and tongkungon to name a few for visitors to buy and bring home as a souvenir to commemorate their visit.

Kg Tikolod has its own river, and they too practice the Tagal system. It flows by the Kintup Recreational Area where villagers had set up shelters for visitors to sit and enjoy the bubbling river.

An interesting story is told about the river as  it is related that long time ago a boy was “sucked  and swallowed” by a cave on the river while swimming and until today the so-called cave still remain shut.

Actually a closed cave-like wall could be visibly seen near the resting shelters at the riverside.

But the youngsters in the village said that only the elderly folks knew about this incident and they are still trying to figure out what really happened.

Such are tales of rivers in Tambunan, but the main attraction is the clear rushing water that can be so soothing and of course the friendly people who takes care of the waterway.

Tambunan District lies in the Interior Division of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Sited some 80 kilometres from Kota Kinabalu, the State Capitol, its main township is also called Tambunan

More information can be acquired from Tambunan Tourism Association at 013 8723709. –ce/BNN