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Monolob & Monogit Ritual at Mamut, Ranau

Akinabalu (Mt. Kinabalu) is a sacred mountain for Kadazandusun. Aki means great ancestors while Nabalu means spirit of  the dead, thus the name of Kinabalu means the final resting place of the ancestors’ spirits. Every climber/visitor are advised to show some respect to the nature (mouton surrounding) especially immoral activities. However, a group of 10 foreigner was reported stripped naked on the mountain which has triggered anger locals and authority. Just a week later (5th June 2015), a magnitude 5.6 earthquake shook Mount Kinabalu, causing an avalanche of rock and boulders that killed 18 people, including four mountain guide.

Ritual ceremonies has been conducted recently including Monolibabow & Tumabur ritual by Libabows (Dusun Lotud shaman & spiritual medium) at Bantayan, Tamparuli. According to Odun Lumanjar, the guardian complained about the behaviour of some climbers who “behaved like animals” and performed sexual acts while on the mountain, just like snakes, deer, pigs, and squirrels. The guardian also bemoaned the conduct of the Kadazandusun people who committed terrible sins especially incestuous relationship between father and daughter, first causins and siblings who marry one another. They (the guardian) still waiting for Dusun Darat to “soothe” the spirits of Kinabalu by offering seven fowls and pigs.

A group of 7 Bobolian representing Dusun Darat conducted Monolob & Monogit at Mamut on 20th June 2015 started around 8am. According to the District Native Chief Taip Rashman, 68, the rituals were organised following request from locals from 7 villages who considered the naked on the mountain episode on May 30 by a group of 10 foreigner as sacrilegious. The same ceremony also being conducted at Timpohon Gate, Kinabalu National Park lead by male Bobolian from Bundu Tuhan on the same date and time. 7 buffalo and 1 fowl were to be scarificed in Mamut while 1 buffalo at Timpohon Gate.

The media was asked to keep at a certain distance as a mark of respect for the ritual

Pankau Bansayu, 84 from Kg Mininsalu, explaining message by the guardian to the locals after the ritual ceremony.

Pankau Bansayu, 84 from Kg Mininsalu, explaining message by the guardian to the locals after the ritual ceremony.

7 Bobolian from Kauluan, Bundu Tuhan, Lohan and Lingkudau.


The meat of the sacrificed buffaloes will be distributed to the seven villages that made the initial complaint to the native court

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Mount Kinabalu Climbing For The First Time – Part One

I went for mountain climb last October together with my fellow friends, Rade, Tokok, Rosli, Hatta and two lovely couple from Labuan. I’ve been working as tour guide for nearly 6 years in which i had explain and educate tourist to come again and climb mount Kinabalu. Its such irony to know that that was my first time climb our state (Sabah) most visited site which as enlisted as World Heritage Site by UNESCO November, 2000.

The decision to scale the mountain is generally not my idea, it comes accross after a good friend of mine, Rade asking me about the room availibility at Laban Rata (a resthouse which every climber should overnight before proceeding to the summit on the next morning, very early morning). Then things happens seems parallel when at the same time my brother announced climbing package with confirmed date. So we grab the package and thats how it began.

I’ve only managed to train physically just a few time in less than a month prior to the climbing date. I wouldn’t be able to have time for training if it wasn’t effort by Rade. For people that knows me well, i’m not physically fit, just imagine yourself carrying 25-30kg of additional weight all the time and that will be me.

We stayed at Rina Ria Lodge on our first night. This lodge locate about 500 metre from Kinabalu National Park. It provides several types of rooms, including dormitory. We were given quad room (4 person in a room). Free Wifi available at the cafe. If you forgotten to bring some of your climbing needs, you can get it here at their mini shops which happens to be their reception counter too.

Ria Ria Lodge Cafe

Rade & Rosli at Rina Ria Lodge

On the next day, we had our breakfast at the cafe. We went straight to Kinabalu National Park, meet the 2 loving couple before proceeding for mountain climb registration. At Sutera Sanctuary Lodges reception counter, after providing their booking reference number, you will be handed meals coupons and a form which need to be submitted at Sabah Park’s counter located on the next building.

American Set Breakfast at Ria Ria Lodge Cafe

At Sabah Park’s counter is where you will get your climbing permit. Just a quick tips here, the machine that print the climbing permit are not designed for long name, ask the officer if it allowed to put your name as short as possible prior before the permit printed.

Sutera Sanctuary Lodges Reception Building

At the same counter, located next to the permit counter is the mountain guide counter. For every climber that climb mount Kinabalu, it is mandatory to hire mountain guide to go along with you. One mountain guide for every 7 climber. The porter service, on the other hand is optional. The charges for porter depends on the weight of your stuff with minimum weight of 10kg.

We the proceed to KOKTAS counter to arrange our transport to Timpohon Gate, which is the starting point of the climb. There are 2 starting point you can choose from, Timpohon & Mesilau, which the later longer than the first about 2km. Before we went to the Timpohon Gate, we went to Balsam Restaurant to take our packed meal which consist of Sandwich, Apple and drinking water. Balsam Restaurant located just in front of Sutera Sanctuary Lodges reception building. Well, you can only see the roof if you sanding exactly at the reception building.

Bus to Timpohon Gate

It took about 10 minutes drive to reach Timpohon Gate. We were given safety briefing by our guide before we begin our journey scale the Majestic Mount Kinabalu on foot. The distance from Timpohon Gate to Laban Rate is 6km. There are rest hut along the trail almost every kilometre providing untreated water. I hiked every steps slowly as i need to store my energy on the second day climb, i must keep my self from any serious injury during the climb. Just about 1 hour of climbing, it was raining. The trail gets slippery with some trail looks like waterfall especially when reaching Villosa Hut & Paka Hut.

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Group Photo – Image Stolen from Rosli Facebook 🙂

Safety Briefing By Our Mountain Guide

Ubah Shelter – Summit Trail

Along the summit trail, we have stopped on almost every resting hut just for 5-10 minute to at least drinks or just relax and keeping ourselves alive. Some of us even utilising this moment by posting an update through social media like facebook & instagram. We decide to have our packed meal at Layang-Layang Hut. Upon reaching at this point, we actually had gone almost 4km of the summit trail. Even the 2km to go seems to be much more nearer, but I’m really exhausted after this point. My leg began to sore, and every steps I took it seems to consume more and more energy, but I have no other choice than to finish what I just started, at least to make it to Laban Rata.

Laban Rata Restaurant

Laban Rata Restaurant

The rain continues until we reached Laban Rata Resthouse. It was 1620hrs now, I took about 7 hours to reach here. I can’t believe my self that i had finaly reach Laban Rata. My pants, socks and shoe were totaly wet, but that is not my main concern as I had another pair in my bag. The cafe will serving lunch at 1630hrs, its a buffet style, we decided to had our meals first before going to our room at Gunting Lagadan which is another 150m from Laban Rata. After the meal (the best lamb with black papper sauce I ever had), We spent about 3 hours at the cafe, endless hot coffee while enjoying beautiful sunset here. Everybody took photos with each other without even knowing who we are, and where we coming from, we have only one thing in common, that we had reached Laban Rata. It was the time of honouring ourselves as the inhabitants of Laban Rata of the day, who dare to go out from our comfort zone and seek for some adventure.

Me at Laban Rata

Hatta & Tokok

Sunset at Laban Rata

It was dawn and we need to use our headlamp to go to Gunting Lagadan. It took me nearly 20 minutes to reach there. It was cold and my legs start to sore. It was pleasure to know that there will be no more climbing for the day. Time to get good rest and rejuvenate. Like many of us, I didn’t take shower for the night as there were no hot shower. We stayed at quad dormitory bunk beds with sufficient power supply to charge our camera & phone. Well thats pretty long stories about my climbing experience, I will continue part two very soon.

Photo Journalism Workshop by Rabani H. M. Ayub

I just return from photojournalism workshop held by BTN. The 3 days 2 nights workshop took it place at Kem BTN Kundasang. Starting fron 27th April to 29th April 2012. There are about 98 participant attending the workshop that comes throughout Sabah and some even come fron Brunei.

Whats is the actual attraction of the workshop? Why do participant would sacrifice their weekends instead of having great quality time with family? Some travel from Tawau and not to mention participant that willing to cross country from Brunei, why?

It because the workshop itself will be inviting our local Sabahan profesional photojournalist as our instructor, Rabani H. M Ayub.

This is my second time joining his workshop, the first was held in Kota Kinabalu December 2010. It’s not because i did’nt get what he teach, but it actualy giving me a lot of inspiration and ideas through his experience in photojournalism.

He is now working with Singapore Publishing Company. His work mainly published in Going Places Magazine, Men’s Health, Asian Geographic and more others. You can start by click here to know more about him.

About the workshop, it is mainly funded by BTN, our accomodation, food & other facilities at the camp. Participants only need to pay small fee which i guess goes to fund our instructor, workshop crew’s gifts, prizes and our workshop T-Shirt. Special thanks to those company/individual for their sponsors (Syarikat On On & Vun Foto from Sandakan).

We are advised to reach early at the camp on 27th April 2012, theres a refreshment at 4pm for those who managed to arrive early. Registration open until 10pm before we have a briefing about the workshop.

On the next day we start by having a little introduction about our instrustor, and introduction of Photo Journalism, gears , question and answer session along the way. A talk by BTN personnel after lunch, and continued with the criteria & composition principles of photo journalism in late afternoon by our instuctor, Mr. Rabani. Then the workshop proceed after dinner where we were introduced about flash photography, post processing with Lightroom and a multimedia presentation of Mount Kinabalu Star Trail by Mr. Rabani.

We then given an earlier break before proceeding night photography practical at 11pm. It was the time where we implemented what we have learned during the workshop.

On our last day, its a closing ceremony, photo voting, quiz.

Well done for the organizer Mr Arif Rahman Hakim and all his team for their effort making this workshop successful.

Photo Jounalism Workshop - Rabani H.M Ayub

Photo Journalism Workshop by Rabani H.M. Ayub | Me with Mr. Rabani

Photo Journalism Workshop by Rabani H. M. Ayub | Adam Zikry Portrait with Backlighting

© Shukur Jahar | Photo Journalism Workshop by Rabani H. M. Ayub | Mount Kinabalu

© Shukur Jahar |Photo Journalism Workshop by Rabani H.M. Ayub | Mount Kinabalu with Star Trails

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