Let introduce myself first, I visit Sabah, Malaysia Borneo the first time in 1999 and fall in love to this country, after visiting several times Sabah I fall in love with my wife Mary and married her, so I relocate to Sabah from Belgium in 2002 and did translation for German, Dutch and french groups that visiting Sabah, yes I follow a course as a guide in Kuala Lumpur so I would have more knowledge of Malaysia. During those organize trips I realize visitors want to see Sabah in an other relay way, not from A to B that is why I start to organize those tours in a different way and give advice how to organize your tour through Sabah. On request I do also your private transportation like driving you to Sandakan.
But keep in mind I don`t sell tours but memories and can drive you around Sabah with my car for maximum 4 people. Show you some spots like Nirvana the most expensive graveyard in Malaysia on top of a hill where you have an unforgettably view of a bay.
As my wife Mary, a Kadazan Dusun is from Kampung Kiau (Kampung means village) we settle us here, just at the foot of mount Kinabalu, last year we set up a home stay together with 12 local families, so if you visit Mount and park Kinabalu, stay with the warm friendly locals and enjoy their hospitality of the Dusun. You will feel home and part of the family. Let me tell you the story of Kiau which is not only the ancient gateway to climb the mountain like Sir Low Hugh. Yes my hobbies are history and culture. Also I love off road driving, so I explore the whole area around Mount Kinabalu. Discover remote village and beautiful environments.
The Minitinduk Gorge
Minitinduk Gorge, the ancient gateway to Mount Kinabalu is a V shaped gap in the rock wall. The river that passes trough it is called Kadamaian River. At the upper reaches of the river, is the cascading 700m high Kadamaian waterfall. Kiau Taburi is a small kampong (village) at the food of Mt. Kinabalu in the district of Kota Belud. The natural beauty of the area which is still preserved with the scenic beauty of Mt. Kinabalu makes it a tourist attraction and that is why we, my wife and I set up a homestay with the local families Dusuns to give them the possibility to earn a extra income and create a awareness of preserve the nature and wildlife around the foot of Mt. Kinabalu.
The Origin of Kiau Taburi.
One of the popular stories of how the name of Kiau came is about a group of tobacco seller from the sarayo (an ethnic group in Sabah). Once upon a time, the entire state of Sabah and possibly the whole world, suffered a severe drought. It got worse as the day passes. Rivers big and small dried up. Everyone worked hard to search for water but failed. It happened that a group of tobacco sellers passed by the village. As they stopped to rest, one of the sellers heard the sound of the “kologiau “bird several times. The group went off in search of the bird.
After a while, one of the sellers came upon a “kologiau “taking it`s bath at a water spring. The tobacco seller immediately drank the water. He then went off to tell the other members of his group. All of them drank from the spring. The finding of the water delighted the group as it was a very bad drought they were facing. They shouted “Nolyau” (full, in the Dusun language), nolyahau kolyau, which meant full. They named the river “Koiyau”, which in Dusun meant “fulfilling” and after the “Kologiau” which made the “Kiau” sound and also for helping them find the water spring. The news about the spring spread throughout the villagers settled in Kiau because of the existence of the spring.
Taburi in Malay means trumpet/horn. In the days before the arrival of the British to Sabah (then Borneo), the villages were at war with one another. The village of Kiau was also involved in the war. It was very fortunate that the villagers of Kiau were united and has strong and brave warriors and not easily attacked. Furthermore they lived in longhouses. When warriors returned from war, they pass through Bukit Perhentain (resting Hill), located near the Kiau Taburi monument, and blows the taburi (or horn) as a sign of victory to the villagers of Kampung Kiau.
As soon as they hear the sound of the taburi, the villagers will go out and welcome home their warriors. The Dusuns who are Christians is one of the largest communities staying at Kampung Kiau Taburi whilst the rest are Muslims from other races. The villagers still practice their traditional custom and language inherited from the ancestors in their daily life.
A majority of the villagers of Kampung Kiau Taburi are farmers. Although they have permanent jobs, the villager continues to carry out farming activities, especially during weekends. They do this to earn extra income to their families. For those who have no proper jobs, farming is their main source of income. Ginger and vegetables are the main agriculture activity and also paddy (rise) Paddy planting is also carried out the traditional way to ensure the various types of paddy planted do not become extinct or disappear with time. The types of paddy planted are hill paddy. The types of paddy planted are Tombug, Sarayo, Tadong, Silou and Rohuman which was also planted by their ancestors and has become a heritage. These types of paddy are suitable to be planted in hilly areas, although some has tried to plant on ordinary paddy fields. The farmers in Kampung Kiau Taburi plant their paddy in hilly areas as their village is located in such area. They also plant organic vegetables in bulk. Pineapple planting is also popular type of farming in Kampong Kiau Taburi and is still carried out today. Almost all the villagers here owns and carries out pineapple planting. This can be seen as soon one enters into Kampong Kiau Taburi. Pineapple is planted by the roadside for the ease of the growers to bring out their produce.
Besides Jesselton, there have been a number of other theories regarding the origins of the original name for Kota Kinabalu. The most popular, as mentioned above, is Api-Api, or simply Api, which is a Malay word meaning 'Fire'. There are claims, however, that Kota Kinabalu was actually named after a nearby river called Sungai Api-Api. In Chinese, the city is still known as 'Api', which is the Hakka pronunciation for 亚庇 (Simplified Chinese; Traditional Chinese: 亞庇; Pinyin: yà bì).
Besides Api-Api, another suggested historical name is Deasoka, which roughly means "below the coconut tree" in the Bajau language. The Bajau locals purportedly used this name to refer to a village in the southern part of the city which was filled with coconut trees. Another name was Singgah Mata which literally means "transit eye", but can be loosely translated as "pleasing to the eye". It is a name purportedly given by fishermen from Gaya Island referring to the strip of land which today is downtown Kota Kinabalu. Today, all these names have been immortalised as names of streets or buildings around the city. Some examples are Lintasan Deasoka, Api-Api Centre and Jalan Singgah Mata.
Dead men tell no tales but their legacy lives on.
Dozens of centuries-old human skulls, believed to be remnants of the headhunting era, are now the focus of new interest among the small Kadazandusun community of Kampung Kiau, located at the foot of Southeast Asia's highest peak, Gunung Kinabalu.
The villagers feel that instead of leaving these human trophies to rot, they might as well keep them and turn them into tourist attractions.
Jounis Goliong, the village's Security and Development Committee (JKKK) Chairman, said for decades these skulls had been kept from public knowledge, mainly to "hormati adat lama" or in deference to their age-old customs. But now the Kiau villagers feel that the time has come to unfold the untold mysteries behind these human skulls, more so for the benefit of local and foreign tourists visiting this sleepy hollow.
To take advantage of the encouraging number of tourists visiting this scenic village, 11 families have already opened up their houses as participants of a home-stay programme, Jounis said.
"But we thought it might be more interesting if we could offer something unique for the visitors to see, and that's when we decided to showcase these human trophies.
"We plan to build a small house to exhibit these skulls together with some historical write-ups to enable the public or visitors to see and understand the real story behind the headhunting saga," he said, adding for decades, these human trophies were kept and guarded in secret places.
He said in other villages, the skulls were even hung on tree branches, known as sogindai among the Kadazandusun community, and were fiercely guarded.
At the moment, the 30 skulls in Kiau were being kept by one of the village's "bobolian" or priests, Solinggou Poit, who placed them in a "floating graveyard" or small hut in his backyard.
Some of the skulls are in deplorable condition and have to be kept in tin containers. Solinggou inherited the task of safe keeping these skulls from his great-grandfather.
Jounis said in the earlier days, the skulls were hidden in secret places as it was considered a taboo to display them publicly. Anyone wanting to see them must have special reasons before permission was granted by the keeper. But the villagers now believed that the old skulls were no longer an integral part of their old traditional customs and instead considered them as part of Sabah's important history that should be taught and understood by the people, especially the young generation, he said.
Quoting oral history passed down from generations, Jounis said Kiau village was once a centre-stage for many barbaric acts that involved killing and decapitation either as revenge, in self-defence, animosity or simply as a show of individual prowess.
Kiau was also believed to be the birthplace of Gomukung, a Kadazandusun warrior in the primitive era who was said to have mystical prowess and bravery. "Legend has it that the people of Kiau revered him as a great warrior and their protector. The mere mention of his name will send chilling fears," he said. The Kiau folk also believe that Gomukung had a hand in collecting the human skulls.
Kampung Kiau, situated about 86km from the State's capital, Kota Kinabalu, is also fast becoming one of Sabah's popular tourist destinations, probably because of its proximity to the 4,095.2m Gunung Kinabalu.
For years, this farming village with a population of 856, mostly Kadazandusuns, had been selected as the venue for international mountain bike competitions, said Jounis.- Bernama