The marvellous Green Jewel

Rokiah Mahmud

In an effort to boost domestic tourism in Brunei Darussalam, tour packages have been on offer to promote the Kenali Negara Kitani (KNK) programme.

Darussalam Holdings Sdn Bhd (DHSB) recently offered the Temburong 1 Kampong 1 Produk (Temburong 1K1P) package.

The participants were able to visit several places in Temburong including Tamu Aneka Temburong and Bukit Patoi Recreational Park, located in Mukim Batu Apoi.

The group also visited Kampong Sibut Longhouse, where they were welcomed by the local Iban community. According to Manager of the Lubuk Batu Mas Homestay Salmah anak Ampili, Kampong Sibut Longhouse was damaged in a fire in 1994. Since then, some residents moved temporarily to another village while waiting for the longhouse to be repaired.

“The re-construction was carried out in phases, which took two years. We received assistance from individuals, private and government agencies.”

The Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Bridge. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR
Tamu Aneka Temburong

It was in 1997 that they moved back into the longhouse. However only a section of the house was completed. The ruai, tempuai and tanju, which is the living area and veranda, were not completed due to budget constraints.

“After two years, we finally managed to fix the house. The government along with the local community re-built the house structure, where the lower part is made of concrete and the top part of wood.

“For those going to Ulu Temburong or Taman Batang Duri, they will pass by this area.

“We usually invite them to explore the longhouse.”

Salmah said the Kampong Sibut Longhouse has hosted visitors both local and foreigner. During their stay, visitors have the opportunity to learn about the culture, food and heritage of the Iban community.

Asked how they got the idea to make the longhouse a tourist attraction, Salmah said in 2005, the Temburong District set up the mukim and village Consultative council. Under this programme, each mukim or village was encouraged to create their own products.

“Since the Kampong Sibut Longhouse became the main tourist attraction, we decided to run a homestay programme. We encourage the residents to be involved by conducting courses such as English Language classes so that the residents would have the basic knowledge when they interact with foreign visitors.

“The visitors will live with us as a foster family. We teach them our language, give them the opportunity to wear traditional Iban clothing and teach them ngajat dance. In an effort to preserve our heritage, we participate in courses such as making traditional Iban clothes.

Since the de-escalation plan has been launched and some restrictions were also lifted, there was an opportunity to develop our domestic tourism. The opening of Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Bridge has encouraged locals to visit Temburong District,” she said.