Since the onset of COVID-19, travels and lifesyle activities were put on hold to pave the way for health measures to curb the spread of the outbreak.
In Brunei Darussalam, the new normal has ignited an interest in outdoor activities such as jungle trekking.
However, at the same time there are also reports of people missing during trekking.
In response, Dar El Ehsan Travel Sdn Bhd, in collaboration with Lun Bawang Warrior, a warfare expert with extensive skills in the art of survival, started a ‘Jungle Survival and Forest Crafts’ programme to equip the public with basic knowledge, skills and tools required to survive in the jungle.
In promoting the programme, the agency invited people from several organisations, including the local media, to join in the activities.
The group set out early morning of February 28, led by Tuan Sigar into the jungle in Kampong Batu Apoi. As they walked along the trail, Sigar showed the participants plants that are edible and medicinal as well as those that are poisonous.
As a former member of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, Sigar said it is important to learn basic survival skills as 80 per cent of Brunei is occupied by the jungle. Among the lessons lined up were: shelter constructions, building animal snares and traps, knowing which plants are edible or poisonous and trekking methods.
It is also important to know how to start a fire, cook in the wild and develop personal safety as well as maintain hygiene prior to being rescued, he said.
Participant Muhd Hadi Dinnie bin Haji Abdul Rahman, a teacher from the Sports School, saw the usefulness of the programme as it is not something that is widely available.
“The programme has taught me that you need to have the experience, skills and knowledge of survival when you’re in the jungle,” he said.
Lecturer from Laksmana College of Business Nur Fayyadhah binti Abdul Shaib said the programme was a great experience for everyone in the group. “As a lecturer teaching tourism, the programme is beneficial to my students, not just in terms of survival but allow them to appreciate the natural beauty of Brunei.
Education Officer Salmiah binti Haji Saim at Politeknik Brunei said that it was a good experience, especially in learning what plants must be avoided, plants that are sources of food or water, the medicinal values of certain plants; and spots to explore and avoid.
“There were so many valuable lessons gained from the programme and it is an advantage especially for hikers who like to go deep in the jungle. I would definitely recommend this type of training to my students,” she said.
Media Permata’s Muiz Matdani was also among the invited individuals for the programme. As a keen hiker, he said he was satisfied with how the programme was run, adding that Sigar’s experience is an added bonus.
Meanwhile, Jay Sing Muthiah from the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) shared that the trip was educational and informative.
The programme offers a team building retreat for businesses and groups in the wild and Dar El Ehsan is also able to customise the programme to the needs and interests of individuals or groups.