Sunday, December 20, 2009

Abandoned Summit Village at Gunung Jagoi 09.12.18

Kampung Bung Jagoi is located very close to the highest point on Mount Jagoi. “Bung” in the Bidayuh language means top, peak or summit. Therefore, Bung Jagoi means Summit of Jagoi. This village has been uninhabited for a number of years. There is only one family left here, tending to their gardens and farm. Talked to a villager who still lived up here during my first visit and was told that they too will move eventually, leaving the place totally deserted.

See also:
1. Gunung Jagoi main post
2. Flora of Gunung Jagoi
3. Local fruits at Gunung Jagoi
4. Abandoned Summit Village at Gunung Jagoi (this one)

So where have all the former inhabitants gone to? It is a long trek on foot up from the base of the mountain to this village, in this day and age who wants to do that? Therefore, they have all moved to new land at the base of the mountain living in much more modern houses with all the modern conveniences of good mobile phone reception and broadband internet access.

There used to be electricity power here since there are power lines (no longer live). However, because they are at the top of the mountain, there is no source for fresh water except collected rain water.

An abandoned house in very poor condition.

Dayak homes in Sarawak often have a platform in front of their houses or long houses. In Bidayuh homes, this platform is called the tonyu (tanju in Iban) pronounced with a hard “k” sound at the end (this is how most words ending with a vowel are pronounced in Sarawak). The tonyu is where paddy, pepper and other crops are laid out to dry on woven mats.

The tonyu on this nearly tumbled-down house is overgrown with mosses and lichen.

This tonyu or platform is in very bad condition.

A small clump of Dendrobium crumenatum and small ferns have established themselves here.

Even though the village is no longer inhabited, census cards are still posted here every year as these houses still have owners and are registered with the government. Most of the owners come up every now and then to tend to their property. Every year, the dayak Gawai festival (harvest festival) is celebrated here. Gawai Antu (Ghost festival) is also celebrated here by the Jagoi Bidayuh tribe (this festival is only celebrated by certain Bidayuh tribes).

Gunny sacks filled with paddy (old and rotted away, remaining only the husks) indicating some farmers still come up here to tend their farm lands and stay in their “abandoned” homes.

Collected, chopped and stored firewood. I suppose gas cylinders are too heavy to lug all the way up here.

This must be where the electricity meter used to be. The house no longer inhabited, it has been removed.

Another abandoned house in very poor condition. Some of the owners clearly have not been back to check their property for a very long time.

A stag horn fern hung from a water tank of an abandoned house.

I was pleased to find this posted here. The program list or itinerary of a recently held workshop by the Sarawak Biodiversity Dept. On it was listed workshops to identify and catalogue useful plants and herbs. They also collected and prepared plants for an herbarium. Good that the government makes an effort to involve the Bidayuh community in such nature programs.

I was NOT pleased to see this however. Discarded water bottles left behind by visitors. Why can’t they bring it back to dispose of them properly? Did their arms fall off at the end of the summit trek? Bring your own shit back!

Rain water is collected into large storage tanks such as these.

The flower of a bean called four-sided or four-angled beans. 

A simple trellis made for four-angled bean plants.

Four-angled beans. Very good stir fried with belacan or oyster sauce. Also very good in a simple stir fry with ikan bilis. May also be eaten as an ulam (boiled/steamed and eaten with a dipping sauce or sambal).

Cats’ whiskers. This plant has medicinal values. Google it, pretty interesting stuff.

Flowers of a pea species?

There is still one family living here so there were some clothes hung out to dry.

This round building is called a baruk. It is where village meetings are held. In the days of head-hunters, it was also used to smoke and dry the skulls of enemies. ;-)

An old kerosene pressure lamp. You fill it with benzene or kerosene, light it and pump up the pressure and the “bulb” will flare up producing a very bright light.

For more photos of the entire trek, please visit my Flickr photoset (click here). sorry, flickr pro account expired!


Anonymous said...

Interesting observations. Coincidently tomorrow, 09-07-2011, the Jagoi Development Committee (comprising of individuals from several villages around the mountain)with support from the Ministry of Tourism and Sarawak Shell Bhd is launching the "Community-Based Ecotourism" Project. The event will take place at the old village. Several development and restoration activities will be undertaken over the next few years.

To enable ecotourism development be made possible a complete documentation of the resources in the area will be undertaken. The multi-disciplinary assessment (MDA) of the biodiversity resources and the documentation of historical records and cultural richness of the surrounding forests and villages is to be undertaken by the Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation (IBEC) from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS). Interested scientists / individuals who wish to be part of this study can contact Andrew Alek Tuen (IBEC) at +60-82-582997, Alexender Sayok (+60-82-582994)or Gabriel Tonga Noweg at +60-82-583668.

sarawaklens said...

Anon, thank you for your comment. Sounds like a great initiative! I'm sure it will be a success.

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