Nunuk Ragang, the birth of Kadazan Dusun

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“What is the Nunuk Ragang function about?”, my Ranau friends asked and waited for me to satisfy their curiosity. Actually I was the one who started this question, then ended up I answered it myself. Based on what I knew (which was not much), I only could tell them that according to the legend, Nunuk Ragang was the place where KadazanDusun civilization began. Every year they will visit Nunuk Ragang as a remembrance of their origin and ancestors.

Nunuk Ragang
Click Here to see 96 photos of Nunuk Ragang >>

Nunuk Ragang is about one-hour drive from Ranau, through the Ranau-Telupid-Sandakan highway. After you reach KM 54, you will cross a 100 Meters long Liwogu Bridge. Shortly you will see a big Nunuk Ragang sign board at your left, follow the sign to turn right, moving on a gravel road for 0.7 KM. Some told me I would see a beautiful BIG TREE when I reached there, some said BIG HOUSE. I was confused, Tree or House?… until I saw the 3-floor-high Nunuk Ragang Heritage Building.

Nunuk Ragang

The Nunuk Ragang Ceremony is fixed on the first weekend of July every year. I was there on Friday (Jun 30), so there were only a few workers busy preparing the site. The Nunuk Ragang Heritage Building looked like a building made from a super-big tree. I must say this is one of the most creative and interesting building in Sabah. You can see more photos of it in the photo gallery.

Nunuk Ragang
Click Here to see 96 photos of Nunuk Ragang >>

Nunuk Ragang is also a famous fishing spot among the locals. The surrounding view of Nunuk Ragang is magnificient. From there, you can see the confluence of two rivers, namely Kogibangan (left) and Kawananan (right), to form a greater river, Liwogu River. A long time ago, this place was a fertile land covered with paddy field.

Nunuk Ragang
Click Here to see 96 photos of Nunuk Ragang >>

The highlight was on second day, Jul 1. Besides the 11th Annual Visit by KDCA, that day was also the installation of Huguan Siou, the Paramount Leader of the Kadazandusuns. FYI, YB Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Datuk Kitingan is the Huguan Siou. He arrived Nunuk Ragang around 10:30AM, then he was escorted to the Heritage Building, for a 1-hour installation and blessing ceremony, which was performed by the Bobolians (traditional priests / priestesses). After the ceremony, there were a series of cultural performances and merry making activities.

Nunuk Ragang
Click Here to see 96 photos of Nunuk Ragang >>

This was a comfortable mission coz the weather in Ranau and Nunuk Ragang was cooling and refreshing. Ya, forgot to tell you the meaning of Nunuk Ragang. Based on the documentary from KDCA, Nunuk Ragang means “Red Banyan Tree” in English (Ragang = Red). This was the name of a very HUGE tree which grew next to Liwogu River in the past. Many people loved to rest on / under this tree. So from a far distance, the tree looked like in red color. Another version is – this tree produced a reddish latex which could cure skin diseases. That’s why the heritage building got a tree shape design.

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  • pinolobu

    Smokehead, you’ve done it yet again. I have not seen/read a better description of what it is like to be actually there, whether online or offline. This is even better than Sabah Tourism or KDCA or any newspaper’s account/pics/report.

  • butod studio

    i agree with pinolobu.I like the way you describe the scenery and ko punya gambar-gambar dan mandak-mandak.

  • Ora Moyer

    Yes, I agreed yours is better than Sabah Tourism or KDCA. Much much batter.

    Many official sites are poor quality that can not meet Internet standard.

    Smoke Head, congratualation to you.

  • Alex

    Congratulations for this report. It is indeed heartening to see many photojouranlist/reporter/writer wring and documenting about Kadazandudun heritage.

    I think we must resist the tempation to criticise our own people as what some people have suggested here in your blog. Blaming sabah Tourism and KDCA is not a healthy attitude. First of all, your write up only came out or rather was inspired by the efforts taken by KDCA and posted widely by Sabah Tourism. without the event, not much will come out, even the criticism. But sadly, many kadazandusun people are rather fond of criticising their own fellow countrymen. Whatever KDCA do, is always seen in the negative way. Why cant these people be appreciative. They should ask themselves, what have these people done to the community? By merely criticising, do they think that the community will progress?

    You, my Sabah, I salute u. I’m a cultural man. I see and learn a lot of things from your website. Keep it up. Show to these ungrateful people that we have responsbilities and works to do to empower the community, and we dont just sit down by the wayside and only know how to criticise. See u someday, my forum.

  • Jaimis

    To http://www.mysabah.com:
    TQ for posting the beauty contest photos from Ra ma Tazz. At least we know ahat is going on in KK, and how unscruplous people, who are insensitive to the feeling of the Kadazandusun community, can exploit the innocence, peace loving & unsuspecting Kadazanduduns.

    You can see from the photos that these contetants are not definetely potraying kaamatan. These people are potraying their bodies, their sexual dimension. Kaamatan Queen are not for all these. Kaamatan queen are to potray the beauty of the kadazandusun cultures, way of life, and projecting their aspiration for the future. Through Kaamatan, the values that are projected including unity, tolerance, self-appreciation, kindness, natural beauty etc, and not for the puprose of “commercialization” or “sexual exploitation”. I am very sorry for the contetstants, some may from the Kadazandusun community. These people do not know what the oRganizer are up to.

    I wish the Organizer from Ra Ma Tazz to have the coutesy to apologise to the Kadazandusun community and promised not to organize this kind of event anymore in the future. If ever, they want to organize, name it with other names, like “Mis Ra Ma Tazz” or “MISS ASSUGU”. Never-never use the word “Kaamatan”.

    I hope they get the message!

  • Monsopiad

    I don’t understand how can you celebrate Nunuk Ragang but the people living there has been living in darkness, without electricity since Independence. What is so great about the Huguan Siou when he can’t even provide basic needs to the people of Nunuk Ragang?

  • Monsopiad

    I don’t understand how can you celebrate Nunuk Ragang but the people living there has been living in darkness, without electricity since Independence. What is so great about the Huguan Siou when he can’t even provide basic needs to the people of Nunuk Ragang?

  • Jamaliah77

    Dear mysabah.com

    Could you email me your experience based on you observation and participation on the Nunuk Ragang Event? Is it true what Monsopiad say? I am Ranau origin doing a research on Ranau tourism. Your opinion will be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you
    Jamaliah77

  • MySabah.com

    hi Jamaliah77> thank you for your interest. to make the job easier, probably u could prepare a list of questions for me to answer. i m lazy 2 write a report lah.