Tag Archives: Kudat

Supirak Island, an Island of Sorrow

During low tide, you can walk to Supirak Island from mainland

Are you a tourist who loves sightseeing at popular attractions, or a traveller who enjoys exploring destinations off the beaten path? If you are a traveller, visit Pitas, a remote area of Sabah that even Internet doesn’t know much. If you google Pitas, you will find a round pocket bread named Pita instead lol.

Ragam and other occupants on the ship were turned into rocks

Supirak Island is the most popular attraction in Pitas now

Kampung Malubang (or Malubang Village), a peaceful fishing village in Pitas, has the saddest legend in Sabah. This story debuted in musical theater of Sabah Fest 2017 and received overwhelming responses. Tickets were sold out to people who wanted a good cry.

The Supirak Legend

Supirak Island is amazing because it resembles a petrified big ship. Locals say it was a ship turned into a rock due to a curse from a mother to her son. It’s really shocking because mothers would never want to harm their son. Why did such terrible thing happen?

Supirak Island

Si Ragam and other occupants on the ship were turned into rocks

Ok, the legend goes like this. Long time ago in Kougun Village there lived a couple. The man was a fisherman, who went missing in a fishing trip and left behind his pregnant housewife, Supirak (or Odu Gerawang). She gave birth Si Ragam, a boy grew up as a responsible and hardworking man who really cared about his mother. He built a small hut for both on the seaside of Torong Puteh. To Supirak, Si Ragam means everything to her.

Ragam wanted to leave home to explore the world and promised his mom that he would come back

Si Ragam wanted to leave home to explore the world and promised his mom that he would come back

One day, a ship docked at Torong Puteh to be resupplied. Being ambitious, Si Ragam asked for his mother’s permission to work on-board for better prospect. He promised Supirak that he would return home one day. Before he left, his mother took a strand of his hair as a keepsake.

Ragam fell in love with princess Dayang Dundunai

Ragam fell in love with princess Dayang Dundunai and married her

Due to his diligence and intelligence, Si Ragam became the captain of the ship. A few years later, his ship landed on an island called Pulau Intan. He met the king in Istana Bahkiah with his merchant boss. During the visit, Ragam fell in love with the princess, Dayang Dundunai, and married her months later.

Supirak and villagers were so happy to see Ragam coming home

Supirak and villagers were so excited to see Ragam coming home

One day Si Ragam was on a voyage with his wife and parked his ship at Torong Puteh. The villagers were so excited when they recognized Si Ragam. They held a big party to welcome Si Ragam. Supirak was so happy when everyone told her that her beloved son was back.

Ragam didn't acknowledge his mother and chased her out of the ship

Ragam didn’t acknowledge his mother and chased her away

She boarded the ship to meet her son. Unfortunately, seeing Supirak in ragged clothes, Si Ragam was too ashamed of acknowledging her as his mother in front of his royal wife, and he chased her out of the ship.

The heart-broken Supirak cursed her son

The heart-broken Supirak cursed her son

Devastated and disheartened, Supirak rowed back to the shore. She was then mocked by the villagers. In deep resentment, Supirak took out Ragam’s hair and cursed her son. Suddenly, a heavy storm came to rock the ship. Ragam regretted his wrongdoing and cried aloud begging for forgiveness. It was too late too little. The ship and its occupants turned into stone.

Ragam, his people and ship turned into rock

Ragam begged for forgiveness. He and his people were turning into rock with the ship

In the next morning, Kougon village turned into canals and small gulfs. The villagers who were dancing a day before had turned into stones forming islets. Si Ragam’s carriage and three plates used for the meal had also turned into stones. Odu Gerawang’s small hut also turned into a stone arch.

The Rocks

Even today you can see the six “relics” of the legend, which are located near to one another in Malubang. FYI, Batu means “Rock” in Malay language.

Supirak Island

The ship, Supirak Island, is the highlight of the legend. It’s accessible as you can hire a boat from Malubang Village to send you there.

Supirak Island really looks like a ship

Supirak Island really looks like a ship

The boat ride to Supirak Island takes less than 10 minutes from Malubang Village. In good weather, the shallow sea is in beautiful emerald color, like something from the world of legend.

Supirak Island is near to Malubang Village in Pitas

Supirak Island is near to Malubang Village in Pitas

Jetty of Supirak Island

Jetty of Supirak Island

The district government tries to develop this island as a tourist destination, so jetty and structures were constructed on the island.

Local fisherman family unwinds at Supirak Island

Local fisherman family unwinds at Supirak Island

When I reached Supirak Island, there was a local fisherman family fishing and swimming around the jetty. Though they are not used to tourists, they are very friendly to outsiders.

Modern version of Ragam

Modern version of Si Ragam lol

We walked on the 30-Meter wooden boardwalk to enter the island, followed by a 12-Meter steep staircase that helps us get to the top of Supirak Island.

The boardwalk and staircase lead to the top of Supirak Island

The boardwalk and staircase lead to the top of Supirak Island

When the government developed the island, a few 2,000-year-old skeletons and relics were found. I don’t know whether these are Si Ragam and his followers.

The observatory platform that looks like a mainsail of a boat

The observatory platform that looks like a mainsail of a boat

In the centre of the island, there is an observatory platform with some exhibition about the legend in English and Malay languages. However, the pictures are faded and the text are barely readable.

The bow-like structure at the head of Supirak Island

The bow-like structure at the head of Supirak Island

Then we walked about 200 Meters on a paved path under the tree shade to reach the bow (front) of the island. I saw a few Megapode nests along the way.

You can see Banggi, Balambangan and Maliagin Islands from the top of Supirak Island

You can see Banggi, Balambangan and Maliagin Islands from the top of Supirak Island

The tip of Supirak Island is pointing to the north of Sabah, so you can see Banggi, Balambangan and Maliagin Islands from its top. In fact, Banggi Island is only 20 minutes away by boat ride.

Supirak Island is about 250 Meters long

Supirak Island is about 250 Meters long

There is no toilet and other recreational amenities on the island, so nothing much you can do there, except playing Titanic pose and pirates of the Caribbean. The view up there is nice anyway.

sea cave in Supirak Island

This is a sea cave in Supirak Island

Batu Gerawang

At the beach facing Supirak Island, you can find the house of Supirak, which is a stone arch now.

Batu Odu Gerawang on the beach. The bathtub-like structure far behind is one of the freshwater wells

Batu Odu Gerawang on the beach. The bathtub-like structure far behind is one of the freshwater wells

Imagine she was standing there looking at the ship with broken heart. What her son did to her was unthinkable. Abandoning parents is simply an inhuman act in any culture.

The Batu Odu Gerawang rock in different angles. The one at the right looks like a sad woman

The Batu Odu Gerawang rock in different angles. The one at the right looks like a sad woman

Freshwater Wells

Not far in front of Batu Gerawang are three freshwater wells, which were the water supply for Supirak.

The freshwater wells are in front of Batu Odu Gerawang rock

The freshwater wells are in front of Batu Odu Gerawang rock

During my visit, these waterholes were submerged in high tide, so I wasn’t able to taste it to tell if it’s freshwater. Anyway, it’s confirmed freshwater by the locals.

The three freshwater wells in the sea

The three freshwater wells in the sea

One of the wells is enclosed in cement structure which is meant to preserve it (see pictures no.1 above). However, the wall obstructs the flow of the freshwater, causing sand piled up and cover the opening, not good.

Batu Talam

Batu Talam is said look like a food cover.

Batu Talam, the rock turned from the traditional food cover

Batu Talam, the rock turned from the traditional food cover

You can land on it and make funny surfing pose under its wave rock lol.

Surfing under wave-like wall of Batu Talam

“Surfing” under wave-like wall of Batu Talam

Batu Berunsai

Next is the Batu Berunsai islet that looks like a group of people.

The village people in the party were turned into rocks of Batu Berunsai

The village people in the party were turned into rocks of Batu Berunsai

The locals said these standing stones are the villagers who were turned into rocks in the party for Si Ragam.

Stones of Batu Berunsai

Stones of Batu Berunsai

This is a beautful islet with mangrove trees grow between the rocks. At one side of the island, I saw rocks that look like killer whale and shark fin.

Another side of Batu Berunsai

Another side of Batu Berunsai. Notice the rock that looks like orca?

One of the rocks looks like a woman in grief. Could it be Supirak?

This stone on Batu Berunsai Islet looks like the sad mother of Ragam

This stone on Batu Berunsai Islet looks like the sad mother of Ragam

Batu Dulang

These three rocks with flat surface were the plates or containers for the food, our guide said.

Batu Dulang, which was the plates of Ragam

Batu Dulang, which was the plates of Ragam

You can climb onto the rocks to take some interesting shots. It’s kind of cool, like a music album cover.

Standing on Batu Dulang

Standing on Batu Dulang. Look like a photo of music album cover haha

The following video gives you an overview of these rocks:

These six rock wonders are in the sea. You need to get a boat to reach them.

The locations of all rocks and island related to Supirak legend

The locations of all rocks and island related to Supirak legend

Just ask around in Malubang Village. Most villagers own a boat, so you can easily charter a boat for less than RM80 (about USD$20) for a half-day cruise. The small boat can take about 5 passengers, so each person pays less than RM20 after sharing the cost.

How to get there

A day trip to these rocks is possible, though overnight stay is recommended. From Kota Kinabalu City (KK), there are two ways to reach Supirak Island and other rocks. Try to arrive Malubang before noon, so you can have more time to enjoy the tour.

1. Easy and Fast Way (4 Hours)

In KK city centre, you can get a long distance bus / van / taxi readily near Padang Merdeka (Merdeka Field, see Location Map) to Kudat town, which takes nearly 3 hours one way. Then go to the harbour at the edge of Kudat town to charter a boat. That would cost around RM500 (about USD$125) per boat, and it can reach Malubang within an hour (one way).

On the way to Supirak Island

On the way to Supirak Island

2. Long Way (6+ Hours)

This requires you to drive a total of 220+ KM (5 to 6 hours road trip), so consider this option only if you plan to overnight in Pitas or Malubang. You need to own (or rent) a transport, preferably 4-wheel drive. First drive from KK to Pitas town (160 KM) on asphalt road, then drive another 60 KM on gravel road to Malubang (and enjoy 2 hours of free butt massage). At Malubang Village, you can hire a boat to visit the rocks. For accommodation, you can stay in Malubang Homestay in Malubang Village.

During low tide, you can walk to Supirak Island from mainland

During low tide, you can walk to Supirak Island from mainland

The GPS Coordinates of Malubang Village is 6.959509, 117.060136 (see Location Map). Please keep in mind the village is so remote that it has no data and Internet connection. You would have problem if you navigate with Waze or Google Map.

FYI, the plot of Supirak legend is 90% similar to story of Si Tanggang, which is very well-known in Peninsular Malaysia. However, you only can see these legendary rocks in Sabah.

Photos taken in Pitas, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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Result: Unduk Ngadau 2016 (Miss Harvest Festival, Sabah)

From left to right: 1st Runner-up: Claryssa Henry (Kudat), The Queen: Sherry Ann Laujang (Penampang), 2nd-Runner-up: Fenny Ester Joslin (Banggi)

A new queen was born on 31 May 2016, after 44 contestants from different Sabah and Malaysia districts competed for the State-Level Unduk Ngadau 2016* title (Miss Harvest Festival of Sabah), which marks the end of month-long Kaamatan celebration (Harvest Festival). The photos below are clickable to zoom in.

Group photo of Top 7 Winners of Unduk Ngadau 2016. From left to right: Patriciaelsa Jimy (Klang Valley), Vinny Alvionitta Sasising (Matunggong), Claryssa Henry (Kudat), Sherry Ann Laujang (Penampang), Fenny Ester Joslin (Banggi), Christine Joan Charles (Papar), Charmine Bartholomew (Kapayan)

Top 7 Winners of Unduk Ngadau 2016. From left to right: Patriciaelsa Jimy (Klang Valley), Vinny Alvionitta Sasising (Matunggong), Claryssa Henry (Kudat), Sherry Ann Laujang (Penampang), Fenny Ester Joslin (Banggi), Christine Joan Charles (Papar), Charmine Bartholomew (Kapayan)

Result: Unduk Ngadau 2016

The following is the result:
Unduk Ngadau 2016: Sherry Ann Laujang (Penampang)
1st Runner-Up: Claryssa Henry (Kudat)
2nd Runner-Up: Fenny Ester Joslin (Banggi)
3rd Runner Up: Vinny Alvionitta Sasising (Matunggong)
4th Runner Up: Christine Joan Charles (Papar)
5th Runner Up: Patriciaelsa Jimy (Klang Valley)
6th Runner Up: Charmine Bartholomew (Kapayan)

From left to right: 1st Runner-up: Claryssa Henry (Kudat), The Queen: Sherry Ann Laujang (Penampang), 2nd-Runner-up: Fenny Ester Joslin (Banggi)

From left to right: 1st Runner-up: Claryssa Henry (Kudat), The Queen: Sherry Ann Laujang (Penampang), 2nd-Runner-up: Fenny Ester Joslin (Banggi)

Unduk Ngadau Beauty Pageant has been around since 1940s, but it only becomes an official annual competition in 1960. It is the highlight of the Kaamatan, and in the video below, you can see the crowd went crazy when the top 7 finalists were “unveiled”.

Unduk Ngadau 2016: Sherry Ann Laujang (Penampang)

Sherry is simply gorgeous. Her skin is so “radiant” that it almost makes my photos overexposed, no kidding. She has the look of a queen. However, she was extremely nervous during the contest. Her elder sister, Samantha Sharon C.E. Launjang, is the 4th runner-up of State-Level Unduk Ngadau 2012.

Unduk Ngadau 2016: Sherry Ann Laujang (Penampang)

Unduk Ngadau 2016: Sherry Ann Laujang (Penampang)

Most guys would agree with me that many beautiful Kadazan sumandak (girls) are concentrated in Penampang area. Out of 56 State-Level Unduk Ngadau contests in the past, Penampang won the title 25 times (now 26)!

Sherry Ann Laujang in traditional Kadazan costume

Sherry Ann Laujang in traditional Kadazan costume

Sherry is 21-year-old, and she is from Kampung Ramayah. She is a Kadazandusun with 25% British blood (her great-grandfather was a Briton), and she just earned her accounting diploma from UiTM Sabah.

Sherry Ann Laujang in evening gown

Sherry Ann Laujang in evening gown

1st Runner-Up: Claryssa Henry (Kudat)

Claryssa was the strongest rival of Sherry. Her name was heard everywhere in the beginning, and she has a lot of supporters.

1st Runner-Up: Claryssa Henry (Kudat)

1st Runner-Up: Claryssa Henry (Kudat)

Claryssa Henry in traditional Rungus costume

Claryssa Henry was wearing a traditional Rungus costume called sukolop. Many people didn’t think that it’s a good idea because sukolop is a thinner clothing Rungus women wear at home and farm, and too simple for formal events. She proceeded anyway to create more awareness about this dress.

After the competition, there is a hot debate which says Kudat should have won the first place, because most people think Claryssa was doing better than Sherry in Q&A session.

Claryssa Henry in evening gown

Claryssa Henry in evening gown

I don’t understand Kadazandusun language, so I don’t know who is right. Anyway, the judges had mentioned that 40% of the score is based on beauty, 30% on traditional costume, 20% on presentation and 10% on attitude.

Therefore, Q&A is not the sole factor for winning, though it’s important. No matter what, hopefully everyone will stop quarrelling about this during festive time. Both of them are fabulous girls.

2nd Runner-Up: Fenny Ester Joslin (Banggi)

2nd Runner-Up: Fenny Ester Joslin (Banggi)

2nd Runner-Up: Fenny Ester Joslin (Banggi)

Fenny Ester Joslin in traditional Rungus costume

Fenny Ester Joslin in a traditional Rungus costume called tapi

Fenny Ester Joslin in evening gown

Fenny Ester Joslin in evening gown

3rd Runner Up: Vinny Alvionitta Sasising (Matunggong)

Vinny is my favorite candidate actually. She is picture perfect. She will definitely win the Miss Photogenic title if there is one. She is awarded the subsidiary title of Miss Natural Beauty.

3rd Runner Up: Vinny Alvionitta Sasising (Matunggong)

3rd Runner Up: Vinny Alvionitta Sasising (Matunggong)

Vinny Alvionitta Sasising in traditional Rungus costume

Vinny Alvionitta Sasising in traditional Rungus costume

4th Runner Up: Christine Joan Charles (Papar)

Whenever Christine showed up, the people went gaga, and their scream almost broke my eardrums. There must be something special about her. Can anyone tell me please?

4th Runner Up: Christine Joan Charles (Papar)

4th Runner Up: Christine Joan Charles (Papar)

She is also the winner of Miss Conservation WWF Subsidiary Title. She will be attached to Sabah WWF to raise awareness on the conservation and wildlife issues from 1 Jun 2016 to 31 May 2017.

Christine Joan Charles in traditional Kadazan Papar costume

Christine Joan Charles in traditional Kadazan Papar costume

5th Runner Up: Patriciaelsa Jimy (Klang Valley)

Besides contestants from Sabah, we also have participants from Klang Valley, Labuan and Johor.

5th Runner Up: Patriciaelsa Jimy (Klang Valley). She is wearing traditional Dusun Tindal costume

5th Runner Up: Patriciaelsa Jimy (Klang Valley). She is wearing traditional Dusun Tindal costume

Patriciaelsa Jimy in evening gown

Patriciaelsa Jimy in evening gown

6th Runner Up: Charmine Bartholomew (Kapayan)

6th Runner Up: Charmine Bartholomew (Kapayan)

6th Runner Up: Charmine Bartholomew (Kapayan)

The Crowning

As there are over 40 Unduk Ngadau, so the competition took a long time and finished at 7:40pm.

Ryannie Neils Yong, the Reigning Queen (Unduk Ngadau 2015)

Ryannie Neils Yong, the Reigning Queen (Unduk Ngadau 2015), came to say Hi Hi and Bye Bye. You know the drill.

In first round, 15 contestants were selected, then shortlisted to top 7 in second round, and at last the Q&A round to decide the winners.

The moment of the final announcement

The moment of the final announcement

The Rungus ladies from northern district rocked the stage this year, when contestants from Kudat, Banggi and Matunggong won 1st, 2nd and 3rd runner-up (plus Miss Natural Beauty) respectively. Besides, Unduk Ngadau of Pitas also won the Most Creative Evening Gown (with Rungus motif as theme).

Yay! A new queen is born!

Yay! A new queen is born!

Kudat district is used to be famous for three things, i.e. longhouse, coconut and peanut. Now I guess it is famous for pretty girls too lol.

Crowning of Unduk Ngadau 2016

Crowning of Unduk Ngadau 2016

From left to right: 1st Runner-up: Claryssa Henry (Kudat), The Queen: Sherry Ann Laujang (Penampang), 2nd-Runner-up: Fenny Ester Joslin (Banggi)

From left to right: 1st Runner-up: Claryssa Henry (Kudat), The Queen: Sherry Ann Laujang (Penampang), 2nd-Runner-up: Fenny Ester Joslin (Banggi)

Sherry Ann Laujang (Penampang) is named the State-Level Unduk Ngadau 2016

Sherry Ann Laujang (Penampang) is named the State-Level Unduk Ngadau 2016

Subsidiary Titles

There are three Subsidiary Titles being awarded during Sodop Unduk Ngadau Charity Dinner on 29 May 2016. Below is the result:
Miss Conservation WWF: Christine Joan Charles (Papar)
Miss Friendly (Tati Tosuau): Dorizah Noh Tongod (Tongod) (Can I add her in Facebook?)
Miss Natural Beauty (Tati Topiodo): Vinny Alvionitta Sasising (Matunggong)

Unduk Ngadau Charity Dinner on 29 May 2016

Unduk Ngadau Charity Dinner on 29 May 2016

Winners of Subsidiary Titles

Winners of Subsidiary Titles

Miss Natural Beauty: Vinny Alvionitta Sasising (Matunggong)

Miss Natural Beauty (Tati Topiodo): Vinny Alvionitta Sasising (Matunggong)

Miss Conservation: Christine Joan Charles (Papar)

Miss Conservation WWF: Christine Joan Charles (Papar). Ok, please scream.

Miss Friendship: Dorizah Noh Tongod (Tongod)

Miss Friendly (Tati Tosuau): Dorizah Noh Tongod (Tongod)

Top 7 Most Creative Evening Gown

That evening every Unduk Ngadau was wearing evening gown designed with Sabah ethnic theme. Top 7 best designs were selected, and the dress (designed by Petrus Boyd Pensin) of Treacy Chee from Pitas won the Most Creative Evening Gown award.

Most Creative Evening Gown by Treacy Chee from Pitas

Most Creative Evening Gown designed by Petrus Boyd Pensin, and presented by Treacy Chee from Pitas

This colorful theme is inspired by Rungus motif. I saw patterns that symbolize flower, lizard and people.

Most Creative Evening Gown by Treacy Chee from Pitas

Most Creative Evening Gown presented by Treacy Chee from Pitas

This gala night is a good time to see the youthful side of Unduk Ngadau. You can check out my Facebook album for more photos.

One of the Top 7 Most Creative Evening Gown (Model: Hyellene Danius, Unduk Ngadau of Tuaran )

One of the Top 7 Most Creative Evening Gown (Model: Hyellene Danius, Unduk Ngadau of Tuaran )

One of the Top 7 Most Creative Evening Gown (Model: Sharon Joseph, Unduk Ngadau of Libaran)

One of the Top 7 Most Creative Evening Gown (Model: Sharon Joseph, Unduk Ngadau of Libaran)

One of the Top 7 Most Creative Evening Gown (Model: Norfainie Binti Diwalang, Unduk Ngadau of Pagalungan)

One of the Top 7 Most Creative Evening Gown (Model: Norfainie Binti Diwalang, Unduk Ngadau of Pagalungan)

One of the Top 7 Most Creative Evening Gown (Model: Muntel Binti Santangan, Unduk Ngadau of Lahad Datu)

One of the Top 7 Most Creative Evening Gown (Model: Muntel Binti Santangan, Unduk Ngadau of Lahad Datu)

One of the Top 7 Most Creative Evening Gown (Model: Laura Simon, Unduk Ngadau of Likas)

One of the Top 7 Most Creative Evening Gown (Model: Laura Simon, Unduk Ngadau of Likas)

Congratulations to all the Winners!

Bare feet beauty pageant

Bare feet beauty pageant

You may notice this beauty pageant is very different. First, everyone is on bare feet. Second, “Gong Hair” is the standard hairstyle for the contestants. If you like their hair, watch the video by Beverley Shim to make one:

In fact, Unduk Ngadau Contest is a tradition to commemorate Huminodun, a maiden who sacrificed herself to save the starving people. You can read the very interesting and informative article titled Not just a beauty pageant, written by Melissa Leong, to understand the true meaning of this event.

“Kaamatan without Unduk Ngadau is not kaamatan. It will be like a song without rhythm.” -Joanna Kitingan (Chairperson of Sabah state-level Unduk Ngadau)

*”Unduk” literally means the shoot of a plant, signifying youth and progressiveness, and “Ngadau” means sun, connoting the beauty of the heart, mind and body of an ideal KadazanĀ­dusun woman.

Photos taken in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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