Tamu Besar Festival

Another late post from me about the Tamu Besar Festival happened from 24 to 25 October 2009. I first went to this annual event in year 2005 and always wanted to come back, coz it is one of the most colorful cultural events of Sabah. Too bad I missed it for 3 years for some unavoidable circumstances.


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Without my malfunction wide angle kit lens, I was partially “handicapped” and only shot with a 70-200mm tele lens. Luckily I was still able to bag some good photos. The photo of a Dusun Tobilung girl above is my favorite. Coz of less ideal lighting condition, I tried 20 times to get this.


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Tamu means Native Market in Sabah. Very week (usually morning of Fri, Sat or Sun) the traders, from different businesses and villages, gather in Tamu and sell their products. You can find basically anything here, for examples, vegetables, meat, seafood, handicrafts, local food, drink, clothing, electronics, and toys. It is an open market and crowded. Locals also socialize and mingle around.


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Besides attracting more tourists to tamu market, Tamu Besar Festival also showcasts the colorful cultures of Kota Belud, where Bajau, Iranun and Dusun Tindal people live. If you look for beautiful Bajau girls dressed in traditional Bajau costume, then you should not miss Serimpak beauty pageant.


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Bajau people love bright colors, so you always see very bright red, yellow and blue colors in their handicraft and costume. Bajau people are mainly farmers and fishermen, they are also very skillful weavers and crafter. Tamu is the best place to shop for handicrafts (baskets, containers, etc.), knife, cloth and food made by Bajau.


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Don’t miss the highlight of second day, the parade by hundred of Bajau horsemen. Bajau is skillful riders and they are also known as “Cowboys of the East”. Not only the horsemen wearing traditional costume, they also dress up their houses with colorful outfit. The show was supposed to start at 1pm, but the VIP late by more than 30 minutes. I find that the government VIPs love to be late, probably to purposely keep everyone waiting, to show that he is important.


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Then the show began, and I didn’t stop clicking shutter. I loved to get some nice shots of traditional horsemen. But some of them were wearing sun glasses, and AHH!!! the Maggi banners are just everywhere! Many photographers were there too. We were checking out the lens of others, as if we were looking at someone wife. I am planning to buy new lens, but I spent RM400 on repairing my car, RM400 for apartment management fee, insurance, etc. this month, sigh… no money..


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Bajau people can ride anything, includes buffalo. You should not miss their buffalo racing, they do it more for fun and laughter, so funny.. Buffalo has lower IQ than horse, so it is harder to control, especially making them to turn. It is not wise to use them as car then.


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When everyone was enjoying the show, a white horse lost control. It stood up and tap the rope like mad. I was not sure if it was scared or angry.


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From its below, I guess it was overexcited. Its lengthy thing made some female shy. lol…


“OMG, it’s so long…”

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Related Post:
Tamu Besar 2005

Photos taken in Kota Belud, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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