Curious motorists would have discovered this little gift by nature next to the Kota Kinabalu – Sandakan main road (about 63 KM after Ranau town and 33 KM before Telupid). After a long drive on a winding and quiet road, it’s hard not to notice many cars parked at this hot spot, where many people line up to collect the water from Tobobon Taviu Spring.
Pic: the location of Tobobon Taviu Spring
Tobobon Taviu Spring is found in year 2011 – 2012 and its well water continues to flow out from the earth even during dry season. According to the locals, the water of Tobobon Taviu Spring is so clean that it’s safe to drink without boiling. Not only that, it is said to have curative properties against chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and even cancer. One of the villagers say if you cook rice with water from Tobobon Taviu Spring, the rice can stay unspoiled for a long time.
The water is cold and has no smell. There is no sediment and change of taste, even after the water is being stored for a long time.
Pic: Tobobon Taviu Spring is right beside the cliff of a hill next to the Ranau-Telupid main road
Many villagers bring big containers and wait for their turn to collect the FREE spring water to bring home. Hey, it’s like getting something better than gasoline, because Malaysians pay an average of RM1.40 for a bottle of 500-600ml mineral water but RM1.18 for same volume of petrol.
Tobobon Taviu Spring is located just in front of the Sabah Forestry District office, and it’s part of the 8,630-ha Bukit Taviu (Taviu Hill) Forest Reserve, which is fully protected for its high quality timber and as an important watershed. I think pristine forest is the answer why the water here is so clean. Crocker Range Park and Tawau Hills Park are also protected as water catchment areas so their rivers can supply clean water to Sabah.
Pic: Forestry Office of Bukit Taviu Forest Reserve
In 2013, a research on this spring was conducted, 436 respondents were interviewed and water samples were analyzed 5 times in laboratory. The report was published in Sepilok Bulletin (S. Samin, 2013. “Natural Mineral Water in Bukit Taviu Forest Reserve”. Sepilok Bulletin, Volume 17 & 18 (2013), 1-16). Most information of this blog is from this article.
Here are some interesting facts from that paper:
- Almost every respondent drinks this spring water unboiled and it rarely causes any stomach upset.
- In fact, no microbiological contamination and harmful metal is found in the water, and its cleanliness far exceeds the minimum drinking water quality standards set by the Ministry of Health, Malaysia.
- 96.1% of respondent think the water is good to their body. 65.28% of respondents reported increased sex ability (haha, but in what way?), 43.49% felt energized, 6.42% said it helped to stabilize and reduce high blood pressure.
- Some respondents believe the spring water is good in treating heart disease, gout, gastric disease, paralysis, diabetes, high cholestrol, kidney stones.
- Note: none of the health claims above is clinically proven.
- The water consists of essential minerals such as Magnesium, Calcium and Sodium. However, you also can get these minerals through normal diet.
Pic: Heart of Borneo monument next to the spring
Pic: toilet stop
FYI, there is a toilet near to Tobobon Taviu Spring for public use, you can get the key from forestry officer. Don’t worry, the sewage doesn’t go to the spring water. 😀
Sabah is so blessed because we have plenty of clean water. As world population soars and unpolluted rivers becoming rare, clean water source will be more precious than oil field in near future. According to United Nations, “By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world’s population could be living under water stressed conditions.” Hello, 2025 is only 10 years away.
However, many places in Sabah still have no access to tap water. Our water is clean when it exits treatment plant, but turn dirty after it travels in the old and rusty water pipes. Almost every house installs a water filtration system to remove the dirt. You can see the filter turns very dark in weeks and we have to boil the tap water before it is safe to drink.
“Water covers two-thirds of the surface of the Earth, but Fresh water is 0.002% on Earth.”
Photos taken in Telupid, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo