KOTA KINABALU: Sabah – known for its multi-cultural communities and diverse ethnic groups – is a cultural haven for tourists who are often eager to see the state’s traditional houses.
Visitors can now opt to cut down on the number of road trips to remote villages and visit the newly launched KDCA (Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association) Cultural Village in Penampang instead.
Also known as Koisaan Cultural Village (KCV), the houses in the area were underutilised, as they were only open to the public several times a year, mainly during the Harvest or Kaamatan festival in May.
KCV chairman Sairah Indan said it had upgraded the houses and opened the place to visitors from Feb 19.
Visitors can now tour the cultural houses and learn about the natives’ traditions through exhibitions and performances at an open stage there for a fee (RM25 for locals and RM35 for foreigners).
Visitors can also see and experience for themselves some of the traditional sports of Sabah’s Kadazandusun community.
“As it has a limited land area of just 3.6ha, we can only accommodate 11 houses for now.
“We are searching for a bigger area to accommodate all of the 40 ethnic houses available in Sabah,” Sairah said.
The 11 houses available for viewing at the moment are the Beaufort Bisaya House, Penampang Kadazan House, Kota Belud Tindal House, Ranau Liawan House, Kuala Penyu Tatana House, Keningau Gana-Kuijau House, Tuaran Lotud House, Tambunan Tuhawon House, Papar Kadazan House, Murut Lansaran House and Kudat Rungus longhouse which also accommodates other ethnic group such as the Tobilung, Tinagas, Tombonuo and Kimaragang.
Sairah said it was eyeing land at the KKIP industrial area some 26km away, but it was subject to state government approval.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who is also KDCA president, was present to officiate at the event.
During his speech, Pairin recalled the history of KDCA since its inception as Kadazan Cultural Association in 1966 until the development of its Hongkod Koisaan Cultural Unity Centre, which had been home for some 40 Kadazandusun multi-ethnic communities.
“Since 1989, this Hongkod Koisaan Cultural Unity Centre has also been the home of the sacred annual Kaamatan festival that uniquely highlights and preserves the diverse cultural heritage and multi-ethnic expressions of the cultural soul of the Kadazandusuns,” he said.
Pairin thanked the state government for continuously allocating funds for the annual festival since 1960 apart from respecting KDCA as the main implementation and coordination committee for both district and state-level festivals.
He also commended the KDCA and KCV management committee for their tireless effort in transforming the village into a centre for cultural tourism.
The KDCA Cultural Village opens Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 4pm and 5pm to 9pm.