Bau Travelogue Day 6: Bung Jagoi’s summit of unspoken love, healing rituals, Bung Bratak’s bamboo gatherer

The stone structure with the engraving of Miss Pangus' name dated May 17, 1965 at Bung Jagoi's summit, Bau. Photo taken on May 24, 2024.

By D’Diggers Team

BAU, May 24: High atop Bung Jagoi’s mountain lies a love story unrealised, where a man, captivated by a local beauty, harbours feelings that have remained unspoken for many, many moons.

In the year 1965, a lady named Miss Pangus joined a team of adventurous officers ascending the rugged heights of Bung Jagoi, and despite the forest’s viridescence, one man instead found his heart drawn to her grace and allure.

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Silent in his expression, the man instead immortalised Miss Pangus’ name in the stone at the foot of the trigonometric beacon, which he and the other officers erected—a lasting tribute that serves as the proof of his love.

According to the local guide, 75-year-old Juis Megan, Miss Pangus and the man never had the opportunity to foster their relationship further, as fate intervened, abruptly separating them when the man was summoned to distant lands for work.

“I don’t remember the name of the man,” said Juis when asked by DayakDaily, “But Miss Pangus still lives here. They (Miss Pangus and the man) were still young and unmarried when they both met”.

Even to this day, as trekkers ascend towards Bung Jagoi’s summit, they can still glimpse the stone upon which he engraved her name, a timeless symbol of his enduring affection for her.

The Land and Survey STG station where the stone is located.

Due to the rainy evening the day before (May 23), the D’Diggers Team missed the opportunity to witness the sunset at the peak and settled down for a sunrise landscape instead.

We woke up at 5.30am and began our trek after a quick recharge with coffee and some crackers. Setting off towards the summit before 6am, we relied on phone flashlights as our torchlights had unfortunately run out of battery.

In a brief ascent of roughly twenty minutes, we journeyed on with our hike and were later greeted by a breathtaking landscape at the summit, with blankets of clouds draped over the thick forests. Sadly, our arrival was just a tad late to catch the rising sun.

During the trek, one of the D’Diggers team members unfortunately suffered cramps due to the physical exertion. As we were already at Bung Jagoi, the team decided to make a stop at Ayak Skuang, a miraculous water source believed by locals to possess healing properties.

We witnessed Juis performing a healing ritual with a few leaves that were gathered along the way, namely the ‘dowon lingiet’ (lingiet leaf), ‘dowon sibodoh’ (sibodoh leaf), ‘dowon onok dodah’ (twigs or leaves of any kind of plants), and ‘bikolam’ while our team member was asked to drink the water from Ayak Skuang.

After the ritual, Juis tossed the leaves away. Intrigued, and since there was no harm in trying, we each took a bottle of water from Ayak Skuang’s home. On the descent from Bung Jagoi, our D’Diggers Team member appeared to walk with more ease after the healing ritual.

Morning landscape of the Bung Jagoi summit with clouds carpeting the forests.
Healing ritual performed by Juis on one of the D’Diggers Team members using the water at Ayak Skuang.

One more trek, and Bung Bratak’s bamboo gatherer

Bung Bratak is another ‘bung’ (mountain) for the D’Diggers Team to check off the list, and although our weary bones and tired legs threatened to falter, we pressed on, pulled by the tempting call of Bau’s nature.

The trek to Bung Bratak is an easy one, with each stony step guiding us upward in a journey taking no more than half an hour, a trail friendly to adventures of all ages, children and elderlies alike.

Bamboo littered the trail, and as we ascended higher, we came across freshly harvested bamboo shoots that caught our attention. Perhaps there was someone nearby who had yet to gather the bamboo shoots into their basket.

Sure enough, just about a hundred metres away, we heard the sound of bamboo being cut and saw a traditional woven basket resting on the trail. A lady, surrounded by the tall bamboo, was harvesting its shoots.

While we tried to engage her, she didn’t approach us as she was occupied with her task. However, she did tell us she was harvesting the bamboo shoots for her relative’s wedding, which would take place the following day.

The sojourn continued, and upon our arrival at the Bung Jagoi Heritage Centre, we could view the mountains from where we were standing. We could only imagine how much more spectacular it would look during sunrise and sunset.

Bung Bratak is just 39km away from Kuching, approximately a 50-minute drive. For those who wish to skip the trail entirely, there is a vehicle path leading directly to the Bung Bratak Heritage Centre.

At the Bung Bratak Heritage Centre, visitors can immerse themselves in the cultural heritage and history of the Bidayuh people. Entry requires payment of an entrance fee of RM10 per person. — DayakDaily

Bung Bratak Heritage Centre entrance point by car.
Trail littered with bamboo along the way towards Bung Bratak Heritage Centre.
The lady we found harvesting bamboo shoots during the trail heading to Bung Bratak Heritage Centre.
Bamboo shoots stored inside the traditional weaved basket.
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