“Fairy Cave Festival can become a major tourist attraction”

Ik Pahon (left) trying his hand winnowing rice with a bamboo tray.

BAU, July 30: The annual Fairy Cave Festival here can be a good event to showcase the beauty of Bidayuh traditional crafts and arts.

Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Datu Ik Pahon Joyik believed that if the festival was properly coordinated and documented, it could attract both local and foreign tourists.

Ik Pahon said, for instance, the task of separating rice grains from husks using traditional tools and equipment not only depicts the true lifestyles of the Bidayuh people after the harvesting period in the past, or even now, but also showed the intricate craftwork and art that are slowly disappearing.

“The Bidayuh people should continue to preserve the old ways of doing things. They should always be proud of their culture even though all such work like that of rice processing had been taken over by technology,” he said before launching the 7th Fairy Cave Festival here on Saturday (July 28).

Ik Pahon later tried his skills on traditional rice processing by pounding rice grains with a traditional wooden pestle and mortar and separating the husk from the grains by winnowing using a woven bamboo tray.

Ik Pahon hitting the traditional gong to launch the 7th Fairy Cave Festival in Bau.

The 7th Fairy Cave Festival over the weekends attracted visitors from surrounding villages and towns, notably from Lundu, Bau and Kuching. They all seemed to enjoy themselves and were mesmerised by the traditional cultural performances, bird’s nest and honey collection demonstrations, rock climbing as well as blowpipe and traditional beauty pageant competitions.

Visitors to the festivals also got to try Bidayuh and Dayak foods and drinks, including the famous ‘tuak’ (rice wine), at stalls set up by locals. They also had the chance to buy souvenirs from local handicraft makers.

The visitors were also captivated by the singing and music of popular Bidayuh artistes on stage.

Among those present at the opening ceremony were Bau District Officer Anelia Siam and local community leaders. — DayakDaily