Heart of Borneo Highlands Eco Challenge opens for registration

From left: WWF-Malaysia senior community engagement and education officer, Alicia Ng, HOBHEC event director John Tarawe and Formadat advisor Jayl Langub presenting HOBHEC III's t-shirt to members of ghd media. Photo credit: © WWF-Malaysia/Fiona Maurice

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KUCHING, Nov 9: Attention adventure seekers the world over. The signature ecotourism event ‘Heart of Borneo Highlands Eco Challenge (HoBHEC)’, to be held from June 27 to July 10 next year, is now open for registration.

Organised by the Alliance of the Indigenous Peoples of the Highlands of Borneo (Formadat), the third edition of this biennial event will be held in the highlands of Sabah and Sarawak (Malaysia) as well as at neighbouring Kalimantan (Indonesia).

HoBHEC debuted in 2015 as a transboundary grassroots initiative aimed at promoting awareness and understanding of the highland communities in the Heart of Borneo.

The event’s objective is to promote conservation in the Maligan and Kelabit highlands and to relive history, culture, and stewardship of nature. Thus, the concept of “taking nothing but photographs, leaving nothing but footprints” was integral to the organiser and its participants.

Registration is now open till May 31, 2019. Those who register before April 30 get to enjoy a five per cent discount.

In a press statement, Formadat Sarawak’s deputy chairman and event director John Tarawe pointed out that the event aimed to promote ecotourism as a sustainable cottage industry for the communities living in the highlands of Sarawak, Sabah and North Kalimantan — all of which lies within the Heart of Borneo (HoB).

“It is an event supported by the World Wide Fund for Nature Malaysia (WWF-Malaysia), Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), Ministry of Tourism and Heart of Borneo Tourism Task Force, just to name a few.

“We also hope to establish sustainable alternative livelihood means for the local communities through this ecotourism event and increase the sense of appreciation for the environment among locals and visitors,” he said.

Formadat also hoped that HobHEC III would help market Borneo’s northern highlands as a green tourism destination, in line with the Visit the Heart of Borneo campaign launched this year.

From June 27 to July 10 next year, the event offers a range of packages with a variety of trails to cater to the different interests and needs of the participants. The shortest route is five days, while the longest trail may take up to two weeks.

HoBHEC III offers seven packages for 2019 participants, the Cross-Country Journey (5D4N), Jungle Exploration (5D4N), A Walk in the Clouds (7D6N), Journey in the Wild (9D8N, Highland Discovery (10D9N), Highlands Adventure (10D9N), and Warrior’s Trail (14D13N). They are priced between RM2,300 and RM5,650.

More details on the packages can be found at www.hobecochallenge.com. — DayakDaily