‘Magnificent Sarawak’ Consolation Winner 1 (Adult) — Roger Teo Buan Chuan

Harlequin Flying Frog clinging to a tree. Photo by Roger Teo Buan Chuan.

By Roger Teo Buan Chuan

“This national park has more bird species (~260 species) than New Zealand (~206 species)!” he exclaimed. “The only large frog pond open to the public in Malaysia!” he continued. “It’s only a 30-minute drive from Kuching!” he added.

My younger brother incessantly pestered me about this place called Kubah National Park. I was always reluctant to join his camps, but after three years of persistent “convincing”, I gave in and joined one of his 2-days/1-night camps in Kubah National Park; silently hoping that after this camp, he would cease his relentless insistence.

Upon reaching Kubah National Park and exiting the vehicle, I found myself embraced by towering trees, the invigorating density of humid air, and the sun’s subtle penetration through the leafy canopies. I must admit, the experience was borderline surreal.

My brother handed me a camera and announced we were going birding. Initially, I wasn’t too keen. I always held this perception that colourful birds were found only in the Amazon rainforest. However, after just one hour of strolling in the national park, I was treated to a spectacle of birds in every hue of the rainbow! All this time, I had been oblivious to the fact that such charismatic birds were living in our forests.

Among all the birds we encountered, my absolute favorite had to be the Scarlet-rumped Trogon. A blend of red, orange, blue, black, and white adorned this bird, giving it an otherworldly appearance, as though it flew out of the imagination of Dr Seuss! My brother smirked as he observed my astonishment and added, “I think you’ll love tonight’s frogging.”

The Scarlet-rumped Trogon perching on a branch. Photo by Roger Teo Buan Chuan.

When night comes, the rainforest sprang to life with the symphony of frog and cicada calls, each species contributing its unique melody. Upon arriving at the entrance to the frog pond, a brilliant red creature glided across my field of vision. My gaze swiftly followed its flight path as it clung on to a tree.

“That is the Harlequin Flying Frog.” my brother explained. Seeing my astonished expression, he chuckled, “By the way, this isn’t even the most colorful frog here.”

Over the following hour, we encountered frogs showcasing a multitude of colors, spanning from the vivid emerald of the White-lipped Tree Frog to the rich, deep yellow of the File-eared Tree Frog.

“I had no idea that such colorful flying frogs were so abundant in Sarawak,” I remarked. “I always thought they were exclusive to the Amazon Rainforest.”

My brother laughed and replied, “I blame mainstream media for that.”

Landscape of Kubah National Park. Photo by Roger Teo Buan Chuan.

The next day, when I packed my items and prepared to check out of Kubah National Park, I remembered having this intense feeling of curiosity.

“What other fascinating creatures are hiding in our forests?” I asked myself. This was truly an unforgettable trip that revealed to me the profound beauties awaiting those who dare to explore our forests! — DayakDaily

DayakDaily received 153 submissions, with 106 entries under the Adult Category and the remaining 47 under the Youth Category.

Roger Teo Buan Chuan from Kuching is the Consolation Winner (Adult Category) in the ‘Magnificent Sarawak: An Unforgettable Trip’ writing competition organised by DayakDaily and supported by the Sarawak Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts and Imperial Hotel Kuching.