It has been a week since I came back to my homeland – Sabah. Alex and I arrived Kota Kinabalu on Sunday morning, 18 Jun. We spent two days with my parents and siblings in KK, and on Tuesday morning we hopped onto my brother chyau’s double cabins truck, travelled overland from the West coast to the East coast Sandakan – the place where my father first landed in 1940.

My father was born in China, Canton, Chung San Province. He exiled from his homeland in the Japanese occupation during 2nd world war… For now, I save the juice of his story… let’s get back to the overland tale.

The overland journey was quite fun for me. If you never drive from KK to Sandakan before, no worry! There is only one way. The trick is, “keep going straight and do not turn at any road junction, you will end up in Sandakan.” The whole journey takes around 5-6 hours, but of course, we stopped over at a few places for lunch and sight seeing.

Unfortunately the weather wasn’t good enough for Alex to have a distant view of Mt. Kinabalu. Mt. Kinabalu, claimed as the highest mountain from mainland Southeast Asia to New Guine, was well hiden behind layers of thick clouds.

tea valley signage

We stopped over that the Sabah Tea Plantation for lunch. The food is quite pricy and it has a very nice view over the tea planation to the mountain valley. I have been to this place before. I remember seeing its tea processing machine on a school field trip many years ago when I was still a high school student at Tshung Tsin Secondary School. And the impression of the green tea leaves over the close view of Mt. Kinabalu is still deep in my head.

tea valley

After lunch, while we continued our journey, we also visited a place called, “Nunuk Ragang”, which commemorates the origin of the Kadazandusun and coincides with the installation of the ‘Huguan Siou’ or Paramount Leader of the tribe.

Nunuk Rangan

This tree-like structure was built out of cement. The main hall displays some pictures, objects and written articles, giving visitors a brief background of the tribe. Unfortunately due to lack of maintainance, it looks worn down and has been territorised by birds.

wounded nunuk

Here’s my brother Chyau halfway walking up. The brown structure sits in the middle of the green forest…

nunuk ragang

A blessing ceremony will be performed by the Babolians or traditional priests/priestesses, followed by a cultural performances and more merry making on 30 June – 1 July, in Kg. Tompios, district of Ranau.