Sunday, October 25, 2015

Mantanani Island - Homestays

Dried fish in the making

8th-11th October 2015: 2nd visit for Sharing & Caring Programme


We came back to Mantanani, this time for Sharing and Caring Programme for the adults. Our programme was brought by Shell to create and educate the community about alternative and sustainable livelihood. Since their main source of income came from the sea, we gave them a bit of soft skills and opportunities to generate future career/income. I won't go into details here. 

What I am going to show is the experience and how many of you could be of help to this Bajau Ubian community. There are many ways we could contribute to their economy, i.e. by going there itself would help the community. If you go there, please choose to stay at the homestays instead of the resorts. It's not just way too cheaper, it is also a good deed. Homestays there are certified by the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia under the 'Program Homestay Malaysia'. Their rate is reasonable, i.e. RM100 per day per person. That is a full-board rate inclusive of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in between as well as supper. Please call En. Muhammad, the homestay coordinator @ +01125319022 for reservation.

One of the homestays, how they looked like.
As for guides, you can hire any of the teenagers over there to show you around and about the island. They are really friendly people and they are eager to be of help. But ensure to pay them for their effort. For our trip, we pay all our helpers and guides RM50 a day. We treated them to all meals and refreshments that we had as well. The task was like carrying our things, introducing us to the right people and guiding us to interesting places. 

Those who want to dive or snorkel can still do so while staying at the homestays. Some of the resort accept walk-in guests. We did just that with Mantanani Dreams Resort. And we had a karaoke session over there as well. It was a wonderful experience.

Activities around the island can be planned together with the homestays as they could also provide a boat ride to Mantanani Kecil and Lunggisan Island for a picnic or just island hoping. You can easily customised your trip any time you like with an extra budget of course :)  

This is the receiving hall to welcome guests. It's still under construction when we were there.
In the future guests to homestays will be hosted at the Receiving Hall that they are building it right now. Interestingly, the hall will be built using recycled bottles filled with rubbish. It's an effort of one of the NGOs that are based over there to reduce the rubbish found on the beaches. Please be aware that rubbish are found in abundance along the beaches because of two things, (1) it was washed ashore from the mainland and (2) it was from the locals themselves as they do not have a proper garbage disposal system. 

A few NGOs have been championing this issue. The locals are acceptable and cooperative towards all the efforts. From how I see it, we just need the government to lend extra hands in transporting the garbage out of the island via regular boats as this is very costly for the community to do it themselves. Other than that, they are pretty much self sufficient. Water source is from the ground. They pump out their own water from the earth. Electricity is generated from a big generator centralised for the whole island about 6-hour a day. Yeah, please bare in mind that during day time, there will be no electricity until 6.00 p.m. Don't just stay-in during these time, go out and explore! 

Igal Igal Bajau Dance performed by children of Mantanani
On our first visit, the homestays owners threw us a BBQ dinner with charming performance of Igal Igal Dance by the children. It was really cute and quite festive. However, on our second visit, we had to go out of the island earlier than planned, so the homestays had the Igal Igal Dance performed in the morning of our departure. As we can see, these children are really cute. The custom was for guests to slit small notes in between the dancers' fingers as a token of appreciation of their dance.

The monsoon session just about to start usually from October onwards

A day before we were about to leave, it was started to rain. Strong wind and pouring rain cats and dogs at the wee hours. I was awakened by the sound and took the photo at around 3.00 a.m. from my bedroom window. It was beautiful to have rain after awhile not having it in Kuala Lumpur. I love rain. Hehehe...

Okay, the posting is too long. I don't want people to scroll to much. To be continued.

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