Location : Dusun Pala Pasang, Desa Pala Pasang, Kecamatan Entikong, Kabupaten Sanggau, Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia.
If you have ever been up to the Borneo Highland Resort and stood near the border peg and looked down the cliff over to the Indonesian side, you would have noticed numerous spots along the Sekayam River. One of these spots is the village of Pala Pasang which can be reached by boat via Entikong. Travelling time – 3hrs. We have passed this village over the years on two occasions on our way to Suruh Engkadok to celebrate ‘Gawai Nyarok’ a joint Gawai event between it and the Sarawak village of Sadir. (Check out our Gawai Nyarok at Suruh Engkadok here)
But this time we decided to spend 2 nights here in Pala Pasang. The down side of traveling the Sekayam river during the dry season is that passengers need to disembark now and then to push the perahu through shallow waters. For the villagers this would be the most exciting time of the year to do ‘gang fishing’ where groups of villagers would pick different spots to lay their long nets along and across the river. Slowly, they would draw in the nets to corner the fish so they could dive in with their goggles and spear guns to shoot. We noticed one group equipped with air compressor on board so the divers could go deeper and longer. A big group could comprise of 30 villagers with the catch equally divided among them. Soft shell turtles, large tapah, catfish and assorted fresh water fish were among the catch on a lucky day.
Come late afternoon the most amusing way to pass your time would be watching the pig feeding session, confined to the opposite bank of the Sekayam River. Once someone waded across the water with bucket in one hand and a trough on the other, these free ranch pigs would go into a frenzy with squealing that could send shivers up your spine. The impatient ones would swim in single file towards the owner. Just too cute.
Coincidentally during our visit, a group of students from the University of Jogjakarta were also doing a 2 month long study in Pala Pasang too. Friendly, curious and somewhat surprised, they invited the three of us to their dorm on the second night to share with them why we had made this journey to a remote village deep in the interior of Borneo.
For these students, they sure took a lot of trouble to arrive here from Jogjakarta in Java but for us it was just another stroll in the park. They thought that Kalimantan had nothing to offer except for the orang utans. I hoped they grasped what I explained to them that night on ‘CAN’ tourism and how to package ‘Culture, Adventure & Nature’ to sell to tourists. Perhaps, they were still naive and oblivious to the gold right in front of them. Someday when they get bogged down by city life, the memories of Pala Pasang will make them realize that real life is where nature is- where kids go to a real river with a real gun to shoot real fish. Need I say more?
Desa Pala Pasang
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