LAWAS, SARAWAK, 8 JUNE 2016 – The annual Lun Bawang Festival or known as the Irau Aco Lun Bawang was held from 3 to 4 June in Lawas. Organized by the Lun Bawang Association of Sarawak, the festival gathered more than 23,000 visitors which ran at several location in Lawas including Gaya Baru, Long Tuma, Long Sebangang Baru, Tang Itong and Taman Awam Lawas.
This year, the festival makes a comeback to Lawas town after it was held outside of the town in the last two years namely Ba’ Kelalan in 2014 and Long Tuan, Trusan in 2015. The centre of attraction was held along the Lawas Damit Road where sporting activities such as futsal, volleyball, badminton and road run was held while the opening ceremony and main stage cultural performances was held in Lawas town.
“The Association is able to organize this festival successfully for its community. Through this Festival, we foster our ties closer with one another and also other tribes within the state through sporting activities. My sincere gratitude to the state government and tourism office for their continuous support,” said Ipoi Datan, President of Lun Bawang Association Sarawak at the opening ceremony.
The Festival was officially launched by YB Dr Haji Abdul Rahman Sulaiman, Assistant Minister for Welfare and Community Wellbeing Sarawak and also witnessed by YB Dato’ Henry Sum Agong, P.222 Lawas, YB Baru Bian, N.81 Ba Kelalan and the Lun Bawang community leaders.
The highlight of the Festival is the crowning of the annual search for Ruran Ulung and Padan Liu Burung, the beauty pageant and warrior contest. This year saw 40 delegates competing for the prize title worth more than RM15,000. Prize sponsors include Stayfree, ZALORA, Kiss Me, Moist Diane, Watsons, Ran & Nong Creations and Lepo Maria.
Angela Maria Frank from Gaya Baru representing Lawas Damit came out top in the Ruran Ulung category while Octavien Pagag from Puneng Berayong representing Kuala Lumpur won the Padan Liu Burung category. Both winners received RM1,500 cash, trophy, certificate and product hampers from all sponsors.
Angela, a physical education and science teacher at Seri Omega International and Private School in Johor said, “This win was unexpected because the competition was tough this year as compared to previous years. But I thank God for this win and I look forward to my reign and supporting the Association’s Youth wing activities.”
Meanwhile Octavien who recently graduated with Business Management studies in Kuala Lumpur was overjoyed with his win.
“I participated this year because of my interest in learning and preserving our unique culture and identity. In preparation for this competition, I have learned more about our heritage,” Octavien said after the prize giving ceremony.
More than 10 subsidiary titles were given out to deserving delegates. Miss Stayfree subsidiary title was given to the Ruran Ulung candidate who portrayed confidence throughout the competition, and this was awarded to Kaith Princess Reyes Jettle from Long Pasia representing Limbang. She received RM1,000 cash from Stayfree. Other subsidiary awards include Miss and Mister ZALORA, Miss and Mister Popular, Miss and Mister Talent, Miss and Mister Tourism, Miss and Mister Photogenic.
During the Festival period, the 40 delegates for Ruran Ulung and Padan Liu Burung attended a motivational workshop led by Joshua O’neill from Federation University of Australia-Malaysia. The delegates also toured at the Ceramic Beads Centre in Long Tuma where the Lun Bawang beads were produced since 1991 at the centre.
The Lun Bawang well known for its rich culture and heritage also held the annual bamboo band competition which saw the bamboo band from Long Tuma as the winner. Second place went to the Long Sukang bamboo band while third place was Trusan Tengah bamboo band.
“We are glad to present this Festival every year especially for the Lun Bawang community and Lawas people. And it would have not happened with the strong support from our partners and sponsors. We look forward to the coming year and welcome interested parties to participate in this unique and colourful festival,” said Daneil Punang, Organizing Chairman of the Lun Bawang Festival.
The Festival held annually in conjunction with the Gawai celebration was founded by the Association. This year marks the 29th year of the Festival and was supported by the Sarawak government. Main sponsors include Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia, Ministry Tourism Sarawak, Museum Sarawak, Cahaya Mata Sarawak, Sarawak Energy Berhad, YB Datuk Fadillah Yusuf, YB Datuk Henry Sum Agong, PERSAFE, Lun Bawang community leaders, Pagaya Sdn Bhd, Times Advertising, Ritan Enterprise, Stayfree, Agong Upai, Richard Silo and DP Café.
Photo credit : Stephen Wen Photography