Location : Bario, Miri Division, Sarawak, Malaysia.

Started in 2005, the Bario Food Festival (Pesta Nukenen) is a three-day event held every year which showcases the food and cultural heritage of the Kelabit highlands. Beside the culinary treats, visitors are also treated to a wide variety of cultural shows, from traditional dances to handicraft demonstrations, to traditional games. Hornbills are regarded as beautiful, gracious and shy birds and the Kelabit people imitate their movements in their dances. The Kelabits make various handicrafts using bamboo and rattan, such as cooking utensils, baskets, fish traps, and rice winnowing trays. 

There were day and night activities lined up for the 3 day festival which consisted of traditional dance performances, bamboo climbing / log rolling competition and a very interesting senior ladies beauty contest in which they had to wear traditional accessories. Beautiful!.

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Playing the elongated sompoton

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Learning how to coil up the top

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Bamboo pole climbing

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Log rolling competition

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The traditional beauty contest for senior ladies
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Senior ladies with full accessories on the catwalk
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Everyone’s a winner

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Could have been better attendance if only Bario had a bigger airport to cater for larger planes. Besides the food there are a hell lot of things to do here for visitors like visiting pineapple, strawberry/grape farms, megalith sites, salt springs, hiking to other villages or even kayaking.

Perhaps the most important for Bario to do is to retime their paddy planting schedule such that visitors can enjoy the view of full grown paddy in the fields during the festival rather than the dull, boring and barren fields, since wet paddy planting can be done 3 times a year in other parts of Borneo like Bengkayang. Next…..Beautiful Kelabit Ladies collection

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