Location : Bario, Miri Division, Sarawak, Malaysia.
Bario is a community of 13 to 16 villages located on the Kelabit Highlands in Miri Division, Sarawak, Malaysia, lying at an altitude of 1000 m (3280 ft) above sea level. It is the main settlement for the indigenous Kelabit tribe. The Kelabit are an indigenous Dayak people of the Sarawak/North Kalimantan highlands of Borneo with a minority in the neighbouring state of Brunei. The name of the people comes from the local word, “na labid“; where the name of people originated from the name of Labid River. (Wiki) For the older generation, they still bear the traditional Kelabit tattoos, elongated and pierced earlobes as well as heavy brass or hornbill ivory earrings. Elongated and pierced earlobes symbolized great beauty among these people.
While the Kelabit food might not have impressed us that much, their ladies with elongated earlobes and extravagant display of beads did and in a big way. Their men were equally proud with a much simpler necklace highlighted by the red barrel shaped pendant. The once upon a time iconic feature of Borneo ladies are now kept alive by just a handful of Kelabit ladies who are riding into the sunset with their long rich culture. We were fortunate to be able to see them at the Nukenen Festival and keep the precious memories here on our Facebook page. However, their antique necklaces and bead caps would be passed on to their daughters or daughter in laws not only as expensive inheritance but a reminder of a status symbol they held once upon a time in history. Priceless. Next…..Things we did in Bario