Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Songkor. Bubuk. Belacan - Bako, Sarawak

What makes a Fam Trip fun for me is the easy access of information.
I am a curious lot.


Learning that Sarawak having the most national parks in Malaysia, boosting at 22 in quantity and awarded with accolades such as UNESCO sites, the biggest cave etc gave them the right to brag, and I would not deny the fact that theirs are the best if not amazing. And I am honoured to get the opportunity to visit Bako National Park, located half an hour drive from Kuching. If Gunung Mulu National Park owns the right of having the biggest chamber that could accommodate about 40 Boeing 747s, without overlapping their wings, not to mention the Deer Cave being the largest single cave passages in the world, and Niah National Park boast the important of prehistorical site where human remains dating to 40,000 years, Pleistocene chopping tools and flakes, Neolithic axes, pottery dating to the Iron Age (nothing to do with Iron Man, just so you know). Well then, Bako National Park owns this brag right in Sarawak; the smallest national parks in Sarawak, so beat that you guys! *smile*

Bako National Park is one of those park that allows you to do a day trip, with its 16 walking trails; Tanjung Sapi 30 minutes (0.8 km) trail being its shortest and Telok Kruin 7 1/4 hours (10.5 km) trail being its longest, certain draws quick getaway tourist that is looking for a little bit of nature during their stay in Sarawak. It is also one of the most popular parks amongst the local here.

With great wonders comes great heritage, so they say in Spiderman (well, kinda). I was being enlighten with a new form of fishery, shrimp or krill catching to be exact. Shrimp or krill paste, known to the local as belacan is one of Bako’s famous produce, the villagers livelihood centres around this; it is their life style, culture and now Sarawak’s uncelebrated heritage.

A kelong-like structure called songkor made of pokok nibong or mangrove palm tree is where the fisherman use it to catch bubuk (krill) of which easier to handle; effortless. Songkor is also known as ‘bank’ by the Bako locale. This vertical structure is set at the riverbed where a gunny sacks net is fixed to trap krill during high and low tides. Usually krill is harvested at noon. There are approximate 50 songkor along Bako river, being pass from one generation to the other and goes as far back as 30 years ago, or even longer.

The krill are later being cleaned, dried and made into paste (belancan) to be sold at the local market. The koperasi help and educate the locals on funding, training, marketing and management skill – running a small scale homemade industry in order to boast the villagers economy and enhance their skillsets.

This interesting songkor and bubuk catching can easily be seen as one takes the boat out to the Bako National Park, do like what we did, stop and ask the fisherman on the techniques and processes. If you are lucky enough, you probably get to try it out, or even visit their shrimp (krill) paste homemade industry. *wink*

* For more photos, please click HERE.

Jom Jelajah Koperasi Sarawak Media Fam Trip is in collaboration with Surahanjaya Koperasi Malaysia (#SKM) with #GayaTravel as media coordinator

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