P’pang homestay offers back-to- nature experience
Published on: Sunday, February 02, 2020
By: Lorena Binisol
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The cosy seating area for guests is just next to the river.
A HUMBLE village with just over 600 inhabitants in Kg Notorus, Penampang (along Tambunan road), is blessed with fertile land for agriculture.

Apart from land, it also has abundant flowing of natural spring water with its surrounding rich in flora and fauna.  The Moyog river is rich with marine life and popular spot for picnickers having their weekends getaways.

It is no wonder that foreign tourists, especially Europeans, are seen walking around the villages nearby. However, they do not come in big groups but rather a small number of four to six – sometimes just one.

There are two homestays in Kg Notorus owned by Dorin Gintas, 56, a homestay operator since five years ago. She said Europeans love the set-up especially by the riverside.

“We had a Hungarian family come here for two-month stay and they absolutely enjoyed everything natural in the village.

From the fruit trees to stones, riverside and food like fish and fruits – everything natural is what they asked for,” said Dorin.

She never expected that the simplicity she provided such as the humble kitchen and simple bedrooms could entice the foreign guests. Even coconut is the only fruit they wanted at the time.

Channon Tunding, 39, a villager there revealed that many (outsiders) approached them if there is any land for sale, but they steadfastly said all lands are inheritance and nothing is for sale to outsiders.

Her mother-in-law, Tuis Linudi, 67, insisted that the land is God-given asset that can never be traded and believed that the Almighty had assigned the family (and villagers) to look after the property as long as they live.

“No way we are selling our lands to anyone.  We are entrusted to look after it by God as long as we are still living. It doesn’t belong to anyone, we are just the keeper.  We do not sell it. It is not for trading,” insisted Tuis.

 

Gatit feeling the cool, refreshing natural spring water. 



Channon is glad that the land produces all kinds of yields all year round, and the villagers would always have something to sell in the nearby stall or flea markets (Tamu).

He seconded his mother-in-law, saying the land is undeniably fertile all the time that when fruit season arrives, each tree would bear fruit as though they take turn to bear fruiting accordingly.

“It is strange but true, our trees would bear fruit and not producing at one time. This time, the Dalit (a type of kampung Durian) is producing abundantly first.  

“Then later, the Rambutans. After that, the mangoesteens’ turn to produce and followed by Langsat and so on.

“That is why we are so blessed for having this land.  It never fails us in any way. Therefore, in return we must look after the land no matter what.

“I was approached by a number of people to sell, not once I am moved by the idea. Never!” said Channon.

 

‘Small but tasty’: Channon showing the Dalit durian to guests.



When the fruit season is over, the other crops such as lemon grass, pandan plants, Lengkuas, bananas, coconuts and others continue to grow all year round as these are not seasonal.

“So, we are never without any produce.  We have lots of different harvests all year round,” said Channon with pride.

While Channon is a primary school teacher in SK Sungoi, Tuaran, his wife, Moinis Galasun is a homemaker and the whole family manage their fruit orchards within the five acres of land.

Penampang Assemblywoman Jenifer Lasimbang said plans are afoot to create database for investment of fruit and vegetable producers in Moyog (Penampang) area since there is a variety of produce over certain periods in a year.

“With these databases, we can work on marketing plan for them. We are looking into adding value to their produce, such as labelling and so on.  We also want to have a solar-powered dryer so fruits can last longer and have better value,” said Jenifer.

 

Glimpses of the Past: Dorin showing how olden days’ bedrooms used to look like. 



She said it is a way to sustain and improve the livelihood of its inhabitants in her constituency, so everyone including homemakers could get income one way or another. 

She added there is possibility that Penampang could be a hub producing value-added fruits in a long run.  

Pineapple is one of the successful products that had been value added.

She said apart from agricultures, there are many cottage industry players in and around Penampang striving to keep their traditional attires by producing and showing them to guests, which she described as apt and very important.

“We must preserve our tradition, be it in food, dances, costumes, history, our lands and so on,” she said.

She commended the effort of Dorin and family for their initiative to start the homestay with the concept of “back to nature”.

As for Dorin’s homestay, she said it was all self-funded and managed by her family members. 

Her husband, Johnny Gantasing, a former contractor helped with the infrastructure maintaining the small roads leading to their homestay.  However, one needs to cross the 20-metre long river to go to the other side where her homestay is located.

 

Free to Play: Gongs are displayed at Dorin’s homestay.



She said her homestay is built near the Moyog river which is the plus-point and an attraction for her guests.

Her three daughters Flobia, Flores and Florence help man their homestay and it inevitably gives confidence and experience to the young girls how to manage the accommodation accordingly.

“It delights me to see my children could man our little homestays with much confidence. This will go a long way to sustain them in the future. 

“After all, the homestay will go to them, sooner or later. So, they need to be familiarised with managing and organising it,” said Dorin.

Dorin’s guests, William and Gatit, were brought to her orchard and were delighted to see ripe fruits waiting to be plucked.

She also built a little path for her spring water to run over so visitors could have a taste of the natural water.

“Anything natural is the best,” said Dorin, laughing.

She also revealed that her homestay, called Bamboo House Riverside Homestay, was one of the locations chosen for the film “Huminodun”, the first Kadazan film made in 2018.

On the expenditure, Dorin disclosed that she used nearly RM100,000 for the overall construction. However, she insisted on erecting her homestay based on the olden day’s style.

“I made a pretty good choice and much wiser thought by putting up the homestay depicting the house in the olden time, just like how my grandparents used to live in.

“It can accommodate 40 people at one time. Almost everything comes from nature, the water, fish, plants... Where else can you get such a relaxing ambience? This is to die for.

“It is like experiencing ‘back-to-nature’ kind of living when you are at my homestay,” said Dorin, grinning.





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