By Catharine Goh
Last month (June), many visitors from throughout Borneo and further a field thronged Sarawak's riverine town of Sibu, along the mighty Batang Rajang, for week-long festivities.
In fact the Sibu Municipal Council (SMC), which organised the annual Borneo Cultural Festival (BCF) 2007 held from June 30-July 7 was optimistic it would promote Sibu as the gateway to the central region of Sarawak. Being part of the variety of events in the Sarawak tourism calendar, it promised to be a showcase of the rich ethnic culture unique to Borneo Island.
Following previous years' success, the local community in Sibu was pleased to bring an even bigger range of events to entice those keen to experience the rich variety of cultural activities as well as business prospects at the Trade and Exhibition.
The annual cultural festival, which was first held at the Sibu Town Square in 2002, has since seen hundreds of local talents featured through a fabulous week-long event packed with great Borneo bands, dancers, plays, food, games and handicrafts.
Visitors to the BCF would be able to sample a scrumptious medley of traditional local delicacies, including the Dayak "Manok Pansuh" or chicken cooked in bamboo, the Melanau "umai", a spicy dish of raw marinated fish, and the Foochow signature bun, "Kompia", at the food fair at down-to-earth prices.
For entrepreneurs, the Trade and Exhibition Expo, opened by Sarawak Urban Development and Tourism Minister Datuk Sri Wong Soon Koh on June 22, was an added attraction as it was an ideal platform to showcase their products at 185 stalls.
It also gave the opportunity to have the region's products and services be placed in front of thousands of prospective customers from the central region of Sarawak across a span of 16 days at this expo, which started earlier than the BCF proper this year.
Many foreign tourists also converged on Sibu for the Second International Borneo Tattoo Convention from June 29-July 1.
The convention held at the Bukit Aup Park, formerly known as the Jubilee Park and about 20 minutes drive from the town centre here, brought together acclaimed tattoo artists from all over the world, as well as, local talents to highlight the art of tattooing through traditional performances in music and dances and tribal peace offerings to the spirits.
However, visitors who sought souvenirs could also find interesting indigenous handicrafts, traditional clothing and accessories, beadwork, embroidery and floral arrangement from skilled artists and craftsmen selling and demonstrating their unique products.
Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Weekend