Saturday, May 31, 2014

Tourists bask in Kaamatan spirit


PENAMPANG: The warmth and friendliness of Sabah people, the beautiful terrains and its nature, and the uniqueness of its cultural diversity may all sound like words taken directly out of Sabah tourism promotional reading materials.

But these qualities remain to be the very reasons tourists from across the globe come to the Land Below the Wind and make that decision to visit this multicultural state, and for some, to keep coming back.

A visit to the Kaamatan Festival at Hongkod Koisaan KDCA yesterday affirmed that these attributes remain relevant to this day.

Australian couple, Kevin, 59, and Linda Jones, 64, have visited Sabah for the fourth time.

For them, the hospitality of the people is one of the many reasons that made them keep returning to Sabah for vacations.

Having visited many countries, they were pleasantly surprised by the friendliness that Sabah people in particular, showed.

“It’s the people,” replied Linda when asked why the couple kept coming back to Sabah.

“Other than being welcoming and hospitable, it is also interesting to see the multicultural backgrounds they come from and it is enlightening to learn about people that way,” she added.

“Yeah, we have been to Bali, Singapore, Hong Kong and other countries, but it’s better here. We have random people just coming up to us and greet us,” her husband, Kevin, concurred.

Although it was their fourth visit to Sabah, it was the couple’s first visit to the mammoth Harvest Festival celebration at Hongkod Koisaaan KDCA.

“We heard about this festival when we were on board the cruise ship that took us to Kota Kinabalu. We heard it would be grand but we did not know it would be this big, nor did we expect it to be this interesting,” said Kevin.

“It’s always interesting to learn about people of diverse cultures and coming here today to see all those colourful crafts produced by the locals, the traditional costumes, traditional games and dance performances, it just keeps getting better,” noted Linda.

Another interesting bit of the Kaamatan Festival for the Jones  was the free entrance.

“In Perth, we have the Royal Agricultural Show, which is almost a similar festival but not as cultural as this, where local farmers bring their agricultural produce to showcase and sell.

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