A Memorable Adventure To Melilas

Happenings 2 minutes, 16 seconds

BELAIT

Hours of driving through muddy terrain is not exactly how one would want to start the day, but those who are up for an adventure might consider the trip to Melilas longhouse.

Rumah Panjang Kampong Melilas — or simply known as Melilas longhouse is located in Mukim Melilas, about two and a half hours from Bukit Puan junction on the new highway. While the distance might be a put-off, the longhouse with its products, and services is quite popular amongst tourists, long before it was rebuilt.

The current longhouse, completed in June this year has sturdy walls and fully tiled floors. The residents enjoyed spacious rooms and an even wider communal hall. In comparison, the old longhouse, built on the same plot of land, was made out of wood and on stilts. The longhouse houses 14 private units — each unit has four bedrooms and two toilets and each unit has its own diesel generator and water tank.

There are a number of activities that tourists can do during their trip to Melilas.

It’s reassuring to know that despite the modern outlook of the longhouse, it still retains its old traditions.

When it comes to welcoming tourists, these residents put on a show. A traditional dance is performed by them, accompanied by traditional musical instruments. For those who have the extra time, one of the residents, Hj Muhd Yassin recommends a boat ride along Melilas river, where he can guide them to much-talked about ‘hot springs’ within the forest.

The products of Melilas longhouse, especially the woven ones are also popular amongst tourists.

According to Hjh Nuraliyah Abdullah Talit, a group of tourists once saw the women burn the midnight oil weaving, and were impressed by the results and effort put into each product.

The products are colourful and are made from raw materials found near the settlement.

Hjh Nuraliyah, who heads the women’s bureau of the longhouse emphasized on using traditional supplies rather than plastic.

“Foreigners love seeing products made out of ‘authentic’ materials,” she said.

“The raw materials, such as bamboo and rattan are easily found near the Melilas river.”

She taught her children, who mostly work in towns how to weave. They return to the longhouse on weekends and during holidays.

“Previously, we (the women of the longhouse) would go to the forest for raw materials, but we have started to grow them on our own,” she told.

“We’re usually notified when a group of tourists are coming over, and prepare the products in advance so they have more variety to choose from.”

While these are the standard activities that tourists can do, visitors can call the longhouse at 3338030 to find out what else they have to offer.

The Brunei Times