by Anna Aziz (Eko-brunei.com)
Last weekend, Hip and Healthy hosted Borneo Rainforest Warriors in the wilderness of Temburong’s rich and diverse rainforest. Participants lived and breathed nature in an adventure packed weekend designed for health and fitness and the experience of jungle survival, all whilst gaining an insight into the Iban culture.
Trekking through the Iban’s traditional forest home, we experienced how the Iban tribe flourish and how they use their unique survival techniques to live comfortably within the rainforest.
For the first day, we had planned to do the arduous trek to Bukit Kelulut, involving river crosses, passing pristine rainforest whilst discovering the spectacular wildlife in its natural habitat; but due to a massive downpour our local Iban guides were required to improvise, changing direction to have the river currents carry us all downstream in the heavy rain to reach our short cut. Along this spontaneous and adventurous route we were shown by our Iban guides what plants we could eat, what plants to avoid, how to build traps and shelters if we were hunting and of course, how to find dry wood and light a fire.
Reaching the peak of our trek we were rewarded with a majestic view of the mist-filled rainforest canopy. The rain wasn’t able to dampen our spirits! As it began to get dark we made our way back down toward the river, taking a boat back to Sumbiling Eco Village to enjoy a hearty dinner beneath the stars.
The next morning we woke to the sounds of the forest and relaxing river flow. Some of us did the optional hike to watch the sun rise above the horizon. When we returned we had a rejuvenating yoga session to stretch our tired muscles from the previous day’s strenuous activities, releasing stored tension and tightness in our bodies. A nourishing breakfast was served and after enough time had passed for digestion we threw ourselves in to high intensity interval training, carried out by a fully qualified coach.
Whilst the currents were too strong to go river rafting and tubing due to the previous night’s downpour, we were able to instead go foraging for wild local vegetables for our lunch; a local Iban delicacy of bamboo chicken cooked in an open fire pit. The local villagers played their traditional instruments and danced, inviting us all to join in for a joyful time together before our departure.