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INTRODUCTION

GUNUNG TRUSMADI, at 2,462m or 8,669ft, is Malaysia's second highest mountain after Gunung Kinabalu (4,101m or 13.433ft). It lies approximately between the districts of Tambunan to the north and Keningau to the south (in the state of Sabah in Borneo).

Unlike Gunung (Mount) Kinabalu which is visited by thousands of people every year, Gunung Trusmadi - situated some 70km southeast of Kota Kinabalu - is not a tourist mountain and is rarely visited. Until recently, there has been many tourist managed the climb by either with their group of clubs or with tour agents.

The summit (of Gunung Trusmadi) is reputed to have the best dawn view of Gunung Kinabalu, which lies over 40km to the north. A unique pitcher plant, Nepenthes x trusmadiensis (a natural hybrid between Nepenthes lowii and Nepenthes edwardsiana) is found here and nowhere else.

In early 1990's the trek to Gunung Trusmadi took a week to complete but today with some facilities available and trek which enable trekker to climb more easily, it only takes around 3 days.

For the Kadazandusans, an indigenous group who represent almost 30 per cent of Sabah's multi-ethnic population, rice cultivation is steeped in cultural and religious tradition; it is their life work, and fulfills their family, community, and spiritual needs. Generally, everyone in the village (kampong) practises mitatabang - a kind of harmonious co-operation focused solely on the production of rice.

From the clearing of the land for padi cultivation, to planting, field maintenance and reaping the harvest, they labour as a team, working in pre-scheduled shifts so that each family knows their turn and their specific task. Ritual ceremonies are held almost daily, reinforcing their shared responsibilities and sense of community.

And because Kadazandusans believe rice has a spirit (bambaazon), padi is always treated with utmost reverence, although during Kaamatan, protocols seem to fall by the wayside.


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