Homestay Bawang Assan Sibu

Michael Ancho Longhouse @ Homestay Bawang Assan, Sibu, Sarawak

The largest Iban settlement in Sibu is Bawang Assan, with nine longhouses. The shortest longhouse is shared by six families while the longest accommodates more than eighty families!

Homestay Bawang Assan Sibu

dressed in their traditional best

Homestay Bawang Assan Sibu

welcoming guests with tuak

Here, Hari Gawai is their biggest and most elaborate festival, but even if guests stay here during other times of the year, the locals can replicate the celebration for the benefit of guests, to enable them to experience the Iban culture and tradition.

Homestay Bawang Assan Sibu

playing traditional music

Homestay Bawang Assan Sibu

a typical Iban longhouse

Some fifteen families are enrolled in this homestay programme. Guests are welcomed with ‘tuak’, a light alcoholic concoction.

Homestay Bawang Assan Sibu

one of the family units in the longhouse

Homestay Bawang Assan Sibu

learning the ritual of appeasing Iban spirits (Gods)

We can partake in the daily activities of the Iban families, if we wish. These activities include racing of speed boats powered by water pump at the nearby river, Sungai Lebaan, and also frog catching.

Homestay Bawang Assan Sibu

an offering to the spirits

Homestay Bawang Assan Sibu

traditional dance

A unique experience would be the ‘Miring’ ritual to appease the Iban Gods during the days of paganism. This is usually performed during Gawai festival and also to welcome guests to the house.

Homestay Bawang Assan Sibu

traditional dance

Homestay Bawang Assan Sibu

“ngayta” welcome dance

We also had the opportunity to participate in the ‘ngayat’ dance, a group dance to break the ice among strangers.

Homestay Bawang Assan Sibu

guests participating in the “ngayat” dance

Homestay Bawang Assan Sibu

Annahita Bakavoli (L) & Andrea Wong (R) wearing traditional hats

Guests are normally feasted with traditional dishes, usually cooked in bamboo shoots placed at a 45-degree slant over hot amber. The ‘manuk pansuh’ that we had was actually chicken, with tapioca leaves, shoots (pucuk) and seasoned with ginger, onion and salt.

Homestay Bawang Assan Sibu

Akmal models the traditional Iban Sarawak headgear

Homestay Bawang Assan Sibu

cooking chicken in bamboo

Our time spent at Michael Ancho Longhouse here was a unique, eye-opening experience.

Homestay Bawang Assan Sibu

pouring out contents from the bamboo shoot

Homestay Bawang Assan Sibu

chicken fresh off the grill

Those who would like further information or to make a reservation, can contact the Chairman of the Homestay Association here, Marcathy Ak. Gindau at his mobile number +6014-5828105 or the Sarawak Tourism Board.

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With love

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