KOTA KINABALU: How do you celebrate the Harvest Festival when mass gatherings for religious and cultural celebrations are forbidden due to the Covid-19 coronavirus?
You go for a specially-crafted Kaamatan dive lunch.
Blue Waters Borneo, a local scuba diving operator here, spread the Kaamatan spirit for six leisure guests, recently.
Prior to the dive, the guests were given an opportunity to don traditional Kadazandusun costumes for a 15-minute underwater video and photoshoot near Sepanggar Island, about a 12-minute boat ride from here.
Led by founder Foong Lai Thong and dive instructor Brenda Pladius Binsuan, the guests had two leisure dive sessions, after which they were treated to a traditional Kadazandusun lunch on the boat.
Brenda said the company always strives to offer something extraordinary, especially during public holiday celebrations like Christmas last year, when divers donned Santarina and Santa Claus costumes.
"For the Kaamatan dive lunch, my father helped us to prepare the dishes. I prepped the meal using leaves and traditional kitchenware to bring out the Kaamatan ambience," said the Kadazandusun lass.
The meals were 'tinotok mangga' (finely chopped manggo), salt fish with white chilli, 'rinapa bawang losun' (onion vegetable), 'hinava' (raw fish salad), 'tuhau' (pickled wild ginger), 'linopot' (steamed fragrant rice wrapped in leaf), and 'pinoroi wogok' (pork dish).
One of the guests, 34-year-old Ryan Eon Heng, described the leisure dive as an interesting experience and a unique way to celebrate Kaamatan while still adhering to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO).
"My fiancee and I enjoy diving. This is our first dive session after the state government allowed tourism activities to resume. Usually, during the Kaamatan celebration, we would go to the Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) centre to explore traditional food and witness the celebration.
"This year, we decided to spend the Kaamatan public holiday doing something we love. My fiancee enjoyed the photoshoot session as she got to wear the traditional costume under water.
"The traditional food was also delicious, making our dive trip extra special and worth the money spent," he said, adding that they spotted two juvenile bamboo sharks and a sea snake during their dives.
Source: New Straits Times