A house that keeps the Dusun Lotud culture alive

Unique traditional houses earn praise from local and foreign visitors

By JOHARY INDAN / BERNAMA

IN HER quest to preserve the customs and traditions of her ethnic heritage, a Dusun Lotud woman has built a traditional house that will allow visitors to stay overnight and embrace the community’s rich culture.

Salome Dominus, 60, said her main motive in building the house was to educate and enlighten not just visitors but the community and its present generation about the way of life and traditions of their ancestors.

The Traditional Lotud House in Kampung Sawah, Tamparuli, Sabah, can accommodate up to 8 guests for RM30 per person

Situated on a 1.6ha site in Kampung Sawah, Tamparuli, the Traditional Lotud House was built at a cost of over RM90,000 and has welcomed visitors since January 2015.

Many young people from the Lotud community have never set foot in a traditional house as such premises do not exist any more, she shared.

Salome said apart from being a centre that showcased the Lotud culture, the house also served as a reference centre for all segments of society, including students.

“Before the house was built, I read an article about a foreign tourist who was keen on seeing a visitors’ centre designed after a traditional house along the route leading to the resort areas in Tuaran, Tamparuli, Kota Belud or Ranau,” she told Bernama.

Salome said she took note of the idea and engaged the services of an experienced carpenter in building the Lotud traditional house, which was completed within three months in April 2014.

As an added attraction, she also built a house on a tembusu (fragea fragrans) tree, costing RM50,000, making both the traditional house and tree house accessible to tourists visiting Kampung Sawah.

“I was inspired to build the tree house after watching a television programme on the expertise required in erecting tree houses,” she said.

Salome said both the traditional house and the tree house were two unique tourism products that earned much praise from its visitors, including foreign tourists who described the idea as something out of the ordinary.

Dominus shows off the kitchenware on display inside the Traditional Lotud House

The foreign tourists included those from Sweden, South Korea, Japan, China, the US, UK and New Zealand.

She said that besides tourists, the Traditional Lotud House also received bookings for gatherings such as birthday parties, family days, meetings and school holiday activities.

Those looking for a different experience can spend the night here for RM30 per person. However, it can only accommodate up to eight guests at a time. They would also be served a traditional Lotud breakfast.

The interior of the house is tastefully decorated with various traditional musical instruments, while the kitchen has coconut shells and bamboo cups that come in place of modern dish-ware, giving a unique twist to its overall ambience. — Bernama