Iban trade to Kota Warringin and Mindanao.

Iban trade to Kota Warringin and Mindanao.

Late in the 1890s a man named Passa traveled from Sekundong in the Paku to Kota Warringin near Sampit in the Sultanate of Banjermasin in Indonesian Borneo. His reason for going was to work wild rubber from the proceeds of which he intended to purchase a jar. After Passa had served Pengiran Ratu for several years, the latter knew him for a very trustworthy man. So he grew to like him very much. Eventually, in his fondness for Passa, the Pengiran presented to him five old jars in appreciation of his diligence, obedience and sincerity. Passa was very pleased to have been given these jars which were highly valued by the people of his race. Soon afterwards he told Pengiran Ratu that he wanted to take his jars back to his own country, but that he would come back again after he had blessed them with a gawai tajau festival according to Iban custom. So Passa left Kota Warringin for Sarawak. When he reached home, his relatives and friends were very pleased to see the number of jars that he had brought back with him. In their joy, when Passa told them and Malina apai Kampong, the headman, of his wish to celebrate a gawai tajau in honour of his jars, they promptly agreed. So the feast was held and people from many longhouses were invited to attend.

Shortly after the feast was over, Passa went to Kota Warringin again, keeping his promise to Pengiran Ratu. This time he was accompanied by a man named Libu “Badilang” from the same longhouse. When they came to Kota Warringin, they looked very hard for jars. But they could find no others apart from one which Libu bought. After he had bought this jar, he and Passa returned to Sarawak. About a year after he had returned from his second trip to Kota Warringin, Passa went there once more. On this trip he was accompanied by Maling apai Sawat, Rambuyan, Salau, Sujang, Begali, Encharang apai Libau, Ansa apai Jaang, Ulau “Gurang” apai Jabo, Junau and Muyu, all from Paku. On the way to Kota Warringin and while they were there, these Iban worked wild rubber. They all earned money, but only Muyu was fortunate enough to be able to buy two jars, while Salau bought one. Due to their failure to find jars Ulau left the party and returned to Sarawak. From Kuching he sailed in a schooner to Lawas near Brunei, seeking jars. His friends Sujang and Begali also returned and from Kuching they sailed to Sabah. From there they traveled northward until they came to Mindanao in the Philippines. Since then they were never seen in Sarawak again.



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