Exploring the Madai Cave at Kunak, Sabah (Borneo)
Madai Cave is located in Kunak, Sabah on the Island of Borneo.
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It is known for it’s bird’s nest that is harvested by the Idahan ethnic twice a year, using only rattan ladders, ropes, and bamboo poles precariously attached together. It is only the Idahan who have held the rights to harvest birds nest at Madai Caves for over 20 generations.
Above is a coffin believed to be more than 100 years old, it sits on the entrance of the cave and one of them is believed to be the “Nenek Apoi” coffins who was the founder of the Madai Caves.
The Legend says that, one day Nenek Apoi pregnant wife “Liungayoh” would like to eat a deer heart and so Nenek Apoi went for a hunt with his dog Siyud Rapot. For seven days and seven nights he hunts in the jungle but, he couldn’t find a deer. Finally on the eight day he spotted a golden deer, without hesitation he grab his spear and hunt the golden deer. The deer ran fast and Nenek Apoi has been chasing it for a while but he didn’t gave up, until the deer finally stop at the mouth of the cave. Nenek Apoi throw his spear at the golden deer and hit it, the deer fell into the ground, but when Nenek Apoi grab his Parang (machete) to kill it, suddenly the deer shouted and asked for its life to be spared. Nenek Apoi was very shock that the golden deer can talk but he resist on killing it, because he was tired and wanted a deer heart for his pregnant wife. Before Nenek Apoi swing his parang, again the deer ask that its life to be spared and told Nenek Apoi that if its life is spared, it will give him an eternal wealth. So it asked Nenek Apoi to look into the cave mouth and suddenly vanish into the thin air. When Nenek Apoi went to look into the cave, he saw the swiftlet‘s nests and that was the eternal wealth that the golden deer promises to Nenek Apoi.