Sabah International Folklore Festival 2014 (Part 2)

Culture , Malaysia / June 29, 2014

(continued from Part I)

Day 5 – Tour to Mount Kinabalu

June 11th 2014

For today’s Sabah tour, the committee gaves us the option whether we want to go to the mountain nor Islands (the beaches). We choose going the mountain, simply because we think we’ve had enough beaches in Yogyakarta. Also who wouldn’t be interested in witnessing the highest mountain in South East Asia?

We went there by bus, first we are taken to a spot where we can sightseeing the peak of Mount Kinabalu. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t very friendly because clouds were everywhere–covering up the top of the mountain. There’s a market that sells a lot of Sabah souvenirs as well, kind of like the Philippines Market near our hotel.

In front of Mount Kinabalu

The tour guide was really explaining about the history of the area near Mount Kinabalu and the mountain itself. Legend has told that the shape of the mountain peak is like a crying woman. Arriving at the observation place, in the entrance itself was showcased Flora and Faunas, Kinabalu Park, Geological Components of Mount Kinabalu, other recreation parks in Malaysia, etc. That’s what I actually like about Malaysians based on my experience in Sabah, they really treasure and showcase their tourism. Then, we are taken to a natural park that has a lot of floras.

Oh, and yeah, I should highlight that our team REALLY loved to take pictures. Like, every step equals to one new pictures, “Fotoin dong!” is one sentence that we often hear. Lol. After having the tour, we are out for lunch in the nearest restaurant. Luckily we get to see the Mount Kinabalu peak while we are on the way.

The view of the Mountain Peak of Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain South East Asia

Day 6 – Premiere Show

June 12nd 2014

It’s show time! Tonight marks the premiere show of SIFF 2014. In the morning, we departed to the venue to conduct a rehearsal for the premiere show. We are also going to perform Tari Rampoe tonight, even though it’s not included as a competition yet, we still want to show our best! Our dance is found to be very unique because we dance while we sit and not standing, yet comes to a huge team work.

A sneak peak of the rehearsals with participants from various countries


Sweaty faces after the rehearsal, not really our attractive look 😛


As most premiere shows, SIFF wants to give a good impression to every stakeholders that will come and enjoy the most awaited festival in Sabah every year. At the grand opening, participants gathered in front of the front gate and greet the people that came in, from people in the Government until Sabah people that came buying the tickets just to enjoy the cultural diversity 11 countries bring. 

It was somehow frightening for us, the expectation was so high and you know that every first time is the hardest time. Our heart ponded real fast, hoping that we will give the best for our performance we’ve prepared months before, and the success of those sweats will only be measured tonight. Before performing, as always, we gathered first to pray. Thankfully, all went well. Yes, it is always the hardest at the beginning. When you are already at more than one minute in the performance, you can actually enjoy the ride and the ponding heartbeat goes away of it’s own.


SAKA UGM ready for the Premiere Show


Day 6 – June 13rd – International Folkdance Competition (Day 1)

June 12nd 2014

Today marks the 1st day of SIFF International Folkdance Competition, the 2nd day of our performance. We performed Rampoe and Tari Phukat from Aceh. Every of our performance is recorded and is sold as a DVD in Sabah. One memorable event I can recall from today is that there was once a time where me and Ami was waiting for the closing ceremony to start because we have to hold the Indonesian flag for our country we represent that day. Suddenly, our fellow friends from Egypt mentioned they were interested in our dance that seems complicated and asked us to teach them, but then other countries one by one follow to learn, until we finally form a circle of people learning Saman dance! We were so loud. Other countries seem to show their enthusiasm in our dance moves!

The ending of our dance, forming a “Phukat” (means fish net in English)

Day 7 – June 14th 2014 – International Folkdance Competition (Day 2)

June 13rd 2014

Last day of our performance in SIFF. SAKA is proud to perform Bungong Jaroe. This time, it’s not a dance based on the dancers sitting but with more creation and standing. We surely want to give our best in our last shot. It is also a day that makes our heart pound because today we are going to find out who are the ones are going to receive the award from this competition. We did not actually put a lot of expectation in the awarding and just hope that we get the best results.

In the premiere competition, SIFF launched the Online Presence Award, where the country with the highest likes in Facebook will get a special reward of Highest Online Presence. We spread the information to our friends in Indonesia. And just hope for the best for the results at the finals. We didn’t even get the chance to know how many of our Facebook likes were there on the last day!

Bungong Jaroe performance on the last day

God shows His miracle, we are very excited when the judge mentioned “Republic of Indonesia” for the Highest Online Presence Award, followed by the Chief Minister Award (2nd most important award) which marks that we are also the 2nd winner of the competition. We are very excited happy!

We are also happy that Good News From Indonesia (GNFI), one of the biggest portal of achievements of Indonesians also announced our achievement in their twitter. I was very honored to be tweeted for the 2nd time by them. Every of our friends also gave their appreciation for us. It was a delightful moment to know that our hard work pays off, and that SIFF trusts us to achieve those award. We also got the information that the team from Sekolah Indonesia di Sabah also achieved the gold medal and best dancer in their Local Folk Dance Competition! Proud Indonesian right here.

SAKA UGM (INDONESIA) officially won the Chief Minister Award (2nd most important award / 2nd winner) and Highest Online Presence Award in SIFF 2014. Our hard work for months finally pays off 🙂

The hype from the stage

With the Filipinos

With dancers from India

With numerous of friends from other countries! Peace through culture

In the end, somehow I find that this doesn’t feel like a competition, because everyone feels like a family. Every country is definitely awesome in their own way and we love to share about our culture. I would like to thank my team for the hard work we’ve build together since a few months ago, seriously we don’t start off easily. Also to our friends that supported us, my parents and sisters, SAKA UGM, my university UGM, the judges, the committee, all stakeholders involved in the process. It was one lifetime moment that I will never forget.


Day 8 & 9 – Farewell and go back home 

June 14th 2014

Sunday marks a day for shopping around town, farewell party, followed by a farewell party. The next day, every team departs back to each of their country. And the most important part is that I will miss every fun-silly-intense-serious-fabulous moments with my SAKA Goes to Sabah team. Thanks SAKA for trusting me to be one of the representatives for this festival. Really grateful for this experience that I would surely never forget. In every journey, when you travel, you’ll surely learn something. And I do learned a lot in this experience, which I still remember the learnings are.

Thank you SIFF 2014, the committee, the participants, the audience and everyone involved 🙂


SAKA UGM’s Full Performance Video in Sabah International Folklore Festival 2014 for Day 1 & Day 2


Art is an effort to create, beside the real world, a more humane world. -Andre Maurois



Sabrina Anggraini