The Gongs are Sabah’s most iconic musical instruments that are found throughout Sabah, particularly among the Kadazandusun and Murut ethnics. It is considered the backbone of traditional musical instruments found in Sabah. The Gong is made of either brass or bronze. It is usually thick with a broad rim and produces a distinct muffled sound of a deep tone.
The gong is an integral part of many ethnic societies in Sabah including the Rungus people, the dominant community in Kudat. These days, gong-making is a dying art form because it is a craft-making skill passed down from one generation to the next. Those with a penchant for culture can make a trip to the gong-making factory at Kampung Sumangkap, one of the few places where you can view the authentic art of gong-making.
Driving into the village, you will come across houses on stilts proudly displaying gongs. You will also meet with talented and experienced gong-makers. See how raw materials are transformed into this instrument, which plays a significant role for the community in festive occasions and rites.
The gong factory is open daily including public holidays from 8.30am to 5.30pm. Don’t forget to pick up a miniature gong souvenirs before you leave!
Apart from being principal musical instruments, the gongs hold other cultural significance such as a symbol of wealth for a family. In some ethnic Sabahan cultures, a set of gongs is sometimes given as a berian (dowry) in marriage. Therefore, before getting the woman of his dreams, a man would first have to obtain a handsome set of gongs to offer her family.
For visitors who are interested, day trips are offered by local tour agents. The normal price for a day trip includes a tour to the Kampung Gombizau Honey Bee Farm, the Rungus Longhouse (with lunch) and The Tip of Borneo. For more details, please contact local tour operators.