You rarely see this costume worn by the locals in Kiulu unless if you happen to visit during a festival or if there’s a big event celebration.
They called their attire as Sinulamba, in reference to the Sinombiaka blouse weaved using fibres from a leaves plant locally known as Lamba.
Traditionally a complete Sinulamba costume consists of a headcover Sunduk, Gonob knee-lenght skirt, sleeveless Sinombiaka blouse and a double cross sash Kurilib. The Kurilib is a symbolic of the Hambin (baby carrier) used by the women to securely piggyback their baby.
The Dalai (Job’s Tears) seeds which found abudantly in Kiulu will be sewn onto the Sinulamba for a more fashionable look. The women will complement their Sinulamba with 3 strings of brass rings Tangkong on their hip and small bells attached at the edge of their skirt for a complete set of costume.
For a daily wear, the women in past worn a plain blouse with short or long skirt. Some may use the Dalai seeds to accessories their plain blouse. Nowadays, just like everyone else in the entire globe, the locals are more fashionable and very updated with the current trend.
To learn more about the costume or to get to know the people of Kiulu, you could stop by at Chanteek Borneo Indigenous Museum where you could get some insight on the overall Sabah traditional costumes and culture. Chanteek Borneo is located at Jalan Tamparuli, 20 minutes drive before the Kiulu town.
Special appreciation to Dr Rozalyn Gelunu from KDCA Kiulu for the input about Sinulamba cloth.