Tawau Division > Semporna Town > Regatta Lepa
Regatta Lepa 2020
17 April 2020 - 19 April 2020
Friday to Sunday
Regatta Lepa Square, Semporna
Semporna District Office
+6088 212 121
A beautiful Lepa is judged based on :
2- Local ethnic music
3- Dances performed on board
4- Sambulayang (sails)
5- Tipas-tipas (small flags)
During the Regatta festivals is a competition of decorative Lepa and Kumpit
boats, a time to show off which Lepa boats are the best.
The most beautiful traditional sailboat judged base on its decoration, local ethnic music and dances performed on board, sambulayang (sails) and tipas-tipas (small flags).
In this competition the judges will give a point for their performence related to beautiful lepa's and the best dancer's.
This dramatic cultural event held every April Semporna town of Sabah.
festival is to celebrates the Bajau tradition for their craftsmanship skilled in
‘Lepa’ -- a ‘boat that hand-made crafted’ in Bajau Semporna language
On that day, thousands sail into town in all kinds of boats including the gaily-decorated lepa and traditional jungkong to compete for prizes.
The flotilla of colorful banners ridden lepas in the upper background makes quite an introduction before you see the paddler in the foreground.
Semporna Town, Malaysia
Boats of the Bajau Laut
1- Speedboat (Fiberglass)
2- Lepa Boats (Wooden)
3- Kumpit Boats (Wooden)
Lepa and Kumpit boats in Regatta Lepa
|Lepa Boats||Kumpit Boats|
The traditional "lepa," a Bajau Laut houseboat is
about 8m long and measures 1.5m wide at the center, where it is
Very flat and often equipped with outriggers, it glides smoothly over the sea, but is not a great fit for boat engines.
LEPA nowadays often replaced by the "Kumpit"(Sappit)
a slightly larger boat that is used in lieu of the lepa in daily
The commonest type of boat used and built in Semporna Islands.
This is a shallow usually open boat designed to take an engine.
The engines are either outboards, or modified
There are two types of boats made by the Bajau:
1- The Kumpit (Sappit), is a bigger boat used mainly as a mode of transportation and when fishing in the deep sea.
2- The Lepa-Lepa boat, is smaller in size and usually seen at ceremonies like the Regatta, weddings and other religious occasions.
Lepa- Lepa is still widely used today among the Bajau. It is mainly used to
transport, travel when fishing and to relay the religion of Islam to others.
Islam was first introduced to the Bajau in the early 17th century. When the
Bajau adopted this religion and its way of living, they translated its teachings
onto their boats in the form of carvings.
Few actually knew that the carvings on the Lepa-Lepa were of specific excerpts from the Quran. These carvings are similarly found on Muslim gravestones and at the pulpit in the mosques. The Bajau people used this concept to share Muslim teachings with those who lived around them. These carvings are unique to the Bajau and are deeply rooted in their religious history.
The Lepa Dancers
On the front decks of the Lepa boats are smiling dancers and musicians
dressed in equally colourful traditional attires of the Sea Bajau.
In the lepa's they also have a group of musicians and a couple dancer and the lepa's will make a round in front of the VIP's and the judge's stage.
During the Lepa festival, the Lepa boats are decorated in the village colours, complete with a musical team and dancers.
While the Lepa boats head to the main Regatta Lepa Square for judging. The music plays while the dancers perform traditional Bajau dances.
The overall judging will be based on the most beautiful and colorful Lepa and their dance performance.
TYPICAL LEPA BOATS IN SEMPORNA TOWN
It was a beautiful sight to see the silhouettes of sambulayang sails from various Lepa-lepa boats as they skimmed across the sea water.
A typical Lepa boat measuring 5 meters in length and 1.5 meters wide.
These boats were used in almost every aspect of Bajau life - their floating homes, their fishing boats and their transport vehicle.
Decorated LEPA boats in Semporna
LEPA RAHUNIN 2016
Haji Sanungan Bin Imam Bulungan,
Pulau Omadal Utara
LEPA RAHUNIN 2018
Haji Sanungan Bin Imam Bulungan,
Pulau Omadal Utara
LEPA TANTIK 2010
Si Tuan Abisa
Sg. Tampi, Timbogan
TRADITIONAL LEPA BOAT
A decorated Lepa boat
A big Lepa and a small Kumpit
INDIGENOUS WOODEN BOATS
Indigenous wooden boats brought the Sea Bajau increasingly to settle in Sabah's shores since the 1970s drawn by Malaysia's better economy and security.
Traditional Festival Costume of Bajau Laut tribes (sea gypsy of Borneo Island)
the Bajau Laut people are not only good in costume, they are also skilled at making large mats for use at home.
Sea Bajau of Semporna
Bajau Laut (Sea Bajau) traditionally lived on house boats. Recent years they made settlements on coastal houses on stilts. The sea is still their main source of living.
WHERE TO STAY IN SEMPORNA
Semporna is divided into the OLD town area and NEW town area:
- The old town is near the bus station
Accommodation in the old town is cheaper and basic.
The new town by the sea has more choices for tourists. A few of the hotels offer sea views.
Accommodation is in high demand during Regatta Lapa Lepa festival. It’s wise to book ahead of time.
See list of hotels in Semporna
The Iban Longboats
Traditionally each Iban family own a long boat for transportation along rivers.
The Rm 25 million new Kapit Waterfront project will change this waterfront for ever.
Boggo' boat maker
Sibuan Island, Malaysia
Dalok Bin Mangona is one of the few remaining Boggo' boat makers in the world. Using two choppers and one chisel (see photo), Dalok patiently dug a Boggo boat out of a solid length of log.
Boats over the Kemena River
Kemena River of Bintulu