Gobuk in Dusun language means monkey! At the northen part of Sabah (North Borneo), there is a small town called Kota Marudu where lives a minority Dusun ethnicity who revered the primate monkey as their savior.

According to one Mr Modungil Satikul of Kg Pinatau, Kota Marudu, long time ago their ancestors was chased by an enemy who wanted to behead them. While fleeing from the enemy, they came across with a forest habitated by the primates. In order to save their life especially the children and the women, they decided to hide inside the forest. Upon reaching at the edge of the forest, the enemy lost their track and thought that nobody would dare to hide inside a forest full of monkeys. After a few days, the people who went into the hiding came out from the forest and start to build their settlement at the nearby area.

Owing their life to the primate and regards them as their savior, they called themselves and their descendent as a Dusun Gobukon eversince.

Mr Modungil Satikul in a hand embroidered man’s Lapoi.


The Gobukon men costume is quite interesting as they are the only male who wear Lapoi. Lapoi is a piece of over billowing square cloth with hole at the centre, worn mostly by the female Dusun of Bundu, Tinagas and Kimarang ethnicities. Before the introduction of cotton cloth, the Dusun used to weave their Lapoi from plant’s fibre such as the bananas, pineaple and lamba. The Gobukon’s female costume is called as Sinurangga for the married and Tabot for those who is still single.

Gobukon female costume consist of Rindaut (hip ring from rattan), Lungkaki a brass anklet, necklace Karoh and white bangle Sulaw.
Hand embroidered motif at the back of the skirt inspired from the root of a grass known locally as ‘Sinorinatad’.
The motifs on the skirt are mostly inspired from the flora & faunas surround them. This hand embroidered motifs is inspired from the grass ‘Linkong’
A hand embroidered ‘Sinuangga’ blouse. It took them 5-6 months to hand embroidered a pair of their costume.
Titimbok, a hair bun strap hand made from rattan.

Chanteek Borneo Indigenous Museum is open daily, 8am – 6pm for visitor. Entrance admission is applicable. For any enquiry email us at chanteek.borneo@gmail.com or call +6088792018. Plan your visit here!

– by Anne Antah

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