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(Video) ‘Pugai Balabak’, Once Popular Practice of The Molbog Ethnic In Sabah

Pugai is actually a particular term used frequently in Sabah just to refer to ‘ilmu pengasih’. Particularly in Sabah, there are various types of pugai that they know but among the famous pugai is the Pugai Balabak. Pugai Balabak comes from the Balabac archipelago and also the Banggi archipelago. A woman named Limpatuk who is also a woman with 7 husbands was the first person to produce Pugai Balabak. It has been a tradition usage since then.

This Pugai Balabak is produced from a kind of magic wood from the perspectives of people who live there, namely balabak wood. This balabak wood is very difficult to find and this wood is full of mysticism and also a thousand and one miracles. Balabak wood only grows on Balabak Island and Banggi Island, it is very difficult to find because the tree belongs to the supernatural tree like the black turmeric. That is why they said, Pugai Balabak is so hard to get.

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The taboo that must be observed during the attempts of taking the coconuts would be that the fruit could not be knitted, meaning the fruit should be obtained by climbing a coconut tree and then pick fruit. The second taboo, the coconut can not be brought down by way of holding it using the hands but must use the teeth and that means it must be bitten. In addition to that, the bitten coconut cannot fall on the ground.

The utensils that are usually used to make pugai oil are such as grate, pan, kandulan, pastan and ladles taken from people’s houses and should not be known to their owner. This oil must also be made on roads that have three junctions and cannot be known or seen by others. Coconut fiber and shell are used as fuel and may not use other fuels. Peeled coconut fiber shall use teeth and shall not be peeled by hand. Next, oil resulting when it changes color to yellowish, and after that, the oil shall be put in a bottle. Excess or waste from fuel and coconut fiber must be planted in the ground. All taboos and conditions in producing pugai oil must be adhered to in order to produce an efficacious pugai oil.

Pugai Balabak can be carried while trading to attract the attention and interest of customers to buy. In addition, through interviews made along with the village head of the Balabak community, pugai oil is also used when a man is interested in the girl he wants to marry. But in the present practice, the use of pugai oil to attract the attention of someone of the opposite gender is no more practiced.

Sources: TikTok Ervi, Facebook My Sabah.

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