PENAMPANG: Carpenter Mat Jinah Samat is a busy man at Walai Bisaya, one of 11 traditional houses that will be open to thousands of guests on Wednesday and Thursday.
The houses will be the centre for merry-making in the state Pesta Kaamatan celebrations here.
As of yesterday, workers were putting the final touches to the preparations.
"We still have to some paint work to do and lay the rumbia (sago) leaf roofing," said Mat Jinah, who built his house three years ago and came back during the harvest festival to decorate it.
The traditional houses of various ethnic groups in the state are part of the Cultural Village within the compound of a building called the Hongkod Koisaan, which means "place of unity" in Kadazandusun.
During the celebrations, representatives from various ethnic groups will serve visitors food and drinks, and perform traditional dances and songs to entertain them.
Stalls selling souvenirs will also be set up at the houses.
"If you come here during Kaamatan, it will be very lively. Just visit any of the houses and you will be entertained."
Mat Jinnah also planned to stay at his house and become a host when festivities start.
"We will stay at this house until the festival ends. It's quite comfortable, complete with electricity and a kitchen."
He said the structure was built based on traditional designs.
Traditionally, Bisaya houses were built using round belian and mangrove wood.
"These days, sawn timber is the choice because it's easier to find."
Mat Jinah and his two assistants began work at the house a week ago. The Bisaya people mainly come from the state's southern districts such as Beaufort, Kuala Penyu and Membakut.