Cave and culture experience
When you find a new planet or star in the Universe you are generally entitled to name it after yourself, but what happens when you find a new cave, that has the potential to turn Malay anthropological and archaeological history on its head?
Azliny Atoa doesn't care much about that and casually mentions that locals from her kampung Felda Pasoh 4 in Negeri Sembilan have known about the existence of the caves in the area for years and would often, like her father, collect bat guano from the cave floor to fertilise their crops.
The mother of two boys, and amateur anthropologist, had an inkling about the cave after reading about how certain cave entrance shapes were more suitable for human living and she believed this had all the ingredients to have been a habitable cave.
A phone call inviting Malaysia's top archaeologist Dr Mokhtar Saidin to view the limestone cave, Gua Pelangi, triggered his interest and when a subsequent excavation late last year revealed clues that there was pre-historic human migration in the area, Dr Mokhtar immediately made plans to return after Ramadan 2016 to search for more clues.
Gua Pelangi is now considered the southernmost pre-historic site in Peninsula Malaysia and dates back to 14,000 years ago, based on the discovery of some stone tools in the cave.
Azliny has explored the area extensively and "found" more accessible caves known only to her, and even some that sing when the wind blows hard. The caves are not the only attraction with many birds, animals and fauna endemic to the area and can be found along the many tracks in the jungle she has carved out.
Azliny has now created a business showing people around the caves and the surrounding area for adventurers, hikers, and nature lovers to explore the area and will arrange for daily tours, accomodation in the jungle or the village, food, transport and an array of activities,including archery, flying fox-abseiling, bird viewing, night trekking and jungle game activities for team building.
This of course has provided an economic benefit for many people in her sleepy kampung who rent their homes, motorbikes, prepare food and help Azliny conduct the activities.
As the area is now considered important to Malaysia's history she must liase with authorities to gain access as well as care for the excavation site, which may still hold many secrets.
Azliny can be contacted by phone on 01118845936 or on her FB page, www.facebook.com/guapelangi
or emailed: Atoadventurep4@gmail.com