Image: Fazizul Haqimie

When Hjh Dayang Rosmawatty Hj Abdul Mumin decided to purchase a piece of land in Brunei’s Green Jewel three years ago, the vision was to build a home away from home; a haven for her large and close-knit family. 

However, with a family that constitutes 13 siblings and more than 70 nephews and nieces, the idea of a getaway, though appealing, felt hollow, especially for a family whose legacy is to help and raise money for those in need. 

This was the beginning for Teratak MFF, a modern two-storey ‘kampung’ style lodge in Kg Rataie where solitude and serenity go hand in hand. 

Situated on top of a small hill overlooking a decades-old fruit orchard, the Teratak MFF is a unique accommodation, being run and managed by the Mumin Family Foundation (MFF), a family-run non-profit organisation that gives aid to the underprivileged. 

 Image: Fazizul Haqimie

“If we went through with the idea of a weekend house for the family, realistically, it would be deserted most of the time,” said General Manager, Muhd Wazien Syahmi Hj Mas Hood, who is also a nephew of the lodge’s owner. 

“The Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien bridge was in mid-construction, so there was always that potential that the land could be developed into something more meaningful (and) with Temburong being a popular destination, a lodge was perfect,” he added. 

The Mumin Family Foundation (MFF)

Named after the family’s patriarch, the late Hj Abd Mumin Sunggoh – father to Hjh Dayang Rosmawatty and grandfather to Muhd Wazien – the foundation was established five years ago, just after his passing. 

 Image: Fazizul Haqimie

Hailing from Kota Batu, Wazien recounted how his grandfather had a heart that was always giving, often helping those in the community who are in need when the circumstances permit, which became a point of inspiration for all his children and grandchildren. 

“The one who spearheaded the MFF, was actually my aunt. She wanted us to continue helping others as a family, and to carry forward the legacy that my grandfather had built,” explained the 24-year-old. 

 Image: Fazizul Haqimie

“Of course, the whole family was onboard. As a family, we are close to one another and would always support each other. So, when MFF was established, each family would take on a specific role or task to ensure that the foundation remained active,” he continued. 

“We try to organise at least two events annually including back-to-school programmes for students of low-income households and distributing essential goods to families or communities in need, whether in Brunei-Muara, Tutong or Belait district, we try to help as many as we can,” he added. 

With Teratak MFF however, the lodge provides another avenue that ensures the continuity of the family foundation as a portion of the proceeds will go towards funding MFF’s future charitable events. 

Furthermore, the lodge’s establishment has also paved a way to kindle the social and economic impact of the surrounding community, with Teratak MFF engaging nearby entrepreneurs, particularly home food businesses, for the convenience of their guests.

“Our goal has always been to help more people, and our guests help us do that, while also directly contributing to the economic and social impact of the community here in Kg Rataie, Temburong,” he continued.  

In fact, the four employees currently working for the lodge are members of the community, who have been vital in helping Teratak MFF navigate through the diverse and unexplored offerings the district can provide.  

Teratak MFF, a haven of solitude and serenity

When one enters the lodge, there is no mistake in the inspiration of Teratak MFF’s rustic Malay village aesthetics. 

 Image: Fazizul Haqimie

With its eye-catching baby blue exterior and the bamboo fixtures that adorn the ceilings of its interior, the lodge evokes a sense of nostalgia, of halcyon days devoid of the hustle and bustle that persists throughout our modern life. 

Wazien noted how the lodge’s architectural design was intentionally meant to resemble his grandparent’s house that burned down in the past, which featured plenty of open spaces for household members as well as guests to interact and commune. 

“My grandparents’ house, it was a space where all of us; aunts, uncles, cousins would gather during the weekends or during the holidays, it was the meeting place for our family to mingle about and bond,” he shared. 

 Image: Fazizul Haqimie

Following this sentiment, he highlighted how guests are made to feel welcome, to “savour the pleasure of traditional Brunei hospitality” and ultimately bask in the lodge’s homeliness. 

Teratak MFF currently boasts six rooms that can accommodate about 46 occupants altogether, with two spacious common areas, unlimited high-speed WIFI as well as Muslim-friendly bathroom facilities, separated by gender.

The lodge also has a large outdoor space that can be used for team building activities, as well as barbecues, overlooking the orchard full of seasonal fruit trees including durian, rambutan, mangosteen amongst others. 

“We are currently working with local tour provider AZ Back To Nature, for guests who wish to experience the Ulu Temburong National Park, so staying with us doesn’t just mean rest and relaxation, there’s also adventure,” continued Wazien. 

 Image: Fazizul Haqimie

He went on to say that despite Teratak MFF’s rough start, having just opened in early March of this year, a mere few weeks prior to the travel ban and other COVID-19 preventative measures, the lodge looking forward to expanding its services in the near future. 

Teratak MFF received their first guests in June when the COVID-19 situation in the sultanate was under control and since then, almost 100 guests have stayed over at the lodge, with more bookings confirmed in the coming months. 

 Image: Fazizul Haqimie

“We just started (this year) but we’re receiving more and more guests by the day, so hopefully when this pandemic subsides we’ll be able to receive international guests, because there is much of Temburong, of Brunei Darussalam that needs to be experienced and shared. 

This article was first published on September 12, 2020 in our Weekly E-Paper issue 106

The Bruneian. | TEMBURONG 

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