The Lepa-lepa

The Lepa-lepa

Tuan Haji Alpakah Hamah, a Bajau Semporna has been involved in the industry of
making Lepa-Lepa ships for more than 40 years. He expertise in carving smaller
model handicrafts of Lepa-Lepa for tourists to take home as souvenirs.

Skilled Lepa Lepa

His skills in making Lepa-Lepa handicrafts have passed down from his father who
was a skilled Lepa-Lepa maker in the ’60s and ’70s in Semporna. Now Haji Alpakah
revealed the knowledge to his children, and a few carvers from his village have
learned from him. To complete one Lepa-Lepa ship will take about two days to carve one and a half feet
size model. He also can make a range of sizes up to five feet long. The Tambu-Tambu
wood is the main wood used in making Lepa-Lepa. This wood suitable because it is
light, withstands dampness, and can be easily obtained.

Transportation and Communication

In the old days, Lepa-Lepa is an important transportation and communication among
the Bajau Kubang and Bajau Palao’o. Nowadays, many of them live in Kumpit boats, which they construct themselves for regular lumber or stilt homes on the water as a

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