The Legends of Mount Kinabalu

"Once upon a time there was a giant living... at the foot of Mount Kinabalu."
- Ansow Gunsalam,1983


Until now, Kinabalu's name is still a mystery. The most popular view derives it from the Kadazan words,Aki Nabalu, meaning 'the revered place of the dead'. The local Kadazandusuns belief that their spirits dwell on the mountain top. Among the bare rocks of the summit grows a moss which early Kadazandusun guides said provided food for the spirits of their ancestor.

Many of the mountain's early explorers reported that their Kadazandusun guides performed religious ceremonies upon reaching the summit. Sir Hugh Low wrote that his guide carried an assortment of charms, pieces of wood, human teeth, and other paraphernalia weighing three kilograms (seven pounds) up to the summit. Whitehead recorded the slaughter of one white chicken.