Those interested in becoming a Paiwan Aboriginal hunter for a day might consider taking part in the International Maliba Hunting Festival (麻里巴狩獵祭) on Saturday.
Pingtung's Shihzih Township Office, the festival organizer, said that Maliba was a brave Paiwan warrior who excelled at hunting boars. He sacrificed his life to protect his people, so it was decided to name the largest clan in Shihzih Township (獅子鄉) after him.
Hong Sheng-long (洪聖龍), a spokesperson at the office, said the festival is in its sixth year.
Aside from archery and spear-throwing competitions, the highlight of the festival this year remains the hunting contest, in which contestants must stride against the current of a 1.2m deep river, climb over a steep hill, swim across a 2m deep lake, walk across a 30cm wide log, catch at least five fish with their bare hands and snatch a boar from a designated hunting area.
The contestant who manages to complete all the tasks and arrive at the finish line in the fastest time will be deemed the champion and receive the top prize of NT$100,000.
Hong said the office has laid out very specific rules to ensure that the competition is conducted fairly. Participants must put the fish they catch in bamboo nets and judges must confirm that there are five fish in the net before the contestants move on to the next task.
“In the past, we found that contestants prefer to catch bigger boars and that they ignore the smaller ones, so we will put a number on each of the boars. Contestants will draw lots to determine which boar they have to catch,” Hong said.
Judges would also make sure that the boars are still alive when the contestants cross the finish line, he said.
To join the competition, a team must consist of 10 hunters, with two backup hunters. When hunting, the contestants must wear traditional Paiwan clothes, including head scarves and skirts. The rules have been set to adhere to the group-hunting tradition of the Paiwan Tribe.
For individuals wishing to join the competition, the office has also prepared an obstacle course that runs from Sunday to July 27. The fastest contestant each day will qualify for the final and the overall winner stands to win NT$100,000.
Shihzih Township Mayor Hou Chin-chu (侯金助) said that visitors to the festival would have the opportunity to taste the traditional dishes of the Paiwan Tribe and see performances by Taiwanese Aborigines and Aboriginal artists from six other countries.