PINGDONG (Xin Media) — Throughout Taiwan, there are more than 746 indigenous settlements, each with a unique culture. In Pingdong’s Sandimen Township, there is the Anpo Tribe settlement, which is ideal for those pursuing brand new forms of entertainment.
It is connected to the adjacent Lina settlement and leads into the old Fawan settlement, a site famous for its stone houses. Tourists can simultaneously enjoy three distinct aspects of the Paiwan Tribe’s culture during their stay.
The Most Playful Settlement in Taiwan
There is a certain region in the Sandimen Township where the mountains and the plateaus meet. It is not too far away from downtown. The Anpo settlement is one of the most interesting Paiwan settlements to spend time at due to its unique traditional toys their tribespeople produce.
They utilize traditional resources to create toys such as bamboo-roasted copters, bamboo water guns, tricycles, and so on. Even devices used to shield agricultural crops from bird threats were turned into musical instruments.
The settlement has already invented hundreds of toys, which is the most crucial factor that attracts a large number of tourists.
Tourists check-in not only due to the fun brought by traditional toys but also due to the interesting tribal clothing experiences. The local people have preserved important tribal clothes that tourists can wear, such as shoulder straps, headdresses, and even earrings that young women wear when they are about to get married.
As photos of tourists dressed in these tribal clothes are getting taken, local experts will explain the historical background behind the apparels to enhance the tourists’ understanding of the Paiwan culture.
Tourists also shouldn’t miss another attraction in this settlement — the making of traditional food “Chu-lu-ke.” This used to be a delicacy only for the elites in the tribe. Tourists can reserve spots for the activity and live out the experience, where they taste what only the elites of the Paiwan tribe could eat.
Millet Donuts Craze
About a 20-minute car ride from the Anpo Township is the Rinari Settlement, which emulates the styles of European towns. The address plates and decorations in front of the residential structures highly resemble those found in European towns.
This township was ravaged by Typhoon Morakot a decade ago, which heavily devastated the nearby Majia, Kucapungane, and Paridrayan Villages. The government relocated the Majia Farm and World Vision helped build sustainable houses in the area, which became known as the Rinari Settlement, which means “let us walk together and move towards that place”.
Over the past few years, Millet Donuts have taken all the Taiwanese night markets by storm. Millet Donuts originated from a vendor called “Limumu’s Song” from the Rinari Settlement. The texture of Millet Donuts deviates greatly from that of traditional donuts: they are more tender are chewy, which elicits the true original taste of millets.
Limumu’s Song was named after the word “Lremumuteke”, or “hollow circle” in the Rukai dialect. It represents indigenous peoples holding hands to form a circle when dancing, tightly gathered together. The naming of this vendor certainly contains some symbolic meaning, especially during times of reconstruction after the typhoon struck.
A Rebirth of a Historical Site
After a 40-minute car ride into the deeper mountains of the Rinari Settlement, one can arrive at the Old Fawan, the place of origin of the northern Paiwan tribe. Due to various reasons, the settlement was relocated numerous times.
These sites left behind historically significant stone houses. Combined with the reconstruction of more of these houses, the social and ecological culture there are effectively promoted.
The Old Fawan settlement has about 13 sites of stone houses so far. The settlement was built along the mountain, which helped the tribesmen realize that they could stack certain materials to form pathways that could drain water away.
On the other hand, the much-later new pathways composed of sedimentary rocks were more aesthetic but did not inherit the traditional water-draining technology and, instead, generated growth of mosses. The wisdom of the traditional tribesmen prompted current tribesmen to more wholeheartedly embrace past designs to create a traditional settlement as their home.