Published: March 29th 2012March 24th 2012
Rumor said there are still some Daban Yao live in the south-west region of Guangxi around the border area, I didn't know there are any in China as I had only seen some of those tribe on the other side of the border in Vietnam back couple of years ago. So I took up another trip go looking for the Daban Yao with the unique costume. A long journey...first Chongzuo, then Ningming, but find no sign of any Daban Yao, weather not much in help as well, misty cold temperature and dusty rain. Hit the Nanan market on the 6th but the local said there was never a market on the 6th as the sound of "SIX" probably mean something unlucky in the Zhuang language, so people won't come to market on the 6th, only attend it on the 3rd and 9th date. The Tongmian market also a disappointment that laid out on a muddy ground after a night of rain, not just without Daban Yao, there was no sign of any other tribal scene! But local all said the Daban Yao live up in the mountain where they wouldn't came often. My last option is cross into Fangcheng area where
many people claimed populated most Daban Yao tribe. Bus ran along the border, in some point Vietnam was only a stone throw distant away, single yellow star and 5 white stars flag looking at each other, only seperated by a tiny river.
Banba market was small but...the presented of the unique Daban Yao dispersed all my worry. The block tower headdress in red, the robe and trousers with ample cross-stitches design in traditional Yao style, simple girdle with embrodiery. There wasn't much decorated on the back like their sibling on the Vietnam side, also while those were in Orange and here they were in Red color tone here in China. No idea why they prepared their headdress in this way, but legend said it should be the way their ancestor Pangu dressed, that piled up with many layers of cotton(up to 80 layers), but now seem like they all set it up with a block tower, much more easiler to prepare I guess, most women still trimmed their hair and eyebrow. Tansan market came with a surprised with Huatou Yao that most said I wouldn't able to see any nowaday during ordinary day, but on market day couple of old
women still dress in full costume, and many others came out with their headdress, a black tiny cap like the Jewish, but decorated with silver coins, an square embroidered handkerchief on top, tied and hold by fluffy feather thread, the outfit of Huatou Yao is typical Landian Yao style with plain costume, only a small embroidery bodice underneath the robe, and they wear short trousers. Tansan is right at the border so Vietnamese could come for market, there was a small concrete bridge crossing but with no check point.
Dongxing is the most reasonable place to hangout for explored the area, with better roadwork and connection, easy day trip could be done for the market tour, beside...accommodation and choice of food were far more better in Dongxing town. For me...able to eat Cantonese food was a heaven! If you do come here on a sunny day, the beach on Jintan wasn't that bad, easy accessed by city bus cost only 4 yuan., seafood was a bit pricey and not really came from the sea! growing shrimp became a big industry in the area, so many of the dishes had lovely had fat yummy shrimp on top!
Caught up with the
Sanyuesan festival, it was one of the most important festival in Guangxi for the Zhuang people. But I came here for the Daban Yao Ahbojie festival. Ahbo mean "dating", "rendezvous" or simply "meeting" in Yao language, a day for the youngters having fun before the plantation season begin. Local said the last the seen was about 20 years ago, on the festival day all the Yao came out with their best dress, they "duige" singing to each other wherever they find interest in each other, they street was crowd and busy. "but now, many don't know how to sing!" the restaurant owner said! still...they organised the event in Gaolin village on Sanyuesan day. same kind of preformence show with some so-call important people making speeches claimed how well they had managed and how bright the future there should be for the people....if...they are really working for the people!!! Ahbo doesn't mean Ahbo anymore, perhaps it was just like the old woman said to me on the bus back to Dongxing, "festival should be participate and enjoy by the people, not by arranged and ordered to play the part"! For me...able to get a better look into the full costume scene
was good and...the best was...taking picture were welcome! anyways...dresses was not much different from on the market day!
There are more photos below