Day 2: Walkabout the City Center-Jesselton Point-Sapi Island, TAR Marine Park
If there was one thing I really hated about the cancellation of my flight to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, it would be the full day I was supposed to spend at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.
You see, I’m not much of a shopper so not being able to go to the Sunday Market at Gaya Street did not really get me too frustrated about it. But, I am a beach person–not necessarily a swimming one but more of a stare-at-the-horizon-while-doing-nothing kind. Plus I like to go underwater too–if only to snorkel and see the little fishies I only see in aquariums or TV shows. So, when I was planning the trip, it was the only must-do in the list. Continue reading Backpacking South East Asia: Kota Kinabalu – Sand, Sea and Sky→
The flight was at 4pm so I took my sweet time preparing back at my place in Novaliches. Perhaps too sweet. It was already 10:40 when I flagged a passing FX and by 11:30, I boarded a bus from Trinoma going to Dau Bus Terminal. I planned to take a jeepney ride to SM Clark and then take another jeep passing through the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) but, as I arrived at almost 1pm already, I feared I might make the wrong jeepney (little is still known about this route) and not have enough time if ever the horror stories about power-tripping immigration officers are true. I’ve already lost one day due to the storm and I certainly don’t want to miss my flight and delay my trip any longer.
It was, I believe, a good thing then when I saw a sign, written on what seemed like a torn carton, that read: “Shuttle: Dau to Clark Airport AIRCON” (or so I remembered). I walked to the sign and asked the drivers around. They called for a man, probably in his 50s or 60s, who’s like the conductor/dispatcher. He told me there are already two passengers and we need to wait just for two more. Fare is P100. I think it’s quite steep but acceptable. When I agreed, he ushered me into the left side of the terminal wherein an airconditioned shuttle is waiting. Of course, the AC was not yet on.
There, I met Zuldee, a Sabahan guy on a weekend vacation here in the Philippines, visiting his Filipina girlfriend Ning (if my memory is correct). I smiled at him and asked, in English, if he’s going to Kota Kinabalu. He just smiled and nodded. After some time, Ning stood from where she was smoking and climbed back to the shuttle. She asked me what I’ll do in KK and translated it to Zuldee after. She explained to me who they were and we just chatted some more. Continue reading Backpacking South East Asia: Selamat datang, Kota Kinabalu!→
As promised in the previous post, I will be posting more about my arrival at Senai Airport in Johor Bahru just to get it off my chest already. Hahaha. No, it wasn’t anything serious or dreadful, I just want to relive the moment before I forget the details of that night. This is the SAY WHAT?! situation I got in when I decided to go with and spend the night at the home of a half-Malaysian and half-Filipino guy and his family living in Masai, Johor Bahru, Malaysia. This one will be quite detailed so, bear with me, ok?!
Day 5, about 11pm: We touched down at Senai Airport 30 minutes too late for the final bus to the city center. As I was warned by couch surfers not to take the taxi which will just rip me off and I have no prior hostel reservation, I chose to accept the offer of Jhulson to sleep at her Aunt’s place. He was the guy seated on the row behind me, who I thought was complaining about my reclined seat. It was only until he spoke Filipino in a bit louder voice that I realized he just wanted to talk, as he wants to brush up on his Tagaloog (he is of Zamboanga descent and understandably, knows very little Tagalog). I wanted to talk to him but I was too tired and groggy from waking up early, crossing from Brunei to Miri, and walking continuously for five hours within the city. And so, I told him I would like to rest a little and that I would talk to him later. This never happened as I woke up upon landing.
So, his act of kindness of offering me a place to stay was totally unexpected. In his words, “Huwag ka na hiya. Ano ka ba naman. Siyempre, Pilipino, tayo na lang tulungan.” Since he was picked up by his uncle (wearing the usual Muslim hat/headdress) and a little boy in tow plus an Indian driver friend, I assumed that they do not belong to any syndicates who are into human trafficking. So, I went with him.
I texted my Johor Bahru couchsurfing contacts and asked them where Masai is coz that’s where I’m headed. Of course, there was still doubt in my mind! One of them replied and said it’s about 30minutes or so from the airport. I also sent a message to Rajie, my Malaysian co-volunteer and told her what happened. I was under stress at the time and I didn’t know if I called her, she called me or we just texted each other. But then, perhaps Jhulson had more trouble about my presence since his phones were beeping with messages and ringing off the hook.
I did not understand what was happening but with the very little Malay I learned in the past five days and with him mentioning Miri, Tagalog and Singapore in a succession of words for almost each call I figured I had something to do with it. So I asked if the conversation was about me and he said yes.
Apparently, his brother, sister and sister-in-law are panicking coz HE IS BRINGING A GIRL HOME. I told him to clear with them that I am just some helpless stranger to whom he had shown kindness. I already did, he said. By the time we reached their place, which is about 30minutes of being in the car, his Aunt has welcomed him in open arms and though she genuinely welcomed me into their house, she looked at me warily. Continue reading Backpacking South East Asia: the Say What?! incident turned blessing in disguise→
Hello guys! Yes, I am back! I got darker, with some bruises, scratches and burns here and there, and calluses on my feet worth a lot of tip for whoever’s gonna be doing a foot spa on it. But more than this, I am back with a backpack full of stories to tell and I know you are dying to know about my epic 27-day journey across South East Asia. Hehehe.
Okay, I’m probably assuming here but as everyone I know who knew about my trip have been asking about it, I’d have to say that at least more than 10 people are waiting for blog entries about it, especially since I keep telling them to read this travel blog.
Keep in mind that I have you guys in mind (hanu daw?!) while I was traveling so I’m sure the details I’ll share in the next posts will really keep you coming back and hopefully, encouraging you to go and travel too! But, before I post the more detailed “reports”, I’ll give you three quick summaries of my traveling experience–just a bit to pacify your need to know and just enough to keep you glued for more. Hehe.
I divided the trip summaries into three: 1. Borneo (Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia; Negara Brunei Darussalam; and Miri, Sarawak, Mayasia); 2. Ports and Islands (Singapore; Kuala Lumpur and Melaka, Malaysia; and Phuket, Thailand); and 3. IndoChina (Bangkok, Thailand; Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam). Continue reading Backpacking South East Asia: Borneo Quick Summary→
I’m supposed to sleep already but since I remembered my upcoming backpacking trip across six countries in South East Asia in four weeks, I went back to tripline.net and tried to make my “trip line”. Here’s the product. I really hope I can raise the funds for this, especially since I’m slacking off with my other work!
Anyway, since I am on WordPress.com and not on WordPress.org, I can only share here the picture/general map. If you want to know where I’m going exactly, click on the Map to be redirected to tripline’s website. Once you get there, click “Full Screen” on the lower right side and then click the play icon. This has music in the background so if you don’t wish to get you bosses’ ire, don’t open it in your office without a headset on, ok?!
There’s also a list of places to be visited plus a little information just before you play the video. So, read on if you wish.