Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa: Luxury Amidst Borneo Rainforest

The Premiere Deluxe room at Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa
The Premiere Deluxe room at Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa

We were riding a modified pick-up truck to take us to our home in Gunung Mulu National Park, the Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa. The painted sceneries of caves, forest, hornbills and more wrapping the truck got me excited on the things we may experience during our stay in this UNESCO world heritage inscribed site. It’s not easy going to this part of Sarawak, Malaysia. On air, only MASwings flies direct from either Kuching or Miri. The long arduous way is by road, boat and a little hike. And what better way to compliment a stay in this nature reserve? Be amidst Borneo’s rainforest.

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3rd Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival: A Gathering of Regional Talents and Array of Styles

Saxx in the city performs
Saxx in the city performs

The 3rd Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival held last September 27-28, 2019 finally concluded. It was not without challenges as the haze coming from Indonesia forced the organisers to move the event to an indoor venue. It may have lost its “waterfront” feel but the coming together of jazz artist from different parts of the world and sharing their expression of this eclectic genre of music remains. The heart of jazz still brims loudly at the humble MBKS Community Hall. Ironwulf.net was fortunate enough to witness this revelry and what could be a milestone for the annual event as the Philippines participate in this annual musical gathering in this lively city in Borneo.

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Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival celebrates its 3rd year

Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival 2019
Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival 2019

I grew up with jazz music as one of my soundtracks of my youth. I can clearly remember beach trips with family with smooth jazz setting the mood in the air while lounging by the sand and sharing stories with siblings and parents. Kenny G, Swing Out Sisters, Style Council where blaring through cassette tape players then. Then came modern jazz artist that accompanied travels like Norah Jones, Michael Bubble and some Everything But the Girl. I may not listen to them as often lately but memories associated with them are always pleasant and strong. Music somehow makes our lives more sweeter. Memories of road trips more vivid with songs. And with much excitement I’ll be visiting Kuching, Malaysia next week for the Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival. Now on its third year this 2019, this festival brings together a round of talented jazz art from Asia and beyond on a 2 day musical festival this 27-28th of September, 2019. It would be a good opportunity to get familiar with other talents from our neighbouring countries.

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Charm of Old George Town and Street Art Spice

A couple of Zacharevic's murals in George Town
A couple of Zacharevic’s murals in George Town

The gorgeous colonial city of George Town consists of more than 12,000 old buildings and structures of varying Asian and European influences. From Charming shophouses, jetties and temples, colourful Indian temples, Muslim Mosque and British colonial government offices earning its place under the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list in 2008. It’s a real delight to stroll around the city and feel being transported back in the old world of Penang. In 2012, Penang municipality decided to breath life into this old walls by incorporating street art into public spaces. While I love street art, done wrong can make the place messy. But seems like George Town found just the right artist for the job.

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George Town’s Street of Harmony

The Kapitak Keling Mosque along the Street of Harmony
Street of Harmony

For those who had been reading this blog for quiet a while now knows that I love to walk around when I’m new to a place. It’s my way of orienting myself with a destination. Getting a feel and really going up close to the locals. George Town is such a pleasantly walkable city. Charming old streets adorned with street art against the beautifully aged walls. I was able to rest that afternoon when I got back from my Historical George Town tour. Revitalized after a few hours rest for my walk at this city’s Street of Harmony. I’m glad to be accompanied this time by Cebuano travel blogger Brennan of Weekend Dispatch who is now based in George Town for work. After his office duties he was glad enough to show me around.

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Chew Jetty of George Town’s Clan Jetties

Sundown view at Clan Jetties
Sundown view at Clan Jetties

The Philippines is no stranger to water world communities or people living on stilt houses by the sea. Like the Badjao’s of Mindanao or the community of Rio Hondo in Tawi-tawi, the UNESCO-listed George Town interestingly have their own version in Clan Jetties. But unlike our communities here, these jetties are owned by different Chinese “clans” or families which often can-do merchants or rich families. There are currently seven Clan Jetties. I visited a couple including the tourist-friendly Chew Jetty. This was still part of the KKDay Historical George Town tour but I managed to return to the area for my own exploration of this intriguing seaside community.

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Pulau Tikus Buddhist Temples : Dhammikarama and Wat Chayamangkalaram

Phra Chaiya Mongko at Wat Chayamangkalaram Buddhist Temple
Phra Chaiya Mongko at Wat Chayamangkalaram Buddhist Temple

Still in Pulau Tikus, where the Colonial Penang Museum is found, there are two significant Buddhist temples just across each other along Lorong Burma. There’s the Dhammikarama Burmese Temple and the Wat Chayamangkalaram Buddhist temple. Both vibrant and highly elaborate yet features unique characters due to their origins. The former being Burmese and the other is Thai. It shows the diversity of people who migrated in Penang during the colonial times. Still part of the KKDay Historical George Town tour, I went out of my service car to curiously explore both of these temples.

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