A Year in Travels May 2013 | Kota Kinabalu and Camiguin Revisited

The plankwalk to Pulau Sapi
The plankwalk to Pulau Sapi

It seems I have revisited many places this year which I really don’t mind since it’s been years since I last visited them. I’m always interested to see what has developed and retracing back my routes sure brings back fond memories in different places. When I had the chance to go back to Kota Kinabalu, I knew I didn’t want to miss that opportunity as it was my first destination out of the country.

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A Tribal Night at Mari Mari Cultural Village

A mother and child from the Bajau House
A mother and child from the Bajau House

“From southern Palawan, it only takes about two hours by speedboat to the Northern tip of Sabah” I remember one of our host tell us delightedly. The Philippines is so close to Sabah that there is so much similarity in terms of culture and tradition. A large part of the inhabitants were trickled down from the southern archipelago of Mindanao when land bridges still exist explaining the prevalent resemblance from the traditions, clothing and even the language. In fact, the word “Sabah” for Malaysians, also refers to the same type of banana we call in the Philippines. In our visit to the Mari Mari Cultural Village, a village in Kota Kinabalu showcasing 5 of the 32 ethnic groups populating Sabah, we got a good portrait of each tribes, showing the distinctness of their character.

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Borneo Reef World, Soak in the Fun at the Largest Reef Pontoon in Asia

Husband and wife, Jim and Lydia Paredes taking photos at the pontoon Underwater Observatory
Husband and wife, Jim and Lydia Paredes taking photos at the pontoon Underwater Observatory

“There is sea walking? I haven’t tried that yet!” I excitedly told my companions when I saw it in our itinerary. We were off to the Borneo Reef World, a pontoon just off the Pulau Sapi and Pulau Gaya, within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park area. What’s a pontoon? It’s a floating barge, used as docking support for boats and even sea planes. The Borneo Reef World Pontoon however is a new reef activity pontoon (months only since opening 3rd quarter of 2012) that aims to offer visitors a slew of water activities that showcases the richness of Kota Kinabalu’s marine life.

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Return to Kota Kinabalu and Tunku Abdul Rahman Park

The jetty foot bridge to Palau Sapi
The jetty foot bridge to Pulau Sapi

I remember how excited I was almost 8 years ago when I was finally going out of the country to travel for the first time. Kota Kinabalu was the first stamp on my newly acquired passport and I finally got to experience riding an airplane via AirAsia. It was so memorable as we climbed Mount Kinabalu then,enjoyed some islands and nature parks. A similar kind of excitement was brewing when I joined Zest Air’s inaugural flight to Kota Kinabalu last weekend. There was no climbing this time but I still recall the cold air and the somewhat hangover-state-of-mind while climbing the summit of Mt Kinabalu when I saw the mountain through my plane window. The rain-cloud draped city looks back like a familiar friend but noticeable is the aging state and a few constructions to perk up the city skyline. Off coast, the islands of Tunku Abdhul Rahman Park still looks pristine. I immediately recognized Manukan Island there and remembered our fun beach bumming and snorkeling excusion. Ah yes, its nice to see you again Kota Kinabalu.

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1,000 Post in Retrospect and Giveaway Winner

My first Mt Pulag climb circa 2003
My first Mt Pulag climb circa 2003

I was thinking about what to write on my 1000th post and I was caught in a wind. Should I write something momentous and grand? Or something spectacular like listing down all the site achievements since it started? I wasn’t sure, really, so I’m just gonna write about the 3 questions I asked on my 1000th Post Giveaway to give not only the answers but a quick overview of this blog’s history.

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KK Adventure Final: Succumb to the spice

Bak Kuh Teh

Bak Kuh Teh. I was so hungry that it took half of my meal before I could take a picture. hehehe

It’s one thing to experience adventures of a particular locale, but like icing to a cake, tasting native food is another adventure of the palate kind.

So how does your Bak Kuh Teh taste like? Honestly, it’s a wierd sounding name, but it’s one of those authentic Malaysian foods you may come across on many of their food or restaurants here. It’s highly customizable to your taste buds, you can choose a combination of spices, with either beef, chicken, or lamb on a bowl of herbal soup and there you go. Instant Bak Kuh Teh. Later I learned (from googling of course) that Bak Kuh Teh is really Chinese in origin. Its recipe was brought here and became really popular due to it’s therapeutic qualities as well.

Satay

Satay! The dark one’s the lamb and the light one is the chicken. I prefer the lamb!

And what better to add on its side is Satay. It’s actually a barbecue but with a choice of either a lamb, chicken or pork. And add to it is the kinda sweet and spicy Satay Sauce! It’s delicious and cheap. (more…)

KK Adventure 06: City strolling

Kota Kinabalu City at night

City municipal at night

Just something to keep people occupied while I do a major re-design. This would be the 2nd to the last entry for the KK adventure entries. Will try to finish the last part soon.

Kota Kinabalu is a small city. It seems more like other major provinces here in the Philippines. You could actually tour the city in half a day. For us, we managed to go around the city at night, walking, exploring what is there to explore in the city. Night life is a bit “complicated” says one waiter from a resto we were eating. Karaoke bars usually have “Trouble”. Safest place is at the Waterfront, it’s similar to Baywalk without the lollipop lights and resto structures are aligned.

Corner block

Corner block

There’s really no major attractions around the city. Mostly, there’s hotels (from the budget to deluxe), malls lined up and stores on city blocks, and lots of restos and eatiries. It is evident that this is to cater for us tourist. There are souvenier shops around the malls, but the best place for souveniers here is at the Filipino Market where you can bargain to as good as half the original price! In terms of souveniers though, not much on the food pasalubongs since they have no specialty here worth taking home. (Will delve more on the food on the final entry ) (more…)