Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Borneo: Danum Valley Conservation Area - A Weekend in the Wild

This was now our 6th day in Borneo and already we’d seen wild Orangutans, Probiscus monkeys, Tarsias and as of yesterday following an absolutely epic ride into the valley (Danum Day One) Pigmy Elephants and an incredibly rare Pigmy Rhino!

However our experience at Danum was altogether different from anything we’ve experienced not only through Borneo, but across our entire travels. Arguably this tops the lot!

The entire Field-Centre complex couldn’t have been inhabited by more than 50 people- most of which were either scientists or on-site volunteers to maintain the research facilities in the middle of a vast, mostly undiscovered rainforest. The lack of people and knowledge of what exactly was out there made this experience all the more special.

There are two dorms on site- one male, one female- both able to hold about 30 people and come complete with mosquito nets. This sounds pretty chaotic, but our minibus of 8 people occupied the entire dorm. We were literally the only tourists here and had the whole dorm to ourselves!

Rhino Ridge Trail

On our first morning, we rose at dawn and started along the Rhino Ridge trailhead. There are only about 3 or 4 forged trailheads throughout the valley and this was the longest one with a provisional time of 5 hours to complete the circuit. We took a mental note of the map and a picture for further reference.

The 8 of us slashed our way through the thicket, not sure as to which was a trail and which was just mud. In the end we ended up following elephant tracks, which had managed to establish a far more visible route through the forest.

Just as the sun began to rise through the treeline, a troop of Gibbons howled their way across the trees above. These apes (not monkeys)- are tanked! Their arms are absolutely huge! They’re also lightening quick and although we all got a good glimpse at them as they sounded out their alarms, they just as quickly vanished through the trees in lieu of our best efforts to follow them and track down their calls. Sadly no decent pictures.

We continued our march and it didn’t take long for us to realise that we were getting eaten alive by leeches. Literally, every 5 minutes one of us would have one of these little fuckers attached to our legs sucking away through our socks!

But this wasn’t to deter us from our hike and we had plenty of time for some fooling around, before reaching a pool known as Rhino Pool.


Four types of Rafflesia flower discovered near Tenom

TENOM: Four types of Rafflesia flower were discovered growing abundantly on the hillside next to Kampung Ulu Naluyan river about two kilometres from the main road junction of the Tenom-Keningau road by a nature activist, Gerald Baxter.

The discovery of the Rafflesia plant, the world’s biggest flower, was confirmed by Agriculture Department officer, Osman Marzuki, and his assistant, Jain Linton during a visit to the site on Monday.

“We now ask for the full cooperation of all parties concerned to maintain and protect this very valuable national treasure as a tourism product, as it is located in a cold environment and unspoilt tropical forests.

“However, we do not intend to prevent any development and exploration on the surrounding land by the owner.

We only ask for cooperation so that it is treated with care because this is a national treasure. As it has not been exposed nor explored, we aim to keep the natural surroundings as it was,” he said.

The exact location where the Rafflesia flowers were discovered is on the slope of the bank of a small river bordering Sabah Parks area while in the area next to it is rubber plantation area alienated by Sabah Rubber Industry Board (LIGS) for development that is currently ongoing.


Borneo Cultural Festival promises plenty of Iban vibes

SIBU: The Borneo Dayak Cultural Festival (BDCF) to be held as part of this year’s Borneo Cultural Festival (BCF) will feature traditional Iban musical instrument recitals called ‘Betaboh’.

BDCF organising chairman Paulus Banyang said the conventional Kumang and Keling competitions will be staged along with many other competitions.

“These competitions carry Dayak cultural characteristics,” he told reporters after chairing his organising committee meeting recently.

With him were Kumang competition organising chairperson Angelyn Uchi Maseng, Keling competition organising chairman Barieng Balai and Betaboh competition organising chairman Ambrose John.

Paulus said he expected an overwhelming response for all three competitions which promises attractive prizes.


Mountain guides look forward to reopening of quake-hit Mount Kinabalu

PENAMPANG: Three weeks after the 5.9 magnitude earthquake in Kundasang which claimed the lives of 18 people, the mountain guides who depend on bringing climbers up and down Mount Kinabalu are still facing an uncertain future.

Many of the more than 200 mountain guides registered with the Kinabalu Mountain Guides Association are now jobless as guiding climbers on Mount Kinabalu was their only source of income.

Therefore the announcement by Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun that Mount Kinabalu is expected to be reopened to climbers in early September was received with high hopes by the mountain guides.

“If this is a reality, then we express our gratitude to all concerned for making it happen as we can go back to earning an living. We really hope that it will reopen. For now, we are supporting our families through the financial assistance from the government and the donations that we have received from all generous donors,” Kinabalu Mountain Guides Association chairman Richard Soibi said.

Richard, who was met at the fund raising dinner organised by the Society of Hope for the families of the mountain guides who died in the earthquake on June 5 and the Kinabalu Mountain Guides Association, said this when asked to comment on Masidi’s announcement last week.

Masidi was reported to have said that once reopened, the number of people on the mountain at any one time would be reduced by about half, from 192 to about 90, in the early stages of its reopening, to climbers.

“The safety of climbers is of utmost priority. We do not want to take a risk by maintaining the number as in the past,” he told reporters after handing over contributions to the victims of the June 5 earthquake.

According to Richard, at the moment, the donations are being disbursed in stages to all the members of the association so that they will have a source of income until the time when they can all go back to work.

He added that Sabah Parks director Dr Jamili Nais had agreed that mountain guides would be hired to help out with the repair works of the trail up Mount Kinabalu.

“In fact on June 22, a group of mountain guides together with Kinabalu Park, Sutera Sanctuary Lodge and Mountain Torq staff had gone up the mountain to survey and evaluate the damage on the trail but because of the continuing tremors they were instructed to descend,” he said.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Walk the Torq at Mount Kinabalu

The 6.0 magnitude earthquake that strucked Kota Kinabalu on June 5, 2015 had not only damaged the roads and other structures in the city, but also claimed the lives of climbers including the young students from Singapore and their guides due to falling rocks at Mt. Kinabalu. It also puts four tourists in the spotlight who stripped naked and urinated at the summit six days before the quake. The Sabah natives believed that this angered “Aki“, the mountain protector, and such disrespect to the sacred mountain triggered the strongest earthquake in Malaysia since 1976.

Seeing a shared photo of a climber face down with blood spilled at the metal rungs in the via ferrata trail tainted the good memory of our climb two years ago. My heart crumbled upon seeing the photos of unconscious climbers on what ought to be a safe and controlled climbing environment.

Since 2007, the Mt. Kinabalu has become a major attraction being the world’s highest via ferrata trail on a steep terrain and also the country’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. One has to take a short training in the Pendant Hut around 4pm the day before summiting Low’s Peak to experience the via ferrata trail. The enthusiastic trainer, Valerian, who discussed to us the basics of the Mountain Torq activity, was sadly among the fatalities.

Below, I am sharing a good memory of our Walk the Torq moments at this grand mountain. Thank you for the unforgettable experience.

Via Ferrata Climb Package

Our 2013 Mt. Kinabalu climb was arranged by Mountain Trails Tours & Travel. It was our first climb outside the Philippines. We had a stroke of luck to get slots for the Walk the Torq route even though we only booked for the regular 2 days & 1 night summit climb package. Abdul told the driver, Rafael, who relayed to us that there are available slots so they upgraded us for the Walk the Torq route for the descent. Adbul of Mountain Trails was responsive to our emails and provided us the needed information for the climb.

With Mt. Kinabalu climb, you will need to secure a slot for Laban Rata or Pendant Hut accomodation at least 2 months before the schedule, especially during the climb peak season from April to June. Unless you want to day-trek to the summit, which is a cheaper option, but with the required cut off time, you have to hike fast.

Rafael, who drove us, was a funny guy, he cracked some jokes while on the road to the Kinabalu Park Headquarter. He waited for us to finish our breakfast and made sure we got our certificates after the climb. Our guide was Rahim, he kept reminding us to take shorter rest periods to make sure that we get on time to join the walk the torq activity. If we missed the training at 4pm, we cannot take the via ferrata the next day. We were joined by two Taiwanese mother and daughter. Megan’s a sweet daughter who had their Kota Kinabalu trip as a gift to her mother.

One of our climb buddies was not satisfied of our packed lunch because it was only a sandwich with a banana, drumstick chicken and a hard boiled egg. There was no rice of which we were used to in every Filipino meal. It was fine with me though, because a heavy lunch might upset my stomach during a long hike. The great thing was, after our via ferrata training around 6pm, we had a fantastic buffet dinner at Laban Rata Restuarant—the best meal so far while staying in KK.

My Preparation

Mountains are my best source of inspiration. It motivates me to stay fit so I can enjoy the trails, the experience and the rewarding view at the top despite the arduous steep terrains and other obstacles such the muddy grounds, slippery boulders, the breathlessness at the higher altitude and the cold weather.

I prepared for our Mt. Kinabalu climb by running thrice a week in the evenings starting two months before the climb. Also, I cut off on my calorie intake by consuming more green veggies and fruits and less meat for my overall health. With that, I dropped 10 pounds. I felt lighter and stronger for the first time during a climb.

On our way up, it was very inspiring seeing a gray-haired man, above 60 years old with his looks, trudging with his trekking pole. I wish I can still trek mountains when I’m that old. He must have really taken good care of himself.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Walk the Torq at Mount Kinabalu

Sibu — Pride of Central Sarawak

THE BAT V team has been travelling along the mighty Rajang over the past six days — starting from Tanjung Manis before proceeding to Sarikei, Meradong and Julau.

Along the way, we also visited smaller towns and settlements such as Durin town, Pasai Siong and Sungai Bidut.

At last, we finally had the time to discover more of Sibu, which is known as the ‘nerve centre’ of the central region.

Here, the team found time to explore and discover what this historical town had to offer for visitors, especially in terms of food, as it had been well-known to be among the culinary havens in Malaysia.

The team also stopped at Sungai Merah, where Wong Nai Siong Memorial Park is located.

It was built to commemorate the vast contribution of Nai Siong to the people of Sibu. It is a well-known fact that about a century ago, the Foochows from China began arriving here at the invitation of the White Rajah to cultivate food in Central Sarawak to feed the swelling local population.

The hard-working Foochows have made Sibu grow by leaps and bounds into what it is today, with a population of about 200,000.

Widely known as the ‘New Foochow’, Sibu definitely looks much busier nowadays, crowded with people and its roads more congested.

In a small alley at Jalan Blacksmith near the Methodist primary school, there is a small rustic shop selling the most authentic ‘Dian Mian Hu’ (wok noodles) in town.

‘Dian Mian Hu’ is a popular Foochow dish and the two brothers — 70-year-old Kin Chiong Lui and 60-year-old Chiong Teng — have been serving customers this savoury dish for over four decades.

The brothers take turns in cooking the dish as the process is tedious and rather complicated. They would first fill a wok half-full with stock and as it comes to a boil, the flour batter would be poured around its side.

Then, the cook would delicately scrap off the batter and let it fall into the broth. To finish the masterpiece, black fungus, dried squids, fish balls, pork and light soy sauce would be added.

Having breakfast in such a famed ‘kopitiam’ is a struggle — we had a hard time finding a table that could fit the four of us since it was packed with foodies.

The silky noodles tasted heavenly with the light broth. The two beautiful ladies of the BAT 5 team, who would usually only finish half of any dish — slurped the whole bowl in mere minutes.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Sibu — Pride of Central Sarawak

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Panchor Hot Spring, Kuching - A dip in health-giving water

The Panchor Hot Spring can be likened to a place out of time where visitors can try something close to home that is affordable and benefical to health.

NO distraction. No urgent issue. There is nothing to worry about while you are there.

It is a place to relax in the simple earth pond for a warm bath, and enjoy the beauty of the natural setting.

The natural environment adds a relaxed charm to your feet or body soaking session.

It seems to be a place out of time where you try something close to home as well as to be easy on the wallet.

The Panchor Hot Spring may give you all of those and more.

As you arrive, right away you will notice there is a very serene and peaceful calm about the place – no loud noise, no cars or highways, no planes overhead, no modern life.

Many of the first timers may naturally start speaking in whispered tones out of reverence for the environment they are in.

While there, they may be connected to a new level, being removed from the distractions that might have been built around them.

From observations, many enjoy just sitting, closing their eyes and meditating in the hot baths.

It may look very simple, yet the place is truly an awesome site, having a hot water pool for relaxing.

A regular visitor

Bong Yew Foh simply loves relaxing in the spring of Panchor.

He is one of those who has been visiting the place almost everyday.

“Sometimes, I come with other family members. If none of them is free, I will go alone even on school days.

“I will come before or after class. I have been doing this for a few years already,” the 51-year-old teacher said.

While there, you may immerse your tired feet in the natural hot spring water, discharged from 1,000 to 3,000 metres underground, to recuperate from fatigue.

For those who want more than just a footbath, they can dip in their whole body. A wooden platform has been laid in the water for people to sit and relax.

As long as there have been people and hot springs, there have been claims of beneficial healing powers associated with libations and soaking in the hot springs.

In the modern world, many believe these properties are real and the benefits are easily explained.

Many also claim the body-mind mechanism reacts positively to the combination of the heat and minerals found in these waters.

Not so mysterious

Since the human body is made up of these same minerals and is 60 per cent  water, it is not too far a logical stretch that the benefits of soaking in a hot spring are not mysterious at all.

Geothermal waters normally come from as far underground as 3,000 feet. These waters are heated by the Earth’s natural core temperature.

The waters seep back up above ground through various cracks and splits it makes in the rocks.

One of the typical tell-tale signs of a hot spring is the unmistakable smell of sulphur.

Unlike some people who come to Panchor Hot Spring because of health problems, Bong comes for a different reason.


RM10 mln received to restore quake-hit Mount Kinabalu

Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Aman, yesterday thanked the Prime Minister for allocating RM10 million to fix the damaged routes and improve safety aspects at Mount Kinabalu which was received by the State Government yesterday.

“We have received the allocation today and on behalf of Sabah Parks and the State, I would like to thank the Prime Minister for keeping his promise.

We are hoping for all the routes on Mount Kinabalu to be fixed by September 1, this year so that climbers can continue with their activities then.

“This allocation means a lot to us (Sabahans), especially the people of Ranau,” he said, during a Ramadan month presentation of donations at Luboh and Sungai Padas at Mile 12, here.

A total of 945 people from Luboh and 718 people from Sungai Padas received donations in cash, batik cloth and rice.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Gaya island: Borneo's biodiverse treasurehouse of jungle and marine life

A short break on tropical Gaya island is a dream for snorkellers and conservationists alike – but just beware of the monkeys

Well, now we know what you don’t do in Borneo – and that is take your gear off after you’ve climbed Mount Kinabalu.

An earthquake and then international focus on the behaviour of backpackers on the mountain has brought attention to the tropical island. And while many come for the mountain, which is one of the great – and most difficult – hikes in the world, it is Borneo’s marine life which captivated me.

Borneo, the third largest island in the world and the largest in Asia, is often overlooked in favour of a holiday in Bali or among Thailand’s enticing sprinkle of islands.

But its wildlife, beaches and accommodation make it a good alternative to old favourites. Here at the Gaya Island Resort, we are surrounded by water, including several excellent snorkelling spots, and in the soupy heat it makes more sense to be in the water than to climb a mountain.

The resort is a 15-minute speed-boat trip from Kota Kinabalu, capital of Malaysia’s easternmost state of Sabah. (In Kota Kinabalu there’s some great places to eat but it is essentially a regional port town.)

The resort is built high up in the jungle and the walk to the rooms is steep. When staff allocate rooms they make sure anyone born after 1950 is housed on the lower levels. As a post-1950’s person, I’m high up in the trees (and sweating like I’ve just played five games of squash when I get up there).

Once I’m in my room, I almost don’t want to leave. It is spacious and has a deep bath on a raised platform; bedroom and wide balcony look out over the jungle and the water. Best of all, it is perfectly chilled.

The resort has many attractions to lure visitors out of their rooms, however, not the least of which is the amazing sea life. I’ve snorkelled in a variety of spots, from the Great Barrier Reef to remote islands off Sumatra, but have never seen such an embarrassment of underwater riches. The water is clear and thick with fish of incredible colour, variety and species. It’s like being in some CGI special effect – but it’s real.

Native to Borneo are the walking catfish – which can travel short distances on land, although you are more likely to see them in the rainforest areas in fresh, rather than salty, water.

One of the best snorkelling spots I visit is just off the front of the resort pier where all the boats pull up. I see – among other things – a sea snake curled up in the coral garden (thankfully resting) and bright clownfish.


Semporna – Mabul

The ride from Tawau was only a few hours long. The whole way, the roadside scenery featured oil palms after oil palms. Quite a sad realization, but the whole of Borneo has proven to be similar thus far. People are making millions with the plantations, regardless of the loss of animal natural habitat and the environmental consequences of fertilizer abuse and monoculture.

As the bus pulled into Semporna, I again felt like this was a different world. This sea side town, famous for being the port to Sipadan that holds one of the best dive spots in the world, was filthy, with begging children and old ladies all around.

We held our packs close and started walking towards Scuba Junkie, who have a dive company, lodge and restaurant, and had been recommended as one of the better operators in town. We had not bothered checking where it actually was though, so we followed local’s directions, until we spotted a white person and started following him: Indeed he took us where we needed to go.

We signed up for a dive trip for the following day, and crossed the street to get settled at the hostel. We took two spots in a 10 bed dorm room, only 3 beds apart from ours in use. The room had AC, so it was really nice to lay down for a while and cool down. Once the sun came down, we set out to explore the town and find some food.

Soon we discovered that although the pub next door looked cosy and had some wonderful sounding western food on the menu, it was well beyond our price range. We instead opted for a place that looked very popular among the locals, and had some fried noodles, soup and roti.

Roti means bread, but the way they make it in restaurants is very thin and with your chosen filling. Similar to an Indian naan bread, yet thinner. It mostly comes with daal to dip it in. The food was great and we happily strolled back to our bunk beds and called it a day.

The alarm on my phone went off at 7am the next morning, disturbing sweet, cold dreams. The whole dorm room was also getting up and ready for going out into the ocean, most of them packing all their stuff as they would spend that night at Mabul, the island we had chosen to dive around.

We walked back to the same place we had eaten at the night before, to enjoy Roti Telur for breakfast. We then reported to the Scuba Junkie HQ, grabbed our gear and hopped into the boat. The sun was getting stronger but it was not unbearable, specially with the gentle sea breeze.

From the water, Semporna looked like a very picturesque sea side town, with all the colourful houses built over the water, and the fishing boats buzzing in and out. We passed a few green islands on the way out, big and small. The lucky ones still had some of the original rain forest, while others had succumbed to the palm oil reign.

When Mabul came in sight, we realized this was what paradise must look like. White sand beaches crowned with forest, and fancy accommodation built right on top of the water, mostly out of wood. We were guided to Scuba Junkie’s lodge there, where tea and coffee where waiting.

Again, the eating/pub area was beautifully constructed out of dark wood, and stood proud and tall among the matching cabins for the guests. We soon understood why so many people stay here and why it was so expensive to begin with. We promised to ourselves, that next time we come this way, it would be on a proper holiday and we would make it further to Sipadan and stay in this heavenly place.

I also thought of my friend Shalsee, how she would absolutely love this place, and lay like a lizard in the sun the whole day, moving only to play some volleyball and go in the water to cool down (the sun was ridiculously hot!)

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Semporna – Mabul

Alaverdi to ‘chant’ at Sarawak Rainforest World Music Festival

KUCHING: As old as it sounds, the fourth century music from Georgia will bring new excitement to the forthcoming Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) to be held at the Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV) from August 7 to 9.

The group, Alaverdi, from Georgia, will present repertoires of religious chants that are played in different regions in the east and west of the country.

According to a press statement yesterday the band, which was founded in December 2014, used traditional folk instruments of string, wind and percussion to perform the traditional music.

They specialised in traditional Georgian folk music which is one of the most exceptional cultural treasures, combining a unique polyphonic complication.


Friday, June 26, 2015

Luxury, adventure, fine food and orangutans: Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort

It’s early morning and we’ve just climbed a steep hill behind the sprawling complex of the Shangri-La Rasa Ria, early enough in the day to have a clear view Mt Kinabalu, which appears above the morning mist in the distance.

It’s one of several early morning starts for us during our stay at the gorgeous Shangri-La Rasa Ria, and every one has been worth the wake up call. This one especially as there is a champagne breakfast waiting for us at the summit, that someone else got up even earlier to prepare for us and lug up the hill in 100 per cent humidity. All I had to lug up the hill was myself.

It’s a beautiful spread of fruit, cheese, cold meats, croissants, juice and champagne. I feel compelled to eat and drink as much as I can, partly because I MUST have burnt/sweated off a few thousand calories hiking up the hill and partly so these guys who don’t have to carry it all back down again.

The Shangri-La Rasa Ria resort has the concept of ‘luxperience’ down to a tee.

The rooms are without a doubt among the most luxurious hotel rooms I have ever stayed in and the setting is within a beautiful natural environment, which they make large efforts to conserve both with conservation projects and sustainable practices.

And did I mention the food? Wow.

5-star Japanese Teppanyaki, Indian and Italian restaurants, and a wonderful Malaysian hawker food market down by the beach for fresh seafood, satay, noodles and stir fry.

The range of activities on offer here is one of the widest I have ever come across. Everything from hiking, cycling, kayaking, sailing, jetskis, parasailing, archery, rock climbing, horse riding, cooking classes and (of course) spa treatments.

There are two swimming pools, several restaurants and for the kids, there is a large water slide, a floating trampoline, playground and kids club. Not to mention croquet, tennis, giant chess, petanque, golf and a whole range of off-site tours.

So each day we rise early and go exploring, each lunch we’re served something delicious at a different venue, and each evening we have a few drinks at the beach-side bar and watch the sunset, before being fed again.

But what makes this place really special is its Orangutan Sanctuary, part of Shangri-La’s long term commitment to the conservation of this lovable, highly endangered creature – our closest primate relative.


The tribe saving Borneo’s forests

Once the nomadic hunter-gatherers of Borneo, the Penan are now eco-warriors fighting to protect their jungle home.

The rainforest was taking its toll. With humidity hovering around 100%, I was trying to keep up with our fleet-footed guide as I played a jungle version of whack-a-mole, flicking lecherous leeches off my rubber shoes with a salt-tipped stick. A stream of sweat poured off my chin to the damp forest floor below.

Our guide Sia Ngedao and I waited for my two trekking companions who, unaccustomed to the humidity, were bringing up the rear. Pele, a heavily bearded Swedish man who looked like a giant, had been intermittently freaking out over anything to do with sweat and bugs, while his girlfriend, Lisa, calmed him down with her serene demeanour.

We hadn’t even reached our lunch spot and I could tell that Ngedao had given up on us attaining our goal for the day.

“The man cannot walk,” he said sombrely as we waited for Pele to finish his third litre of water that morning. “We will not make it to the village today. We will sleep in the forest.”

We were on a five-day trek with community tourism programme Borneo Penan Adventure in Borneo’s Upper Baram region, in Sarawak state. It’s one of the few areas of primary rainforest remaining on an island that was once fully carpeted. It’s also home to one of Borneo’s many tribes, the Penan.

Historically, the Penan people were Borneo’s nomadic hunter-gatherers, moving into areas with plentiful food sources such as sago palm and wild boar. Today only a handful of the 10,000 to 12,000 remaining Penan are genuinely nomadic, with the majority living in villages.

Logging companies, palm oil plantations, hydroelectric dam projects and government corruption have all played a role in decimating the Penan’s forest home, with the deforestation of Sarawak’s primary growth estimated to be close to 90%. With the loss of their land, the Penan fear they will lose their independence. Borneo Penan Adventure offers several itineraries aimed at combating this destruction through sharing the tribe’s way of life.

Our group was travelling through a handful of the 17 villages in Upper Baram’s Penan Peace Park, a 163,000-hectare area established in 2009 to protect the local rainforest from large-scale logging.

Many younger generations, including some of Ngedao’s own children, have had to leave the area to find work in nearby cities or at logging camps, but the Peace Park and the Borneo Penan Adventure excursions, are giving them new options to stay. Now they can get involved in guiding, selling handicrafts, boat driving and working as porters.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: The tribe saving Borneo’s forests

Continuous aftershocks delay Kinabalu park and Mount Kinabalu rectification

KUNDASANG: Earthquake aftershocks have delayed rectification efforts at the mountain and the park, said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.

A total of 91 aftershocks have been recorded since June 5, Masidi said at the ceremony to present RM2,000 assistance to 187 earthquake victims near here yesterday.

Due to the aftershocks, he said the closure of Mount Kinabalu, which was supposed to have been only for three weeks, has now been extended to three months. It will only be re-opened by early September.

He said the number of climbing permits would be reduced to 192 per day once activities on the mountain were resumed. This was to reduce damages to the park’s ecosystem while caring for the safety of the climbers as a new trail is being tested.

Masidi also mentioned that the level of damage to the existing trail on the mountain was more extensive than they expected initially and that repairs and building work to create the new trail were underway.

He described the new route to be less familiar and harder than the previous trail, hence the necessity to reduce the number of climbers.

Meanwhile, the expertise of the Mount Kinabalu mountain guides would be used to help identify and build a new climbing trail on the mountain.

Masidi said that the mountain guides would be very much involved in the construction of the new trails due to their familiarity with the mountain.

He also said that the mountain guides would also be the ones who would frequent the route once climbing activities resumed in September.


Mount Kinabalu climbers to pay insurance coverage for mountain guides

KUNDASANG: Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said he would strive to ensure that all the mountain guides at Mount Kinabalu obtain insurance coverage.

The mountain guides, however, need not make pay any payment (for the insurance premium), as the groups of climbers using their services would be paying for it through the costs charged on the climbers.

“We will draw up a package, whereby the insurance payment will be covered by the mountain-climbing costs. Hence, the mountain guides are automatically protected by insurance coverage,” he said after handing out RM500 in aid to each family of flood victims, here yesterday.

However, he added, the costs paid by the groups of climbers might not necessarily increase with the inclusion of insurance coverage for the mountain guides.

On a related development, Masidi agreed that experienced and skilful mountain guides be selected to be members of the mountain search-and-rescue (MOSAR) team.

The MOSAR team was set up by the Sabah Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) last Monday, for preparedness in facing emergency situations and disasters like the 5.9-magnitude earthquake that hit Ranau district early this month.

Masidi said the mountain guides would not only carry out their usual tasks but would also serve as rescue officers with the systematic training set by Bomba.

“So, there’ll be a change in their work scope which will enable them to earn more income by playing dual roles.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

The forgotten jungle heroes of Borneo

Troops from the Parachute Regiment, outnumbered by more than 10 to one, withstand a ferocious enemy attack lasting more than two hours.

A firefight which should have ended in bloody defeat instead becomes an astonishing victory against the odds.

The feat has been likened by one senior officer to the Battle of Rorke’s Drift during the 19th century in Africa when a garrison of 150 British troops fought off up to 4,000 Zulu warriors.

But you will struggle to find much in the history books about the battle for Plaman Mapu, which happened 50 years ago on the border of Malaysia and Indonesia.

That is about to change with the imminent screening of a new documentary about this largely forgotten incident.

The latest in the We Were There series on Forces TV reveals the story of the brave 36 soldiers and shows three surviving veterans revisiting the scene of their triumph five decades later.

It is a bittersweet experience as the men are feted by locals and pay tribute to fallen comrades.

Back in 1965 Les Simcock, then 18, was on leave and in a cinema with a girl when his name flashed up on the screen.

The message was to alert him that he had received a telegram ordering him to report back for duty.

Les and his colleagues in 2 Para were bound for Malaysia, a fledgling state that was being supported by Britain.

Over the next six weeks they received intense jungle training before being deployed to the island of Borneo where they were posted to a base on the 1,000-mile border with communist leaning Indonesia.

Their job was to help prevent an invasion. It was a hellish, mosquito infested place that was teeming with snakes and rats.

There were frequent torrential downpours and the awful humidity left the men constantly drenched in sweat. This small garrison usually comprised 140 soldiers but on the night of April 27 two of the three platoons were out on patrols that lasted between three and 10 days.

The remaining 36 men including Private Les Simcock were dug in but the attack starting at 5am came as a surprise. Most of the Paras were sleeping and a downpour helped camouflage the sound of the advancing Indonesians.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: The forgotten jungle heroes of Borneo

Quake-hit Mt Kinabalu to reopen to climbers September

KUNDASANG: Mount Kinabalu is expected to be reopened to climbers in early September, said Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.

The mountain, which stands at 4,095 metres, was closed to climbers following an earthquake in the state on June 5 that claimed the lives of 18 people comprising climbers and mountain guides.

Masidi said, however, the number of people on the mountain at any one time would be reduce by about half, from 192 to about 90, in the early stages of its reopening to climbers.

“The safety of climbers is of utmost priority.

We do not want to take a risk by maintaining the number as in the past,” he told reporters after handing over contributions to the victims of the June 5 earthquake.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cruising on a Borneo River

There is a special feeling that Borneo invokes. There really is no other experience that comes close to cruising on a tranquil river in Central Kalimantan surrounded by lush tropical jungle while watching rehabilitated orangutans frolicking in nature reserves.

Inspired by the virtually untapped tourism potential of Central Kalimantan, two British ladies, Gaye Thavisin and Lorna Dowson-Collins, converted a traditional Kalimantan riverboat known as a rangkan into the comfortable cruise boat we now know as the Rahai’i Pangun. Their venture brought the first jungle cruise to the Rangun River in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan.

Ecotourism is at the heart of Kalimantan Tour Destinations. This social enterprise is a way of protecting the environment and creating alternative livelihoods in the region. Through this river cruise, they are able to demonstrate that business can be a vehicle to support development problems by demonstrating there is a different value for the forest, while supporting local inhabitants of the region.

Our journey onboard the Rahai’i Pangun began at 8.30am when we were picked up from our local hotel in Palangkaraya and brought by car to the river harbour. Here you can see how the river is a source of life to so many living along its riverbed; canoes with engines traverse up and down its waters, locals fish, bathe and find their livelihoods here.

Stepping onboard the Rahai’i Pangun, you feel instantly rejuvenated. It is a floating marvel with five bedrooms, an open-air dining area and living room with a large observation deck. All rooms are air-conditioned with en-suite bathrooms, and although not five-star luxury, the rooms are certainly comfortable.

The boat departed from the harbour at 9am and we began cruising upstream on the Rangun River. The first half hour or so we passed through villages and fishing boats with friendly locals waving at us.

Then the forest engulfed us and after a couple of hours, we reached the island of Kaja, a 25-hectare sanctuary where rehabilitated orangutans live, still fed by rangers watching over them on the opposite side of the river.

The sight of three furry, orange friends hanging out in the trees was breathtaking – but there were many more orangutan encounters to follow over the next couple of days.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Cruising on a Borneo River

Gawai Dayak: A time for family reunion

MIRI: The chatter in the longhouse fell silent as all eyes turned to two primary schoolboys squaring off with each other, waiting for the referee’s go.

Seconds later, the two strove to outdo each other in arm-wrestling competition – one of many games held every Gawai Dayak at the longhouse in Machan, thanks to the initiative by its chieftain Mayang Umpi.

Other fun activities were gulping down hot coffee, ‘tuak’ (rice wine) and soda drinking, three-legged races, retrieving coin from a plateful of flour and even Halloween-like contests.

Head of Gawai Dayak celebrations Mapang Sebang said these traditional games derived from a showcase of strength and special abilities of the past generations.

“Tuak was the only prize for the Gawai games back then,” he reminisced of the era of his late father, who was a legendary figure in Kanowit and Julau.

Drinking hot coffee actually honoured an elderly man Aki Tinko from the longhouse, who had a supernatural resistance to heat. He even took up the challenge of dipping his hand in boiling water as a testimony of his integrity, or to clear the air whenever his reputation was questioned.

It was also a sight to behold as the longhouse women effortlessly carried their husbands on their backs during a piggy-back race. Laughter broke as the husbands struggled to lift their spouses for the return leg, where many stumbled.

Gawai is a festival celebrated by the Dayaks in Sarawak and West Kalimantan, with June 1 being officially regarded as a public holiday in Sarawak. To the Dayaks, it is a time for family reunion as well as for them to touch base with their ancestral roots.

The idea for Gawai Dayak was first mentioned in 1957 during a radio forum conducted by Tan Kingsley and Owen Liang, a radio programme organiser. Up till 1962, the British colonial government refused to recognise ‘Dayak Day’ – instead, they called it ‘Sarawak Day’ to be celebrated by all Sarawakians regardless of tribes.

Still, the Dayaks continued celebrating their harvest festival up until after Merdeka and formation of Malaysia. It was on Sept 25, 1964 that the state government officially gazetted June 1 as the day to observe Gawai Dayak every year.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Gawai Dayak: A time for family reunion

Sabah travel agents to make full refund to Mount Kinabalu climbers for cancellations

KOTA KINABALU: The imposing of cancellation fee on potential mountain climbers, who have made bookings, has left red face on tourism authorities.

And now the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) have directed its members to extend a full-refund to climbers for the mountain climbing packages booked between June 5 and Aug 31.

MATTA vice president Inbound Datuk Tan Kok Liang told New Sabah Times that agents should not be imposing any cancellation charges as the service provider Sutera Sanctuary Lodges has confirmed full refund to its customers.

Tan reminded its members to stay united and help rebuild the local tourism industry.

“By giving full refund strengthens our professionalism and moral ethics as the cancellations are beyond our control due to the earthquake which hit Mount Kinabalu on June 5.

“Any MATTA member that declined to cooperate may be queried by the licensing division of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture,” he warned.

He said: “This is not the time to impose cancellation policies.”

The decision was made after a briefing chaired by State Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun with the presence of Sabah Parks director Dr. Jamili Nais, Sabah Tourism Board general manager Datuk Irene Charuruks and Ag Ahmad Zaki from Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia, along with Sani Sham of Tourism Malaysia and Ravi Karthiravelu from Sutera Sanctuary Lodges and MATTA Sabah Chapter.


Sarikei the pineapple town where food is cheap

THE streets of Tanjung Manis burst into life after the usual quiet night at the crack of dawn with the chirping of swiftlets rousing the BAT team from their sleep.

Despite our early wake-up call by the birds, we had to rush and had just enough time to gulp down our drinks as a speedboat was about to depart for our next destination – Sarikei.

Under Sarawak’s River Board regulations, one speed boat is only allowed to carry a maximum of 12 passengers but there were 20 of us on that trip.

Surprisingly despite carrying more than the permitted number of passengers, there was plenty of room onboard.

The boat took only 30 minutes along the mighty Rajang with its nipah palm lined banks to reach Sarikei.

Having missed our breakfast in Tanjung Manis, the first thing we did after checking into a hotel was to eat.

The food and the portion were good and Sarikei could be the town with the cheapest food in the state.

Our lunch of mixed meat with rice (large portion) for each came with a small plate of vegetable to share and four home-cooked bean drinks – barley, green bean and red bean – costing only RM24.

Earlier on, we tried the kolo wanton and meehoon soup for only RM2.50 per bowl.

The Ramadan bazaar located in the centre of town started rather early as well as the vendors began preparing for business at around 2pm.

The stretches of stalls lining the bazaar were exciting as vendors offered a delightful and colourful array of food, drinks and desserts.

We also made a stopover at the Central Market with its many fruit stalls and among the fruits on display the local pineapple took centre stage.

At the central market, we met Wong Chieng Huan, a 36-year-old grocer who sells all sorts of fruits.

Wong owns an 11-acre pineapple farm at Sungai Bukit Huang and has been planting pineapples for two generations.

Farming is hard work and it is getting harder and her farm has dwindled in size, Wong grumbled.

“We have to look out for monkeys who steal not one or two pineapples but dozens!” she said.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Sarikei the pineapple town where food is cheap

Bidayuhs celebrate Gawea Festival

BAU: The Bidayuh village of Kampung Serasot near here chose to celebrate the Gawea Festival on Saturday (June 20) instead of June 1.

Yet, that did not stop thousands from flocking to the village to join in the celebration.

According to villagers of the Jagoi Bidayuh Dayak sub-ethnic settlement, the Gawea celebration held last week was their version of Gawai Dayak – the only difference is that it is usually celebrated after June 1, the official date for Gawai Dayak in the state.

They claimed that the Gawea in their village is one of the state’s iconic Dayak festivals and is very popular even among outsiders.

One of the villagers, Henshell ‘Kojek’ Ranged, when interviewed during the festival commented that during Gawea the main activities were ceremonies held at the village’s ‘Boli Gawea’, which is a house specifically used to host the events.

“Female shamans will be stationed at the Boli Gawea and their duties are to recite prayers, as they sit on a swing, thanking our deities for a good harvest this year and requesting for a good harvest in the next paddy planting season. Male villagers would play the gong just outside the Boli Gawea during the process,” added Henshell.

Henshell, who is known as Kojek by the villagers, said an altar of offerings was placed outside the Boli Gawea during the celebration.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Bidayuhs celebrate Gawea Festival

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Borneo: Danum Valley Conservation Area: Day One- An Encounter with a Wild Rhino!

As agreed with our Kinabatangan tour, we were escorted by minibus to a bus ‘shack’, where a double-decker public coach awaited our arrival.

There were a lot of odd characters aboard the bus and not to mention a handful of crying kids.

The lack of European people on the bus also made us a little anxious and paranoid that were we even on the right bus!

Nonetheless we rocked up to Lahad Datu about 2 hours later- a town which despite being one of the more prominent locations on the Borneo Sabah map, was only about 4 streets wide and long and, much like Sandakan, a bit of a dump.

Despite this we still had trouble trying to find the Danum Valley Science Research Centre Office and, despite asking numerous locals, no-one seemed to have a clue what we were on about. 

Alas, 30 minutes later we found it- realising we had probably passed it two or three times…Its not actually hard to find- we’re just idiots!

Science Research Centre

Before travelling, this is one thing I did a lot of research on.

In fact our entire trip around Borneo was scheduled around the transportation into and out of the valley;

Buses return from the valley on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays at 8.30am and head back into the valley on the same days at 3pm. To make the most of the valley, we planned to head in on Friday, giving us the weekend to explore, before heading back on Monday morning.

The Science Research Centre is, well- as its title suggests- and is located at the heart of Danum Valley- an area visited by fewer people than have climbed to Everest Base Camp!

The place is a real nature find- where if lucky, you will encounter wild orangutans, elephants, rhinos, gibbons, cats, monkeys and so on and so forth.

It isn’t a hostel, nor is it advertised as one and I read many blogs about the main office being pretty sticky and reluctant to let standard tourists in.

However, we had no such problems- didn’t even have to rely on a backup story.

Our only problem was that there weren’t enough people to necessitate two buses and as the first bus was already full, we would have to fork out on private transport to navigate along the 2 hour dirt track into the cloud forest.

We also had to find a computer in Lahad Datu, to print off our University confirmation- which would ensure we got the student discounted price.

It took us a half hour to source out a computer which, when we did, there were a couple of dozen school kids going mad on World Of Warcraft, briefly turning their attention to the fact that there were now two white people interrupting their social lives.

Student slips printed we returned to the Office, where we were informed that now there would be two buses going and therefore we wouldn’t have to pay extra for a private taxi..result!

It did mean we would have to wait a little while longer for our bus to arrive.

In the meantime we paid up for:

A Park Permit: 20MYR
Dorm Rooms: 45 MYR per night
Return Transport: 60MYR

We opted out of the full board option and thus saving money by stocking up on peanut butter and noodles.

We took extra money to pay for ranger guides/ night safaris/water that would be sorted at the centre within the valley.

In total we spent about 220 MYR/$60 for the 3 nights!

After briefly introducing ourselves to the other eager-goers in the office we saw off the first mini-bus, leaving 8 of us to wait for the second.


Luconia Shoals fit to be Unesco World Heritage site

MIRI: Luconia Shoals, which is a 10-hour boat ride from the city, is a world-class act for sports fishing enthusiasts and divers. It also boasts oil and gas, making the area a treasure trove.

But Luconia Shoals also has another attraction that would deem it fit to be listed as a Unesco World Heritage site.

Lying on the seabed of the largest reef complex in the South China Sea is a British cargo vessel – Viscount Melbourne – that sank more than 150 years ago.

Amateur marine archaeologist Hans Berekoven, who discovered Viscount Melbourne in 2011, said getting the site of the shipwreck onto the Unesco World Heritage list would at least protect the Luconia Shoals.

“Not so much for its treasure, if one may ask of the shipwreck. Just cutleries and bottles of really well-aged wines that are no longer consumable among the wrecks found,” Berekoven told The Borneo Post when met at his vessel at Miri Marina Bay recently.

“However, the Malaysian government must first understand how important Luconia Shoals is to the country. By getting it listed, it would help protect the shoals, among others, from intruders.”

Voicing his concern over a recent encroachment of Luconia Shoals by a China Coast Guard vessel, Berekoven said the incident should be treated as a wake-up call of sorts.

“China is elbowing its way here. Despite the fact that Luconia Shoals lies within Malaysia’s Exclusive Economic Zone, it could still argue its right over the place, and I don’t know what will happen if no further action is taken.”

Berekoven added in this present situation, it was more appropriate to put a structure on the island and plant a Malaysian flag there.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Luconia Shoals fit to be Unesco World Heritage site

Sarawak Museum needs to elevate itself to world class

KUCHING: Members of the public are calling upon the State Museum Department to diversify its exhibits and to hold frequent theme exhibitions to elevate itself to world class.

According to 30-year-old research officer Frankie Lanying, the exhibits shown in the museum have seen no additions “since time immemorial”.

“This somewhat dampens the spirit to visit it as what you see has been there for years,” Frankie told The Borneo Post recently.

The Sarawak Museum, being Borneo’s oldest museum, should look into allocating a curator to be present and interacting with visitors at all times, he lamented.

“Personally, I feel that in the technology and Internet era, the Sarawak Museum should be more interactive. For example to have audio narration, visual aids and other necessary things to further enhance the understanding of the exhibits,” he stressed.

Pointing to the fact that being a museum does not mean it cannot incorporate technology, Frankie also suggested that the museum mounts exhibitions with themes on a monthly or quarterly basis.

“There are more things that interest us apart from things of the past. For example, stories during the Rajah Brooke era, or for an example a dedicated exhibition on the history of film or movies in Sarawak,” he said, adding that the gloomy and dark corridors of the museum would not set the right mood.

When informed on on-going upgrading works in the museum, Frankie keeps faith in the hope that the Sarawak Museum will aspire to be a world class institution and draw the interest of not just foreigners but also the locals.

For a professional conference organiser of Planet Conventions & Events Sdn Bhd, Mona Abdul Manap, the gloomy lighting is not conducive for visitors to look at labels of the exhibits.

“For me, exhibits shown now are fine, but we need to educate people that a museum is not just for prehistoric relics. More ‘artsy’ staff from the locals should also be given due recognition,” she said.

“A good example is The Lourve in Paris, where it has a dedicated section for Leonardo Da Vinci,” she added.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Borneo: Kinabatangan River Safari

It is claimed that Borneo offers up the best safari outside Africa.

With this in mind, we were eager to venture into the wild and see for ourselves.

After a lot of research online and looking at some of the tours on offer in Sandakan, we decided to book through our hostel with Nature Lodge Kinabatangan.

Our decision was based on the fact that there was no way we could be scammed or that they could just run away, as we were staying at the hostel- Harbourside Backpackers- and they had provided us with excellent advice and tips up until now.

We booked on the 3days, 2 night safari in a twin dorm shack for 380 MYR/ $100.

This included all safaris, tours, transfers and food!

A pretty great deal in my eyes!

The only extras we paid were for beer and extra drinks- which didn’t add much more than $10 to the overall bill- for 3 days of intense safari I don’t think there is a better deal to be found!

Into the Wild

Packed and ready and still on a wave from our Orangutan exerts the previous day, we were ushered to a small cafe for lunch.

Here a wretched mini-bus picked us up, driving us on the 2 hour trip into the jungle.

A couple of bumpy hours later and we had completed our off-road journey, reaching the murky river bank.

We sat tentatively as we swayed in the water with our entire belongings on a decadent wooden raft across the gaping river to the campsite.

The camp itself was perfect for us- rustic, wild and a proper earthy experience.

This is exactly what we had hoped for- to be thrown deep in the wild and in tandem with some of Borneo’s most incredible wildlife.

In fact, we were chuffed with our little wooden shack- as basic as it was- but it came with its own chorus of howling monkeys in the trees above and groans from tropical frogs within the surrounding grasslands- it was insane!

There were however those who were not so impressed- an Australian couple on their honeymoon were expecting something a lot more luxurious and silver plated.

For the price, I don’t really know what they were expecting as there are of course much more luxurious and expensive options to choose, but we were not alone in sharing the excitement at finding a real travelling hot-spot- a true experience and unrefined taste of the wild!

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Borneo: Kinabatangan River Safari

Dayak Cultural Festival signifies mission to uphold Dayak culture in Borneo

KUCHING: The ‘Dayak Cultural Festival’ hosted by Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA) in collaboration with Dayak National Congress (DNC) could be seen as a melting pot for all Dayak communities across Borneo.

The inaugural two-day event, which concluded yesterday, was also a platform for these communities to foster resilient relationship with one another through their rich culture and tradition.

Delegates came from here, West Kalimantan and Sabah.

“It is vital to preserve the identity of the Dayak culture and tradition, which is being threatened by modernisation. If we neglect this, the identity of the Dayaks would be lost over time,” said SDGA president Dr Dusit Jaul during a dinner themed ‘One Dayak One Borneo’at Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) Hall here on Saturday, which was held in conjunction with the festival.

He added that it would be crucial for everyone regardless of background, social standing and political affiliation to come in arms towards ensuring the survival of Dayak culture and tradition, so that they could be passed on to future generations.

“Both SDGA and DNC are urging the Dayaks in Sarawak and Sabah to emulate the Iban Dayaks from Kalimantan, in terms of their strong dedication in preserving the originality of their  customs.

“The Kalimantan Dayaks seem to put their culture and tradition high on the pedestal, judging from their detailed ceremonial events up to traditional dances – they appear to be in deeper touch with their roots.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Grande Tour - Borneo

After leaving Bali we made our way to Borneo, Malaysia. We stayed on the eastern side of the island in the city of Sandakan, which is just teeming with wildlife.

Sandakan, and Borneo in general, is the real deal when it comes to being the rainforest.

There were random torrential downpours of rain, and more mosquitos (and mosquito bites) than I have ever experienced in my life.

Terrifying bugs abounded around every corner and we dutifully took our malaria pills every night!

No malaria for these backpackers, thank you very much!

We are actually still taking them now, as you have to continue taking the pill 7 days after you leave a high risk area.

Our first stop of the trip was at a rainforest lodge about 2 hours out of the city, and a short boat ride across the river.

It was a giant wooden compound, and mostly reminded me of a summer camp that I threw up at and then had to have my Mom pick me up from in the middle of the night.

I was 8, it was Alaska, what can I say, I have issues with camps.

We had communal meals with other people on the tour, and we all went out the boat tours as a large group.

We would spend 2 hours in the early morning, and then again around dusk boating up and down the river looking for animals. We definitely found them!

Monkeys are just everywhere. These are Silverleaf Monkeys that are actually totally wild, but had the calmest, sweetest temperament.

We were a little freaked out to be so close to them after being around the aggressive Macaques in Bali, which will tear your eyes out if you look at them funny.

But these guys just wanted to hangout, and didn’t even mind if you gave them a little pet.

They barely even acknowledged us, even if we were half a foot away from them. It was pretty amazing. They were also great little models for the camera!

We took a day tour out to see the Gomatong Cave, which is famous for it’s terrifying eco-system.

It was featured in all it’s disgusting glory in the Planet Earth episode on Caves. If you haven’t seen it, do look it up.

We were a bit horrified to discover this was THAT cave!

If only David Attenborough was there to narrate us through this bizarre experience ….

But! First! On the hike out to the cave we got amazingly lucky and stumbled upon 3 Orangutan having lunch in the tree-tops.

It was a mother and her baby, and then a giant male that seemed to be after her.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: The Grande Tour - Borneo