Friday, 22 May 2015

Intramuros Manila (late post)

​Whenever I have a special event to celebrate, I sometimes go to a place where I can have "Me Time". ​

I just came back from my wonderful trip abroad. It's been 7 years that I have not visited the place and there are already few changes there. The place I am talking about is the Intramuros where the oldest district and historic core of Manila, the capital of the Philippines. Also called the Walled City, it was the original city of Manila and was the seat of government when the Philippines was a component realmof the Spanish Empire. Districts beyond the walls were referred as the extramuros of Manila, meaning "outside the walls".













Everyone knows I am working in Makati City that is the financial center of the Philippines and known for being a major cultural and entertainment hub in Metro Manila. Since Makati City is about 9  km's away to Manila, I can't find time to visit the place. But this time, I decided to go back to this place again. 



Tuesday, 19 May 2015

I fell in love with Kota Kinabalu (the summary)

​I received a text message from a friend last September 2014 insisted me to go with them to Kota Kinabalu on May 2015. I was hesitant because the city does not ring a bell with me. But after so many talks, I eventually agreed and gave them my details to book a flight ticket. However, sad to say, out of 7 who supposed to go to KK, only 3 were sure, including me. Sadly, my closest friends who insisted me to go there were not able to come as well. So I was thinking if I will push our flight but I still decided to go because everything are already settled and planned.

As we​ took the Air Asia flight to Kota Kinabalu, I had no idea what to expect from this small city in Sabah, Malaysia. All I knew was that I was very excited to discover a place and to immerse myself in the local culture. Little did I know that five days would not be enough to see this beautiful city.

I did not even expect either that I will meet a special someone ​here, the one who​ I can easily get along with and feel safe.

Kota Kinabalu is a beautiful treasure on the tropical island of Borneo, Malaysia, a sanctuary of life which possesses the natural gift of fine culture, endearing hospitality and people, sumptuous cuisine and breathtaking marine and exotic preservations.


​Here’s a list of the things that made me fall in love with Kota Kinabalu:



​1.  The Tip of Borneo -Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, Kudat,Sabah, Malaysia






This place is out of our travel itinerary. We visited the Tip of Borneo without knowing how the place looks like or if going there is safe. It was a trial and error travel but after the nervous breakdown from the checkpoint experience, everything turned out fine. This  is the meeting point of the Sulu and China Seas, and moving northward from this area, one can reach the southern part of  the province of Palawan in the Philippines.

We took a bus to the town of Kudat and from there we took a taxi(pick-up trucks for hire) and drive for another 30 minutes to Simpang Mengayau.  We opted for the rent a car and shared with 2 students from Kuala Lumpur that we have met in the bus terminal.  The five of us shared the payment of 100 ringgit for the car rental going there and 50 ringgit for going back.  I had my grand moment standing at the tip of Borneo. The  view of the headland that extends  to the horizon where the Sulu and China Seas meet is scenic and stunning. 

The ocean before me was strangely silent and calm. I was expecting high and roaring waves at the meeting point of these two seas. There was serenity and peace all around. It was a perfect moment.... and a perfect day! (for more photos, you may check my separate blog: http://joanbarredo.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-tip-of-borneo-sabah-malaysia.html)


2. Kinabalu Park or Taman Kinabalu in Malay






Malaysia's first World Heritage Site designated by UNESCO in December 2000 for its "outstanding universal values" and the role as one of the most important biological sites in the world with more than 4,500 species of flora and fauna, including 326 bird and around 100 mammal species and over 110 land snail species. The park is one of the most popular tourist spots in Sabah and Malaysia in general wherein mountain climbers go here. 

We have catched a mini-bus to Kinabalu National Park from Padang Merdeka. Just look out for the vehicles bound for Ranau. There is no timetable for such services and they operate on a “when they fill up” basis, we have waited a while for it to depart. We paid RM20 each for the two hour journey. Don’t leave your journey until too late in the day as public bus services tend to wind down late afternoon. As a general rule of thumb, departures are usually more frequent until noon so heading there in the morning should decrease waiting time.
We have decided to follow the longest trail and we had no idea what can we see there after the long walk. I feel like I already climb the mountain. Good thing my back did not ache that much. Kamsahamnida to Oppa for helping us. That's the place where I first met him. 

3. Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park (Island Hopping)

We went to Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal in downtown Kota Kinabalu - that is the ferry terminal for those heading to the islands in Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park. This ferry terminal is also the departure point for patrons staying at the Manukan Island Resort. 

Visit blog http://joanbarredo.blogspot.com/2015/05/island-hopping-at-kota-kinabalu.html

Pulau Mamutik -  is the nearest island to Kota Kinabalu and the smallest of the five islands of the Park. Very popular because of its proximity, Pulau Mamutik is usually frequented during weekends. Mamutik Island is famous for its nice white beach and unspoiled corals. Mamutik would be an ideal venue to get away from it all. The corals to the north-eastern tip of the island are quite interesting. The beach is rocky but you can see several fishes all over.







Pulau Manukan - one of the more popular islands in Sabah, gave us a wonderful treat and adventure as the clean blue sea abundant with marine life lured us to a Sea Walk Adventure. Sabah’s rich marine life was awe-inspiring. We also learned that Sabah’s coral reefs are home to some of the largest, most varied communities of marine life on earth.











4. Sunset at Jesselton Point

​Have you seen the sun rise lines? Daebak! I was speechless when I saw that sunset. 



5. The Food

There’s a never ending list of restaurants in Kota Kinabalu & Sabah, because thanks to Sabah’s extensive cultural diversity, food to Sabahans are like the weather to the British; they talk about it all the time. And when you realized how many restaurants and varieties of food there are here, you’ll know why.
I personally tried and love the famous Laksa Noodle at Yee Fung Laksa. The restaurant is just in front of the hotel where we stayed.









6. Sights and culture 

The diverse and dynamic culture of Sabah is quite interesting and akin to our own country. Did you know that Eastern Sabah once belonged to the Philippines?
The Sultan of Brunei had ceded the Northeast part of Sabah to the Sultan of Sulu who eventually granted the North Borneo Chartered Company, a permanent lease over the territory.

All in all. I Love KK and its an amazing place where I have found peace and love. ♥♥♥





Friday, 15 May 2015

My Travel Journal (copied from my blog page site)

I used to keep a personal diary back in my early teenage years. This is where I write down my happiest memories, the "kilig" moments, those embarrassing events I'd rather forget and my deepest darkest secrets. This I did for quite some time until I quit writing. I grew up spending my precious time doing other things, investing on other skills and focusing my attention to much more interesting stuff than writing. 

It never occurred to me that I'll be scribbling down (or maybe typing would be more appropriate) my thoughts and experiences again. This time for the whole World Wide Web to read. 



(Tingloy Island Batangas, Philippines)


(Hundred Islands Pangasinan, Philippines)


(Lian Batangas Philippines)


(The Tip of Borneo Sabah, Malaysia)


(Pulau Island Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia)




A few years ago, I got reunited with my friends for going places and exploring new things. I always feel the thrill and excitement of traveling, the adrenaline rush of another adventure and the fulfillment of learning while moving. And I loved it. I always look forward to the day I'll get to see what lies out there. But I'm still discontented.

I felt the strong need to share my occasional dose of (mis)adventures, explorations and discoveries in a place where I can get back to that very moment with easy access. And so my new blog was born.

Reading select travel blogs fuels my deep desire to travel. So I am making my own travel journal to relish the moment, relate the fun and impart know-hows on trips, with the hopes of igniting someone else's passion to seek and explore places.





 








So go on and read. I hope somehow, in my own little way, I'll be able to take you to moments of travel pleasures, stirring adventures and striking explorations that brave-hearts and passionate wanderers would surely enjoy. :)




Thursday, 14 May 2015

Island Hopping at Kota Kinabalu

Do you want to see a Boracay look a like white sand beach with crystal clear, turquoise water? Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park - Pulau, a few kilometers away from Kota Kinabalu City will definitely have so much in store for you.

Pulau is made up of five islands including Gaya, Sapi, Manukan, Mamutik and Sulug. For our island hopping tour, we chose to visit Manukan and Mamutik islands.

You need to go to Jesselton Point where you’ll begin your island hopping trip. The price of your trip will depend on how many islands you want to visit – it starts at RM 15 for one island, RM 35 for two islands and so on. You can also rent snorkeling gear and life jackets at an extra cost, and you also get the option to book water sports activities. We had a discounted rate as the tour guide is a Filipino. So nice!

We have joined some Malaysian Citizens who will go to the island as well. They're all nice.






We did not avail of the water activities and we preferred to snorkel that is included in the package we obtained. Even just near the shore, there are so many fish swimming around and they are pretty big. You can actually feel them gently nibbling you.



MAMUTIK ISLAND



























MANUKAN ISLAND (sounds tagalog) - Best Island in KK





















And there he is.. seen Oppa again coincidentally! :)