Kota Kinabalu photo #1

We went to The Green Connection yesterday, because my daughter wants to see Nemo. Luckily for us, when we arrived there, it was about time for them to feed the fishes in the tank. You can see Eric, the staff giving some informational talks about the underwater creatures that lives inside the tank. See if you can spot a guitar shark.

Kota Kinabalu in 365 days – a photo a day project

Last night I got this idea of a project that will need me to post a photo a day – for the next 365 days to complete the year of 2011 and a month of 2012. I notice that most of Mount Kinabalu stories and issues have been brought up since this blog exists. It may or may not help you, as most of the issues are out of our control to change it.

This time around, I am planning for a slight twist of my blog post – not anymore specific to the mountain, but more to what I see everyday of my life here in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. I am going to post a photo a day, which will be captured through my BlackBerry 9780 lens almost about anything that I see around where I live.

It may or may not interest you, but it will at least give you the idea of what am I seeing everyday (because some of us think that Sabahan still live on trees).

I hope you enjoy the photos!

A patient, happens to be my good friend took this photo. The book that I am reading (under the yellow florescent pen) was “Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century“. Yeah, my desk is a bit messy even without my laptop.

Get your Kinabalu Climber’s Guide now!

Finally, after more than a year of planning and extensive editing, the book is ready. You can get Kinabalu Climber’s Guide from Lulu.com from today onwards. As it is a “Print-On-Demand” publisher, the price for paperback version may be a bit steep for some.

But please don’t fret. I have also published a PDF version of the book for a cheaper price. And from today until Christmas, I will give 25% discount from the list price for the paperback version, so that you can have it for yourself or as a gift for your loved ones.

After completing your transaction with Lulu, you can immediately download the file to your computer. You can download the PDF file immediately after you complete your transaction. However, if you choose to buy the book, it will be shipped in 3-5 business days.

The book is actually written for you, if you think that you need more information on the climb up the mountain, specially designed for FIRST TIME climbers. For seasoned climbers the book may not be as interesting, as they have experienced the climb before. But it may be a good souvenir or gift for those whom you know planning for their maiden climb.

You may want to see some book preview here:

24th Mount Kinabalu Climbathon results

Newsflash taken from BERNAMA

KUNDASANG (Sabah), Oct 24 (Bernama) — Spain’s Tofol Castaner took home the men’s title of the 2010 Skyrunners World Series after he amassed 347 points overall when the final leg of the series, the 24th Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon, concluded here today. Despite finishing third in the race up and down Mount Kinabalu, Castaner’s 347 points was enough to bring home the trophy.

Italy’s Marco De Gasperi won the race in a time of two hours 33 minutes and 56 seconds, setting a new Climbathon Men’s Open record after beating the old record he himself had set in 2003 (2’36.59s).

Castaner clocked 2’58.09s, while Nepal’s Sudip Kulung, who made his debut this year, finished second in 2’46.14s.

Spain’s Jessed Hernandez finished second overall in the series with 324 points, ahead of fellow countryman Sebastian Sanchez Saez with 303 points.

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Safrey Sumping finished fifth clocking 3’02.47s, but hoped he had done better as last year he had clocked 3’00.22s to finish the race in ninth place.


You can get the full result from Sabah Tourism’s website here.

PADI Scuba Diving & Project AWARE certificates for you!

I love doing outdoor activities. The best thing about being and living in Sabah is that there are a lot of outdoor activities that you can get yourself involved to fill your desire! I started to climb Kinabalu in 2002, and since then I have climbed the mountain several times, and would love to climb again soon. In 2008 I started to scuba dive. And guess what? I fall in love with underwater life.

When one of my Facebook friend asked me about scuba diving few weeks ago, I knew that not all of us have the correct information about scuba diving. Almost all of us think that if we don’t know how to swim, we cannot dive (it’s also a myth that I had before I do diving). It will be very dangerous for those who don’t know how to swim to take scuba diving.

Well, today I have to correct the myth: YOU DON’T HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO SWIM IF YOU WANT TO GO SCUBA DIVING. However, if you can swim, it will be a huge advantage for you. That is why professional bodies who certified divers highly recommend that you can swim to dive.

You don’t have to know how to swim to scuba dive because we actually don’t want you to float. In scuba diving, we are afraid that you cannot sink! Because if we cannot sink you, it defeats the purpose of diving. We even put on weight on you to make you sink.

To dive all over the world you need to be certified. There are a lot of professional bodies which can certify you as a scuba diver. I took PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certification from Borneo Divers which costs me MYR1000 (~USD300) in 2008. The cost varies among dive operator around Kota Kinabalu depending on the ancillary services that they can provides for the divers.

Diving has become an addicting activity to me as to go to Sutera Harbour jetty took me less than 10 minutes drive from home, and another 10 minutes to Mamutik Island! How can you not love this place?

To fulfill a request from one of my good friend (and to entice you to take scuba diving), I hereby post the 4 certificates that I received from my first ever scuba diving experience until my Project Aware involvement.

The first certificate: Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) (cost RM200-RM300)*

It’s the best way to know and feel what it is like to breathe underwater. The short course is done under direct supervision of the diving instructor, which can be finished in just one day. Usually they will let you do one dive or two if you are comfortable. After the dive, this hand written certificate will be given to you. And if you think that you like diving and want to dive all over the world, then you should take the proper license: Open Water Diver.

The second certificate: Open Water Diver (OW) (cost RM1000-RM1300)*

This is the start of you entering scuba divers life. This course took us 4 days to complete. One day in the classroom reviewing some videos and course book, two days in confined water and one day in open water. Luckily for me, the confine water session was held in a swimming pool. The visibility was magnificent! ;-). The instructor will teach us the basics about scuba diving and how to breathe properly under water. They will always tell you that “NEVER HOLD YOUR BREATH!”. Open Water license will only allow you to dive not deeper than 18 meters.

The third certificate: Advance Open Water Diver (AW) (cost RM800-RM1200)*

This will be your next stage of scuba diving. Advance Open Water is for you if you are serious about diving and want to explore more underwater. One of the reason why I took AW was I want to dive Sipadan. It’s my dream dive spot. Because of the underwater nature of Sipadan, a lot of experience divers urged me to take AW because I really need it if I want to dive on the spot which Cousteau said “I have seen other places like Sipadan, 45 years ago, but now, no more. Now, we have found again an untouched piece of art…”

With AW, you need to take at least 5 compulsory specialty dive – in which Borneo Divers was good enough to give me six – in 2 days. I took Peak Performance Buoyancy Dive, Deep Dive, Underwater Navigation, Diver Propulsion Vehicle, Night Dive and Underwater Naturalist. From those six specialty dives, I think I like Night Dive. It gives you totally different view of underwater world in the dark!

The fourth certificate: Project AWARE (cost RM100)

This certificate is just a recognition certificate in which Project AWARE Foundation gave to divers who helped them involve in their events to save  the underwater world. This is the first Project AWARE event that I joined, in which was held on the 25th September 2010 in Mamutik Island.

Basically we were assigned to collect rubbish underwater around Tunku Abdul Rahman Park (islands nearby Kota Kinabalu). This year we also add on awareness on the increasing amount of water bottles, by launching “Say No To Water Bottles” campaign. I managed to collect some rubbish around Manukan Island which was only a fraction of about 800 kilogram rubbish that we all collected that whole day!

My next target is Sipadan & Mabul Island. After that I would like to challenge myself and take the next level of PADI certification – Rescue Diver – so that I can safely dive with anybody that I want. When my son is ready, I will bring him underwater with me as a dive buddy!

*Cost varies among dive operators here in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Help us save our 105 years old heritage!

Yes. You heard me right. The developer gave us “development for Kota Kinabalu” as excuses. Somehow or rather, they managed to get through local government authority to build a shopping mall cum hotel just nearby our one and only structure in Kota Kinabalu which survived World War II.

I am talking about Atkinson Clock Tower, standing quietly in the heart of Kota Kinabalu. I know not all of us know about the structure, but still, in needs our attention.

I would like to urge you to help us spread the word about this issue. The 105 years old structure will be obscured by the shopping mall and hotel that will be built. By having new shopping mall and hotel, we do no justice to the clock tower.

Don’t get me wrong. I love development. But to the extent that we still preserved our heritage for our future children to appreciate.

You may want to read about the history and the issue here: http://heritagesabah.blogspot.com/

If you have Facebook, get in touch with them here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Heritage-Sabah/129477990433190

I have signed the petition. You should do it too. Otherwise when you come to Kota Kinabalu in the future, you will not see the structure as beautiful as now!!!

Kinabalu Climber’s Guide – Pre-release book review

As you know it by now, my Kinabalu Climber’s Guide book is on the way of getting published. The manuscript is currently undergoes extensive editing process by Lulu.com, one of the best self-publishing service on the internet. Some of our readers get the chance to be my book review – well, it’s actually a manuscript – pre-release review of the book before it is finally published.

One of the reviewer is Kay Stanford Kastum, a blogger from Sabah who writes for his own blog, Life Demo had the opportunity to give us some words to share about the upcoming book.

I found out about the Kinabalu Blog managed by Drizad when I started blogging a couple of years back. It was interesting to find out so many info about the hows and whats of climbing Mount Kinabalu. I heard about the legendary porters of Kinabalu but when I saw the actual photos of them carrying plastic water tanks, timbres and cooking gas tanks, I was more than amazed.

The funny thing is, there were many sites that provides info on Kinabalu but they were too general or most of it were talking about their experience rather than an actual step by step guide to ensure you are prepared in terms of what to expect and what to bring or how much you should bring (money or equipments). The Kinabalu Blog is almost like a one stop place for all your Kinabalu climb info.

The book covers most of what Kinabalu Blog has covered before but there are other extra infos added in as well. And there’s a big difference between reading something online and having a physical book to carry around and refer to anytime you want. You can read it while in bed, on the porch of a chalet, while having coffee at at the cafe or even while in the toilet!

I would highly recommend this book and it will be really meaningful. Who else is better to share info about Kinabalu than another climber who have experienced it all, married to a Sabahan Rungus local and knows exactly what he is talking about. I am going to climb Kinabalu, definitely!

Stay tune for the updates on the book!

Mount Trus Madi travelogue by Murphy Ng

Mount Trus Madi is the second highest mountain in Malaysia. The last time I wrote about Trus Madi was more than two years ago with this post. One of my good friend managed to get himself the taste of the adventure while trekking Mount Trus Madi last few weeks. Murphy Ng wrote a travelogue on Turs Madi in his blog after torturing himself climbing the 2,642 meter mountain.

It’s hilarious and full of colorful photos (thanks to the flora of Trus Madi). He also mentioned the operators who manages climbers up the mountain. However, before you contact them to get yourself the taste of Trus Madi, please bear in mind that Trus Madi is waaaaay more difficult than Kinabalu. If you think that Kinabalu is tough, you better stay away from Trus Madi. But if you are looking for challenges, then Trus Madi will give you one hell of a day.

You may read his post here. Thanks Murphy!

Nephentes xTrusmadiensis

A trip to orphan home Darul Bakti, Kota Belud

It is time for me to give back to those in need. As I wrote this post, I am in fasting month of Ramadan, the month of which fasting is compulsory for all Muslims. During this month, we are required to leave all the things that nullify fasting and multiply our good deeds to others.

Along with some friends from STAROBA Sabah, a student alumni association of Sekolah Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Ipoh, were able to spend some time, energy and fund to give to the orphans and less fortunate boys in Darul Bakti, Kota Belud (map here). Darul Bakti is an orphanage home which is located in the district of Kota Belud, about 70 kilometers north of Kota Kinabalu. Occupied by 48 boys who comes from difficult family and have no parents, it is a small institution that played a role in raising the children to be useful to the community in the future. They were all aged from 6 years to 17 years.

We went there with the intention of breaking fast with them and donate some groceries for their supplies during fasting month.

We started our journey from Kota Kinabalu at around 430pm and back to Kota Kinabalu at around 1000pm. Quite an eventful evening. Thank you very much for all the members, and hopefully we will go there same time next year.

We even managed to make detour at Tuaran just to fill our empty tank with durians…

Mount Kinabalu from the air

Managed to snap some shots of Mount Kinabalu while traveling from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan on a flight. I went to Sandakan few months back, but did not managed to upload the photos sooner. The photo quality is a bit low, as I shot it with a smart phone, to be exact, Blackberry 8520.

I traveled from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan in the afternoon. Afternoon shots are not good as clouds had covered the mountain which obscure the view of the mountain. I came back from Sandakan to Kota Kinabalu on a morning flight. This is the best time to see the majestic mountain of Borneo, as the sky is really clear!

There is one shot that is different from the others. See if you can identify it!