through gus' lenses

mabul island – day 3 December 26, 2010

Filed under: holidays — daughterofdestiny @ 00:31
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12th september 2010 – it was our final day on mabul island. we spent the rest of the day strolling around aimlessly.


 various dive sites covered by scuba junkie.

 pathway outside our chalet, leading towards the beach.

 sweeping away grains of sand.  yea yea yea, fixated at freudian’s anal stage.

pretending resting on the hammock

 nearby village


villagers make a living selling handicrafts and souveniers made from creatures of the sea. do NOT buy these shark’s jaws! we will only encourage them to kill more sharks.

pendants made from shells

 i wonder who would want to get these dried triggerfish? imagine them in your living room. certainly a conversation piece. but.. yikes.

 no idea what are these but… double yikes.


 sipadan water village on the left, and mabul village on the right. note the disparity.

 sipadan water village.

colleague and i at the jetty of scuba junkie. notice the clarity of the water. so inviting!

 seaventure dive resort. i stayed there 3 years ago and wrote a post about it here.

 around 4pm, a speed boat took us back to the mainland, semporna.

we had seafood dinner at this restaurant, just opposite the jetty. great food, reasonable price.

we took our time at the restaurant because the coach was to depart only at 7.30pm, and it took us just 15 minutes to walk to the bus terminal. we bought our semporna-kota kinabalu tickets for RM75 at inanam bus terminal, the same time we got our kota kinabalu-semporna tickets. make sure you do not misplace the tickets. one of my colleagues could not remember where she had kept her ticket. she almost had to pay an extra Rm75 for another ticket. fortunately, she found them inside her backpack, after emptying all her things.

warning: they depart at 7.30pm sharp without waiting for latecomers. i soon found out the reason. along the way, they would pick up “illegal” passengers. i believe they split the profit amongst themselves. some “illegal” passengers would take over the seats of those who could not make it in time. when the seats were full, they would sit on the steps of the coach, near the driver. and we wonder why motor vehicle accidents happen rampantly *slaps forehead*

around midnight, we stopped over at telupid for toilet breaks. some of them grabbed a quick meal.

after journeying for 9 hours, we arrived at inanam bus terminal around 4.30am. i reached home around 6am, unpacked my things, showered, slept for a bit and then went to work at 9am!

all in all, it was quite an unforgettable experience. i wouldn’t mind doing it all over again. anyone?


mabul island – day 2 December 21, 2010

Filed under: holidays — daughterofdestiny @ 18:05
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11th september 2010 – one of my colleague and i woke up at 7am for a quick breakfast before rushing to the jetty to gear up for our first dive. however, due to miscommunication, the dive operator booked us for  refresher dives instead of leisure dives. after waiting around for about 45 minutes, they managed to sort the logistics out. we were put under the care of DM simon lloyd. besides the slight mix-up, the people over at scuba junkie were totally professional. i would recommend them to divers, especially if you are on a budget (like us!)

unfortunately, i do not have an underwater casing for my good old gus (aka canon 350d), so i was unable to take any shots of the underwater world. for all you non-divers out there, especially if you are a nature lover, your life is incomplete without exploring the underwater world! anyway, our first dive was at the lobster’s wall, mabul. we saw fire dartfish, green turtles, crocodile fish, blue-spotted stingray and others.

after a short break, they took us over to seaventure house reef, mabul for our second dive. i was at this location about 3 years ago but this time round, the current was strong! we had to hold onto the rope while descending to the “floor”. we could feel the current against us. it certainly raised my heart rate there. but once we hit the depth of 17 metre, it was serene. we saw lion fish, moray’s eel, batfish, cornetfish and lots of other sealife. it was breathtaking.

after lunch, we did our final dive at awas, mabul. it was a relaxing dive. we spotted longhorn cowfish, tigertail seahorse, winged-pipefish, and the usual green turtles and stingrays. no, i am unable to identify most of the sealife. it was our divemaster who helped us to do so after each dive.

overall, i think sipadan is a better place to dive, but it is much more expensive compared to diving off mabul.

later in the afternoon, we hit the beach and spent the rest of the day reading books, snacking away and taking occasional pictures.

mr. doggie, waiting for us to throw him some potato chips. he did not get any because it wasn’t enough to go around it was not healthy for his coat of fur.

when we first arrived at scuba junkie mabul resort, the rest of the guests were caucasians. the next day, this group of indonesians/malaysians arrived. although seeing other asians brought about a sense of familiarity, but personally, i did not appreciate the ruckus they created. but that was just me. i prefer peace and quietness, minus cigarette smoke.

when the sun set, the wind got too cold for me, so i stayed in the room til dinner. due to tiredness, we hit the sack early that night.

to be continued…


mabul island – day 1 December 19, 2010

Filed under: holidays — daughterofdestiny @ 21:11
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9th september 2010 – over the hari raya holidays, my colleagues and i decided to go for a scuba diving/rest & relax trip to mabul island. we can either a) take a 50-minute flight from kota kinabalu to tawau, then take a one-hour journey via van to semporna, followed by a 45-minute boat ride to mabul island or b) take a 9-hour coach ride from kota kinabalu to semporna, and then a boat ride to mabul island.


we chose option b) as it was cheaper. due to the fact that we travelled during the raya period, coach fare was understandably more expensive than usual at RM75 from kota kinabalu to semporna. we chose to ride with dyana express sdn bhd as it is more established locally. to secure the seats, our tickets were purchased several days earlier at the inanam bus terminal. we departed from kota kinabalu at 7.30pm sharp. the coach is air-conditioned and comes with a toilet (which i did not use). they have a television screen which was showing some english movie. but i did not bother to watch as the screen was too small from where i was sitted, and raya songs were blasting from the stereo. i managed to sleep on and off during the 9-hour journey.

we arrived at semporna around 4.30am. usually, there will be food stalls selling breakfast. however, as we travelled during the raya holidays, there was not a single food stall in sight. my colleagues decided to have junkfood for breakfast while waiting for the automated teller machine to start vomiting cash service at 6am. we needed to withdraw cash to pay the dive operator – scuba junkie as they do not accept credit cards.


with about an hour to kill before we could use the atm, i walked around snapping pictures.


muslims gathering at a nearby mosque in semporna for morning prayer at the start of the hari raya.


after withdrawing sufficient amount of cash, we walked for 15 minutes to scuba junkie, stopping at a coffee shop along the way for our breakfast. usually, their office will start operation at 8am or so. as it was the raya holidays, we got to wait til 9am! we sauntered to the nearby scuba junkie backpacker to wash up.


feeling more refreshed, we walked to the nearby ocean tourism centre to kill time. *pixelated my early morning face*

*picture courtesy of colleague

at 9am, we were at the scuba junkie office, doing what we needed to do. i paid RM300 for 3 dives at mabul island, RM100 for return semporna-mabul boat ride, RM160 for 2 nights stay and RM2 (malaysian) jetty fee. once that was done and out of the way, we made our way to the jetty and boarded a boat for a 45-minute ride to mabul island!


once we reached scuba junkie mabul resort, we had to wait til 2pm to check in to our room. but we were way too tired to walk around the island after the long journey, that we resorted to rest at the bar area after our lunch. *picture courtesy of voyeur colleague*


our RM80/night dorm-style room (inclusive of meals). on the first night, we had a lady from berlin staying with us. the following night, some caucasian guy took over the bed above me. the room was basic but clean. no air-conditioner though. but the fan was sufficient to keep us cool.


*picture courtesy of colleague*


later, we ventured around the resort. this walkway leads to the jetty.

certain parts of mabul island can be polluted with plastic bags, cans, nappies, et cetera. my colleague saw a local child taking a dump in the sea. i wish more can be done for the cleanliness of this island.

sipadan water village resort, nearby our resort.

we later snorkelled around this jetty. we even managed to spot a turtle!


at night, we spent our time at the jetty, taking more pictures. after that, we played all sorts of games with the pack of cards i brought in the room. we turned in early to get a good night rest for the next day’s scuba dive.

to be continued…


filipino night market December 14, 2010

Filed under: food,friends — daughterofdestiny @ 20:00

21 august 2010 – during evening, i tagged along a travel blogger and another friend to the filipino night market, which is located along the kota kinabalu waterfront, opposite the le meridien hotel.  rarely will i walk around this area, much less to eat at the stalls. but i think it is worth a visit.


tourists, braving the hygienically-challenged food and drinks. having said that, i have personally eaten a bowl of soto daging and drank a glass of leong fun susu at one of the stalls here without any dire consequences. maybe i have a strong stomach the food is clean after all.


local dishes

chicken wings, anyone?

lobster, for around RM80 – 100.

local kuehs


actually, it is a good idea to get your fresh produce in the cool of the night.

spanner crab. a first for me.

chilli padi, spicy hot!

barbequed seafood in abundance. pictured here is the tiger prawn.

out of curiosity, we tried the barbequed spanner crab with chilli and lime. sweet and succulent.

i was a local tourist for the night, taking in the sight smell and sound of the filipino night market. it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.


December 13, 2010

Filed under: family,food,holidays — daughterofdestiny @ 22:04
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2nd july 2010 – fun in the sun with little ezra at tanjung aru beach.

spot the crab

little ezra’s mum feeding him with pineapple. he likes sour-ish food/drinks.

after an hour or so of catching hermit crabs and trapping them in our sand castle, we moved on to tea and snacks at first beach cafe. note: no hermit crabs were harmed during the process.

after a nap, we had dinner at bintulu korean restaurant. do not be fooled by the restaurant’s name. it is located in lintas plaza, kota kinabalu. be sure to cool the barbequed food before consumption, or risk getting a sore throat.

love the variety. total bill approximately RM200 for 4 adults and one little boy, who had way too much beef.


December 11, 2010

Filed under: family,holidays — daughterofdestiny @ 22:00
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27th june 2010 – a visit to desa dairy farm, kundasang with family and little ezra.

it is located about 30 minutes drive from kinabalu national park, near mersilau resort. entrance fee is RM3 per person.

we watched the fully autamated process from a viewing hall, through a glass panel. i think little ezra enjoyed it a lot.

we bought a few packages. little ezra drank the original flavour. other flavours available are chocolate and strawberry.


ezra and his mum.

ezra and i. no idea what was he doing.


December 10, 2010

Filed under: family,holidays — daughterofdestiny @ 18:01

26th june 2010 – overnight trip to kundasang with family and little ezra.

food at inanam township before the 1.5 hour trip to kundasang.


picture of flowers taken inside the kinabalu national park.




the many faces of little ezra…






my family… with mt kinabalu at the background.