Tag Archives: Seafood

Exploring East Borneo: Day 1

My First Night in the City


inally, the time came for this Vacacionista to witness the wonders of East Borneo, mainly in Sabah State. I’ve been preparing for this trip since April and thought it would be a great way to celebrate my birthday too.

The flight to Kota Kinabalu was a bearable 2 hours from the Philippine capital, Manila. Although, the air time is short, the delay with the flight was exhausting. Still, I got to BKI in one piece. So after checking into Bunibon Lodge on Jalan Dewan at about 9pm, armed with a map and giddy determination, I immediately set out to tick off the first couple of items on my itinerary even if I only had a couple more hours before midnight.

First stop for the night had to be dinner and randomly choosing among the many restaurants around the Gaya Street area, I went to have my fill of Kuching Laksa.

Next, my wandering feet took me to Kota Kinabalu Night Market by the waterfront, the city’s seafood haven, where I just had to have a taste of the grilled stingray with sambal sauce on recommendation from Daniel of Ahbing.com . The place was still packed with diners even late into the night.

Following this, I walked towards KK Waterfront where I lost my bearings and decided to ride a cab to take me to Jesselton Point, Signal Hill Observatory and the Atkinson Clock Tower. The ride to all three destinations by taxi was RM30.00. I was fortunate to have picked a cab whose driver was a Filipino from Zamboanga, so he knew how to speak Bisaya too. Manong Hamid narrated how he moved to Malaysia back in the late 70s to escape from the Martial Law and how he’s made Sabah his home following that. There are a lot of Filipino settlers in Malaysia mostly from the Visayas and Mindanao regions. This is is mostly owed to the close proximity between the Philippines and Malaysian Borneo.

My first meal in KK: Kuching Laksa

The KK Night Market by the waterfront is packed with locals and tourists alike

The market offers a wide variety of seafood and the best part is that it's relatively inexpensive (RM10 - 20) per serve

Sambal sauce and grilled fish have a different kind of mouth-watering chemistry together

Remembering gradeschool geography lessons about land bridges in Southeast Asia, it made sense that Filipinos would have Malay features how both the Filipino and Malay language would have similar-sounding words  for example,  “lalaki” in Tagalog and “lelaki”  in Malay means “Male” for both languages.

We drove through the city and made our first stop at Jesselton Point where I got that “old town” feel of the city. I noticed the locals by the waterfront bars chatting and laughing the night away while the sea breeze gently rocked the vessels at the dock.

The Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal entrance

locals come by here to chill out with friends and family

Shortly, I went to see a view of the city at night at the Signal Hill Observatory and to see the Atkinson Clock Tower on a bluff by the same road. The Atkinson Clock Tower is one of the prominent landmarks in Kota Kinabalu being the only surviving structure from the destruction of the city (then known as Jesselton town) during World War II.

Night view of Kota Kinabalu from the Signal Hill Observatory vantage point

The Atkinson Clock Tower: standing proud since World War II

Right before Cinderella’s hour, I had my first taste of the famous Borneo White Coffee at the the Coffee Shop by Borneo Backpackers hostel then made it back to the lodge to prep for the next day.


Gone Fishin’

I got my first fishing rod at the age of 14 as a present from my Dad. Since then, I’ve considered fishing as one of the best ways to spend a weekend over. I’ve been here more than once and each visit has always been a pleasant experience no matter if I was with my family or in the company of friends and after yesterday’s visit, I am convinced that this place deserves its own (long-overdue) post.


Co Jordan in Consolacion (almost close to Lilo-an which is approximately an hour’s drive away from Cebu City) is a sizable bangus (milkfish) pond and talaba (oyster) farm which has gone beyond conventional operations by converting the place into a leisure/seafood restaurant. You could rent makeshift fishing rods made of bamboo, complete with the line, floater and the hook for only Php10.00 then get bait made of feeds for another Php10.00.

So while your fresh seafood eats are being readied, you can either try your hand at fishing, do karaoke or go boating. It would be best to visit this place ready with spare clothes in case you get caught up in the fishing action which could get messy when you try to free your catch from the hook. It’s pretty safe to say you’ll be guaranteed at least one catch. It is a fish pond afterall. Lol. Which is also why you’re gonna need to pay for your catch when you bill out (The rate for bangus yesterday was Php160.00/kilo).

Co Jordan‘s sea food menu is quite extensive too and  reasonably-priced in comparison to the usual Sutukil rates so long as you have a group to share the budget with. I would peg an abundant meal at about Php300.00/pax.

Cebu: “The Island Special”

Saturday–It’s my favorite Brat’s homecoming and as planned, we were to give her “The Island Special” and take her to places that she missed most about our hometown. First on the list had to be the Mactan Shrine Sutukil. The word Sutukil, is a concatenation of the local words Sugba (grill), Tinuwa (fresh fish stewed in clear broth), Kilaw (a dish of raw fish).





Following the sumptuous seafood delights we feasted on, we brainstormed on where we could just chill and have our weekend dose of sun, sea and sand far from the madding weekend crowd. Thanks to Aiys and her lightbulb moment, we set out for Lowaii Cebu Marine Beach Resort, which we unanimously thought was an excellent call.

Lowaii's porch

well, maintained beach front

A well-maintained beach front

Serene courtyards

My lovely wahines celebrating the Secret Sisterhood of Dysfunctionalism. Lol.

The Resort's Pool

We stayed until sundown by the patio of Baybayon, the resort’s in-house restaurant.

The restaurant staff are attentive and the restaurant itself is conducive to just chillin'.

Baybayon Restaurant's patio


Candle-lit tables @ dusk

 Finally,  we capped the night off singing in wild abandon at a karaoke joint in Mandaue.

Singing our worries away!

Sisig and Songs. A great combo I'd hafta say.

*thanks to www.dailydropcap.com for the drops