Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Malaysia: Truly Asia

I’m writing my experience after a couple of months. There were (un)expected misfortunes which hauled me to some needless heartbreak – I just have to run away from it all. I am a firm believer that things happen either for or because of something. Such ribbing philosophy which is both hopeful and humiliating is naturally, human, I must accept. "That is life!", as people would say.

We landed at Kota Kinabalu International Airport at dawn, eager to flag a taxi to our hotel. Outside, I didn’t feel away from home, and  except for the Malay signages; the environment, the feel if you may, even the vegetation around is no different than Davao City, or even the nearby Ilocos towns. Hell, even the people there looks like us.

We checked-in at Likas hotel and proceeded to Likas Bay – a cove featuring a park that will put Manila bay to the depths of shame; it has health and wellness facilities, children’s park, and recreational areas, all open to the public. The city area reminded me of Singapore, though not as clean, but, because of its sound urban management, great zoning compliance, and decent housing, I can see it as an extension of Lakeside, SG.
Likas Bay at 6:00 in the morning 
The next day, we had a city tour starting from its famous bay KK City Waterfront which is even more energetic at night, and the the KK City Mosque and surrounding temples, the University of Malaysia (Sabah), Atkinson’s Tower and Signal Hill,  and the Sabah Museum which wrapped up the day for me.

Many of us (Igorots including) might not consider that we are not 'that' unique as a people...perhaps, until we learn about things we share with our neighbors. For example, the Malay word for "road" or "path" is called "jalan", similar to our "shalan" (ibaloi), or "dalan" (Ilocano), or "danan" (Kankana-ey)or "daan"(Filipino)...I can go on and on about the similarities of our language as Austronesian people, but maybe a little visual evidence may convince us (below): he is not from the Ifontoc tribe, he is actually from a head-hunting tribe in historical Malaysia. Karkarupan ikit tako inya? jeje. And the wooden plank they use to display/offer the hunted heads? They call it "atang".

The next day, we proceeded to Jesselton point to rent a boat to Manukan and Mamutik islands. A boat owner instantly recognized us as Filipinos and offered discounted prices for their water sports. At Mamutik island, we met Jessie, a water sport coordinator, who also introduced himself as a Filipino. I’m beginning to believe that 25% of the population in Sabah is composed of Filipinos (most from Mindanao who have escaped the decades of conflict) as claimed by a Filipino vendor at Gaya Street.

The Water sports are as good as those in our islands!

Terimah Kasih KK, Malaysia!