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Tuesday, September 06, 2011

We have moved!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Wong Loong Reunion - 23.10.2010

Dear relatives,
Would like to announce that the Wong Loong Association has decided that our 5th reunion will be held on the  23rd October 2010. Mark your date!! See you there

p/s that means I am bogged down with updating the family tree again.. tee hee hee... do email me at celine(at)wongloong(dot)net. Thanks.

Sorry dear readers that this blog has not been updated lately. Just for your info, we are doing well, fulltime homeschooling with the two boys (not that it's new to us). Too many things to do, too little time to blog. Sigh! Really juggling with time.

While my in-laws think that I spoil my boys, I told them that it is very rare to have polite kids nowadays. :) The boys can be so irritatingly cheeky, yet  "Please & Thank you"s are always generous from them. Yes, even my mumbling baby C.

Heart you guys & Happy New Year!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cuti-cuti Sabah: To Garama Wetlands

To those who are not sure about this place, it is in Klias Beaufort, about 2 hour drive down south from Kota Kinabalu. Since we were passing Membakut, we dropped by at my parents' house for tea and continued our journey to Klias for the river cruise.

Arrived Kampung Garama at 4pm. While parking our car, we saw families of macaques along the roadside.

How many monkeys can you see?

The thinker

More thinking (diff one.. can you see their diff faces?)

The dentist

Tunggang terbalik? (upside down or downside up?)

Maternal Love

Reminds me of Josh Holloway (Sawyer in Lost) in Davidoff Cool Water ad.. LOL!

So much for the roadside photoshoot, we walked along a very long boardwalk passing through palm oil plantation to our destination, the jetty.

and off we go.. through the stream.. to

Garama River in Klias

I was quite dissapointed with this trip as after 30minutes (or so) of cruising the river, we hardly see any Proboscis/Orang Utan (hmm.. maybe my expectation was like in Sukau). In fact SIL was quite upset as the previous visit in 2005, she said there were more PMs around compared to this trip.

Nyata ada gaya, mutu, keunggulan! We needed special eyes to spot the animals, they were too far away to be seen. Smart BIL used his 300mm lense for this pix..

A female proboscis.. see it's nose!

I wanna see too, Mama!

The cuz

Looking for more monkeys. Baby C became more comfortable being in the boat!

Beautiful sunset. At this time, the speed of the river water was fast, rushing to the tidals sea.

Water Buffaloes - going back to it's master

Going back to the restaurant for dinner, then another 'short' cruise to look for fireflies.

At night along river banks in the Malaysian jungles (most notably found near Kuala Selangor), fireflies ("kelip-kelip" in the Malay language or Bahasa Malaysia) synchronise their light emissions precisely. Current hypotheses about the causes of this behavior involve diet, social interaction, and altitude. [source]

Despite feeling quite dissapointed with this trip, I enjoyed the firefly experience the most! It was a very beautiful sight as the fireflies flock together and decorating the mangrove trees! It is said that the Malaysian species is the only one that flock together by thousand and make trees glitter like a christmas tree deco [source]. Interesting huh?

We left the place around 8pm and headed back to KK...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cuti-cuti Sabah: Manukan Island

To Manukan... another boat ride for the kids, by now they are so use it already!

Hello you!

Not so-clear blue sea

"Life as a kite"

At the jetty, looking at a Merman! NOT!

Just Felyx koko

A giant octopus!


Clean our beach!

Very dissapointing - the beach was disgustingly dirty! It was so disturbing to see plastics drifted to the shore and the workers whom were responsible to clean the beach didnt even bother to pick the rubbish out from the water!! Thanks to our Miss Environment, took the liberty to take the rubbish out from the water.. Thanks Rikki!

Ditto baby too! But he chose seaweed instead.. haha

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cuti-cuti Sabah: Gomantong Cave / Sandakan Town

Gomantong Cave is in our itinerary, as it is located near Sukau.

The entrance of the Gomantong Cave. Can you spot Baby C & Mama?

Gomantong is the largest limestone hill and the most important source of edible birds nets in Sabah. Tourists visiting the cave during harvesting season can see local collectors dangle from the roof of the cave on ladders made of rattan and bamboo collecting the nests produced by the agile swiftlets. [source]

Unfortunately, we were 2 weeks early as the workers told us that the next harvesting date is on the 20th August this year. Despite that, we enjoyed exploring the more accessible Simud Hitam (Black Cave) which takes 5 minute to walk around the well-maintained boardwalk.

The railing of the boardwalk is covered with bird/bats droppings, and cockroaches are everywhere! You can see some ropes hanging from the ceiling of the cave, which is part of the tools used by the harvesters to climb up.

In the Simud Hitam, the roof is 90 metres above the floor of the cave, which is covered in guano that must be metres deep. Imagine if there's no boardwalk for us to step on, I think we could be drown, sinking into the guano pile. Eww! FYI, this pile is the home of thousand, or even millions of creepy crawlies esp cockroaches! So, if any of you are afraid of cockroaches, this experience may not be for you! *I witnessed two hysterical male ran out of the cave when they saw baby roaches welcomed them*

Dark and smelly, you can see Koko C put his two fingers into his nosril. There are trickles of water from the edge of the cave's ceiling down to where the patch of greenery is, made me admiring Mother Nature.

The rear of the Simud Hitam. Can you see the railings of the boardwalk stretched further.

I tried to distract Koko C's attention from the unpleasant smell and made it into an interesting expedition for us. By discussing what we saw and encouraging him to watch his step, he came out from the cave with high confidence and full of excitement (that he didnt slip, wasnt scared of cockroaches/dark and saw/hear lots of interesting things).

Since the 13th century, Chinese traders have come to Sandakan in search of birds' nests, a prized delicacy among the Chinese and found nearly 100 metres up on the ceilings of the Gomantong Caves. Harvesters put their lives on the line literally, climbing networks of rattan ladders and ropes to get to the nests. The risky nature of nest collecting has only helped made the commodity a pricey one.[source]

They are Chinese, but not the mentioned Chinese traders. or are they?

The main cave system is divided into two parts: the more accessible Simud Hitam (Black Cave), and the larger Simud Putih (White Cave) which lies above. The names refer to the main type of nests produced by swiftlets in each cave. Simud Putih (White Cave) is the larger of the two caves, and also the more dangerous; special permission is required to enter and one must participate in at least five hours of intense spelunking. It is where the more valuable "white saliva" nests of the swiftlets are found, and is a steep 30 minute climb further up the mountains. [source]

When nature calls!
a red langur monkey peed on BIL.... tee hee


A cowboy town.. lol! What do you do when there's no Gas Station and you need one?


Done with caving, we headed up north to Sandakan town, where we stayed at Sandakan Hotel for a night.

We did more swimming, had superb seafood dinner (Thanks Suk Goong for arranging it) and had a good rest on a more comfy bed.

The next day, we had a wonderful seafood lunch (mind you, high cholestrol stuffs) and visited the 116year old St Michael's and All Angels' Church and the famous Agnes Keith House.

The construction of the first stone building in Sabah began in 1893 and took almost 30 years to complete; St Michael's and All Angel survived the WWII. The Church was also one of the many places where the Prisoners of War who trekked the Sandakan Death March spent a night before continuing the march.

Admiring the architecture of the building, as Baby C slept in my arms and Koko C was sleeping in the car. You should see the church's door stopper mechanism (too bad we didnt take a photo of it!)

The place that I have been longing to visit, the house of Agnes Keith who penned the Land Below the Wind (1939) book.

Macam rumah sendiri kan! lol! Welcome!! Jemput masuk!

As I entered her house, I actually had an eerie feeling about the whole place. Not only me, but most of us who were there; at the same time, I was admiring and imagining how it was living in the 1930's. Everything described in her book came alive! The ambience, the furniture and fittings.. and as if I could hear radio was playing the 1930s songs and saw Agnes herself was outside playing with George and the Upsie-daisy : their Orang Utan pet... Went upstairs, only Rikki could described my feelings... geesh! May not write too much here... having goosebumps right now.

Soon after the visit, we drove back to KK slowly, arrived home past midnight... I think after this trip, everyone seemed so tired and werent looking forward for what is in our next itinerary... So, instead of driving 3 hours up North, we decided to scrap the Kudat trip and instead we went to somewhere closer : the Mari-Mari Cultural Centre in Inanam & Manukan Island for a splash!

Cuti-cuti Sabah: Kinabatangan River / Sukau

This is one trip that I anticipated the most, because I planned to bring my 15mo baby into the deep jungle and to cruise the longest river in Sabah, the Kinabatangan river.

At first I was not sure to tag baby along, I even planned to stay back with the boys in KK while the bunch go and enjoy themselves to be bitten by mosquitos and leech. SIL helped a lot with the decision making by getting 2 child-size life jackets for the boys. Phew!! That made me relieved.

So, Sukau... here we come! We started our journey by road, almost 6hours drive to Sukau. Thank God the kids slept during the journey.

Picked-up by the SRL boat to their premise.

Arrived at the Sukau Rainforest Lodge (SRL) at 3.30pm, we immediately geared up for the sunset river cruise, which is an hour ride in one of the smaller branch of the Kinabatangan river.

One thing I learnt throughout this trip, is to see through the jungle! That means we dont see only using our eyes, but with all our 5 senses. We listen to sound, we smell if there's any scent/odour (more like the animals' waste... eww).. errr.. I didnt use any of my taste buds this trip.. lol!

How many Proboscis monkey can you spot in this pix?

It was quite easy to spot the Proboscis Monkeys as they would stay in a group; either in a family or the all-male group; and most of the time these groups would be on trees at the river bank. Based on my observation, the family group consists of females and babies with their leader of the pact, a big-size male sitting quitely watching over his family. While the "all-male" group would be very loud and noisy. There was a scene I saw, where a few males were trying to woo a female from a family group, and the poor female was trying to run away from them, climbing higher from one tree to another.
Do you know that the Proboscis monkeys are found only in Borneo, the male has huge pendulous nose, fat beer belly and a long white tail. The male permenant erection simply enhances his bizzare appearance. The female has a smaller pointy nose, but is still bigger than any other monkeys.
Another name for it is Monyet Belanda. He does look like a man, dont you think? Click on the pix for closer view.

We saw a huge monitor lizard was climbing on a tree. Seeing this photo (in fact BIL shot many of it) gave me the goosebumps... I am not a fan of lizards.

A Macaque family monkeying around at the riverbank as if they were posing for the us. Again, I only choose this out of the rest. He looked very curious, as if trying to tell us something.

It was quite warm during this cruise, esp when the boat stopped for animal spotting / picture taking. Baby C was drained with his sweat and started to be cranky (He probably was bored, didnt understand why were we sitting in a boat and not doing much). As you can see, he needed to be pacified most of the time.

We spotted a bearded pig, this made my day because it is one of my "must-see list" in this trip. It has a prominent beard on its snout. I wonder why the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park dont have this animal.

This pig's mouth looked as if its bleeding.

We also spotted a wild orang utan, isolated himself behind tree leaves eating some fruits.

All of us enjoyed the Sunset River Cruise, and it was time for dinner. So we went back to our rooms to clean up and get ready for dinner.

No, we are not the Sarong Party Girls! hahaha. The SRL encouraged us to wear sarungs for dinner. :) And dinner was served at the Melapi restaurant, at the Jetty area.

DH & the gang decided to go for the Night River Cruise, which cruises along the main Kinabatangan River. PIL, Baby C and myself stayed at the Lodge.. sigh! I was suprised that Koko C was excited to go, knowing that he was already whining about the heat and sweat during the earlier cruise. The cruise started at 8pm, and they came back around 10.30pm; where by then, Koko C was already knocked out during the boat ride.

The nocturnal animals

Who? Who? Who? It's the Buffy Fish Owl


do you see what I see (hint eyes)? I wished I saw this earlier during cruise. It is in one of my "must-see list" too. Too bad!

BIL captured many others' photos but they are way too many for me to upload.

Awooooooo!!! Remind me of Thriller by MJ.

And again, the next morning before the sunrise, as early as 5.30am; they headed to another side of the main river for Sunrise Cruise. yeah, the 2 boys and myself were still snoring when they left...

Sunrise at the wetlands

Is this a purple heron?

a wild Hornbill - is it a male?

Engret looking for breakfast!

Breakfast at the Jetty restaurant, while waiting for them to come back. And continued for the Hornbill Boardwalk at 9.30am. During breakfast, I heard some of the patrons claimed that they saw elephants a day earlier, which I actually prayed to see one!! that was my #1 in my MS list!!! ahh.. too bad!

You can read more info about the Sukau Rainforest Lodge and check their facilities/tour packages at their website. Meals are inclusive, and though the rooms are quite tight (obviously not very suitable for families with young children), I just love the place! Too bad, with a clingy baby with me, I cant do much but stay at the lounge area most of the time. I missed the Hornbill Boardwalk (thanks to the "cant-stay-put" Baby C), where a knowledgeable tour guide brought us them around the 1500ft walk, explaining about survival in the jungle and how to use/know the flora & fauna around us.. its like being in one of the National Geography documentary... the Survival Borneo Man!

I will definitely visit this place again, and next trip will be more adventurers..

We left the place by noon, and headed to Gomantong caves....and to Sandakan town to stay for another night. Next!

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