I landed in the Philippines and quickly got hold of a prepaid Sim card. My goal was to couch surf the country and a phone was essential for this quest. I got to see some nice hard core traffic in to the city from Clark airport as well. At Ayala station I would meet my first host Donna, or miss Giggle as we shall call her. A smiling Filipino, not uncommon, that is giggling all the time, also not uncommon. She had gotten consumables and was going to a spa resort with her cousins. She had told me I could come, but I didn't really believe it before I saw it. A couple of hours in the car with her and her giggling cousins, the tall and the tiny ones, and we were there. The rooms had jacuzzis and there were swimming pools outside. A couple of days earlier I had been in the jungle so this was quite an upgrade. First things first, I tried out the jacuzzi and had my first contact with hot water in a couple of weeks I think. We then had a beer and an evening walk around to check the spa. I had a room for myself and the girls shared one, four of them in one bed haha. They said it was for my own good or else I would've been gang raped.

The next day started with a nice breakfast and then a swim in the outdoors pool. The girls had a race and I was the ref of this paralympics event. After the swim we went inside and had a fifteen minutes jacuzzi before my massage. It's tough being a couch surfer in the Philippines. We had lunch and my first Halo-halo (mix mix, they tend to say things twice, I don't know why yet) a dessert made out of loads of things. When we checked out, the receptionist found it strange that the four girls had shared one bed. Why didn't they come and ask for a couple of extra beds in the room? I promised I wouldn't tell her cousins haha. In the afternoon we went for an excursion to Jose Rizal's home. He is a national hero and I got the history lesson of the day. About time since the girls were getting a bit tired of all my questions. We went to Taal, the world's smallest volcano and sat there, enjoying the view. We had some snacks, breaking the slogan of one of the tiny ones: "commit to fit". An evening trip to Caleruega and checking out the chapel there was a nice ending. As dinner I had my very first mushroom burger. Miss Giggle dropped me off in Makati, the business area of Manila. There I walked up to find my next host, Mike Torres.

Mike is a food enthusiast and writes a blog about eating in the Philippines. He has three books with restaurants that he goes through, eating out three times a day to make sure he visits them all. He took me out for lunch and showed me some Filipino cuisine. Taking pictures and writing down the verdicts, the whole meal got documented. If you have any interest of checking out what I've been eating, check the latest entries on this link:


Miss Giggle had taken half a day off work to come and pick me up and go with me to an orphanage funded by Norwegians from my home county. My private driver was able to get us there without getting lost once and smiling we entered the orphanage with the Norwegian flags swaying outside. I got out of the car and started chatting with the two Norwegians that were there. They gave us a tour around the place and we got to see what was going on there. Some nasty stories with uncles paralyzing their nieces and incest were only some of the stories we heard. Still the kids were smiling and laughing, which I found hard to believe, and they liked playing with us. Darkness came and it was time to go home. We went up to Mall of Asia, which is guarded by armed guards like every other thing in Manila, and had a ride in the Ferris wheel and listened to some local cover bands.

The next day Mike and I got up early and headed down to lake Taal again. He had vouchers for a buffet down there and we were going on a day trip to test it out. The restaurant was in a hotel and it was nice. There was a lot to eat, and like every other buffet, it had reason to fear me. I ate loads of good food and was even able to compose my own halo-halo. I have to admit it is a cool and good dessert. The view over the lake from the hotel was even better than the last time I was there, so it was cool to see the lake from another angle.

The days in Manila went by and I went to museums, cemeteries, restaurants and the bureau of immigration. I spent the time with Mike and Giggle and planned out my trip around the country with their help. I would have one more weekend in Manila before I left for North Luzon.

Photos come later.


Kota Kinabalu, or Jefferson as I like to call it

Back in Kota Kinabalu I contacted my couch surfing host and he picked me up. Tim, as he is called by humans, his friend and I went out for some evening snack before we joined a couch surfing evening at a local pub. We were met a lot of nice people. The Canadian from Sepilok also showed up and we all had a good time chatting and having a beer. A small group og us then moved on to a little food court which sold smuggled beer from Labuan. Cheapest beer in KK hehe. We stayed up too late for an old guy like me and drove home to Tim's place. He lived in the nicest area of KK and this was clearly an upgrade from the jungle hut I had had a couple of days earlier. Polite as I am, I accepted his offer to sleep in his bed and make him sleep on the couch in the living room. After all, couch surfing means pushing your host onto the couch.

The next morning a nice fellow came in and greeted me while I was still in my boxers. Nicholas, Tim's brother, had arrived from his night shift at the hospital and was eager to see what the brother had dragged into the house. The three of us then went out to get some morning coffee and a light breakfast. The Pang brothers were a lot of fun and conversations never seemed to die. Tim spoke German and Nick spoke with a Geordie accent. I didn't expect to hear either in Malaysia. Miss Volgograd also came and had a chat with us. A Malaysian girl that studied seven years in the infamous city of Stalingrad, where Paulus got crushed by the Russians. I didn't know that the Malaysians were everywhere, but they clearly are!

Moving on from breakfast, we picked up a french cs bloke, Jules, and went for lunch. Another two girls, Val and Angel, came along and we had a nice time finding out how many cows they were worth. Good to know if I come back for a Malaysian wife. We dropped off Nick and Jules and went to play get some strange jelly dessert and play some pool. In the evening the Pang's and I went to pick up Sadiq, a Nigerian friend of theirs, and we went to a very nice bar called Station One. The two girls from earlier arrived as well and I enjoyed good company my last night in Malaysia. That eveing I also got beaten by a local Philippino at the fish market. Ending the night with some sega rally at the arcade in good Asian style and a walk at the pier made the day complete. The girls drove us home and they all enjoyed an evening chat while I fell asleep on the couch. I'm not used to being up after 12 anymore.

Tim took me out for breakfast at a place run by Filipinos. The girls serving us were super nice and cute and were laughing all the time. They didn't want my last ringits as tip and gave them to Tim. So far Malaysia has been the friendliest country I've ever been to and EVERYBODY in this country seem to be fed niceness through their mother's breast milk. Meeting these Filipinos here makes me hope the Philippines will be the same way! I had some brilliant weeks in Malaysia and I had a smile on my face when Tim dropped me off at the airport. I then checked in and was ready and excited for a new adventure! I hope my coming hosts don't read this last part.



We left Brunei with boat to a duty free island called Labuan. We spent an evening there, strolling the streets and eating cupcakes. The next morning we took a boat ride to Kota Kinabalu, the biggest city of Sabah. The ride was pleasent and we spent the hours watching Korean pop music and nanny McPhee. We checked into a guest house called Lucy's when we arrived. She locked us up in the evenings and slept with the key. A nice place, but quite hazardous if a fire would break out. James visited a friend that was on board a cruise ship that was in town. Sloppy, the girl and I went out to see if we could arrange a mount Kinabalu trip. Unfortunately it was a public holiday and the travel agencies were closed. Instead we wandered off to the bay and mall. We played some games at the arcade and had waffles.

Early in the morning the second day we headed up Kinabalu national park. We got up to a nice lodge in the mountain side with a nice view and fresh air. Being limited by time and funds, we arranged for a one-day trip to the summit of the mountain for the next day. The first day we only strolled around the foot of the mountain until the skies opened and the rain pored down on us. We spent the rest of this day in the little museum they had there, looking at some huge insects. Half an hour in the museum shop, mocking Rainman shopping gay hats was also fun. In the evening we were resting at the lodge, reading books and watching The Voice.

In the morning at seven o'clock we showed up at the park and got ourselves a couple of guides. We started walking up to the base camp. It was quite steep and we spent an average of thirty minutes per kilometer. When we got to the base camp it started raining a lot. Trying to get to the summit proved too difficult and dangerous. At 7.5 kilometer the guide advised to stop, and five minutes later, the park ranger called him and ordered him to stop. The last kilometers are quite steep and one has to hold a rope. The rain started to flood the mountain side and it got slippery. The rope wasn't the best under these conditions either. Walking there was probably one of the scariest things I've done so far on my trip. Gutted by not reaching the top, we walked down again four hours. We were cold, wet, tired and disappointed, but it had been a massive day. Looking back some days later, it was actually very nice, although we failed to reach the top. The view was stunning when we were able to see through the mist. And watching the clouds and mist flow over the tops was also cool.

A taxi driver picked us up the next day and took us to the hot springs. We had a canopy walk first and then splashed around in the pools. The water was boiling hot and I was only able to put my feet into that water. The time had come to move on. We jumped into a bus that took us to Sepilok. While James slept with his head comfortably on a poor Malayan's shoulder, Amir and I were laughing our asses off. We enjoyed watching pictures from messy nights in Bangkok, and when the girl behind us bursted out in laughter, we understood we weren't the only ones looking at these images. It was dark when we arrived in Sepilok and on the way to our hostel, we saw a snake road kill which was quite cool.

After sleeping one night, we went to see some orangutans at the local sanctuary. This was our last full day together and we spent it playing table tennis and pool. In pitch black darkness, Amir, a staff member and I went biking to get some last tiger beers. It was a nice ending and I beat James in every game we played. Good for my self esteem. We were also hanging out with a Canadian girl, and since Rainman had lifted his ban, she was allowed to sit with us. She gave me some insight to Korea and ticket prices and essentially made me add Korea and Japan to my itinerary. The next morning we had a last breakfast together and then I said good bye to the girl and the boys. Three great months travelling together, all the way from Chiang Mai, had come to an end. I was alone again, but it wouldn't be for long.

Tobben, a Swede that had showed up, and I played some games of table tennis before we hit the jungle with a crew of fifteen or so. Among them were a couple of great English as well, a mother and son. The mother beat me in table tennis, the son crushed me in badminton. After a van and river boat ride, we were at uncle Tan's camp in the middle of the jungle. It was a really cool place, with a muddy football pitch, badminton net and a network of huts. We played a bit of football and then the first of the safaris started. We had morning, evening and night safaris, both in boats and on land. It was really cool and we saw a huge python crawling down from a monkey tree, scorpion, spiders, long nose monkeys, macaques, lizards, birds, eagles, leopard car, civet, orangutans and other things. It's the most wildlife I've seen so far. After three days I headed back to the hostel. A German girl that I met at the camp and a couple of Danish kept me company. The guest house had everything I needed and I stayed there three days planning my trip to the Philippines. I was ready to start a new adventure!





Sarawak - Brunei

Arriving in Kuala Lumpur 4.00 am in the morning, I went to James' hostel and waited for him to wake up. After breakfast and relaxing a bit, a jolly boy called Sloppyhands showed up! Fresh and ready from England he was ready for some new adventures! He had dragged along a new girl, Manchester, for the crew. We decided to spend one day in Kuala Lumpur, relaxing and getting used to each other's faces again. The next day we headed for Kuching in Sarawak on Borneo. The town was quiet and nice. We spent the first two days enjoying the town. At our hostel we had Herman the German, a 69 year old guy travelling around Asia with his big belly with a dead fetus attached to it. We then started hitting the jungles. Borneo has dozens of national parks and we were ready to burn some calories. Firs off was Kubah. Sweating up to the top of a view point, the four of us sat down and enjoyed the atmosphere. Playing some Tiger Woods on Rainman's phone made it all the better. It was a good walk and Amir fell in love with every second tree he saw on the way. The day after we took a combined taxi and boat ride to get to Bako. The legendary taxi driver George Hong was our man. At the beach a wild boar waited for us and we had a nice day trekking in the jungle. Chilling in a warm waterfall was also pretty good. After crossing the jungle we found a big beach we could have for ourselves which had moon rocks around it. There we could practice some English calligraphy together and enjoy the sun. Manchester turned from white to red this day.

Feeling Kuching had given us what it had to offer, we decided to take a 15 hour bus ride to Miri, up close to Brunei. Playing nintendo, Final Fantasy 7 and Tiger Woods made the time pass. Accompanied by shitty Asian music, Celine Dion and Bon Jovi on a broken speaker system, our journey felt pretty good. A lot of stops made sure we got our food on the way, and in the late evening we arrived in Miri. We checked in to a nice hostel and had a very good sleep in proper beds. In the morning Sloppyhands slept a bit long and I asked him if he was feeling alright. Answering "yes", I told him "chop, chop. We're leaving in ten minutes". He didn't appreciate this too much. The taxi driver waited for us and took us to Niah national park. After giving us some horrible creamy cakes as lunch, he sent us off to the park. We took a one minute boat ride over a river and entered the park. After passing some interesting caterpillars and spiders, we finally entered the highlight: a massive cave. It looked like a huge hangar with some ropes from bird nest collectors hanging around. A really impressing place to walk around in. In the evening we ate good food and went to kill off a tower of tiger beer. It was enjoyable playing pool with a Canadian, that was on his Malay girl like a leech, and the local pool hero Nigel. The British tried to mess up my sleep and I retaliated with my foghorn snoring.

The last day in Miri was spent in Lambir Hills national park. Our driver Joseph took us to the park and dropped us off with some Swiss rolls and water bottles. We went uphill Penang style and ended up on the top of a small mountain just in time to get shelter from the rain. It didn't really matter though, because we were all soaked in sweat. After a nice rest and a chat about what girls dislike, we headed for the waterfall. One of my favourite things for me so far has been to swim in all the waterfalls. It's really a good way of relaxing and regaining some strength. After our fourth park in less than a week, we headed back to town for some food and computer time. Next morning Brunei awaited us!

Early morning in Miri and a new taxi driver waited. He took the four of us with him for a four hour long ride to Brunei. I got to sit in front and answer all his questions about eskimos in Norway. It was fine, but it would have been better if he didn't stroke my thigh and moan all the time. At least it gave the geezers in the back a good laugh. In Brunei we checked into a youth hostel and started exploring Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei. Everybody here is super friendly and helpful and at the tourist information center is the best we've seen so far. After eating lovely Indonesian food for one dollar we went off to see the biggest floating village in the world. James went home to swim some lengths at the hostel and Sloppyhands, Machester and I took a fast boat ride over to the village. The sultan is a nice lad and is helping his people get houses. It was fascinating to see how new two story houses are built on poles out in the water. Afterwards we walked around in town and saw two very lovely mosques. The newest has domes made of  pure 22 karat gold, no golden painting needed. The museums are all free and in some you have to take off your shoes.  The night market was lovely. Delicious food, cheap and no nagging sellers. They also had great waffles and heart shaped cupcakes. After a 40 min walk bak to the hostel, we were ready to go to bed and leave for Sabah the next morning.

We arrived at the hostel at midnight and met an excited James. He had been speaking to a local guy and we found out that the Sultan would be parading the streets the next morning. Celebrating Mohammed's little walk. He also offered us a night sightseeing to check out the palaces. Even though we were dead tired, we accepted the offer and had a drive around the outskirts of town, looking at the biggest palace in the world and the mansions that belong to the sultan's relatives. Marrying a Bruneian princess doesn't seem like such a bad idea now. We decided to stay the next morning for the sultan and leave in the afternoon instead. The next morning I put on my nice clothes from Singapore and headed out for breakfast with Rainman and Sloppyhands. Manchester overslept so we left her at the hostel. At the restaurant it was full and we had to sshare tables with others. Amir and I sat down next to two guys from Brunei and James sat down with some others. A welsh guy thought it would be a good idea to squize in between me and one of the guys from Brunei since i wasn't sweating enough from the heat and cooking. The blokes from Brunei turned out to be really cool and one had even studied in London. We ate and chatted for a while and when we got up to leave, Shariq paid for it all. Super happy after such a good start of the day, we went to see the sultan. After some songs and speeches, he went for a stroll and we were waiting for him at the very end. I stood almost alone and the sultan smiled and waved to me. I waved back happy as a kid and can now say I've bonded a bit with the royal leader of Brunei. Maybe he has a 10^7$ job for me? We left at noon with bus and ferry to get up to Saba, Malaysia. Brunei was awesome and is definitely more than just another stamp in the passport. I recommend spending a couple of days there if you ever get the chance.