Saturday, July 23, 2016

Mount Murud Exploration - Ba’kelalan to Lepo Bunga to SIB Church Shelter post 2 of 4

Entering Day 2 of my exploration trip to Mount Murud. Woke Up at 5.30am, had a very nice sleep last night. I lay on my bed again, very hesitate to wakeup, all of a sudden I listen “ho-ho-ho-ho-ho” wait a minute, that’s the sound of the horse. I peek at the windows, and look down. A few horses was just outside the Inn eating grass. How on earth they manage to get horses here, the road is very bad?!!!

I stayed in the same room with Sui Chin, the Inn here have more than 6 rooms, with each room 2 person. The temperature is about 23⁰C now, good thing they provide blanket. I felt panic all of a sudden, the place that we will stay tonight is about 2000m ASL, its going to be cooler than now. I didn’t bring any sleeping bag or warm jacket.  Duo Chin told me not to worry because he have a space jacket, so he lend his space one to me.

We head down for breakfast, the lady owner cooked fried beehun, fried rice, and soup. I ordered a hot milo, I told myself I need to eat more, as I will need all the energy to trek up the mountain later. After breakfast, we depart from Ba’kelalan to Lepo Bunga to start our hike and begin our ascent of Mount Murud.

All of the 4WD arrived, the driver said it another 3 hours of drive from Ba’kelalan here to Lepo Bunga (Where we star). When we know about the 3 hours, all of us starts to mumble… just can’t stand the terrible road condition. I miss nice tarmac road so much.

After finished our breakfast, we still have time. Willie the tour coordinator arranged the porter to carry food, water, and bags. The charges is RM450 for three days (RM150 per day), and maximum is 30kg per person, so we have 5 porters all together. Me, Loong, and Aldrin did not hire any porter, because we do not have much stuff, so can carry our own backpack to the church shelter later.

While waiting for the porter to finish their breakfast, Lookg, Ah Law, Ah Chin, Kuet Leong and Me starts to roam around the place. First the Ba’kelalan airport is just in front of where we stay, the runway is fit for a de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter plane. It was operate by MASwings,a regional airline operating the Rural Air Services in Sarawak, Borneo. It flies either from Miri or Lawas town, on Monday and Saturday only.

Then, as we walk along the runway, there is a police station called Buduk Nur Ba’kelalan, not so sure what its mean...It was guarded by a solder that time instead of a uniform officer.

I saw there is another home stay called “Apple Lodge” the building are well structured than the one we stayed last night. A few 4WD parked inside the compound, they might be on another expedition. As I know there are 4WD clubs which likes the challenge of the muddy logging road here.

After that, it was the paddy field with no paddy. The paddy will be fully grown on November to December. But water are still in the field, at that time, there is a swarm of ducts swimming there.

There is a Church, a Sidang Injil Borneo Church. Some interesting facts about this…

In the Island of Sarawak, Borneo a charismatic revival broke out among the Kelabits, a small tribe in Sarawak, in 1973 at a traditional Easter convention when an Indonesian evangelist, Petrus Octavanius, preached. There where signs and wonders in his ministry. Many were truly converted, and a number received healing, while other found new zeal to share the revival with others.

Among those present where a group of secondary-school students from Bariio. Greatly impacted, they met regularly for prayer. In October of that year, at the close of their regular prayer meetings in Bario, the Holy Spirit fell upon the place.

They began to confess theirs sins and weep in repentance. Many stayed all night in prayer, and other joined them. The meeting lasted a few days until it spread to the whole village. There were miracles and manifestations of gifts, and many were converted and baptized in the Holy Spirit.

The Bario revival soon spread to neihboring tribes. In December of that year, at the church in Ba Kelalan, the Holy Spirit came upon the church, and suddenly members started falling under the power of the Holy Spirit and a number spoke in tongues - revival had come to the Lun Bawang tribe.

As the Bario revival waned, the Ba Kelalan revival inicreased in power. In a spectacular series of signs and wonders throughout 1984-85, the Ba Kelalan received nationa coverage in the national press.

The New Strait Times reported the "Sarawak Sightings" for two days in December 1985. The central figure of the Ba Kelalan revival of 1984-85 was Pa Agung Bangau, a powerful prophet, whose ministry was filled with signs and wonders.

He exercised the gifts of knowledge, wisdom, workings of miracles, and prophecy. The Ba Kelalan revival impacted the "Sidang Injil Borneo" Church (SIB) whom Agung worked closely. The SIB church has a network of 45,000 members among the tribes of Sarawak, Borneo. Among whom many was touched by the ministry of Agung.

Agung passed away at 1992, and anointed prophet of God who brought revival to God's people in Ba Kelalan and in the SIB. This charismatic revival continued on within the SIB churches.

Source Article taken from the -- The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements by D.Tan

There are several homestay here, as I remembered when we passby one homestay, a lady greed us and asked where are we coming from in CHINESE!!! Some Ba’kelalan local are fair, and looks like Chinese, but I’m surprice that the local Ba’kelalan people knows how to speak Chinese. I answer back from “Kuching, Sarawak”
She replied “I’m from Kuala Lumpur, come here for a quiet retreat”
-.-” okay… no wonder. We bid farewell with her, and continue with our exploration.

The time was 9.25am. From far distance, we notice someone was yelling. When we look closer, it was Liang Yong. He was teasing us if we wanted to continue stayed here? Because they are about to depart to Lepo Bunga. We quickly run back to the Inn and start our next journey.

Oh ya.. For the famous Ba’kelalan apple....Due to lack of maintenance, now it’s just a place that cover with wild grass.

As we continue on the logging road, we passed a junction to Bario. The road is still under construction. It started at 02 May 2016, and estimate time completion will be on 30 April 2018. It was the 2nd phase road construction from Ba’kelalan to Bario on a total distance of 21km.  

We had to stop in one point, because there is a bulldozer and an excavator, in the middle of road clearing the path. To build a road, it’s not an easy job. And this involved a lot of logging too, many trees will be cut down to make way for the road. So we need to preserve the trees, but in the same time, we require development as well, how do we find balance between this?

10.09am, we reached Lepo’ Bunga. Our drive cheated us say is 3 hours, end up 1 ½ hours, which is good. Lepo’ Bunga is the Pulong Tau National Park research station and visitor centre. Which was build on the year 11th November 2011 by the Samling Timber company, and then pass it to the Forest Department of Sarawak under the ITTO Pulong Tau National Park Project.

Our team had lunch before we all start hiking, but I’m not hungry to I skip lunch. After that a group photos, everyone are excited for this hike, and can’t wait to start going. In our group there are a total of 16 people, plus two of our tour coordinator which is Willie and Carol.

10.46am start our hike, the name of this trail is called the Turked Demaring Trail, it was a rather steep start with soft mud on most of the path up the ridge. The trees are tall which give us good shade, here is the mossy elfin forest, as most of the trees are covered with thick moss. So many orchids on the branches, the humid condition makes this the best place for the orchids and mushroom to grow.

12.04pm, the steep ascent comes to a stop, we reached 2030m ASL. We was welcome by a long stretch of steel plank walk aka prophetic highway. There was this old wood plank with zinc roof called the Joy Bridge from here all the way to the SIB Church. But as time goes by, the wood roten, and the forestry does not allow the church to cut down tree to repair it, so they replace it with these steel plank.

It was a very easy walk on the steel plank, and me, Liang Yong and Ah Loong walked slowly at the back, to take picture of the pitcher plant, and orchids along the way. There are a few type of pitcher plant here at Mount Murud, one of the famous one is called Nepenthes murudensis which  is named after the mountain and is thought to be endemic to its summit area. Its long vase body, with a lightbulb looking bud at the bottom.

Nepenthes muluensis, with dark red color covering the vase body. Then there is my favorite Nepenthes lowii, with a huge bum, the cover, and inside the body is red in color. The last one was the Nepenthes hurrelliana, with red stripe pattern inside the body and some vertical stripe on the outer layer. The steel plank does not connect all the way to the SIB Church, as we also need to hike on muddy trek. The journey is through dipterous forest with its gigantic trees and about ¾ of the trail leading to the church shelter is along a plank walkway.

2.36pm. Now we have two option, one is to go up the Batu Linanit Summit at 2211 m ASL using the Surut Linanit Trail, or by pass this summit use the porter trail on flat ground to go to the SIB Church Shelter, Reked Meligan. Then we saw Willie came from the Batu Linanit summit, asking us to go to the summit, because we can see Batu Lawi.

2.51pm, reached the Batu Linanit summit after 15 mins, it was a vast open place where the devotees will come here to pray, and to connect with gods. Magnificent view, and it’s true, we can see Batu Lawi the twin peaked mountain. The taller 'male' peak is 2046 m ASL, while the female summit is at 1850 m ASL.

3.01pm, The dark clouds starts to form intensively, so we start to descend and head to the SIB Church direction. Not sure how long do we still need to trek, but I just hope that we can reach the church shelter on time before it rains.

3.44pm. Me, Ah Loong, Liang Yong are the last three to finally reach the church shelter, along the way we enjoy the beauties of nature as we look out for pither plants, wild orchids, wild ginger plants and wildlife too. For the church here, It was nothing like I would have imagine, there are so many empty wooden houses.

The SIB Church is at the front facing the mountain range, the washroom at the far end near the ridge. A small lake was just near the washroom, this is where the devotees will have their baptism. Man I really have to salute these people, because the water is frezzing cold. The places that we stayed is a double story wooden shelter house. Three rooms on ground floor, and one kitchen next to the room, then 1st floor is a open space. Tonight we will overnight here, and continue with our ascent to the Murud summit tomorrow.

The temperature is about 22⁰C as we put down our backpacks, we was told that there are no water supply. The only clean water supply we have is the leftover rain water inside some of the old water tank. There are also no electricity, there is a genset, but its only for the church usage.

Christian has been gathered here this since 1990, thousands of pilgrims from the Borneo Evangelical Church (Sidang Injil Borneo) and other Borneo churches people either young and old, will trek like us to this Church Camp  at 2135m ASL for their retreat. From my research, once every two years, thousands devotees from all over the world join the ascent to Church Camp to seek the face of God. This is the International Revival Meeting.

The three of us are smelly, and need to clean ourself fast. Despite the freezing temperature, we still go bath. We manage to find a metal drum which still have some left over rain water, the three of us are just in our underwear, and as I feel the water. It was COLD, just like ice water. I saw Ah Loong hesitate for a while, and just pour the water on him, then followed by Liang Yong, for me I’m still hesitating, but I cannot sleep smelly and dirty later, so I also shove the water on me. On my first shove, I scream!!! Too freezing.... But i have to continue, after 4 to 5 shove, slowly got use to it a bit, and quickly apply soap, clean, and shove water to wash away the soap. Whole process last for not more than 5 mins. When I breach, I can see vapour,it’s that cold.

After change to clean clothes, the few of us start to roam around the places. All the houses here are empty, locked. We visit the SIB Church, build by wood also. It has a big Haleluyah word painted outside, and in front of the entrance.

Our guide cooked dinner for us, we had dinner at 6.46pm. First meal are port, and mix veggie (lettuce and carrot), what I enjoyed the most is the rice. Its very soft, and delicious. All our meal are cooked by firewood. After the dinner, we went to the 1st floor where we will sleep, and start to socialise. I felt very cold, and notice all of my 15 team members has a sleeping bag, and I’m the only one without one. Why is this so? Before I came here, I check on the weather forecast, and its average 18⁰C, so I told myself, I should be ok as long as I wear double.

In reality, i’m wearing double, but still feel cold. The temperature drops from 22⁰C to 15⁰C now, i’m hiding my feet inside the jacket Sui Chin borrow me, but my hands are freezing, then i covered my hands with the jacket, end up my feet freezing. I did not sleep well that night, the breeze blows strongly, and the cold breeze came from the wood slab, blow directly on my bum, my back. While everyone was asleep, i’m the only one which is still awake, keep on adjusting the jacket between my arms, and legs.

And that’s how I spend my first night here at the SIB Church shelter, stay tune for my next post where my team and I will starts to ascent to the summit of the highest mountain in Sarawak. And the interesting encounter along the way. See you on my next post.  

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Mount Murud Exploration - Kuching to Ba’kelalan post 1 of 4

Day 1 of my adventure, flight is at 6.10am to Kota Kinabalu. I woke up, look at the clock it was around 4am, I don’t feel sleepy at all. Will be meeting my team at the airport at 5am, so I still have another hour to do a final check in case I miss out anything. I only have one backpack, which weighted around 12kg, this is the average weight that I carry on my 3 days 2 nights camping.

All of a sudden my phone rang, it was from Loong one of my team members, telling me that most of them are at the airport now. I check on my wrist watch, it was about 4.45am, and I look at the clock on the wall, same…. Should I be going to the airport now?

Reached the Kuching International Airport about 5.10am, got my backpack to scan, and as I walk through the x-ray door, I’m clean! Meet up with my friends and some new team members at the café near the boarding gate. We all started to chat about what to expect on our journey, and calculate the time we need to reach our next destination. For all we know, the last call announcement made by the airport got our attention, we quickly rush to board the plane.
Inside the plane, most of the passenger board the plane which left the few of us.
If I remember correctly, this van is a 13 seater. My seat is the best, because of good leg room.
Reached the KK Airport 20 mins before 8am, our pickup had arrived at the airport. A local tour called Sanctuary Borneo, the 16 of us, one van, one Hilux. I ops for the van, and sit just next to the entrance with a lot of leg room for me to stretch on this 3 hour journey to Lawas.

Just when our van about to drive off, we heard a collision sound in front of our car. It was a corn, the driver forgot he put the road cone in front of the van. The boss from the opposite direction look at the driver, and the driver looks back, and showed the OK hand sign to the boss, and he quickly drives off.

9.32am we reached a town called Beaufort in Sabah, and stop for toilet break, and to eat some breakfast. Most of us did not have any breakfast this morning. We went to a noodle shop called Foh Chuan, the Foh Chuan noodles are their best dish at almost every table ordered their noodles. My friends and I had no place to sit, so we share with an uncle. He looks like a Chinese, so I started to speak Chinese with him, but he answers back with Malay mix English. I told myself, he might be a Kadazan people, because some of them looks like Chinese.

10.10am, start our journey to Lawas again, and reached the Border checkpoint at 11.16am. Fortunately, we Sarawakian does not need any special permit or passport to enter Lawas, or to the West Malaysia. We just present our identification card to the officer, and off we go.
Our 4WD from Lawas to Ba'kelalan, it was my first experience on a logging road. 
12noon, we finally reached Lawas town. Meet up with our tour coordinator Mr Willie Kajan at 12.17pm. There are three (3) units of 4x4 which is going to drive us from Lawas to Ba’kelalan town on the logging road roughly about 6 hours. Although roller coaster ride is fun, but if you ride it for six (6) hours straight, you will fed up as well.

Start our journey to Ba’kelalan at 1pm, car no#1 a Toyota single cabin, some of our friends are sitting in the truck bed area. Car no#2 is us and carry some diesel supply and #3 is a Toyota double cabin with all our luggage on the truck bed. The driver gave each of us a big plastic bag to cover our luggage to prevent from the dust.
My friends endure the dust for a total of 6 hours ++
Dry weather gives us dry road, and I felt pity for my friends that sits on the truck bed on car#1. They have to endure the dust for a total of 6 hours ++ until we reach Ba’kelalan. But in the same time they can enjoy the nice scenery along the way.

The road that we use are from the logging company, therefore it's not covered with tar, and has lots of potholes all over the place. The max speed that we drove was just 50 - 60km/h. There are villages along the road.

3.05pm, we stop by on a canteen near a village called Kampung Tang Pau, Long Sukang, Lawas. And was geed by a friendly lady who offer us hot coffee, and fried banana. I went to the toilet, but my goodness, when peeing, I had to hold my breath, not because of the disgusting toilet smell, but its the hot air from the generator. There is no electricity here, so the village people owns a genset. And this house put it in the toilet, so the hot smoke also came out and smoke the entire toilet.

Continue our journey, and not long after our ride at about 3.45pm. It starts to downpour, I saw driver of car#1 quickly lower down the canvas at the truck to keep the passenger dry. Again, pity my friends who sit there, just now was dust, and now they have rain, so what else is next?
 Timber company, with a lot of rotten tree trunks at the road side
We drove passed a timber company, with a lot of rotten tree trunks at the road side. It was the Hari Raya holiday for three days, and it was just the first day, that’s why we don’t see any timber truck working that day.

Pass by Long Luping at about 4.15pm, and I saw a nice cement building. My driver told me that its the school, the name of the school is Sekolah Kebangsaan Long Lupin, and students will stay in the hostel also. Good they have a school here i told myself, education is the only way for them to upgrade these places.

There are buffalo along the road, i was curious on why the buffalo can run freely? Aren't they supposed to be on the farm working now?
SG. Long Semadoh Naseb, where Baru Bian stay during his childhood 
The time is 5.10pm, and we pass by a place called SG. LONG SEMADOH NASEB. All of us stop by for a toilet break, while enjoying the beautiful scenery. We are in the higher ground area, and just down the foot hill, there is a village. According to our guide, this is where Baru Bian grew up, he is a Malaysian politician from the Parti Keadilan Rakyat in the Pakatan Rakyat opposition coalition. He gained prominence as a campaigner for native customary rights in the state of Sarawak, that’s why the people here respect him very much. Has his poster all over the place.
Car#3 carried all our luggage. All covered with mud
Our journey continues, while in the car, we keep on counting the time, and hope by doing this we can reach Ba’kelalan earlier. This car ride is making us crazy….

A viewing platform build by the Royal Army Engineers Regiment
5.45pm, I lost count how many hills we had gone through, how many rivers we crossed. Then we reach this observation platform which is built at Bukit Demaring. The platform was built at year 2013 by the group combat support military units of the Malaysian Army, which they provide combat engineering and other engineering support to the Malaysian Army.

They are called Rejimen Askar Jurutera Di Raja (Royal Army Engineers Regiment), the tarmac road from here to Ba’kelalan was built by them, but no rocks lay as a foundation, causes a lot of pot holes here and there. Its better to drive on the logging road than this, personally I think if where to build, build it the correct way, if not, it''s just a waste of money and resource.

The viewing platform brings us breathtaking views, with multiple mountain range, and clouds covering the mountain. As its close to dusk, the color of the sky had a bit of a mixture of orange color, extreme beauty.

7.38pm, its very shaky inside the hilux, but I still manage to have some shut eyes. My head bump on the handle car a few times, but I’m too exhausted, so just chose to ignore the pain. It was dark now, and I notice our car drive slowly, I saw a fence on my right, and tarmac inside the fence area. It looks like a runway for the plane. Wait a minute, its an airport… the Ba’kelalan airport. If I know there is airport, I could have op to fly in here.
Pondok Santai Cafe at Ba'kelalan Inn, my team and I had our dinner here. The food... fantastic!!!
8.00pm, reached the place we’re going to rest for the night. It was a Homestay called Ba’kelalann Inn & Pondok Santai Cafe, the canteen is at the entrance, our room was behind the canteen. The Homestay is a double story house, the owner is a guy in his sixty, the wife and daughter both helped to cook at the canteen. Electricity was from the genset start from dusk to midnight. We quickly take this opportunity to charge our phone.

815pm, after our shower, we were feed by the delicious food serve by the owner. We had roasted chicken, pumpkin, soya pork, and soup. It was heaven!!!

The temperature here is about 21⁰C i like this cozy weather, and hey... we’re in Sarawak, awesome to have such nice weather. After we began to socialise after dinner, and went to bed at around 11pm. Tomorrow will be another adventure, stay tuned for my next post about my adventure on reaching the CIB church at about 2031m ASL, how do I survive two nights on 10⁰C with no sleeping bag and blanket? What to expect in the church area? Find out on my next post soon...

View more photos on Borneo Explorer's Facebook page, click here

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Tanjung Rhu, Bako National Park, Borneo, Sarawak

Tanjung Rhu Camping Trip with Wilson Chin and Friends

Day 01, From Park HQ - Ulu Serait - Paya Jelutong
Back L-R: Loong, Jiew, Hui Yen, Puay Kian, Phen, Gilbert
Front L-R: Jason, Wilson Chin (me), Liang Yong
A group Photo at the Jetty of Bako National Park ticket counter.
My name is Wilson Chin, and I'm a Borneo Explorer. 
The date of my trip was on March 2016, together with my team, we are the Kuching Adventure Team #KuchingAdventureTeam 
Equipped with food which can last us for 3 days 2 night, the nine of us embark on this amazing journey into the hears of Bako National Park
To go to the Bako National Park HQ, we need to chatter a boat. We bough our boat ticket over the counter. Our boat start depart at 9.35am.
Along the way, we spotted an alligator lying on the river bank, enjoying mud sunbath
Our boat reach the Park HQ at about 10am, upon entered the park, we know where we want to go, so immediately we start our journey.

We camp at Paya Jelutong on the first night. 
Now when I recall back that night, it was a torture for us. After we setup our camp, we went to the nearby stream to bath. The water was brownish color, as it mixed with the rotten leafs, and woods. But like it or not, this is the water that we eat, drink, and bath for 3 days. 
The entire fresh water at bako are brownish color  O.o"

That night, it rain at around 7pm, right after our dinner. 6 of our teammate's hammock leak, water got into the hammock. It was dark and cold. And there are lots of blood sucking flying insect all over the place, it will stick on any expose flesh they can found, and try to suck some blood from us. 
It was a long night for the six of my friends, as for the rest of us, we're using #HennessyHammock and manage to get a good night sleep

Day 02, Paya Jelutong - Tanjung Rhu

Paya Jelutong really live up its name. Paya means swamp, and it was a hard hike the next morning. We have to be very careful on where we step, with just one move, maybe half of our leg will be stuck inside the mud.

9.26am - Star our journey to go to Tanjung Rhu
1.30pm - Reach Tajor Waterfall along the way, stop by for lunch and clean up ourselves.
3.15pm - Continue our journey to Tanjung Rhu again
5.32pm - Reach Tanjung Rhu...

Day 02, very hot day, finished our drinks. And we have to drink whatever water we can find along the way, the taste is not good, but that's what we have.

Enjoying the sunset at Tanjung Rhu with my Kuching Adventure Team members
At night after our dinner, all of us just lie on the edge of the cliff, staring at the stars, and let the sea breeze blowing at us. A very relaxing moment for all of us.

Only in Tanjung Rhu, with no mobile reception, no electricity, disconnect from the outside world. and to enjoy what mothers nature offer to us.

Day 03, Tanjung Rhu - Teluk Pandan Kecil - Park HQ

Sunset at 6.55am that morning. And all of us just sit there any witness the greatest show on earth.
Day 03, its time to go home, but before that we detour to another cliff area called Telok Pandan Kecil.
This Telok Pandan Kecil is the most visit place in Bako, and from the top you are able to view the famous sea stack. This is me with the cliff and sea stack at the back.
Start our journey this morning at 9.40am 
Reach Telok Pandan Kecil at 11.53am
Reach the Park HQ at 3.20pm

Here is a video I made about my trip, please remember to share and like for more of my adventure video. See you guys next time.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Easy Hike to Serapi Mount, Matang, Sarawak Borneo

Same Hike, different experience.
Mount Serapi Hike at 2015 <-- Watsh my previous hike video here
We went early to the Serapi Mount, my adventure team and I was amaze by this fogy scenery. It was breathtaking.