Friday, September 24, 2010


Apart from its opulent oil that boosts the country’s economic performance, Brunei is known for its rich flora and fauna. With that, it is must for foreigners to engage in an outdoor adventure in   forest hubs to totally claim one has been to Brunei!

Together with Sheila, Hazel, Cecil, Carem, and Michele, my father and I went to Bukit Shabandar, a popular hiking site for locals and visitors. Actually, our initial plan was to go to Temburong, one of Brunei’s saleable green sites wherein you can climb a thousand high metal bars and cross hanging bridges just to see the green landscape of Brunei. However, because of budget constraints, BND135 (around 4,000 pesos) per head, we just opted to check out some practical yet fun place to hike around. With Sheila’s recommendations, we ended up in the luscious and amazing trails of Bukit Shabandar.
photo courtesy of Sheila
Photo courtesy of Sheila
In preparation of our hiking slash picnic, we had some foods prepared. Sheila and Cecil contributed to cook the chicken and the nuggets. My father and I had our adobo, while Michele prepared a potato salad for everyone. Jomai joined us too and brought a lot of drinks (guess she understands how we could be drained after the hike). We also had some chips. (photos courtesy of Sheila)

We hiked on the second day of Hari Raya. Unfortunately, because it’s a holiday, the road going inside Bukit Shabandar was closed. And so, we had no option but to park somewhere and just walked.

Interestingly, while waiting for Carem and Michele, a group of monkeys started popping out. Some of the small ones came in group and circled around over some trashes and scavenged for food. And so, while we were entertained with the jumping little creatures, we never missed the moment without an early photo session.
small monkeys in a group

It was my first time to be in Bukit Shabandar. To my surprise, I was entertained with the playing area. There were wooden houses, snappy road signs, a small maze for kids, and more wooden play areas.

With a sunny day, our adventure at Bukit Shabandar started smoothly. We entered the primary trail at around 7:30. At that early, our energy was high that we can’t leave a pit stop without a souvenir, yes, strike a pose.

Soon, as we walked along, the trails become wet, slippery and narrow. We even had to hold on to some branch just to walk. Indeed, trails are made of up and down ways, and so our emotions. Truth be told, having walked for almost 2 hours, there’s no turning back and so we moved on.
Left to Right: Hazel, Cecil, Papc, me, Michele, Carem and Gerald

I was so surprised to know how strong my Papc. In an age of 60, he’s even more relaxed yet active in our hiking. Upon witnessing his composure in the tight trails, I came to believe how exercise can improve your strength. Actually, my father was even teasing all of us on how we catch our breath and drink up. As to his advice, in trails like one, one should not drink lots of waters. In his words, “mabasa lang ang labi, ayos na.” Frankly, his advice was helpful. It was powerful to propel us move in the journey.

After passing countless wooden bridges, holding in ropes, bending in muddy trails, almost falling down in slippery areas, battling with insect bites, passing by a pond, crossing a rocky ground, and much hope to finally see the end of the trail, we reached (I guess) the peak of the trail that has the Brunei Flag. Frankly, apart from the sense of achievement to see that flag and have a picture taken with it, it was a relief for everyone. At least, there was an assurance that we’re not lost and we’re almost there (if it’s the half of the trail, then we have how many hours left?).

Walk, breath, picture taking, laugh, and more will to go on. Yes. Walking in the trails of Bukit Shabandar was like a test of one’s determination. I was lucky to have my friends and my father by my side at the time of exploring the unknown. Seriously, I thought we we’re lost.


Picnic Time! Pictures courtesy of Sheila!

To say that our hiking at Bukit Shabandar is unforgettable was an understatement. Why? It’s more beyond an experience because of an ACCIDENT that put everyone in the real test.

To be continued…

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