Back to Kota Kinabalu from our gargantuan climb, we head off straight to the hostel to freshen-up, feast on a hearty dinner then went straight to a spa for a well deserved full body massage.
Upon lying down the massage table, we instantaneously went in to trans, and up to this point we can hardly remember a thing. The next event we can recall is the painful ordeal of getting out of bed the next morning. Our legs were aching like B****
We still have a full day to go around the town and we need do some shopping, then providence played its game once again, we woke up with the sight of a market that rose out of nowhere a block away from our hostel–Sunday market time! We bought pasalubongs for my staff nurses and Monette’s students.
The first season of survivor was shot in Palau Tiga, an island some 30 minutes away from the city port. Since we still have a day to hit the beach and relax our about to explode muscles, we decided to spend the remnants of our budget to explore the islands, I wanted to do an island hopping and see two or three, but since our budget can only afford one–Palau Manukan it is!
Going to where the roots of the hit reality show Survivor, is no less than perfect and politically appropriate at that point, we survived the ambitious climb and we deserve the title (and no we’re not singing the Destiny’s Child cliche).
We walked several minutes from where we ate our breakfast to Jesselton Port. With almost paralyzed legs and non functioning brains we said yes to the first guy who grabbed us and offered the ride to Manukan, no negotiations, no haggling, surprisingly effortless. After paying a total of MYR45 for the speedboat ride, port fee and all those conservation sh**, we realized we left our sunblock in our hostel. Too late, our boat is already speeding towards the island.
We weren’t expecting anything, for an island so proximal to the bustling city, we did not believe that there is a perfect beach around, at least not remotely comparable to our Boracay or Palawan. Being Filipinos, our standard bars when it comes to beaches is close to insatiable. But we were surprised with Palau Manukan.
Once our toes touched the white sand, we immediately looked for a spot under the trees, laid our sarongs, flatten the sand underneath, and slowly drift away to dreamland… It was a slothful siesta, so sinful the devil was already sending an SMS for flight schedule. But who cares? This is Kota Kinabalu compensating and calling it ‘quits’ after the epic torture.
Monette found out that the receptionist, the boatman and other staff in the island happened to be Filipinos. And being a kababayan, they actually offered the snorkeling gears for free. I so love that “Pinoy abroad” culture.
The marine life in this side of Borneo is so rich: Try to bring a piece of bread and schools of fish will swarm you, it is kind of bordering to scary actually, because some fishes aren’t small, some bigger than my torso. The water is warm and dipping is perfect to melt those premature uric acid that got crystallized during the climb, if it’s not for the fact that it’s jellyfish season, I would definitely spend the rest of the afternoon playing with fishes.
And so I did the right and most responsible thing to do, I went back to Slothville.
Before I completely surrender consciousness, I lay down stared at the sky for couple of minutes, while trying to digest the adventure that was.
“Whoa, climbing Kinabalu is something that I will remember for the rest of my life.
But is it worth it? HELL YES…
Am I gonna do it again? NOT A CHANCE!”
I closed my eyes smiling, as the noon light fades out.