Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tamu Donggongon

Ever since we started our little project, my antenna for all things fashion has heightened. I'd recognise people putting up colours on themselves, starts nit picking on the things that people would wear (in a good way of course), and just basically be more interested in dressing up. I've always thought that punchline, no one's just ugly, just lazy is a cold statement, but after knowing the tricks on how to be affordable, how easy looking good can be - that must be a true statement I figured myself.

Last weekend, after all the raving of thrift shopping everyone has mentioned through BSW, I decided I needed to know it myself. After all, if that's the culture here in this part of the world, best to get to know it!

I started my Sunday with a big breakfast with mum and bro, the usual. After breakfast, I told them that I'd go separately, as I've decided to explore the beautiful Tamu Donggongon this time. Tamu, which is affectionately called by the locals here in Sabah is basically an open market that sells from anything to everything. Donggongon is a local town that is about 15 minutes away from the city center, some say it's the most native potent area you can think of in Sabah :D

You have dry foods, hardware, clothes, meals, anything you can think of is available in this market, trust me. The moment I stepped into the area, I was just engulfed with curiosity and ... happiness really.

Something about being part in the push, the pull, and the whole economics of that local market that Sunday morning was like a breath of fresh air, something I know already, but not fully familiar either. Because you don't know so much, and if you're a first timer, best let the crowd bring you to wherever the actions are. A lot of the stuff will be foreign to you and I, but that's the best part about it. Nothing beats exploring.

It took me about an hour to actually absorb the awesomeness of that little tamu that has caused little and big cars jammed up around its corners; for me to be able to kickstart my getting around, and talking to the locals. Good foods were everywhere, great raw materials abundantly available, colours sprung out, everyone was friendly. This is what you call, LOVE IT.

The first thing I did upon setting my foot on that market was to prowl for the best dressed folks. I was snapping every few minutes, even asked the skepticals whether they would mind, some hid away, some gladly. The hardest part about this project is definitely, the convincing. Everyone is insecure about allowing themselves to appear public, but I've done all sorts of ways to make sure this will take off :)

Stephie and I came up with this project called the 'Borneo Street Wear', a page that compiles the best and quirkiest find around Borneo. Some items are tips, while most are street wears :) If you have any tips or suggestions you would like, please email them to us at I know you've got some questions if you haven't been to this beautiful area, so please drop me an email and I will go all my ways to help you out :) 

BTW this is Butod.

It is actually a beetle or also a sago worm with the sago palm as their main feed. The locals love it for its taste, much like coconut milk (I'm guessing it's because that's what they eat) and it's... well, chewy. I've never personally tried it myself - never got around to do it, but I'm sure I'll be up for it if there's someone to share it with me :E  Here are the suggestions on how to cook butod.

Halfway through my wandering, Chris who has been numerously featured on our page did this stunt (yet again). Asked me whether I could lend him a scissor, and then he started chopping off his shoes, I was like wha---.

Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

First Ever Food Post

You know you're ageing when you talk a lot about the (genuinely) good things in life; like food, places, friends and laughters. Instead of material things. I don't know, maybe it's the ageing me instead.

This time, I'm going to talk about how domesticated I've been! I've been engrossed with all things baking and cooking these past few weeks, it's like I am slowly settling in.

A couple of weeks back was the FIRST TIME I'VE EVER BAKED. Like, I didn't even know what "pre-heat" meant or how F and C differed (like seriously) and how to proportion ingredients. It’s damn sad.

But I knew I had to do one thing. One thing… I knew I had to learn how to bake an apple pie. I love my apple pie. So much that it was really the push that I needed for me to actually pick up baking and go.
So that Sunday, I decided Imma bake an apple pie and top it with vanilla ice cream!  

This was a really good dish of its own. I cut the apples thin slice and mixed walnuts with cinnamon sugar. I think you can even eat it own its own! I know I will. 

So after much Youtubing and reading, I finally manage to start on my pie. My first time was a glorious success, the second one however wasn’t. I forgot that I had left my heater to TOP only instead of BOTH (this is some baking talk).

My apple pie with vanilla ice cream on top. You have to eat it while it's hot!

And then cookies!

I figured since some of my Muslim friends are going to fast soon this Ramadhan month, I was wondering whether I could bake some cookies for them instead. So that my friend, was my motivation. I bought all sorts of things for the cookies, and next thing you know on a Sunday as well, I went through all the baking and puffing and voila! I’ve got my cookies mojo on.

The first and the second time were major success :D

Every other day (especially when I’m alone) I try to improvise and make good food for myself. Especially breakfast and lunch. I manage to take a photo of this mushroom sandwich I made that I truly love! I sautéed some mushrooms and onions and mash it with sunny side egg while I toasted the bread as well. Big time YUM.

Well that's all folks. These are the only ones I've managed to snap so far, can't wait to learn more kitchen tricks and my hope is to whip out some fine dinner for some close friends :)

Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Climbing Mt. Kinabalu

A couple of weeks back some friends and I decided to hike up Mt. Kinabalu. Although this was pre-arranged a couple of months before (I think), I kept forgetting the exact dates (because they changed a few times) we were going to hike up, and how everything's going to be sorted out. For training, I only did cardio in the morning about 2 - 4 km before going off to work. Loved the routine which I've stopped ever since because it took me about a week to recover/ recuperate from the hike and another week which was just pure laziness.

Let me briefly explain to you how these hikings are different from one another. Firstly, there are two types of routes, via Mesilau and via Timpohon Gate (Kinabalu Park). Mesilau's track is 2KM more and are mostly off road which means there are areas with no proper climbing stairs.

You'd have to climb up the boulders and rocks, at one point I even hiked using all four limbs, not kidding. 2KM uphill is almost equivalent of another 2 - 3 hours of hiking. Timpohon on the other hand is more common route among hikers, and it also has more straight roads and definitely well structured either. Evidently, Mesilau is a LOT more challenging.

Since this was our first time, friends and I have been assigned to hike via MESILAU. But of course -_-
Most would either stay somewhere near National Park and walk up straight from Timpohon Gate.

We left Mesilau really late about 10am onwards (I wasn't really happy about this) because I knew it would slow us down and we would eventually reach really late.

The whole hike wasn't really with the most ideal weather and conditions, it was raining really heavily, I was drenched right into my inside (even with rain coat) and my sister wasn't really feeling well either so we were always on the lookout for her.

But personally, I really enjoyed the hike. I took my time to enjoy the irreplaceable scenery and bask in the greatness of everything. The view, the trickling raindrops, the gushes of gravity water, the smell of the forest, this may sound like a complete hippy but I never really quite get to know "the nature" until I'm put in the position to accept the nature in one with whatever situations I was at.

Probably one of the best experience in my life :)

The moment we reached Laban Rata (which is the first and the last stop) before the last climb up to the peak, we crashed and passed out.

Sister couldn't join the remaining because she was too sick, and only a few of us continued the journey. At some point, some of us even decided to not continue the hike anymore because apparently it was too cold and slippery or while some were just plain exhausted.

This was one of my amazing view on my way up. Really, the feeling of being able to reach where you are is just surreal.

I have the best guide in the world :) He took really good  care of me most of the time, chatted up with me, and even helped me at tricky times.  Thank you for being my positive rock Johnny.

I saw this vertical rainbow on my way up. Really beautiful :) And imagine the horizons I could see from here? It was insanely beautiful. I really felt like on top of the world. Like I could see everything now, that things are built in  bigger picture.

Like most of the climbers who had to stop halfway because of the drizzles and exhaustion, I wasn't quite sure about the climb either but I am probably a few hours away from the peak so I decided to just continue. I was exhausted, demotivated and everything one could imagine but I continued.

I was probably the last among 7 - 9 of us that climbed up the peak (out of 24) to reach the checkpoint, so the guide was actually quite hesitant to let me pass through because I might be too late to come down. So after about an hour or so of climb, and was merely -300metres away from the peak, the guide told me to start my walk down or I would be caught in the mist and slow down and will no longer be allowed to go up.

I thought whether that was dissapointing to be so near to the low's peak but couldn't actually touch the board, but quite frankly I wasn't. I was ecstatic! I am on top of Mt. Kinabalu how much can this be better! 

On our way back, I swear to God I heard people calling my name. While I wasn't sure whether it did happened, I kept it to myself only to find out some friends of mine actually experienced the same thing as well. Not quite sure what happened, but I have a feeling it's part of the side effects of exhaustion.

And we stumbled upon an adorable but beautiful waterfall. What a life-changing hike.

All in all I've got some tips and recommendations to make your climb a little better. I think the most important thing is to keep a positive attitude. I'd punch myself if I had to hike with someone who's always so negative about everything and might as well opt for a much slower pace person but has a lighter attitude :)

Tips & Recommendation: 
  • Of course do a stamina and physical training prior to the climb. 
  • Prepare hiking items for both morning and night and on different weathers like; raincoat, walking stick (helped me a lot!), light backpack, headlights, gloves, tons and tons of socks and harness (seriously important, I didn't know as you climb it's between you and the thousands of metres away from the ground only they didn't provide harness). And yes there are such cases like people falling off the cliff and break themselves into pieces. 
  • If you're an amateur and do not want to shock yourself, hike via National Park (Timpohon Gate) first. 
  • Stay calm and keep pace. 
  • Don't extract or pull out any plants or animals from the hike because the park rangers will fine you so much you're gonna cry and regret. I heard about RM 100k. Also, that's not good for the nature :) 

Other than that, have fun! Feel free to ask me anything if you're unsure.

Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.