Wednesday, July 14, 2010

From Semporna to Mabul - An unforgettable memory

Exploring Mabul | Faces of Mabul

The stilt water village at Mabul from google earth

Mabul is simply a photographer heaven for both landscape & street shooting. Located near Semporna, it is near the Sipadan Island, the diver's heaven. In fact Mabul is the the nearest accomodation available for diver that would like to go to Sipadan.

Exploring Mabul | Faces of Mabul
In 2009, organized by my close photographer friend Azli under JJCF umbrella, a total of 12 people went to Mabul Island. In this trip i went with my beloved wife & son. Since this is our first time to Semporna & Mabul, everything is new for us. The scenery of Sabah seascape is simply breathtaking and wonderful. The kids of Mabul which happily entertain visitor is a unique and unforgettable experience. And these kids is very photographer friendly.

Our experienced were greatly enhanced by the hospitality of our homestay, Spherediver Homestay. Azhar, one of the spherediver partner has been a great host during our stay. He even poisoned us (maybe i only.. hahahah) with his underwater macro pictures which is superb and marvellous. His photo is inspirational and from that moment i'm determine to explore underwater photography one day (and i hope that day is soon enough). Since he (azhar) is a SDARIAN, he also know my eldest brother Azmi which is his junior.

Me & my wife arrive one day earlier as we would just like to browse around Semporna city for a while. We stay at Semporna Inn . This hotel fronting the jetty at Semporna. When we arrived its already late so we just relax at our hotel until the next day.

Exploring Mabul | Sunrise @ Semporna

Day 2, early morning i went searching for a good spot for sunrise around the jetty. I'm a bit late as the here the sun rise an hour earlier compared to West Malaysia.
After that i walk around and found the fishing jetty behind our hotel. After taking few picture went back to the hotel for breakfast.

Exploring Mabul | Penimbang ikan di Jeti Semporna

After having breakfast with family and while waiting for our fellow friend to arrive from Tawau airport, we take a walk around the market at Semporna near the Semporna Mosque. It is an interesting place for street shoot photographer. A lot of independent seller begging us to buy their item such as peanuts, salted fish (colourful salted fish!) and fish cracker. I didn't take much picture as the aggressiveness of these seller make my family a bit uncomfortable.

Exploring Mabul | Semporna Mosque

At noon, when the rest of the expedition team finally arrived, we went to Mabul Island. The view a long the way is very fascinating and beautiful. We immediately went for our first snorkeling trip after lunch.

Exploring Mabul | Me

At Mabul, there is two distinct village. One is the Bajau people stilt water village (where most of the homestay resort is located) and another is Bajau Laut (Pelauh) village fronting Sipadan Water Village. The Bajau people is very similar to Malay culture with Islam as their religion. The people of Bajau is much more educated and most of their kid will go to school located at the centre of the island.

Exploring Mabul | Bajau Laut
Bajau Laut is an excellent sea farer tribe

Exploring Mabul | Faces of Mabul
Bajau laut kids in one of the bigger boat cum house

The Bajau Laut is actually sea gypsy people which roam the Southern Phililippines and island around Sabah. These bajau laut are sometime referred as people with no land as they normally dont have any identification and does not belong to any country. Traditionally they stay in their boat but over the years some of them have settle in the land (while still maintaing ocean as their source of living). In their transition from sea nomadic to sedentary village life, they also slowly integrate with the local people and some of them also start to understand the value of education as witness by us during our visit there.

Kids from both village is very photographer friendly and would do any pose that you request of them.

Now lets see some of the picture taken there during this trip.

Exploring Mabul | Sunrise
Sunrise day 1 - thick cloud

Exploring Mabul | Sunrise
Sunrise day 2 - better

Exploring Mabul | Faces of Mabul

Exploring Mabul | Faces of Mabul

Exploring Mabul | Faces of Mabul

Exploring Mabul | Faces of Mabul

Exploring Mabul | Kids playing sand ship

Note: After our first trip there (Jun 2009), few of our photographer friend's group has visited this the Spherediver Homestay upon recommendation by us. While most of them is happy with Spherediver service, recently (June 2010) there is an instance where a photographer group of my friend report an unpleasant experience during their stay where the service extended to them is not what they had expected - eg no snorkeling trip, boat promised not arrived,etc (a very contrasting picture from another story of my friends which stay there in April 2010 - they report everything is good ). My friend noted that most probably the reason is because they paid a much lower fee through his friend's scuba company. For me, if its true it would be sad and look very unprofessional. Personally i believe my friends' bad experience is an isolated incident. But for whatever reason, the damage has been done and those disappointed people would probably spread their experience.

For me, i would keep revisit this place if i ever go to Mabul again. Especially if i want to take my scuba license - hopefully soon by 2011. I prefer to learn scuba diving with someone i knew. :D . Recommending? Not sure. Perhap yes perhap not.

Your client is your asset and their words is your free promotion.

Spherediver Contact Info
One of the partner FB - Azhar Adnan -!/profile.php?id=1049689585&ref=ts  Tel no: +6019-668-3731 Tel no: +6012-285-7043

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  1. tq.. you have an interesting phototravel blog also.. thanks for visiting.. :)

  2. love everything you write here bro...splendid pics also...


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