Sunday, 23 April 2017


The pilot (my cousin), Chris Lammert started paragliding since 2002. In 2007, he went to South Korea to take up a certified course from Jonathan Paragliding School under FAI. The course took one month. In 2010, he got his certification from MSAF in T2 (tandem). He is also a certified para-motor pilot, and also AFF certified Base Jumper. He started full time being a tandem pilot since 2014.

Sunset gliding
 Chris told me the most wonderful moment to fly is during the approaching sunset. But this is rare because you need a lot of luck to have this opportunity. You need a right wind speed and direction, good thermal and dynamic and of course perfect weather. On few occasions, Chris get this opportunity to bring couples gliding into this romantic scene as the sun goes down and the sky turned red and orange.

Chris preparing to fly
The paragliders preferred location is at Kokol Hill Take-Off Base, about 2800 feet above sea level. It is only about 35 minutes drive from the Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu) city center and the views from up here is awesome because you could see the whole city of Jesselton and also the wide South China Sea. It takes about 10 minutes to walk from the nearest road to reach this place. Walking inside the jungle is also a unique experience especially for tourists. 

Chris Lammert can be contacted at CHRIS KOKOL PARAGLIDING or call him at +60 138645606

The first romance-thriller from Borneo

Sunday, 16 April 2017


St Michael Church Penampang
According to legend, the missionaries who brought Christianity to Penampang, North Borneo (Sabah) were harassed and haunted by local evil spirits. So powerful were those spirits that they have to say their rosary and seek the protection from the Archangel Michael. The devils were successfully warded off and the priests decided to name their church here as Saint Michael Church.

Inside the Saint Michael Church
Activities to bring Christianity seriously to North Borneo was started by the Mill Hill Missionary in 1886. It was led by Alexander Prenger who initially set up base in Inobong but later decided to move up to Kampong Dabak where the place was closer to the sea and the location very near to the Moyog River. In those days, rivers were the most important means of transportation. In the 1920's the number of Catholic increased in Penampang and the surrounding areas and more missionaries came to carry out their mission. In 1930, the building of the stone church began which was initiated by August Watcher. Construction was postponed because of the Second World War but the building was completed in 1947.

This church is unique because it is one of the oldest building in North Borneo and it is made from stone! I do believe not many buildings in those days were made from stone. Stone buildings were common in Europe and America but not here in Borneo. Most building materials in Borneo those days were made from timber. After the Second World War Borneo were using bricks and cement for their construction. That's why this church is historically significant.

And another unique feature of this church is that it was built on a steep hill. From the top looking downward, one could visualized the suffering of Christ like the Stations of the Cross as he struggled towards Mount Calvary. Penampang is about 15 minutes drive from the Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu) city center. BLESSED GOOD FRIDAY AND THE EASTER HOLIDAY.

The first English romance-thriller from Borneo

Sunday, 9 April 2017


When I was a small boy, I used to see this hill from the distant. At that time, it was inaccessible because there were no roads leading to this place. I used to imagine the top of the hill was green carpet being spread out by someone. I once asked an elderly village person about the unique feature and why was it like that. He told me, "Son! there is an oilfield up there!" Anywhere it is indeed an awesome sight.

Daybreak behind Mount Kinabalu

Today, there are few roads that leads right next to the hill. This hill is called Bukit Botak which literally means Bald Hill. It takes 25 minutes of normal driving from Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu) city center to reach this hill.There are three access points to this hill, and the fastest one is by the newly build Sepanggar bypass road which is on the southern side. From below the hill, it seems climbing up would be easy and fast. We climbed from the nothern side of the hill, and soon we were passing a native graveyard but from here we can see the sun rising behind Mount Kinabalu (see picture above).

Sepanggar Bay from Bukit Botak

Despite being a small hill, it was tough for me hiking up. It takes about 30 minutes to reach the peak and as for me I had to stop several time to catch my breath. But once I reached the pinnacle, I felt a sense of achievement as I watched the wonderful view from the top. It was not carpet on top of this hill as I always imagine. It was covered with lalang or better known in English as Cogon Grass or Blade Grass and scientifically known as imperata. It was useful in the olden days because it could be weaved into rooftop for traditional houses and the grass is still useful to stabilize soil. It is widespread all over Asia, some part of the Pacific and East Africa. It is considered an invasive species as it reaches the Americas. There were lots of hornets gliding above the grass but it didn't disturbed us.

Lalang which looks like hill padi
The inland view
When hiking up this hill, it is advisable that you don't travel alone. Even though there is a small patch of jungle on the northern side of this hill, one could easily get disoriented and lost and it takes a while to reach the right route and find the road; unless you come up from the southern side, then it is easy. Besides, traveling in groups is not only safe but enjoyable. By the way, there is no oilfield up here!

The first English romance-thriller from Borneo

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

KOTA BELUD: The Dragon Beach (Part Two)

In the 2nd chapter of my romance-thriller novel, THE EURASIANS the character, Ho Mei Ling envision to escape from Sandakan (east coast of North Borneo) and spent her time at the sunny beautiful beach with crystal clear water facing the South China Sea. Probably The Dragon Pearl Beach Resort fit the description. This isolated spot is so relaxing though the beach is not so fluffy and white. The picture above is actually a lagoon, and during low tide we could just walk across to the other side of the bank.

Relaxing on a hammock
Crystal clear sea water
Those of you who are interested to stay overnight here; well the accommodations they offered are mobile cabins, kampong style homestay houses and interestingly a tree house! For those who come only for the day (or night), there are several chairs strategically and comfortably located around the resort which is very ideal for picnic goers. By the way, they also have ATV (all terrain vehicles) for those of you who are more adventurous.

A tree house!

The first English romance-thriller from North Borneo

Sunday, 2 April 2017

KOTA BELUD: The Dragon Beach (Part One)

I am very sure that many of us in Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu) or other parts of North Borneo (Sabah) are unaware that a nice beachfront existed just next to a small island not far away! I too, just found out about this beach and immediately went there to explore it. Straight away I am impressed with the sea. Except for the dead seaweed floating on the surface, the water is crystal clear. This is the Dragon Pearl Beach Resort.

Dragon Pearl Beach Resort is located about 40 minutes drive from Tuaran Town and it takes slightly more than one hour to travel from Jesselton city center. From the highway, as we pass the Kelawat Forest Reserve, there is a small road called Kelawat-Ambong Road which will take is to this beach. They only charge 5 Ringgit per person and we can spend the rest of our day resting on this wonderful beach.

This island called Pandan-Pandan is so close to the beach. The resort also offer a boat ride around and to this place for hundred Ringgit carrying not more than 10 persons. That's an average of ten Ringgit per person. Other activities that are packaged includes snorkeling, diving, camping, kayaking, fishing and many others. They even have fire-fly insect according to their brochure!

Another view of the beach

The first English romance-thriller from Borneo