ROYAL SULU & NORTH BORNEO SABAH SYMBOLS .

28th-sultan sulu north borneo sabah




29TH SULTAN OF SULU & North Borneo Sabah

Seal of the 29th Sultan of Sulu, son of HRH Sultan Muhammad Fadl.
The inscription on the seal is :Al-Sultan Muhammad jamalul Azam (also known as Sultan Jamalul Alam ).
Al-Sultan Jamalul Azam sanat 1279 /
The Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Azam, the year 1279/ Muhammad Dchamalul Alam Sultan of Jolo'.
This seal was in a letter to the Gurnur of Sandakan, AH 1279 ( AD 1879-1880 ).



This sultanate flag has three differents kind of symbols : on the left side we find the
" zul -fiqar" or "sword of Ali " , in the central position there is a white building, maybe the Sultan's palace, surrounding by a floreal arc.
For some scholars this symbol is the royal platform inside the palace of the Sultan ; for someone else it represents the Mecca Door surrounding by okir motifs.
On the right side the crossed kris and budjak (spear ) are some of the traditional symbols of the Sultanate after 1899.


Lease Contract of 1878:

In maintaining that the 1878 Grant was one of lease,  a translation of that instrument 

by Professor Harold Conklin of Yale University U.S.A.


Signature of Sultan
Mohammed Jamalul Alam

Official seal of the
Sultan of Sulu


Dated January 22, 1878


We, Sri Paduka Maulana Al Sultan MOHAMMED JAMALUL ALAM, Son of Sari Paduka Marhum Al Sultan MOHAMMED PULALUM, Sultan of Sulu and of all dependencies thereof, on behalf of ourselves and for our heirs and successors, and with the expressed desire of all Datus in common agreement, do hereby desire to lease, of our own free will and satisfaction, to Gustovus Baron de Overbeck of Hong Kong, and to Alfred Dent, Esquire, of London, who act as representatives of a British Company, together with their heirs, associates, successors, and assigns forever and until the end of time, all rights and powers which we possess over all territories and lands tributary to us on the mainland of the Island of Borneo, commencing from the Pandassan River on the east, and thence along the whole east coast as far as the Sibuku River on the south, and including all territories, on the Pandassan River and in the coastal area, known as Paitan, Sugut, Banggai, Labuk, Sandakan, China-batangan, Mumiang, and all other territories and coastal lands to the south, bordering on Darvel Bay, and as far as the Sibuku River, together with all the islands which lie within nine miles from the coast.

In consideration of this (territorial?) lease, the honorable Gustavus Baron de Overbeck and Alfred Dent, Esquire, promise to pay His Highness Maulana Sultan Mohammed Jamalul Alam and to his heirs and successors, the sum of five thousand dollars annually, to be paid each and every year.

The above-mentioned territories are from today truly leased to Mr. Gustavus Baron de Overbeck and to Alfred Dent, Esquire, as already said, together with their heirs, their associates (company) and to their successors and assigns for as long as they choose or desire to use them; but the rights and powers hereby leased shall not be transferred to another nation, or a company of other nationality, without the consent of Their Majesties Government.

Should there be any dispute, or reviving of old grievances of any kind, between us, and our heirs and successors, with Mr. Gustavus Baron de Overbeck or his Company, then the matter will be brought for consideration or judgment to Their Majesties’ Consul-General in Brunei.

Moreover, if His Highness Maulana Al Sultan Mohammed Jamalul Alam, and his heirs and successors, become involved in any trouble or difficulties hereafter, the said honorable Mr. Gustavus Baron de Overbeck and his Company promise to give aid and advice to us within the extent of their ability.

This treaty is written in Sulu, at the Palace of the Sultan Mohammed Jamalul Alam on the 19th day of the month of Muharam, A.H. 1295; that is on the 22nd day of the month of January, year 1878.

Seal of the Sultan
Jamalul Alam

Witness to seal and signature
H.B.M. Acting Consul General
in Borneo

The Tausug translation was rendered into English in the 1950′s. The English translation shows the Deed of 1878 as a contract of lease The key word is the word “padjak,” which is also the cognate of the Brunei Malay word “padjak,” or “lease.”

Professor Harold Conklin of Yale University

In maintaining that the 1878 Grant was one of lease,  a translation of that instrument by Professor Harold Conklin of Yale University

Does North Borneo Sabah really belong to the Philippines?

On March 25, 1963, Senator Lorenzo Sumulong delivered a privileged speech berating the Philippines claim to North Borneo (Sabah), which had been filed by President Diosdado Macapagal on June 22, 1962. Five days later, Senator Jovito R. Salonga delivered a point-by-point rebuttal to Sumulong’s speech.

Below are the full text of Sumulong’s speech and Salonga’s reply. We leave it to our readers to judge the merits of the case as presented by the senators 50 years ago.

Excerpts from the speech of Salonga are also reprinted in the Philippine Daily Inquirer in its March 5, 2013 issue in a bid to shed light on the Sabah conflict.

Here is the full text of Senator Salonga’s rebuttal speech delivered on March 30, 1963, which was broadcast over radio and television and published in The Manila Times on March 31, April 1-2, 1963.

A few days ago, Senator Lorenzo Sumulong spoke on the floor of the Senate to air his views on the Philippines claim to North Borneo. My first reaction was to keep my peace and observe this shocking spectacle in silence, particularly in the light of the request of the British panel during the London Conference that the documents and the records of the proceedings be considered confidential, until they could be declassified in the normal course of diplomatic procedure. In part, my reaction was dictated by the belief, so aptly expressed elsewhere, that the best way to answer a bad argument is to let it go on and that silence is the “unbearable repartee.”

But silence could be tortured out of context and construed by others, not familiar with the facts, as an impliedadmission of the weakness of the Philippine stand. And so, I decided to make this reply, fully aware that in an exchange such as this, considering that our claim is still pending and each side is feeling out the other’s legal position, none but our British friends and their successors may well profit.

The good Senator, whose patriotism I do not propose to impugn, has had access to the confidential records and documents of the Department of Foreign Affairs. By his own admission, he attended closed-door hearings of the Senate Committees on Foreign Relations and National Defense, where crucial matters of national survival and security were taken up. He knows the classified, confidential nature of the records and documents bearing on the Philippine claim.

Senator Sumulong has now found it proper and imperative, if we take him literally, to ventilate his views berating the merit and validity of the Republic’s claim, accusing his own Government of gross ignorance and holding in unbelievable disdain the Philippine position on the British-sponsored Malaysia plan. He has chosen to assault the Philippine position at a time when his own Government, by virtue of the British request, may be said to be somewhat helpless in making, right in our own country, an adequate, fully-documented defense of the Philippine stand. I trust our British friends, here and across the seas, will understand if, in defense of our position, we come pretty close to the area of danger.

The good Senator tells us that in view of the “importance and magnitude” of the subject, he decided to wait “until all the relevant facts and information” were in, that he had made his own “studies and researches,” which on the basis of the press releases issued by his office, must have been quite massive. The morning papers last Monday (March 25) quoted the Senator as having bewailed, in advance of his privilege speech, that “only one side of the problem has been presented so far,” (meaning the Philippine side) seemingly unaware, despite the depth and range of his studies, that in the world press, only the British side has been given the benefit of full and favorable publicity and that the Philippine side has been summarily dismissed, just as the Senator dismisses it now with apparent contempt, as “shadowy”, “dubious” and “flimsy.” It may interest the good Senator to know that his statements, particularly on the eve of the talks in London, consistently derogatory of the Philippine claim, were seized upon by the English press with great delight, as if to show to the Philippine panel how well-informed the Senator was. It is, of course, not the fault of the Senator that the British, in an admirable show of unity, enjoyed and were immensely fascinated by his press releases and statements.

But before I take up the Senator’s arguments in detail, it may be well to set our frame of reference by restating the position of the Philippine Government on the North Borneo claim.

Thousands of years ago, what is now known as the Philippines and what is known today as Borneo used to constitute a single historical, cultural, economic unit. Authoritative Western scientists have traced the land bridges that connected these two places. The inhabitants of the Philippines and Borneo come from the same racial stock, they have the same color, they have or used to have similar customs and traditions. Borneo is only 18 miles away from us today.

North Borneo, formerly known as Sabah, was originally ruled by the Sultan of Brunei. In 1704, in gratitude for help extended to him by the Sultan of Sulu in suppressing a revolt, the Sultan of Brunei ceded North Borneo to the Sulu Sultan.

Here, our claim really begins. Over the years, the various European countries, including Britain, Spain and the Netherlands acknowledged the Sultan of Sulu as the sovereign ruler of North Borneo. They entered into various treaty arrangements with him.

In 1878, a keen Austrian adventurer, by the name of Baron de Overbeck, having known that the Sultan of Sulu was facing a life-and-death struggle with the Spanish forces in the Sulu Archipelago, went to Sulu, took advantage of the situation and persuaded the Sultan of Sulu to lease to him, in consideration of a yearly rental of Malayan $ 5,000 (roughly equivalent to a meager US $ 1,600), the territory now in question. The contract of lease — and I call it so on the basis of British documents and records that cannot be disputed here or abroad — contains a technical description of the territory in terms of natural boundaries, thus:

“…all the territories and lands being tributary to us on the mainland of the island of Borneo commencing from the Pandassan River on the NW coast and extending along the whole east coast as far as the Sibuco River in the South and comprising among others the States of Peitan, Sugut, Bangaya, Labuk, Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Muniang and all the other territories and states to the southward thereof bordering on Darvel Bay and as far as the Sibuco River with all the islands within 3 marine leagues of the coast.”

Overbeck later sold out all his rights under the contract to Alfred Dent, an English merchant, who established a provisional association and later a Company, known as the British North Borneo Company, which assumed all the rights and obligations under the 1878 contract. This Company was awarded a Royal Charter in 1881. A protest against the grant of the charter was lodged by the Spanish and the Dutch Governments and in reply, the British Government clarified its position and stated in unmistakable language that “sovereignty remains with the Sultan of Sulu” and that the Company was merely an administering authority.

In 1946, the British North Borneo Company transferred all its rights and obligations to the British Crown. The Crown, on July 10, 1946 — just six days after Philippine independence — asserted full sovereign rights over North Borneo, as of that date. Shortly thereafter former American Governor General Harrison, then Special Adviser to the Philippine Government on Foreign Affairs, denounced the Cession Order as a unilateral act in violation of legal rights. In 1950, Congressman Macapagal — along with Congressmen Arsenio Lacson and Arturo Tolentino — sponsored a resolution urging the formal institution of the claim to North Borneo. Prolonged studies were in the meanwhile undertaken and in 1962 the House of Representatives, in rare unanimity, passed a resolution urging the President of the Philippines to recover North Borneo consistent with international law and procedure. Acting on this unanimous resolution and having acquired all the rights and interests of the Sultanate of Sulu, the Republic of the Philippines, through the President, filed the claim to North Borneo.

Our claim is mainly based on the following propositions: that Overbeck and Dent, not being sovereign entities nor representing sovereign entities, could not and did not acquire dominion and sovereignty over North Borneo; that on the basis of authoritative British and Spanish documents, the British North Borneo Company, a private trading concern to whom Dent transferred his rights, did not and could not acquire dominion and sovereignty over North Borneo; that their rights were as those indicated in the basic contract, namely, that of a lessee and a mere delegate; that in accordance with established precedents in International Law, the assertion of sovereign rights by the British Crown in 1946, in complete disregard of the contract of 1878 and their solemn commitments, did not and cannot produce legal results in the form of a new tide.

I shall not, for the moment, take issue with the Senator as to his statement of the problem sought to be solved either through the Malaysia plan or the Greater Malayan Confederation. Our commitments under the United Nations Charter, the Bandung Conference Declaration and the 1960 decolonization resolution of the General Assembly are matters of record and there is no quarrel about them.

Let us deal now with Senator Sumulong’s analysis of the “relevant facts”. He begins by saying that “since the organization of the United Nations in 1945, Britain in accordance with the obligations imposed by the Charter has declared herself to be the colonial power administering North Borneo as a British colony”. There is something misleading in this naked assertion. The good Senator could have informed the people, having proclaimed knowledge of all the relevant facts, that the British Crown never considered North Borneo as British territory, nor the North Borneans as British subjects, until July 10, 1946 — six days after the Philippines became independent. He may well have asked himself, “Why July 10, 1946?” and thereafter report to the Senate and to the people he loves so well the results of his new inquiry.

Then, with the air of a magistrate delivering a stinging rebuke, he asks: “Why was the Philippine claim of sovereignty to North Borneo so tardily presented in the United Nations?” Yet, in the next breath, the good Senator reassures everyone that “I am and have been in favor of our government giving every possible support to the proprietary claims of the heirs of the late Sultan Jamalul Kiram.” Now, let us examine these interesting assertions a little more closely.

(1) If the Senator believes that the claim of sovereignty was so “tardily presented”, how could the proprietary claim of dominion or ownership — which is the main element of sovereignty — regardless of whether it is the Philippine Government or not that institutes the claim — be considered still seasonable and appropriate?

(2) If the Senator suggests now that the proprietary claim is not yet tardy and that the Government should merely support, “the heirs of the Sultan” in this aspect of the claim, how can he turn around and say that it is late if it is the Government that is instituting the claim? Be it noted that the Philippine claim includes sovereignty and dominion over North Borneo.

(3) But what arouses my curiosity is the bald statement of the Senator that he is and has always been in favor of supporting the proprietary claims of the “heirs of the Sultan of Sulu.” Well, that must have been quite a long time! The Senator cannot therefore blame us, since he has invited and provoked the inquiry, if we now file a bill of particulars. Did he really support the proprietary aspect of the claim since he first became a member of the House of Representatives and assumed the Chairmanship of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs? Probably he did not give much thought to it then. But certainly he must have heard of the Macapagal-Lacson-Tolentino resolution of 1950. Did he give it in the Senate active and real support, even in its proprietary aspects? He has been a member of that distinguished body for more than 12 years — when, how and in what form, (even through a proposed amendment so as to fit his thinking) did he give that support? The cold, lifeless records of Congress yield no evidence of what he now eloquently professes.

The distinguished Senator makes a most interesting suggestion. He tells his colleagues in the Senate and the Filipino people that “the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu” should have gone to the United Nations, presumably to the International Court of Justice, so that if the said heirs lose their case, “there would be no loss of honor or prestige for the Republic of the Philippines.” I would commend to the good Senator a closer reading of the Statute of the International Court of Justice, in relation to Chapter 14 of the United Nations Charter. Undoubtedly, he must have known that “the heirs of the Sultan” could not possibly litigate before the International Court of Justice for the simple reason that they have no international legal personality. They do not constitute a State, as that term is understood in law. Chapter 2, Article 34, paragraph 1 of the Statute clearly provides: “Only States may be parties in cases before the Court.”

The same thing may well be said of his suggestion that the heirs file a reservation or a petition before the United Nations. And were we to follow the logic of the good Senator, we might conclude that America, Britain, France, the Netherlands and other countries have no more prestige and honor to keep since they have, as a matter of cold fact, lost quite a number of cases before international bodies and tribunals. But, of course, the conclusion is wrong. For respect for the rule of law has never meant and should never mean loss of honor and prestige.

Then, the good Senator tells us that “contrary to the impression created in the minds of our people, the claim of sovereignty put forward by our Government as transferee of the Sultan of Sulu does not cover the entire area of North Borneo but only a portion thereof.” I do not know who created this impression, or whether the Senator has had a hand in it, through his own statements. However, the scope of our claim is clear: we are claiming these portions of North Borneo which were leased, as clearly defined and described in the contract of 1878 and which are still under the de facto control and administration of the British Crown. But the good Senator would like to know what are the “exact metes and bounds” and gloats over the seeming inability of the people in the Foreign Affairs Department to tell him what are the exact boundaries. International law, it may be well to remind our good Senator, does not require exact, rigid definition of a territory by metes and bounds. In the language of international law authorities of the highest repute, “rigidly fixed boundaries are not indispensable and boundaries of a territory may be indicated by natural signs, such as rivers, mountains, deserts, forests and the like.” (See, for example the decision of the German-Polish Mixed Arbitral Tribunal, August 1,1929). Up to now, ancient nations, such as India and China, are still quarreling about their boundaries. In other words, Senator Sumulong is exacting of his own government more than what International Law requires of us. But no matter. The lease contract of 1878 tells us in specific terms the natural boundaries and I do not think Senator Sumulong can improve on it. Nor can the British, if we consider as correct the conclusions of reputable writers abroad that the dividing boundary lines between the Borneo territories are neither fully-surveyed nor well-defined (See, for example, North Borneo, Brunei and Sarawak, Country Survey Series, New Haven, 1956).

It may be well for us, on such a delicate matter as this, to refrain from accusing our own Government of ignorance, partly out of simple discretion and partly because the real difference between most of us is that we are ignorant on different subjects — it may be the best thing indeed not to talk about each other’s ignorance.

Incidentally, the good Senator cites Professor Tregonning of the University of Singapore, who wrote a book on the subject, “Under Chartered Company Rule” to support his own — not Tregonning’s — conclusion that Overbeck and Dent — the two adventurers whose exploits the good Senator carefully avoided mentioning — “evaluated the rights acquired from the Sultan of Brunei to be 3 times greater than the rights acquired from the Sultan of Sulu, the yearly payment to the former being Malayan $ 15,000 and to the latter Malayan $ 5,000.” His conclusion is not supported by the authority he cites. Let me quote from Tregonning himself:

“This meager rental (of Malayan $ 15,000 paid to the Sultan of Brunei) reflects the state of affairs. The territory had long ceased to be under Brunei control and failed to bring in any revenue. The Sultan received Malayan $ 15,000 for nothing and he was well pleased.” (p. 14).

Likewise, in reading Tregonning, the good Senator avoided telling the people that the history professor he cited characterized the yearly payment of Malayan $ 5,000 to the Sultan of Sulu as “annual rental” (p. 14), that the British Colonial Office objected strenuously to the grant of the Royal Charter to the British North Borneo Company, “considering that no private company should exercise sovereign rights” (p. 20) and that the highest British officials were reassuring one another that the Royal Charter awarded to the British North Borneo Company did not vest the sovereignty of the territory in the British Government (at pp. 27-29).

Assuming that we fail to recover North Borneo, the good Senator insists that “we would appear as attempting to colonize North Borneo without any lawful or just cause.” How can Senator Sumulong damn his own country as a colonizer when it is precisely submitting its claim, based on historic and legal considerations, in accordance with the peaceful procedures indicated in the United Nations Charter? How can he, on the other hand, have nothing but praise for Malaya which, without any claim at all and virtually a stranger in the region, desires to take over — thanks to British support — the Bornean territories?

Like the isolationists of old, Senator Sumulong asks us: What is the gain of involving ourselves in North Borneo, if after all, even if we recover it, we are committed to the idea of letting the North Borneans determine what their eventual fate would be? It is like asking a man what is the use of working if after all he would eventually fade away — and leave his properties to his kin. One of the rosiest chapters in our entire history as a people was written when we dispatched our young men to Korea to fight for the cause of freedom in that part of the world. I don’t remember Senator Sumulong having raised the question, “What’s the use of it all?” The good Senator seems to forget that what happens in North Borneo affects us with greater immediacy and impact because of its proximity to us, that the North Borneans come from the same racial stock, that years of political isolation and hostile propaganda have created a gap between our two peoples, that despite the proud assertion that British interests have administered North Borneo for many years, the British, by their own admission, have not prepared the Borneans for self-government, that the natives are backward, that they are under the economic, cultural and political domination of the Chinese and that according to the British-prepared Report (Cobbold) there exists in North Borneo “fertile material on which Communist infiltration could work in the same way as it is already working in Sarawak.” The Communist danger, the Cobbold Report states, “cannot be excluded for the future.” (p. 36).

Senator Sumulong is all praise for the success and the leadership of the Tungku of Malaya and from these coupled with “British military and economic aid”, he jumps to the conclusion that “the enlarged Federation of Malaysia under the same leadership and with continued British military and economic aid will be able to meet and overcome any communist attempt to capture Singapore, Sarawak, Brunei and North Borneo.” But anyone who has studied logic must surely see that that is a mighty, big jump. Since the Tungku succeeded in fighting Communism in his home base, the Senator is certain he will also succeed elsewhere even if the conditions are quite different. This must be a new brand of logic! For one thing, there is the simple matter of geography. The Tungku Government is a thousand miles away from the jungles of Borneo. For another, the Borneo peoples, particularly in North Borneo, are not quite prepared for self-government. And how can the distinguished Senator be so sure about “continued British military and economic aid”, when Britain no longer requires a military outpost in this area as an essential link in her claim of defense, when the usefulness of fixed bases — such as Singapore — has been rendered obsolete by new developments in nuclear warfare and when England, beset by economic problems and stymied by many commitments, must of necessity launch a program of progressive withdrawal from Southeast Asia? The good Senator did not care to tell our people that the whole concept of Malaysia was designed to sterilize Singapore, that the whole plan was intended to redress Chinese dominance in Singapore and Malaya and that the Federation was not conceived out of a sense of oneness, or of racial or ethnic unity, or of a common heritage, but out of mutual fear and distrust. How can a Federation — so conceived and designed — endure, much less bring stability to a region where the countries immediately involved — the Philippines and Indonesia — have not even been consulted? The British may well be wrong here, just as they were proved wrong in their evaluation of Singapore on the eve of the Second World War (remember how the British thought it could “stand a long siege” and yet this “key base” fell in less than a week’s time?) and just as they are now being proved wrong in Africa where the British-inspired Central African Federation is about ready to collapse. And if the Malaysia Federation should fail and become instead the focal center of Communist infection, what does the good Senator intend to do? Isn’t it rather ironic that whereas in some responsible British quarters, including a sector of the British press, there has arisen a lurking doubt as to the feasibility of the Malaysia plan, the good Senator should be so certain about its success?

The respected Senator tells us that he cannot say whether the Greater Confederation plan is a better substitute. I thought he had all the relevant facts. And if he did not have all the relevant facts, may it not have been the better part of prudence to give the higher officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs all the chance to explain the outlines of the plan? But as I said earlier, the good Senator had access to the Government’s Confidential Report. He knows or should know that incisive studies have been made and completed since last year on the Greater Confederation Plan by an Ad Hoc Committee, composed of professors and scholars in the University of the Philippines. Surely, he does not expect his Government to spell out the Confederation Plan to the last detail at this time, before an agreement in principle is reached among the proposed members. Assuming that the Greater Confederation Plan does not convince the good Senator, after a careful reading of the studies that have been completed, can he not possibly render service to the Republic by suggesting positive, meaningful alternatives, having in mind his massive research and studies on the subject?

Our distinguished Senator has but one suggestion. I quote him:

“…the better course to follow is for our government to inform the United Nations in due time, i.e., when the Federation of Malaysia Plan is submitted for consideration in the United Nations, that we are voluntarily relinquishing whatever claims of sovereignty we may have to any portion of North Borneo in order to accelerate the changing of its status from a non-self-governing territory to that of a self-governing or independent State and that we favor holding a plebiscite under UN auspices to give the people of North Borneo the opportunity to freely express their will and wishes…”

In short, the good Senator would have us tell the world we are abandoning our claim, let Malaya take over North Borneo under the so-called Malaysia Federation, then ask for a referendum in North Borneo to ascertain what the North Borneans want. This, to my mind, is a proposal so naive it does not do justice to the reputation of the distinguished Senator or to the depth and range of his studies. In the first place, a Federation plan need not be approved by the United Nations. In the second place, a sophisticated study of the results of a plebiscite under the circumstances set forth by the distinguished Senator (and having in mind the plebiscites that have already been held, where there was indeed no choice but to say “yes” to what the British and Malayans wanted) forecloses the kind of result that will be achieved. For so long the North Borneans have been under British tutelage; the Malaysia plan is British-conceived, British-inspired and British-sponsored; Malaya is raring to take over a territory whose native inhabitants, according to the Cobbold Report, have a low level of education and political consciousness and who were ready to agree to the Malaysia proposals “although they were not fully understood.” Now, what kind of free elections does the Senator expect to witness in North Borneo?

In fine, the Senator would have the Republic launch a program of defeat — born of fear and doubt and timidity. I cannot agree to such a plan of action.

We have told the British that we agree that their interests in the region should be respected and that we welcome any practical arrangements to this end. But this should not take the form of colonialism in a different guise which, instead of being a factor of stability becomes the source of endless provocation. The Philippines is here in Southeast Asia to stay; Britain, saddled with various commitments, probably desires to play a lesser role in Southeast Asia and make a graceful exit; Malaya, a distant stranger to the region, desires a virtual annexation of the Bornean territories to sterilize and quarantine Singapore, the “key base”, which is predominantly Chinese and, whose loyalties are not beneath suspicion. A professor in an Australian University, writing in the India Quarterly, makes a thorough analysis of the Malaysia Plan and sees great difficulties ahead.

“Even in North Borneo and Sarawak the indigenous peoples are not happy about a federation. Their own racial problems are much simpler and their economic prosperity does not require any political integration with Malaya. In any case, Borneo territories are extremely jealous of their imminent independence which they are reluctant to submerge in a federation.

“It is also unclear how the central (Tungku) government located in Kuala Lumpur would be able to exercise effective control over those territories, which are separated by South China sea from Malaya by varying distances, from about 500 miles to well over a thousand. Jesselton is nearer to Saigon or to Manila than to Kuala Lumpur. In area British Borneo is about the same as Malaya, but its 1400 mile long coast line is longer than the Federation’s. Defense, in the event of a crisis, from Malaya would be difficult…” (Singhal, D.P., Imperial Defence, Communist Challenge and the Great Design).

The good Senator realizes, of course, that if North Borneo should fall into hostile hands, it is the Philippines that will be immediately affected. And yet until we filed our claim to North Borneo and talks were conducted thereafter in London culminating in an official cognizance of our claim, there was no attempt at all to consult with us on matters that affect the very survival and security of this country. It is only now that Britain and Malaya have become increasingly appreciative of our stand and their willingness not to prejudice our claim despite Malaysia is certainly a great credit to the Administration. If between now and August 31,1963, the scheduled date of birth of the Malaysia Federation, these countries should stiffen in their attitude towards our claim, I must state in all candor that for all my respect for him and even assuming the nobility of his motives, the good Senator cannot fully escape the burden of responsibility,

I am no apologist for the President of the Philippines, not even on the North Borneo question and will disagree with him whenever I think that his action is not well-advised. But I believe that on such a fundamental question as this, it may be well for us to remember that political considerations, bitterness and endless quibbling should stop at the water’s edge and that the claim to North Borneo is not the claim of the President, nor of the Liberal Party, nor of his Administration, but a claim of the entire Republic, based on respect for the rule of law, the sanctity of contractual obligations, the sacredness of facts and the relentless logic of our situation in this part of the world.

Privilege Speech of Senator Lorenzo Sumulong on the Sabah Claim

Philippine Senate, March 25, 1963

I have refrained from discussing on the floor of the Senate the Malaysia plan or the alternative plan of a Greater Malayan Confederation proposed by President Macapagal in connection with the Philippine claim of sovereignty to a portion of North Borneo, while the Senate Committees on Foreign Relations and National Defense and Security were holding joint closed-door hearings in Camp Murphy.

As your Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, I had made my own studies and researches, but I thought that there might be new facts and considerations which our defense and foreign affairs officials might bring to our attention during the briefing.

Now that the briefing is over and the administration experts have submitted to the two Committees all the facts within their knowledge and possession, I believe it is already proper, nay, I believe it is my duty to submit for the consideration of the entire Senate and of our people the facts and considerations which I believe are material and necessary to the formation and crystallization of an intelligent opinion about the two plans. In so doing, I want to make clear the responsibility for the facts and considerations I am about to present is my own.

I want to make clear that I am always subject to correction. If my facts and considerations are wrong, I would be ready to admit and correct my mistakes. And I do hope that others will do likewise.

Our commitments

Under the United Nations Charter, it is the duty of every colonial power administering non-self-government or independence and until that people has been made self-governing or independent, it is the duty of the colonial power to submit to the United Nations every year a report of its administration of the territory.

The duty of the administering power to prepare the non-self-governing territory for self-government or independence is provided for in Chapter XI, Article 73 b of the United Nations Charter which makes it the duty of the administering power “to develop self-government, to take due account of the political aspirations of the (non-self-governing) peoples and to assist them in the progressive development of their free political institutions.”

No RP Protest

Since the organization of the United Nations in 1945, Britain in accordance with the obligations imposed by the Charter has declared herself to be the colonial power administering Sarawak as British colony and has been submitting to the United Nations every year a report of her administration of these three non-self-governing territories. During all that time, the Philippines as a member of the United Nations has not put forward any claim of sovereignty over North Borneo, nor has the Philippines registered any reservation or protest to the report submitted by Britain to the United Nations every year as the administering power over North Borneo. It was only in December of last year (1962) that the Philippine delegation, during the consideration of the yearly report of the British administration over North Borneo in the Trusteeship Committee, made a reservation contesting for the first time the right of the British to rule and administer North Borneo.

Belated claim

Why was the Philippine claim of sovereignty to North Borneo so tardily presented in the United Nations? The answer is that North Borneo is not a part of the national territory of the Philippines as defined and delimited in our Constitution. When the United Nations was organized in 1945, the claimants to North Borneo was not the Philippines but the heirs of the late Sultan Jamalul Kiram who died in 1936. If the said heirs had any claims to sovereignty over North Borneo — as distinguished from their proprietary claims — they could have filed a petition or a reservation to the United Nations protesting against British rule and administration over North Borneo, but they did not file any such petition or reservation. It was only in February of last year (1962) that the said heirs informed our Department of Foreign Affairs that they were claiming sovereignty to North Borneo and they offered to turn over such claim of sovereignty to the Republic of the Philippines, reserving however to themselves their proprietary claims.

This offer was accepted by President Macapagal and to give semblance of legality to the transfer of sovereignty from the said heirs to the Republic of the Philippines, in September of last year (1962) out of the several surviving heirs of Sultan Jamalul Kiram who died in 1936, Esmail Kiram was proclaimed the new Sultan of Sulu claiming to possess all the attributes and prerogatives of a sovereign ruler and as such he executed a deed of cession of his alleged claim of sovereignty to North Borneo in favor of the Republic of the Philippines.

A mistake

I am and have always been in favor of our government giving every possible support to the proprietary claims of the heirs of the late Sultan Jamalul Kiram. But I have always believed as I still believe that it was a mistake for President Macapagal to have agreed to such transfer of the claim of sovereignty from the said heirs to the Republic of the Philippines for the following reasons:

(1) The said heirs had never filed a petition or reservation before the United Nations claiming sovereignty to North Borneo and protesting British rule and administration thereof. Since the transferee acquires no better rights than the transferor, this weakens the present claim of the Republic of the Philippines.

(2) Even if the said heirs had a strong claim of sovereignty to North Borneo, our government should have advised them to file a petition or reservation to that effect before the United Nations, instead of agreeing to a transfer of such claim of sovereignty to the Republic of the Philippines. If the said heirs lose their case before the United Nations, there would be no loss of honor of prestige for the Republic of the Philippines. As it is now, if the belated claim of sovereignty of the Republic of the Philippines to a portion of North Borneo does not prosper in the United Nations, the damage to our national honor and prestige would be incalculable. We would appear as attempting to colonize North Borneo without any lawful or just cause, contrary to our vehement denunciations of colonialism and our loud demands that the grant of self-government or independence to subject peoples be accelerated. Even if the United Nations should sustain the belated Philippine claim of sovereignty to North Borneo, we stand to gain nothing because we are committed to speedily end our rule and administration there, grant its people self-government or independence and respect their will and wishes as to whether they will join the Federation of Malaysia or the Greater Malayan Confederation proposed by President Macapagal.

(3) Contrary to the impression created in the minds of our people, the claim of sovereignty put forward by our government as transferee of the Sultan of Sulu does not cover the entire area of North Borneo, but only a portion thereof. This was admitted by the Philippine panel during the London talks, but the administration of President Macapagal has kept mum and has not brought this important fact to the attention of our people. During our joint committee meetings in Camp Murphy, I asked the members of the Philippine panel present if they could tell us the exact metes and bounds and the exact area of this portion of North Borneo claimed by our government but none could give us a positive answer. This was amazing in the extreme. When a man sues in court to recover title and possession to a piece of land, the first thing he has to prove in court is the identity of the land. But here is the administration of President Macapagal involving the honor and prestige of our government in a claim of sovereignty to a portion of North Borneo, without being able to tell us the identity of that portion. And yet, administration stalwarts have been daring the British to have the case tried and decided by the International Court of Justice.

From the compilation of documents submitted to us by Minister Benito Bautista of the Department of Foreign Affairs, I found that before Overbeck and Dent entered into the contract of January 12,1878 with the Sultan of Sulu, they had previously obtained from the Sultan of Brunei four other similar contracts on December 29,1877. As narrated by K. G. Tregonning in his book entitled Under Chartered Company Rule and borne out by the descriptions contained in the four contracts of the Sultan of Brunei.

“The Sultan (of Brunei), in three grants of territory from Gaya Bay on the west coast to the Sibuco River on the east; and the Pengeran Tumongong (heir to the Sultan of Brunei) in a grant of his west coast possessions, the rivers Kimanis and Benowi, ceded to Overbeck and Dent, with all the powers of sovereignty, some 28,000 square miles of territory, embracing 900 miles of North Bornean coastline, for a total yearly payment of Malayan $ 5,000.” (op.cit. P-14)

In the later contract with the Sultan of Sulu, the territory ceded to Overbeck and Dent was from the Pandassan River on the west coast to the Sibuco River on the east, for which the Sultan of Sulu was to receive a yearly payment of Malayan $ 5,000. A look at the map of North Borneo will show that Gaya Bay is farther to the west than Pandassan River. So the territory ceded under the four contracts with the Sultan of Brunei was more extensive and embraced the territory ceded under the contract with the Sultan of Sulu. Why did Overbeck and Dent still contracted with the Sultan of Sulu for territory already ceded to them under the four contracts with the Sultan of Brunei? According to Professor Tregonning in his aforecited book, after Overbeck and Dent had negotiated the four contracts with the Sultan of Brunei, they learned later that the northeast coast, which comprised a large portion of the territory ceded by the Sultan of Brunei, was in the hands of the Sultan of Sulu who claimed to have received it from the Sultan of Brunei in 1704 in return for the help in suppressing a rebellion and it was for this reason that they negotiated the contract with the Sultan of Sulu on January 12,1878 (op. cit. pp. 11,14-15). From this it appears that the territory claimed and ceded by the Sultan of Sulu on January 12, 1878 was likewise claimed and had been previously ceded by the Sultan of Brunei on December 29,1877 and that Overbeck and Dent evaluated the rights acquired from the Sultan of Brunei to be three times greater than the rights acquired from the Sultan of Sulu, the yearly payment to the former being Malayan $ 15,000 and to the latter Malayan $ 5,000. It is small wonder that the administration of President Macapagal is at a loss to identify the portion of North Borneo subject of their claim of sovereignty.

Common concern

It should be the common concern of the Philippines and of all countries whose peoples believe in the free and democratic way of life, to see to it that Sarawak, Brunei and North Borneo, are not only speedily decolonized and granted self-government or independence, but also adequately safeguarded against the danger of communist infiltration and subversion once they become self-governing or independent.

The balance of power in Asia between the forces of freedom on the one hand and the forces of communism on the other, is in a very precarious and critical posture today. Laos has turned neutralist. The ruler of Cambodia has decided to align himself on the side of Red China. South Vietnam is facing a life and death struggle with the Viet Congs. India’s borders have been invaded by Red China. If Sarawak, Brunei, North Borneo and Singapore, should be lost to the free world by their turning communist or neutralist, the peace and security of the free world countries in Asia including the Philippines would be gravely imperilled.

We in the Philippines are firmly and uncompromisingly against communism. Whether under the former Nacionalista administration or under the present Liberal administration, that has been our consistent policy. We are a religious people and we cannot accept a godless ideology. We want progress, but we do not want to achieve progress through dictatorship and violence; we want to achieve progress through freedom and peaceful reform.

In the fight between the forces of freedom and the forces of communism, we do not believe in being neutralist or non-aligned. We want to stand up and be counted on the side of the forces of freedom.

And because the military power of the forces of communism is great due to their tremendous human and material resources, no nation can resist and fight them alone and unaided. The forces of freedom must combine and cooperate militarily and economically in order to balance the military and economic power of the forces of communism. Thus, we have entered into defensive alliances like the mutual defense pact with the US and the SEATO pact.

British plan

The Federation of Malaysia is the British plan of giving self-government to Sarawak, Brunei and North Borneo and at the same time safeguard them against communist infiltration and subversion. Under the plan, Britain will relinquish sovereignty over Sarawak and North Borneo and withdraw protection over Brunei and then these three newly independent states will join the 11 states now composing the Federation of Malaya and Singapore in forming the Federation of Malaysia. In other words, the present Federation of Malaya will be enlarged by bringing in Singapore, Sarawak, Brunei and North Borneo as new members and as thus enlarged it will be renamed Federation of Malaysia. The present mutual defense pact between Britain and the Federation of Malaya will then be extended to this enlarged Federation of Malaysia.

The plan is to follow the same pattern by which Malaya was given independence on August 31, 1957 and by means of a mutual defense pact with the former mother country (Britain), receive such military and economic aid to enable her to fight communist infiltration and subversion successfully.

Let us recall the history of Malaya. For a hundred years, Malaya was under British rule before she won her independence on August 31, 1957. Malaya is a Federation of 11 states, two of which were formerly British colonies and the remaining nine were formerly protectorates. Under her constitution, these 11 states upon becoming independent agreed to form a Federation with a federal parliament composed of two houses in which each of the 11 states was given representation.

When she became independent in 1957, Malaya was faced with a grave internal problem of communist infiltration and subversion. In population, the Chinese is the second biggest in number, next only to the Malays, so that the danger of Chinese communist infiltration and subversion was real and acute. This danger had to be met realistically and the leaders of Malaya realized that it had to be fought not only with military but also with economic weapons, for which they needed British aid and cooperation. So, the leaders of Malaya evolved a five-year development plan to improve the livelihood of the people so that they will not be enticed by communist propaganda harping on the poverty of the masses and promising a classless society where there will be no poor and no rich. This five-year development plan involved an expenditure of Malayan $ 1,358,000,000 and the British government agreed to give extensive financial help to it and the plan was so well implemented that Malaya has achieved an economic progress next only to Japan in the whole Far East as shown by her per capita income which is second only to Japan. Also, there was a British grant of Malayan $ 114 million for the establishment of the federal armed forces of Malaya and for the first three years a yearly grant of Malayan $ 25 million to help Malaya deal with the terrorist problem. Through these economic and military measures, Malaya under the leadership of Tungku Abdul Rahman was able to break the communist backbone in that country, in the same way that through similar economic and military measures, Magsaysay was able to break the communist backbone here in our country, so that the names of Abdul Rahman and Magsaysay rank high in the roster of successful communist fighters in Asia.

Because of the success of the Federation of Malaya under the leadership of Abdul Rahman and with the British military and economic aid to fight communist infiltration and subversion, it is also expected that the enlarged Federation of Malaysia under the same leadership of Abdul Rahman and with continued British military and economic aid will be able to meet and overcome any communist attempt to capture Singapore, Sarawak, Brunei and North Borneo through infiltration and subversive activities.

It is pertinent to point out that Singapore, Sarawak, Brunei and North Borneo are outside the SEATO area so that they cannot rely on the SEATO for protection against communism. Neither can they rely on US military or economic aid, since the present trend in American foreign policy as manifested in Senator Mansfield’s position is to cut down on American foreign aid by not giving to those countries to which the US has not heretofore given aid and to gradually reduce the amount as to those countries to which the US has been giving aid. It is only Britain which can be expected to extend military and economic aid to these countries once they become independent because Britain is their former mother country and because of the close trade and economic ties that will have to continue even after the severance of political ties between’ them.

Alternative plan

Let me now turn to the Greater Confederation of Malay States proposed by President Macapagal. Is this a better substitute to the Malaysia plan as an instrumentality to make Sarawak, Brunei and North Borneo safe and secure against communist infiltration and subversion once these countries become self-governing or independent? According to President Macapagal, it is a better substitute. For my part, I cannot say whether it is a better substitute or not, for the simple reason that its proponents cannot give us any information as to what concretely and specifically are the plans and the ways and means by which this Greater Malayan Confederation is expected to help protect Sarawak, Brunei and North Borneo against communist infiltration and subversion. All that we are told is that the proposed members of are Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak, Brunei, North Borneo and the Philippines. According to President Macapagal in a recent interview with a correspondent of Agence de France, all that he could say was that the proposed members will retain their separate sovereignties. This means that the Philippine claim to a portion of North Borneo will be given so that North Borneo may become independent and sovereign and thus qualify to be a member of this Greater Malayan Confederation. I have asked before and I now again ask: Is it the plan that this Greater Malayan Confederation will not seek any outside military or economic aid either from Britain or from the US and that each member state will just rely on her own military and economic resources to fight communist infiltration and subversion? Is the Philippines ready to extend military and economic aid to North Borneo, Brunei and Sarawak and if so, how much is the present administration willing to appropriate for this purpose? What joint and common measures will the member states take in order to help each other in fighting communist infiltration and subversion? Will there be a common armed force? Will there be a common economic program? Or will this be a purely social club? These questions are relevant, material and pertinent and must be answered by President Macapagal and the proponent of the Greater Malayan Confederation, before they can expect any Filipino to rally to its support and before they can expect the proposed member-states of such Confederation to be convinced that it is a better and more effective instrument than the Malaysia plan to combat and overcome the communist menace in their respective territories. I regret to report that in the joint committee hearings of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and National Defense and Security, none of the defense and foreign officials present could give any answer to these questions and they confessed to our amazement and surprise that the detailed plans and objectives of this projected Greater Malayan Confederation have not been spelled out.


From the foregoing facts and considerations, I submit to the Senate and to our people the following conclusions:

(1) If the administration of President Macapagal seriously believes that the Philippine claim of sovereignty to a portion of North Borneo should be prosecuted to the bitter end, it must be prepared to establish the identity of that portion whether the case is brought before the International Court of Justice or before the United Nations.

(2) If the Philippines lose its case, the damage to the honor and prestige of our Republic would be incalculable. We would appear as having attempted to colonize a portion of North Borneo without any lawful or just cause, forgetting our colonialism and our loud demands for accelerating the grant of self-government or independence to subject peoples especially those in Asia.

(3) Even if the Philippines win its case, we stand to gain nothing because under the United Nations charter, the Bandung Conference declaration and the 1960 decolonization resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, we have to give up our rule and administration to the portion of North Borneo we are claiming, grant its people self-government or independence and respect their will and wishes as to whether they will join the Federation of Malaysia or the Greater Malayan Confederation or exist as a separate independent state. In this connection, it is worthy of note that judging from press reports of Filipino newspapermen who had gone to North Borneo, the popular reaction there to our claim of sovereignty is one of surprise and resentment rather than sympathy and support.

(4) If President Macapagal honestly believes that the Federation of Malaysia plan is not according with the freely expressed will and wishes of the people of North Borneo, despite the information recently given by the Mayor of Jesselton while here as an ECAFE delegate that 96 out of 111 representatives elected to the legislative council of North Borneo last December favor Malaysia, he can raise the question before the United Nations and ask that a plebiscite be held under the auspices of the world organization to determine whether the people of North Borneo really favor Malaysia or not. And if Indonesia insists that the peoples of Sarawak, Brunei and North Borneo are against Malaysia, we should point out to her that there is available UN machinery and there is the peaceful remedy of asking for a plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations, which renders unnecessary resort to war or use of force and violence.

(5) If President Macapagal honestly believes that his proposed Greater Malayan Confederation is a better substitute to the Malaysia plan to defend and protect ourselves and the other Malayan peoples of Asia against the danger of communist infiltration and subversion, then he must abandon talking in platitudes and generalities and at once spell out concretely and specifically, the ways and means, the military and economic aid if any by which the Greater Malayan Confederation expects to help the people of North Borneo, Brunei and Sarawak to fight and overcome successfully the forces of communism once they become self-governing or independent.

(6) Our people must be told and made to realize that if we are to be consistent with our avowed policy of opposing communism firmly and uncompromisingly, then for the peace and security not only of ourselves but of our free world allies in Asia, we must see to it that North Borneo, Brunei and Sarawak, remain on the side of the free would and not turn communist or neutralist, once they become self-governing or independent.

(7) Rather than prosecute the Philippine claim of sovereignty to a portion of North Borneo to the bitter end. I for one believe in all sincerity that under the present circumstances, the better course to follow is for our government to inform the United Nations in due time, i.e., when the Federation of Malaysia plan is submitted for consideration in the United Nations that we are voluntarily relinquishing whatever claim of sovereignty we may have to any portion of North Borneo in order to accelerate the changing of its status from a non-self governing territory to that of a self-governing or independent state and that we favor holding a plebiscite under United Nations auspices to give the people of North Borneo the opportunity to freely express their will and wishes as to whether they want to join the Federation of Malaysia or the Greater Malayan Confederation or exist as a separate independent state.


Sitti Krishna Idjirami (left) sister of Jamalul Kiram III (center), the 74-year-old Sultan of Sulu & North Borneo, and Crown Prince Bantillan Kiram (right) speak at a press conference in Manila on Tuesday. President Benigno Aquino III has warned Jamalul Kiram III that he would face the 'full force of the law' if he did not withdraw his gunmen from Sabah, Malaysia, but the elderly ruler remained defiant. AFP/Ted Aljibe -

Proper recognition as rightful owners of Sabah and a stop to human rights abuses allegedly committed on some of the Sultan's followers are among the factors that could lead to the resolution of the ongoing standoff there, according to the wife of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III.

“The Sultanate of Sulu wanted only the recognition that the property belongs to the Sultanate of Sulu, number one,” said Princess Fatima Kiram, who is also the Sultan’s spokesperson, in an interview on GMA News TV’s “News to Go” on Wednesday.

Hundreds of Kiram's followers, some of them reportedly armed, remained holed up in Sabah even after the Tuesday midnight 
deadline set by Malaysia lapsed and despite an appeal from President Benigno Aquino III for them to leave the place.

During the interview, Fatima expressed the desire of their followers to be treated “like other Muslim brothers” and to benefit from the “fruits” of the land.

“For how many years, centuries na nga yata, na pinakikinabangan nila itong lupain na ito, at ang fruit ng aming lupain ay hindi man lang maibahagi sa tunay na nagmamay-ari,” Fatima said.

Asked to clarify what she meant by “fruit,” Fatima mentioned that it “doesn't necessarily mean financial settlement outright.” What it is, according to her, is having a share in the income of the land.

She said the annual rent of 5,300 ringgit—or almost P77,000—paid by the Malaysian government to the Sultanate of Sulu is “not equitable.”

Human rights violations?

Fatima also said the right to settle in Sabah by the people of the Sultanate should be taken into consideration, citing human rights violations that could have further fueled the outrage of the men over territory issue.

“Pangatlo, ang karapatan na mag-settle down peacefully ng aming mga tao doon sa Sabah, Malaysia, na hindi sila ide-deport inhumanely,” she said.

“Maraming mga karapatang pantao ang nalalabag ng Malaysia in terms of deportation ng ating mga tao doon na, sa aking opinyon, ito din ang isa sa mga nag-outrage o nagpabigay init ng ulo sa aming mga tauhan na pumunta doon sa Sabah na i-declare na ang Sabah ay amin,” she said.

Sultan Kiram had earlier expressed his willingness to talk to the Philippine and Malaysian governments regarding the standoff. However, he also stressed that their claim to Sabah is non-negotiable.

Meanwhile, asked during the interview regarding current developments among his followers in Sabah, the Sultan said the men are fine, and that they can weather factors such as hunger and thirst there.

“Sa tubig walang problema. Kung 'di sila makakain within three days, four days, ganun, kaya pa 'yan dahil sanay sila sa fasting,” he said.


He also said both the Philippine and Malaysian governments have yet to initiate a dialogue with him.

In a separate interview on “News to Go,” Foreign Affairs spokesperson Raul Hernandez said the agency is in constant coordination with the Malaysian government.

“Patuloy ang pakikipag-usap ng Pilipinas at Malaysian governments. In fact, almost everyday, twice or thrice a day, nakikipag-usap si [DFA Sec. Albert del Rosario] sa kanyang counterpart, si [Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman],” he said. -


Sulu & Sabah Crown Prince Rajah Muda Kiram: We are not afraid of Malaysian Army; Sabah is ours

by Kathlyn dela Cruz,

MANILA -- The Crown Prince of the Sultanate of Sulu on Tuesday said he and all the members of the royal army are not afraid of Malaysian security forces despite the threats they have been receiving due to their refusal to leave Sabah.

Followers of Crown Prince Datu Rajah Muda Agbimuddin Kiram's brother, Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, have been holed up in Lahad Datu town for two weeks now to claim ownership of the Malaysian territory.

"Mayroon ng pressure sila sa amin pero 'di kami natatakot...because we believe we are doing right. Ang Sabah na ito ay owned by the Sultanate of Sulu," Kiram told radio dzMM Tuesday afternoon.

He said rental receipts from the Malaysian government are proof that the Sultanate of Sulu is the rightful owner of the land.

Kiram also insisted that they will not leave Sabah despite the President's appeal for them toreturn to the Philippines.

"If we go home, we will start again from zero about the issue on Sabah," he said.

He said the royal army is ready to fight Malaysian forces if needed.

"I have instructed my men to secure the area but we do not want to...commit war against authorities. But if they will start, yes [we will fight]. We have to fight for our long as we live, as long as we are breathing," Kiram said.

No action from PNoy

Kiram said he trusts President Benigno Aquino III but claimed he has done nothing to bring about a resolution to the long-standing issue.

"I don't know because there was no action since he became the President," he said.

"Meron kaming tiwala pero huwag na kaming paalisin dito," he added.

On Tuesday morning, Aquino said he was not able to read Sultan Kiram's letter sent through the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) early in his term because it was buried under the “bureaucratic maze.”

But Aquino expressed openness to engage Kiram in a dialogue after Kiram orders his followers to return to the country.

Against the law?

Aquino also said he has ordered an investigation to look into possible violations committed by the Filipinos engaged in a standoff in Sabah.

Aquino noted that among the group's possible violations is Article II Section 2 of the Constitution which states that the Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy. []

However, Kiram claimed they are not doing anything against the law.

He said some of them went to Sabah with arms so they protect themselves from "bad elements".

Kiram added that the Philippine government should not express alarm over the safety of the Filipinos working in Malaysia.

"We came here not to make trouble with anybody or make war against the authorities because they know that this place is ours. So we came here to live."

"Bakit ganun? We are not provoking [war]; we came peacefully to live in our place. Is that against the law?" he asked.


PHILIPPINE Peso seen rising to 40 to $1 in 2011

PHILIPPINE Peso, being “one of the more attractive currencies in emerging Asia,” is expected to strengthen steadily next year to trade at P40 against the dollar by the end of 2011, DBS Bank said in its latest report. Singapore-based bank said the peso’s strength showed that the country “has come out stronger from the global crisis.”

Malaysia’s lease payments for Sabah bolsters sultan’s claim—Gazmin


Sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram III, left, joins prayers at the Blue Mosque in Taguig City Friday. AP

MANILA, Philippines—Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Friday Malaysia’s continuing payment of lease for Sabah bolsters the Philippine claim over the territory.

“You see, the sultanate is being paid 5,000 ringgit up to now,” said Gazmin, referring to the nominal yearly compensation the heirs to the Sultanate of Sulu receive from Malaysia under a long-standing agreement.

“So if you are being paid then there’s claim,” he said in a press briefing.

Dozens of followers of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III sailed over to neighboring Sabah island more than a week ago to assert their centuries-old claim over the area.

Also among their demands is additional compensation.

Malaysian authorities surrounded the group, which is believed to be made up of anywhere between 80 and 400 people, and a stand-off has since been in place while negotiations continue.

Kuala Lumpur has given the 300 followers of the sultan led by his brother, Agbimuddin Kiram, until Friday to decide whether to leave on their own, or be rounded up and deported.

But Gazmin said that while the claims of royal family could be valid, it is not right to send an armed group to Sabah to reclaim their territory.

President Benigno Aquino in his first public comments on the issue Thursday said: “Going there with arms is not the way to resolve this.”

“When you brandish arms, naturally the other side has only one way to respond to such a challenge,” said Aquino.

But Gazmin said Manila is still studying the Philippines’ dormant claims to Sabah.

At the same time, Gazmin said that he and his Malaysian counterpart Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi  have agreed to settle the situation “amicably, peacefully, without any violence whatsoever.”

“We’re trying to prevent that, as much as possible,” he said. “The Malaysians have been very cooperative.”

The Islamic Sultanate of Sulu once controlled parts of Borneo, including the site of the stand-off, as well as southern Philippine islands.

The sultanate leased northern Borneo to Europeans in the 1870s. While the sultanate’s authority gradually faded as Western colonial powers exerted their influence over the region, it continued to receive lease payments for Sabah.

Estimates of the number of the armed men has varied. Last week, Malaysian Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein put the number at between 80 to 100 gunmen.

But the sultan’s spokesman, Abraham Idjirani, said in Manila there were about 400 members of the group, including 20 with arms.

Idjirani said Kiram, who lives in a Manila suburb, gave the men the authority to reside in Sabah and they were determined to resist efforts to expel them.

The sultan’s men in Sabah were instructed not to fire first, Idjirani added.

“But if the Malaysian military will attack us, we will be left with no choice but to defend ourselves,” he quoted Kiram as saying.

Build a house
In the same television report, Torres said the Royal Army plans to build a house in northern Borneo, where it has been holed up for about two weeks now.
“Hindi na raw aalis doon sina Rajah Mudah Agbimuddin Kiram, magtatayo na raw sila doon ng bahay,” Torres said in her report.
According to a previous report of Agence France-Presse, the armed group led by Sultan of Sulu Rajah Mudah Agbimuddin Kiram arrived in the coastal town of Kampung Tanduo in Sabah last February 9 supposedly to reclaim their ancestral homeland.
The Sultanate of Sulu, which the elder and younger Kiram were both heirs, leased northern Borneo to Europeans back in the 1870s. They still receive yearly compensation from the Malaysian government under an age-old agreement.
One of the demands of the Filipinos there is more compensation, an Agence France-Presse report said.
Still, the elder Kiram reiterated its call for a peaceful resolution in the territorial claim in Sabah, the television report said.
The Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo, now headed by Jamalul Kiram
III, who can trace his lineage at least 500 years back (the sultanate
was founded in 1465)—how many Filipinos can go back that far?—still
strikes me as a tragic institution, the victim of greed, opportunism,
and indifference particularly during the second half of its history.

Only consider:  There was Spain, which forced it to accept Spain’s
sovereignty over “Jolo and its dependencies,” then turned around and
ceded North Borneo (which was not a dependency of Jolo but had been
awarded to the sultanate by the Sultan of Brunei in 1685 in gratitude
for the former’s help in quelling a 10-year rebellion that had
devastated Brunei) to Britain under the so-called Madrid Protocol
among Spain, Britain and Germany. It must be pointed out that Spain
did the same thing to the Philippines: It ceded us to the United
States even if we were no longer the former colonizer’s to cede.

Then there was Britain, which first declared in 1883 that it assumed
no sovereignty over Borneo, but then five years later made a
protectorate of North Borneo, and finally in 1946 (10 days after
Philippine independence, mind you), annexed North Borneo as part of
the British Dominions, in spite of formal reminders in the interim by
the US government that Sabah (the other name of North Borneo) was not
Britain’s, but belonged to the Sultanate of Sulu.

And then, of course, there is Malaysia, which, 135 years after the
Sultanate of Sulu leased North Borneo to a private British company
(later known as the British North Borneo Co.), is still paying the
sultanate essentially the same rent as in the original agreement
(later slightly modified because of additional territory). Last year,
for example, the Sultan received a little over P200,000 as lease
payments for the whole of Sabah.

Sabah’s land area is over 73,000 square kilometers. Do the arithmetic:
The Sultanate of Sulu is paid something like P2.74 per square
kilometer in rent. For the Reader’s delectation, one square kilometer
is equal to one million square meters.

The only President who made serious attempts to claim Sabah, it seems,
was President Diosdado Macapagal.  And with him we can begin to
identify the good guys who appeared in the odyssey of the Sultanate of

The United States must take a bow as one of the good guys.  As
mentioned above, it gave formal reminders to Britain that Sabah
belonged to the Sultanate of Sulu, and it was an American, former
governor general Francis Harrison, who denounced Britain’s act of
annexing North Borneo 10 days after the Philippines gained its
independence, as an act of “political aggression.”

But it was not until 1962 that the Philippines (under Diosdado
Macapagal) tried to flex its muscles, with Indonesia an ally
(Indonesia wasn’t too keen either on North Borneo being part of the
Malaysian Federation, seeing as almost the rest of Borneo is part of
Indonesia).  And here another good guy must be identified:  journalist
Napoleon Rama, whose series of articles in the Philippines Free Press
titled “North Borneo Belongs to Us” raised an uproar and galvanized
public opinion.

This eagerness to please is particularly puzzling, because Malaysia
has been, if anything, rather arrogant insofar as the Philippines is
concerned.  One remembers that 1,200 Filipino domestic helpers were
rounded up in a Catholic church in Malaysia as they were attending
Mass. But never mind religious sensibilities. What about its arrogance
with regard to the peace talks, trying to tell us what to do or what
not to do?  Or, the latest, its refusal to turn over Aman Futures’
Manuel Amalilio?

Is some self-respect on our part too much to ask?


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Solaire Casino Restaurant in PARANAQUE
Solaire Casino Restaurant in  PARANAQUE - Vegas of Asia

Solaire Casino Restaurant in  PARANAQUE
Solaire Casino Restaurant in  PARANAQUE - Vegas of Asia

Solaire Casino Restaurant in  PARANAQUE
Solaire Casino Restaurant in  PARANAQUE - Vegas of Asia

Solaire Casino Restaurant in  PARANAQUE
Solaire Casino Restaurant in  PARANAQUE - Vegas of Asia

For example, 95 percent of the ingredients for Solaire’s Casino Restaurant signature Japanese restaurant, "Yakumi"  are flown in from nowhere else but Tokyo’s Tsukiji market. 

“The Solaire chef goes there, the market in Japan, to buy fish, ingredients three times a week,” Fischer said. 
A diner can also pick from a large selection of sake managed by a sommelier to complement raw fish and skewers from Yakumi’s sushi and robatayaki counters. 
Sommeliers were also brought in to steward a fine selection of wines and aid in wine and food pairing for customers of the resort-casino’s other signature restaurants.


Boracays is very famous because of their white sand beach which is their sands is very glassy-smooth. This island of Boracays is very tourist friendly in fact they developed and improved their facilities for more tourist to come. If you are seeking to relax and enjoy in one place Boracay is the place to be, because they have very nice hotels just around the beach, and if your looking for water adventures they can give it to you just name it and you got it. Some people say that if you are a tourist that came from other country and you did not go to Boracay you missed the half of your life.



My Top 1 tourist destination in the Philippines is "PALAWAN". Lets just simplify Palawan all the tourist spot that i mentioned just put it in one place and were going to call it Palawan. Maybe I can say Palawan is the most beautiful place in the Philippines in fact just recently "Underground River" in Palawan was named as one of the newest 7 woders of the world. Did i make it simple? hehehe. I'm sure if you will go to Palawan you will know why this is my TOP 1 tourist destination in the Philippines.


- Tubbataha Reef is nominated as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.  This place is a marine sanctuary.  You can find this place in Sulu Sea, southeast of Puerto Princesa City in Palawan Province.

#9 Siargao Island, Philippines

Surfing capital in the Philippines & Game Fishing Capital of the Philippine

Siargao is a tear-drop shaped island situated 800 kilometers southeast of Manila. It has a land mass of approximately 437 kilometers. The east coast is relatively straight with one deep inlet-Port Pilar with a coastline marked by a succession of reefs, small points and white sandy beaches. There are similar neighboring islands and islets with similar landforms. The reefs and points are excellent for picking up any swell that comes along turning into clean, fast waves. The best known surfing break now with a world reputation of being in the top Surfing Waves in the world, is nick-named "Cloud Nine". But there are literally scores of breaks down this coast, and everytime a surfing expedition is mounted in the area, more new breaks are being discovered.

PHILIPPINE Peso seen rising to 40 to $1 in 2011

PHILIPPINE Peso, being “one of the more attractive currencies in emerging Asia,” is expected to strengthen steadily next year to trade at P40 against the dollar by the end of 2011, DBS Bank said in its latest report. Singapore-based bank said the peso’s strength showed that the country “has come out stronger from the global crisis.”

Korean tourists continue to enjoy the wonders of the Philippines

Koreans remain as the country’s top tourists as Philippine tourism received an 18 percent growth in tourist arrivals from January-June this year.

According to the Department of Tourism (DoT), the statistics from the first half of the year are better compared than last year. Korean tourists’ fondness for the country’s natural wonders continues to be the main reason why they continue to rank as our top tourist market. The overall number of Korean tourists comprised at least one-fourth of the overall number of visitor arrivals in the country.

The charms of the country’s idyllic beaches from Boracay - , and Palawan -   continue to lure in Korean tourists into the country especially with the boom of destination weddings in various parts of the country.

A delightful surprise from the latest report from the DoT is the United States. Tourists from the US came in close second to Korean tourists, contributing 317,181 or 19 percent to the total number of tourist arrivals from January-February, or at least 10,000 more American tourists.

The high placement of tourists from the United States is widely attributed to the numerous adventure destinations in the country. Adventure destinations such as Cam Sur’s Water Sports Complex (CWC) Caramoan.COM  continue to receive large number of tourists including Americans. On the other hand, surfing destinations such as La Union and Siargao   have been luring Americans into the country by hosting international surfing events. International events for surfing, wake boarding and other water sports are now being held in the country and patronized by surfers from all over the world.

The number of Chinese tourists, on the other hand, had almost doubled with a 75 percent increase from 8,366 last year to 14,633 this year. The influx of Hong Kong tourists also increased by 50 percent this year from January-June but this is expected to dwindle a bit as an after-effect of the August 23 hostage incident.

The DoT remains confident that the country’s tourism will bounce back from the incident as it continues to look for more ways to widen its market. After all, the Philippines is one of the few countries in the world that have been able to flourish amidst global economic crisis, especially in terms of tourism.

Japan ranks third in the country’s top markets in terms of volume with 171,655 tourists, while China, Hong Kong, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, Canada, and United Kingdom complete the top markets.


Philippines, Sandakan,Sabah regions sign Barter Trading deal

Shirley Escalante, Manila

A new barter system is ready to to start operating between the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao in the southern Philippines and Sandakan, Sabah North Borneo.

A trading arrangement has been signed by officials from both regions.

Officials of the Philippines' Autonomous Muslim Mindanao Region say the barter enterprise with Sandakan businessmen will offer mostly Philippine agricultural products to Malaysia.

Sea products from the southern provinces of Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi would also be offered to Malaysia.

Inland provinces like Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur will explore other products which they could offer to Sandakan.

Rosslani Sinarimbo of the Autonomous Muslim Mindanao Region Economic Zone says the revival of the centuries-old barter among Asian neighbors would re-open the Polloc Port in Maguindanao province which has been declared a free port.


Filipinos upstage Malaysians

FILIPINO golfers outshone their Malay-sian rivals at the 100Plus Malaysian Junior Open golf tournament which ended at the Nexus Golf Resort Karambunai in Kota Kinabalu.

They bagged five of the eight titles at stake and completely dominated the tournament.

The boys won three titles including the boys overall, Under-18 and Under-16 individual titles while the girls won the Under-16 title and also the overall girls title during the event recently.

The overall titles in both the boys and girls categories were won by the respective Under-16 champions whose final scores were the best of the lot.


Dancing Tax Collection Staff to Bring more Willing & Happy Smiling Tax Paying Filipinos -  If it brings in the Philippines Cebu Tax Revenues...
Ofelia Oliva (in pink), the Cebu city treasurer, along with her staff perform at the city hall in this photo taken last Wednesday. In the land of dancing prisoners and airline cabin crews, tax collectors have also caught the toe-tapping bug. Hundreds of people now queue to pay their taxes in Cebu with the added incentive of watching the staff shake their hips. -- AFP


Puerto Princesa, the capital of Palawan island ( in the southwest of the Philippine archipelago, is developing as a second flagship city for the planned e-transport revolution.

Puerto Princesa authorities are aiming to introduce an e-jeepney fleet, but their major ambition is to replace the city's 4,000 gasoline-powered tricycles with electric "e-trikes", Constantino said. A big next step for Puerto Princesa and Makati is to build biogas plants to power the e-vehicles with organic waste from local markets and households, rather than using fossil-fuel derived electricity as is currently the case. Puerto Princesa began construction of a one-megawatt biogas plant, costing US$ 2.4 million dollars, in February 2010  to fuel its electric public transport fleet.

Pair ready Palawan bit

Philippines state-owned PNOC and Australian junior Nido Petroleum will start drilling in Service Contract 63 off south-west Palawan next year.

Nido said they expect to complete the seismic date interpretation and locate drilling sites early next year.

“Nido is also working closely with PNOC-EC to plan for the drilling of a well in this block,” Nido said in a statement.

Nido said they have commissioned UK-based geology firm Midland Valley to help interpret the subsurface structure of the block, which is located in a 10,560 square kilometer area offshore Palawan.

SC63 was awarded to PNOC, which acts as the field’s operator, and Nido through the Philippine Energy Contracting Round in 2006. Both companies have an equal 50% stake in the block.

In October last year, the group acquired the 754 square kilometer Kawayan 3D seismic survey, covering the area around the Aboabo A1-X gas discovery made by Phillips Petroleum in 1981.

The well was reported to have flowed gas at an estimated rate of 50 million cubic feet per day on test.

PNOC has earlier reported that initial seismic interpretation identified several prospects and leads in the licence.

The company, however, indicated it would likely tap additional partners by selling a portion of its shares to help fund the block’s development.

“We’re still talking especially with potential partners on the percentage (of the farm-in agreement) especially who will be the operator,” PNOC-EC vice president Leocadio Ostrea said in an earlier interview, reported local media.


Gindara may be as huge as Malampaya'

Australia’s Nido Petroleum said the Gindara prospect in the Palawan Islands Service Contract 54B could be as large as Shell’s producing Malampaya field.

Gindara holds an estimated 634 million barrels of Palawan oil in place, up from the previous 470 million barrels, Nido said.

The exploration prospect hold an unrisked upside of about 1 billion barrels.

Nido released the new estimate after assessing the 3D seismic reprocessed by CGGVeritas.

Gindara covers 28 square kilometres in 340 metres of water, Nido said. The large oil prospect lies close to Nido’s Yakal and Tindalo discoveries in SC54B.

Tindalo is slated to begin production in the first quarter of 2010.

Nido and compatriot Kairki Energy hold 60% and 40% interests in SC54B, respectively.



A fisherman arranges big fishes at the port of Puerto Princesa in Palawan Islands (PALAWAN.COM) before transporting them to the market where they are sold at P300 to P500 per piece


Tontite, a Pomeranian dressed as "Zorro", the Spanish masked swordsman in the movie "The Mask of Zorro", models its costume during the "Scaredy Cats and Dogs" Halloween fund-raising event at a mall in Quezon City Philippines October 23, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Poypoy, an Aspin dog dressed in a clown costume, performs with his owner during the "Scaredy Cats and Dogs" Halloween fund-raising event at a mall in Quezon City Philippines October 23, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Truffles, a Dutch hound, is carried by her owner as they model their costumes during the "Scaredy Cats and Dogs" Halloween fund-raising event at a mall in Quezon City October 23, 2010. Some 70 pets participated in the event to raise funds for the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)'s Animal Rehabilitation Center, a temporary shelter for more than 100 dogs and cats which were either abandoned or rescued from cruelty or neglect. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Sabah in her lens

SWEDISH photographer Maria Espeus’ black and white expressions of the dramatic Sabah rainforest are scattered throughout GTower.

GTower developer, Goldis Bhd’s executive chairman Tan Lei Cheng had chanced upon some work that Espeus did on the Philippines and commissioned her to produce a collection for the tower.

The result of two months of work is over 3,000 black and white images of mostly misty panoramas of Sabah’s forests and dramatic valleys and close-ups of the luxuriant flora, such as orchids, foliage, and the intricate tangle of root systems.

“When I arrived in Sabah, I didn’t have the slightest idea of how its reality was going to overwhelm me,” recalls Espeus (pic, left) in an e-mail interview.

“I didn’t know much about Malaysia before coming here. All the information I had gathered in preparation for the trip was nothing more than an attempt to grasp something ineffable that I sensed and which resonated inside me.”

From Kota Kinabalu, Espeus travelled to Tambunan and Tenom along with an assistant and a guide (a New Zealander, strangely enough). The team later returned to Kota Kinabalu to continue on to the Kinabalu mountains, Poring Hot Springs, Kundasang, Sandakan, Danau Girang and finally the Danum Valley, famed for its rich biodiversity.

“I was fascinated by the variety of flora, especially the orchids,” says Espeus, explaining why many of her pictures highlight the delicate beauty of these blooms.

“My objective at first was to make an inventory of the plant life in Sabah, but that is a task beyond my scope, I realised. So I tried to sum up the spirit and the magic of that nature by using one part, perhaps a flower, a leaf or a root, to represent the whole.

  A lovely study of a wild orchid.

“My fascination with and amazement at my surroundings made me forget any adaptation problems,” she says when asked how she coped with the sweltering heat and humidity of Sabah’s forests.

“Photography is my way of expressing my emotions. However, I am not trying to capture anecdotes or freeze time. I don’t want to reproduce reality nor do I aspire to be objective. I am more attracted to the possibility of transmuting that reality into another subjective reality, one that is more typical of poetic language.”

Espeus began her professional career in Sweden but soon began working internationally, publishing works in prestigious titles such as The New York Times, Vogue, La Vanguardia and Time magazine. She has also directed documentaries, advertisements and films, and won a Silver Lion in Cannes 2002 for the film Origenes: Ano Internacional Gaudi.

She has photographed many fashion spreads and celebrities, among them, Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, Placido Domingo, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Antonio Banderas, Juan Antonio Samaranch and Montserrat Caballe

Paragliding Offers Good Potentials To Woo Tourists To Sandakan

SANDAKAN, -- Paragliding sport has the potentials to be included into the tourism packages in the district in line with efforts to attract more tourists here.

There are two locations in the district where the Para gliders can be launched namely in Bukit Trig and Bukit Sim-Sim near the Sandakan town.

State Assemblyman for Elopura Aum Kam Wah said the two locations had already been used at the Fourth Circuit of the Paragliding Competition last month where 32 participants had taken part for selection to compete in the SEA Games in Jakarta next year.

He said both launching sites for the Para gliders were suitable locations because of the wind speed there as well as the scenic beauty of the area.

"Paragliding sport has been included into the tourism packages abroad such as in New Zealand and we find that there are also potentials for the sport to be included in the existing tour packages in this district," he told Bernama, here.


Facebooking from the Pacific to Palawan

The power of word of mouth is multiplied exponentially on the Internet.

Roz Savage and Vince Perez at the Big Lagoon in El Nido

When Vince Perez, chairman of El Nido Resorts, read about Roz Savage’s amazing feat of rowing solo across the Pacific Ocean on the Web, he was compelled to share it on Facebook.

It turned out that one of his Facebook friends, a fellow World Wildlife Fund board member in Washington, DC, knew Ms. Savage. With that link established, Mr. Perez was able to invite Ms. Savage to see what an ecotourism resort like El Nido is about.

"I also wanted to give her an opportunity to see the Philippines and share her environmental message," said Mr. Perez
The story of Ms. Savage is remarkable. Ten years ago, at the age of 33, she was a project manager at an investment enjoying the "perfect" life: job, husband and a little red sports car.

She decided to give that up to live like the people she admired.

"They were the adventurers and risk-takers, the people who seemed to have lived many lifetimes in one, the people who had tried lots of things, some of them successes, some of them spectacular failures but at least they’d had the guts to try," she wrote.

"They didn’t give a damn what anybody thought of them; their own opinion of themselves was all that mattered. They lived life with a greediness for new experiences, gumption and a gung-ho attitude that defied the attempts of naysayers and nigglers to pigeonhole them or put them down. These people really knew how to live."

And that is how, in 2006, at the age of 38, Ms. Savage found herself "divorced, homeless and alone in a tiny rowing boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean."

Two years after her epic crossing, she became the first woman in history to row solo from California to Hawaii, a record she set en route to rowing solo across the Pacific Ocean.

By this time, Ms. Savage had amassed an Internet following, an international audience that followed her progress through her blog posts.

Her quest for self-fulfillment also evolved into environmental advocacy.

Ms. Savage is a United Nations Climate Hero, a trained presenter for the Climate Project and an athlete ambassador for (an international campaign that takes its name from what scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere).

Her Pacific row was a project of the Blue Frontier Campaign and she is an ambassador for the Blue Project, a community of active enthusiasts who harness the popularity of adventure sports to showcase the natural environment.

Through the magic of the Facebook, Mr. Perez, who also chairs WWF-Philippines, was able to invite the British rower to El Nido and introduce her to the award-winning eco-resort that adheres to its G.R.E.E.N. (Guard, Respect, Educate El Nido) principle.

Ms. Savage accepted his invitation. She visited Palawan in July and blogged about her stay. "El Nido is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to," she wrote.

Several paragraphs later Ms. Savage describes her kayaking experience at Big Lagoon: "It was like stepping back in time to a primordial peace and quiet. A shallow lagoon, with corals clearly visible beneath the calm, clear waters. Steep limestone cliffs on every side. Tropical trees and shrubs clinging onto roots in unfeasibly tiny nooks and crannies.

"I closed my eyes for a few minutes and felt the slight rocking of the kayak beneath me, and listened to bird song echoing around the acoustic chamber of the cliffs. With no significant stretch of the imagination I could feel myself in a dugout canoe, several thousand years ago."

Mr. Perez was only too happy to share the link on Facebook.




Palawan Islands Map

Palawan Islands Magazine For Sale

Tropical Paradise of  Palawan Islands


Recognition at last for Sabah's resistance war heroes

by Steve Meacham

Chin Piang Syn was an unlikely looking war hero. Though 21 in 1943, he looked much younger.
Australians in the infamous Sandakan POW camp in Sabah believed ''Sini'' (as they nicknamed him) was about 15.

Fortunately, so did the Japanese invaders who let Sini pedal around the local airfield distributing tools to local workers - not realising he spoke fluent English, Malay and Chinese and was a vital messenger between Australian prisoners and the local underground.

''He took huge risks for months, helping the Australians and smuggling arms,'' says historian Lynette Ramsay Silver. ''One of the Australian officers, Captain Ken Mosher, once asked him, 'Sini, do you know what will happen to you if the Japanese catch you?'

''Sini replied, 'Yes, they will execute me. But I must do my duty. I am a member of the British empire and also a Boy Scout.'''

He was eventually caught and suffered months of torture by the Japanese. But he survived the war and was awarded the King's Medal. He died in 2009.

The Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, will conduct a dawn ceremony tomorrow at Sandakan Memorial Park - on the site of the former POW camp - to mark the 65th anniversary of Sabah's liberation from the Japanese.

Ms Bryce will later launch Silver's new book, Blood Brothers, which, for the first time, focuses on the heroism locals like Sini displayed against the Japanese.

''We've sadly neglected their stories,'' says Silver, whose 1998 history Sandakan - A Conspiracy of Silence told how 3000 Australian and British POWs perished in prison camps in Borneo and on the death marches in the final months of World War II.

''The local story has been overwhelmed by what happened to the POWs. Yet the local people hid escaped Australian prisoners, they assisted them at camp. Many were tortured.

''As the Allies were bombing the town, the Japanese became convinced the local people who spoke English were in cahoots. On May 27, 1945, they took every single person they could find who spoke English - 29 prominent citizens - and executed them.''

Her book, published initially in Malaysia, was suggested by the Office of Australian War Graves.

''These unsung heroes risked and sacrificed their lives to extend the hand of friendship to total strangers,'' Silver says. ''They laid the foundations for a lasting and very special relationship between Sabah and Australia.''


Again, another POW story
This from my old friend, Ray Thompson Bataan survivor until 1999.

Palawan Memoirs of Ernest J. Koblos, who survived the Massacre when 139 POWs burned.

Ernest gave this account of the massacre to the press on Aug 28, 1944. He was one of 11, WW II survivors who by law of averages should not be enjoying the freedom and pleasures of their homeland, the love of home and family. For Koblos, who formerly lived in Chicago, and his ten living buddies, are the sole survivors of the infamous Palawan massacre in which 139 out of a total of 150 American POWs were executed in one of the most dastardly deeds ever to be conceived in the minds of so-called civilized men, according to a special dispatch to the Daily Calumet (a Chicago Paper), from General Hdqs. of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) in Tokyo, Japan.

As if being watched over by some omnipotent power, these boys reached safety in probably the most miraculous and spectacular escape yet recorded in the history of WW II. Sixteen Japanese who are charged with the responsibility for the massacre will face a Yokohama 8th Army Military commission this month.

Alva C. Carpenter, Chief of SCAP's legal section, first learned of this new
addition to the already overflowing volume of Pacific war crimes while serving with the American forces that re-occupied Mindoro in the Philippines. He knew that it was a major atrocity, that justice and America demanded that the perpetrators be found and made to answer for this diabolical crime,and so, during the past three years he has concentrated his every effort on bringing to the bar of just ice those responsible for the Palawan massacre. In a recent interview Carpenter declared "at the close of the Pacific war I pledged myself to fulfill the solemn promises made to the people of the United States and the Allied Nations at Potsdam that stern justice shall be meted out to all war criminals, especially those who have visited cruelties upon our POWS".

To me these were no idle words spoken to appease outraged peoples; they were a mandate which I determined to thoroughly discharge and three years of investigative research have expended to this end".

ONLY 11 American ESCAPED

Just two months prior to the occupation of Palawan Island by the American
troops the mass destruction of American POWs had been perpetrated--with the exception of the 11 escapees, a complete POW camp had been "annihilated" when it became evident that the victorious forces would make a landing in the vicinity of Palawan, possibly on the island itself. Conceived in hate and born in an atmosphere of frustration, the decision to kill the American prisoners was no instantaneous burst of passion. It was a fulfillment of a premeditated plan to "DISPOSE" of the gallant defenders of Bataan and Corregidor at the time of the enemy landing. The method of disposition was the off-spring of moral depravity unsurpassed in the annals of Pacific war crimes...the individual acts of heroism displayed by the few survivors are unequaled.

HOPE:  B-24s  SHOW

In October 1944,there were remaining at Puerta Princesa POW camp at Palawan Island in the Philippine Islands  P.I., 150 American POWs. They had been sent there by the Japanese to build an airstrip--a military project designed to further the Japanese war effort against the Allied Forces. Conditions at this camp were similar to those existing in most Japanese POW camps--too little of every necessity of life, too much of mistreatment, abuse and manual labor. All the hardships that had been suffered during two years and a half were of little consequence, however, to these prisoners on 19 Oct, 1944.

They could not forget the past, but the future looked brighter as they watched the first B-24 that they had ever seen raid the airstrip they had laboriously built, for the most part with hand tools, during long, arduous hours in the relentless tropical sun.

It was easy for them to be lighthearted now--it would only be a matter of a short time before they would be liberated, and, as their morale soared, so that of the Japanese forces dropped to a new low. From now on, daily air raids became a part of "living" at Puerta Princesa, and so it was not unusual to hear the air raid siren at noon on 15 Dec. 1944.

What was unusual, however, was the fact that the Japanese called all the
Americans back to the compound from the airfield on which they were still
working, filling in bomb craters now, when heretofore their captors had shown no concern for the prisoners' safety, compelling them to work on the strip even during actual raids. "We knew something was the matter but couldn't figure out what", stated Koblos.


There were inside the POW compound, three large air raid shelters, having a narrow entrance at each and a cover over the top. The Japanese specifications had permitted only one entrance but after much persuasion the Americans were allowed to make two entrances. These shelter would accommodate, very uncomfortably, approximately 40--50 men each, and in addition there were several small shelters with a capacity of from one to four men each. The area was completely surrounded by a double barb-wired fence and the camp was built on a cliff overlooking the Puerta Princesa Bay.

On this fateful day of 14 Dec. l944, the Japanese herded every prisoner into these shelters, saying that there were "hundreds" of American planes coming. The only evidence of an air raid was a lone Japanese sea plane which circled the camp area and the field a few times as if in response to the call of the false air raid alarm for some showing. Many of the boys were hesitant to go into the shelters--these were "helped" by prodding with bayonets and threats of being killed if they did not obey the orders to go underground. No sooner was the last man "safely" hidden from the dangers of an American air raid then two companies of Japanese soldiers, armed with buckets of gasoline,torches, rifles, machine guns, fixed bayonets and hand grenades, entered the compound and proceeded to carry into effect the plan for the annihilation of every single POW.


The bestial savagery of the perpetrators was unleashed as the assault began, running, screaming and laughing, they attacked each shelter, wherein the unsuspecting and helpless prisoners were trapped throwing in buckets of gasoline and igniting it with torches. Some of the men did manage to get out of the raging infernos only to be beheaded, bayoneted, clubbed to death, shot with rifles or dropped by machine gun fire. In some cases men were slowly tortured with bayonets, then gasoline was poured on first one foot and then the other, ignited, and their whole bodies set aflame. Some few were able to escape into the water by tearing barehanded through the barb-wire fences and jumping down a 50-foot cliff only to be drowned in the water when they were shot at either from the shore or from a small boat that patrolled the foreshores of the bay watching out for escapees. Men walking walls of flame, ran out of the shelters begging for mercy and for the Japanese "to use some sense" only to be shot down...others, knowing fully their fate, grabbed onto Japanese guards causing them to burn up together.

Still others, bodies afire, grappled with their assailants, and were able to
wrest a bayonet from one or two of the Japanese and kill them before they
themselves were bayoneted to death from behind.

The 11 prisoners who succeeded in escaping found temporary refuge in the caves on the beach. It was not long, however, before roving parties of Japanese began scanning every nook and corner for possible survivors--the plan being to kill every single American and so forever hide the truth of this murderous crime. Several times during the ensuing four or five hours it seemed inevitable that the hiding places of this small band would be discovered, but somehow, thorough as the search was, they were overlooked. Their ordeal was not over, however.

Possibly they would find help and safety if they could reach the opposite side of the bay--a distance of about five miles through shark-infested waters, and two or three of the men could not swim...but it was their only chance and they all took it. After dark that same evening some of the escapees began to swim across--10 days later the last one to reach the opposite side was found caught in a fish trap by friendly Filipinos coming out in the early morning to gather in the previous night's catch! They escorted him, as they had done the others, to Brooke's Point where an American PBY (a US made two engine Amphibian seaplane) evacuated them to the American lines.

All that remained of the 139 victims when the American forces landed were
incomplete skeletons, scattered at random in the area of the camp, piles of
bones in the air raid shelters, dog-tags and other identifying data--mute
evidence of the sordid gruesomeness, the bestial depravity of the perpetrators and sponsors of this outrageous crime.

During the past three years a staff of investigators have been tireless in
their efforts to find those Japanese responsible for this atrocity. The entire islands of Japan and the Philippines have been combed and hundreds of interrogations conducted, as a result of which 16 Japanese ranging in rank from former Lt. Generals to a Private First Class will face a military commission in Yokohama to be judged for their part in this planned and premeditated execution of innocent and helpless American prisoners of war. "Unfortunately", stated Carpenter, "most of the actual participants in this crime have never been captured despite a maximum of effort to locate them, and there is every reason to believe they were killed when Palawan island was taken by the American forces. However, we do have those people who, by their acts of commission or omission or both, allowed this heinous crime to be perpetrated and we are determined that they shall answer for their actions before the bar of justice".

This story published with permission from IRENE KOBLOS, the widow of Sgt
Koblos, who died 1990, he enlisted in the Regular Army 1939, served in the 59th Coast Artillery in the Philippines. He returned home to US-1945- spent considerable time in Letterman Gen. Hosp. and Garner Gen. Chicago, as the result of his ordeal in Japanese hands. He married Irene, August 1945, they have a son John; Irene now resides in California." End"

Last September the barbed wire of Puerta Princesa prison camp at Palawan held 150 prisoners of war, the remnants of a "volunteer" labor battalion brought there from Luzon shortly after the surrender at Corregidor, to build a Japanese airfield.

The original group of some 300 had volunteered because they thought anything
would be better than the squalor, disease and death of Cabanatuan prison camp on Luzon.

Yet, two months later, 141 of the 150 were to be slain in the worst mass
atrocity of the Pacific war.

In a Marine Corps office at San Francisco, twenty-six year old Marine Corporal Rufus W. Smith of Hughes Springs, Texas, talked slowly and carefully: "We had been at Puerta Princesa prison camp for a little over twenty-eight months when the Japanese decided to kill us."

Arriving at the camp, Smith continued, the Americans were herded inside the barbed wire, bedded down like ill-kept farm animals, and booted awake by Japanese guards at four thirty the next morning.

Breakfast was one large spoonful of rice-Cambodian rice, wormy and full of
rocks, which the Japanese serve in prison camps because they don't like it
themselves. During the next two years the men were to eat it three times a day, with now and then a dab of a Philippine vegetable--also wormy--resembling potatoes. Even this planned ration was a starvation diet designed to keep them too weak to make trouble or to get very far if they escaped. But the Japanese reduced it even further by thieving from the supply.

The Americans at Puerta Princesa, being a labor battalion were not to be killed unnecessarily. But the Japanese were specialized in beating them with pick handles--"just for nothing, "Smith said, "They'd just come up jabbering and swinging with their clubs."

At various times in those next twenty-eight months, prisoners tried to escape. Two Americans who were caught were tied up and thrown into the brig, where the Japanese took turns beating them. Any Japanese who cared to could beat them, night or day. Every morning the other Americans had to pass the cage where they were lying. On July 4, 1944, the two were finally shot. Japanese prison officials always pointedly observe our national holidays.

Most of the Americans who did escape managed it by breaking an arm or a leg, usually by a blow with a shovel. But if the Japanese decided it was done intentionally, they might leave the man where he fell, or throw him into a cage and leave him until he died.

Some of the prisoners got away with it, and were treated and shipped back to Manila. Usually, however, someone was lying in the special cage with an unset fracture, looking out with the eyes of an animal that has spent many days in a steel trap.

Every prisoner worked if he possibly could, because if he couldn't get to his
feet in the morning, his ration was cut at once by 30 per cent--a ball of rice about the size of an orange.

One morning last September the Japanese loaded all but 150 of the men on a ship bound back to the prison camp at Luzon.

After the Japanese told the remaining prisoners that the ship had been
torpedoed and all the men lost. Who could contradict them?

Then, about noon last October 19, a lone B-24 raided Puerta Princesa, Palawan's capitol, sank two ships in the harbor, and strafed the town and the new airfield. With their hearts rattling against their ribs, the men looked silently at one another, and smiled when the guards weren't looking.

Things were going to be all right. After that first one, raids came almost
daily. And the treatment of the men by their Japanese guards went from bad to unendurable.

Then they were ordered to build air-raid shelters. First they dug three roofed trenches, each long enough to hold about fifty men and each with a small entrance at each end. Smaller shelters were dug for the cooks, officers, and drivers. Some of the men were allowed t o build individual shelters; among them was Marine Sergeant Douglas. W. Bogue of Los Angeles, California, one of the nine who eventually escaped. All these shelters were inside the prison compound on a high bluff that jutted out into turbulent shark-filled Puerta Princesa Bay. Outside the double row of barbed wire a coral cliff slanted fifty feet down to the water. And when torrential rains washed away part of the trenches, repairs exposed tunnels that ran under the wire and out to the face of the cliff. Several men quietly prepared escape hatches as they worked, concealing their exits on the cliff with coral boulders or a thin shoring of earth.

Then, on December 13, a Japanese patrol plane over the Sulu Sea sighted our invasion convoy that landed later on Mindoro Island.

The Japanese thought it was headed for Palawan. "The Japanese guards aroused us that night with their chattering, " Smith went on, "but they finally quieted down. At four thirty we hiked off to the airfield to work as usual." About noon the guards suddenly marched them back to camp. The Americans kept looking questionably at one another and shrugging their shoulders. They had never quit work at noon before. Then the guards started beating on an old church bell they used for an air-raid alarm., The word passed that hundreds of American planes were headed for Palawan. The Japanese guards herded the men into the air-raid shelters.

Sergeant Bogue took up the story. "We had been sitting in the shelters some thirty minutes," he said,"when two P-38s began circling overhead. Suddenly fifty or sixty Japanese soldiers with light machine guns, rifles, and buckets of gasoline ran into the compound." These Japanese soldiers ran directly to A company's shelter, where there were about forty Americans. They opened the narrow door, threw in several buckets of gasoline then tossed in lighted torches.

Massacre on Palawan of 139 POWs, by R. W. Smith.

"All of a sudden," said Marine Corporal Glen W. McDole of Des Moines, Iowa, "I heard a dull explosion, men screaming, and machine guns. We were in another hole with our heads down, waiting for the air raid, My buddy (Smith) yelled, "They're murdering the men in A Company pit!" I looked out and saw one man run out of A Company's pit in flames., He was burning like a newspaper. A Japanese machine gunner, stationed on the porch of the barracks, cut him in two."

The Japanese ran now from shelter to shelter with their buckets of gasoline and their torches. As the crazed Americans came boiling up out of the burning shelters, flaming from head to foot like men made of pitch, other busy, little Japanese machine-gunned them and bayonetted them., The horrible smell of burning flesh began drifting across the compound.

Below, in the pits, the few men not actually burning fought to hold on to their reason and somehow to get out.

Some did get out. Some crawled up into the flaming bullet-spattered compound itself and clawed their way under the fence to reach and fall down the cliff face. Navy Chief Radioman Fern J. Barta of San Diego, California, made it this way.

So did Bogue. "When I came up out of my hole," said Bogue, "it was like coming up a ladder into hell. Burning Americans were rushing the Japanese and fighting them hand to hand, I saw one man, burning like a haystack, grab a rifle a way from a Japanese and shoot him; another guard bayoneted him from behind."

Maybe fifty or sixty men, maybe more got down the cliff face to the beach. Many desperate and insentient leaped and tumbled down the cliff, jumped into the bay and started swimming. They were shot to pieces by the Japanese machine gunners on the top of the cliff.

The others hid in holes in the rocks,in the sewer outlet, anywhere. Smith
jumped into a coral crevice next to him to wait for McDole, McDole had been right on his heels, but now he didn't show up. As Smith watched, a soldier in the crevice next to him suddenly jumped up and yelled. I'm going to get my part of this over with, he ran down to the beach dived into the water and started swimming.

"He was only out about twenty yards," Smith said, "when a bullet hit him and he rolled over and shouted, they got me. Then he thumbed his nose to the Japanese on the cliff-and went under."

Smith, still in control of himself, climbed unseen backup the hill and hid in
the long grass almost touching the prison fence. He thought that would be the last place the Japanese would look. He hid under a ledge covered by long overhanging grass. He carefully covered himself with leaves and dirt. He estimates that this was about one o'clock in the afternoon. The whole thing had been going on only about thirty minutes.

All of them could hear the Japanese using dynamite on the burned men who were still alive in the hilltop death trenches When they had finished, the Japanese scrambled down the cliff with rifles and bayonets and began combing the rocks and beach, dragging the hidden Americans out of their holes and murdering them on the spot.

For the men lying panting and desperate in those holes, the afternoon was
endless and terrible. A man hiding five feet away from you, a six-foot
American you'd been through three years of hell with, would be dragged out and bayoneted to death by a dozen little yelling Japanese, and you didn't dare move.

As the endless search went on, a lot of men who might have made it cracked up. McDole and two others were hiding in a garbage dump, completely covered by the rotting fly-crusted stuff. As a Japanese patrol neared the dump, one of the men suddenly jumped up and ran for the bay.

"The Japanese shot him," said McDole, "Then, when they got within five meters of us, the second man with me raised up and said,'All right , you Japanese b------ds,'here I am and don't miss me. They shot him, poured gasoline on him and burned his body.

"After the patrol went away, I made a small opening to get some air. Down the beach I saw six Japanese jabbing a bleeding mud-covered American with their bayonets. Another Japanese ran up with a bucket and a torch. The American begged to be shot and not burned. The Japanese poured gasoline on his hands and feet, and lighted it. Then the man collapsed."

Smith, hidden in the tall grass up on the cliff, had a dozen narrow escapes.
Twice searching Japanese grazed his ribs as they jabbed bayonets into the

"Once I thought sure I was caught,"said Smith,"A Japanese pulled the grass away from me and looked straight into my eyes. I felt his breath panting down on me and smelled that awful Japanese sweat they all stink of. Cold as death, I waited for the bayonet in my ribs. Three years of hell--for this! I remember praying that he'd do it right the first time."

Suddenly the Japanese dropped the grass over Smith and left, he hadn't seen him. Smith stayed covered until past dark, finally everything got quiet, and the Japanese guards no longer looked for the escapees. Smith sneaked to the beach and began the long swim across Puerta Princesa Bay.

Bogue had been hiding in a hole in the rocks till the rising tide forced him
out of it. Looking for a new hiding place, he found Fern Barta and three
others in the camp's sewer outlet. About nine 0'clock that night these five
started out to swim the bay. Almost immediately they were swept apart by the strong tide, and it was ten days before Bogue and Barta met. One of the five, a Marine private, was never seen again. It was sunrise when Barta dragged himself up on the far shore of the bay and crawled into the jungle. McDole, exhausted and sick, lay in the fly-blanketed garbage dump all night and all the next day. That night he tried to swim, but the water was so rough he couldn't make it. He crawled back to the garbage dump, and for another night and day in that mess of flies and rot, praying for strength. That night he tried it again, and again he was forced back. The following night he crawled down to the shore for the third time, fell into the water, and started swimming; he would get across or drown. All night he swam and floated and swam again. He came very near dying. His mind had stopped. Like an engine stalled on dead center.

His arms and legs were no longer even part of him; some strange tired motor kept them going till finally his hands were clawing suddenly and miraculously into sand. He was ashore. His head dropped into the sand. He tried hard to think who he was and what he was supposed to be doing.

Finally, he crawled to the edge of the jungle and hid there all day. That
night he tried swimming across a little inlet to a Filipino tuberculosis
colony, but he was too far gone. He realized he couldn't swim anymore. And then in the wet heaving darkness, he bumped into the poles of a fish trap. He crawled upon it and collapsed, somewhere between sleep and death. In the morning Filipino fishermen from the Iwahig penal colony found him there.

They hurried him back to their camp. There he was joined by Bogue, who had been found by Filipino prisoners from the camp after being lost for five days in the jungle. Rested and fed, Bogue and McDole were taken to the leader of the Palawan underground, who gave them horses and a guide and got them to a point where they were picked up by a Navy sea plane and flown to Leyte.

At Aborlan, a town held by the guerrillas, a second party of horsemen caught up with them. One of the riders was Barta He had stumbled into Iwahig colony after spending ten days and nights in the jungle. Some other survivors, including Smith, were picked up later and flown to Moratai.

Up on the cliff some of the Japanese guards were only ten feet away from Smith. Still, he had to try for a getaway when darkness came. Slowly he eased out of his hiding place and inched his way down the cliff, fearing each step that a coral landslide would bring a shower of jabbering yells and bullets.

Luck was with him, Noiseless as a shadow, he moved steadily down to the shore and into the water.

He had been in the water about an hour and a half when the little Japanese patrol boat combing the bay for possible survivors bore down on him. Its weak yellow light actually waved directly across him from not more than fifty yards away. But the boat turned and went on.

"I started swimming again," said Smith in his slow tired drawl, "and had been out about two hours, I guess, when I heard a swirl in the water off to one side. I glanced around in time to see a six-foot shark headed for me. He came right on in and bit my right arm.

Somehow--I don't know how--I reached around with my other arm and slung him loose. Then I kicked and splashed, and I must have scared him off; he didn't bother me after that."

The Marine Corps public relations officer whispered to Smith; he rolled up his sleeve. There on his right forearm were the scars from the teeth of the shark that he'd "slung loose."

After the Shark, Smith swam on for what seemed like years. He turned on his back for the hundredth time to rest, and made out trees on a mountain ahead of him. He turned over again and swam till his arms were strips of leather which somebody kept splashing into the water ahead of him, and he knew he couldn't swim much longer. He decided to try to hit bottom. He held his nose and went down hard. The water was only up to his armpits. Gratefully he started to walk, and that's when he almost drowned. Because his legs wouldn't hold him. He fell and swallowed the muddy water and almost drowned. He finally got to his feet and made it to the beach.

It was still night, and the terrible clouds of Philippine mosquitos started
swarming over him. If he lay there he'd be eaten alive. He crawled up to the edge of a mangrove swamp and coated himself, face and all, with mud. That kept the mosquitoes off. He rested a while, and then plunged into the swamp.

He was naked, except for the mud. The thick growth clutched his body with clammy hands. At each step his feet seemed to sink deeper into the black ooze. He knew the alligators would get him before long. He climbed a tree and stayed there the rest of the night. Dawn was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.

All that day Smith traveled through the jungle. When the growth became
impenetrable he climbed up above it and swung along on the long vines from tree to tree. Occasionally he'd grip a brier vine; the hard spines cut like barbed wire. "They cut me up pretty bad," he said.

But he went on, and he made it. Late that afternoon he found the wonderful compassionate Philippine guerrillas. They gathered up his skinny, bleeding, muddy body and carried him to their camp. They fed him and put him to bed. And now he was in San Francisco, on his way home to Hughes Springs, Texas--the kind of place that can help a man forget jungles and JAPANESE! This story also furnished by Mrs.Koblos, who also gave you the account of her husband in Chapters 1 through 4. In appreciation I'm sending her all ten chapters printed as she among many does not possess a computer.

TO: ALL DATE: 08/09

PALAWAN PUSHOVER, Courtesy of Air Force Magazine, 1945.

When the time came to lock the door on Japanese troop
and supply movements in the South China Sea and provide a
springboard for airpower in subsequent Borneo invasions, the
key was the Philippine island of Palawan which points
southward like a finger to the rich East Indies. "I don't
want a single shot fired at the infantry when it goes ashore
at Palawan. "Maj. Gen.Paul B. Wurtsmith, CG of the 13th Air
Force, told his staff. And not a shot was fired. Infantrymen
of the 41st Division went ashore at Puerto Princesa almost
unopposed. No men were lost on D-day. The Japanese had fled
to the hills.

This easy invasion of strategically important Palawan was
accomplished by air attacks that started early in October
1944 when Army and Navy nuisance raiders paid occasional
visits. The tempo was stepped up sharply near the end of the
month when 37 heavies plastered Puerto Princesa airdrome,
destroying 23 parked aircraft and damaging 15 others. The
Japanese garrison never recovered from that raid and the
13th's bombers continued to give the area a once-over-lightly
every time repairmen began filling in the craters.

On November 29, Morotai-based P-38s of the 13th
Fighter Command flew their first escort mission to Puerto
Princesa, but there was no interception, nor was there any
on subsequent missions. The final phase of the softening-up
was staged from Mindoro with both fighters and bombers of
the 5th Air Force blasting the area with bomb and strafing

A sustained three-day attack preceded the February 28

The devastated facilities found by infantrymen--buildings,
runways, revetments, aircraft--were convincing proof of the
effectiveness of the pre-invasion attacks. The concrete runway
was spotted with 182 bomb craters. Eighteen other craters had
taken care of the overruns. The bombing results looked good
to everyone but the aviation engineers, who had to put the
strip back into service.

(Comments by Ray Thompson; I wonder what the Commanding
General, the fighter pilots, the bomber pilots, and the
infantrymen, who performed the above acts would have
felt, had they known that American POWs were the slaves
that were filling up these bomb craters after each raid.
We know from other testimony, how shocked military personnel
were when they found the massacred American POWs in the so
called bomb shelters at Palawan airfield;

NOTE- I flew off this runway for several days in the winter of '45. It was coral based and pretty solid althougth muddy at times.

New Bird Species Found In Heart Of Borneo

“Spectacled Flowerpecker,” a bird species new to science, has been discovered in the heart of the Bornean rainforest. However, the species is so little known that it has yet to be given a scientific name.

British Student's aim to map Borneo

A FORMER Derbyshire school pupil is heading for Borneo this summer to try to map uncharted parts of the country as part of a conservation project.James Rough, who attended Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, in Ashbourne, will travel with 12 UK and four Indonesian students for up to three months from July.He is currently studying geography with environmental management at the University of Exeter.Evidence of rare or endangered species, such as the orangutan or clouded leopard, will help to ensure that the threatened forest is protected.James said: "This once-in-a-lifetime chance will be an amazing adventure which will also help me further my academic career in a location many postgraduates and professionals dream of being able to complete research in."He will travel with FX-Pedition 2010 to the heart of Borneo's rainforest to explore the species living in the unexplored mountains that mark the Joloi and Kapuas watershed. 

The expedition will be run by the students and they will be funding the trip themselves through grant applications, sponsorship and fundraising event

Burn of Malaysian Flag

Burning of  Malaysian Flag  due to Sabah Conflict

Kiram standoff site in Sabah now offers turtle conservation to attract tourists Leong, Frenceay Crowned Sportsman, Sportswoman Of Sabah 
PM Rewards Sabah And Sarawak Voters By Appointing 20 Reps As Ministers, Deputy Ministers Kiram standoff site in Sabah now offers turtle conservation to attract tourists  Leong, Frenceay Crowned Sportsman, Sportswoman Of Sabah 
PM Rewards Sabah And Sarawak Voters By Appointing 20 Reps As Ministers, Deputy Ministers  200 PKR Members From Libaran, Sandakan And Batu Sapi Divisions Quit, Pledge Support For BN 200 PKR Members From Libaran, Sandakan And Batu Sapi Divisions Quit, Pledge Support For BN 200 PKR Members From Libaran, Sandakan And Batu Sapi Divisions Quit, Pledge Support For BN


Very Good News:

S & P raises Philippines to Investment Grade, second after Fitch

May 02 2013

(Reuters) - Standard & Poor's raised the Philippines' credit rating to investment grade on Thursday, the second debt agency to do so in less than two months, putting the Southeast Asian country on track to attract more foreign capital flows which are challenging policymakers.

S&P upgraded the Philippines' foreign long-term debt by one notch to BBB minus, and foreign short-term debt to A-3, with a stable outlook, citing the country's strong external profile, moderate inflation and declining reliance on foreign currency debt.

Most foreign funds are only allowed to hold investment-grade assets rated by either S&P or Moody's Investors Service. The influential JPMorgan Asia credit index (JACI), for example, considers investment grade debt classified by the two agencies.

"Inflows have already been quite strong and are likely to remain a challenge for policymakers as foreign players become more aware of the Philippines as a viable investment destination," said Eugene Low, an economist at DBS in Singpaore.

The upgrade came just a little over four months after S&P raised its rating outlook for Philippine debt to positive from stable in late December, and as the debt watcher downgraded its outlook for the country's larger neighbour Indonesia to stable from positive, citing concerns that much-needed economic reforms were losing momentum in Jakarta.

"There is more evidence of structural economic improvement in the Philippines than in Indonesia in recent years," Credit Suisse economist Robert Prior-Wandesforde wrote in a note.

"Also, the Philippines' so-called macro vulnerability indicators are generally better than those of Indonesia - the exception being on public finances."

Fitch Ratings raised the Philippines' credit rating to investment grade in late March, a first for the Southeast Asian nation, in a move expected to boost investment and lift the country's long-term growth potential.

With investment-grade status from two of the major agencies, the sovereign now becomes eligible to be part of the Barclays U.S. Investment-Grade and Global Aggregate and Asia Pacific IG Aggregate indices, as well as other investment-grade indices from Citigroup.

It is still unclear what weighting the Philippines will have in the key indexes, but tens of trillions of dollars are benchmarked against the Citi and Barclays indexes. Funds that benchmark against the indices will have to buy Philippines government bonds if they don't already own them.


Malaysian populist windfall fuels debt fears

Najib has given out $19 billion in public funds — $1,400 per voter — for “political spending”

  — It has never been more lucrative to be a voter in Malaysia, where political rivals are showering the public with cash in a desperate electoral battle, stoking concerns over rising national debt.

With May 5 elections expected to be Malaysia’s closest ever, the long-ruling coalition has given billions of dollars in new cash, pay rises and other handouts to civil servants, the poor, elderly, farmers and students.

The opposition, which holds four of 13 states, has likewise made a range of state-level payouts, and promises still more perks if it wins federal power for the first time in Malaysia’s 56 years of independence.

The bidding war began shortly after the opposition stung the Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition in 2008 elections, but has spiralled of late.

“It’s been a windfall for Malaysians these past five years,” said Francis Loh, president of Malaysian democratic rights group Aliran.

The bonanza has seemed farcical at times.

Barisan recently denounced opposition campaign pledges as a blueprint for insolvency.

But Prime Minister Najib Razak promptly upped the ante with billions in new promises of his own — sparking opposition outrage that he copied their ideas.

The unprecedented giveaways attest to the high stakes of an election in which a ruling elite is desperate to retain power and its rich perks, while the opposition fights to make the most of its best shot yet at governing.

But warnings are emerging that Malaysia — which already has Southeast Asia’s highest debt-to-GDP ratio, after Singapore — is at best endangering a goal to become a “developed nation” by 2020 and at worst courting disaster.

“Today’s politicians are bent on planting the seeds of an economic crisis for our children to inherit,” said Wan Saiful Wan Jan, who runs the IDEAS think-tank.

If Malaysia meets financial catastrophe in the future, “economic historians may well trace back the root cause to this general election,” he added.

Few analysts see an immediate threat of disaster, noting the situation can be managed if some hard post-election political choices are made.

But some say much-needed development spending could shrink further if increasingly hard-fought politics continue to trump economic planning in a country where populist subsidies have come to be expected by many voters.

Such spending fell from 28 percent of the 2010 budget to 20 percent this year.

“There is a concern if populist spending were to get in the way of infrastructure spending which will have longer-term repercussions on the economy,” said Gundy Cahyadi, a Singapore-based economist with OCBC bank.

Under Barisan, resource-rich Malaysia developed into a regional economic success, enjoying decades of growth, foreign investment inflows, and rising living standards.

But lower-cost rivals China, Indonesia and others have forced a re-focusing on high-tech manufacturing and services even as critics say Malaysia’s education system is failing to prepare graduates for a move up the value chain.

Economic growth was a solid 5.6 percent last year, but much of that is credited to election-minded deficit spending. Debt has doubled since 2007 to 53.7 percent of GDP.

In emailed comments to AFP, Najib said “our debt will never exceed 55 percent of GDP,” but critics note “hidden” public debt such as state-guaranteed loans may have doubled since he took power in 2009.

Malaysia politics analyst Bridget Welsh estimates that since taking office Najib has given out $19 billion in public funds — $1,400 per voter — for “political spending” that benefits Barisan.

That is “the most ever in the lead-up to Malaysian polls” said Welsh, of Singapore Management University.

In campaign stops, Najib regularly references the largesse, telling voters to pay back it at the ballot box.

“If he wins, it will become a crutch politicians rely on, an extension of money politics,” she said.

Moves by the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (People’s Pact) alliance include a water subsidy in a key state won in 2008 that has drained 20 percent from the state’s operating budget. Cash payments in Pakatan states also have grown.

If it wins federal power, it promises to make university education free, scrap various taxes and fees, and raise subsidies, moves it says will cost $15 billion per year.

Barisan counters that they will cost $65 billion, or 80 percent of today’s federal budget.

Malaysian Cops concerned over violence All Over Malaysia

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The rivalry between supporters of political parties has escalated in the run-up to the May 5 election, in what police described as "alarming".

Cases of violent acts and attacks on political party buildings are being reported throughout the country, the police say.

So far, 906 police reports have been lodged on elections-related incidents since nomination day on April 20, including explosions at rally sites, arson at party operations centres and physical attacks and threats made against party workers.

The police have expressed concern over the violence, and urged party supporters to refrain from getting involved in provocative acts.

Inspector-General of Police secretariat assistant head Asst Comm Ramli Mohamed Yoosuf said 25 people had been arrested since nomination day.

"On Wednesday alone, 247 police reports were lodged, mostly involving violent incidents.

"It is very alarming. We call on party supporters not to resort to violence to settle their differences," he said on Thursday.

On Tuesday night, a 57-year-old party supporter in Dungun suffered head and body injuries after he was attacked by a group of nearly 30 rival party supporters in a dispute over party flags being brought down by enforcement teams.

A party supporter in Besut was threatened with a machete and warned by villagers not to come and campaign in their area.

In Tapah, a man was beaten and scolded over a misunderstanding about a political party, while in Klang, a man was choked and received death threats over an argument about rival political parties.

In Kota Baru, part-time RTM cameraman Mohammad Yaakob, 61, died of a suspected heart attack after he was involved in an alleged scuffle with a PAS supporter on Monday night.

In Penang, a 53-year-old hawker was beaten up for removing flags put up outside his house last week.

In Buntong, Perak, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a Barisan Nasional operations centre on Thursday.

On Wednesday, a petrol bomb was thrown at a Barisan operations centre in Sungai Besar, Selangor, while a Barisan operations centre in Malacca was broken into.

In Parit 9, Sungai Leman, Sekinchan, Selangor, a bottle of gasoline was hurled at a Barisan operations centre, causing a small fire and damaging a party flag and an Election Commission (EC) banner.

The worst case so far was when a Barisan campaign worker was injured by an improvised explosive device which exploded next to a Barisan rally tent on Tuesday.


The Sultan of Sulu tells how England "stole" North Borneo, [Unknown Binding]

Buy and Read the book by Aleko E Lilius

a brief sketch of the Sultan of Sulu, courted by the U.S. in an effort to defuse Moro hostility during its governance of the Philippines…”; and (1964) “The Sultan of Sulu tells how England ‘stole’ North Borneo


Executed - Head Chop off by Thai  Muslim Rebellion


Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo Sabah on Friday welcomed the decision of the Philippine Supreme Court in junking a petition asking the tribunal to compel the government to bring the country’s claim on Sabah before an international court.

Abraham Idjirani, spokesman and secretary general of the sultanate said that the High Court just followed the rule of law.

“We welcome the decision of the SC and it only proves that it is following the rule of law,” said Idjirani.

In junking the petition filed by Louis “Barok” Biraogo, the High Court justices during their en banc session in Baguio City noted that it lacks merit because it cannot compel a co-equal branch of government through a petition for mandamus.

Even if the SC granted the petition, Idjirani stressed that the Philippine government lacks the authority to reclaim Sabah from the Malaysian government.

He explained that the said authority of the government was cancelled after the Sultan of Sulu withdrew it in 1962 after it failed to push the claim.

“Malacañang should learn from that because the Philippine government should first seek special power of authority from the Sultanate before it brings the claim before an international body,” he added.


WikiLeaks: Libya used Sabah to arm PHILIPPINE Moro rebels in 1970s

(Updated 6:16 p.m.) Sabah had played a big role in the rise of the Muslim secessionist movement in Mindanao in the 1970s when it was used as conduit in the smuggling of arms from Libya to southern Philippines, according to declassified cables published by WikiLeaks.

According to two cables, former Sabah chief minister Tun Mustapha facilitated the arms smuggling from Libya, then ruled by military dictator Muammar Gaddafi, to Mindanao to arm Moro rebels there in the hope that it will force the Philippines to abandon its claim to Sabah.

A cable dated April 17, 1976, quoted then-Sabah chief minister Tun Fuad as saying that it was “no secret” that his predecessor, Mustapha, supplied arms to Philippine guerrillas.

“He said it was no secret that his predecessor, former chief minister Tun Mustapha, had been running guns and money from Libya's Gaddafi to the Philippine guerrillas,” according to the secret cable written by an unnamed American Embassy official in Kuala Lumpur.

The official reported that “assistance has been provided to Filipino Muslim insurgents directly by Mustapha, by Libya and perhaps other Arab countries through Mustapha, and there is evidence of GOM (Government of Malaysia) agencies collaborating with Mustapha.”

The official added that Mustapha seemed to have resorted to arms smuggling following reports that then-Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos was training Muslims to invade Sabah, a disputed territory. This project failed and eventually led to the killing of 68 to 200 young Moros on March 18, 1968, an event now known as the Jabidah Massacre.

“(Government of Malaysia's) involvement in the southern Philippines was triggered by evidence in 1968-89 that president Marcos was training Muslims for infiltration of Sabah (the Jabidah affair),” according to the cable.

The official also said the Sabah government would not stop arms smuggling unless Marcos gives up the Sabah claim.

“The mission feels that while present Kuala Lumpur government may be less inclined to condone direct assistance to Moro rebels, the government of Malaysia (Mustapha) will not give up possibility of extending such assistance until President Marcos publicly and categorically abandons Philippine claim to Sabah,” according to the cable.

Upon finding out about Marcos' plan to invade Sabah, Malaysia allegedly conspired with Moro secessionist groups to distract the Philippines from the Sabah claim, said Abraham Idjirani, spokesperson of the Jamalul Kiram III's sultanate whose forces are fighting against Malaysian authorities in their stake for the land.
Sabah then instigated an "arms shipping" from Libya to Sulu, Palawan and Mindanao to arm a group of young Moro soldiers which came to be known as the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), he added.
After MNLF co-opted with the Philippine government, Sabah then veered their arms shipments to a breakaway group the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Idjirani claimed. The MNLF signed a peace pact with the government in 1996. On the other hand, the MILF is now conducting exploratory talks on the peace process in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 
"The arm shipments were done to augment the power capacity of the MNLF in fighting against Philippine government. When they co-opted with the Philippine government, they now encouraged the MILF to fight against Philippine government," Idjirani said in a phone interview.
"It is Malaysia who created the Mindanao conflict so that the Philippine government could not focus their attention in pursuing their claim to Sabah," he added.
Reached for a reaction, MILF peace panel chairperson Mohagher Iqbal said he does not want to comment on a "very delicate issue." 
As of posting time, GMA News Online was still awaiting for a response on our e-mailed query from the Malaysian Embassy in the Philippines.

Another cable detailing the meeting between former Indonesian ambassador Sjarif Thajeb in a meeting with US State Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Marshal Green mentioned reports that the Indonesian government invited Sabah's Mustapha “in order to persuade him to stop supporting Muslim insurgents in Southern Philippines.”

The Indonesian ambassador was then under the “view that problem would be resolved if GOP (Government of the Philippines) renounced its claim to Sabah, but observed that this view (is) 'not yet' communicated to GOP,” according to the cable dated March 10, 1973. — Marc Jayson Cayabyab/KBK/RSJ, GMA News


Royal Sulu Sabah Forces in Training ?
Oplan Retake North Borneo Sabah ?

Philippines suspect Chinese ship was spying

12 Chinese ‘poachers’ face jail in Philippines

  • By Gilbert P. Felongco, Correspondent
  • Published: 17:16 April 11, 2013
  • Gulf News

 Philippine navy official on Thursday said they have strong suspicions that the Chinese ship that ran aground Monday evening in a restricted area in Palawan was a spy vessel.

The senior navy official, who provided information on the promise that he not be identified, said they have reason to believe that the vessel was on an espinage mission when it encountered trouble in Tubbataha Reef.

He said this is because some of the 12 crew of the grounded ship, identified as the “Min Long Yu,” was observed seen wearing camouflage uniforms at the time of the grounding incident.

“Our observers spotted some of them wearing camouflage uniforms similar to that worn by People Liberation Army Marine Corps members ( Communist Chinese Marines) This may provide a strong argument for the insinuations that the Chinese Communist crew members are not fishermen at all,” he pointed out.


April 9 2013
Idjirani said  that fighting between the Royal Sulu Sabah Security Force and the Malaysian security forces erupted in Sabah on the nights of April 6 and 7 in Tanjung Batu, a village in Lahad Datu. He said 12 to 13 Malaysians killed or Injured suffered “heavy casualties.”

He said the recent arrival of the “RSSF volunteer fighters” was a “signal” to the Malaysian government that the sultanate would now press for its claim over its “Ancestral right over Sabah North Borneo”

“They provoked us, and now we are going beyond our initial demand, that we want to live in peace on our land,” Idjirani said.

“The sultanate’s demand now is to recognize our ancestral right,” he added.

According to Idjirani, fighting between the ROYAL SULU SABAH FORCE (RSSF) and Malaysian forces took place on the night of April 6 and 7. He claimed that the Malaysians suffered “heavy casualties” while there were no reported injuries or deaths among the “RSSF volunteer fighters.”

Dead Kiram followers haunting Sabah village

At least three slain followers of Sulu Sabah Sultan Jamalul Kiram III are  haunting Malaysian security forces who killed them in Sabah, a Malay-language newspaper said.

Malay-language newspaper "Kosmo! Ahad" quoted its sources as saying some of the security personnel saw at least three "ghostly figures" during twilight in Kampung Tanduo.

“They kept seeing the three figures, with one of them wearing a white serban (turban),” a report on Malaysian English Newspaper Star Online quoted the "Kosmo! Ahad" report as saying.

The so-called phantom gunmen were reportedly seen for just a few seconds each time.

Kampung Tanduo had been the site of deadly clashes since March.

Malaysian security forces started offensives against Kiram's followers March 5, following deadly clashes March 1 and 2.

On the other hand, The Star Online, citing the "Kosmo! Ahad" report, said the slain Kiram followers in Kampung Tanduo were buried in three pits.

Many of the bodies reportedly had amulets around their waists, supposedly to protect them. - VVP, GMA News


Royal Sulu Sabah Army (RSSA) & MNLF

Royal Sulu Sabah Army (RSSA) and MNLF


George Foreman admires Filipino Pinoy fighters for having 'no excuses'

MACAU -- George foreman has arrived in Macau for the Fists of Gold fight card where the former heavyweight champion who will be working as an analyst for the event.

Foreman says he is impressed with the skills of Brian Viloria and other Pinoy boxers.

"The good thing about fighters from the Philippines, they are willing to give you everything. They don't leave anything in the gym, they wanna make...they have no excuses in the ring," says Foreman.


Philippine President Aquino has ordered Manila’s Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Office of the Executive Secretary to work together to research and recommend a road map towards a peaceful resolution of the dispute.

“The resolution of this issue will begin not through speculation, opinion or guesswork, but by pinpointing indisputable truths. My duty is to dig into history to find truths and from there, set the direction that the nation should take with regard to the Sabah issue. I’ll make sure that direction will not lead us to violence,” he said last week.


Malaysian flee SABAH

Residents of Tanjung Labian leave their village near where Royal SUlu Sabah Army Filipino  were locked down in a stand-off with Malaysian security forces in the surrounding villages of Tanduo in Sabah on March 10. Muslim academics are reportedly advising the Philippines on the historical context of the country’s relationship with Sabah as Manila considers asserting its dormant claims to the state. (AFP Photo)

malaysian flees


Sultan's Sulu Sabah Army gets Reinforcements into Sabah

Posted at 04/01/2013 7:10 AM

ROYAL SULU SABAH ARMY  RSSA armed men have joined the followers of Agbimuddin Kiram in Sabah to continue fighting Malaysian forces in Lahad Datu, sultanate spokesman Abraham Idjirani said yesterday.

Idjirani said Agbimuddin, brother of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III called him up to report that some heavily armed civilians have joined the fighting in Sabah.

Idjirani said the civilians managed to slip through the sea blockade of the Malaysian and Philippine navy forces in going to Sabah.

“(Agbimuddin) called me about the arrival of civilians with arms who have joined the royal security forces,” Idjirani said.

Heavy fighting was reported in Lahad Datu yesterday March 31 2013  where Malaysian troops are conducting mopping-up operations to flush out the remaining members of Kiram’s forces.


Ministry invites writers to help repair Sabah’s image The Star Online 16:55


Malaysian Evacuees choose to stay with their car at the evacuation center in Embara Budi complex, Felda Sahabat, North Borneo Sabah.


Hard to separate Royal Sulu Sabah Army R.S.S.A. from Sabahan villagers—Malaysian officer

By ,

Malaysians have not been very open about what they felt on the deaths of the children, especially after the filing of charges against a Sabahan Teacher for criticizing Malaysian security forces in their handling of the crisis.

But some Malaysian journalists – speaking on conditions of anonymity – had told the Philippine Daily Inquirer these bloody clashes proved that Malaysian security forces were edgy about the Royal Sulu Sabah Warriors – citing the massive deployment of soldiers and policemen even if the “intruders” only numbered about 200.

In the aftermath of Sunday’s “clash” in Tanjung Batu, which also resulted in the death of an adult male and female and the wounding of a soldier, Zulkifilee said since the “intruders” looked similar to the locals, distinguishing the locals and the intruders has been difficult.

In Davao City, Princess Jacel Kiram said Sunday’s arrest of Amirbahar Kiram, was proof that the Malaysian government was singling out people with Sulu ancestry as her cousin was never part of the “royal army.”

“He is not a commander,” Kiram said, describing Amirbahar as the son of his uncle, Sultan Bantilan Ismael Kiram II.

Kiram also said the “courage” of the “royal army” members who went to Sabah had appalled Malaysian authorities because even if they were not armed with more advanced and sophisticated weapons like the Malaysian security forces, they and their supporters have been able to put up a fight, “using available resources including farm tools.”

“They have less than 30 firearms that is why they are using barong (machete) and dos por dos (wood slabs),” Kiram said.

She also said the high death toll among the Sulu warriors was acceptable because “it is guns and bombs against barongs.”

Kiram also denied allegations that the “fighting forces” were promised payments but claimed their motivation was “the compounded rage of the people after decades of oppression and maltreatment in Sabah.

“Those who are fighting right now are not just the 200 men. That is why the Malaysian authorities are having a hard time in fighting because they are fighting against the people,” she said, even likening it to the Edsa Revolution.

“This is also people power,” Kiram said.

She also reiterated the family’s claim that Agbimuddin has been staying in Sabah, adding that “We were still able to talk to him this morning.”

With the massive arrests of people with Sulu ancestry – now numbering over 400 – Malaysia Maj. Gen. Zulkiflee Mazlan said security forces “have to be very careful.

From: Rene Sarabia:
Meanwhile, the native Sabahans themselves feel cheated by both
parties, the Sulu Sultan and Peninsular Malaysia. The Sultan, for not
being active in their administration and against Malaysia. Since,
despite being the richest in resources across the whole of Malaysia,
Sabah's people are also the poorest. This is because of the corrupt and
totalitarian UMNO party which has ruled Malaysia since it's inception.
The sham referendum used by Malaysia (consulting only 5% of the people
of Sabah) as justification will never hold, considering that the true
natives of Sabah want independence and that they are only shut up by
UMNO which continues to curtail their media and incidents such as the
assassination... ooops I mean the accidental disappearance of
pro-independence Sabah ministers are constantly brushed aside and
considered as hush-hush. Meanwhile, Malaysian media is highly

So why the status quo? I know! Both parties are complicit in this
deal. So Mr. Aquino, did you already receive the oil contracts Malaysia
is peddling over Sulu? How about tita Conjuanco why is she going to be
governor of ARMM when she's not even from Mindanao, or even a Muslim?
How much did the UMNO dictators... I mean your friends... cut a share
with? Would you drop the Sabah claim for investments or quoting Misuari
"Utang Ng Loob" over Malaysia's support of your administration? How
about the pro-democracy and independence fighters in Sabah, do you
promise to shut up about them too the same way you promised to shut up
over other issues concerning this?

Is that why you had that secret meeting in Tokyo together with the
murderous UMNO party and their MILF proxies? Excluding the Sultan and
the Tausogs?

If the leaders involved in this whole affair merely stopped their
hocus-pocus conspirating and greed and rather follow the hearts of the
people, the poor, oppressed and downtrodden. There would be no bloodshed
but what is lacking here is transparency and dialogue.

However, on our part we should not judge our leaders since they
themselves also have a difficult time and they are only human. Even
Misuari, Aquino, the Sultan and UMNO are only human beings that also
deserve to be understood and respected. If they genuinely repent from
their evils and sins we as a people must forgive them and hand in hand
we can find solutions to this crisis.

And just to remind you where I get my insights. I know why Sulu holds
the keys over the gates of Meca... Sultan, when you read this. Send my
regards to Mr. Tagean Tallano, you and your clan have been really really
humble about this whole sordid international, nay, global affair and
you know what I am talking about.

When that "Unnamed Country" offers to mediate this affair. Tell her
Britannic majesty that the islands would never bow down to the thieving,
piratical and imperialist worshipers of Gog and Magog who's greed,
ignorance and disrespect is the root cause over this entire debacle.

And that the hand of British Intelligence over this whole affair is
very well known amongst members of the society. Why are her Britannic
majesty's troops stationed across Palawan? And, inside the Sulu sea? Why
was there a secret trip of Crown-Prince William to Palawan in
2011-2012? I do not lie. British hands are red with the blood of 3
continents. (Even still, they also deserve forgiveness if they

Anyway, this whole affair is one complicated morass. It is better if we become honest with one another. Everyone involved...

Truth shall set you free.

God Bless Everyone.



Roll the dice: Casino models pose at the slot machines during a media tour of the Philippines new Solaire Casino on Thursday in Paranaque. Michael French, chief operating officer of Solaire Resort and Casino, said studies not commissioned by his company project Filipino gaming revenue could rise from US$1.9 billion to  US$6 billion, equivalent to Singapore's revenue, in about five years.

Booming Buildings of   TAGUIG City  in   PHILIPPINE Islands
TAGUIG is a 21st. Century Business District of the  Philippine 

Sandakan: Steeped in history and eco-attractions

Sandakan Bay.

Overlooking the beautiful Sulu Sea, Sandakan — a rustic coastal township in Sabah, Malaysia — is steeped in history and embodies Sabah’s diverse biodiversity.

Located 23 kilometers from Sandakan town center, the Rainforest Discovery Center (RDC) offers an ideal introduction to Borneo’s unique rainforests; just take a guided tour through the Plant Discovery Garden where you’ll be introduced to various flora and fauna.

Boat rides on a small lake and environmental education programs are also available.

Established in 1964, the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center occupies the lush 4,300-hectare Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve and is renowned for rescuing orphaned baby orangutans.

Managed by Sabah’s wildlife department, Sepilok attracts tourists and researchers alike, who, just like our
tour guide advised us, must not wear bright-colored outfits, especially yellow, in case the apes mistake us for very large bananas.

Infinity swimming pool at Sheraton Four Points Hotel.
At a viewing gallery, you can watch the park rangers feed the apes with bananas and milk — a monotonous diet that serves to encourage the beasts to fend for themselves and seek other types of food available in the wild.

While at Sepilok, we were also fortunate to be given a glimpse of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center (BSBCC), which will be opened to the public later this year.

Striving to promote sun bear conservation through animal welfare, rehabilitation, education and research, the conservation center has attracted high-profile guests such as American actress Sigourney Weaver (renowned for her roles in the Alien film franchise, Gorillas in the Mist, Working Girl and Avatar).

According to the BSBCC website, Weaver did not know about sun bears until the day before she traveled to Sandakan to see the orangutans at Sepilok.

Orangutan rehabilitation center in Sepilok.During her visit in 2011, Weaver was said to have shown a great interest in the conservation of sun bears and promised to support the BSBCC to the best of her abilities.

In the same year, British actress Emma Thompson, her husband Greg Wise and their daughter Gaia also checked out the BSBCC after hearing about the sun bears while on a family holiday in Sabah.

Thompson also promised to take the message about sun bears back to the West and help promote the BSBCC.

Sandakan’s must-visit historical attractions include St. Michael’s and All Angels Church, one of Sabah’s earliest stone buildings, whose construction was started in 1893 and was completed 30 years later.

A museum at Sandakan memorial center.Designed by New Zealander BW Mountfort, the church was initially built using ironwood timber, followed by brick and finally stone, which was sourced from the nearby Buli Sim Sim area.

The church’s windows and doors adorned with white stones were imported from Hong Kong and transported to the church by prison convicts.

One cubic foot of stone weighs approximately 64 kilograms and each stone was painstakingly laid atop one another.

Thankfully, the church avoided major damage during World War II and is one of the few remaining stone buildings in Sabah, one with beautiful stained glass windows that were donated by Australians to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII.

Surrounded by sprawling green lawns, the colonial-style Agnes Keith House was occupied by Agnes Newton Keith, American authoress of Land below the Wind (1939), Three Came Home (1946) and White Man Returns (1951).

Stained glass window at St. Michael’s and All Angels Church.Land below the Wind and White Man Returns were written in the house, which is perched on a hill, offering prime views of Sandakan Bay to the front and the Sulu Sea at the back.

Converted into a heritage house and furnished with reproduced, colonial-style furniture and antiques, it provides visitors with an interesting insight into the history of British North Borneo.

On the first floor, the exhibits clue you in on Agnes Keith’s books and her family’s background.

Occupying the site of a WWII prisoner of war camp, the Sandakan Memorial Park was established to commemorate the deaths of 2,400 Australian and British prisoners of war held by the Japanese, despite being within sight of Allied victory in the Pacific.

You can enjoy a leisurely stroll and quiet reflection time at the well-maintained and beautifully landscaped park, as well as check out the museum, which offers interesting WWII exhibits.

The history conjured up here is also emphasized by the rusting remains of an excavator, generator and boiler that still occupy their original positions near the steps leading to the Commemorative Pavilion.

— Photos by Tan Hee Hu




Sandakan City also known as Little HongKong  or Nature Capital

To the south of the Philippines, is another land of infinite tropics and cultural awakenings. Metro Sandakan City in North Borneo Sabah,  the Largest and one of the busiest cities is Sabah island, is one of Asian Spirit's international destinations. A growing and developing city. Sandakan City is a center of commerce, thriving with business and development. It is also known as the gateway for ecotourism sites in North Borneo Sabah. As a premiere eco-tourism destination of Sabah. Sandakan is also fast creating an ecological hub for its residents. Being Asian Spirit's gateway to North Borneo Sabah. Sandakan City may be your first taste of Sabah North Borneo cuisine, culture and traditions. Experience the differences in this neighborly destination. Visit Sandakan City and get to know some of the cultural and natural treasures of North Borneo Sabah

Q: What is the distance from Sandakan to Sepilok Resort Please?
A:  From Sandakan Town to Sepilok Jungle Resort takes 40-50 minutes drive (depends on the traffic)
A:  From Sandakan airport to Sepilok Jungle Resort takes 25-30 minutes drive (depends on the traffic)




SANDAKAN: A businessman from this Sabah Capital City East coast town is among the three lucky winners of Panasonic Malaysia’s nationwide “Good Cheers! Good Fortune!” consumer campaign grand prize.Shim Kok Vui, 46, is RM33,333 richer after answering two simple questions in the contest. The other two winners are Chong Phaik Fong from Penang and Aida Binti Muhid from Putrajaya, Selangor

Sultan Sulu Sabah asserts rights over  North Borneo Sabah
By Erika Sauler

 Philippines—The Sultanate of Sulu & North Borneo Sabah on Saturday declared it would assert its property rights over Sabah North Borneo regardless of the unresolved territorial dispute between the Philippines and Malaysia. Sultan Esmail Dalus Kiram II said he had entered into an agreement with foreign companies to develop Sabah, especially its oil and gas, to press his proprietary rights. In a speech at the Manila Pavilion Hotel in Manila, the sultan said, “I am getting old and the wait is too long and so I decided to sign a development contract with some legitimate foreign companies to develop our property.” He said he had sent copies of the contract to the Malaysian prime minister to inform him “that we mean to exercise our rights as stipulated by the British high court of Borneo (in 1939).” Sabah was leased to the British North Borneo Co. in 1878 by the Sultanate of Sulu but it was made part of the Federation of Malaysia in 1963 after the British granted it independence. The Philippines’ pending claim to Sabah is dormant at this time but Kuala Lumpur continues to pay yearly rent to the sultan. The sultan’s son and royal commerce secretary, Abdula Kiram, explained that “we will exercise ownership regardless of which government owns [Sabah North Borneo].” He said they will not question the sovereignty issue because it is “complicated.” The younger Kiram lamented the measly US$1,000 Malaysia pays in annual rent for Sabah compared to the US$10-12 billion annual income the territory generates for the Malaysian government. In the same forum, the sultan said they will tap private security agencies to maintain law and order in Sulu. He said, “The Sultan of Sulu and North Borneo Sabah has decided to tap quasi-government security and peacekeeping agencies

Royal cousins: Sultan Bolkiah of Brunei and Sultan Fuad of Sulu Sabah Meeting of two Sultans makes history
By Julmunir I. Jannaral, Correspondent Darul Jambangan, Sulu:

The historical bilateral relations of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo Sabah and the Sultanate of Brunei where based on historical account indicating the two have blood relations would have more chances of being revived as the rulers of the two Sultanates met for the first in Malacanang Palace last week. Sultan Muhammad Fuad Ab­dulla Kiram 1st, the 35th de jure reigning ruler of the Sultan of Sulu and Sultan of Sabah had personally met His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzadin Waddaulah during a state dinner in honor of the latter hosted by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the First Gentleman lawyer Jose Miguel Arroyo held in Malacanang recently. Aside from the Sultan of Sulu and Sabah North Borneo, senior officials of the Philippine government and Brunei also attended the state dinner. Among them were Chief Justice Reynato Puno; Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile; House Speaker Prospero Nograles; Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Alexander Yano; business tycoon Lucio Tan; Office on Muslim Affairs Executive Director Datu Ali Sangki; members of the diplomatic corps as well as members of the Senate and the House of Representatives; and cabinet members. Brunei Foreign Minister Pehin Lim Jock Seng who was also among the official entourage of the Sultan of Brunei that attended the exclusive state dinner. Sultan Fuad Kiram told The Manila Times in an exclusive interview that he was pleased to meet Sultan Bolkiah especially when he shook the hand of the ruler of Brunei, and greeted him the Muslim greetings “Assalamu Alaykum [Peace be with you] your majesty.” He said Sultan Bolkiah responded to him “Alaykum Wassalam [Peace be with you too] your majesty.” Based on the genealogy, the two Sultans are related by blood as one family because their common ancestor was Brunei Sultan Muham­mad Hassan whose reign was from 1582 to 1598. The genealogy further stated that Sultan Muhammad Hassan had a wife who was a Brunei princess and that the past sultans of Brunei originated and finally descended down to Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. On the other hand, Sultan Muhammad Hassan also had another wife who was a princess from Sulu where the past Sultans of Sulu and Sabah had also originated, and descended eventually to Sultan Fuad Kiram as the current 35th reigning Sultan of Sulu and Sabah. The historical account also stated that Palawan and North Borneo, which is now the timber and oil rich Sabah were gifts by the Sultan of Brunei to the Sultan of Sulu in 1658 after the Sulu Sultan helped the former quell rebellion in Borneo. Thus, Palawan and Sabah North Borneo became properties of the Sulu crown from 1658 up to this day.

Prior to Spain’s invasion in 1521, the place that is now the Philippines was a Muslim dominion with the Sultan of Brunei ruling Luzon, while the Sultan of Sulu ruled Visayas and Mindanao. In a joint force, the Sultans of Brunei and Sultan of Sulu fought the Spanish invasion together that lasted until 1690. However, from 1691 up to 1898, the Sultans who ruled the Sultanate of Sulu and Sabah fought the Spaniards single-handedly. Thus, the meeting of Sultan Fuad and Sultan Bolkiah in Malacanang last week was considered as historic among royal cousins, and was indeed a sort of family reunion. As this developed, according to Prince Omar Kiram, the grand prince and prince marshal of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo Sabah, the official invitation by President Arroyo to Sultan Fuad to attend the exclusive state dinner, where he was formally acknowledged as the “Sultan of Sulu and Sultan of Sabah” was an official recognition of Sultan Fuad as the legitimate ruler of the Sulu Sabah Sultanate.


Lovely harbour, history and seafood - Sandakan is more than just a gateway to Sabah's nature reserves.

Many people think that Sandakan is on the tourist map because of its proximity to the world famous Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Sandakan is much more than Sepilok. I didn't know, until I stood at the waterfront in Harbour Square and looked out into the bay. Sandakan, in north-eastern Sabah, has one of the most beautiful natural harbours in the world. If Sabah looks like a dog's head, then Sandakan City is somewhere near its eye.

The waters of the bay open up to the Sulu sea, just south of the Philippines. The town derived its name from the Suluk (Tausug word) "sanda", which means "to pawn". Exactly who pawned what to whom is none too clear, the truth being lost in the murky annals of Borneo's history.
In the early 1870s, William Clarke Cowie, a Scottish adventurer and engineer, delivered guns and ammunitions to the Sultan of Sulu (Philippines),  who needed them to fend off a possible onslaught by Spaniards who had by then overrun much of the Philippine islands.

In return, the Sultan of Sulu & Sabah  Granted Mr Cowie Permission to set up base in Pulau Timbang, a sparsely inhabited island within the bay. Cowie christened his territory "Sandakan", but strangely enough, it soon became known as "Kampong German", due perhaps to the increasing number of German traders who dropped by to visit the Scotsman. And there you have it, Sandakan's early international connections!

 In 1879, the settlement was relocated to a place on the mainland known by the quirky-sounding name of Buli Sim Sim. Cowie renamed this new settlement "Elopura", or beautiful city. The name, however, didn't catch on and soon reverted to ‘Sandakan'. The British North Borneo Company, which was governing Sabah, then moved its capital from Kudat in the northern tip of the land (think dog's ears) to Sandakan, which then went through a building boom. Sadly though, Allied forces, in their attempt to liberate it towards the end of

WW2 nearly bombed the new Sandakan to smithereens. The Japanese, in retaliation, finished the job by burning it to the ground, thus wiping Sandakan from the face of the map in June 1945. The following year, the capital was moved to Jesselton, now Kota Kinabalu. Sandakan City  was and still is a port for the export of timber. With its strategic location, it soon grew into the bustling metropolis it is today. Today, it is more well-known as the gateway to Sabah's rich nature and wildlife reserves in Sepilok, Lanyakan islands (leatherback turtles), Sukau and Labuk Bay (famed for sightings of the rare proboscis monkeys) and the world-famous wildlife park in the Danum Valley.

 If you love seafood, Sandakan City is your paradise on earth. The catch here is so fresh, you could almost taste the sea in every bite. And more importantly, the prices don't burn a hole in your pocket. Seafood restaurants are built on stilts and extend out to the sea. Live seafood is kept in holding ponds in the sea itself, next to and below the dining platform. Just take your pick of fish, crab, lobster or giant prawns or even rock oysters. The cook will scoop them up and throw them into the sizzling wok just for you. Places like the Ocean King seafood restaurant in Jalan Labuk enjoys "full house" patronage every night. A finger-licking feast of butter prawns, chilli squid, a 1.2 kg whopper of a garoupa, sweet and sour crab and giant rock oysters along with a plate of stir-fried greens and chrysanthemum-scented Chinese tea for eight costs less than RM200 (Malaysian Ringgit) or P2700 Philippine Pesos (2008 Price). If you ask a taxi driver what's the local specialty dish, he'll probably drop you off at Jetty No.7, along Jalan Buli Sim Sim. This predominantly Chinese settlement on stilts is linked to the main road by a number of jetties (or jambatan). At the end of No. 8, is a kopitiam. Their specialty is sui kow (dumpling) filled with seafood and century egg.

Atop a hillock in Jalan Istana, overlooking the bay sits a colonial-looking two-storey wooden bungalow. Nothing visually striking about it but I was awed to learn that it holds a notable link to the past. It was home to Agnes, a writer, and her husband Harry Keith, who was Conservator of Forests, from the 1930s until 1942. Agnes' book on life in pre-war Sandakan brought the old seafaring name for Sabah "Land Below The Wind", to international renown. The name refers to Sabah's location just below the typhoon belt.
Agnes' second novel about their war experiences Three Came Home was immortalised in a movie. And to think, the novels were written in that nondescript bungalow in Sandakan. If you are feeling a little peckish, from all that history trawling, there is a neat little English teahouse cum restaurant that specialises in quintessentially English high tea and cakes right next to Agnes' old house.

Sandakan City has its fair share of Chinese and Buddhist temples. The Three Saints Temple (Sam Sing Kung temple), near the town padang (field), also happens to be the oldest building in town. The three saints in question are Kwan Woon Cheong, (the saint of righteousness), Tin Hou (goddess of the sea) and Emperor Min Cheong whose divine help is called upon by those who seek success in passing exams. This temple was the collaborative effort of the early Cantonese, Teochew, Hakka and Hainanese communities who made Sandakan their home. Dawn comes early in Sandakan. It's already bright at 5am. That's the best time to visit the new Central Market at Harbour Square, which boasts the biggest Fish market in Sabah North Borneo.  Boats filled with their bounty from the sea dock next to the market and unload their catch there. You can't get fish any fresher than that! At that unearthly hour, housewives and restaurateurs are already thronging the market, moving from stall to stall and haggling over prices. Sandakan is indeed much more than that "place near Sepilok", or the town that timber built.
For those of us who think of Metro Manila as the epicentre of urban activity in , Sandakan City bustles with a briskness that is uncommon for a town in a far flung corner of the Philippine Islands.

Getting to Sandakan City  Take a direct flights from Clark International Airport - Philippines  thru Asian Spirit Airline and or Air Asia
 Buses take six to seven hours from Kudat or Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan City (around 450++kms One way) 

Puuh Jih Shih Temple
Kampung Buli Sim Sim Sandakan was almost totally destroyed in World War II, there are few surviving buildings of any age. Some of the main sights today include:

Agnes Keith House, also known as Newlands - two-storey home of local author Agnes Newton Keith and her husband Harry (the Curator of the North Borneo Museum) from 1930 to 1952. The house was destroyed in World War II and was rebuilt on the same site. Mrs. Keith wrote several books about Sabah and its people, including Land Below the Wind, Three Came Home, and White Man Returns. The house has recently been restored after a number of years of neglect.
English Tea House [2] - Located in the grounds of Agnes Keith Museum, fine restaurant on the hillside above Sandakan serving traditional English and Asian cuisine. address: 2002 Jalan Istana - tel: 6089 222544

Sandakan Memorial Park - built on site of the Taman Rimba prisoner-of-war camp.

Japanese Cemetery - housing a memorial to the Japanese war dead on Borneo.

St Michael's and All Angels Church - this beautiful granite church was built in 1897 and is one of Sandakan's few surviving pre-war buildings. It was recognized as one of the world's heritage since year 2005.

Puu Jih Shih Buddhist Temple - completed in 1987, this fiery red and gold temple overlooks the town centre.

Sam Sing Kung Temple - completed in 1887, it is the oldest building in Sandakan.

Sandakan Mosque - completed in 1988, it lies next to the bay and Kampung Buli Sim Sim.
Kampung Buli Sim Sim - stilt fishing village on the original site of Sandakan town.

Sandakan New Market - one of the largest and busiest in Sabah.

Crocodile Farm - located 12 km (7.5 miles) out of town, it houses more than 2,000 of the reptiles in concrete pools.

Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary - a perfect Proboscis monkey observation spot for tourists who wants to have a closer look at these monkeys in their natural habitat.

BLOWING IN THE WIND Though the summer winds toss and turn their hair, 24 Filipina Beauties vying for the title of Binibini Pilipinas  keep their cool and poise as they are presented to the media on Tuesday at Sofitel Hotel in Pasay City.


Philippines' famed footwear fights cheap Chinese Imports

MANILA (AFP) - A museum displaying the famed shoe collection of ex-first lady Imelda Marcos has reopened in the Philippines, heralding a fightback by its beleaguered shoe industry against a flood of cheap imports.

The museum is not just a showcase of the best of Imelda Marcos's 3,000-pair collection, but also of the craftsmanship in shoe-making in the riverside eastern suburb of Marikina where the industry was born over a century ago.

Footwear consultant Tessie Endriga said that Imelda Marcos failed to provide the Marikina shoe industry with much-needed infrastructure or financing when she was in power. But she did help in her own way.

"She did patronise local brands. If she liked a certain style, she would buy a dozen pairs," recalled Endriga, who has worked with the government's Bureau of Product Standards.

Marikina shoes were once famous, both locally and abroad, until low-priced footwear from countries like China and Vietnam flooded the industry over the years, said local business leader Jose Tayawa.

"You buy Marikina-made shoes and use them for five years. You buy Chinese shoes for one-fifth the price but you can only use them for a few months," said Tayawa, the head of the Marikina Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Former shoe museum curator Dolly Borlongan conceded that most of Imelda Marcos's shoes were imported but added that there are many Marikina shoes among them, as well as displays on Marikina's shoe-making history.

The museum was set up in 1998 as just one more way for Marikina to advertise its century-long history of making footwear, from humble slippers to rugged work boots to high-fashion custom shoes.

The town has also built the world's largest shoes -- a pair of leather men's shoes, each as large as a van -- which are still on display at a Marikina mall.

Generations of Filipinos grew up wearing the local products, and Marikina-made snake-skin shoes became the toast of Fifth Avenue in the early-1980s, the city boasts on its website.

But Marikina's shoe-makers -- and the shoe museum -- have suffered setbacks in recent years. Massive flooding from tropical storm Ketsana last year damaged the museum as well as many shoe-makers' facilities and inventory.

The storm and the foreign competition took their toll. From the mid-1990s peak of 3,000, only about 200 Marikina shoemaking factories remain, said Roger Py, director-general of the Philippine Footwear Federation.

But in late September, the museum reopened, just one of the moves that Marikina officials and businessmen hope will turn the footwear industry around, city administrator Victoriano Sabiniano said.

Tourists who visited the museum tended to look for a place to buy Marikina shoes, officials said, so the city is setting up a permanent shoe expo in a central area to sell its key product and spread the word about its quality.

"Step one is the local market. Once we fix that, we can go abroad," Sabiniano told AFP.

Quality was never the problem, asserted Endriga.

"We have come up with excellent shoes. The quality of craftsmanship in the Philippines can compete with Italy," she said.

However, she added: "I won't say the shoe industry is dying but it is missing out on a lot of opportunities."

Government figures show that Philippine footwear exports in 2009 dropped 19.5 percent over the previous year to 25.96 million dollars.

Exports hit their peak at 176.3 million dollars in 1994 but have fallen sharply over the years.

Many visiting foreign buyers are still impressed by the quality of Philippine footwear, said Merlinda Diaz, an officer in the government's Bureau of Export Trade Promotion.

"But then they ask for China-level prices and the deal falls through," Diaz recalled.

Smuggling compounds the problem, with huge volumes of foreign shoes being sold at prices no local company can compete with, said Py.

The solution is not to compete with the high-volume production of these countries, he said.

"We avoid meeting the competition head-on in the cheap footwear sector. We go for the middle and the high-end," said Py, who also heads Stefano Footwear, a major local manufacturer.

The local cobblers are now targeting smaller boutique stores in developed countries, where low prices are not the main attraction, he said.

The rising wages in China are also making Marikina shoes more competitive, Py added.

"China is becoming expensive, Vietnam is not that cheap either. We just have to go out and sell ourselves," he said.


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Even  MAY BANK  "Malaysian Bank"  in Philippine also Steal by Not paying Taxes Properly with Philippine Internal Revenue:

BIR sues Maybank Philippines affiliate with P169.83-M tax evasion case   May 3, 2013 6:37pm

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on Friday said it sued before the Department of Justice an affiliate of Malaysian-controlled Maybank Philippines Inc. and its officials for P169.83 million in unpaid taxes.

Criminal charges were also filed against Philmay Property Inc. president Ong Seet-Joon, treasurer Atty. Rafael Morales, corporate secretary Atty. Jonathan P. Ong, sales and marketing department head Benjamin Q. Lira and remedial accounting associate Michelle F. Reyes.

Sought for comment, a Philmay representative told GMA News Online, "We are not in any position to comment on that as of now.

"Higher management will come out with a statement," she added.

According to a BIR computation, Philmay accumulated P169.83 million in tax deficiencies, including surcharge and interest:

P37.81 million in income tax deficiency

P73.13 million in value-added tax deficiencies

P15.57 million in documentary stamp tax deficiency

P43.32 million in expanded withholding tax.

Philmay was among the real estate companies that were allowed to have foreign equity for a limited period under the country’s Special Purpose Vehicle Law to help banks unload foreclosed assets after the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

The BIR said Philmay declared a P50.64–million loss in its annual income tax return for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009.

In November 2009, the BIR looked into the books of Philmay. The bureau said three of its revenue officers initially came up with a tax assessment of P51.96 million which was somehow trimmed down to P499,206.53.

The BIR also filed criminal cases against the three revenue officers who first investigated Philmay’s books and records.

The real estate firm claimed a deductible expense amounting to P3.21 million for the fiscal-year ending June 30, 2009 which represents salaries and wages. "[It] shouldn’t have claimed it as a deduction as it failed to withhold any tax on the salaries and wages which should have been done monthly," BIR said.

The company also claimed P50.21 million in operating expenses in its income tax return for the same year that included salaries, allowances, fringe benefits and interest expenses that were not supported by any document, the BIR noted.

In addition, Philmay did not report P95.07 million in real estate sales in its value added tax return for the year, the bureau said, noting the company neither did the company pay the necessary documentary stamp taxes for the transactions.

The BIR said it learned that Philmay paid its creditor, Maybank Philippines Inc. P61.18 million, with interest expenses amounting to P47.6 million and that the loan was a related party transaction.

Philmay is 39.99 percent owned by Malayan Banking Berhad, that also owns 99.99 percent of Maybank Philippines, the BIR noted.


Stockinger to showcase Lotus F1 in Manila show

Filipino-Swiss race car driver Marlon Stockinger will be arriving in Manila on Wednesday night to attend the Manila Speed Show, where he will be parading a Lotus Formula 1 race car.

The Manila Speed Show will take place on May 3-5 2013 at the Quirino Grandstand and the Mall of Asia.

The 21-year-old Filipino-Swiss said he is very pleased to present the car to the Filipino race enthusiasts in tandem with his Lotus F1 team.

Also attending the Manila Speed Show is Lotus F1 team owner Eric Bouillier.

Stockinger was recently chosen by Lotus to become one of its drivers in its junior team for the Formula Renault World Series 2013.

The series is widely considered as the springboard to Formula 1


Philippine National Food Authority Rice Storage (NFA)

Vietnam's  company offered a price of $459.75 per tonne to win the bid.

The Thai government, the only other bidder on the Philippines contract, offered a price of $568 per tonne for the 25% broken white rice.

That made the Thai price $108.25 higher than Vietnam's offer - per tonne, or $20.2 million for the order.

The Philippines sale appeared to provide more proof that Thailand is finding it difficult to impossible to sell rice at a competitive price because of the high prices it is paying to farmers for paddy.

For the Philippines, it was a one-time importation deal.

National Food Authority (NFA) administrator Orlan Agbin Calayag told reporters he expects the country to be self-sufficient for the rest of the year.


3 Malaysians arrested for ‘stealing’ from Philippine ATM

MANILA, Philippines - Three Malaysians were arrested after they allegedly tried to take money from an automated teller machine (ATM) with the use of an illegal device in a mall in Iloilo City on Saturday, police said.

The suspects identified as Ching Seng Jun, 25; Chang Yong Siang, 32; and Tan Boon Fooi, 24, all temporarily staying at Hotel del Rio in Iloilo City, were arrested by the security guards of the SM City Mall in Mandurriao.

Seized from the suspects were a skimming device, double-sided tape, a pair of scissors, cutter, assorted cards and P10,970 cash.


Unwanted consequences of a North Borneo Sabah Escalation - Part 2

Written by

Guerilla Warfare Unwinnable for Malaysians

In Lahad Datu and Semporna Felda districts in Sabah, the Sultanates’ security forces reinforced by MNLF veterans, probably trained by Malaysians in the past, used dynamite, normally used by Tausug fisherman for fishing, to blow up a couple of armored vehicles of the Malaysian armed forces killing about a dozen of them. Apparently this was in retaliation for the bombing of the residence of a Filipino Imam in the area of conflict. Shortly after, the Malaysian air force dispatched some fighter bombers to bomb the suspected lairs of the intruders. As expected, there were just a few reported casualties as the guerillas hid under the shade of the dense forest and the canopy provided by closely
woven palm oil trees and the thick underbrush.

This is classic guerilla warfare. In this country, this kind of heavy armed forces response to guerilla attacks has yielded meager and indecisive results. As more volunteers from the Sulu peninsula arrive to reinforce their beleaguered brothers in Sabah, a short distance away by motorized kumpits equipped with Volvo engines which successfully eluded the Philippine navy’s coastguard cutters in the heyday of smuggling, the low intensity conflict in Sabah will escalate. If the Philippine Republic employing a substantial amount of military assets could not subdue Muslim insurgents in the last half century, it is doubtful if the Malaysian military which took many years to subdue their homegrown insurgents during the “emergency” even with the help of the British, can easily take out the combined forces of Misuari and Kiram.

It is ironic that if the push comes to a shoving match between the Malaysian forces and the security forces of the Sultanate and the MNLF, the Malaysians will be facing armed elements that they trained in the past to harass the armed forces of the Philippines.

For certain, the Malaysian forces will be at a strategic disadvantage considering the proximity of the Sulu archipelago to Sabah. It would be easy for the sultanate forces to mount a strategic retreat by simply running to their motorized bancas if cornered by Malaysian forces. This hit-and-run tactic was precisely what bedeviled Philippine forces when running after the MNLF who were quick to escape to safe havens in Sabah whenever the Philippine forces were in hot pursuit after them. Today it will be the reverse. The long and porous shoreline of Sabah easily allows undetected beach landings by small bands of invaders.

Now that some blood has been spilled and Tausugs were slaughtered on the battlefield of Sabah, a fuse has been lit which, if not stamped out, will spiral out of control. The cost in lives and material will be substantial. The exodus from Malaysian Feldas by local and migrant Filipino workers from areas of conflict will be a drain on the Sabah economy. Moreover, the political instability will dissuade direct investment in the area as it has in the case of politically volatile Mindanao.

Malaysia should learn from the Filipino experience – you cannot tame the Tausugs with force. This tribe has never been conquered even by superior forces. Not even the American Colt 45 with its amazing stopping power was able to tame the Tausugs juramentado. By its aggressive action, Malaysia will import from the Philippines the Muslim militancy from the southern Philippines which was caused by centuries of benign neglect from central authorities and their own corrupt leadership.

The bottom line is to immediately de-escalate the situation and bring the parties in this strife to the negotiation table.

It would help if the Philippine government eschew its studied neutrality in the Sabah issue and sit down with the Sultanate. Lives have been lost. It does not matter that the body count is Muslim. They are still Filipinos. A commitment by this government to pursue the Sabah claim which is a valid claim and rendered compelling by constitutional, judicial and congressional pronouncements will help to initiate disengagement by combatants. This should then be followed by consolidating the claims of the heirs who still have to present a common position. After this, the bilateral talks with Malaysia can proceed. It would help to solicit the support of the ASEAN which has resolved in various fora to act as mediator in disputes involving member countries.


Sabah: British aggression

On February 27, 1947, Francis B. Harisson, in his capacity as adviser to the President of the Philippines, wrote a letter to Elpidio Quirino who was then Vice-President and concurrently Secretary of Foreign Affairs, important excerpts of which read as follows:

“I have the honor to submit herewith the portfolio of papers prepared under your direction, concerning the present status of those territories in North Borneo over which, since 1714, the Sultanate of Sulu has held sovereignty.

In an earlier memorandum dated September 26, 1946, and now in this file, I advised the Philippine Government to protest to the Government of Great Britain against the latter’s announcement of July 16, 1946, that the State of North Borneo had become a Crown Colony of the British Monarchy. This Annexation took place just twelve days after the Inauguration of the Republic of the Philippines, and was done in derogation of the rights of the Sultanate of Sulu.

Meanwhile, further important evidence has come to us from the Philippine Embassy in Washington, where Mr. Eduardo Quintero, searching in the National Archives, found a photostatic copy of the document dated January 22, 1878, upon which the British Government bases their claim to all the lands tributary to the Sultanate of Sulu. This was obtained in 1940 by the United States Department of State from the British Government, and is hereto annexed.

The second copy of this document had been held by the Sultan of Sulu, and, as is alleged, was stolen from him during a visit he made to Singapore many years ago. This story is to be found in the newspaper article in the Chicago Daily Tribune of October 14, 1945, written by Mr. Aleko Lilius in an authenticated interview with the late Sultan of Sulu.

The photostatic copy of this document, furnished by the British Government has been translated at my request by Mr. Harold Conklin, assistant to Professor H. Otley Beyer in the University of the Philippines. Mr. Conklin is a qualified scholar in the Malay language and in the Arabic script in which language and writing this document was written . . .
I shall take up again one point made in that paper, namely the argument of Justice Mackaskie that upon death in 1936 of Sultan Jamalul Kiram II, President Quezon did not “recognize” any new Sultan of Sulu in response to enquiries from the North Borneo Government. I wish to reiterate my previous statement that so far as the Sultanate of Sulu was concerned, President Quezon had no legal power to abolish the Sultanate—that could have been done only by the Moros themselves, either by positive action of their own, or by neglect to elect a new Sultan —but promptly thereafter two Sultans of Sulu were chosen by rival factions. The only other way in which an ancient State like the Sultanate of Sulu could have been abolished would have been by force, as, for example by armed conquest, and that determination of the question was, of course, lacking in the premises.

As to the question as to what should now be done by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines in this matter, I wish to enter here the opinion expressed by Dr. Beyer on page 10 of his memorandum of December 8, 1946 . . . as follows:

“The question as to whether the present Government of the Republic of the Philippines should take any definite action in the way of officially recognizing the existing Sultan of Sulu is a matter of public policy on which I have no desire to make any specific recommendation. In the interest of peace and welfare of the numerous Mohammedan citizens of the Sulu Archipelago, however, I believe that it is a matter that should sooner or later receive serious consideration from the President and his Cabinet with a view to arriving at some just solution of this vexatious question.”

Your Government has honored me with a request for an opinion on these matters, and I recommend that the Sultanate of Sulu be advised to eliminate the existing anomaly of having two rival Sultans, and that they elect only one legal Sultan, and that the latter, whoever he may be, should, as promptly as may be, request the Government of the Republic of the Philippines on behalf of the Sultanate to protest the absorption of their sovereign rights in North Borneo territories into a British Crown Colony, and if met with a refusal, on the part of the British Government, to reconsider this action, that the whole matter be laid before the United Nations Organization for adjustment.

In conclusion, I draw attention to the parallel situation in the adjoining State of Sarawak which was taken by the British Government as a Crown Colony a few weeks before similar action on British North Borneo. The negotiations for Sarawak were made by its recent Rajah, the grand nephew of the first Brooke who had been commissioned as Rajah or Governor of Sarawak by the Sultan of Brunei in 1841. In 1888, Sarawak was “recognized” by the British Government as an independent country under the protection of Great Britain, still under a Rajah Brooke. The Third Rajah Brooke, for certain compensation, recently ceded his country to England as a Crown Colony. The nephew of Rajah Brooke, his successor in line, Mr. Anthony Brooke, has made protest against the destruction of the independence of his country; has recently (in December 1946) been refused admission to the new Crown Colony of Sarawak; has arou­sed support both in Sarawak and in the British Parliament, and he now proposes to lay the whole matter before the United Nations Organization.

In reviewing the subject of the claims of the Sultanate of Sulu to their ancient patrimony in North Borneo, one must come to the conclusion that the action of the British Government in announcing on the sixteenth of July, just twelve days after the inauguration of the Republic of the Philippines, a step taken by the British Government uniter­ally, and without any special notice to the Sultanate of Sulu, nor consideration of their legal rights, was an act of political aggression which should promptly be repudiated by the Government of the Philippines.” (UP LAW CENTER, The Philippine claim to a portion of North Borneo—Materials & Documents; 2003, p. 104-105-D, Emphasis supplied).

The whole Sabah problem, therefore, originated from the “act of political aggression” committed by the British Government against the Sultanate of Sulu and the Republic of the Philippines. Malaysia simply continued that aggression to this day.

Under the Charter of the United Nations, such aggression is unlawful. It is not considered civilized nor consistent with the Rule of Law.

President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Cojuangco Aquino 3rd is either mindful or unmindful of such fact; or, cares or does not care.

In 1947, the Philippine Government he now heads was advised to promptly repudiate that act of aggression.

In 1968, the Philippine Government did.

How about under President Noynoy’s administration?

Well, he struts around wearing a shirt with an outline of the Philippine map WITHOUT Sabah.
Certainly, that should ma­ke the Malaysian Government happy.

But, that should make the Tausugs and Filipinos really cry —and really angry.

Sulu Sultanate Contra Malaysia

Ghost of British Colonialism Haunting Sabah

One ordinary day, precisely, February 9th, 2013, a band of brigands (if you listen to Malaysian authorities), or heroic liberators (as some nationalist Filipinos living in both the Philippines and in Malaysia would say), or simply mildly deranged and overly romantic buccaneers (according to most people at both sides of the Sulu Sea), landed their crafts on the green, palm-oil-plantation-covered shores of Sabah and immediately got themselves busily engaged in chivalrous warfare against the Malaysian nation, with the luminous goal of bringing the state of Sabah back under the reign of the Sulu Sultanate.

To be ‘precise’, it is often quoted that exactly 235 Filipinos (where that precision comes from is a mystery to me), some armed, some not, had travelled from Tawi-Tawi in the Southern Philippines, to the dormant, and, as many would say, god-forsaken town of Lahad Datu, in Sabah, Malaysia.

Their commander, Agbimuddin, is a brother of the self-proclaimed Sulu “sultan”, Jamalul Kiram III.

Those facts could be determined, confirmed and even re-confirmed; those fact alone, but not much more. After that, everything suddenly becomes a shadow play, something that would be more appropriate in the heart of Central Java in neighboring Indonesia, than in the grotesquely over-developed Malaysian-controlled Borneo, covered by a monoculture of palm oil plantations.

Where did this romanticism come from? Sabah, with oil, palm oil and unbridled logging could be easily described as one of the most pragmatic, un-quixotic parts of Southeast Asia. And Sulu itself has been playing bizarre international games for years and decades.

But suddenly those few, those 235 maritime samurais, were arriving from the isles, and from a different era, ready to fight for honor and even to die, facing the entire Malaysian state, one of the richest in Southeast Asia, with its 29 million inhabitants.

“How daring!” Say some, while others offer a more pragmatic view: “How idiotic!”

There are more questions than answers. Who is really behind this ‘war’? Were leaders of the Sulu Sultanate calling for the attack; were they the ones who issued the orders? And while both Malaysia and the Philippines are presently submerged up to their ears in rather serious political crises, could that situation be somehow connected to the Sabah mêlée, and could some political forces be thinking that they might benefit from the conflict?

And what about the history; how is it interlaced with the present? Current geopolitical arrangements are, undeniably, the result of British post – WWII colonialist schemes, just as they are the result of the brutal oppression of left-wing forces in the entire region.

Historically. Sabah used to belong to the once powerful but now defunct Sulu Sultanate, which is now part of the Philippines.

Leading academician, Eduardo C. Tadem, Professor from the University of Philippines in Manila, puts things to perspective:

“I have to highlight the principle of self-determination for the Sabah people. It is a historical fact that the Sabahans were never consulted in 1962 or 1963 a whether they wanted to be part of the Malaysian Federation. The Cobold Commission may, in all probability, have just fabricated the formula ‘30-30-30’. As for the Philippine claim, it rests on the moribund Sulu Sultanate’s assertion of sovereignty based on the grant by the Sultan of Brunei in return for a favor in helping suppress a native rebellion. In my book, while the transfer may have been ‘legal,’ there is no moral basis for it. Everything then turned murky. Arguing over whether the acquisition by the British of Sabah from the Sulu sultan was a lease or a cession merely trivializes the whole affair.”

“There was an attempt at self-determination in 1962 when the left-wing Brunei People’s Party led by Azahari launched a rebellion in an attempt to unify Sabah and Brunei under a nation-state independent of both Malaysia and Philippines. British forces with the help of Gurkha mercenary troops swiftly crushed this rebellion. Incidentally, at the time they launched the rebellion, the Brunei People’s Party had popular support having won all the contested seats in the local legislature. Then President Sukarno may have had a hand in this rebellion as Azahari took refuge in Jakarta and died there years later. Then as now, therefore, what matters is what the residents of Sabah want, not what the Manila and KL governments desire.”

And one would hope, not what the Brits wanted… Although, in Malaysia, no matter how fiery and anti-imperialist the rhetoric of Dr. Mahathir used to be, the Brits never really left the psyche and imagination of a substantial part of local ‘elites’. This group of dogged anglophiles has been hopelessly enamored with the Empire; with their former colonial masters, even when the boot had been planted squarely onto the behinds of the local people of the region.

The Brits naturally considered ‘self-determination’ to be one of the filthiest expressions that ever penetrated English language.

The ‘war’ began as an operatic, even burlesque occurrence.

More than 200 men were hiding deep in the jungle, or in the rubber plantations, or in the dwellings in several stilt villages, ready to strike mighty Malaysia. Who would not immediately recall an iconic 1959 film with Peter Sellers: “The Mouse That Roared”, about that tiny, poor, imaginary country in the middle of Alps, called “Duchy of Grand Fenwick”, which declared war against the United States because the Empire refused to buy its ‘Pinot Grand Fenwick’ wine? Troops with bows and arrows were sent on board commercial flight to New York. Their mission is to get defeated and secure a miniature version of the Marshall Plan. Instead, through a terrible mistake, the army of Grand Fenwick defeats the Empire.

But in Sabah, fun did not last long and there was no Peter Sellers to turn the whole thing in to a circus.

People began dying. Clashes between ‘invaders’ and the police began, and the Malaysian armed forces got heavily involved. Large areas were sealed and declared out of reach for local and foreign journalists, for ‘their own protection’, naturally, Indonesian-style.

Tanks and armored vehicles were suddenly rolling down the roads of Sabah, and Malaysia scrambled fighter jets, bombing relentlessly ‘infiltrated’ areas from the air, and then deploying heavily-armed troops to ‘finish the job’.

The number of victims is absolutely unknown. Suddenly, all this turned into damn serious stuff, with tens of thousands of people displaced, on the move.

Manila Standard Today reported that by the end of March 2013, at least 12 battalions of Malaysian soldiers and policemen, or more than 7,000 men, were searching for Agbimuddin and his men.

By the end of the month of March, according to official counts, at least 73 people died in the battles – 63 Sulu insurgents, eight Malaysian policemen and two soldiers.

Or this is what the public has been told.

Combatants are not the only victims, and official Malaysian statistics name no civilian casualties.

But at least 4,000 Filipino men, women and children fled Sabah, fearing for their lives. From my own investigation, the real number of those who left Malaysia, as well as those who have been in hiding in Borneo, could easily reach the tens-of-thousands, at the most conservative estimate.

We are scared”, whispers a lady selling basic foodstuff in the heart of a humble stilt village, which saw, recently, a series of brutal exchanges between insurgents and Malaysian police.

“We are scared”, whisper three boys, who are only in their early teens. They are taking me around, pointing at the places where some of the most gruesome killings took place. We are flouting all security precautions, as we dash into the houses abandoned by their inhabitants, then walking on wooden, elevated walkways, some of them badly damaged, some still bearing clearly visible bullet marks and blood stains. This is where people, some militants and some police officers, had been shot, others hacked to death or decapitated alive. “We don’t know who is watching us now, or who is listening,” murmur the boys. “Just take photographs quickly, and let’s get out of here, please!”

“I am scared”, shouts a boatman over the roar of his engine, navigating small high-speed craft between seemingly endless forests of stilts. “I am not refusing to take you around; we can sail under the houses for hours, but I don’t dare to land here. You can disembark one kilometer away and walk back to this town. Please understand: there are commandos inside this kampong. If they see me land, I could lose my license, I could be captured, I could be questioned and interrogated.”

“Could they disappear you?” I ask.

He pretends not to hear my question.

“Philippine people are scared and they had to flee”, I am told by a driver who agrees to take me to the overblown police station at the outskirts of Semporna City. “Thousands of them had to flee. They have been petrified since ‘the events’. It is like an exodus!”

In the morning, as I sit by the water, in a local café, an old man walks slowly towards my table. “What are you doing here?” He asks. I point at my massive professional camera resting on top of the table, making acquaintances with the fresh carrot juice. “So now it came to that,” comments the grandpa, sadly. “International press in this town, that used to be visited only by divers and adventurers.”

“Are you also scared?” I ask him, because everybody else seems to be. “Yes I am”, he nods.

“Of whom?” I ask.

He does not reply.

“Of whom?” I insist.

He leaves, abruptly.

The old man forgot to mention that for years and decades before the conflict, it was not just divers and adventurers, but mainly hundreds of thousands of legal and illegal migrant workers, predominantly from the Philippines, but also from India, Indonesia, Bangladesh and elsewhere, who have been coming to Sabah, in search of relatively well-paid jobs.

He also forgot to say that this was not so ‘unexpected’, that it was not the first ‘incident’. At least 21 Lahad Datu inhabitants were killed when Sulu pirates invaded the shores of Sabah and looted local bank and Malaysian Airlines office in 1985. And there were kidnappings, later, from the Sandakan area.

Sabah, with its, by the region’s standard, high salaries, has been like a strong magnet for migrants arriving from the Philippine islands of Mindanao, Basilan and Sulu, and from the Indonesian parts of Borneo called Kalimantan, both areas easily definable as some of the poorest in Southeast Asia. Remittance stores in Sabah’s cities openly advertise the transfer of funds to the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia and several other countries that are regularly sending millions of workers to much richer parts of the world.

Before the recent ‘war’, there was a Filipino migrant community living in Sabah over 800,000-strong, the majority without official papers and therefore vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.

All this created confusion, tension and even open hostility and discrimination, something that was always very well concealed.

There were anti-immigrant lobbies and pro-immigrant ones; there were those who wanted to keep Sabah predominantly ‘native’ and ‘Malaysian’, as well as those who were interested on getting their hands on as many immigrants as possible, in order to take advantage of cheap and badly organized labor.

Hardly anybody came here because of love for the place: Sabah state is not only humid and hot; it is filthy, and outrageously boorish. Here, one could easily forget that this is Malaysia, a middle-income country that has aspired (for decades), to join the so-called developed world.

With garbage-covered streets, rubbish floating next to and off the seashores, with children begging at food markets and street corners, the cities of Sabah resemble some Philippine or Indonesian urban centers, with primitive or collapsed infrastructure, an acute lack of hygiene, public transportation and appalling social policies.

It is not only the outsiders who are noticing the rot. The opposition State Reform Party claimed, recently, that Sabah health care is in a deplorable condition, everywhere; in some cases it says it is unacceptable. There is a feeling of thorough hopelessness here, mostly unknown in the rest of the country, especially in the glitzy and cosmopolitan Kuala Lumpur or elegant, historic and ‘oh so’ Chinese cities like Georgetown on Penang Island or Kuching in Sarawak.

Sabah used to be the second richest state in Malaysia, after Selangor, at least on paper, and mainly due to its unregulated logging and later introduction of palm oil plantations. Those have been managing to ruin almost all of state’s native fauna and flora, turning it into near Indonesia-style environmental nightmare, but the earnings used to be high.

Lately the greed, mismanagement, and unequal distribution of wealth, has turned Sabah into the second poorest state of Malaysia. Apart of palm oil, Sabah also produces crude oil, but, like in the Gulf, the natural wealth of the area does not necessarily translate into prosperity for the majority of the inhabitants. Children here are often running barefoot and many adults appear to be illiterate. It is not only medical care that is in disastrous state; it is also education.

I get to work, trying to collect as many testimonies from the ground as possible. There seems to be no foreign press in the city of Semporna; all journalist left soon after the first wave of fighting subsided.

This is the area that registered the largest number of Malaysian casualties, most likely 6, but possibly much more.

There are several theories about what happened. The most accepted one is that on 2 March 2013, ten alleged insurgents were holed inside a house in a humble stilt village at Simunul, concretely in its dilapidated section called Lorong 5, and that they were discovered by police. That’s what I am told by the locals; those few who are still left here; those who dared not to abandon their homes.

One of the local kids, Azman bin Ahmad is my self-designated guide. His grandparents came from Sulu, but he feels Malaysian. I don’t ask for it, but he insists on flashing his official Malaysian ID at me, repeatedly, as if feeling the need to prove his own identity to himself, to me and to the world.

Azman and his mates are taking me through Lorong 5, to the house where the gruesome exchange took place. Elevated, stilt-supported walkways form a complex, fascinating labyrinth.

“There was terrible battle right at this place”, explains Azman. “Just look at those marks! They are all over and they are from the bullets. And, here – see the blood? At one point, police officers and insurgents all fell to the water… And the water was red from blood. It was just awful…”

I ask Azman and his friends to explain exactly what happened here.

“There were some 10 or more people gathering here, inside the house. They were all from Sulu. During the prayer time, between Maghrib and Isha (between 6:30pm and 7:30pm), they were conducting ‘tahlil’, a prayer for those who died earlier in the battle at Lahad Datu, some 200 kilometers away from here; from Semporna. Then a group of police officers moved in; they were progressing towards the house, obviously tipped off by locals. Police were armed. One of them kicked the door of the house open… Then everything began happening with the lightning speed: several men were behind the door. They grabbed the nearest police officer and killed him on the spot. After that, many shots were fired. I don’t know who was firing at whom, but I think that the shooting was coming from both sides. They say that six police officers died as well as three or more of Sulu people. You can see there, and there, where the bullets hit the walls.”

One of the boys jumps in, impatiently. He goes ballistic, arguing that the Sultan of Sulu is not really a sultan, and how the fighters who landed in Sabah had been fooled; how all that has been happening is one huge farce.

Whether farce or not, the scene of the worst documented battle of this conflict definitely looks eerie. Stilt walkways collapsed; some parts are submerged, broken, and there is nobody around.

I peek into the houses and everything inside them is upside down, torn apart and smashed; in absolute disarray.

“Malaysian commandos came here on several occasions, and destroyed everything”, explains one of the boys.

There are some family photos on the wooden bench, left intact. These are images of content looking men, women and children, posing with warm smiles on their faces. ‘What happened to them?’ I think. This is the house where the killings took place. ‘What is really going on?’

People on the photographs do not look at all threatening.

It appears that nobody in Kuala Lumpur and in Manila actually understands what is going on here. And it appears that it is supposed to remain like that.

Irwanizam bin Mad Jais, a Bajau native, is also confused by the present situation:

“The majority of citizen of Semporna are Bajau and Suluk people. Many came from Sulu and then settled here. Some of them have already lived in Sabah for more than 10 years, and are in possession of ID (IC) cards. They are definitely not some kind of ‘outsiders’“.

When I ask about the battle in Semporna; at Simunul, Lorong 5, he immediately voices his doubts:

“I heard that three or more policemen died in the fights at Kampung Simunul. They were sent here from Serawak and from Kuala Lumpur. There are some things that I don’t comprehend: the government has been saying that the attackers who died all came from Sulu, that they were followers of Sultan of Sulu. What I know is that Sulu fighters usually wear elaborate and scary uniforms, and they are armed. I saw with my own eyes those people who died in Lorong 5, and were later called ‘Suluk fighters’ by the government. They didn’t wear any uniforms. Three dead bodies carried out of the village by the police were wearing traditional Malay clothes. It appeared as if they were just woken up from their sleep, killed, and immediately carried away. And there were no guns. I don’t understand why the police killed these three men. Frankly, I don’t think they were the insurgents.”

I ask him about police brutality:

“There is plenty of it now. I don’t understand why police tends to be so violent towards the common people here? They are conducting frequent raids. And we are afraid because they are carrying guns. I am a citizen of Sabah. I have IC. I make money by driving my own car. But they are questioning me, and my friends, as if we were a bunch of criminals. Why don’t they catch and punish real criminals and those who want to take over our State?”

I am told that Malaysian police brutality in Sabah is taboo; it is scarcely investigated and almost never mentioned in local media reports.

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian college lecturer and filmmaker, Kia Meng Boon, later explained:

“Peninsula Malaysians lack access to independent media in the country, where citizens could learn the facts and judge the real situation on the ground for themselves.”

It is no secret that Malaysian media and intellectuals are not renowned for their courage. I was told by several of my friends and colleagues in Kuala Lumpur, that ‘the government has really made this into a security issue’ and commenting on the situation would ‘not be strategic.’

Predictably, police and armed forces on the ground have their lips sealed. I visited both gunboat docks, and one enormous police station where few dozens of captured militia members are allegedly held. The answers were invariable:

“We are very sorry, but we can not talk about those incidents at all. There are people with more authority than us who can enlighten you. For instance, you can go to Police Headquarters.”

I asked Nadira Ilana, Malaysian filmmaker, who is originally from Borneo, whether the battles are actually ‘real’. There are countless rumors in both the Philippines and Malaysia that political interests actually orchestrated the conflict.

“Not sure what the rumors are in Kuala Lumpur, but there are clearly many rumors in Sabah”, she replied. “I personally don’t think it was politically arranged. Both Malaysia and the Philippines are facing election years. I can’t imagine how this incident could help either party… Yes, the Sabah attacks were very much real. It’s not the first time Sulus have attacked Sabah but it may be the first time we’ve been attacked over the Sabah claim…”

Then she concluded: “I think the Sabah claim was laid dormant after the formation of Malaysia, which unintentionally and perhaps indirectly sparked the Mindanao-Philippines civil war. If it were not for Sabah’s Suluk Chief Minister Tun Mustapha, Malaysia and Libya, Mindanao would not have become an autonomous region. The Sulu claim on Sabah seems to fluctuate depending on Mindanao-Philippines relations, which is why I see these recent attacks as a spillover from Philippines’ politics rather than a BN ploy.”

Malaysian Got out of SABAH

Malaysian Got out of  North Borneo Sabah

Rape of Sabah Mountain by Malaysians

Profit over planet – Malaysia-style. - Rape of  Sabah Hills  by Malaysians

It is quiet and peaceful at Café Melaka, on Semporna seafront. Two ladies wearing headscarves are watching a soap opera, as if there was no drama, much more gripping than a television one, consuming their state.

The scenery around is fantastic; traditional structures emerge from the sea, built on wooden supports. There are entire man-made islands resting on stilts, mostly inhabited by native sea-bound people who only opted for this ‘lifestyle compromise’ in recent years and decades. Mountains encircle the cove. There is a constant flow of slow and high-speed boats shuttling people between the Borneo mainland and the islands in the bay.

As I clean my camera lenses, slowly sipping bitter coffee, an old man I met earlier, returns. He is obviously eager to talk:

“It is terrible”, he sighs, refusing to sit next to me, as if ready to deliver memorized speech. “Here, we have no experience with such things. In other countries they would know what to do, but we are peaceful here. In Lahad Datu they had to face this situation in March, but we thought that here we would be spared. Suddenly, six police officers were murdered.”

‘Three or five or six’, I think. They cannot even agree on the numbers…

The old man continues his lament: “My friend told me that one entire commando had to come to retrieve bodies, because police would not dare to rescue corpses of their fallen comrades… I was also told that most of the officers were not shot; they were hacked to death, cut to pieces…”

At the end he gets philosophical: “In this part of the world, we may get the same color of hair, but who knows what is taking place inside our heads?” And he adds, laconically: “This also illustrates how thoroughly uneducated were the attackers. What did they think? That they would manage to capture the entire State of Sabah with that little band and their bare hands?”

Traumatized  North Borneo Sabah kids at the scene of the battle.

There is only one tiny step from outrage to bigoted talk, even to discrimination itself.

The Filipino people, both those who have lived here for generations and those who came illegally, have mostly left the area. Lorong 5 is now half-empty – only Malaysians and some Indonesians stayed.

I hired a boat and went to the biggest island in the bay – Palau Bum-Bum – right across the water from Semporna. As I was arriving to jetty, mighty police speedboats were busy landing dozens of heavily armed men on the island.

I asked an Indonesian worker, a young girl named Zuraida, what happened to the Filipino people who have been living on the island for decades.

“Several of them used to work here, with us, but they are in hiding now. I have no idea where they went,” she said. I got the feeling that even if she would know, she would not tell, and for very good reasons.

The atmosphere, the mood all around Sabah is very bad. Most of the ‘foreigners’ have left, and some nationalist elements are now on the loose.

Pulau Bum-Bum is no exception. In very un-Malaysian and rude fashion, some minivan drivers speak to me in an obscene, insulting way: “Hey boss, hey you! Where you go?”

Heavily armed police move down the road.

Then the skipper who is taking me back to Sabah mainland is passing by ‘ice village’, where huge bricks of ice are waiting in awful heat to be transported to towns and villages all over the bay:

“People who are living in Lorong 5 have no clue about Malaysian law. They think here it is similar to what they have back at home – lawlessness. That’s why they think they can just come over and try to take Sabah. They are coming here from their proud and isolated sultanate, and they think that we – Malaysians – are lower then they are… And on top of that, their leaders in Sulu have tricked them by making promises that cannot be fulfilled!”

He goes on and on. Finally he begins sounding approximately the same as German neo-Nazis, and he is carrying quite a similar message. Except that he is speaking Malay.

Yes, the fear is everywhere. I walk to restaurant in a shack, near the road. One of the waitresses is married to a boy who used to live in Lorong 5.

I order a serving of awful fried noodles and ask her about her family. She studies me, for a while, then decides that I could be, most likely, trusted:

“My in-laws had to flee and to spend one entire week in hiding”, she explains.

“Has it been tough here for you?” I ask.

She nods. “There were tanks here. Big tanks, which you see in the movies… right here, on this road.”

On the way back to Tawau Airport, all that can be seen are enormous palm oil plantations. Their size is monstrous. The land is terribly scarred. There is no native forest left in the entire area, everything is logged out, destroyed. It is almost one hundred kilometers of uninterrupted and foreign monoculture.

“Do local people like this?” I ask the driver.

“Those who work in the industry – they do. The rest hate it. But what can they do?”

Tawau Airport is half-deserted. Like all over Sabah, people are sleeping with their heads on the table, including staff. Few kids are hanging around untidy eatery:

“With this conflict, I think business is down by 50%. You see that it is not as crowded as it used to be, and today is Friday, people used to travel a lot on this day… We have many Filipinos living here. We used to coexist in peace. Now there are prejudices on both sides…”

I got bumped off half-empty Malaysian Airlines flight. Their system jumped one month on my return ticket to Kuala Lumpur, not unusual occurrence for this airline with appalling customer service record. A check-in counter clerk shot his hateful glimpse at me, and then sent me, with spite, to nearby ticket office. There, inefficient and openly hostile agent began insulting me, before offering to re-instate the seat for approximately 300 dollars, three times the price of the original fare.

I flashed the gold card of One World alliance, which Malaysian Airlines recently joined, but they laughed in my face, and insulted me some more. I protested. Immediately, a couple of passengers stood up and threatened to call police. “There are children here”, they shouted at me. To protest injustice is obviously illegal here. I bought a one-way ticket on low-cost Air Asia and lost my Malaysian Airlines ticket altogether.

Sabah is overflowing with anger and bad moods, with bad will, frustration, concealed grievances, and both concealed and unconcealed violence.

The attacks were recent, but begging children, filth and destroyed environment are something that Sabah has been enduring for decades.

The medieval, feudal way in which the island of Borneo has been governed, as well as the cowardice of Malaysian intellectuals, many of whom are too comfortable, too lazy, too spoiled by Western funding and therefore thoroughly unwilling to address almost any uncomfortable issues in their country, are partially to blame for the set of nightmares that form the reality of the state of Sabah.

There are certain topics ‘ignored’ even by the opposition, unless some substantial financing from abroad is secured: like the savage logging practices exercised by Malaysian companies operating both at home and abroad, like the palm oil and ethnic/minorities issues. Naturally there are some exceptions; those individuals who are aiming at being little bit more than just some supermarket toy coin-horses, but sadly, very few.

The British colonial madness is also hardly addressed here, and its legacy is seen as some wise, even supreme type of guidance. This madness goes on and on, unchallenged and uncorrected.

The little invasion, the little war, will stop. Eventually, everything will calm down. After some year will pass, everything will be forgotten. Bizarre little wars and conflicts have tendency to parish from the memory of the people, especially if their roots are not analyzed and publicly debated.

Palm oil will probably make it, eventually, even to some city parks and private gardens. I would not be surprised if the palm oil plantations would be, one day, declared as inseparable part of Malaysian culture.

The Filipino community will keep enjoying ‘tolerance and lack of discrimination’, it was told to be enjoying by the Malaysian officials.

The regional political situation will continue to be confusing, even schizophrenic. To illustrate it: just a couple of days before the conflict, I was told by one of the Commanders of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) that if the Sulu Sultanate ever demanded the return of Sabah to the Philippines, MNLF would fight leadership of the Sultanate. Instead, at one point after the invasion, MNLF declared that they ‘couldn’t stop their own fighters from joining the insurgents, anymore’.

In Malaysia, there will be no referendum on Sabah issue, or on any other essential matter. And there will be no serious revision of the colonial past despite the fact that it has been, periodically and nastily, merging with the present.


The continuing Sabah saga-Part 1

To many Filipinos Sabah is a piece of property somewhere in the southwest Philippine Sea which was the scene of the lucrative barter trade during the period of import and exchange controls in the fifties. Indeed Sandakan was the source of “blue seal cigarettes” and other luxury items that Tausug traders sent to the rest of the archipelago.

This entrepot trade provided a decent income for the sea traders of the Sulu peninsula. The removal of controls in the sixties killed the barter trade and a lot of inhabitants from the area started the exodus to Sabah they consider their ancestral home to seek livelihood.

Origin of Sabah claims
It was President Diosdado Macapagal, an economist with a sense of history, who attempted to rewrite Philippine records. First of all he changed the date of Philippine independence from July 4 which coincided with that of the US, to June 12 when Aguinaldo raised the Philippine flag in Kawit. Secondly he backed the historical claim of the Sultanate of Sulu over Sabah.

In the 17th century the Sultanate of Sulu was riding high, extending the crescent over vast territories in Mindanao.

Since Sabah is closer to Tawi Tawi than the island is to Zamboanga, the Sultanate was only too happy to have been gifted with this vast expanse of fertile land from the Sultanate of Brunei in 1658, as an expression of gratitude for the aid extended by the Sulu Sultan’s armed forces in stopping a rebellion. After a couple of centuries when British traders were scouring areas in the region to convert into trading posts, the Sultanate agreed to a real estate deal that it has regretted to this day.

The year is 1878—a contract is signed between Sri Paduca Amulana al Sultan Mohammad Jamalul Alam, representing the Sultanate of Sulu as “owner and sovereign of Sabah “and Gustavus Baron de Overbeck, a retired bankrupt German diplomat from Hong Kong and Alfred Dent of London representing the British East India Company later renamed the North Borneo Company as “lessee” for a fee of 5000 dollars per year for this northern part of the island of Borneo. The area covered 76,115 square kilometers, richly endowed with rich natural resources including petroleum.

As a historical backdrop, the year before Queen Victoria was crowned Empress of India and the British Empire has become an area “where the sun never sets” because, in the words of a British diplomat, “the natives do not trust the Brits at night.”\ Indeed Britannia ruled the waves and the industrial revolution which started in the Isle of Albion had made Britain globally great. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 made travel to the East much faster and British colonial possessions more accessible and manageable.

Thus the second wave of British expansion to Southeast Asia began.

It is against this background that Alfred Dent a shrewd British trader with strong connections in London—the financial market—cast his astute eyes on Borneo. In London he boasted about his sweetest real estate deal, which beat the Louisiana Purchase, the sale of Manhattan and that of the Philippine to the US by Spain. The London capital market responded positively and from that time on the flow of British capital for the development of the newly acquired piece of real estate in North Borneo has not stopped. Today the goods and services produced by the North Bornean area is greater than that of the whole Philippines—thanks mainly to British Shell’s petroleum fields and the plantation economy introduced by British hacienderos among others.

Obviously the skills and gallantry of thd Sultan and his Tausug followers in the field of battle was not matched by business acumen. In fairness to the Sultan of Sulu, how could an ordinary caliph with more real property than he could efficiently oversee anticipate the return on investments to be realized by an area more than half of Mindanao, which today contributes a huge amount of income to the Malaysian Federation?

Indeed today had the Sultanate held on to Sabah, the Philippines would be richer than Malaysia and this country would not only have no brown outs in Mindanao—it could even be exporting energy. Alas, today Malaysia’s per capita GDP is about $5,000, double that of the Philippine economy.

A reality check
From the time that the British acquired the territory in 1878 to the time that it turned over the same to the Federation of Malaysia in 1963, British capital, Japanese invaders during the Second World War and other investors has converted the river valleys into huge palm oil plantations and exploited the thick jungles and dense rainforests as well as the rich mineral resources, especially petroleum. Before leaving the territory it was therefore convenient to leave these lucrative and permanent British and other foreign assets in the hands of a trusted vassal. Hence the British constructed the Federation of Malaysia.

To the credit of the former colonizer, it left behind a fairly honest and competent bureaucracy which today continues to serve the Sabahans well, increasing steadily the levels of productivity in the farms and insuring adequate incomes and employment. Indeed the quality of life of the people of Sabah is superior to that of their neighbors in the Sulu peninsula—only a stone’s throw away!

Today Sabah is a cosmopolitan society of different ethnic groups with Filipinos comprising about a third of the community. It is not surprising that a referendum held before the formation of the Malaysian federation saw the Sabah community opting to join Malaysia rather than the Philippines.

Today Sabah is a mainstay of the Malaysian economy. One of the 13 states, it was at one time it was the biggest contributor to the Malaysian GNP. For Malaysia to give away Sabah would be akin to this country giving away the Visayas and Mindanao. It is obvious that it will never allow the dismemberment of the Federation by giving up this prized territory, nor will the Sabahans willingly surrender their quality of life—now the envy of other Asean states, which is superior to that of this country in many aspects.

On the other hand it would be difficult for the Sultanate which has already surrendered its sovereignty to the Republic of the Philippines, if not its proprietary rights, over the territory, to just walk away from its historic claims admitted by Malaysia under the Manila Accord in 1962 and subsequent discussions. The fact that Malaysia continues to pay padjak to the heirs to this day is tacit approval of the claims of the Sultanate. To say that this is payment for this vast and lucrative real estate is an insult to the intelligence. The fact that the territory derives income in terms of goods and services greater than that of this country makes the contribution of $1,700/pa to the heirs laughable to say the least. The amount in not even enough to rent a three-room condo in the Global City per month.

Amb. Jose V. Romero Jr. is a vice president of Philippine Ambassadors Foundation Inc. (PAFI) a non-stock, non-profit and non-partisan organization devoted to providing a forum for constructive ideas on vital Philippine foreign policy issues


In 1968, after the Malaysian panel had unilaterally walked out of the diplomatic talks held in Bangkok, then Senator Arturo Tolentino delivered a speech before the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the most inspiring excerpts of which do make all Filipinos and Tausugs, specially the youth, proud. Read as follows:

“All these acts by which Malaysia acknowledged and recognized the existence of the Philippine claim and the need of settling it took place subsequent to the so-called U.N. ascertainment and the proclamation of the Federation of Malaysia including Sabah. They prove that in the view of the Philippines as well as of Malaysia, the claim and the right to pursue it did not perish by the so-called ascertainment and the inclusion of Sabah in the Federation.

“None of these acts were unilateral acts of the Philippines. They were acts executed jointly by both the Philippines and Malaysia, over a period of more than four years, between February 12, 1964 and July 8, 1968. What do these acts prove? They prove the falsity of the statement of the representative of Malaysia that it is only the pressure of politics that has kept the claim alive with artificial respiration. No, the claim has survived the so-called ascertainment and the inclusion of Sabah in the Federation of Malaysia because Malaysia itself had repeatedly given its word to keep it alive.

“Why has Malaysia suddenly decided to turn its back on a formal commitment which it has dutifully reiterated from 1964 up to July this year? We will hazard an explanation. At the Bangkok talks, it became clear to Malaysia that the Philippines has a case, a strong case, and it therefore decided that it would be better to lose national honor than to lose Sabah. Malaysia is now blatantly reneging on its solemn word and the principle of self-determination is being unscrupulously used as a convenient, deceptive cloak to cover the ugliness of betrayal.

“Malaysia has set itself up as a litigant and judge at the same time. Worse still, as judge, Malaysia not only has already decided the case in its favor and against the Philippines; it also decided that our claim is not justifiable. Pride and self-conceit can go no further than that.

“I would suggest, however, that the Malaysian display of arrogance springs not from self-confidence or certitude, but rather from doubt and fear. It stands to reason that Malaysia would more readily agree to go to court with us in the degree that it considers our claim to be lacking in merit. The World Court, after all, has well-established procedures for screening disputes brought before it and throws out without much ado or ceremony cases that are ‘a composite of fantasy, fallacy and fiction.’

“It was never intended that Malaysia should first be satisfied that the Philippine claim is tenable as a condition before modes of settlement are considered. This could not have been intended for it would be an impossible condition; surely, nobody in his right mind can expect Malaysia to voluntarily admit that the Philippine claim is valid.

“Let me assure this august Assembly that the Philippines does not and will not use underhanded methods in the pursuit of its claim. Neither will it turn its back on its commitments, under any pretext. Nor will it seek any method of settlement outside the framework of the Charter of the United Nations and the Manila Accord of July 31, 1963, as elaborated by the various subsequent official statements and commitments made by both the Philippines and Malaysia.

“That is why we have invited and still invite Malaysia to agree to submit this legal issue to the International Court of Justice, and have it decided once and for all. If in its view the Philippine claim is unsustainable in law and in fact, and it is convinced that its position will be upheld by the Court, it has nothing to lose, and the Philippines will accept the verdict” (TOLENTINO: Voice of Dissent; 1990, p. 496-497).

On March 23, 2013, His Majesty Sultan Fuad Kiram I of the sultanate of Sulu and Sabah handed over to this writer a copy of his open letter addressed to the Sabah Tausugs and Sulu Dominions Tausugs and Filipinos, which reads as follows:

“Open letter of His Majesty Sultan Fuad A. Kiram I to the Sabah Tausugs & Sulu Dominions Tausugs & Filipinos:

To our dearly beloved Tausug sons and daughters of “The Unconquered Kingdom” of Our royal sultanate of Sulu dominions of Zamboanga peninsula, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Palawan and those in Sabah, We praise and admire your strong spirit of faith in Islam and your faith in us as your sultan.

Our beloved Royal Tausug Sultanate of Sulu (a sovereign kingdom nation state for hundreds of years long before the USA, Philippines and Malaysia became nations), is known the world over as The Unconquered Kingdom, because our Royal Sultanate of Sulu, did not surrender to the might of Spain for over 377 years of brutal conquest by Spain. Spain was the superpower at the time.

Our undaunted and brave Tausug warriors have experienced centuries of war and we are known as the modern Spartans of the ancient past, who were born and bred for war, but practitioners and champions of peace.

We are the reigning sultan of Sulu and Sabah and head of Islam, because We are the last son of Our beloved father, who was the sultan of Sulu from 1947 to 1973, and, being His last son by law of royal succession and Primogeniture, We inherited all the rights, titles and positions of Our royal father—His Majesty Sultan Muhammad Esmail Kiram I, your benevolent sultan—who till his death in 1973 worked tirelessly all his life for the return of Sabah to the Tausugs. Now we carry on that loyal duty and we will not stop till Sabah is returned to the Tausug sultanate of Sulu, and to its people, the Tausugs of Sulu and the Tausugs of Sabah that will re-unite them as one people, once more.

Our history shows that Sabah and Palawan, including Spratly Islands, became sovereign domains of the sultan of Sulu since 1658 to this day. They were gifts eternal by the sultan of Brunei to His royal cousin, the sultan of Sulu. The Brunei sultan as a sign of gratitude ceded Sabah, Palawan and Spratlys to the Sultan of Sulu, due to the vital military assistance given by Our great ancestor, His Majesty Sultan Paduka Batara Shah, who ordered Our more than 2,500 brave “royal Tausug army force,” led by the brave Panglima Illiji, the great ancestor of Our gallant Maas Nur Misuari, that stopped a major rebellion in Borneo and installed the true Brunei Sultan to the throne.

That is why, we say today, the Tausugs of Sulu and Tausugs of Sabah who belong to sultanate of Sulu with Filipinos own Sabah, Palawan and the Spratlys.

With Sabah added to Our Tausug sultanate dominions, this will greatly increase the territory and land area of the Tausug Sultanate of Sulu, including an increase of over $75 billion gross domestic product each year to our local economy, and Our beloved people in Sulu and Sabah will benefit markedly that will alleviate poverty of Our people, once Sabah is returned to us.

It is Islamic, moral, honorable and patriotic duty of every Tausug in Sulu and in Sabah and Filipino, to join the cause of Sabah return to Us, because it is our land and Our domain, now illegally occupied by Malaysia since 1963 to this day.

To our Tausugs of Sabah and the Tausugs of Sulu We state in the event of Sabah successful return, our Policy is to provide free hospitals and free medicines, free education and free community housing for the old, widows, orphans, the sick and the poor. We shall offer free retirement villages for our old and aged citizens complete with medical and dental services with entertainment and recreational facilities.

We shall sign and have joint ventures with overseas world class universities to set up their campuses in Our sultanate dominions, so that Our beloved students can have free first class education, with world class standards and diplomas, to prepare them as future leaders of our Great Tausug sultanate.

We shall build power plants and drinking water facilities to be available at low rates to all Our citizens, including modern roads, seaports, airports and vital infrastructures. We shall also provide other infrastructures needed by Our people and We will fund and assist business and industry to flourish to provide needed jobs, with the lowest tax levied to Our citizens. Our dearly beloved Tausugs of Sulu and Sabah with Filipinos will benefit from the return of Sabah to us, as one domain again of the Tausug sultanate of Sulu.

Today, we call on our brave and resolute Tausug people of Sabah who number over 70 percent of the population, to be strong in faith and to be calm in the face of this current crisis. We, Our Royal Family, and Our Royal Cabinet, along with the valiant Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) led by its gallant Chairman Nur Misuari, stress Our aim and concern to save lives of Our Tausug and Filipino people coupled with their families to be safe from harm and away from danger in Sabah.

To Our dearly beloved Tausugs of Sulu and Sabah, in Our heart of hearts, We say to you We have not forgotten you, for you are Our sons and daughters of our great Tausug sultanate of Sulu, divided by Sulu Sea, but We are united by Our undiluted Unconquered proud Tausug warrior blood, own language, Our unique arts and culture, bonded and etched in Islamic faith, customs, traditions and practices, that made us truly unique as a kingdom and group of people.

We, with MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari and the gallant and valorous MNLF, urge Malaysia to exercise maximum tolerance and restraint so that this dispute is resolved by peaceful means. We, with our “Royal Tausug MNLF Defense Force” will continue to press for the return of Sabah to the Tausug sultanate of Sulu that will benefit the Tausugs of Sulu and the Tausugs of Sabah with the Filipinos.

We say to Malaysia not to pursue a policy of “ethnic cleansing” against the helpless and innocent Tausugs and Filipino civilians in Sabah. Human rights violations of Malaysia against innocent civilians, will only further add to the anger and hatred of the Tausugs and Filipinos, wanting to seek justice and revenge, against Malaysian brutalities.

Lastly in the final analysis, We remind everyone Our central policy is peaceful Sabah resolution, plus friendship, harmony, greater understanding and solidarity of all religions that will bring us peace and ultimate economic prosperity, we all deserved as peace loving people. Allah bless you and yours.”

1. The United Kingdom, Malaysia and the Philippine government are grantees, and the sultanate of Sulu and Sabah is the grantor, insofar as the usufruct over Sabah is concerned. They either do recognize Sultan Fuad Kiram I as the reigning sultan, or they don’t.

2. If they do, they should waste no time in settling the Sabah issue with Sultan Fuad.

3. If they don’t, they owe it to the Tausugs and the Filipino people to explain why they do not recognize Sultan Fuad as the reigning sovereign Sultan.

4. No less than Malaysia has officially recognized Fuad Kiram I as the Sultan of the sovereign sultanate.

5. Therefore, no other sultan may be properly recognized in view of the one sultanate, one sultan rule.

Photo by: Lilach Gavish
An overdue thank you
Lilach Gavish

In 1940, Philippine President Quezon offered shelter to 10,000 Jewish refugees. Last month, hundreds gathered in Rishon Lezion to commemorate Filipino kindness.
In 1940, Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon decided that his country would give shelter to Jewish refugees. On the day a ship arrived carrying 300 Jewish refugees from Nazi oppression, Quezon gave a speech in which he condemned the Nazi persecution - an act that many heads of state avoided. The speech led the German consul to the Philippines to protest the president's offending the honor of the German Reich, but Quezon nevertheless offered shelter to 10,000 Jews. Eventually, 1,500 took refuge on the islands. Last month, hundreds of Filipinos and Jews from all over the world gathered at the World's Nations Cherished park in Rishon Lezion. The event celebrated the culmination of three years' effort towards commemorating the Philippines' gesture and inaugurated the Open Doors monument, by renowned Filipino artist June Lee. Government Services Minister Michael Eitan took the podium and after describing the bonds between the Jewish and Filipino peoples, he said it was Israel's "obligation to be especially polite to the [Filipinos] living among us." The Philippine tourism minister Joseph H. Durano also spoke. "We are a tolerant people. Never have we taken part in anti-Jewish activities and Jews never lived in a ghetto in Manila. There was an exchange of cultures. This inauguration is a symbol of the human spirit, which is second to that of God." The impetus for putting up the monument was Frank Ephraim's 2003 book Escape to Manila, in which he wrote: "The Philippines held out a promise of a safe haven from Nazi oppression, offering survival from mass murder of the Jewish people in Europe." Ephraim has since passed away, but his narrative prompted the municipality of Rishon Lezion to give the monument a place in the city's World's Nations Cherished park, even though other organizations, such as Yad Vashem, refused to acknowledge the Philippine government as righteous gentiles (see sidebar). Max Weissler, 76, is one of the last survivors living in Israel who took refuge in the Philippines. For the past few years, he has been working to see the monument erected. "I grew up in a region that belonged to Germany. We were the only Jews there. One day the village cop came to my father and said 'run away quickly. In a day or two, I'll have to arrest you.' When I was eight years old, we arrived in Denmark as refugees. They didn't let us stay, but did let us try and find a place to go to. My father went to the Philippines. I went there with my mother later, in 1941. The Philippines treated the Jews well. My mother baked cookies, and I sold them after school. The church told them that we killed Jesus, but there was no anti-Semitism." While 1,500 Jews found refuge on the islands, 8,500 more could have fled to the Philippines and thus been saved. "The president offered refuge for 10,000," Weissler tells The Jerusalem Post, "but the Jews who already lived in the Philippines claimed that [the refugees] would be a burden, and that only the ones who had a profession should be let in. One lady I knew, a nurse, wanted to bring her brothers in, but since she didn't have enough money, they were killed in the Holocaust. The Jews [preferred] to go to America. My cousin was on the ship St. Louis and in 1939 was sent back to Germany, to the death camps." Along with Weissler, the Salpeters - Simha (Simi) and his wife, Monty, one of the first Filipino workers to arrive in Israel in the early 80s - were active in setting up the monument. Monty - now deceased - founded one of the first foreign workers' associations - the Asian Ladies Club, where businesswomen, ambassadors and foreign workers from the Philippines, India, Japan, Korea, Singapore and China met. After Monty passed away, other women took the lead. Agnes Hoffman, a Filipina who converted to Judaism, took part in the organization's campaign for a monument. "We thought this would revive the group. We wanted to do more than meet and talk." When news of the project reached former Philippine ambassador Antonio Modena, he brought it to the attention of the Philippine government, and it published a tender for the monument's design. Meanwhile, locally, "Max [Weissler] and I [dealt with] the Rishon Lezion Municipality. Max was in touch with the remaining survivors," Salpeter says. The monument cost about NIS 500,000, including shipping costs from the Philippines, much of which was raised by the Filipino community here. "We are proud to have common history with the Israelis," says Chester Omega Diaz, from the Philippine Council in Israel. An estimated 35,000 Filipinos reside in Israel, employed mainly as caregivers. The community is active in charity work both here and back home. Former president of the FFCI (Federation of the Filipino Community in Israel) Anne Gonzaga says: "We wanted to be a part of this. We held a huge cultural event at the 50th anniversary for the diplomatic relationships between the two countries, and a raffle where the first prize was a flight to the Philippines. We dedicated all the profits to the establishment of the monument." The few living survivors abroad who sought safety in the Philippines took part at the ceremony, too, arriving from the US, Switzerland and around Israel, along with their families. Susan Bilar traveled here with her husband, Pedro. She and her brother, who lives in San Francisco, are among the major donors to the monument. Bilar was born in the Philippines to a physician mother who arrived as a refugee from Germany. From 1949 to 1977, her father served as the head of the Jewish community in the Philippines and as Israel's honorary consul in the Philippines. "There is justice in the establishment of the monument," Bilar says. "The Philippines were wonderful. I grew up in the Philippines until I was 18, when I came to Israel to study at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. There's a natural affection between the Philippines and Israel." Ralph Preiss was born in Germany in 1930 and arrived in the Philippines with his parents in 1939. "We had never heard of the place, which had this remarkable 'open door' policy allowing German Jews to immigrate. My father, Dr. Harry Preiss, would have been arrested by the Nazis if he hadn't happened to be out of town. He went into hiding until we left [Germany.] "We traveled to Paris on the way to Genoa, Italy, to catch a ship for the Far East. In Paris, we stayed with my two cousins, uncle and aunt, who had left Berlin in 1933. They were caught when the Nazis overran Paris and were sent to Auschwitz to be murdered. But we managed to escape to Manila. "Our Filipino neighbors were all warm, helpful, hospitable, and completely without prejudice," Preiss recalls. "I have always been grateful to the Philippines for saving my immediate family, and to the Filipino people who have taught me hospitality and compassion to help others." Preiss's wife, Marta, adds "I'm an American. I have four kids with Ralph, and if you count the next generations, it adds a lot to the 1,500 survivors." On April 23, 1940, Quezon spoke at the dedication of Marikina Hall, a housing facility for Jewish refugees: "It is my hope and, indeed, my expectation that the people of the Philippines will have in the future every reason to be glad that when the time of need came, their country was willing to extend a hand of welcome." "We are excited about the monument," says Gonzaga, who has been working in Israel for five years. "It will serve as a memorial to the Filipino people's humanitarian deed. We opened not only our doors, but also our hearts to the Jewish people when we gave them refuge during World War II. I feel proud as a Filipino, especially because I took part in the project." In Gonzaga's opinion, the erection of the monument will help strengthen ties between Israel and the Philippines. "The Filipino community here in Israel is excited and proud, as well. We all contributed to making this project possible," she says. The municipality of Marikina, where the survivors settled, also donated money for the monument. The special slab in the form of a Magen David was donated by the owners of a marble factory on Rom Lon Island. The marble bears three footprints - those of Max Weissler; George Levinstein, a survivor who lives in Miami; and of the daughter of Asher Goffer - a former staff member at the Israeli embassy and son of Holocaust survivors, who married a Filipina. "I grew up as a Filipino," Weissler concludes. "I lived in the Philippines less than 10 percent of my life, but I still feel that I'm one of them." Who is Righteous? A spokesperson for the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial responds: Yad Vashem is, of course, aware that Jewish refugees were allowed to enter the Philippines in the early years of the war, and a Yad Vashem representative attended the event honoring the Philippines in Rishon Lezion. The welcome these Jews received in the Philippines was unfortunately rare during these years. As the war unfolded it became increasingly difficult for Jews to leave Europe and find a safe haven. The subject of the world's attitude towards the refugees and the visa and immigration policies, in general, is very broad and is addressed extensively in our research and educational activities. The subject of the Philippines specifically demands more thorough research, and Yad Vashem would be happy to receive any information that would shed additional light on the issue. Regarding recognition as Righteous Among the Nations, this title is awarded to individuals who risked their lives to rescue Jews during the Holocaust. While there are certainly other accounts of noble deeds, and efforts to help Jews, the Righteous designation is awarded to a specific group of people who meet the criteria of the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous, the most basic one being that there was an element of risk involved in the attempt to rescue Jews during the Shoah.

Manila Bay Resorts in Paranaque Open in 2014

Manila Bay Resort at Night in PARANAQUE



Philippines in top 10 of 2012 Gender Gap Index

MANILA, Philippines - Women in the Philippines have better access to opportunities as their male counterparts compared to any other country in Asia.

This is according to the 2012 Gender Gap Index released by the World Economic Forum earlier this year.

The report, assembled by experts from the University of California in Berkely, Harvard University and the WEF, identified the Philippines as the only country in Asia that has closed the gender gap in terms of opportunities to education and health.


TAGUIG is Growing and the New Makati of the PHILIPPINE ISLANDS

Taguig Premier Central Business District, has captured the Philippine real estate industry’s imagination. In recent years, there has been a tectonic shift in the local and foreign business sectors’ choice of prime location. Property analysts say this may just be the beginning of even grander things for the former army and military camp.

A key event—the opening of the Philippine Stock Exchange at Taguig in  2016. —  Signal the heightened transfer of more prime international offices and headquarters to this Taguig City.

Soriano said that aside from The Ascott Group of Singapore (the hotel group behind the former Oakwood Premier Hotel located at the Ayala Center, Makati), the Shimao Group, a developer owned by China’s fifth-richest man, Mr. Xu Rongmao, will put up a hotel at Taguig  City


Sulu gets modern fish port, cold storage facility

This NASA satellite image, taken and released on October 17, 2010, shows
Typhoon Megi, locally known as Juan, approaching the Philippines at 0500 GMT
Strongest Hurricane Typhoon in 4 years

Typhoon Megi packed sustained winds of 225 kilometres per hour
and gusts of 260 kph but could strengthen still before making landfall in
Isabela province midday Monday.

With its ferocious wind and heavy rainfall,
Megi has become the most powerful typhoon
12 millions live in Metro Manila
As predicted by the Pagasa weather forecasters, Juan slammed through Isabela with winds of 225 kilometers per hour, gusts of 260 kph in the 50-to-60 millimeter an hour range, similar to last year’s deadly Tropical Storm “Ondoy.”

All Sabah Seafood Companies May Need
Swinging Time in the Tropics
Sabah Stunning Sunsets and Beautiful Beaches
Dragon, Unicorn, Lion Dance Festival
Sabah remains a Major Domestic Tourism Destination
Sabah museum scouring for Antiques
Sabah Customs Beefs up Operation
North Borneo Sabah Rice Bowl
Next Oil Well eyed in Philippines Sandakan Basin
Sepilok Jungle  

Japanese said back in ww2 that if they had Mindanao & North Borneo Sabah,
they could feed the world

Visit the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant-100 kilometres (60 miles) west of Manila in the Philippines. It is located on a 3.57 square kilometre government reservation at Napot Point in Morong, Bataan

Sandakan City

At Ease Hotel in Sandakan City

At Ease Hotel in Sandakan City

One of the Many Sandakan Side Streets

Sandakan City View

Sandakan City View from the English Tea House

Hidden species in the Philippines

Little Spiderhunter was one of the Philippine species tested.
Photo: Lip Kee Yap (Wikimedia Commons)

Many as yet unidentified bird species may exist on the Philippines according to a recent study looking at genetic differences between species found both on the islands, and on the south-east Asian mainland. The Philippines has long been considered a biodiversity hotspot. Made up of more than 7,100 islands, many of its animal species are endemic including 64 percent of its land mammal species and 77 percent of its amphibians. However, only 31 percent of its bird species are regarded as endemic. A team from the US, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines looked at seven species of widespread, non-migratory passerine birds that occur both in the Philippines and elsewhere in south-east Asia. Genetics tests found that samples from the Philippines populations of the species were always distinct from samples from other parts of south-east Asia. While there are differences of opinion over whether these birds constitute new species, these are unique genetic lineages that were unknown before, according to Professor David Lohman, who headed the study. The results, published in Biological Conservation, suggest that the proportion of endemic bird species in the Philippines could be much higher than currently estimated. “These unique genetic lineages were unknown before, however, our research hasn’t gone far enough to say these are new species,” said Professor Lohman. “More rigorous analysis of the morphology may be needed to make that determination.” The study predicts that genetic investigations of insular populations of widespread species will frequently reveal unrecognized island endemics, and because of the vulnerability of island habitats and their wildlife, these species or races may be particularly susceptible to extinction.“In no other place on this planet is conservation more crucial than in the Philippines, continues Professor Lohman. "While the species we studied are not in danger of extinction, other undiscovered species might be."

Philippines, Norway play key roles in Rice diversity

Rice varieties are kept to maintain diversity.

LOS BANOS, Laguna, Philippines—In a greenhouse near the Philippine capital, botanists grow strange grasses that bear tiny seeds which are promptly flown to a doomsday vault under Norway's Arctic permafrost.

The Norway deliveries are just the newest facet of a decades-old effort by more than 100 countries to save the world's many varieties of rice which might otherwise be lost.

A fire-proof, quake-proof, typhoon-proof gene bank set up by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines in 1962 now holds 115,000 varieties of one of the world's most important grains.

"We've got genes stored which could potentially help us increase the yields of rice, improve pest tolerance and disease resistance, and help us address the effects of climate change," IRRI geneticist Fiona Hay said.

The rice varieties are grown at IRRI's sprawling complex at the university town of Los Banos, two hours' drive south of Manila, so that they can be provided—free of charge—to farmers or governments around the world.

Yet Hay said that rice varieties were constantly being lost forever, despite the preservation efforts of IRRI, a non-profit organization funded by governments, multilateral banks, and philanthropists.

Such losses are under a global spotlight this week as delegates from more than 190 countries meet at a UN summit in Nagoya, Japan, to map out a strategy to stop the world's rapid loss of biodiversity in all plants and animals.

A rice variety can easily vanish due to pests, disease, drought, or other natural disasters like a cyclone, or if for some reason farmers simply stop planting it, Hay said.

Not just urbanization, but even farming can push wild rice varieties into extinction.

And while some countries run their own gene banks, they are not always successful in preserving seeds. In the tropics, high humidity causes rice seeds to spoil after several years, Hay said.

At the IRRI gene bank in the Philippines, seeds are stored in dry and cool conditions and can remain usable for up to 40 years.

The institute keeps its base collection in tiny, sealed, bar-coded aluminium cans in a room kept at a temperature well below freezing.

They include a Malaysian variety that was collected soon after the gene bank opened in 1962, some reed-like Latin American ones that grow taller than a man, and Indian varieties that look more like crawling weeds.

Duplicates in small foil sachets of about 400 seeds each are stored in a separate vault kept at two degrees Celsius (35.6 Fahrenheit) and low humidity for passing on to those who need them for farming or research.

Given the importance of the collection, extra insurance is always desirable—hence the rice gene bank being duplicated in Svalbard, Norway, Hay told AFP on a tour last week of the Philippine facility.

Since the Svalbard seed vault opened in February 2008, IRRI has reproduced 70,000 of its own grains and sent them in tiny freeze-dried aluminium cans to northern Norway, in a series of flights that take four days.

One final delivery of about 40,000 varieties is due to be flown out from Manila airport this week to complete the project.

The seeds include those no longer grown by farmers, plus 4,000-odd weeds with genes harnessed by scientists to make the rice plant more aromatic and more resistant to pests and disease, and tolerant of drought and saltwater.

Once completed, the Norway facility will act as a further backup to a US Department of Agriculture vault in Colorado that already holds duplicates of IRRI's seeds.

IRRI has in particular helped Cambodia's farmers to recover from the ravages of war. The Khmer Rouge regime killed millions of people—many through starvation--and forced farmers to grow only certain rice varieties in the 1970s.

Flora de Guzman, senior research manager of the gene bank, said she had once processed a request by Cambodia to send back seeds for about 500 of their native rice varieties.

"They lost the materials during the war. We had the collection here, so between 1981 and 1989 we repatriated the varieties that they lost," she said.

Philippine government intensifying drive against litterbugs
By Philippine Correspondent Christine Ong 

MANILA: The Philippine government is intensifying its drive against litterbugs.
Those caught littering will have to pay fines or render community service.
On the first day of the re-implementation of the Anti-Littering Law, nearly 200 people were caught throwing their trash on the streets.
One man was apprehended for throwing his cigarette butt onto the sidewalk.
He said: "If they are going to do this, they have to make sure there are trash cans around. If not, where will we throw our trash?"
Another woman was caught spitting on the road.
She said: "I was surprised because I did not know. I will not spit anymore. So that I will not get caught."
Even a jeepney driver was not spared for not having a trash bin inside his vehicle.
He said: "I left early and forgot to put a trash can at the back for the passengers."

In place since 1996, the Anti-Littering Law prohibits littering, dumping, and throwing of garbage in open or public places.
It also prohibits urinating and spitting on sidewalks, and dirty public utility vehicles from plying the streets of Metro Manila.
But many have got away with it.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority now has a team of environmental enforcers to run after litterbugs.
Under the Anti-Littering Law, violators will pay fines ranging from US$12 to US$23. Those who cannot afford to pay will have to render community service of up to 16 hours a day. Violators with unsettled fines will not be able to get a clearance from the National Bureau of Investigation. Authorities are hoping that these sanctions will finally deter litterbugs.
Betty Gendeve, chief health programme officer at the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, said: "This is the cause of flooding. These small trash items clog our drainage systems. We really need discipline so that we can have a cleaner and better Metro Manila."
Around 50 environmental enforcers will be deployed all over Metro Manila to catch litterbugs.

Philippine Metropolitan Manila Development Authority now has a team of environmental enforcers to run after litterbugs.
Under the Anti-Littering Law, violators will pay fines ranging from US$12 to US$23. Those who cannot afford to pay will have to render community service of up to 16 hours a day. Violators with unsettled fines will not be able to get a clearance from the National Bureau of Investigation
( a.k.a. NBI - Similar to FBI of USA)

Coca-Cola to invest US$1 billion in Philippines

NEW YORK (AP) — Coca–Cola Co. said Tuesday it will spend $1 billion in the Philippines over the next five years to expand its presence in the fast–growing market, another step by the world's largest beverage company to focus more on emerging markets.

Coca–Cola has been present in the Philippines since the beginning of the 20th century and has been locally produced since 1912. The Philippines received the first Coca–Cola bottling and distribution franchise outside North America, and its bottling operation is among the 10 biggest Coca–Cola bottlers globally.

PHILIPPINES: Hopes to join Trans-Pacific trade pact

The Philippines is hoping to join the Trans-Pacific Economic Partnership Agreement or Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the first regional agreement in which the United States will participate in Asia, in a bid to build business with the US.

Video: In Philippines, U.S. wins battle by not fighting
- Nightly News (Video)

Sabah North Borneo adopts rare and valuable Slipper Orchid

SANDAKAN: Sabah has adopted the rare and valuable Slipper Orchid (pic) as its official orchid.
Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman named the orchid when launching the five-day Borneo Orchid Show at the Suria Sabah mall here yesterday.“I hope we will take this opportunity to learn more about this particular species of orchid, and strive to keep its habitat intact,” he said.Commonly known as the Sumazau Orchid, the Slipper Orchid (Paphiodilum rothschildianum) has petals that resemble the hand gestures made in a Kadazandusun traditional dance.

Musa said it was appropriate for the Slipper Orchid to be named Sabah’s official orchid as it was picked as the most popular species in the Borneo Orchid Show in 2007.He said more research was needed on the seemingly endless varieties of Sabah orchids, noting that the state was home to at least half the orchids found in Borneo.“I believe there are many more species yet to be discovered and documented scientifically,” Musa added.In this regard, he said, Sabah was fortunate to have dedicated individuals who were actively researching the state’s native orchids resulting in the discovery of new species.The continuous collaboration between local orchid specialists with taxonomists, including those based in the United Kingdom and Singapore, is vital to educate the public on the natural treasure that exists here, said Musa.The orchid show attracted some 20 participants from Sabah, Sarawak and the peninsula as well as Japan and Brunei exhibiting more than 500 plants in 62 classes of orchids.

Time to climb Sabah's Trusmadi

By Lee Yu Kit

Ever heard of Trusmadi? No? Figures. All everyone knows is Mt Kinabalu. Nobody remembers No 2.

Maybe it’s true what they say about being Number Two — nobody knows, let alone remembers you.

Everyone and his brother know Gunung Kinabalu is the highest mountain in Malaysia, and many, many people have climbed it. That’s how it is when you are Numero Uno. What about the second highest mountain in Malaysia?

What is the second highest mountain in Malaysia?

Most of the time, there’s a deafening silence because so few people have ever heard of Gunung Trusmadi in Sabah, which, at 2,642m above sea level, is a relative dwarf compared to Kinabalu.

  A sun-dappled forest floor enroute to the peak.

But that’s no reason not to climb it, which was why five companions and I found ourselves in a speeding minivan on a scenic drive across the Crocker Range. This rugged range of mountains is virtually in the backyard of Kota Kinabalu, yet little visited by tourists.

To one side of the road, down a deep ravine, was a rushing river, while a slab of verdant rainforest rose vertically on the other side. Clouds of mist rose, wraith-like, from damp valleys far below to obscure the road.

From the heights of the Crocker Range, some 80km later, we descended into the flat, sunlit valley of Tambunan. There were golden fields of padi in the late afternoon light, a clear blue sky and lush surrounding hills. The air was sweet.

Tambunan could have qualified as the most idyllic postcard-village in the state. The roads were straight and well-paved, the buildings in good repair and the town itself looked scrubbed and prosperous.

We put up at a little resort a short distance from town. Our hut, basic but adequate, looked out to a disused football field beyond which was a shallow, rippling river crossed by a wire suspension bridge. The small riverside restaurant served surprisingly good food to the few customers it had. Hot food, good companions, a murmuring river nearby, peace and quiet in a remote corner of the country — what more could one ask for?

  Wild orchids in the Gunung Trusmadi forest reserve.

The next morning, our two 4WDs left the tarred road for an unpaved logging road a few kilometres from Tambunan town. The air was cool and fresh, with logged forest on either side of the road. At some point, the gradient became steep enough for our driver to lock the freewheels of the vehicle. Some distance later, we turned a corner and I gaped.

Up ahead was the largest butterfly I had ever seen in my life. It was a Rajah Brooke Birdwing, no less, with distinctive green triangles on black wings, but with a wingspan well over 3m wide.

For a fleeting moment, the thought of Nature striking back for all the indignities we heap upon the blemished land crossed my mind — the Attack of the Giant Butterflies. And that was before I noticed the giant Rafflesia and giant pitcher plant near the butterfly.

Alas, the butterfly was really a gate, cleverly constructed so that each of the “wings” swung out 90˚ to allow vehicles to pass. Disappointingly, the giant Rafflesia and pitcher plant were also fake — cement reproductions of the real thing. A carnivorous pitcher plant of that size would have been a sensation for horror film aficionados.

We were, in fact, at the ranger station, gateway to the Gunung Trusmadi forest reserve.

A ranger was despatched to accompany us to ensure we didn’t get up to any mischief. His name was Heli, and he was a cherubic and eternally cheerful character who spoke little and ate lots. He joined our guide, Brown, and our porter Lius.

Brown was a lean, wiry man. A padi farmer, he had climbed the mountain “countless times”. He worked in Kuala Lumpur years ago but returned to the clean air and life of a farmer in Tambunan because he felt it was a better life.

  The Nepenthes macrophylla is only found on Gunung Trusmadi.

Lius (as in “Cornelius”) looked like he had walked out of a cartoon. He was pleasantly chubby, with a round face and shaven head except for a slick tuft of hair just above his forehead.

We trundled along in the 4WDs, steadily climbing a gravelly road until we ground to a halt where the road ended. In front of us rose a wall of dense unlogged forest. A small opening was the beginning of the trail. A marker indicated that the summit was 5km away.

We stepped into another world where the light was dim with trees rising silently around us. There was a thick carpet of fallen leaves and bright green moss underfoot. The moss clung to tree trunks and decorated branches, imparting to some trees the appearance of some hoary monster.

It was like walking on hallowed ground, being in this mossy forest of silence and filtered light, of greens and browns. A few hundred yards in, we emerged at a clearing with the surprising amenities of a toilet, a rest area and tap water, drawn from an enormous plastic storage tank. It was just one of two such rest areas we would come across.

  A gigantic Rajah Brooke gate.

Our path led us upward into cooler terrain, eventually emerging at the top of a vegetation-covered ridge. We glimpsed a sea of cloud below us, crashing noiselessly against the dense forested mountains. The ridge undulated, descending precipitously, almost vertically in places, and then rising sharply again like a sinuous dragon’s back. Up and down we went, following Brown.

In the late afternoon, we came to our campsite. We had just descended from a high point on the ridge, and onto a broad flat rock ledge. A large tarpaulin had been secured over the camp, which housed a number of metal bunk beds within. Solar panels provided enough energy to power a single light bulb.

A little to the side was the roofed, linoleum-floored kitchen, and further down the slope was the toilet. Running water was available. It was all more civilized than we had expected. The summit was 1.5km from the camp.

While dinner was being prepared, we pulled on fleece jackets against the cold. A fine mist descended. The trees around us appeared ghost-like in the evening gloom. After dinner, we curled up in sleeping bags as the temperature dropped into the low teens.

  The view from the Trusmadi ridge.

At 4am in the morning, exhaling resulted in puffs of vapour. Outside, the sky was a sheet of dark velvet penetrated by the diamantine light of distant stars. The lights of Tambunan twinkled in a valley far below. Someone turned on his iPhone music player, and Susan Boyle sang I Dreamed a Dream as I turned on my LED headlamp and stepped out into the dark forest, behind Brown.

I soon began to warm up from the hike, concentrating on the pool of light in front of me. Shadows danced at the sides, but all I had to do was to focus on that little piece of trail lighted by my headlamp. We climbed silently, the occasional grunt of exertion breaking the silence. I felt a whiff of breeze on my face as we ascended a steep slope onto open ground. Silhouetted against the dawning sky was a windmill!

I clambered up the slope and beheld banks of solar panels and a building on a flat area of the ridge. We had come all this way to experience the wilderness and yet here was the very sort of thing we had sought to leave behind! The whole thing was a transmission or repeater station of some kind, and it was unmanned.

A few hundred yards away, we hiked up a slope, and emerged from the bushes onto the summit of Gunung Trusmadi. A trigonometric point with a Malaysian flag on it marked the highest point, but my attention was drawn to the horizon, for there, with its unmistakable serrated silhouette, was the massif of Gunung Kinabalu.

It was so clear, I could see the lights of Laban Rata resthouse and the dim flickering lights of climbers ascending to the summit. Within minutes, the scene was obscured by a dense bank of cloud. We must have seen hundreds of sunrises, yet sunrise seen from a mountaintop is always special. You feel the splendour of the empyrean.

We stood in silence as dawn slowly suffused the sky and threw the clouds into sharp relief, and colour crept into the day. The magic was broken. We took photographs, and turned back.

There was one more thing: on the way down, in the light of day, I paused before a magnificent specimen of pitcher plant. Here was an example of Nepenthes macrophylla, a species found only on this mountain and nowhere else on the planet.

The pitcher was large and had deep, wicked looking ribs with sharp ends on the rounded lip. These pointed downwards to prevent prey which had fallen into the cup from escaping. There were other species of pitcher plants, too, but I could not find the Nepenthes trusmardiensis, another pitcher plant unique to this mountain.

Still, a little thrill ran through me to witness something as beautiful and bizarre as these strange carnivorous plants. I turned and followed Brown back towards camp.

Breakfast was waiting.

Just back from: Palawan Islands, Philippines

The sun sets at the Taytay Fort, or Fuerza de Santa Isabel, built in 1667 by the Spanish.
  • Palawan province is made up of about 1,700 islands
  • iReporter Rebecca High describes it as "engaging, enigmatic, diverse"
  • "I didn't want the typical Boracay beach resort experience," High said

(CNN) -- Dazzling beaches, pulsing jungles, rich underwater life and friendly locals greet visitors to the Philippines' Palawan province, made up of about 1,700 islands along the country's western edge.

A top destination for nature lovers, Lonely Planet describes Palawan as "a magnificent, coral-fringed range of jungle-clad mountainous islands jutting up dramatically from the Sulu Sea."

iReporter Rebecca High, 22, recently visited friends serving in the Peace Corps in Palawan.

High, currently living in Seoul, South Korea, was struck by the contrast between the area's poverty and its remarkable natural beauty. She answered six questions about her experience on

iReporter Rebecca High in Palawan, wearing a palm frond hat crafted by a Palawan Tour Guide.

Top not-to-be-missed experience. Why?

Riding the bus from Puerto Princesa up through the heart of the island to El Nido, at the northern shore ... it's the ultimate Filipino experience: crowded into a small dirty bus with open windows and beautiful people of all ages and stories. Plus you have time to marvel at the rugged beauty, squalor, and everything in between.

First impression, and did it change?

Waiting for a connecting flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa, I came face-to-face with this sign on the back of a bathroom stall: "Life is a process not a destination, a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved."

A view of the coastal village of Taytay in Palawan, Philippines

It was the perfect motto to confront after a stressful week at work and mad rush to the airport that morning. I walked out of the bathroom and looked out the huge windows of the airport, across the runway to the green hills and palms beyond. And I knew that this would be a life-changing adventure. My impression didn't change, and I consider my time in Palawan a very worthwhile education.

Lasting memory

Discovering hidden lagoons, caves, islands, and seeing my first in-the-wild sea turtle while snorkeling off Taytay and El Nido.

Three adjectives that capture this place

Engaging, enigmatic, diverse

High ate this cooked squid dish at Squido's in El Nido.

Biggest surprise

Wow, dirt roads and motorcycle taxis in the island's capital? This is third world! But these boys are the most adorable and respectful shuttle drivers I've ever had! I did indeed love it, but traveling with American Peace Corps [volunteers] and through the rural Philippines is hard work! It's well worth it, though. I didn't want the typical Boracay beach resort experience, and I surely didn't get it!

Most delicious food, drink or place to eat

Stuffed squid in El Nido was memorable, mango and avocado shakes were divine, and one of the best cottages and kitchens of all was La Casa Rosa in Taytay. Overlooking the old fort and the bay, they served us lomi (noodles), adobo, pizza, and San Miguel [beer] as the living jungle around us hummed into the wee small hours.

Have you been to the Palawan? For Room Booking:  PALAWAN.COM

By Adrienne Mong/ NBC News
The Philippines consists of some 7,000 islands — a vast archipelago that makes it hard to police.

Most notably, the Philippine military succeeded in weeding out extremist elements from the local population – particularly in Basilan province – by working with U.S. Special Forces on a humanitarian assistance campaign to improve villagers’ lives while at the same time pursuing combat operations. 

“[It’s] dramatically improved in terms of the security situation, in terms of the population having more freedom to move around to do their daily business,” said Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, the AFP’s deputy chief of staff for operations.

Those efforts further paid off when the country’s largest Islamic insurgent group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – some of whose members are believed to be closely allied with both Jemaah Islamiyah  and Abu Sayyaf – officially disavowed terrorism and re-engaged in on-again, off-again peace talks with the Philippines government.

In fact, MILF has been keen to involve the Americans more directly in the peace negotiations. “We have been telling the Americans point-blank that you planted the seeds of enmity in Mindanao,” said MILF spokesman Mohagher Iqbal, from one of its training camps near Cotabato City.  “Had you separated our homeland from the rest of Luzon and the Visayas [during the Philippine-American War], there [would have] been no Moro problem. So please help us address this problem.”

Watch more on the U.S. involvement in the Philippines on NBC's Nightly News with Brian Williams tonight

A fragile peace
But the peace talks, which are expected to resume in the coming weeks after a two-year hiatus, are no guarantee that the Moro “problem” will be resolved or that terrorism will be kept at bay permanently.

Twenty-eight so-called “high value targets” have been killed or captured in the region since 2002, and many of the remaining wanted individuals have been confined to the remote provinces of Sulu and Basilan.  But both still see regular outbreaks of violence.

During our stay, the local newspapers carried daily multiple reports of fire fights and kidnappings in Mindanao.  And last year saw only the second-ever attack on American troops in the southern Philippines since their return to the region. Two U.S. soldiers and one Philippines marine died when their vehicle ran over a landmine last September en route to a school development project.

In part, the challenge lies not only in the region’s geography (a collection of small islands, some no larger than a couple of square miles) but also in the local communities, which retain an entrenched antipathy to any officialdom representing Manila.

“Sulu has always been the place of, we say, seasoned warriors,” observed Col Aminkadra Undug, commander of airborne special forces for the AFP. “Some of these people have always been very proud people. They claim they do not succumb to influence from the outside, even though it’s their own government.”

‘Where the road ends, terrorism starts’
Poverty also is a big factor.

On Jolo island, for instance, where fishing and fruit farming are the main industries, the average fisherman might bring home about $3 or $4 a day, a fruit farmer even less.

A person “actually living in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao area of southern Mindanao will probably die 10 years earlier than someone in metro Manila,” said Gloria Steele, director of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) mission in the Philippines.

By Adrienne Mong/ NBC News
Villagers in Panamao Municipality line up for medical care at a health clinic set up by Philippine and U.S. security forces.

All of which adds up to persistent conditions ripe for terrorist recruitment or an insurgency that promises better governance for its people. “The international terrorist links fed on the feeling of dissatisfaction of some fundamentalist groups in that area,” said Dr. Jennifer Santiago Oreta, who teaches in the department of political science at Ateneo de Manila University.

To counteract this phenomenon, Filipino and American troops have shifted their strategy, focusing even more on community and development.
“Even if we kill all the high-value targets, that’s not going to solve the problem,” said U.S. Army Special Forces Major Varman Chhoeung, the Commander of Task Force Sulu.  “The bigger part of the problem is denying safe havens. How do you deny safe havens? You only do that through good governance and through economic growth in the area.”

The major showed us around Jolo, where he’s stationed with 130 U.S. troops. In line with the idea that “where the road ends, terrorism starts,” modest infrastructural improvements have been made across Jolo. 

Roads have been built or repaired. An airstrip was recently refurbished with the assistance of U.S. troops, enabling the first commercial flight to land in Jolo. There are projects to build schools and ongoing plans to establish more health clinics. 

In addition to the American troops’ contributions, USAID has funneled more than $500 million in assistance to Mindanao since 2002.  “Our programs have focused primarily in the areas of health, education, energy, good governance, rule of law as well as infrastructure and economic growth,” said Steele.

In Panamao Municipality, which saw recent skirmishes with what the Philippines military call “rogue MILF elements,” there is one hospital with 10 to 15 beds serving an estimated 44,000 villagers in the community. 

There is “only one doctor, one dentist,” said Dr. Silak Lakkian, the chief of the hospital in Panamao.  “We have four midwives, and we have five nurses.”

The doctor said her hospital had received a lot of what she called “disposables” – medicine and some basic medical supplies – from the Americans. But “that was four years ago,” she said. “[L]ately we haven’t received any.”

By Adrienne Mong/ NBC News
A street corner in Jolo City, still dangerous enough that US troops don't like to drive through parts of it.

‘Defense, diplomacy, development’
“We’re at a critical juncture thanks to the efforts of our military operation with USAID and the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” said Harry Thomas, Jr., the U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines.  “We are near eliminating the terrorist threat, but we have to sustain it.… That’s why we’re still trying to do the three tenets: defense, diplomacy, and development.”

The tenets were a catchphrase the Americans sought to reinforce in all their interviews with NBC News.

Even the Filipinos talked the talk.

"The focus now is on, instead of defeating the enemy, winning the peace," said Bautista, who laid out a seven-point strategy campaign plan designed to make the Philippines security forces cuddlier. 

The ultimate aim, he said, is to become more transparent by communicating and coordinating with NGOs and other facets of civil society, conducting polls, and paying greater heed to human rights and the rule of law.

“The solution … is in the Filipino people, us coming together and solving this problem, a whole-of-nation approach, where the entire citizenry will be involved in solving the internal problem [of insurgency and terrorism],” said Bautista.

As good as the achievements have been, however, some regional security analysts have posed the question – does the Philippines still need U.S. troops to operate in the south?

The AFP and JSOTF-P think so, on the basis of finishing the job properly.

But sceptics argue there’s another agenda.

One hint: China’s growing strength in the region.

Read more about the China connection in the World Blog tomorrow and watch more of Adrienne Mong’s reporting from the Philippines on NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams.

MK V Vessel Base now in Sulu North Borneo Sabah Archipelago

Mainland Chinese & Chinese Sabahan  have become very aggressive about the South China Sea & Sabah respectively,” Philippines need US  because they have no way to defend their claims in the Spratly Islands South China Sea and North Borneo Sabah...

U.S. developed the areas around General Santos City on southern Mindanao [island] for long-term preparations against China. That location cannot be reached by Chinese long-range missiles [and] it’s suitable for U.S. navy ships.”

We want Uncle Sam?
The Armed Forces of the Philippines is not the only group that might want a permanent U.S. military presence back in the Philippines. Villagers on Jolo island do, too – but for entirely different reasons.

“Why not?” said Nurada Abdurajak, a local official in Panamao, a city in the province. “They are not harming the people…They are securing our security here.”

And – in a country which has long enjoyed a close relationship with the U.S. – it was a common refrain that the Americans could be relied upon to provide much-needed aid and assistance. “We [thank] the U.S. government…for providing us a lot in services and [economic] development,” said Salim Aloy Jainal, a former mayor of Jolo City.

But the cozy relationship also explains why any potential tension between China and the U.S. could prove complicated for the Philippines.

“To us, [the Japan-China territorial dispute in September] looked like a showdown,” said Lim.  “And it’s disturbing. We have military cooperation with the U.S. At the same time, we have economic cooperation with China. We might be forced into making a choice…We want help from both sides.”

Filipino Chinese Kim Chiu

Ms. Earth’ season again, Miss Earth Jessica Nicole Trisko (left) returned to Metro Manila Philippine Islands with reigning Miss Philippines-Earth Karla Paula Henry (Right), and posed for photographers at a press conference launching the Miss Earth 2008, held at Traders Hotel Manila

Candidates for the 2009 Miss Philippines Earth beauty pageant display placards urging different ways to save Mother Earth during a media presentation at the Traders Hotel in Pasay City yesterday.

Is a wheelbarrow full of Orangutan more fun ??
than a regular old barrel full of monkeys?

Katrina Halili
Philippine Star

Jericho Rosales of  Philippine Islands

A hobby goes big time
By Eva Visperas

Famous Pangasinan bangus is deboned then processed into different products and packaged.

MANILA, Philippines - Fe Mejia-Vidal started her now popular CBN Bonuan Boneless Bangus products 14 years ago with only 20 pieces of bangus (milkfish) and P500 capital. CBN are the initials of the names of her three children. At the start, people knew about her products only by word-of-mouth, but over the years, her fame has spread far and wide, from the province of Pangasinan to different parts of the Philippines and even to other countries. Her products can now be found in malls, restaurants, hotels all over the country. One day, she recalled, during a convention of certified public accountants at the mayor’s office, she hung a streamer in front of her residence upon the prodding of her friend who believed in the potential of her product. To her surprise, convention delegates stopped by to taste her delicacies, and bought her products. When she would accompany her children to school, she would tell her fellow mothers she had bangus products. She brought samples and they sold out immediately. From an initial 20 pieces of bangus, Kagawad Fe – as her neighbors call her, since she was a former barangay kagawad (councilor) – is now the biggest producer of boneless products, with average daily production of 30 banyeras (tubs), each tub containing 120 pieces of bangus. During peak season starting September, CBN produces daily as much as 50 to 60 banyeras of boneless products like daing, tinapa, belly, relleno, lumpia, kilawen, longganisa, nuggets, burger, and siomai. She used to have a Taiwanese client who brought her products to Hong Kong and Singapore and ordered one ton of boneless bangus twice a month. Balibayans are among her loyal clients who bring her products to different countries. Dagupan City’s biggest mall CSI, which has many branches in the province of Pangasinan as well as in La Union and Candon in Ilocos Sur, sells boneless bangus products made by CBN. Vidal, a former teacher, employs 40 workers who help her meet the rising demand for her products.

During peak season, she hires more helpers. Her workers process the fish manually, but they are certified hygienic, she shared. While competition is tight in this business, she said she has the edge because of the quality of bangus she uses – only the best and the freshest, and only those that are grown and harvested in Pangasinan. Looking back, Vidal said she and her husband Renato are blessed with their business and are able to give their three children a good education. They were also able to acquire several properties through their hard work. She is thankful to their products’ official carriers, Victory Liner and Dagupan Bus, for helping them deliver their products promptly to their clients, who pick up the boxes and crates of their bangus at bus terminals in various parts of the country. “In this business, trust is very important, and I maintain this with my clients,” she said. Asked why she does not put a brand on her products that will make people identify the producer, Vidal said,” So that my clients who sell our products will also have the chance to earn, otherwise people will go straight to us.” “In this life, it is important to share your luck and blessings with others,” she added


Pahiyas Pesta -  Island of Luzon Philippines

Pahiyas Pesta 2

Pahiyas Pesta 3

Pahiyas Pesta 4

Can submarines be used to stop typhoons?

We usually accept it as a given that we can’t change the weather. When it comes to extreme situations like hurricanes or earthquakes, such disasters are labeled “acts of god” because we generally feel helpless to in the face of nature’s wrath. But recently an ambitious Japanese manufacturing firm Ise Kogyo has boldly claimed that they can help weaken the impact of typhoons. And even more surprising, the company’s weapon of choice is the submarine.

 In principle, the premise appears sound. Typhoons generally require warmer water temperatures at surface level before they become dangerous, typically around 25 degrees. So when typhoons develop, the theory is that a fleet of submarines equipped with 20m-long water pumps can deliver colder water to the surface, thus bringing the surface temperature down by two or three degrees and weakening the storm.

According to the company, 20 submarines could cover an area of about 57,000 square meters and they would be deployed into a typhoons path once initial signs of an oncoming typhoon are evident.

This solution has been proposed as far back as 2002, but we have yet to see it practically implemented to date. First of all, submarines are hardly a dime a dozen and to set 20 of them aside for typhoon prevention would be no easy task.

More practical proposals involving the use of surface vessels to bring up cool water have been put forth before as well, though they are admittedly far less awesome than the submarine idea. But re-purposing military ships that patrol key areas might be the only way to bring such a “pipe dream” to fruition.

These aspirations to control the weather may remind our Asian readers of China’s pre-Olympic efforts to create blue skies as well as subsequent struggles to induce rain amid summer droughts that plagues the agriculture industry there.

The latter procedure is called cloud seeding, and it typically involves dusting clouds with a silver compound in order to bring about the formation of rain droplets. In the past however, China’s rainmaker program drew as much attention for its inadvertent stray rockets as for its ambitious scope.

Earlier this year a Swiss team working in cloud seeding who, rather than use silver compounds, opted to induce water droplet formation using infrared light.

It remains to be seen whether or not programs like these will ever make the transition from experimental to common technologies that contribute to our safety and our quality of living. But for now, it is exciting to hear even talk of how humans might gain some mastery over the weather. With extreme weather patterns becoming more and more frequent (thanks global warming!) we’re going to need every advantage we can get.

 Sandakan to host Sabah Games 2009
The competition and technical committee for the Sabah Games (Saga) 2009 has already met twice as it prepares for the Games next year. Youth and Sports Minister, Peter Pang En Yin said the committee on venue and equipment had also met once while the implementation committee was formed recently. Replying to Sekong Assemblyman, Datuk Samsudin Yahya, he said Sandakan would host the Games.

Japanese tourists want service industry frontliners in Sabah to be conversant in Japanese language to assist them to get by in the state. Consul-General of Japan Koichi Morita said Japanese tourists coming to Sabah had expressed concern over the lack of Japanese-speaking service providers. "Language barrier had posed problems for them to get around. Maybe we would like to suggest to have more Japanese language courses for locals here, especially to those involved in the service industry like hotels, tourist spots and shopping centres. This will not only help Japanese tourists but will also be convenient for Japanese ...