Sunday, October 18, 2009

Man from Zamboanga in Sandakan, Sabah, East Malaysia

Why do people travel? For the usual reasons like seeing new places and having new experiences, isn't it?

For me personally, travel also is an opportunity to learn more about the culture and way of life of the locals. Whenever I have the chance I'll try to interact with them.

I chatted with many people in Sabah. One such person was Hadi from Zamboanga in southern Phillipines whom I met in Sandakan. Short, dark and wiry, Hadi is one of the thousands of Filipino working in Borneo - many of them are illegal immigrants.

Me:  What do you do in Sabah.
Hadi:   I work in the plantation.
Me:  Where do you live?
Hadi: I just come back from Zamboanga. I go back for cyst operation. (removes his shirt to show the bandaged part on his chest).
Me: Zamboanga? Isn't it a dangerous place?
Hadi: No, Zamboanga not dangerous. Zamboanga people call ...
Me: Latin city?
Hadi: Yes Latin city. In city it safe but not outside city. Terrorists the Abu Sayyaf you know, they kill kill.
Me: How did you go back to Zamboanga?
Hadi: I take ferry. 250 ringgit. 18 hours to reach.
Me: Big boat or small boat?
Hadi: Big boat. Can take 450 people.
Me: How many children do you have?
Hadi: Six.
Me: So many?
Hadi: Yes. I 20 already marry.
Me: What do they do? In school or working?
Hadi: One working in plantation also. Another a driver. All in Sabah.
Me: Is it safe to travel in Zamboanga?
Hadi: No problem. Inside city safe but not outside city. Ok, now I must go see if got transport to the plantation.

(Abu Sayyaf terrorists kidnapped an elderly Catholic priest a week ago, and they have yet to release him.)


  1. Me too. I LOVE talking with the locals. I remember chatting for one and a half hour with a worker in a charcoal factory (Kuala Sepetang, Taiping). It was meant to be a short conversation. But, I was too excited with their work. Finally, we end up talking about so many other things :)

    Roger, I have another new entry. Please vote for me (10 stars will be AWESOME!). Here is the link: (Thank you!!)


  2. OK, I've already voted for you, the max. Now I'll check out this new link.

    We seem to have a lot in common.