Tag Archives: Maiga

The jewel of Semporna Sabah


keep your head up boys and survive the best way you could

For months I tried to find the excuse to re-visit my childhood hometown. Being born and raised during my teenage life in Tawau, Sabah, this place has a soft spot in my heart. I miss the food … I miss my old childhood friends and I miss talking in the Sabahan dialect too.

This time around, my excuse is … I am re-visiting islands around Semporna for the second time. Had a good deal return ticket from KL to Tawau and spent a few days hanging out in Tawau with my childhood friends while enjoying the weekends at the islands surrounding Semporna, hunting the light with some new friends.


the sea gypsies of islands surrounding Semporna, Sabah

I miss the salty air and the beautiful endless open sky. As we were speeding off to Selakan Island from Semporna jetty, I can’t help reminiscing the old sweet years when I used to spend my weekend doing island hopping with my compact camera. Carefree years … when my camera was just so light and the years where I carried my flippers more than my camera.

I am feeling old … only old people reminiscing their old sweet memories.

My second visit to this beautiful place. The first time in 2015 when I was still fresh in this photography world, at that time everything looked new and exciting to me. Guess what … the second trip is as excited as before, I am born to do this … to wander around my surrounding and just fall deeper into my own world while doing … the THINKING, lol (so much to think about).


gypsy girls swinging carefreely

Timbun Mata, Bodgaya, Maiga, Selakan, Gusungan, Ormadal and a lot more surrounding islands that we can explore. The setting of each island looks damn good during sunset and sunrise. And, I noticed something different this time around with my new travel mates … they play with the drones more than their cameras.

A new way of enjoying our beautiful surrounding which is aerial photography. Now everybody can fly … me? I think I would just stick to my paramotor addiction. Flying with a group of motivated adventurous paramotor pilots and enjoying the raw aerial view with my own eyes, self-satisfaction. I get to feel the fear of the unknown circumstances while flying … while the drone players fear that they would lose their drone signal and later would lose the drone.


a girl drying fish at the beach in Maiga Island

What makes a place interesting?

For me … it’s the people that reside in the place that makes the place compelling. In here the sea gypsies people are well blended with their nature. Life is simple.

But for a thinker … you’ll get worried just by looking at the children paddling here and there aimlessly. I always believe that every child needs to go to school, at least to learn reading, writing, calculating and reading the Quran.


Zainab and her lunch for today

By giving that basic skill to our children we fulfilled at least the very minimal responsibility as a parent to them. Giving them the skills will help them make a better choice in life. It is up to the parents though. I saw a few schools here in some islands. Maybe they just choose not to send their children to school.

Ahh well … enough worrying, at least they are happy with their choice of life. As I said earlier … it’s a simple life, no ruffles.


sunrise in Maiga island

I always want to say this at the end of my writing … that I want to visit the same place again and again. 3 days 2 night is not enough … it was cloudy during the 3 days that we were there and on the second day, we were chased by the storm during sunset at Bodgaya Island. I think a week would be good.

The cloudy stormy sky is the best time to capture time-lapse as the clouds would move rapidly. Sharing my time-lapse video here for y’alls. Amazing moment captured using my small gopro6.

And last but not least, belanja a picture of me under the stormy cloud for my fan out there (perasan … lol am being cynical here) and for those people who are not so my fan, please underestimate me, that’ll be fun. Annyeong …


Underestimate me please, that’ll be fun




ps: if life gave you lemon, make lemonade.

Angelic colors in Maiga Island

Heading straight-on to Maiga Island

Heading straight-on to Maiga Island

Perfect natural light … perfect cloud … perfect wind … perfect weather … ahhh just speechless!

I couldn’t ask for more. Great companion as always … photographers from Brunei, Singapore, Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur … mostly are strangers turned companions. We shoot like a mad soldier with infinity bullets 😉 . I was surrounded by non stop camera shutter sound from my left and right side, it makes me feel  inferior lol … like I am not working hard enough accumulating my own stock photos …. argh! bunch of pro photographers. And … in 2 days, I accumulated more than 1000 images from my “crazy! memory space eater” D800/ D800E 😉

And, great food too as our host Muslianshah bin Masrie is not only a great photographer but he turned out to be a darn good cook too. I couldn’t complaint more … why should you complaint when your belly is full, right? *wink*

Maiga Island under the sun

Approaching the island

View from one of the jetty here in Maiga Island

View from one of the jetty here in Maiga Island

The other side of Maiga Island

Stunning landscape here … sun, sky and cloud overload


My addiction with clouds continue here

Photographer’s heaven …!! <— I know! I need to stop ranting and start writing instead.

Maiga Island is just a small remote tropical island. No hotels, no facilities … just a few simple and humble homes owned by the island people from Suluk and Pala’u (Bajau Laut) descent. Typical Sabahan hospitality… playful, friendly and polite. So, I would like to remind you … that you need to have an adventurous soul to be able to see and enjoy the beauty of this place.

We shared their homes for 2 nights and we hang around with their children during our sunsets and sunrises. You would probably feel a bit curious …  about the safety issues surrounding this area especially after the major security breached incident regarding foreign intruders last year. Well, it felt safe when we were there … and I saw groups of China tourist wandering freely around some small islands there too.  Well … there is always a RISK in everything that we do, right?

Sunset here at Maiga Island. The downside of having cloud overloads is ...

Sunset here at Maiga Island. The downside of having cloud overload is … my round yellow “egg yolk” sun … ended up playing peek-a-boo with me

Catching the last color of the day at Maiga Island. Yeah ... I admit , another boat as my foreground ...

Catching the last color of the day at Maiga Island. Yeah … I admit , another boat as my foreground

The curfew hours from 6pm to 6am is still on-going though … so, no island hoping activities at night for us. Just some relaxing and frustrating milky-way night shoot … and this is due to the cloud overload activities that continue during night time too.

Milky-way attempt at Maiga Island

Milky-way attempt at Maiga Island

And, this is how my sunrise look like:

Morning light peeping  out from the nearby island

Morning light peeping out from the nearby island

Children doing their routine jump at the jetty during my sunrise moment

Children doing their routine jump at the jetty during my sunrise moment

Bohey Dulang Island

A gorgeous fisheye view of the Bohey Dulang Island


Island children playing with their small boats

Island children with their routine jump at the jetty

Island children with their routine jump at the jetty

I made some new friends here too, Patricia, Azmal and Chinta.

Regardless of whatever or whoever our background is … human is still human and children will always be children. Most of the children here are without proper nationality and ‘politically’ they don’t entitled to experience school (… sarcastically saying). With no proper education, most of them can’t read or write but they are not slacking on their manners. Well mannered children that makes my heart nervous … thinking of their future.

This is Chinta with her audience

This is Chinta with her audience

The boy with a lollipop is Azmal. My diplomatic little tour guide ... I paid him to guide me around the island

The boy with a lollipop in his mouth is Azmal. My diplomatic little tour guide … I paid him to guide me around the island

Playing with my sea gypsy friends

Playing with my sea gypsy friends

Me and you moment

Me and you moment

Chinta … is not her real name, her real name is so difficult to remember so I just called her Chinta lol. She is a great story teller and a very imaginative child too. Whenever she started telling her stories …. the rest of the children would definitely be glued to her … including me, an adult child he he he.

I had a hormone imbalance moment when it was time for me to depart from the island. I had dust in my eyes whenever I look them in their eyes … especially towards Azmal, Chinta and Patricia. It felt like leaving your own child alone at a strange and dangerous roadside. Emotional attachment in 2 1/2 days … I am definitely getting older … or is it an early menopause sign? … emo 🙂

Wefie moment with my island friends

Wefie moment with my island friends

May Allah grant them protection, peace of mind, guidance and remain in his guidance always. And, may Allah grant a continuos resources, energy and time for me to travel and learn more from life … ameen.

“Do they not travel through the land, so that their hearts (and minds) may thus learn wisdom and their ears may thus learn to hear? Truly it is not their eyes that are blind, but their hearts which are in their chests” (22:Al-Hajj:46)

I pressed published before  before checking on my post ... lol ... and missed this photo. A child playing with her swing ...

The joy of witnessing life:  A child playing with her swing … love it!

And as at today, my traveling schedule for the next few months is still remained empty. I am planning to stay glued at home … editing photos, updating my photo portfolio, generating money to finance my next travel project and working on GayaIzzah.com. Wish me luck yea …




p/s If you plan to visit here, I would suggest you to bring some gifts for the children. Children clothing or swimming goggles or pens/ pencils or simple reading books or books for writing. Or you can spent some moments with them, reading for the children or just playing “tag you’re it” game with them. Sharing is caring …

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