Observations about Kota Kinabalu.

Lots of cars going around, almost every family can afford at least one car. Motorcycles and bicycles not popular, cars are cheap. Road systems are good, use of roundabouts makes for smoother flow compared to intersections with stoplights. No traffic jams except for occasional bottlenecks at certain points during rush hour, rush hour nila parang sunday afternoon natin. Bus that takes you around the city in airconditioned comfort is less than 7 pesos per person. We drove for more than 100km on a highway and we didn't have to pay one RM of toll. No tollgates.

People start the day late, they also stay up late. Dampa style eating places still packed at 22:00 OH on a monday.

Population growth seems to be slower, less people means more resources for each person. Nobody goes hungry, no beggars in the streets. Homeless people are so rare that they still attract attention of passesby, contrast to the apathy and even contempt that they get from people here in Manila. Taxes on goods are only 6%. Food is cheap and quality is off the charts, wet market dampa style eating places serve food quality and quantity you won't even get in restaurants inside expensive malls in Manila, and they do this for even lower prices. Cigarettes are expensive (P137 a pack or marlboro), people don't seem to like them that much. Alcohol is expensive. Wines cost 2-3 times their cost here.

Their airport does not charge you one sen of terminal fee and their citizens don't pay travel tax, dito runway robbery ang terminal fee and travel tax (total P2,220 per person total). Education is free up to high school. Walang visible na police, we only saw three the whole time we were there, there's no need for them. People are generally considerate (you hardly hear cars honking) and street crime rate is very low, no snatchers or anything like that. A motorcycle stolen from a regular citizen still makes news on the daily broad sheets. Tips are not necessary, people don't expect them. Stores give you change down to the last sen.

I don't think they can pack heat or even own any guns (street cops aren't even given one), I suppose that's one downside for a shooting aficionado. Only saw two guns the whole time there, a 12 ga used by guard in an armored van (literally a hiace retrofitted with thin armor) and a 38spl smith and wesson on a customs guard.

Malls don't have guards sa entrance, those that do have them don't touch you or your bags. Usually nag lalaro ng game sa cellphone lang. Taxi drivers obey prescribed fares. No meters just a chart for fares. For once a country where Filipinos are regarded as respectable people, even considered as preferred customers because they know our language. They also seem to know that we find their goods cheap and are glad we buy a lot of it.

Religion hardly an issue, you just hear morning call to prayer in islam and you see people in traditional islamic attire but that's it. Nobody stops and prays in the middle of serving you your lunch. We made friends with very pleasant folks from jolo, maybe get to use the backdoor through them if we ever need to flee sans trace.

Relatively clean and uncrowded beach is 10 minutes away by speedboat (dual 200HP yamaha or evinrude outboard powered) that charges you less than what a dinky banca (25HP water pump powered) operators here will charge you.

All in all very pleasant trip, unbelievably affordable. Spent less than US$300 per person for 4 days, that figure includes ALL expenses from the moment we stepped out our door in manila until we got back home again.

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