How to Renew Your Passport

As a Bruneian, we have one of the stronger passports in the world – ranked 23rd by Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index. As such, we are eligible for visa-free travel to a total of 151 countries including US (only ESTA needed), the EU. So I'm super psyched to be a holder of one 😂

However, call me weird but one of those things that gives me terrible anxiety are stuff like renewing passports.

On the night before I usually obsess about how I need to be there at 7am before they open so that they don't run out of queue numbers, terrorise everyone about why can't I do this online? Why this? Why that? People are going to stare at me cause I dunno anything, will there be labels telling me where to go and if I'm in the right place? 😂😂😂

Introvert problems.

So today I finally went to renew my passport and it went really well, haha!

However, for people with the same kind of documentation anxiety as me, I've compiled a step by step guide on how to do it.

STEP ONE: Make an appointment.

Did you know that you now can make an appointment for passport renewal?

All you have to do is simply call their number at 2381856 or 2382257 between 830am to 1130am to book a slot convenient for you.

Remember though:

– Call at least a day earlier
– Come 15 minutes before your appointment
– Have all documentation ready

OR

STEP ONE: COME EARLY

HOWEVER! If like me, you didn't know about this whole appointment thing, don't worry!

Walk-ins are welcome too!

BUT! COME EARLY!

How early is early? Well, depends on you haha.

I came at about 840am on a Saturday and my number was 56. My friend was there at 730am and his number was 10. When I sat, he was just leaving.

So the earlier u are, higher chance u have of completing the process faster!

Note: There is a quota of how many walk in customers they can accept per day so on certain days if you come late, there may be a chance of u not being entertained.

STEP TWO: Make sure all your documents are ready

All you need is a:

  • Form – duly completed and signed (You can get this at the venue itself but if you like to fill them in early, you can download the forms available here)
  • Copy of IC
  • Copy of Passport
  • BND60

STEP THREE: Submit your form & then wait in line

The place to submit your form is at the Third Floor, the room on your far left.


There is a counter, and a friendly and helpful man who will assign u a number and assist you.

After that, you sit and wait for your name to be called.

Bring books, powerbank, knitting kit – the wait can take from 30 to 90 minutes or in my case, 1 hour.

STEP 4: Get your photo taken!

This part is le simple. The lovely staff will assist you.

First, you record your fingerprints on their digital scanner, and then, photo time!

FYI, the photo needs to have your ears visible and hey, smile!

STEP 4: Payment!

There will be a counter for payment and they will provide a receipt with pickup date.

STEP 5: Finished!

The passport will be done in 3 days. HOWEVER!

Look what came in by SMS at 422pm 😂

Well done to the Department of Immigration & National Registration for being awesome and efficient. 🙂

Hope this article helps you a bit with your passport renewing anxiety. 😂

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Positively Fat

I am size 16 so I am what you call, fat.
I admit it’s completely my fault. Haha. I eat decadent things and find exercise extremely tedious.

However, sometimes people use my size as something to make me feel bad about myself. 

The thing is I was once skinny, but the same people deride me for being short. When I wear heels and look and feel taller, those same people will find offense in my voice, or teeth, or hair.


So as you can see, you cannot please people. 

You see, you can be perfect, and people will still find some way to make you feel bad. 

In fact, you can be perfect and YOU yourself find ways to make YOUR OWN SELF feel bad.

So I’m not entirely sure when, but about 10 years or so ago, I decided, enough. 

I may be fat, but that is not a reflection of my heart, all the good things about myself, or all the awesome things I’ve done and am capable of.


The more I observe the more I realise how people who call u names are more insecure about their looks than u are of yours.

I am what you call, confident. 

Why? Because I am relatively highly educated, laugh wholeheartedly every single day of my life, can eat exclusively delicious things, can travel wherever I want, doing what I love and have awesome friends & families who supports everything I do. 


If I ever have advice for u it is this: SNAP OUT OF IT.

Other people have absolutely NO, NIL, NADA, right to judge u and call you names. They don’t know how hard u work to look and be how u are today.

You don’t need negative voices telling u that you are fat, ugly, dark skinned, short. 

Even if u are all of those combined, remember that is not all you are – who says u can’t be smart, sexy, funny, generous, amazingly awesome and happy?


Trust me when the looks go, guess what – ur smartness, sexiness, generosity, awesomeness —- they’re here to stay!

A Walk around Kampong Ayer

Last week, me and bestie, supremely free and available, decided that we wanted to walkabout Kampong Ayer. 

Parked at Yayasan, and grabbed a water taxi to the other side – this costs 50 cents.


We requested to be dropped off at Kg Bakut Berumput cause that’s where Kunyit7 Lodge is. Alas the place was not open as Kem, the  lovely host, was out for a walking tour with guests.


So what are we to do? Go on a walking tour of our own of course! 


Armed with no bearing and directions, we walked towards the direction of the Kampong Ayer Cultural and Tourism Gallery – hoping that it’s open on a public holiday haha. (It’s not)


Along the way we saw houses ravaged by fire, houses thriving, and houses getting by.


Some houses have their boats parked up front. Some are undergoing renovations.


Life seems simple and very close knit. People sit on the porch of their houses (sometimes smoking) and watch people walking by. 

Shortly we arrived at the housing scheme of Kampung Lorong Sikuna. The houses are fabulous and super modern here and I’ve actually never realised of their existence. These houses, have permanent deeds (bergaran) unlike most houses in Kampong Ayer. 

We also discovered that the Ketua Kampong, Hj Ahmad, operates a homestay from his house…. which has a wedding dais. Also he has wedding costumes. 

Therefore:

So me besanding, with no hubby hahaha. 

He has plenty of trinkets from the past:


A quick glance on the FB page shows he gets plenty of tourists visiting.

The house is modern, but the things inside are uniquely traditional Malay. 

As we walked around we realised people have built their lives around the supposed “modern” houses. 

We can see inside the houses, are not much different than the normal wooden houses on the other parts of Kampong Ayer. Almost like the house is just a shell depicting modernity but hey inside they’re still clutching on to their traditions.

This one runs an interesting business out from the house – renting chairs for weddings and functions. They’re loading the chairs on that boat to be sent off somewhere.

Another operates a cafe.


Interesting glimpse into the lives of people living here. I cannot imagine the daily grind of buying groceries and lugging them from the boat to the kitchen (heavy!), buying gas, and how about going to work? 

Means early morning already need to go on the water taxi, where do they park? Gosh. It feels like so far away yet it’s literally just 1 minute boat ride from the city.


Finally our tour ended at this modern pier where another water taxi picked us up and sent us back to Yayasan. 

2016: Roundup, Highlights and Downlows

Did the year just zoomed pass? Hehe. December is here and 2017 is fast approaching – in less than 24 hours! I had so much fun this year so I’m going to try and list down some highlights for the year:

TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS

#aegeanodyssey2016:

Our trip to the historic city of Ephesus, enigmatic Istanbul, breathtaking Cappadoccia as well as Athens, Greece.

What an amazing trip and what an experience!

Read all about it here:

#gdmaurinaKKoverlandtrail

This year, the husband and I, armed with Waze, for first time drove long distance to KK! How fun it is! The roads are very comfortable, the drive very easy and of course I love the company. 🙂

Stayed at very comfortable Ming Garden Hotel, KK. 🙂

#TRIPOFWONDERS

I CANNOT get over this trip. The journey, sponsored by Tourism Indonesia, sees us jetting all over from Jakarta, Lombok, Banyuwangi, Makassar & Bandung!

I CAN’T believe I managed to climb a freaking volcano I REALLY CAN’T!

Read all about my trip here:

#53SHADESOFBANGKOK

Back in Bangkok again this year but this time, with my favourite colleagues!

How amazing that we managed to catch the Elle Men Bangkok Fashion Week!

That super duper awesome fine dining experience at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon!

That DURIAN BUFFET at Emquartier!!!!

Everytime I come to Bangkok it is different!

For more photos, check out: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/53shadesofbangkok/

#KualaLumpurI’mBack

A solo trip for work, but hey that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy! Took the time to catch up with friends and eat!!!

Some highlights:

MORE photos on my instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/maurinatravel2016/ 

STAYCATION HIGHLIGHTS

#gotemburong

So glad I went on this trip!!! Collaborated with Brunei Tourism for this awesome weekend package and stayed in a campsite!

Read more about it here:

THE EMPIRE HOTEL & COUNTRY CLUB

Scenic place for photos plus always a lovely place to enjoy a staycation 🙂

BANDAR WATERFRONT

Generally very hot to hang out here, but late afternoons, I love to take photos here!

Of course not to forget Bandarku Ceria (car-free Sunday events) held every Sunday in Bandar Seri Begawan.

JERUDONG PARK & WATERPARK

SERIA BEACH, OIL & GAS DISCOVERY CENTRE & BILLIONTH BARREL MONUMENT

PANTAI TANJONG BATU, MUARA

A newly discovered beach! Find the simpang on the left as soon as u enter Muara after the first roundabout from highway.

DEVICE HIGHLIGHTS

Hahahahahahaha!!!!! I’m so tired of writing this post already!!!!

But I also wanted to say that my life has changed after the purchase of this device! 

Hahahahahahah

I love it! Ok that’s all.

This has been the most wonderful year. Next year I look forward to more travels, and more new experiences.

FOR NOW, HAPPY NEW YEAR AND MUDAHAN AKU KURUS TAHUN DEPAN! AMIN!

Choose to be Happy

Today I found an article about choosing to be happy:

Sebenarnya, bahagia tidaklah butuh alasan. Kamu bahagia karena kamu ingin bahagia. Kamu tidak bahagia karena kamu tidak ingin bahagia. Sesederhana itu. Kamulah satu-satunya orang yang memegang kendali atas perasaanmu, jangan biarkan kebahagiaanmu terpatok pada seseorang atau sesuatu.

Roughly translated, it means, 

“Happiness does not need a reason. You are happy because you want/choose to be happy. You are unhappy because you choose to be unhappy. It’s as simple as that. You are the only one driving/controlling your state of happiness, and it is not dependent on someone or something.”

I find that so beautiful and deep in its simplicity. 

How to choose to be happy? By being content and grateful. 

Surely if one is never grateful then, she can have a million things from her list of wants and can never be satisfied. 

Alternatively if you have nothing, yet you are grateful in your nothingness- you are choosing to be happy. In some magical way, you are strangely fulfilled in your state of incompleteness.

Happiness should not be pegged to something that may or may not happen, something that have or have not happenned. 

Happiness should be free from material.

It should exist from within you. It is your choice. 

You are the driver of your own happiness. 

5 Things They Do in a Facial

To be honest I am a new facial convert. I am not a fan of people touching my face and lying in bed for a long time hanya untuk di seksa hahaa. But I did some work for a spa last year and it included doing a deep cleansing facial. 

IMMEDIATELY after the facial, I noticed my skin felt softer, much like a baby’s butt! But the best part was for a few weeks after the facial, my skin was glowing and radiant. 

I WAS HOOKED!  Siapa jua nda mau lawa?!!

Eversince then, facial is a regular part of my beauty routine. And I really highly recommend it to all you ladies (and gents!) yang mau lawa and kerapian macam aku.

So if you are new to the whole facial routine, here is basically what it entails:

1. DEEP CLEANING

I can tell u the aesthetician (yakni this is what u call a person who does your facial) will seriously clean you up. 


Because of this, I feel it’s best to do a facial at the end of a work day, before you go home to wind down. Suruh amah saja masak atau tapau ok. Lapas facial jangantah sibuk2 kan masak. Hubby hubby bah please apa jua sebulan sekali. All women need maintenance ok!

2. SCRUBBING

Yes they will apply a scrub to exfoliate all the dead skin cells that built up from your daily activities. After the scrub, usually I can immediately see my skin looking more bright. 

Why don’t the scrubs we use at home have this effect? I really dunno?!

3. EXTRACTION


At the hand of an unskilled aesthetician, this is painful!!! Basically she will extract blackheads to keep your pores clean and prevent acne so make sure u find an aesthetician with a gentle hand.

In some places, before extraction, they steam your face for a few minutes to “open up” your pores. Some aestheticians say it’s not necessary. 

To some, it can get uncomfortable so if you are one of those people, do specify that you don’t want the steam. 

4. MASK

Depending on the condition of your skin, there will be a mask applied. I’ve seen a mud mask, cream masks, gel masks, depending on your skin’s needs. 


By the way, my aesthetician recommends to use masks at home 2x a week to preserve your post-facial glow.

5. FACE MASSAGE

Some places have machines to massage your face- they range from simply improve blood circulation, to stimulating collagen production. Some just zap away bacteria that promotes acne… some have lifting and whitening function. Some are just cool to see hahaha. 


Looks like a karaoke machine hahaa…

But face massage can also be done by a skilled aesthetician with her hands, more often for a lifting effect. 

While I don’t enjoy people touching my face, I’ve grown to find it very nyaman!
******

This week I actually did a hydrating facial in a new salon called The Beauty Spot and I LOVE IT! Siuk, lawa dan nyaman the place. 

Check out my video below! 

Treatments are varied from hydrating, deep cleansing, to lifting and whitening and they even have a machine that supposedly sculpts much like botox. 😱😱😱 

It’s definitely the best time to go try out a facial cause for your first treatment, you get 50% discount! 

For more info, check out their Instagram – @thebeautyspotbn

#GoTemburong Day 03: Bamboo Chicken, Rafting, Bangar Tamu, Burger Udang Galah

On the third day, we were supposed to wake up at 5am for a morning trek to catch a pretty sunrise.

We all woke up 730am – slept like BATU.

So no sunrise.

But breakfast was a beautiful spread of nasi lemak, eggs, baked beans, toast, and kuihs ♥️

I have to say Freme really is very experienced handling international tourists. They know to serve simple and seemingly local cuisine as well as foods that foreigners are more familiar with.

So since we missed the sunrise trekking, we had a more relaxing morning which began with a cooking class, followed by rafting, and a tour of Bangar. Check it out in my vlog below. 🙂

TRYING OUR HAND AT BAMBOO CHICKEN


Bamboo Chicken or Ayam Pansuh is an Iban dish which combines chicken, potatoes, garlic, tamarind, onions, lemongrass and ginger and then gently stewed in an actual bamboo over charcoal. The result is a lovely, tender chicken dish that soothes the soul.


Our guide, Fiona, who is an Iban herself mentioned that the dish is usually eaten with rice also cooked in bamboo – resembling lemang.

Both has a smoky and subtle bamboo flavour resulting from the vessel where it’s cooked. But more importantly it tastes very clean and wholesome.

RAFTING YAKNI HANDAL

One of our activities that day was rafting. I didn’t participate as I really can’t lift my arms 😂 but Gzul and Shaf were really into it! Have a look at these posers haha.


And sudah siap kajah atu diusung bagai queen.


😂😂😂😂 Nda kan melambai!!!!

BACK TO BANGAR

We has sometime to rest, had lunch and pack, and then off we went to Bangar.


In Bangar we had a walking tour, that ended at the Tamu.


We got to buy tidbits to bring home. Yums! Yam Chips, Wajid, and omg, best of all: BURGER UDANG GALAH.


I can’t even. NYAMAN BERABIS DI DUNIA!!! The paste on the handmade prawn patty are the prawn fats (otak udang!).

😳😳😳😳😳

Take me back to Temburong!

END OF OUR 3D2N CAMPSITE EXPERIENCE

It’s a bittersweet end as I seriously enjoyed this package and the company I had all the way! In the beginning I thought omg, hope I’ll survive ok haha – u know I love my urban comforts- internet, aircond, etc. But it actually reminded me how much I enjoy nature. I don’t really know how to describe it but it makes me feel alive.

Some people may think that it’s not suitable for kids but actually, in the campsite there was also a local family and a little boy having the best of times!

For more info on the package that we did, head on over to Brunei Tourism’s website. Thank you to Brunei Tourism who gave us the opportunity to experience this package and a million thank yous to our hosts both at AZ Back to Nature, as well as at the Freme Rainforest Lodge. I enjoyed myself completely and highly recommend this package!