On February 24, 2012 we took the 0720 Royal Brunei flight to Bandar Seri Bengawan arriving thereto at around 0925. We were welcomed by the Dewan Bahasa representatives in the person of Haja, Haji Arifin and at least three others at the airport.
With the compliment of Dewan Bahasa I was booked at the newly built Times Hotel with two (2) Rex Book Store (RBSI) representatives whose travel accommodations were shouldered by RBSI.
Considering that the Book Fair would officially start yet on February 25, 2012. I requested the RBSI companions to accompany me to the Kampong Ayer to go to antique shop. The son of the seller was inquisitive on the name of my younger lady companion.
I inquired also whether or not she would like to know the name of my older lady companion but he said it is not necessary. At a huge expense of around One Thousand US Dollars ($1000), I was able to buy a big and heavy bamboo object designed to accommodate coin savings.
My younger lady companion was always the object of inquiry and unsolicited help. Thus we did not find difficulty when a person offered to help us call for a taxi. The rays of the sun were really discomforting thus the arrival of the taxi was a big relief.
In the afternoon, I went to the sports stadium nearby upon the suggestion of a Bruneian married to a Filipina that there was a football match between Myanmar and Philippines under the auspices of the Bolkiah Asean Sports Tournament for the Youth. I joined the Philippine spectators carrying with them small and big Philippine flags. I similarly received a small Philippine flag.
The Philippine spectators were later joined in by the incumbent Ambassador Ochoa and wife. The Philippine lost garnering only a score of two (2) whereas Myanmar got Eight (8).
On February 25,2012 in my capacity as APPA President I graced the opening of the Bookfair. My younger lady companion was well accepted and admired by the Bruneian ladies and gentlemen alike, including a Jordanian book exhibitor through the inquiry about her name and her personal circumstances.
At night time, we decided to witness the formal opening of the Sultan Bolkiah Asean Youth Football tournament at the Grand Stadium. We witnessed the formal opening in the Sultan giving the Opening Remarks at the well maintained Stadium but the pouring of rain accelerated our departure back to the Hotel.
Even at the Hotel there was no respite from the admiration even from the young football players from Vietnam booked also in the Hotel to my young lady companion. We were able to take photo of a Vietnamese football player peeping at the eyehole of the door of the room. Knocking at our door and then running is a normal occurrence during our brief stay at the Hotel. It could be exasperating.
On February 26, 2012 we availed of a taxi ride to Miri. The taxi driver first brought us to his big house for us to fill up immigration and customs documents to facilitate entry to Miri, Sarawak which is part of another country Malaysia.
Instead of going direct to Miri through the diversion highway we passed through Jerudong, Seria (where we saw the Shell installations including the traditional pumping mechanisms and the Gurka settlement to guard the area) and Kelan Belait.
Upon reaching Miri I could see the dominance of Chinese in view of the presence of Chinese characters in practically in all the numerous buildings situated thereto. We visited the Handicraft store, the Taoist Temple and the small markets.
Upon reaching the Grand Old Lady which is the name given to the mountain where the Oil Exploratory Museum is located I suddenly realized that at least seven(7)years ago I visited already Miri when I went for a trek to the Nias Cave.
After the Museum, we passed through another Handicraft store where I saw an allegedly old stone carving similar to what I saw in the Bada Valley, Indonesia. I decided and have it shipped from the time they would receive the money I would be sending.
On the next day we visited the Asean Product Display. The Philippines were not represented. Indonesia practically occupied the booths. I bought an antique flatiron.
On February 27,2012 we took the 2125 Royal Brunei Flight(BI 689) arriving Manila at 2230.