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Lilpink Travels: The Majestic Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque

It has been a while since my last visit to Brunei. Actually, it was summer 2011 when we went to this beautiful country to visit our relatives there. Yes, I have pure Bruneian relatives. 

People would get confused as to how we became relatives when I am pure Tausug and they are pure Bruneian. Apparently, our forefathers were from Martapura, Indonesia. Then, the brother of my great great great grandfather got abducted by the Banguinguis and sold as slave to the Sultan of Sulu (which he managed to get his freedom and became one of the leaders of one area in Sulu). Then, his brother and all other males in the family had to search for him around Southeast Asia. 

And that is how we have pure Bruneian, Singaporean, Indonesian and Malaysian relatives. Who knows? Maybe there are some in Thailand, China, anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, we only have close ties with those in Brunei. In fact, we already have made a Sarsilah of our family. 

We have been visiting them in Brunei ever since. They've always wanted to come and see the Philippines, especially Southwestern part. But we cannot make a very uncomfortable decision yet. 

Anyways, moving to our Brunei trip in 2011.

Of course, when one goes to Brunei, you should not miss the opportunity to see the magnificent Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque in Bandar Seri Begawan. This majestic and enormous mosque lies at the Brunei River in Kampong Ayer.

The mosque has been a tourist attraction in the country because of its beauty. Apparently, it is one of the most beautiful mosques in the Asia Pacific and the world. It symbolizes the national religion of Brunei which is Islam.

The mosque's most recognizable feature, the main dome, is covered in pure gold. The mosque stands 52 m (171 ft) high and can be seen from virtually anywhere in Bandar Seri Begawan.

Brunei is such a beautiful country. You still feel the rural kind of lifestyle with all the greenery around, but it is also very modern. 

It seems like I need to go on my third visit anytime soon. Allahumma ameen!


Ōkunoshima (大久野島): The Rabbit Paradise of Japan


When we were in Japan for our one month Public Administration Training, we were lucky enough that the training coordinators included a trip to Takehara-shi in the itinerary, especially Ōkunoshima (大久野島) or more known as Rabbit Paradise or Rabbit Island (Usagijima). 

My Cup of Tea: Friendship

I met with an old friend yesterday. He was with his sister. It is always a good thing to sit down and have a good conversation with people who understand you. He was one of my co-trainees in Hiroshima, Japan last year. We were reminiscing our good times in Japan.

Today, it hit me. We will always meet people. Sometimes, get to know them. Be close to them. Then at one point, you will have to separate ways. Imagine how many friendships we have managed to keep within the years.

I am turning 25 mid this year - almost a quarter of a century old. I have been friends with a lot of people. Then at one point, we just stopped communicating and ended up losing the close bond.

Looking back at one of the Islamic seminars I have attended, the sheikh once told us that our friends were not picked by us. Circumstances have brought us together. Our friends are our friends because they are there within our reach. We managed to get to know them because, well, they are in our peripheral.

Our online friends are our friends because we've managed to be in the same, say, website, social network, etc with them.

We can't be friends with those that are not in our boat. We can't create a bond with those miles away from us - unless we already have and just got separated. The friends we make are the people who also have been given the chance to know us by being within the reach.

And because I was given the chance to go to Japan. I was able to meet and befriend people like Ben, ate She, Elai and my other co-trainees. Moreover, I was also able to befriend Japanese and International people, whom I am now reconnecting over and over just like Doreen, Mai-chan, Ken-san, etc.

Similar to how I became friends with some other bloggers - because I blog and we are in the same sphere.

We become friends because we are bound to meet somewhere, sometime. When we reconnect and make the fragile bond of first meeting stronger, that's how we manage to find ourselves deeply immersed in the sea of friendship, wherein an acquaintance becomes a friend and later on becomes a best friend.

Best friends for decades. 

That's how I and my best friends managed to survive the test of time, distance and differences.

How did you meet your best friends? 

#WHD Hijab Diaries: Why I Prefer to Wear Hijab


As a hijabi (one that wears headscarf or hijab), I often get asked by non-Muslims why I wear this piece of cloth on my head. Don't I have hair? Or is my hair too ugly so I prefer to hide it? Aren't I feeling hot in it? Is it heavy? Am I being pushed to wear the hijab?

Sometimes, I feel disobliged to explain my choices to people. However, as I learned more and more about Islam, I felt that it is my duty to make them understand the beauty and wisdom behind the hijab.

My hijab story dates back to 1995-1996 when I used to be fascinated by my mom's headscarves. In fact, I wear her hijab. At the end of the day, my parents bought me kiddie hijabs. From then on, I have been a hijabi all my life. Although, as I pointed out in my blogpost here, I had a lot of struggles with the hijab, especially during my college days.

I've had my fair share of struggles and hardships with the hijab. But they do not include oppression or being pushed to wear the hijab by my parents or my friends. When I wear it, it is my sole choice. It is my own perspective that told me there is a need to cover myself up.

So instead of being asked if I was pushed into wearing it, I'd rather hear someone ask me the reason why I prefer to wear the hijab.
Hijab, for me, is more than just a piece of cloth. It is an ideology that I dove into. It is not just a physical covering that I wear to conceal my body. Rather, it comes with a complete package. When I wear the hijab, I do not only feel upheld. There is a force within me that makes me a better person. It empowers me to be better. It gives me the power to have a control not just over my body, but my heart and mind, too.

When I wear the hijab, I am in my, if-not-best, better version of myself. I refrain from doing bad things. It is just like a filter that helps me drop my bad deeds. And that matters a lot to me.

Wanting to be constantly stay with the right path has always been my goal in life. I am not like most people who would love to do something crazy and wild even once in their life. Because they think that this is the only life they get. Most people call me reserved, but I would rather be that person than regret it in the next life.

Hijab gives me just what I needed. I am not compelled to wear it. In fact, it is I who saw the need for it. And I am not giving it up.

It is a constant battle to wear the right clothes and hijab. And there are people who criticizes me for the way that I wear mine. What they don't realize is that the outside appearance that the hijab gives off is just the peak of an iceberg of what it really means and does to my being.

I can't speak on behalf of the millions of hijabis around the world. But one thing is for sure, a lot of us chose hijab for all the good things it brings with it, especially that it is a form of worship to our Dearest Almighty, Allah SWT.

I am not compelled to wear it. It's just that I feel I am a better version of myself when I wear it.

Here are some similar blog posts about wearing the hijab:


This post is part of the Lilpink Hijab Diaries, which is a series of posts on this blog that talks about hijab, its beauty and wisdom. This is to support the cause that calls on non-hijabis to wear the hijab for a day every 1st of February of each year, World Hijab Day that brings awareness of what it feels like to wear the headscarf.

Kai Darul is one of the Philippine Ambassadors of World Hijab Day, together with Azizah Talusan (, Mara Biruar (, Caroline Lovely and Congresswoman Sitti Djalia Hataman.

Lilpink Travels: Fun Things To Do in Tawi-Tawi

I may come from one of the places that has the best beaches, but I really haven't explored my lovely archipelago yet. Ahuh! You got it right. I am not the adventurous type. I'd rather read books on a sunny afternoon by the beach while having tea.

However, for the sake of the people who are enchanted by the group of islands down south, here are some of the fun things to do in Tawi-Tawi.

2015: Positivity and Possibility

It's that time of the year again to wrap the entire year: to learn from mistakes, relive the good times and count the blessings.

You Don't Need to Choose Between Saving and Looking Great

Saving money on beauty products and looking great aren't mutually exclusive. It takes money to perfect a certain look, but you have other obligations to think of, too. Looking at salon sites is a good way to know what trendsetters are doing. With the many online shopping options that are available, you'll find it easier to save than you ever realized. Anne Welsh and many other stylists have sites that attract people looking for ideas.

Revisiting My 2015 Wishlist

Every year, instead of writing my New Year's Resolution, which is more assertive, I usually write my wishlist for the year. This is so that I don't put too much pressure on myself. We all have goals in life, but it does not mean that we have to sacrifice our own health and well-being for our goals. That is why I just maintain a wishlist instead of resolutions. They are more timid and still quite motivating. 

Top 3 Affordable Lace Wedding Gowns, December 2015 Edition

Lace is one of the materials that have timelessness as one of its description. No matter how young or old the person wearing the dress made from lace, she will always look sophisticated and elegant. This is why lace is one of the most preferred fabrics for wedding gowns.

Lilpink Travels: The Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) Experience

My feet have been itching to travel, yet circumstances won't let me. And since I am not yet allowed to travel with everything that's happening, let me take you back to my first Okonomiyaki experience while I was in Higashihiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken, Japan. 

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