City Mosque in Likas Bay, Kota Kinabalu

Surrounded by a man-made lagoon, the City Mosque at Likas Bay in Kota Kinabalu achieves a floating like apparition as seen from a distance. As I trudge closer from where we got off the bus, I can hear chants of worships spread out on the open air, and in a place like that with the bay fronting the opposite side and the Mosque facing it against the lagoon - the chant easily bemused the ears even of those undaunted passersby. At that point, I was feeling a different kind of beat, as I quickly cut distance between me and this architecturally gifted place of worship of our Muslim brothers. After gorging on street foods in Kota Kinabalu, I was finally experiencing the place in a new light and perspective.

The blue dome of the mosque quickly steals your attention and against a sky that is trapped between weeping rains and scattered clouds, it creates an image of the sky in itself - coupled with the billowing and slowly moving reflection over the lagoon water, it lies perfectly at ease waiting for my hands to frame it properly on my camera's viewfinder and click the shutter button. I did, a couple of clicks here and there, afterward it provided me a solemn moment to just stare at the mosque in quiet captivity with my own thoughts. I wonder, what more for the people practicing the Islam religion, going inside, kneeling and praying. An already powerful feeling multiplied by a dozen, is what religion truly brings and as a spectator of their faith from another religion, I have nothing but awe in how they practice their own and build places of worships such as the City Mosque in Likas Bay.

After a few minutes, throngs of faithfuls started coming out of the mosque and soon cars paraded out unto the streets and in a few minutes the crowd disappeared, fueled by another round of practicing their faith - intent to shower goodness to others and brighten up everything around them. The mosque has again played its role in delivering teachings of life to a larger mass. Beyond the architectural wonder of the place, it serves more than just a visual feast. Just like any other places of worships, from our own Spanish Colonial Churches, to temples in neighboring Asian Countries and Mosques throughout the world particularly in the middle east, faith transgress and progresses in each of the walls of these structures.

After taking a few more photographs, we circled the Mosque all the way to the other end by the highway which faces the Likas Bay. We saw the Mosque in another angle and equally impressive as the first. A few other Chinese tourists were there taking photos as well. Me and my friend Josh, who was traveling outside of the Philippines for the first time, has been walking around Kota Kinabalu for hours and we decided to take a short break and as I sat at the grass and was reminded further about the vast available places to explore in my lifetime. I remember my first time to travel abroad was also in Malaysia, when my brother took me with him on a short trip to Kuala Lumpur in 2007. I remember that booking a night or two in a few Kuala Lumpur hotels was pretty easy since I did it online the month before. One thing that made that trip completely worth it was seeing the temples and other mosques there particularly in Putrajaya  and I know the feeling of seeing it all for the very first time was surreal.

My travel bug started the second time around after working fruitlessly like a slave in the corporate world for 4 years with that trip. This time it was my turn to accompany a first time out of the country traveler and it was a blast since Josh was at first worried about his mom and girlfriend back home, because they in turn worry about him on getting lost or worse, getting hit by a speeding Proton car since they drive right handed.

Motorists do not usually blow their horns in Malaysia, unlike here where its like a wild wild west of blowing horns. But, we managed to have at least three cars honk their horns on us, because we tried crossing while looking at the opposite end. Lucky us we didn't met any accident crossing the street of Kota Kinabalu, paving the way for us to see more of the city and in particular, this stunning Mosque beside Likas Bay. After a while, we then straddled towards the nearby Chinese temple and then the rain fell like a battle ranges on and the prick like raindrops serves as its deadly arrows.

Going here, just take a bus to Likas at the central bus terminal near Wawasan Plaza, a mere walking distance from the Waterfront Esplanade. Pay the bus conductor 1 MYR and get off at Likas Bay bus stop once you see the imposing dome of the Mosque. Nearby Puh Toh Si Temple is a 10 minute walking distance away from this Mosque.