July 1, 2016 | Flight distance: 2296 nm | Hours in the air: 5.20
Today was the longest single leg of the entire trip crossing the Philippines over to Borneo and finally Brunei. Not only was the weather lousy (hot and humid) but for some reason they would not sell us any kerosene, no matter what the form of payment would be.
So we went to the hotel, aka as the place where the Sultan accommodates his guests. As one can see, it is enormous and loaded with gold. We took a short tour of the city to see with our own eyes how generous the Sultan treats his tributaries. The streets are clean, everything is organised and people, especially the ones on the road in their cars, are very courteous. This was the last night with all of us as the professor will leave us tomorrow, notably an evening without alcohol and to top it during Ramadan.
Brunei officially the Nation of Brunei, is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, its population is just over 400’000.
At the peak of the Bruneian Empire, Sultan Bolkiah (reigned 1485–1528) is alleged to have had control over most regions of overall Borneo. The maritime state was visited by Spain’s Magellan Expedition in 1521 and fought against Spain in 1578’s Castille War.
During the 19th century, the Bruneian Empire began to decline. In 1888, Brunei became a British protectorate until the Japanese occupation during World War II. In 1959 a new constitution was written. In 1962, a small armed rebellion against the monarchy was ended with the help of the British.
Brunei gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1984. It has developed wealth from extensive petroleum and natural gas fields. Brunei has the second-highest Human Development Index among the Southeast Asia nations, after Singapore. The IMF estimated in 2011, that Brunei was one of two countries (the other being Libya!) with a public debt at 0% of the national GDP. Brunei also ranks as the fifth-richest nation out of 182, based on its petroleum and natural gas fields.