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Posts Tagged ‘rano360travels’


Well done, Pranika

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


Pranika to compete in Jakarta 

The Sandakan Toastmasters Division Conference. Ah, I was away and visited Sandakan, Sabah, for the first time ever. I realised how hot Sandakan is compared to Brunei. It was nice to see friends from Sandakan and our trip was to attend a toastmasters conference and also supporting our friends from Brunei in the Division Level toastmasters contest. I won’t be talking much about the trip but more into my gratitude and appreciation towards my friends who made the experience fruitful and joyful.

The Woo Factor. I don’t know how you do it but you managed to wake up in time for the contest despite having only few hours of sleep. So the theory of you needing at least 8-10 hours of sleep is inconclusive for now 😀 You had such a wonderful and energetic presence on stage that students from Sandakan were woo-ed by you. Always a pleasure to have beaten you in pool last weekend 😀 Hoping for more “woo” effects in 2016. Thank you, Chris Woo, for trusting me to introduce you to the stage.

My roomie. I’ve changed multiple partners but you don’t mind it at all *lol* Jokes aside, you are a very accommodating person and very resourceful one too. You hardly decline people’s requests unless it’s about taking up speech slots (as you need more time :p) Amran Jamaluddin, sometimes it’s okay to say “no” and like Tessa said, “Do It My Way”.

The school boy who acts like a charismatic teacher. Regardless whether you are in your toastmasters costume or not, your intention remains the same – to create a conducive environment for yourself and others to grow. How do you juggle your career, family, commuting and flying all in the same week? That’s what I call proper planning and efficiency. Furthermore, your efficiency as a decision maker has allowed us to enjoy the seafood in KK. Who needs a calculator when you have Allen Ang traveling with you. Thanks bro.

The quiet of the lot with a heart of gold. You’re such a lovely person and a supporting wife (to Allen, of course). Your presence and smiles have made our company livelier. Thank you, Fen, for reminding me of the unconditional support and love.

The JS connection. Both of you are always great supporters to the toastmasters community, giving morale support to Pranika and Julius. Good job, Jason Koo, on accommodating to be a last minute SAA speaker during the contest (and also evaluating my delivery) and Supatra Lee for showing up during the 4 day trip in Sandakan

A respected leader, not just in Brunei. It’s never easy to fly in and out and having two job positions in Brunei. How do you do it bro? Last weekend was just another great testaments on how strong our Division K has been under the guidance of you. Jerry told me how your presence during the short visit before the conference has given them confidence and hope for the Division Conference to be a success and truly it was (Now more pressure on me). Your remarks on the stage showed sincerity and how you have been attentive in the minor things that have happened during the conference. Your duck story still holds in my mind. Very true indeed. Thank you for showing up as a respectable leader in our community, Reuben Chin.

The invisible link. Though you are not around during the trip, you will still very resourceful in connecting our journey to the world through blogs, social media and media print. Let’s hope future VPPR (Vice-President of Public Relations) can emulate your initiatives and commitment in spreading the journey of toastmasters. Thank you, Gerald Goh.


Congratulations, Pranika Lama, on winning the International Speech Contest in Division Level at Sandakan, Sabah yesterday. Click image to enlarge.

A never-give up fighter. This alone has won my heart. It reminds me of a fearless wrestler Cactus Jack is known for sustaining punishments in the ring but still able to fight to the end. For such a short span of time, you are already swimming in the deepest part of the ocean with your hands out of your pockets. Not many have what you have and that’s the desire and the passion to grow as a communicator. Your continuos calls for helps in preparation for your contest showed your dedication to bring the best in you. Keep up the fight and climb the ladder but you are already a champion in our hearts, Julius. Note: He competed in the Table Topics in Division Level in Sandakan after winning in club level and national (Area) level.

The OC/PA expert. Your effort didn’t start last weekend. It began months ago and I never experienced such a meticulous coordinator (Organising Chair for logistics) in getting a dozen of us all the way to Sandakan and back to Brunei. Your constant reminders (even small ones) are crucial in making sure everyone is aligned with the programme. You have truly grown as a leader and you don’t need a CL manual to validate your contribution. We saw it and we are truly grateful for it. Oh, PA stands for personal assistance to Chris 😀 Really proud of your growth, Sandy Tan. Keep it up!

The hair-flick poser. Ah, so much I want to share about you but I will keep that offline. I still remember last year when I wanted you to win (Division) so much because I’ve never seen such a dedicated toastmasters, not just in speeches but other roles. As for now, no one come close to meeting your club attendance even in other clubs. You are living the vision. I did had a moment of tears when Kamilia announced your name. I’m always here to support you and I’m sorry if I might have offend you with my humour or nag you because I truly care for our friendship. If you win in Jakarta, I will help find resources for you. Good luck, Pranika Lama (our Division Champion in International Speech Contest).

The mother of Area K6. I am truly grateful how you are always calm during the storm and that energy spreads among us and without realising, we feel calmer too. Your presence alone breaks the invisible tension and your care for all your “children” is unconditional. A mother icon that we can trust with our challenges and opportunities. Keep calm and thank you, Ruey 😀

Mr. Backbone of Area AK6. ¥ou have earned the legacy from Brunei toastmasters and groomed us to be leaders of our own. This is something that I see in you day in, day out, without fail. You have given me the platform to learn from mistakes and allow me to grow at the same time. I might be scared of you sometimes for not meeting your expectations but that’s just my mind toying with me because I aspire to be a great leader. I can’t imagine this journey without you and thank you in believing in all of us. Thank you, Shawn.

Self appreciation. I’m truly grateful that I feel the growth in me as a communicator and a leader. It’s time to trust in myself that I am capable of being a leader for the betterment of myself and the community. There are times of doubt and that’s just my monkey mind playing with me. This trip have definitely spurred more fire and my passion to carry out my mission. I am a man on a mission 🙂

Notable mentions: Thank you, Jerry, for helping me with the little things that I requested. Thank you, Laurence, for showing up once again though it was a quick one. I shall see both of you in Brunei in October. Also to Jonathan and Joseph for your hospitality in Sandakan.





Taipei Day 2

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


Taipei Day 2 

Strolling with Kurapak on a wet morning while he was active GoPro-ing

It was a long ride because of the traffic congestion, heading to King Car plant and head office (for Mr. Brown)

I took over @mrbrownbrunei account on the 2nd of our trip 😀

At the King Car’s head office. The tin can versions of Mr. Brown.

King Car Group Company also produce other drinks

The Mr. Brown employees at King Car head office

Had some nice coffee too during the visit

It was raining all day in Taipei as we explored King Car plant

The Brunei delegates watching a video presentation of King Car’s journey

I was kinda thirsty during the tour. Thank you, Mr. Brown

Entering Mr. Brown’s factory gallery

The storage for the product once being packaged


This is the first ever can being produced in the factory

Interesting to see the assembly line and how the cans are being boxed

Ricky showing us around the gallery of the factory and he has been working for King Car for four years

The assembly line is so automated. Only two staff are working in most of these machine operated places.

Kurapak checking out the coffee beans. The taste of Mr. Brown is a mixture from different countries.

The actual beans

Taking a shot with Mr. Brown

Taking a selfie by the sifu

Our lunch at Ali Baba… yummy Indian food

We were mostly hungry due to the cold weather

Ahh.. In need of caffeine

The lamb shish kebab

We were all satisfied

It was raining all day


A visit to Taipei 101 shopping area




Hello Taipei

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


Mr. Brown winners to Taipei 

Be Right Back, guys!! I will be flying with the winners of the Mr. Brown contest to Taipei. Follow updates on my Snapchat and on my instagram @ranoadidas and also @mrbrownbrunei

@kurapak also part of the entourage, waiting for us at Taiwan International Airport

The bus is still very cold inside and the weather is at the average of 14 degrees. Grrrrr…

Dinner at Tajin last night.. Awesome Moroccon food.



Toastmasters Contest 

The contestants last Tuesday

Oh yea, Karma. Nice one buddy and congrats

It was one of those days again when the Brunei Speakers’ Club organised a speech contest – International speech and table topics contest. It has been a long time ever since BSC had many participants, hitting the mark of 16 contestants for Table Topics and 8 for International Speech category.

It was indeed a fruitful evening. Thank you for those who attended and especially those who contested. I’m very honoured to witness my mentorees, participating in the contest and that to me is very rewarding.

The OTTERS Club contest have just completed but I wasn’t able to attend since I’m outstation. The next contest will from UBD toastmasters club, happening this Sunday at the UBD Inspiring Hall if I’m not mistaken. Good luck to all contestants. There are many favourites to look out for 😀


Another improvement from our member in BSC

I’m proud of my mentee, Heidi Rahman. You’ve showed so much growth and courage and the willingness to learn

My dedicated fans?? haha 😀






Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News



Listen to the podcast review of Zootopia. A must watch 😀



Vietnam Round 2 

Soon Tiong, representative from Hua Ho Manggis sending Azli Azney of The Brunei Times and I at the Brunei International Airport last Tuesday as we departed for Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Traveling on National Day, Royal Brunei Airlines served this on the plane. Awesome!! Well done on the viral image of RB’s women pilots recently. Apparently it has reached more than 2 million viewers, thanks to the power of social media.

It’s great to be back in Vietnam after 10 years. The last time I flew here was backpacking with a friend as we traveled to three cities – Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh and Siam Reap. I’m happy that I finally made it to Vietnam recently. I had this fear that I won’t be able to make it to the country as passport or should I say my Certificate of Identity may encounter problem at the immigration counter upon my arrival.

Yes, there have been cases where families have been sent back to Brunei as the immigration doesn’t recognize the brown book (our version of Brunei passport) and this is despite having a valid visa from the Vietnam Embassy in Brunei Darussalam. Then at one stage, Vietnam temporarily stopped from COI holders to enter Vietnam before opening the opportunity again to COI holders. So the back and forth saga didn’t really give much confidence to me and other COI holders.

This time, I had no choice but to take the risk as I accepted to do a coverage in Ho Chi Minh City for a FitFlop regional launch event. As you may have recalled that my previous FifFlop coverage was at Bohol, the Philippines. This time round, it’s in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The application fee is kinda pricey (BND 80). Malaysia is the cheapest I think (below BND 10) while Thailand visa costs BND 50. I’m also given an official letter, written in Vietnamese, from the Vietnam Embassy that the COI document is recognized by Vietnam and acts as my safety net should any problem arises.

I did manage to get my travel document chopped but it took the immigration officer a while to do so. He had to consult with his colleagues on my brown book and also the official letter. So I’m glad after a few minutes of internal discussion, the officer was convinced that my COI document is legit and it was a huge relief for me.

So to all the Certificate of Identity holders, don’t worry about traveling to Vietnam. Just make sure you get bring the official letter to state the legitimacy of the COI document. It really does help. And yes, Ho Chi Minh City is a great city to visit as it has developed in the past 10 years and affordable too.

I will posting a dedicated coverage on FitFlop tomorrow. So ladies, you can check out the latest design for FitFlop for the coming Spring Summer Collection of 2016. Thank you once again to Hua Ho Manggis and FitFlop for giving me this opportunity. I’ve been wearing them at home and FitFlop also gave me two new pairs to bring back home. One word – comfy 😀


How the visa looks like for those holding the Brunei’s Identity of Certificate. It costs BND 80.

The official letter from the Vietnam Embassy in Brunei Darussalam to state that the COI document is recognized and valid. Show this two-paged letter at the immigration upon arrival. It saves the hassle from being interrogated.

Yea, we have our own signboard from FitFlop and thank you, Huong, for taking care of the Brunei delegates

We bought the sim card at the arrival hall of the airport. I subscribed for the 3G bandwidth which ran out after two days (too much IG-ing and Snapchatting). Do get the Viettel line.

The bikes are aplenty but now the number of cars are rising compared to 10 years ago

Emma Saunter unveiling the Miami collection for the Spring Summer collection of FitFlop for 2016 at Villa Song Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City

I kinda like the cinema environment at Cinema Liberty Hotel. Very impressive.

…. and I caught Deadpool for the second time. It’s not censored too.

The hotel room at Liberty Citypoint is pretty awesome too. Spacious and internet speed is pretty fast too. The going rate is BND 170-180 per night.



In love with Hua Hin

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


Top 10 movies of 2015 

Listen to the podcast on our countdown to the Top 10 movies of 2015 (Rano and Del’s) and also the disappointments and our horribles section.



Up, up and away…  

My week stay at Sheraton Pranburi Villa at Hua Hin, Thailand. Truly love this place and the greenery.

Blogging away by the poolside and enjoying the breeze

This week has been amazing on many levels. The journey of learning, discovering and recovering have never felt compelling to the extent that I felt lighter, confused and amazed, all at once. It’s something that I couldn’t verbalize and I’m thankful to my friends who felt my expression. I am happy that I made this trip to the beautiful Hua Hin and thumbs up to Sheraon Pranburi Villa for their awesome hospitality since day one.

This is the second city I’ve visited this year and there are more to come (Vietnam, KL, KK and Taipei) in the coming two months for work and toastmasters. Despite the traveling, I’m slowly beginning to feel the pinch in terms of the Brunei economy. If SMEs are not doing well, then it will have downstream effect and even my revenue stream will have some impact, be it big or small. Now it’s the ideal time to plan for the year which I hardly do or just not my habit to do so. This is a reality and it’s something I have to be mindful on the decisions I make especially when it comes to time and money.

I haven’t been updating on a regular basis since my days in Hua Hin were quite packed and I chose the spare time to catch up with my buddies or just spend some alone time on my own. It feels great once again to type out my thoughts while enjoying the breeze by the poolside at Sheraton Pranburi Villa. How I wish I can blog in this kinda of environment, feeling peaceful and yes, my mind feels freer as compared to when I blog in the comfort of my room (the irony).

I kinda miss what’s going in Brunei after MIA for the past week. Usually I will be craving for local stories in the morning to see what’s interesting or what not. Now… mmmm… not so much. I choose to be in the moment and that is making the most of my time while in Hua Hin. Today’s news though caught my interest as it was on my IG feed where His Majesty the Sultan paid a visit to International School of Brunei early today. It was also the first visit by our monarch to the relocated ISB.

Now I tell you what I’m looking forward being back – tennis and The Revenant. Oh yea, I can’t believe the Oscar nominated film is showing in Brunei cinemas. Woohooo… I couldn’t manage to catch it while abroad but blessed it’s now showing in Brunei. Del Goh rated this movie as one one of his honourable mentions in his Top 10 movies of 2015. Who knows The Revenant could be in one of my Top 10 in 2016. And tennis, I just miss whacking the ball and I can feel that I’m out of shape especially in the fitness department.

Congratulations goes to Jaz Hayat on his new single which also available on iTunes. He has been MIA for quite some time and now he’s back with a bang, a new released single called “Dari Mata”. Just like Aziz Harun and Eia, he’s also another star in the making. We need more artistes and talents in Brunei. All the best, Jaz, and truly like the countdown on social media as a teaser to your single. Do check his single out and download on iTunes.

That’s it for me today and let me just enjoy the breeze and the music by the poolside. Life is just awesome 😀




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