Uncle Chang Mabul Backpackers Lodge started as humble guest house somewhere in 2003.
He organized diving in islands around Semporna in 1999 but he started the lodge few years later.
Uncle Chang is a pioneer of budget diving in Semporna specially Sipadan.
Back then, only those with money making it possible to dive in Semporna.
2 years later, he add a new wing we often called new rooms (NR) which doesn't last long as guest rooms.
The green guest house and NR quickly become staff quarters as the yellow house began to open to backpackers guest somewhere in 2006.
2 years later, he foreseen the important of having double rooms because of the increasing popularity not only for the backpackers but family groups and honeymooners as well.
Therefore the UC block officially open for guest in August 2008.
Uncle Chang went even further to build bungalows which will be open for guest starting next year.
The struggle is not as easy as my few sentences and pictures. We had to deal with government bureaucracy through the years specially regarding the Sipadan permits after the Abu Sayyaf scene.
As a dive operator, having a suitable diving boat is crucial. We also have update on boats over the years. Started from a wooden 'kampung' boat until today we have total of 9 boats including the latest addition of 600 horse power catamaran. Each new boat celebrated by the staff and people who had work with Uncle Chang.
We also have difficulty to deal with guests who are not familiar with the backpackers term and they expecting 5 star service for a budget price. However, worries about a fraction of difficult guest will quickly washed away when satisfied diver having their greatest dive in this underwater heaven with an affordable price.
The people in Uncle Chang's had changed over the years. Some of them work for very short term. Some of them come and go and will come again to work at UC.
Uncle Chang Mabul Backpackers Lodge become alive because of the people who've been there!