KOTA KINABALU: A Filipina hotel worker has revealed that kidnappers ensured she and Gao Huayun were well fed during their two months in captivity on Jolo island in the Phillippnes, and even gave the Chinese tourist "special food" on her birthday.
"Most of the time we were fed fried chicken the Abu Sayyaf bought from a food store somewhere. Masarap din! (it was quite tasty)," forty-year-old Marcy Dayawan said.
When Gao celebrated her birthday on April 8, Dayawan said the kidnappers even bought "special food" from town.
Soon after returning home to her native Midsayap town in North Cotobato in Mindanao island, Marcy told Philippines media that Gao cried when they went their separate ways after arriving in Kuala Lumpur from Sabah.
She said she and Gao were held by a group of gunmen led by an Alhabsi Misaya, in the jungles of Indanan on Jolo island.
"They called their leader Misaya and sometimes Maas (elder)," she said.
Dayawan said while in captivity, she served as Gao's caretaker, attending to her needs at the gunmen's mountainous hideout.
Marcy said the gunmen did not harm them in any way, but were constantly guarded by two armed men.
She said the gunmen also allowed Gao to call her family in Shanghai and she had to translate the conversation to the gunmen.
Gao and Dayawan survived almost two months of captivity in the mountainous jungle hideout of Jolo island in the southern Philippines.
Dayawan was working at the Singamata Reef Resort near Semporna, where Shanghai native Gao Huayun was staying on April 2, when five gunmen abducted them and spirited them to Jolo island using high-powered speedboats.
The two women were eventually released on May 30 to Malaysian security officials.
Malaysian and Philippines officials have both said no ransom was paid for the women's release.