Thursday, November 30, 2006

Northern Marianas: Fun, fun and more fun in the Marianas

It was water activities for me today. In the morning, we went fishing. The Marianas Visitors Authority had arranged for us to join a fishing trip offered to tourists. As always, there were Filipinos in the crew of the fishing boat. The fishing rods and bait are provided on board.

We arrived at the port in time for the 9 a.m. departure of the boat. The trip to the fishing area near Managaha Island was about thirty minutes. The water was so blue and so clear, you could see the white sand at the bottom. As soon as we anchored, the captain of the boat gave us a signal when we could drop our lines. We had approximately an hour before the captain would ring the bell again for us to stop fishing.

This was one way to relax and enjoy the blue waters off the island of Saipan. The only thing I wasn't happy about was the fact that it was a bit short since I enjoyed the great ocean views as well as the warm breeze that hit the boat.

We were back at the port shortly before 11 a.m. where the MVA vehicle passed by for us. We then joined the Probe Team crew while they were interviewing another successful Filipino businessman in Saipan. Aside from a hardware store and small department store, he also owned the only Jollibee Store on the island. Yes folks, Jollibee is already in the Marianas! And we dropped by to check out the products. It was weird seeing your favorite Chicken Joy and Regular Yum quoted in US dollars.

Lunch was at Tony Roma’s. This time, I made sure I didn't eat too much so I ordered salad. Our plan for the afternoon was more activities in the water courtesy of the Saipan Grand Hotel. But we first joined the Probe crew at the Saipan World Resort to watch a taping of an upcoming Koreanovela. Check out the previous entry for more details.

Since the hotels are beside each other, we simply walked back to our hotel via the beach, for our appointment with the jetskis. It was so much fun! After a few minutes on the jetskis, we went snorkelling to check out the remains of some tanks near the hotel beach.

Dinner was at D’Elegance CafĂ©, another Filipino restaurant which insisted that they invite us for dinner. After that, it was a short walk to the shopping areas such as DFS, Urban Outlet and Paseo de Marianas.

Every Thursday, the Paseo de Marianas is very much alive because of a Chamorro cultural show and night market. I hope we have cultural shows like these in our tiangge areas such as Greenhills, Market! Market! or Tiendesitas since it is an added attraction for tourists and locals alike.

I really felt I was in the Philippines while I was walking around since you could hear Filipino being spoken all over the place! Plus, most of the stalls at the night market were owned by Filipinos and you could see so much Filipino food such as dinuguan, bopis, arroz caldo, laing and even grilled delights such as barbeque, tenga ng baboy, adidas, etc. I was also surprised to see tupig being roasted there too! It turns out, it is known locally as apigigi and might have been brought there long ago by immigrants from Pangasinan.

But what made Saipan different from the Philippines was that it was much cleaner. For some reason, Filipinos when abroad, follow the law. I wonder why we can't do it here, especially the littering part since if everyone puts his garbage in the right place, we won't have have problems such as unsightly piles of garbage. Oh well!

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