Showing posts with label Guam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guam. Show all posts

Monday, July 18, 2011

United States: Baltimore, Charlottesville, Philadelphia, Miami Beach, Key Biscayne, Washington D.C. & Guam

To get to Mexico, I had to pass by the U.S.A. Here are photos from places I visited in the United States including Baltimore, Maryland; Charlottesville and Mount Vernon, Virginia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Miami Beach and Key Biscayne, Florida; and Washington, D.C. After flying back to Manila, I visited Guam. Here are photos from the two trips which are now in the Ivan About Town FB page.

April 17 - Baltimore, Maryland, USA
May 12 - Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
May 13 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
May 16 - Miami Beach, Florida, USA
May 17 - Key Biscayne, Florida, USA
May 18 - Mount Vernon, Virginia, USA
May 20 - Washington, DC, USA
May 25-26 - Guam, USA
May 27 - Guam, USA
May 28 - Guam, USA
May 29 - Guam, USA

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Guam: Agat Mango Festival, Santa Rita Fiesta & more Guam events

As part of the Maila Ta Fan Boka Festival tour, we were introduced to festivals and fiestas in Guam. Fiestas are a result of the Spanish influence in Guam. We got to join the revelry at the Agat Mango Festival and the Santa Rita Fiesta.

At the Agat Mango Festival, we saw some really interesting exhibits of mango varieties. How I wish I could try them out. But they were only for display. But you could see that there are so many varieties of mangoes.

There was one table which featured six ways of enjoying your mangoes. We all know the mangga't bagoong from the Philippines. But they also suggested to pair mangoes with Tabasco (U.S.), soy sauce (Japan), li hing powder (Hawaii), rock salt (Marianas Islands) and kimchi (South Korea). In Mexico, I got to try mangoes with chili powder. Fruits are actually eaten with chili powder in Mexico. Any peculiar mango dips you might have in mind?

The also had contests for the Most Beautiful Mango, Biggest Mango and Most Bizarre Mango. Of course, like in any festival, we had a sumptuous lunch.

During our last day, we dropped by the Santa Rita Fiesta. Aside from the usual cultural performances, the highlight of the day was lunch at the mayor's house. Now that was indeed a feast!

Fiestas in Guam would not be complete without hotnon babui! You guessed it, lechon!

Fiestas would also not be complete without the different kinds of kelaguen made from fish, chicken an beef.

There was just so much food! I let the photos tell the story of how much we had. And that's just half of the dishes they served us.

Guam Fiesta Schedule
Here is a list of fiestas and festivals in Guam. Unlike the Philippines where most fiestas are fixed even if it falls on a weekday, Guam's fiestas are moved to the nearest weekend closest to the feast date of the saint. So the dates below reflect those for 2011. Check with the Guam Visitors Bureau for the dates next year.

Tumon: Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores (January 15)
Chalan Pago: Nuestra Señora de la Paz Buen Viaje (January 22)
Mongmong: Nuestra Señora de las Aguas (January 29)
Gupot Fanha'aniyan Pulan Chamoru (Chamorro Lunar Calendar Festival)

Maina: Our Lady of Purification (February 5)
Yigo: Our Lady of Lourdes (February 12)
Fiestan Dinana' Minagof (Chamorro Dance Festival)

Inarajan: St. Joseph, husband of Mary (March 19)

Barrigada: San Vicente Ferrer (April 9)
Agafa Gumas, Yigo: Santa Bernadita (April 18)
Talofofo Banana Festival at Ipan Beach Park in Talofofo
Inarajan: St. Joseph the Worker (April 30)
Fin'nana na Ferian Fina'Hechuran Unai (Annual Sand Sculpture Festival), Matapang Beach, Tumon

Merizo: San Dimas (May 7)
Malojloj: San Isidro (May 14)
Agat Mango Festival at Agat Sagan Bisita

Tamuning: St. Anthony (June 18)
Ordot: San Juan Bautista (June 25)

Chalan Pago: The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (July 1)
Toto: Immaculate Heart of Mary (July 2)
Agat: Our Lady of Mount Carmel (July 16)
Agat: Santa Ana (July 30)

Tamuning: St. Victor (August 6)
Piti: Assumption of Our Lady ((August 13)
Annual Gupot Y Peskadot (Fisherman's Festival) at Guam Fishermen's Cooperative in Hagatna
Barrigada: San Roque (August 20)
Agat: Santa Rosa (August 27)

Cañada, Barrigada: San Ramon (September 3)
Hagåtña: Dulce Nombre de Maria (September 10)
Talofofo: San Miguel (September 17)
Dededo: St. Andrew Kim (September 18)
Annual Mangilao Donne' Festival in Mangilao
Mangilao: Santa Teresita (September 24)

Yona: St. Francis of Assisi (October 1)
Umatac: San Dionisio (October 8)
Guam Micronesian Island Fair
Sinajana: St. Jude (October 29)

Dededo: Santa Barbara (December 3)
Hagåtña: Immaculate Conception/Santa Marian Kamalen (December 8)
Santa Rita: Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 10)
Asan: Nino Perdido y Sagrada Familia (December 31)

Note: This familiarization tour of Guam, USA was organized by the Guam Visitors Bureau in cooperation with Continental Airlines. Continental Airlines flies from Manila to Guam and vice versa everyday.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Guam: Shopping at DFS Galleria & Guam Premier Outlets (GPO)

Guam is a duty-free territory. So that means branded merchandise and many other products are cheaper in Guam than the rest of the U.S. and a lot of countries. Those who've been to the U.S. also know the sales tax which can go as high as 12 percent. Guam does not have a sales tax. Which gives another reason to shop in Guam.

For the prestigious brands and designer goods, the best place to get them would be at DFS Galleria Guam. We actually had a chance to shop there and some of the affordable brands were cheaper than other places. Of course I didn't bother to enter those really expensive branded stores. But I'm sure those who can afford them will find a lot of bargains there. You can check out the brands at DFS Galleria Guam here.

Guam Premier Outlets was another place we got to visit. I suggest you visit Ross first to have a point of comparison with other stores. Most of the time, Ross comes out cheaper. Sometimes they don't. There are also items which you may not find in Ross which are available at the brand stores. Here's the GPO store listing.

You can also check out Micronesia Mall which I got to visit during my previous trip to Guam. Here's the mall map and store listing of Micronesia Mall. It's actually owned by Lucio Tan. SM isn't far behind with the Agana Shopping Center which I have yet to visit.

If you're looking for a place to shop without having to fly all the way to the U.S., keep Guam in mind.

Note: This familiarization tour of Guam, USA was organized by the Guam Visitors Bureau in cooperation with Continental Airlines. Continental Airlines flies from Manila to Guam and vice versa everyday. Time to book that shopping trip now!

Friday, July 01, 2011

Guam: Lina'la' Cultural Village, Two Lovers Point & more Guam attractions

Guam is not just about shopping, food and the beach. There are some interesting things to see while in Guam. As part of the Maila Ta Fan Boka trip, we also visited several Guam attractions.

One of the places we visited was the Lina'La Cultural Village, where the group was given a preview of the living Chamorro museum that will open sometime this year.

While the exhibits which would showcase Guam's history were not yet finished. The actual Chamorro Village was almost done. In fact, we witnessed ceremonies for placing the nipa roof on the last house. The village aims to recreate how a Chamorro community looked like before the arrival of the Spanish colonizers, with villagers to complete the living exhibit. The villagers would also speak only in Chamoru.

Lunch was by the beach beside the village. Like always it was a feast of grilled meats and kelaguen!

In the afternoon, we proceeded to Two Lovers Point, one of the most picturesque views on Guam. The story behind Two Lovers Point is about quite tragic. The parents of the girl were a wealthy Spanish aristocrat and a daughter of a great Chamorro chief. They had arranged for her to marry an influential Spanish captain. Upon finding out, the girl ran to a secluded shore in the northern part of the island where she met and fell in love with a young warrior from a modest Chamorro family.

The father found out about this and demanded that she marry the captain at once. She ran off to a high cliff above Tumon Bay to meet her Chamorro lover. They were pursued by her father, the captain and soldiers.

Caught in between the cliff and the pursuing group, the lovers tied their long hair together in a knot, looked into each others eyes and kissed, and jumped from the cliff in full view of the girl's father who could do nothing but stare in anguish.

Two Lovers Point has thus been a popular place for lovers to leave locks (in the same way that the lovers locked their hair in a knot) and throw away the keys over the cliff as a sign of lasting love for each other. The rest of us go there for the great view!

Later in the afternoon, we got to visit the historical center of Guam's capital Hagåtña. Among the sites located there is the Latte Stone Park which is a showcase of latte stones that served as pillars of ancient Chamorro houses. some of the stones in the park date back to 500 A.D.

Then there's Plaza de Espana, the ruins of the former Governor's Palace during the Spanish colonial period. Like Manila, much of Hagåtña was destroyed during the liberation of Guam in World War II. Beside it is the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica. The current structure dates back to 1959, with the older church also destroyed during the war.

The day before we left, we made a brif visit to Underwater World, an indoor aquarium. Perfect place to visit especially if you have kids with you.

During our last day, we were able to convince our driver to stop at one of the sites of the War in the Pacific Memorial. Memorial Day was approaching so the grounds had hundreds of American and Guam flags to commemorate the event. I was also able to get a stamp for my U.S. National Park Passport.

In the southern part of the island are some of Guams old towns. There are old forts, villages and other historical structures. I got to visit Merizo in a previous trip where the old convent and bell tower still stands, the Malesso Kombento and Kampanayun Malesso.

Another popular attraction in the southern side of Guam is Talofofo Falls. Hopefully I get to see more of Guam in the future.

Note: This familiarization tour of Guam, USA was organized by the Guam Visitors Bureau in cooperation with Continental Airlines. Continental Airlines flies from Manila to Guam and vice versa everyday.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Guam: Farm visits and Maila Ta Fan Boka food trip!

What a great way to start the morning with a panoramic view of Tumon Bay! We had a welcome breakfast hosted by the Guam Visitors Bureau at Toh-Lee Restaurant of Hotel Nikko Guam to start the Maila Ta Fan Boka 2011 social media food tour. The restaurant is at the 16th floor of the hotel and glass windows offer visitors a scenic meal.

On one side of the restaurant, there was a demonstration on how to make a tortilla which of course goes with the kelaguen. This time, they served us Spam Kelaguen. Spam is quite popular both in Guam and Hawaii. They do know their Spam in these islands!

From Tumon, we motored to Talofofo to visit Cristian's Mango Farm. We do have a lot of mangoes in the Philippines. But there are a lot of varieties present in Guam. We were welcomed with some frozen mango which was a refreshing proposition on a really hot and humid day. There was also a demonstration on how to graft mango trees to speed up the fruit bearing process.

Our next stop for the day was Hamomoto Fruit World in Yona. Although almost all the fruits at the farm in available here in the Philippines, I was impressed with how they presented the farm, complete with a trolley tour of the grounds and its large collection of fruit trees.

Lunch was also at the farm. And we were served even more kinds of kelaguen. This time, there was also Beef Kelaguen on the table which I particularly enjoyed because of the really soft and tender meat. After the tour, we were served fresh lemon lime juice and fruits from the farm which included Star Fruit (Balimbing), Belimbi (Kamias) and Mountain Apple (Macopa). We were also asked to try something quite peculiar, coconut meat served with soy sauce and wasabi. The hard coconut meat actually tried mimick squid meat.

The last farm stop for the day was the Hydroponic Lettuce Farm. We were shown where the really good quality greens on the island are produced. The best part is we got to try the lettuce fresh from the farm!

For me, the highlight of the day was the visit to the Muna Home in Mangilao where we got to watch cooking demonstrations and savor local Chamoru cuisine. Earlier in the day, we were asked to randomly pick a recipe we would cook that night. And the Philippine delegation got Lechen Biringhenas (Grilled Eggplant in coconut Milk).

Among the dishes served to us included (1) Tinaktak (Beef with Coconut Milk), (2) Golai Appan Lemai (Breadfruit boiled in Coconut Milk), (3) Tininun Bariya (BBQ Ribs), (4) Tininun Mannok (BBQ Chicken), Hineksa Agaga (Red Rice), and Kelaguen Mannok. Everyone was raving about the Hotnon Babui (Roasted Pig)! It was a very meaningful dinner at the Muna Home which is known for its cooking tradition. There's nothing better than a home-cooked Chamoru meal.

Before the night ended, a group of local youths presented traditional Chamorro dances. We went back to our hotel. But the night wasn't over since we were scheduled to watch the magic and acrobatics show at SandCastle. No photos allowed though. But it was good!

Note: This familiarization tour of Guam, USA was organized by the Guam Visitors Bureau in cooperation with Continental Airlines.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Guam: Hafa Adai! Dinner at the Chamorro Village Wednesday Night Market

Hafa Adai, Guam! I found myself on another trip to Guam, organized by the Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) and Continental Airlines. The GVB gathered social media people from Asia and the U.S. to experience Guam's unique cuisine at the Maila Ta Fan Boka Festival. Together with Nina Fuentes of Just Wandering, JJ Yulo of Pinoy Eats World, and Angel Bayona of Travelife, we took the afternoon Continental Airlines flight to Guam.

We checked-in at Fiesta Resort Guam, which I would later find out is a Filipino-owned hotel chain. It was a room with a scenic view of Tumon Bay. I had an hour or two to relax and freshen up before our visit to the Chamorro Village Wednesday Night Market in Hagåtña for dinner.

Chamorro Village is a public market that showcases Guam's culture with handicrafts, souvenirs and local Chamoru cuisine available to visitors. Every Wednesday night, the I Sengsong Chamorro, as the market is know to the locals, comes alive with the Chamorro Village Wednesday Night Market.

While walking around, I got me to meet Guam's Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio and visiting U.S. Virgin Islands Governor John de Jongh.

I immediately noticed the many food stalls which served local food, specifically the grilled meats and kelaguen, which can be cooked chicken, raw shrimp, fish, or beef, or even spam, pickled in a marinade of lemon juice, fresh coconut, green onions, salt and hot red chilies, served with a flour or corn tortilla. The dish is closely related to kilawin of the Philippines or ceviche of Latin America.

We weren't able to sample the food from the market stalls though because a sumptuous Chamoru buffet spread for the participants. Aside from Kelaguen Mannok (Chicken Kelaguen) and Kelaguen Guihan (Fish Kelaguen), among the dishes served to us were Buñelos Uhang (Shrimp Patties) which was similar to Ukoy but less crunchier, Golai Hagon Suni (Spinach Leaves in Coconut Milk) which was their version of Laing, Lumpia (Fried Spring Rolls) and various barbecued and grilled meats which I noticed are a mainstay of any buffet spread in Guam.

During the night market, there are also Chamoru cultural performances to entertain visitors as you shop and dine. Indeed, a visit to the Chamorro Village Wednesday Night Market is a must if you happen to be in Guam on a Wednesday.

Note: This familiarization tour of Guam, USA was organized by the Guam Visitors Bureau in cooperation with Continental Airlines.
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