INTERESTINGLY, the natives also have similar folk belief of primitive spirits inhabiting mountains and jungles, called the taotaomo'na (ancient people), and likened to our superstitious elementals (kapre, tikbalang, and manananggals). These invisible spirits are still respected today and sometimes are said to be mischievous if you don’t pay respects before going into the forest.
The Chamorro cuisine has a familiar mix of modified versions of the Filipino adobo, lumpia, pansit bihon, the Spanish escabeche, and a fusion of Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and American dishes. But it has its own distinct staple food like the spicy sauce called Fina'denne', the Kelaguen (our kilawin version), and the red rice.
Over the years the culture has absorbed influences from Spanish, Mexican, American, Japanese, Filipino and Micronesian groups with intermarriages and relations with traders and migrant settlers. In getting acquainted with a few residents, I asked a few questions they readily answered: What is the Chamorro pride for you? Name top attractions you recommend to first time visitors? What is the hidden beauty of Guam? And lastly, how are you reacting to your island being in the headlines right now?
Ms. Regina Nedlic, GVB Marketing Manager - Philippines and Russia Markets, and formerly Miss Guam:
“Chamorro pride of Guam is our unique 4,000-year-old history and our 400 years of Spanish, Japanese and US influence. We pride ourselves in knowing we are native "Chamorros," that we are the closest US destination strategically important in the Pacific, and only 3.5 to 4 hours away from Asia. In general we recommend you to interact and immerse in the Hafa Adai spirit of Guam in meeting/greeting and interacting with the local people. You can find that at the Wednesday Night Market where you can eat local Chamorro food, explore most treasured attractions like the Guam Museum and the iconic Two Lovers Point, and enjoy the beauty of the our beaches. The hidden beauty would be the multicultural ethnicities that make up the uniqueness of Guam. It is a melting pot of Spanish, Asian, Micronesian, US and different cultures that brings out the best of our Hafa Adai spirit and have made Guam their home.”
“Guam is a safe destination and we feel that the headlines in the news have now given our island more attention. For this we appreciate and continue to optimize on educating, sharing, marketing and highlighting our geographical location - we welcome visitors to Guam and experience the Chamorro hospitality!”
I need to share some fun trivia on this blessed island in the Marianas. Guam is said to have the highest per capita consumption of Tabasco sauce in the world, plus it beats Hawaii as the world’s foremost consumers of Spam… that delightful canned food introduced to the islands after WWII.
While we are on superlatives, Guam certainly have more to boast of nature – nearby is the Challenger Deep in the Marianas Trench, the deepest spot on Earth at 10,924 m below sea level. The tallest peak in Guam is Mount Lamlam at a mere 406m. (1,334 feet), but it is the peak of a submerged mountain. Taking the bottom of Challenger Deep as the base of Mount Lamlam, it suddenly becomes the tallest mountain on earth, rising 37,820ft., a lot higher than Everest.
Cebu Pacific Air flies between Manila and Guam three times weekly at the lowest year-round fares. The latest seat sales may be found on Cebu Pacific Air’s official Facebook and Twitter pages. You can also check updates from the Guam Visitor Bureau at www.guamvisitorsbureau.com or www.visitguam.com.
(Jojie Alcantara is a long time photojournalist, workshop speaker, blogger, and social media influencer based in Davao City. Proudly writing for SunStar Davao for more than two decades, in this nest she has grown to become an avid traveler and photographer. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her blog kodakerdabawenya.com.)