Monday, February 16, 2015

Guam: Experience the Hafa Adai Spirit!

The first time I heard about Guam was way back in the early 70’s, because our neighbor then (my kababata) was born and raised there and shared to a lot cool stuff about that small island in the Pacific. I also learned from her that Guam is a US territory. Later, after the fall of Saigon (now Ho Shi Min City ) during the Vietnam war, my dad was tasked to join a Filipino military contingent to evacuate some GI’s and many were sent to Guam. So my idea of that place back then was that it is a military installation. 

"Hafa Adai!"

More than 30 years have passed and little did many of us know that Guam has grown a lot in terms of development, from a US Navy base of the Pacific Fleet, to an island paradise that offers more than just white sandy beaches and pristine clear waters. Guam is now one of the most sought after vacation havens with a robust, urban metropolis shopping destination. Yes ladies, shopping! 

FYI, commodities available  in Guam are all tax-free so all the stuff you may want to bring home will be priced pretty much lower than usual. In fact, many foreign visitors frequent the island just to shop for genuine US and European brands at much cheaper prices. And among the popular shopping places there, the most iconic is said to be the Micronesia Mall, which happens to be owned by Mr. Lucio Tan himself. 

Other than the all-day duty-free shopping, the island is studded with some of the world’s best resorts and hotels. One hotel that will stand out as far as giving you the perfect view of the Eastern seaboard of the Pacific Ocean is the Pacific Star Resort and Spa. Located at the Pale San Vitores Road in Tumon, this hotel resort offers a breathtaking view of the white sandy beach just a few meters from the hotel’s doorstep and its only 5 minutes from the international airport! It serves the widest variety of fine cuisine from all nationality and culture in the world so that it can give every guest a “closer to home” dining experience. 

Mr. Roy Abraham, General Manager, Pacific Star Resort and Spa
A sister of mine, after more than 10 years in New York as a nurse, moved to Guam with her surfing and trauma surgeon husband. Having been exposed to all the amenities of the island, my sister, who used to be conservative, reserved and a homebody type, was transformed into a marathoner, swimmer, and kayaker in no time at all. Surrounded by the vast ocean at 360 degrees, steep lime stone cliffs, and breathtaking waterfalls, the adventures you can experience here are plenty and you can cover more than one outdoor sport discipline in a day because of the close proximity of tourist spots to each other. Actually, you can practically circumnavigate the whole island in just half a day. That’s why they greet you “Hafa Adai! “. 

my sister, Grace, who made Guam her home
Check out the island's calendar of events because every month, there is always something going in on to give you one more reason to stay and celebrate. This coming April, they will be hosting the annual Guam International Marathon that is frequently visited by runners around the world. One special attraction about it is the race route that is practically staged along the scenic view of the Pacific Ocean. That is why as early as now, I’m preparing myself for this most coveted marathon in Guam and I’m hoping that my resources would be enough to take me there.    

But if marathons are not your type of adventure, try visiting some of their historic sites either up in the mountains or under the ocean. Yes, diving can be a lot of fun in Guam. If you are the extreme type of diver, you might want to check out a multi-wreckage of battle ships from WW1 and WW2. 

Guam is a very small island but there are hundreds of things you can do here to make you feel that each experience is always a self discovery. So go make your reservations now for at least a week's stay because enjoying the island will take you more than “Hafa Adai”!   

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