Digging into anything and everything that makes the CNMI tick beyond politics...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

bloom amidst the bushes

Nov.30, 2008

Blooming amidst the bullsh**s-- i mean bushes...
a simple message that you can still excel even if assh**es surround you.
This was taken at a very unlikely location--right in the center of Garapan's commercial district.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

People, things, places and events to be thankful for

Here is a Thanksgiving list which appeared in the Nov. 27 issue of the Marianas Variety...a collection from the Variety family which has become a tradition for the past 10 years. (My thanks are in large bold letters...)

THANKSGIVING is about love. And there is no sincerer love than the love of food and days off. It’s also about being optimistic — like trying to start a diet on this special day. We may have more downs than ups in this sorry, sordid year, but hey; at least we’re not a turkey. Poor bird. He’s hit in the neck, loses his head, they break his legs, knock the stuffing out of him, cut him to the heart and pick on him for weeks. Clearly, if you’re a turkey the Bermuda Triangle is Thanksgiving.

And on that uplifting note, here then is the Variety’s 14th annual Thanksgiving list. The items, by the way, are not necessarily arranged in order of importance.

Praise the Lord and have a shot of Tanduay!

1) The local economy, or what’s left of it

2) Paydays

3) Jobs

4) The CNMI will have a new governor in 2010

5) Taotao Tano & Irene Tantiado

6) Diet Pepsi, Coke Zero

7) Mar-Vic, this list’s inventor, says, “I finally found the One and married him. And my name is Mar-Vic C. Palmertree.”

8) She also wants to thank South Park, Family Guy, Google and “my simple desires that make it easy for me to smile and be happy.”

9) Gemma says thank you to Radio Australia, Jojo Dass, Jet, Bey, Myla, Weng, Dave, Hera, Venus, Charlotte, Cherrie, Shabs, Ate Jackie, Tita Lits, Arlene, Anna, Raquel, Tess, Achie, JV, Libay, Sally, Rose, Betty, Sisi, Chummy, Ate Susan, Shintaro, Naoki, Naoko, Hideki, Nojima, Kamimura-san, Fukutomi-san, etc., Mr. Suzuki, other friends and family.

9) She is also thankful to sources for keeping the news flowing despite the odds, Mike & Eleanor Nisperos, Kyodo News, Rep. Stanley Torres & staff, Ernie & Monie, the wires, Flor & Aven and the Marianas Variety & staff

10) Miggy’s, Viralicci, Aliviera

11) Flame Tree Terrace

12) Fat Joy Slim — the music and the friendship

13) Zaldy wants to thank Pareng Onald for the memories, Uly for his tireless devotion to Onald, Hydee and Rose Ann, and the members of the community who joined the week-long rosaries and memorial services

14) Primo’s

15) J’s Restaurant

16) amazon.com, Alibris, Bestseller, Joeten-Kiyu Public Library

17) Godfather’s the bar and parts 1 & 2 of the movie

18) Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis’ Memorias Póstumas de Brás Cubas, Don Casmurro, Quincas Borba

19) Zaldy thanks Mar-Vic and Jason for visiting us

20) Jojo wants to thank Burj Dubai BASE Jumpers

21) Chris says “thank you to my Mom & Dad, Gene & Cora San Gabriel Mr. Abed Younis & Family, Mr. Laurence Boyer & Ms. Laila Boyer, Kuya Zaldy, all my friends specially Maria Eleonor Espinas & Nhorleen Bitco.”

22) Eli says “I’d like to say thanks to my bosses, Mr. Younis, for giving me the opportunity to work here, Ms. Laila, for all the awesome projects. My best buddies Nhorleen and Chris for all the happy moments, the craziness and the dramas. My sisters and brothers at heart, Loidski, Sheryl, Lala, Osang, Sally, Haidee, Ate Chit, Irene, Moneth, Ariel, Kuya Makoy, Greg, Mikol & Dindi, many thanks to you guys. Tita Litz for all the kindness and the ooh so yummy carbonara. Ate Noims and Ate Janet for the crazy Thursdays we’ve shared, Ate Lyn, Kuya Boy, Ka Ed and to the rest of Marianas Variety staff that I’ve worked with, thanks! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!”

23) Moneth says thank you for nothing

24) Jim & Grace Belyea

25) Brenda & Fred

26) Bruce & Maya

27) Jeff, Cynthia and their kids

28) tsetse ija

29) Brad R., Bruce B., Mike E., Angelo V., Brad D.

30) Makoy, Sally, Timbo, Betong, Rick, Julio, Bino, Bel, Prolayn, Ka Ed, Goro, Chris, Mike, Mark, Ernie, Ka Max, Ka Nards, Tekya, Talits, Lenlen

31) Nhorleen says “I would like to thank God for another Thanksgiving, for a year full of blessings and surprises, for a wonderful family, for the greatest friends a person could ever ask and for the rest of the people that continue to rock my world.”

32) Jacq & Joy

33) Aggie, Tomoko, Haids, Marconi & Adam

34) Badjoe, James & Helen, Ella & Sonny, Paul, Tom & Fe, Haidee & Kaycee

35) June says “Thank you to my housemates, Mommy Rio & Daddy Sandie, NMBF association (Macoi, Hapi, Malou M. Shirley, Marylyn, Banker [Malou Malasarte], A. Omori, to my teammates, Roger, Ingrid, Elma, Mar, Riza and Vic), thank you to KWAW and MBI (for Purex and Waioka sardines), thank you to all the editorial staff. Thank you to Rose, Mabel and Leo, to Uro, Uly, Atchie, Chammy, and to all my friends.”

36) Loids says “Thanks to Pipit for coming to our lives and for the blessings and joy that came with him. Thank you to my loving and supportive husband Ariel and to all our friends who are tirelessly helping us in taking care of Pipit. Thank you ever so much to Ninang Lits, Osang, Sally, Moneth, Nhorleen, Ely, Cris, Dindi, Ate Lyn, to my best friend Sheryl and to all the people inside and outside of the barracks. Thanks also to my friends and officemates for giving me bridal and baby showers; thank you for making my life colorful. Thanks also to Mr. Younis and Ms Laila and to all my co-workers.”

37) Miguel Dandan, his wonderful grandparents and ate Lisa

38) Whispering Palms School

39) Gold’s Gym and its management, staff and patrons

40) Hollywood Theaters

41) In Plain Sight, Burn Notice, Monk, Psych, The Simpsons, King of the Hill, South Park, Reno 911, Boston Legal, Two and a Half Men, How I Met Your Mother, History Detectives, Chuck, Life, American Idol, The Office, 30 Rock, Worst Week

42) John McCain and Sarah Palin

43) Fox News Channel

44) Hollywood Video

45) Floyd the Maestro and the Big Beats Band

46) Zaldy says Friendster sucks and thank you Facebook and his ever growing number of fellow Facebookians

47) Bon voyage to Raymond, Dindo and Eli — thank you and come again

48) Tina Sablan & Glen Hunter

49) Zhen, Galvin & Velma

50) Gene’s Barbershop

51) Raquel says thank you to “my nocturnal buddies who populate my Yahoo Messenger every night until the early morning hours (you all know who you are…); my family for the long-distance inspiration and for the encouragements to move on; people and objects who kept me going when the going gets tough — my five alarm clocks, cellphone, TV, Internet connection, YM, Facebook, superb sunsets, unpredictable rain showers and sudden weather changes, daily newsroom pressures and trials, and to everyone and everything else that spells the meaning of LIFE; and finally to Roberto Ramirez Herrera for all the memories. You’ll always be in my heart forever.”

52) Arnold thanks “my wife, Jennet and children, John, Ken, Bulet and Yuri for inspiring me to keep going, thanks to my mom for everything, thanks to my Aunts, Cita and Rose my sis, Arlynn for the ‘rescue’ recently, thanks to all the accommodating news sources, thanks to my friends Aries, Anton, Stephen, and the other Malate boys, thanks to Jacob for inviting me to his family’s Thanksgiving party today, thanks to Janet for lending me the camera, thanks to Zaldy for giving me the chance to thank everybody today, thanks to Moneth for valuing our friendship, thanks to Raymond for forwarding sports PRs, thanks to Talits for not being so angry when I failed to pay my phone card on time, thanks to Talits again for the delicious soup, thanks to Mang Nards for being so cool nowadays, thanks to Financial Lending and thanks to Nelson for providing discounts with his vegetables.”

53) Junhan says, “My gratitude and appreciation to all who give when there’s nothing more to give.”

54) Nick Pichay, Beret & John, Jeff Schorr, Pamela Mathis

55) Zaldy wants to thank the Variety’s kick-ass publishers, management, editorial staff as well as the company’s other hard-working personnel.

56) Guam Variety, Palau Horizon and their superb management and staff

57) siomai

58) Zaldy wants to thank his car which he considers symbolic of the CNMI’s spirit — battered, beaten up but bery much alive and kicking.

59) Apples, grapes, oranges

60) KSPN

61) The KAT

62) Heart’s Barracuda, Led Zep’s Ramble On, UB40’s Bring Me Your Cup

63) Friends of the Arts

64) Limewire

65) YouTube

66) Burt Bacharach

67) watermelon and pumpkin seeds

68) The U.S., Guam, Palau and the CNMI held clean, peaceful and orderly elections

69) representative democracy

70) free enterprise

71) detergents

72) Ivory soap

73) electricity

74) shampoo

75) running water

76) drinking water

77) Emperador Brandy

78) Tanduay Rum

79) The CNMI’s hardworking public servants

80) Rex Navarrete

81) Robert Lowell’s Day by Day

82) NMI Humanities Council

83) NMC

84) chess

85) Google

86) AP, Reuters, AFP

87) The Wall Street Journal

88) The Comedy Channel

89) Turner Movie Classics

90) old KMCV news

91) The new kick-ass James Bond

92) sleep

93) waking up

94) sunrise

95) sunset

96) e-mail

97) green tea

98) Nike shoes

99) This year is almost over

100) The Variety’s readers and advertisers

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Japanese buffet at the Palms

Palms Resort Saipan advertising sales representative Minako Kayagaki and executive chef Satoshi Akimoto

HERE’S some mouth-watering news for Japanese cuisine aficionados!

To continually satisfy its diversified stream of clients, Palms Resort Saipan re-opened its Japanese lunch buffet starting Monday to give Japanese food lovers a chance to satisfy their eternal cravings.

With the ever-present sushi, sashimi and tempura as its mainstays in the daily menu, Palms Resort sales representative Minako Kayagaki said that they offer a variety of dishes during lunch hours Mondays to Saturdays.

“Japanese buffet is available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and it’s an eat-all-you-can feast for just anybody who wants to fulfill their craving for Japanese specialties,” Kayagaki said.

Who wouldn’t want to gorge himself with food that come fresh or cooked right before you as you wait. The anticipation is half the fun!

The restaurant provides various atmospheres to suit your tastes. Whether you want a dimly lit portion as a respite from the heat of the noonday sun, a table with a superb view of the swimming pool and the ocean while dining, or a romantic nook right on the mezzanine floor, you have it.

Kayagaki said the place can accommodate over 140 guests. On the re-opening day, a merry mix of locals and tourists couldn’t just have their stomachs full of the delicious bounty—from its tempting line of appetizers, soups, main dishes, vegetables, deserts, and fruits.

Indeed, spending $18 for adults or $13 for kids for a buffet lunch as scrumptious as Palms executive chef Satoshi Akimoto prepares wouldn’t spare you room for a moment’s regret. A special discount applies for locals.

Check out the Japanese lunch buffet at Palms and have a feast.

This article was originally published HERE

Monday, November 24, 2008

Take it away with Le Beaujolais Nouveau 2008!

EVERY year, the race from the grape to the glass had always been half the fun. At past midnight on the third Thursday of November, millions of glasses are raised all over the world to welcome the year’s edition of Le Beaujolais Nouveau.

Guests flocked to the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Saipan to join one of the world’s most anticipated traditions in the wine industry- welcoming and sampling the 2008 edition of this red, fruity wine from France.

“What makes this wine so special is that it is not aged, and it stays for a very limited time only,” says Hyatt’s restaurant manager Philip Padernal.Le Beaujolais Nouveau (pronounced bow-joe-lay noo-vo) easily appeals to everyone. It slides down your throat with a fresh, pleasant and fruity taste because the wine did not undergo storage to age.

Imagine the rush of adrenaline as each individual and machine involved in the total process poll their efforts to have everything done from harvesting, processing, bottling and finally delivering the wines throughout the world at past midnight on the third Thursday each November. Hyatt Regency Saipan’s executive chef Gabriele Colombo said that Le Beaujolais Nouveau is meant to be drunk immediately.

“It’s a kind of wine which has to be gulped rather than sipped and most of this vintage will begin to decline after Christmas,” he said. With Thanksgiving a few days away, Colombo said Beaujolais Nouveau comes in handy as an excellent pair for roasted or grilled meats, pastas, salads and cheeses, and particularly Turkey.

Hyatt Regency Saipan general manager Nick K. Nikishawa said that Hyatt has always joined the tradition of launching the year’s edition.

“It’s exciting to be a part of something that the whole world is doing at the same time, and we are glad to give the people of Saipan the chance to join and appreciate fine wines,” Nikishawa said.

To go with the newly launched Le Beaujolais Nouveau 2008, Hyatt Regency Saipan served mouth-watering delicacies and appetizers that left guests craving for more.Since Nov. 20, Le Beaujolais Nouveau, distributed by Pacific Wines and Spirits was already available at the Hyatt Regency Saipan and selected restaurants and bars on Saipan, but don’t wait too long. The bottles won’t wait for you!

For more information, contact PWSI market coordinator Orleyne Tabucanon at (671) 888-8476 or email orleynet@pwsgu.com.
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This article was originally published HERE

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mysterious cairns of the Suicide Cliffs

FOR a casual passerby, they look like small, ordinary stones piled atop each other but for the discerning eye of an adventurer they could mean a lot of things, depending on the angle where you look at them from, or how the sun casts its shadow on the stones.

Photos by Raquel C. Bagnol

But these stones did not happen to accidentally pile on top of each other to create a spectacular view. Somebody exerted effort and creativity to pile the stones into attractive shapes to make driving, jogging or cycling up to the Suicide Cliff lookout a more pleasant experience.
For some, the cairns scattered along the road especially in the last two miles toward the Suicide Cliff stirs the imagination.
“Some thought that they are part of a local culture, some thought the stones have something to do with religious rites while others thought the stones bring good luck,” the person behind the artistry who opted to remain behind the limelight to maintain the aura of mystery to the cairns said.

He said he gets a lot of satisfaction knowing that the stone piles he started to create some months back have begun to stir intrigue among the visitors.
“Each individual has different interpretations of the stones, and that adds up to the mystery,” he said.
The cairns captured my interest when I first saw them sometime in June. From a distance, some of them look like dwarfs gregariously perched on top of the cairns. I couldn’t help but snap some photos while thinking it had some historical significance.
There are more cairns that you see along the way. Some of them are mysteriously hidden between trees a little distance from the road that you really have to look for them to find them.
If you haven’t seen the cairns yet, go for a drive or jog up Suicide Cliff looko
ut in Marpi and you will see them along the road. Just be careful not to break the piles, or better yet you can add to the cairns.
I wonder what they look like in the moonlight. That is something I will have to discover for myself, and soon!

This article was originally published HERE

Want to see more photos? PRESS ME

Friday, November 7, 2008

Atop Saipan’s highest mountain

IF there is one place that offers you a perfect view of the whole island from a 360 degree angle, it is Mount Tapochao, the highest point of Saipan.

A view of Garapan seen from Mt. Tapochao. Photo by Raquel C. Bagnol

A view of Garapan seen from Mt. Tapochao.

Last weekend’s gallivanting saw me and a buddy slowly urging the small car we took to navigate the rough and bumpy roads snaking its way up the mountain. We knew the roads were fitted for an ATV or a 4x4 vehicle but we still took the chance, hoping our car won’t give up on us and leave us in the middle of nowhere. After a nerve-wracking climb, we finally reach the top. I took in huge gulps of the cold, early morning air while trying to catch my breath. Mt. Tapochao is indeed a perfect place to meditate and get in tune with nature. My first visit to this mountain was during Good Friday this year when the roads and the whole place littered with people, tents and cars. We had to walk all the way to the top as the roads were barely passable. Last Saturday, it was totally different because my buddy and I had the whole place to ourselves. It was eerily quiet, save for the howling of the winds. I felt like we were intruders but it was wonderful to be standing at 1,545 feet above sea level and marvel at the amazing panoramic view of Saipan and the island of Tinian. Mt. Tapochao carries both historical and religious significance for the people of CNMI. Several markers are planted at the top of Mt. Tapochao to serve as constant reminders that Japanese spotters positioned themselves on this mountain to direct cannon fire to the advancing American forces during the bloody World War 11. A slight drizzle started to fall, interrupting the peace and soliloquy I was enjoying for a moment. I am still looking forward for a chance to watch the sunset from this point. I know words would be inadequate to describe its splendor.

(this article is originally published HERE)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tinian’s WW11 monuments

IF you are in the dark about Tinian’s history, the two cemented structures protruding from the ground which looked like crypts would mean nothing, but these are no ordinary structures.

These are the two atomic bomb loading pits that played a significant part in the history of the island.
From the Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino, we took the north-bound road which gradually degenerated until it looked just a deserted trail. I lost direction of the twists and turns my tour guide took before we emerged into a clearing beyond forest growth and thick foliage, into the airport taxiway.

There, at the northwest end of the runway were the two triangular-shaped structures that stood for lornly as a monument of the World War 11.
Mindless of the scorching heat of the noonday sun, I went near the pits and peered through the Plexiglas. There was nothing to see in the 27-and-a-half-foot long, 18-foot-wide pits save for a small hole in the ground and faded photographs of the planes that carried the bombs to Japan.
The pits looked innocent and harmless, but if you go back years before, you will learn that from these loading pits the “Fat Man and Little Boy”— the atomic bombs dropped on Japan — were launched from this very site.

The area was deserted, save for a group of tourists in a rented van. There is something about the place that evokes an eerie silence and makes you wish to leave everything without disturbing the ghosts of the past.
This site has always drawn visits not only from tourists every year but WW11 veterans, too whose poignant memories of the war live within them. I left the place in a pensive mood, thinking myself lucky to be able to visit a place that is important to the island’s history.

This article was originally published HERE.

Unwinding at Taga Beach

JUST a stone’s throw away from the Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino is a famous beach which never fails to lure locals and tourists alike even under the sweltering heat of the sun.

Taga Beach is just a pocket beach bordered by small limestone cliffs on its sides. To take a dip, you have the option of going down a flight of cemented stairs or jumping or diving from the small cliffs into the amazingly clear, blue green waters. This has become a favorite challenge for kids and adults as they tried to outdo each other in how high they can jump, or how many flips they can do.

The waves from the small lagoon roll into a pristine shore protected by cliffs and cave-like rocks. From the beach, the ocean stretches out to forever. The beach has picnic facilities, an outdoor shower, ample parking spaces and even a place to rent scooters if you want to take an island tour.
If you don’t fancy swimming, you could still enjoy walking on the concrete path which leads into Tachogna Beach a few meters away. Sunsets at Taga Beach are just superb! Here is one place where you can watch the sun bidding goodbye to another day amidst a glorious sky splashed with different hues of reds, oranges and vermilions.
For photo enthusiasts, Taga Beach is one perfect place for you to snap away and capture views of the local color.
Breathing in the cool salty air from the ocean, I wished I could stay at the beach forever and take in the sights and smells that create a bond to nature. However, darkness had fallen. The happy shouts of kids ceased and the swimmers were heading home. It was time to go back to the hotel.

This article was originally published HERE.