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

Monday, October 3, 2011

Hyatt celebrates Chuseok festival

DINERS who crave for Korean cuisine are in for ten days of a mouth-watering feast as Hyatt Regency Saipan celebrates the Chuseok festival at its Kili Café & Terrace.

An assortment of Korean dishes.
To give its diners a taste of authentic Korean cuisine and bring the spirit of “Chuseok”, a Korean thanksgiving celebration here, Hyatt Regency has brought in two chefs from the Hyatt Regency Incheon.
“From Oct. 1 to 10, diners at the Kili Café & Terrace will be treated to a wide selection of authentic Korean buffet prepared by two chefs from Korea,” Hyatt Regency Saipan’s executive chef Gabrielle Colombo said.
Kyoung-Yoon Jeong and Kim Tae Hoon arrived on Saipan on Tuesday and will be staying until Oct. 11.
The two chefs said that the diners can expect a variation of Korean dishes every night.
Colombo said that Hyatt Regency Saipan’s restaurants host various festivals throughout the year, but it has been some years since they brought in chefs from other countries.
“This time, we would like to bring Korea here to make our diners enjoy the true taste of Korean cuisine,” Colombo said.
Joong brings with him six years of experience at the Hyatt Regency Incheon while Kim has been with the hotel for the last four years.
But the two chefs had been assigned in other Hyatt hotels in Thailand, Philippines and other countries before.
Colombo invites the community not to miss dinner times at the Kili Café & Terrace and indulge into the chef’s creations like a spicy Korean Hot Pot, marinated grilled meats and seafood, and traditional dishes like Bulgogi beef stew and Kimchi pancakes.
He said the dining at the Kili Café for the Chuseok festival is a rare experience that cannot be equaled to dining in a Korean restaurant here.
“It’s an eat-all-you-can, drink-all-you-can feast on Korean dishes that you shouldn’t miss, and the food choices are endless,” Colombo said.
Included in the Chuseok festival dinner buffet is a wide selection of appetizers like assorted organic greens with choices of dressing and condiments, Shitake mushrooms muchin, Bulgogi mixed salad, Korean beef tartare, fresh tofu salad, Japchae, glass noodle salad and various kimchi.
The seafood bar carries reef red sashimi, seared bonito tuna, spicy lime dip, green mussel, snow crab, fresh Pusan oyster, fresh river shrimp, lemon wedges, miso bean dip, mignonette, wasaby cocktail sauce and spring onion sauce. The live cooking station offer diners assorted Korean pancakes with dipping sauce and seafood bibimbam rice.
The hot selection bar carries steamed rice with selected beans, braised chicken with spicy vegetables, Angus beef with rib stew with soy sauce, fried squid with chili sauce, and grilled autumn vegetables with marinated garlic. Top off your meal with tempting delights from the dessert bar—a selection of traditional Korean sweets and desserts.
The Chuseok dinner buffet at the Kili Café is open from 6 to 10 p.m. from Oct. 1 to 10 for $35 per person. For reservations and more information, call 234-1234 extension 26.
This article was originally published HERE

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bring home beautiful works of art

STEP inside the doors of the former R&C Tours office in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Saipan in Garapan and you will get a rare treat — a smorgasbord of breathtaking works of art created by the island’s artists.
Photos by Raquel C. BagnolAllow your senses to roam and feast on the products the artists will be sharing to the public for a whole month. Take a tour and you will be transported from the past to the present through beautiful artwork as seen through the eyes of each artist.
Take home works of art to adorn your favorite spots in the house, made but the island’s traditional artists Martin Castro, Maria Camacho, Mariana Ebilane, Prescilla Pangelinan, Melchy Billy, Ginni Bachani, Rodney Camacho, Edward Terlahe, Priscilla Pangelinan, Vicente Duenas, Lucy Sablan, and Carmen Gaskins.
From stone mortars and pestle, mats and baskets painstakingly hand-woven from leaves, intricate wooden carvings where each piece tells and records interesting stories of the islands, knitted shawls and hanging decorations from indigenous materials, vases and household ornaments made out of recycled materials, and more.
All over the room are simple shells and stones found on the island’s beaches everywhere, but when they came through an artist’s hands, they come out as stunning pieces of necklaces, earrings, bracelets and other ornaments you would be proud to wear anytime.
Framed along the walls of the exhibit area are big and small paintings and photographs of the island’s inland, aerial and underwater attractions captured through the lens by the CNMI’s well-known photographers, and through the brushes of the skillful painters including Greg Elliot, Jack Hardy, Leslie Ware,  Lawrence Lee, Joseph Weaver, Ernie David, Maritess Sablan, and Rosana C. Villaraiz who generously share their talents through inspiring paintings and photos that you would want to bring home to hang on your walls.
These and more are available for viewing and for sale at the ongoing Cultural Heritage and Arts Pacifica Exhibit hosted by the Commonwealth Council for Arts and Culture. It runs until September 30.
Visit the exhibit area anytime from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday for a real art feast for free.
The whole Arts Council family under its executive director Angel S. Hocog is inviting the public to come and support the local artists, and bring home a piece of these treasures with you.
For more information about the exhibit, call the Arts Council at 322-9982/3.
Bring home beautiful works of art | around-the-island.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Continuing a cultural tradition

SHOWCASED in shelves or spread out on any flat surface, they attract attention as spectacular works of art worn by cultural dancers on their necks, arms, hands, heads and ankles. Meticulously inserting the thread into the very small holes of the beads requires a near-perfect eyesight and patience of the saints, and choosing the colors and following designs require skills and artistic creativity before a piece of bead jewelry can be finished.
As more and more fashion jewelry and accessories emerge into the market, people are finding it not only easier and cheaper but more convenient to just pick up any piece of fashion jewelry to go with their daily clothes than buy the traditional beadwork done by local artists.
Bead making in the CNMI may become a lost art if those who are skilled on it will not pass their knowledge to the younger generations, according to Ann Billy, one of the local exhibitors who showcased a fine selection of beadwork jewelry at the 30th Flame Tree Arts Festival at American Memorial Park grounds onJune 9-12.
A piece of bead necklace for example takes from two to three weeks to finish, depending on the complexity of the design and the size of the beads.
“The smaller the beads are and the more complex the design is, the longer it takes to finish,” Billy said.
If the beads are a little bit larger and the design is simpler, a beadwork necklace may be finished in a week or so. The bigger pieces of beadworks fetch a higher price of up to even more than $200, but with the bad economy, local beadmakers have turned to fashioning simple necklaces, bracelets and other jewelry which they sell for affordable prices from $10 and up. These smaller items, Billy said, have become the most saleable ones lately.
The CNMI is beefing up efforts in preserving this cultural tradition by introducing this art to visitors to the island, by demonstrations of beadwork making at travel fairs and exhibits in other countries, by offering cultural classes such as the ones held at The Inetnon mot yan Kutturan Natibu/Mwiischil Safey me Kkoor Arasamal Falw (Association of Native Medicine and Culture) and by these bead artisans handing their knowledge to the younger generations.
Beadworks are available from local artists during exhibits at the Flame Tree Arts Festival, arts exhibits hosted by the Commonwealth Arts Council, and other events. Buying beadwork jewelry requires no sweat, but each piece has its own story to tell. Each piece portrays the effort and creativity of the artist before a piece is finally done and ready for selling. When you take home a piece of beadwork jewelry, you are taking home a part of the island’s culture and tradition, and most importantly, helping keep this cultural tradition alive.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Nenpou Shinkyou group holds memorial service in Marpi | local-news

MEMBERS of the Nenpou Shinkyou Buddhist denomination from Japan held a memorial ceremony for the casualties of World War II in Marpi yesterday morning.

Members of the Nenpou Shinkyou Buddhist group pose after the memorial service ceremony in Marpi yesterday. Photo by Raquel C. Bagnol CNMI officials joined the 66-member group who lighted candles, offered flowers, fruit, wine and prayers for the departed.

In separate ceremonies, Nenpou Shinkyou’s high priest Most Reverend Ryoyu Okeya led the offering of flowers and prayers at the Japanese Peace Memorial and threw bouquets of flowers at Banzai Cliff .

In his brief message on behalf of Gov. Benigno Fitial and Lt. Gov. Eloy S. Inos, Press Secretary Angel Demapan said: “We are proud to serve as the home of your organization’s first monument built outside of Japan.”

He said although the Battle of Saipan was not a long conflict, about 50,000 civilians and military personnel died in a span of 24 days, including Japanese, U.S. service members, Chamorros and Carolinians and other foreign nationals.

He said since then, there has been a constant reminder of the horrors of war through the war memorial monuments in Marpi and the annual pilgrimage of organizations such as the Nenpou Shinkyou who pray for world peace and for the souls of those who died during the war.

“Today, we are tremendously grateful that we continue to remain at peace with Japan…together we have achieved forgiveness and reconciliation and have rebuilt our devastated societies. We will never fail to remember how far we have come and where we came from,” Demapan said.

Pacific Eagle Enterprises,Inc. vice president Aya Matsumoto said the group will be leaving Saipan this afternoon.

On Saturday morning, the group conducted a cleanup drive around the Japanese Peace Memorial and at Banzai Cliff to prepare for the ceremony.

The Nenpou Shinkyo Buddhist denomination has about 88 shrines all over Japan.

The ceremony yesterday was also attended by Saipan Mayor Donald Flores, Marianas Visitors Authority Managing Director Perry Tenorio and wife Teresa Kim-Tenorio, Japan’s Consul General for the CNMI Tsutomu Higuchi and other guests.

Nenpou Shinkyou group holds memorial service in Marpi | local-news

Friday, April 29, 2011

Zumba Fitness: Moving toward a new beat | health-matters

THE lights flashed, the music started, and the enthusiastic dancers sauntered to the floor of GIG Discotheque in Garapan to sway to the beat of the island’s latest fad in fitness dancing — the Zumba.

Contributed photosThe event was to officially introduce Zumba to Saipan and at the same time raise funds for the ongoing relief efforts for the victims of the devastating earthquake and tsunami last month which claimed thousands of lives and left thousands more homeless in Japan.

“I am very excited about this new page in my life that can lead me and everyone who would like to try this new style of fitness to better health and happier days,” Zumba Fitness instructor at said Gold’s Gym, Elly Stoilova, who initiated the “Zumba for Japan” event on Friday night .

Stoilova said a friend introduced Zumba Fitness to her four months ago.

“A friend asked me to help purchase a Zumba Fitness DVD set online. I checked some videos to see what I was about to purchase. I fell in love with the music and the movements from first glance and ordered two sets, one for my friend and one for me,” Stoilova said. And thus began her enthusiasm for this fitness dance that has been becoming more popular all over the world.

Stoilova said she began doing the Zumba Fitness program at home as part of her personal weight loss program in conjunction with enrolling in the Gold’s Gym Challenge.

“As Zumba Fitness movements are dance-inspired and introduced at the basic level with step-by-step instructions, it took me several repetitions to start moving and getting the flow of the various dances,” she said.

The more she repeated the dance steps, the better she felt about how she moved and grew more confident in her Zumba Fitness dancing.

Last month, there was a Zumba Fitness Basic Training for instructors on Guam, and she attended the training together with Samantha A’ani Birmingham-Babauta. The two are the first Zumba Fitness instructors on Saipan. Stoilova also attended an Aqua Zumba Fitness training so she could teach Zumba in the pool.

Easy for beginners

Beginners or shy individuals need not worry because all the classes Stoilova and Sami will be teaching at Gold’s Gym are designed for beginners.

“For the first month, we will practice the basic steps of Merengue, Salsa, Cumbia and Reggaeton together with some other international dance rhythms, and introduce some easy combinations and choreographies,” she said.

Stoilova said she already conducted one test class last week and she was happy to see that most of the students learned the steps quickly.

“Even the shiest people in the class started smiling and enjoying the dances by the end of the session. Mastering the steps involves continuous repetition and adding some personal flair, based on mood and allowing the body to groove to the bustling Latin sounds,” she said.

There is no standard way to do Zumba Fitness as everyone will add his own personal style in time, Stoilova said.

“I truly believe that if we create a Zumba party one month from now, those students who participate regularly at the Gold’s Gym classes will let loose and go wild on the dance floor!” she added.


How many times one needs to dance to keep fit depends on the individual’s personal health and fitness level. To stay fit, Stoilova said she would recommend mixing Zumba Fitness with other types of exercise along with eating healthy.

“Doing Zumba Fitness twice weekly for 45 minutes may be a good start for someone who is new to fitness, as this dance-like exercise provides cardio and works all muscle groups at the same time,” she said.

Compared to other forms of dancing for exercise, Zumba Fitness is an “effective, exhilarating, Latin-inspired, easy-to-follow, calorie-burning dance-fitness party that has taken the fitness industry by storm.”

“Zumba Fitness creator Alberto ‘Beto’ Perez says that Zumba Fitness is a way for people to exercise and to not know that as they dance and they have fun together. I would add that one doesn’t need to know how to dance in order to do Zumba. Follow and enjoy!” Stoilova said.

Benefits from Zumba

Stoilova said that Zumba Fitness was the perfect addition to her Gold’s Gym Challenge program.

“I did weightlifting, cycling, strength training using free weights and various machines at Gold’s Gym, stretching and pilates. It all worked as I could see myself losing pounds and shrinking in size each week. Zumba Fitness made my exercise routine fun, helped me lose weight and brought a lot of positive energy to my days,” Stoilova said.

If she does Zumba Fitness in the morning, she feels like she is dancing all day long!

“I smile, I laugh more and I feel alive. I haven’t been in a discotheque for about 8 years, as I thought I am a little old to enjoy the dance floor with teenagers. Zumba Fitness brought back the pleasure of dancing to my life and because of that, I love it!” she added.

Classes at Gold’s Gym

This week, Zumba Fitness classes will officially start at Gold’s Gym. Stoilova said a lot of people have already been inquiring about the classes.

“When something new and positive appears in our life, it usually brings excitement and gives us additional power to go through challenges. Use Zumba Fitness as a new platform that will help you become fit, learn to dance and enjoy dancing, overcome your shyness, meet new people and make new friends. Zumba Fitness made my life much more enjoyable,” Stoilova said.

Try it and see for yourself!

(This article was originally published at Zumba Fitness: Moving toward a new beat | health-matters)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Profile: Chefs Jojo & Guan Li: Running a restaurant in hard economic times | business-edge

RUNNING a restaurant and keeping it alive in these hard economic times on Saipan is very challenging, but this couple works successfully together to make ends meet and to continue serving delicious food to their clients in the island.

Jojo & Guan Li Photos by Raquel C. BagnolJojo Li and her husband Chef Guan opened Royal Spring Taste House, a small but pleasant restaurant serving Chinese food on the ground floor of the Millennium Plaza at Coffee Tree Mall in Garapan in June 2009.

“When we opened the restaurant, we were still able to hire a staffer but later, we have to juggle all the work between us because times are really hard. Sometimes, our 17-year-old son helps us out when he is around,” Li told the Variety.

She said most of their customers especially at night are those who work at the massage parlors and bars in Garapan who would come for a bowl of hot soup or noodles, or get a real meal before going home in the early hours of the morning.

“Now it’s so hard because if they don’t have customers at the massage parlors and bars, they won’t get any tips and they won’t spend anything for food,” she said.

Work for the Li couple does not end. Although they open the restaurant at past 1 p.m. every day for a late lunch, they are open all the way until 2 or 2:30 a.m.

The couple buys ingredients on wholesale basis because they can save on trips to the store and on the individual price of commodities.

The couple’s day starts with preparing the basic ingredients, slicing and marinating meat for short orders, and cleaning and preparing the place for diners who come in for a late lunch.

The couple said the last time they were able to go home for a vacation in China was three years ago, before they opened Royal Spring Taste House.

With almost all restaurants in Garapan closing up at 11 p.m., Royal Spring Taste House has an edge because they stay open when most of the night spot workers go home from work.

“Things have really gotten worse these past years, not only restaurants but for other businesses, too but we manage to get by,” she said.

Now, higher bills to pay for rent and utilities, the escalating cost of ingredients, lesser customers, more restaurants and fast foods sprouting around the area, and the low cost of food they offer in their menu to customers, struggling to stay afloat is a real challenge, Li said.

Royal Spring delivers food orders for conferences and gatherings. Just place your orders at least two or three hours ahead of time. They also deliver short orders around Garapan area.

Royal Spring Taste House prices start from the budget- friendly level and up, depending on your order.

Both Jojo and Guan were originally from Guangzhou, China. They left their hometown over 20 years ago to seek greener pastures here. The two met and married here, and both have been witnesses to how the economy of Saipan bloated, flopped and finally torn to shreds but they are still here, trying to survive the everyday challenges of running a restaurant and feeding people delicious food “fit for a king,” as what the restaurant’s name suggests in the Chinese language.

They are also among the thousands of guest workers whose uncertain fate hangs in the balance since federal immigration law was extended to the CNMI.

Royal Spring Taste House accepts only cash for now. For a taste of the restaurant’s specialties, call 233-1668.

A trip back in time | around-the-island

A trip back in time | around-the-island

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chamorro/Carolinian cultural center opens on Saipan

A WEEK after Rota opened its Chamorro Village Cultural Center, Saipan also opened its own on Capital Hill on Saturday morning.
The opening was in partnership with the Indigenous Affairs Office and organizers said it marked a new era for cultural experts and the community.
The Chamorro/Carolinian Cultural Center is designed to preserve indigenous cultures and traditions and keep then alive for the future generations.
The ceremonial ribbon is cut during the opening of the Chamorro/Carolinian Village Cultural Center on Saturday. From right, Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, Administration of Native American grant consultant Lino M. Olopai, cultural expert Andrew Rapoulug, Lt. Gov. Eloy S. Inos, Indigenous Affairs resident executive Ignacio DLG. Demapan, ANA grant project director Manny F. Borja, and Association of Native Medicine and Culture president Isidoro T. Cabrera. Photo by Raquel C. BagnolInetnon Åmot yan Kutturan Natibu/Mwiischil Safey me Kkoor Aramasal Falúw, or IAKN/MSKAF, the Association of Native Medicine and Culture president Isidoro T. Cabrera said they will be adding more displays and exhibits at the newly opened cultural center.
The Center was funded by the grant from the U.S. Administration for Native Americans through IAKN/MSKAF, a non-profit organization created to support traditional healing and preserve indigenous culture in 2007.
The $245,385 grant was aimed to establish cultural village centers on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.

(Indigenous Affairs officials and island leaders cut the ribbon during the opening of the Chamorro/Carolinian Village Cultural Center on Saturday. From right- Cong. Greg Kilili Sablan, Administration of Native American grant consultant Lino M. Olopai, cultural expert Andrew Rapoulug, Lt. Gov. Eloy S. Inos, Indigenous Affairs resident executive Ignacio DLG Demapan, ANA Grant project director Manny F. Borja, and Association of Native Medicine and Culture president Isidoro T. Cabrera. Photo by Raquel C. Bagnol)

The center on Rota was opened on March 19. The one on Tinian may be opened next year, Cabrera said.
The cultural center, he added, will offer classes for weaving, wood and stone carving, preparing traditional medicines and on other subjects that preserve Chamorro/Carolinian culture and traditions.
The center has  invited local artist Noel Quitugua who arrived here from Washington last week and will be staying until May 12.
Quitugua, who created the miniature Chamorro house now displayed at the CNMI Museum, will be giving lectures to students, teachers and the community about authentic Chamorro houses, tools and canoes and how to make miniatures to preserve this craft.
The Saipan center is located at 1213 Capitol Hill Rd., across from the Workforce Investment Agency office and below the Board of Parole Office. For more information, call 322-0278.
CULTURAL CENTER. Chamorro/Carolinian cultural advocates pose for a photo during the opening of the cultural center on Capital Hill, Saturday. (Front photo for Marianas Variety March 28, 2011 issue)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Profile: Edwin Sta. Theresa - A ‘shuttered’ love affair

HIS first job when he came to Saipan over 15 years ago involved asking people to take off their shirts, putting on lab gowns and telling them to hold their breath as he conducted lung x-rays at a medical clinic.
Edwin Sta. TheresaHe processed the negatives, inserted them into individual folders, and turned the results over to the front desk day after day.
But Edwin Sta. Theresa, production manager of Digital Motion, has one love of his life that he suppressed for his career as a radiologist/x-ray technician — photography.
His affair with the shutter started way back in his teen years when he became friends with a classmate whose father was into photography. Watching his classmate’s father at work, he asked for a chance to try using the camera. As soon as he peered into the viewfinder and pressed the shutter to capture his first subject, he knew his fate was sealed.
But career took over and Sta. Theresa shelved his first love, until finally one day over half a decade ago, he took off his lab gown and decided to pursue his desires. The rest is history.
As one of the island’s popular photography and video services provider covering various events, work for Sta. Theresa is very far from the 8 a.m.-5 p.m. routine.

He is at the forefront of every special and memorable occasion, capturing and preserving every second on camera as each event unfolds. Work is unpredictable and exciting. He is there when a couple exchanges “I do’s,” right from the moment when the bride and groom start to dress up until the moment the guests leave the reception. He is witness to all the happy times at anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, and other momentous occasions.
Sta. Theresa also does television commercials for government and private agencies, television shows and other promotional or documentary videos.

Not everything he captures on camera and video is pleasant though. At times, when the world is still asleep, Sta. Theresa is already out with his heavy video equipment slung over his shoulders capturing each bitter moment as family members mourn the loss of a loved one, or staying awake late into the night when the world is already asleep doing editing work at his computer to catch up on deadlines.
“It’s a very enjoyable yet challenging job. It’s one job where you sometimes find it hard to detach yourself from the emotional outbursts of your subjects but the rewards are great because years later, the results of your effort remain in the shelves of memories in each home for future generations to go over,” Sta. Theresa said.
With the advent of technology, business as a photographer/videographer in the CNMI now is not paved with roses. Along with others in the industry, Sta. Theresa has financial battles to combat as more and more people are learning about photography and basic equipment become more affordable. There are bills to pay and no regular paycheck comes every two weeks.
“Unlike before, so many people now would prefer to take their own photos and videos to save money, but when our clients realize how important these events are, they will come to realize that it takes someone with the dedication and skill to document special events and preserve them for the future,” Sta. Theresa said. He may be tired after a day’s work, but he is satisfied. His love affair with the shutter is finally out in the open.
Digital Motion is located on the third floor of the Marianas Business Plaza in Susupe. For more information,  check out www.digitalmotionpro.com or call 235-6603.
(This article was first published HERE)

Blossoms Floral Depot: A wonderland of Valentine’s Day specialties

SHOWING your special someone how much you love and care for them has never been made easier than stepping into the Blossom’s Floral Depot for a wide choice of ideal Valentine’s Day gifts.
From left, florists Roland, Ador and Ricky Photo by Raquel C. BagnolBlossoms Floral Depot office manager Carlyn DLG. Hofschneider said  Valentine’s has always been their busiest week but this is one time of the year where individual preferences are being given top priority.
“Each person has different preferences in how they want flowers to be arranged, or what flowers they want to order. Come to us and let our florists meet your specific needs,” Hofschneider said.
“Tell us what you would like in your arrangements and we will take care of everything from there,” she added.
Blossoms Floral Depot offers fresh or silk arrangements, new Valentine’s containers, red roses, cards, stuffed animals, balloons, heart candies and chocolates in heart-shaped boxes.
“Despite the hard economic times, it is encouraging to know that people really find money to buy gifts for their loved-ones,” Hofschneider said.
Orders had been pouring in for flowers, bouquets, floral arrangements and baskets, and chocolates since last week.
Hofschneider said topping the list of favorites are roses.
“We had been getting a lot of orders for the dozen and half a dozen roses,” she said.
Fresh roses come straight from California. Hofschneider said most of the clients who ordered flowers and gift baskets for their loved ones wanted the gifts delivered before work starts on Monday.
“It’s always exciting especially for women to receive flowers and chocolates at work, but these times, it goes the same for men, too,” Hofschneider said.
Even if you’re on a tight budget, you can still make someone special by picking out a single, long-stemmed rose which you can hand personally to your loved one for as affordable as $6.
For orders above $60, Blossoms Floral Depot will deliver for free to anywhere in the island. You can splurge on a dozen tastefully arranged roses for only $85 and Blossoms Floral Depot will deliver it for you.
Hofschneider said last year, they ordered over 3,000 stems of fresh roses but had to place another order before Valentine’s Day because supplies ran out fast.
“We are urging you all to come and place your orders now before our supplies ran out,” she said.
Valentine’s Day baskets range from $18 and up, stuffed toys start from $5, chocolate boxes from $8 to $18.
If you don’t have an idea what floral arrangement or what gift to give to your loved-one, just visit Blossoms Floral Depot and they can help you out.
To give a chance for those who have not ordered or picked up their Valentine’s Day gifts yet, Blossoms Floral Depot will be extending their hours of operation on Feb. 12 and 13 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and even on Feb. 14.
Hofschneider said  they also accept phone-in orders. Floral arrangements are available at all Shell gas stations.
Blossoms Floral Depot is located at the J.E.T. Building near J’s Restaurant in Gualo Rai. For reservations or inquiries call 235-2276/7372 or fax 235-7371. (published HERE)

Beyond skin deep

HAVING a natural flawless skin is the envy of many and not many are blessed with it, but for individuals who are not as lucky, don’t lose hope to acquire soft and smooth skin because you can do it here without having to spend thousands of dollars for off-island treatments.
Dr. DeLinda D. Wills, a U.S. board certified general surgeon who opened her own aesthetic clinic last year, said  going for a skin assessment is the first thing to do.
When you come in for skin consultation, your skin condition will be assessed because every person differs from each other. “Treatments that will work for one person may not work for another,” Wills said.
Soon after you get your skin assessment and treatment, Wills said that maintenance is the next thing to do.
Maintenance, she said, is not just an ordinary 11-letter word but it entails lots of patience and dedication which will eventually pay off if you are committed enough to it.
“When you start to see even a small wrinkle anywhere on your face, spend a few dollars and have it fixed immediately. Do not wait until you retire and the problem becomes too big to deal with and you will need a complete overhaul,” Wills said.
“If you want to save in the future, go for skin maintenance now. What little you may have spent now adds up to big savings in the future,” she added.
When you see for example the starter pack that Wills will prescribe for her patients to maintain a fresher and youthful looking skin, you will be astounded and confused.
Wills said maintaining your beauty regimen may be hard at first but you will soon get the hang of it.
With so many bottles containing different ointments and creams and oils, each one carrying different instructions and dosage, cleaning your face is an impossible task, especially if you have a full day at work and the last thing you would want to do is to crawl into bed and sleep.
Wills said getting into the beauty routine will become a habit very soon that “you can’t or won’t leave home without your beauty kit.”
Maintenance care for the skin and face is not only for women, Wills said. She said that men too are beginning to see the importance of having and maintaining fresher and smoother look using customized treatments.
Exposure to the relentlessly blazing sun outside everyday is “murder to the skin,” but this can be stopped by preventive measures, Wills said.
Come to Aulelei Medical Clinic, located at Suite 315 of Marianas Business Plaza in Susupe for a skin assessment and come out with a complete regimen kit designed to combat the harsh elements of nature like excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays that harms your skin.
Whatever skin problems and conditions you have — acne, oily or dry skin, hyperpigmentation, melasma, and rosacea and more, Wills guarantees skin assessment and treatment.
Aside from skin assessments, professional skin treatments or physician directed skincare, Wills also accepts Botox cosmetic and Juvederm consultation, Botox cosmetic, and Juvederm dermal filler featuring product lines from PCA skin and Obagi Medical.
“My final word is — I insist on maintenance, maintenance, and maintenance and I cannot stress that word enough,” Wills said.
For appointments or for more information, visit www.auleleimedical.com, e-mail drwills@auleleimedical.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 235-7314. (published HERE)

That's entertainment

A member of the Project Impact dance group impresses street market shoppers and vendors as he somersaults during a group performance in Garapan.

One sweet potato, two sweet potato...

ROTA — The covers were lifted and the hungry and excited crowd gathered in anticipation, picking up plates and forks as they fell in line to sample over 30 mouth-watering products derived from one of the Pacific’s most stable root crop —  the sweet potato,  known here as kamuti.
Photos by Raquel C. BagnolThe first annual sweet potato festival on Rota was in progress and guests had a grand time forking food into their plates and sampling the delights laid out on the table. From simple grilled sweet potato to the most complicated pies, tarts, cakes, fritters and other colorful and appetizing desserts to casseroles blended with herbs and spices, salads — everything was gone in a few minutes, and one could already hear the rave reviews of the guests.
Sweet potatoes can be eaten raw, grilled, baked, mashed, boiled, candied, steamed, or processed, and you still get the vitamins and other benefits.
Sweet potatoes grow in various colors and sizes, an abundant resource that Rota is blessed with, and a resource that the island wants to tap into to create a product brand and to spur the economy at the same time.
NMC-CREES Dr. Dilip Nadwani and Anthony Tudela in their research paper titled “Sweet Potato in the CNMI” said sweet potato has been a staple food for the Pacific Islanders for several centuries and is the most widely produced crop in the CNMI, mainly on Rota. Over 50 percent of the commercially produced sweet potatoes on Rota are shipped to Guam while the rest are for Saipan.
Nadwani and Tudela said  “the sweet potato is very important to a healthy nutrition based on its high contents of fibrous starches, potassium, iron, calcium and several vitamins.”
This versatile root crop which can be harvested from three to five months is fast finding its place in household tables all year round as the interest in healthy and natural foods increase.
Benefits of sweet potatoes
The U.S. Department of Agriculture enumerates the benefits of sweet potatoes, including being an “antidiabetic” food.
USDA researches showed that sweet potatoes contain proteins with high content of carotenes and vitamin C, making it a valuable food for boosting antioxidants in the body.
Sweet potatoes are also excellent source of carotenes, particularly the darker varieties, and offer a very good source of vitamins B6 and C, manganese, copper, biotin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B2, and dietary fiber.
With the abundance of sweet potato in the CNMI, and with a hundred and one variations that you can do to come up with delectable recipes, the choice is yours. You can add sweet potatoes to your diet not only on special holidays but throughout the year.
(This article was first published at the Marianas Variety)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rota opens first NMI Chamorro Village Cultural Center

Marianas Variety
March 22, 2011

ROTA — Artwork and other items depicting the island’s culture and traditions now have a permanent place where they will be showcased and preserved for posterity.
Father Delfin Tumaca, right, blesses the new Rota Chamorro Village Cultural Center at the Department of Cultural and Community Affairs resident office in Songsong, Rota on Saturday morning. Looking on is the mayor’s wife, Estrella Mendiola. Photo by Raquel C. BagnolThe Rota Chamorro Village Cultural Center at the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs resident office in Songsong was officially opened on Saturday morning.
Rota Mayor Melchor A. Mendiola, Sen. Juan Ayuyu, Rota-Ind., and cultural experts were among those who participated in the occasion.
Father Delfin Tumaca blessed the building prior to the ceremonial ribbon-cutting after which the public got a glimpse of items depicting Rota’s culture and traditions in the form of photographs, sketches and drawings, wood and stone carvings, wood husking, woven products, shells and beadwork, handmade jewelry, tools, decorations and ornaments as well as preparation of traditional medicines.
In their messages, Mayor Mendiola, Rota Municipal Council secretary Prudencio Manglona, Inetnon Amoy yan Kutturan Natibu/Mwiischil Safey mey Kkoor Aramasal Faluw or IAKN/MSKF president Isidoro T. Cabrera, IAKN/MSKF project director Manny F. Borja and recording artist Barrie C. Toves said they were very happy with the opening of the cultural center, the first in the CNMI.
It  was funded by a grant from the U.S. Administration for Native Americans.
The IAKN/MSKF, a non-profit organization, was chartered in 2007 to advocate and support traditional healing and cultural programs of the indigenous Chamorros and Carolinians, to help protect habitats of medicinal plants, to document cultural traditions in the vernacular languages, to publish educational materials, and to produce non-print materials including DVDs, CDs, and television programming.
In September last year, IAKN/MSKF received a grant to establish village cultural centers on Rota, Saipan and Tinian.

Hard Rock joins Japan relief drive

SAIPAN’S Hard Rock Café  has placed a donation box on its counter to help raise funds for the earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan.
Hard Rock Café Saipan operations manager Rey Perez said he will seek the support of residents until the end of the month.
“We are knocking on the doors of our fellowmen to help the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Your contributions, no matter how little, will go a long way in helping them rebuild their lives,” Perez said.
At the end of the month, Perez said Hard Rock Café will turn over the donations to the local Red Cross.
“As of now, we only accept monetary donations,” he said.
Hard Rock Café Saipan is  one of the branches around the world that have joined “ALL IS ONE — Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Movement.”
Hard Rock International has launched several initiatives in conjunction with the Red Cross to support relief efforts in  Japan.
Among the initiatives Hard Rock is conducting is the global “CRANK IT UP” Program which encourages diners and customers to round off their bills to the nearest dollar amount so the remainder will be donated to help the relief efforts in Japan.
Each Hard Rock Café outlet is also conducting a donation box drive and proceeds will be donated to the Red Cross.
Hard Rock Café will also tap various resources, including social media such as Facebook and Twitter, to deliver messages to supporters on how they can donate.
You can help by dropping your donations at the Hard Rock Café donation box in Garapan. For more information, call 233-7625.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sweet success for Rota’s sweet potato festival

Marianas Variety
March 21, 2011

ROTA — Locals and tourists got the chance to try over 30 delicious varieties of this island’s main root crop during its first annual Sweet Potato Festival over the weekend.
The downpour did not hinder the crowd from heading to the stalls at the Metkaon Luta Ground in Sinapalo on Thursday evening where over 20 participants conducted  demonstrations on the different ways of cooking sweet potatoes. They also displayed ready-to-eat sweet potato products for sampling.
“We have the best sweet potatoes and we have industrious farmers on island. With this combination, we can market our sweet potatoes and make them  a brand of Rota,” Mayor Melchor A. Mendiola said in his message.
“Sweet potato is something that we already have, resources that is within our means to help us spur the economy so let’s tap into the abundance of this product toward progress,” he added.
Overall event chairwoman Julie Calvo of the Rota Department of Cultural Community Affairs said they hope to help  farmers in promoting sweet potatoes not only to the neighboring islands but to other parts of the world.
Calvo said some of the participants who did not register just brought their finished products for the food sampling on Thursday night.
On March 15-16, farmers attended workshops conducted by speakers from Northern Marianas College-Cooperative Research and Extension Education Services, the University of Guam and other experts. The workshops were held at As Paris Restaurant in Songsong.
Among the categories submitted for sampling and demonstration on Thursday were sweet potato salad, ice cup, cookies, alaguan, saibok kamuti or sweet potato with coconut cream, titiyas kamuti or tortillas, pancake, crunch, sweet fritters potato, tarts, sweet potato shrimp tempura, sweet potato porridge, bread, bunelos kamuti, sweet potato with coconut milk, pies, chips, cheese cake, barbeque, twists, sweet potato leaves salad, baked sweet potatoes and more variations.
The theme was “Eat healthy, Eat Kamuti, Our Tradition, Our Pride, Our Economy.”
Mendiola commended the organizers for holding a successful event.
“We hope to do this every year and encourage the residents to continue cultivating the sweet potato to help the island move toward progress,” he said.
The festival was also coordinated by the Women in Action, a group headed by the mayor’s wife, Estrella Mendiola.  The four-day event, which culminated with the start of the San Isidro fiesta celebration in Sinapalo on Friday evening, was attended by guests from Guam, Saipan, Tinian and other islands.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Profile: Anna Olaes: Juggling career and family successfully

SHE starts her workday checking her activity-filled calendar in her computer, taking note of things that need to be prioritized within the day. Next, she opens her employer’s calendar and checks on his schedule.
Juggling her diversified chores as marketing officer/human resource department head and executive secretary of McDonald’s Saipan president/owner Joe Ayuyu is not an easy task, but prioritizing is the name of the game, and before Anna Olaes leaves her table to do a routine check on how things are going at the fastfood, she has her day mapped out before her.
She rotates between checking on the employees, browses through daily reports, checks if there are new products to introduce and places orders, prepares layout for promotional materials and contact publications, and a hundred and one other chores to do.
As executive secretary, Olaes reminds her employer if he has appointments, and if travels are scheduled. She sees to it that necessary arrangements are done from booking airline tickets to accommodations and every minute detail.
But this is one job she has been doing since she joined the McDonald’s family in 1997, and she will not dream of switching jobs.
“Throughout all these years, I have learned so much from McDonald’s family and from my employers,” she said.
When she started as administrative assistant for McDonald’s Saipan, Olaes said she was not glued to her office table, but asked the management to allow her to work at the fastfood counter.
There, she experienced being a cashier, a food handler and everything else so that she understood how the business was being run. It was only then when she completely understood all the paperwork that landed on her desk.
Shuttling between her office work and her personal life as a wife and mother requires a gargantuan effort to keep things flowing smoothly, but Olaes has the full support of her husband and children who understand her busy life.

Although Olaes has Saturdays and Sundays officially off from the office, she still brings home some work and has to go out to answer office duty when necessary.
She has a message to all other career women who are already successful in their various fields, and those who are still working their way to the top:
“Make every day at work a learning experience, and grab every opportunity that you have to move up and on in your career. Don’t be stagnant but continue to strive for more,” Olaes said.
(This article was first published HERE)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Woman wins $70K baccarat championship

FOR the first time in the history of the tournament, a female player has grabbed the grand prize of $70,000 in the second Baccarat Challenge hosted by the Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino over the weekend.
Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino’s first female baccarat champion Imagawa Kayo, second left, shows her trophy  during the awarding ceremony on Saturday night. Looking on, from right, are tournament director Nimfa S. Alarde, casino manager Tim Blythe and Arturo Ramos. Contributed photoImagawa Kayo, a 31-year-old office secretary from Osaka, Japan, bested 112 other players when she maximized her bet and ended with 21,200 chips in the final round on Saturday night.
Kayo hovered between  third and fourth places before placing second to January’s Baccarat champion and  tournament favorite Ozakazi Takao in the penultimate hand.
Coming in second with $23,000 prize was Hanazawa Osamu, followed by the eventual third place winner Takao who went home $10,000 richer. Takao bagged the $65,000 grand prize during the first Baccarat challenge in January.
He was in the lead throughout the recently held tournament but ended in third.
Fourth place winner Namura Tamio won $4,000. The fifth to the 10th place winners who received $1,000 prize each were Heo Ji Uk, Yamasaki Kumi, Hideaki Kobayashi, Mabuchi Jun, Cho Hyun Chan, and Onuma Ryo.
In an interview, Kayo said it was her fifth time to join major tournaments, but her first time to win. She is a regular at Tinian Dynasty.
“I am very happy to win the grand prize, and being the first female to win makes it all different,” she said.
When asked what she planned to do with her winnings, she said it is up to her husband to decide.
Kayo said she may be back here for the next tournament in June.
Casino manager Tim Blythe said he was very glad of the turnout despite the emergency brought about by the tsunami warning.
“Over 40 of our players were not able to come in because their flights were cancelled, but that was something beyond our control,” Blythe said.
Casino marketing and promotions manager Chell Funtanar said they expected over 170 players from Japan, Korea and other places but the number dipped due to the tsunami.
“It is sad but despite it all, the tournament was successful. We hope to see more players in the future tournaments,” she said.
Fifty-five of the 113 players made it to the semi-finals on Saturday evening, and 10 made it to the finals. Two of the 10 got eliminated from the game within an hour, two turned in all their chips while the last the six players fought to the end.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Bridge Capital still interested in La Fiesta Mall

BRIDGE Capital LLC says it remains committed to its goal of assisting the government to revitalize the abandoned La Fiesta Mall in San Roque.
Despite the government’s rejection of the company’s proposal in March 2009 to revitalize the mall and operate video lottery “in a bid to sustain tourism” on  island, Bridge Capital chief executive officer and managing member John K. Baldwin said in a statement that the company is “still fully committed to assisting the…government in revitalizing the La Fiesta Mall.”
“Bridge believes that sustainable tourism is an important key to reviving the economy of the CNMI, and that a revitalized mall can be an important element in increasing tourism and helping the economy to rebuild,” Baldwin said.
He said Bridge Capital remains interested in renovation and operation of the entire mall property and will participate in any new requests for proposals that might be issued.
Bridge Capital, an international investment banking, real estate, hospitality, and asset management company headquartered on Saipan, has interests and investments throughout Micronesia, the United States and Southeast Asia.
Baldwin earlier said that the company was willing to spend up to $5 million to renovate the abandoned mall and use it to attract more tourists.
“We need to bring back the tourists to the island, but we need to have something to attract them,” he added.
Bridge Capital was the only company that responded to the request for proposal to revitalize the La Fiesta Mall. (Published at the Marianas Variety)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

NMI’s first urban boutique opens

THREE young men who want to create change and rouse Saipan from its economic lethargy opened the CNMI’s first urban boutique in Gualo Rai, Middle Road across from the Docomo office on Friday afternoon.
From left, Chris Santos, Rob Travilla and Dustin Camacho, owners of the Tha Trapp, the CNMI’s first urban boutique. Photo by Raquel BagnolYoung entrepreneurs Rob Travilla, Chris Santos, and Dustin Camacho, who all have regular jobs, planned to put up a store where they can introduce urban culture to the islands, develop their talents and skills in arts, and earn at the same time.
Their dreams came true on Friday afternoon when they officially opened Tha Trapp, a one-unit store whose walls are covered with colorful graffiti designed by a local artist. The store carries a wide variety of apparel, lifestyle and Swagg, a store that brings a customer to a different world where urban culture reigns.
“We feel that it’s time we introduce the ‘swaggers’ lifestyle and culture not only to the young people but to those who are young at heart,” Travilla said.
“All our t-shirts, stickers and accessories carry the I Love Sensi and the Affiliated Lifestyles brand but we also incorporate our own artwork with local island flavor into some of our stocks,” Travilla said.
They also carry the Salbaje Brand, NMI Chow It and Chokechain Athletics.
“Opening this store gives us a chance to keep the people of Saipan updated on the different flavors and scenes of urban culture and development,” Travilla said.
Santos said with the opening of Tha Trapp, the community will become more open to “things that other people always consider as taboo” such as tattoo, Mohawks, graffiti and more.
Tha Trapp sells T-shirts of all sizes and colors for male and female. T-shirts sale from $18 and up.
They also offer customized printing, so if a customer wants specific designs and graphics, they can do it.
Travilla said the three of them have always been interested and involved in arts for so many years.
Tha Trapp is open from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday to Friday, and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit www.tha-trapp.com, check out the page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/trapp670, twitter.com/trapp670, myspace.com/ trapp670, or youtube.com/ trapp670.
(first published HERE)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Tinian company to launch locally made perfumes

BREAKWATER, the name of a locally made perfume, will soon make its way to the store shelves here and abroad as a local company gears up for the launching of its new line of products early in May.
Mary Susan Cruz, owner of Susan’s Creations on Tinian, said the new line of perfumes is ready for launching.
“We are only waiting to finalize the names, labeling and packaging but the products are ready,” Cruz told the Variety yesterday.
She said  the local perfumes they will be launching are manufactured using local products.
“The perfumes will initially be in 10 different ‘flavors’ and they are not only competitive with the leading brands but also affordable to the local market,” Cruz said.
Launching the new perfume lines, she added, will hopefully add more exposure to Tinian and the CNMI islands.
“We will be selling the perfumes to our international markets, to tourists and to online customers along with all our other products,” Cruz said.
“These perfumes will carry something of the CNMI islands in each bottle — from the name, the flavor and the packaging,” Cruz said.
With this new product line, they hope to tell the world where Tinian and the CNMI is.
“Tinian and the CNMI are only known for their roles in World War II.  We want to give the world something else to think about our beautiful islands,” Cruz said.
The new perfume line will be launched by the last week of April, and will be on the store shelves by the time Tinian celebrates its town fiesta during the first week of May.
(first published HERE)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tinian Hot Pepper Festival more colorful despite economic crisis

TINIAN — Tinian’s Hot Pepper Festival turned out to be more colorful and livelier this year despite the economic crisis and the government’s austerity measures.
Host LJ Castro, front right, leads Tinian Mayor Ramon Dela Cruz, center, and other residents during a square dance at the Hot Pepper Festival on Saturday night. Photo by Raquel C. Bagnol Marianas Visitors Authority representative Vida Borja from Tinian told the Variety that compared to the past years, more people showed up for the festival on Saturday and Sunday.
“We have more tourists this weekend, and more community involvement which is really our main target,” Borja said.
JC Café restaurant manager Lot G. Bunao said  business was good for the establishments that put up booths for the two-day event.
“The first day was good but I was a little worried that there will be fewer people on the second day. I was wrong because more people turned up on Sunday, especially at night,” Bunao said.
Businesswoman Susan Cruz said the austerity measures did not hinder residents and guests from enjoying all the contests and activities.
Children and adults had a great time at the different games and contests at the festival which was hosted by LJ Castro.
A cooking show highlighted Saturday’s events as participants prepared different dishes using Donni Sali, Tinian’s world famous hot pepper.
Even the slight drizzle on Saturday night did not deter the people who kept on dancing to the live beat of the band and musicians from Guam. (published HERE)

Hearts in One: A night of singing and dancing

SPECTATORS of the Hearts in One Musical Variety Show at the multi-purpose center in Susupe on Friday went home happy that they not only enjoyed the show but they also supported the 2011 World Youth Delegates from Saipan who will be going to Spain this year.
The BodyMovers perform during the Hearts in One Musical Variety Show at the multi-purpose center on Friday night. Photo by Raquel C. BagnolOrganized by  Allen’s School of Dance and Performing Arts, the show featured a night of entertainment presented by some of the island’s talented singers and dancers.
The audience was treated to a variety of songs and dances performed by the students of Allen’s School of Dance and Performing Arts, Uncle Ben’s Music and Dance Studio, Saipan Music and Dance Studio, BodyMovers, Kid’z Legacy, Project Impact, local singers Rein Bacud and Ricky Custodio and the 2011 World Youth Delegates choir members.
It was a night of music: from contemporary to hiphop remix, folk, Latin, jazz and more.
The BodyMovers led by Allen Cuyugan sang and danced.
Show producer and director Cuyugan said it was their first time to put up a non-stop musical variety show and he was happy with the turnout.
“We would like to thank the people who supported us in the event, and we hope to do more shows in the future to entertain the people,” Cuyugan said.
Lucky ticket holders went home with gift certificates, free cellphone cards, gift packs, and a $100 cash prize courtesy of the show’s sponsors iConnect, Shenanigans Restaurant, Jacem, KFC, IT&E, Koi’s Restaurant & Bar, China House Restaurant and Marissa Nakajima.

Instructors and choreographers from the different dance studios who were part of the show are willing to teach individuals who want to become part of future shows, Cuyugan said.
Allen’s School of Dance and Performing Arts is located at the back of DFS Galleria in Garapan. For more information, call 233-LLEN (5536) or 989-1192. (published HERE)

Surviving shots

I WAS in a chair beside a stretcher where my buddy was writhing in pain in the CHC emergency room at 3 a.m. three days ago when a couple of nurses came in.  My buddy was suffering from gastro acidity and the “cocktail” the nurses gave him earlier did not lessen his pain.
“We’re going to give him fluids now,” one of the nurses addressed me, and I visibly paled. He started to roll up the left sleeve of my buddy’s jacket and got everything ready for the intravenous shot. I cringed and started to shake inwardly as I fought the weakness that started to crawl from my knees and to the rest of my body.
I always have this fear of needles, even if I’m just watching someone getting a shot. I gripped my buddy’s right elbow not to comfort him but to control my shaking as the needle went through his left hand and the nurses finally had the dextrose and another bag of liquid for gastro acidity in place. Weak-kneed, I watched the liquid trickling slowly from the bags and into my buddy’s arm and was able to breathe normally again only when his breathing finally became even and he started to snore softly.

But the worst was yet to come. A little boy was admitted in who would not not stop crying when nurses and hospital staff pinned him to the bed to give him a shot. I peered through the curtains but one of the nurses waved me away. Seeing my buddy having IV injections and hearing the boy wailing was an ordeal I had to endure for the next couple of hours.
“You were so pale I thought we had to administer the IV on you instead,” one of the nurses told me when we checked out that morning. They did not know that I nearly fainted from fighting my fear of needles.
I know I’m not alone. Thousands of other people all over the world would wish to disappear each time a doctor asks them to roll up their sleeves to get a shot. Thousands are suffering from fear of needles so that they would rather suffer and endure the pain and not see a doctor until they have to.
“We have patients who would rather suffer toothache instead of seeing the dentist because they are afraid of injections,” Dental Care resident dentist Fred Gogan said.
According to Dr. Ken Pierson of the Saipan Seventh Day Adventist Dental Clinic, “Sometimes, patients who have fear of needles try to endure the pain and wait until it’s too late for us to save their teeth.”
Both dentists said the fear of needles is something that can be conquered.
Tips to survive shots
Here are some tips from the www.kids.org website and other sources on how to survive shots or conquer your fear of needles.
•    Distract yourself while you're waiting for your shot. You can listen to music, answer puzzles, read a book or bring a movie player so you will be distracted from thinking about the shot.
•    Take slow, deep breaths all the way down into your belly to help you relax. Breathing exercises can help you relax.
•    Talking to a friend for support can also help you distract your attention. Talk about pleasant topics such as coming activities and plans.
•    Focus your full attention on something in the room. It can be a poster, a picture or a sign on the wall, or anything. Concentrate on the details. For example you are looking at a picture, study the colors, the setting or whatever it takes to take your mind off from the shot.
•    While taking a needle shot, don’t’ look at it. Turn your face toward the opposite direction or to a wall or anything away from your arm.
•    Relax. If you are tense, it will only make you feel more hurt. Don’t move your arms or make any sudden movements that will only make the experience more traumatic for you.
•    Don’t think of the needle before or after your shot because it will only add up to the anxiety and fear you have of the needle.
•    Do not hesitate to tell your doctor or nurse that you are afraid of needles. They deal with people like you every day and can help you relax.
•    Condition your mind that the jab of a needle is just one tiny quick bite.
•    Remember that the shot can help you get well or for your own good.
•    If you feel faint or lightheaded after a shot, rest for a few minutes.
Getting shots is an experience that can be tough not only for parents and kids, but for a lot of adults too. It may help to know that your fear is not unique and you are not alone.
The tips to survive shots are easier said than done and it’s more tempting to skip the shots but the good news is you can challenge yourself to face the fear. (This article was first published HERE)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

NMI’s first ‘Bully Show’ draws hundreds of spectators

HUNDREDS of excited spectators flocked to watch the first  PitBull Bully Show at the Garapan Central Park on Saturday afternoon.
Saipan’s Edong Elenzano of El Drako Kennels pats one of his pitbulls before the Bully Show at the Garapan Central Park on Saturday. Photo by Raquel C. Bagnol   The show brought together for the first the best pitbulls from the CNMI and Guam, presented by the Marianas PitBull Alliance and Alpha Dogg Productions of Guam.
Gracing the event to judge the show were Randy Haina from Hawaii American Bully Kennel Club and special guests from Guam: David Crisostomo of Irondogs Pitbull Kennels and Cris Castro of Bullies of Barrigada Heights.
Children and adults alike enjoyed catching a glimpse of the different pitbulls prior to the Bully Show.
The spectators also enjoyed the display of big bikes and big cars outside the Round House where the show was held.
Sponsors for the event are Budweiser, IT&E, Aquarius Beach Hotel, Megavision El Drako Tattoo, Alamo/National Car Rental, J’s Restaurant, Paradise Island Animal Hospital, Power 99, Shell and Saipan Apparel.

The winners for the different categories in Saturday’s first Bully Show who went home with various prizes were:
Standard Pre-Novice Puppy class (3-6 months female)
1st place - El Drako Kennels Zilla’Ani
Standard Pre-Novice Puppy (Class 3-6 months male)
1st place - El Drako Kennel’s Brockzilla (owned by Norman Del Rosario)
Standard Novice Puppy (6-9 months)
1st place - Marianas Pacificu Kennels Amu-Pacqiao
Standard Class (9-12 months)
1st place - Kulan Zamu Kennelz Buddy-Zamo
2nd place - Figu Kennels Chaife-Matatnga                                           
3rd place - Judge (owned by Francis Mendiola)
Standard Class (Junior 1-2 years old)
1st place - El Drako Kennels True Bull “Chubbs”
Standard Adult (2-3 years old)
1st place - El Drako Kennels G-Force aka Junior
2nd place - FPK’s Magas (owner- Ed Guinto)
Standard Senior Class (3 & up years old)
1st place - El Drako kennels Makoa
2nd place - Kulan Zamu Kennelz Bubba Junior
Best Overall Male and Best of Show: Kulan Zamu Kennelz Purple Ribbon Buddy Zamo (owned by Vinnie Sablan).
For more information about taking care of pitbulls or to join the MPBA, call Norman del Rosario at 287-2875. (published HERE)
For more photos, please check out my facebook page HERE

Saipan’s Torres wins $1,400 in Pika Festival poker tournament

Saipan’s Jack Torres went home $1,400 richer after he won the Pika Festival Texas Hold ’Em Poker Tournament hosted by the Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino on Saturday evening.
Torres bested 45 other players in the game that started at 10 p.m. and finished at past 3 a.m. on Sunday.
Coming in second and bagging the $450 prize was Motetsu Gaja, followed by third place winner of $300 Ernesto Rivera, both from Tinian.
Fourth place winner Sim Tae Seob and fifth placer Sim Tae Seob won $100 and $50.
Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino marketing manager Chell Funtanar said the turnout was good despite the fact that they did not reach their targeted number of players.
She said some of the players who had already registered for the poker tournament backed out because the tournament started out so late and they were already playing at the slot machines in the casino.
“Some of them were already winning at the machines and did not want to leave their games anymore,” Funtanar said.
They plan to hold more Texas Hold ’ Em poker tournaments within the year to entice more people from Saipan and Rota as well as tourists to come to Tinian.
Tinian Dynasty scheduled the Texas Hold ’Em Poker tournament on Saturday in time for the two-day Pika Festival or hot pepper festival at Tachogna Beach.
“We made the timing so that our players can also have the chance to experience the island’s famous hot pepper festival,” she said.
A Baccarrat Challenge is slated for March 12-13. Over the weekend, the casino also re-launched its Paradise Slot Club, the island’s premier player’s club. Frequent casino players can sign up to earn benefits such as free meals, free hotel accommodation, airline passes, invitations to parties and special events, free entries to tournaments, gift certificates at Monster Pizza or Dynasty gift shops, and more.
Membership is free. Benefits add up each time  points are earned playing slots, video, poker or Sega horse race. 
For more information, contact Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino at 328-2233, fax number 328-1133, email tinian.dynasty@pticom.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit www.tinian-dynasty.com.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cultural dance

Members of the Taotao Taga Dance Academy entertain hotel staffers and guests with their performances at a  recent gathering at the Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino.

Tinian talents shine in first Showtime Challenge

THEIR talents varied from singing, dancing, sketching, drawing and other skills. They all did their best as they vied for the top prizes in the first ever JC Café’s Showtime Magpasikat (Be Famous) Challenge on Tinian last week.
Contributed photoBefore the night was over, three contestants got the nod of the judges and grabbed the top three places.
Marilyn Papio went home $150 richer for winning the first place with her rendition of “The Power of Love.” Erwin Carlaje’s rendition of “Paano ang Puso Ko” (What About My Heart) won him $100 for  second place, while Jaylo’s on-the-spot graphic sketch of a lady model won him $75 for third place.
The event, which was JC Café’s pre-Valentine presentation, was held on Feb.11, 2011 at JC Café-Tinian. It turned out to be an evening of fun and entertainment   for everybody, even those who claimed having no special talents. JC Café’s staffers opened the show with a dance performance.
The judges for the contest who were not spared from showing their individual talents on stage were Elvira Morgan of Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino, Julian Hofschneider of Tinian High School and Joey Lenteja of Tinian Health Center.
Lucky individuals who joined the audience talent showdown and whose performances rocked the house with loud laughter also went home with various prizes such as stuffed toys, gift certificates, grocery items, and personal accessories.
An intermission of non-stop music — trance, hiphop, techno, chacha-reggae, Palauan R&B, Electric Slide, New Wave and Pinoy beat — set everyone in a party mood.
Julio and Estenza Mojica, owner of 3K’s Market, were chosen as this year’s 2011 Couple of the Year, a traditional award given by JC Café each year. Couples also received fresh roses during the night.
As its newest feature, a search for “Face of the Night” was held and Aida Juma-oas of Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino emerged as the winner.
Cellphone cards were also given out to the guests who texted their comments about the food and services at JC Café.
With the success of the first Showtime Challenge, JC Café manager Lot G. Bunao said they will be holding monthly contests set for March 12, April 9, May 7, June 4 and the grand finals on July 9.
Monthly prizes will be $100, $75, $5 for the first, second and third placers.  Grand Finals prizes would be $250, $100 and $50 for the top three places.
Sponsors for the event were Pacific Amusement, Pacific Quick Print, Triple J Saipan, Truong’s Restaurant, H-Mart, Dolphin’s Wholesale, Taro Sue, Island Florals & Gifts, Gizelle Salon, Crystal Clear-Tinian, Huang Shun Corporation, Lucky Qiang, Johnson’s Airconditioning, M/M Bill Cing, Sallyfin Catangay, Vannesa Talavera and Leny Marcelo.
Event hosts were Barnard Maraon and Isabel Barrios.
Published HERE

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Profile: DeLinda D. Wills:The other side of surgery

SHE was in her early twenties, a successful chemist and laboratory technician for Mobile Cicero Lube Plant in Illinois.
Dr. DeLinda D. WillsOne morning, Dr. DeLinda D. Wills, a U.S. board certified general surgeon, woke up dizzy with a blurry vision and with a loud buzzing in her ears.
Alarmed, Wills consulted a doctor who told her it was infection. She stayed in bed for three days thinking that she was going to die. On the fourth day, she got up, got a book on anatomy and physiology and read it from cover to cover.
That book changed her life forever. Wills decided to go into medical school right then and there. She handed her resignation to her employer and bid goodbye to a well-paying job she had for six years. Her employer refused to accept her resignation and gave her three months to “think it over,” assuring her the job will be there when she returned. Wills knew there was no going back.
Medical school was an upward battle for Wills, who was then already in her late 20’s. She was no longer on scholarship like she had in college, and suddenly she was scrimping and going into debts to survive. But she loved every minute of it.
Wills finished medical school and completed her general surgery residency at the Louisiana State University of Shreveport in 2007. She answered a call to serve as a doctor at the LBJ Tropical medical Center in American Samoa.
She came to Saipan and worked as a general surgeon at the Commonwealth Health Center for two months in 2008, went home and back for another two months in 2009. She came back to work for CHC for the third time in Feb. 2010 and finally opened Aulelei Medical to fulfill one of her dreams.
Dream job
In April last year, Wills opened the Aulelei Medical clinic on the third floor of the Marianas Business Plaza, and life and her medical career took on another new meaning.
Although she still works as a surgeon at CHC on weekends, Aulelei Medical is her haven, where she takes people under her wing and makes them feel beautiful.
She said Aulelei Medical is her other side of her career.
“I’ve always been vain, and I wanted to take off the haggard looks from people and make them look fresh and young all the time,” Wills said.
“Helping people on the aesthetic side is like planting something and seeing it grow and blossom and that brings unequalled satisfaction,” she added.
Wills operates a one-man clinic, doing everything by herself to cut on operating costs.
Since last year, people have been coming to her for skin consultations and customized treatments for all kinds of skin problems, and she is more than happy to help.
“I want to get the impression out of the people’s minds that going for a facial or skin treatment and rejuvenation is expensive. Money is only good as long as what you do with it, and if you want to do something, go after it because it is the only to have it. If you save money now and not pay attention to your body now, it may be too late when you finally decide and you will end up spending more,” she said.
Wills spends her weekdays treating skin problems of men and women — acne, oily or dry skin, hyperpigmentation, melasma,  rosacea and does Botox cosmetic and Juvederm consultation, Botox cosmetic, and Juvederm dermal fillers.
Aulelei Medical Clinic is located at Suite 315 of the Marianas Business Plaza in Susupe. Visit www.auleleimedical.com, e-mail drwills@auleleimedical.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 235-7314 for appointments.
(published HERE)