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

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)