December 30, 2009

Dinner, Sunset, Beach, and a Pickup

Yesterday evening my wife and I decided to go out for dinner, but instead of eating dinner in the restaurant or taking it back to the house, we decided to take our food to the beach and watch the sunset.

So we loaded the kids into the pickup truck, got our food, and headed to the beach behind Townhouse shopping center.  The beach is a favorite spot for the kids.  The water is usually calm and it's got great sand.

The breeze was blowing, the sun was setting over the horizon, and we backed our truck onto the beach.  Then we jumped into the back of the truck bed and ate our dinner while we watched the sun go down.  Instant picnic with a great view of the sunset.  Afterwards, the kids played in the sand for a bit.

We all enjoyed it.  Just another reason I Luv Saipan!

(Time-lapse video of our sunset yesterday evening)

December 21, 2009

Sunrise at Ladder Beach

(Sunrise over Naftan Point from Ladder Beach)

I was up early this morning and I headed out to catch the sunrise on Saipan.  I've always wanted to do this and I was rewarded with what I witnessed.

I headed out to Ladder Beach, which is on the southern part of Saipan, just south of the airport.  It's called Ladder Beach because sometime ago you would need a ladder (or rope) to get down to the beach below, which is a little cove, with two large caves.  The water is pristine, and the beach is a little rocky, but the rocks are really coral that has been washed onto the shore.  It's a beautiful beach, and you no longer need a ladder or rope to get down since steps have been constructed.

Hardly anyone goes to this beach.  It's just you and nature most of the time.  This morning, nature treated me to a spectacular sunrise at Ladder Beach.  I kept saying WOW and Oh My God!  Truly breath taking and so blessed to experience that sunrise.

And yes, it became another reason I Luv Saipan!

Here's a video I put together of the experience, and also more pictures below that.  Enjoy!

Ladder Beach Sunrise (photos)

December 17, 2009


(American Memorial Park Visitor's Center)

One of my favorite spots on Saipan is the American Memorial Park (AMP) in Garapan.  It used to be known as Micro Beach, but the National Park Service took over the area and made it into a national park.  It's the best thing that could happen to this area in my opinion.

AMP has a vistor's center that has an exhibit of the WWII  Battle in the Marianas.   The park has 2 monuments that commemorate those who died during the war: both military and civilian names are listed in the two monuments.  A small marina, called Smiling Cove, is also incorporated into the park, and sidewalks take you around the perimeter and within the park.  There are wide lawn areas for picnics and Micro Beach to swim.  This is the best spot for windsurfing on Saipan when the trade winds blow in the early part of the year.  And there's the amphitheater where ceremonies, concerts, etc. are held.

Many residents run, walk, picnic, barbeque at the AMP during the week and weekends.  My family and I love the park.  It's an attractive park.  It's a place that relaxes you and puts you in a good mood.

Just another reason I Luv Saipan!

(Video slideshow of a morning walk @ AMP with my son)

American Memorial Park (photos)

December 11, 2009

The NMI Quarter

On December 10, 2009, at American Memorial Park, Saipan, a special ceremony was held to officially introduce the Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Quarter into general circulation.  Presiding over the ceremony were the Governor, Lt. Governor, Chief Justice of the CNMI, and the Deputy Director of the U.S. Mint.

76 million NMI quarters were minted and are now in the general circulation.

Children in attendance received a commemorative NMI Quarter, and attendants were also able to purchase rolls of the new NMI quarter.  And yes, we got ours!

I must say, the NMI quarter design is beautiful.  It has the Latte stone, a traditional canoe, the Mwar, and two white fairy terns; all symbols of the Northern Marianas.

I Luv Saipan! We were able to witness a little piece of history.

Here are some pictures and video from the ceremony.

(Sorry for some of the shaky footage.  I didn't have my tripod.)

NMI U.S. Quarter Ceremony (photos)

November 30, 2009

Yummy Himawari

One of my favorite establishments here on Saipan is Himawari.  It's a Japanese general store that has it's own little bakery and catering kitchen (and apartments).  What I love about Himawari is it's sushi and bento.  For less than $6 you can find an excellent meal at Himawari.  The sushi is fresh and yummy and the bento choices are primarily Japanese dishes and oh so yummy too.  The bakery items are also delicious!

My family and I often pick up breakfast, lunch or dinner at Himawari.  We can feed the whole family for less than $20 (drinks included)!  Then we usually take our meal and picnic by the beach.  It's one of the reasons why I Luv Saipan.  

If you ever get a chance to visit Saipan, make sure you grab food to go at Himawari.

(Sushi ready for you to choose)

(Yummy bento)

November 27, 2009


As I sip my morning coffee alone with my thoughts and this computer in front of me, I think of the many things to be thankful for this year, but what stood out most as I reflect particularly on yesterday is family: not just my wife and kids, which I love and am so thankful for having in my life, but my extended family as well. Which made me realize another reason why I Luv Saipan.

My sister and her family, my mom's brother and his wife and nephew, and my brother in law's parents celebrated Thanksgiving with myself, my wife, my kids, and my mom. It was a wonderful time as we feasted, talked, laughed, and shared. We were merry.

I was happy that my uncle was with us. My mom, who's ill and bedridden, cried when she realized her brother was with her at her bedside. It was a sad moment when she cried, but nonetheless, it was something I know she appreciated, and as she is in the dusk of her life, having family around is what matters most.

(My uncle and aunt with my mom)

Which brings me back to why I Luv Saipan. Being here has given me (as well as my wife and kids) new experiences and memories with family: my sister and her family, my aunties and uncles, my cousins, nieces and nephews. I have so many relatives here, although regretfully, I don't know all of them or could be closer, but hopefully, I (and my wife and kids) will have a chance to spend more time with them and make more memories.

Cheers to family!  Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

(Kids waiting patiently while I carve up the turkey)

(Kids eating their Thanksgiving meal)

(Relaxing after the meal)

November 21, 2009

First: the day after tragedy

11/20/09 will go down in Saipan history as the day a gunman, in a random act of violence, shot at residents and tourists, killing 4 and wounding 8.  Of those killed were two children.  The community is in shock and mourning. We're all praying for the survivors and for the families dealing with their loss.  We are all saddened.

This is the first post to the I Luv Saipan blog.  I created this blog to share my experiences and my family's experiences here on Saipan.  Every day we find another reason to love this place.  We don't look for reasons to love Saipan, they just appear and we don't notice it at first, but when we feel warmness in our hearts, we know we just encountered another.  It could be the clouds in the royal blue sky, the cool trade winds blowing through our hair, or riding on the back of the pickup finding a shady spot by the beach to eat our lunch.  It's all these little things that make this place special.

Right now though the heart is broken because of yesterday's tragedy, but I'm confident our love for Saipan, its beauty and people, will help heal it.

I've taken some pictures from the Palms Resort on Pau Pau up in the northern part of Saipan.  My daughter's school had a holiday bazaar and her class put on a play for the folks.  It was a happy time despite yesterday's tragedy.  Afterwards, we went up to the 15th floor of the hotel to feel the wind and take in the view.  The kids also loved the elevator ride.  On the way out I was drawn to the chapel.  Reflecting back maybe subconsciously it was a reminder to have God in my life and be happy with the blessings we have been given.

Despite the tragedy, I was able to lift my spirits, as I found more reasons why I luv Saipan.

(Palms Resort pool, view from 15th floor)

(The chapel down by the beach, Managaha island and reefline in the distance)

(In front of this lovely chapel by the beach)

(The chapel and the pavilion)

(Such a lovely place to say your vows)
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