By VIANCA GAMBOA
There’s range and vastness inside this small blip in the Pacific. Aside from a shoreline beckoning from small gaps in between high-rise buildings and strips of shopping malls, it also presents a rich myriad of art, culture, and heritage along the streets filled with ranch-style houses.
Guam is very much like the Philippines—an equatorial country with pristine beaches, lush tropical terrains, and even “fiestas,” which make for the perfect sunshine holiday, but with a lot of exciting opportunities for travelers. It has strategic plans structured to stand amid a flatlining outbound travel base in Japan that somehow affects Guam’s arrivals market. Clearly, it doesn’t falter in its tourism aspect, bringing a total of $1.4 billion to Guam’s annual revenue. And did we mention Guam was the first U.S. territory to legalize same-sex marriage? Now, say Håfa Adai to more reasons why we have to go to Guam.
The small island has a colorful culture and living history.
In Lina’la’ Chamorro Cultural Park, guests congregate around a fire and listen to experts’ special stories about the beginning of time, the beginning of life, and a beginning for the Chamorros, the friendly and welcoming native peoples of Guam. Guam’s history dates back to 4,000 years ago and the Chamorros have managed to keep their traditions and customs alive evident in its 19 villages, where each one parades its own unique specialty and products with good food and lively music as they gather round at Chamorro Village in Hagåtña every Wednesday night.
Also in Hagåtña, an 80-foot-tall concrete structure, kind of like an upturned lighthouse, stands at the top of a stone point at the edge of the beach. The Latte of Freedom, aka the Statue of Liberty to the East, honors the early capstones and pillars called latte (not the coffee) used by the Chamorros for protection and house support—your stay wouldn’t be complete without a postcard picture of you and this stunning backdrop.
It is a leisure tropical paradise, where America’s day begins.
Guam is the first spot to witness the sunrise in the States so you bet the island is replete with ocean vistas and luxury resorts that offer the perfect vantage point overlooking the glistening Pacific and a new day— from the black sand of Talofofo Bay Beach Park in the south to Mata’pang Beach Park in Tumon. Accommodations in Guam range from affordable motels to high-end luxury resorts. There are smaller, unique boutique-like hotels as well as major hotel chains such as the Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton, Hyatt, Outrigger, and Westin that are primarily located in Tumon, the island’s main tourist district. The southern areas of Guam also offer serene, countryside-like accommodations to visitors of Guam.
It offers exhilarating activities on the ground and at sea (and up in the air).
Guam’s diving environment is rated the top 20 percent in the world. Because of the island’s close location to the Marianas Trench, Guam has one of the richest and most diverse coral reef areas in the United States.
Daredevils also travel back and forth Guam for its different first-tier tours and attractions. These include dinner cruises, golfing in its broad foliage scattered around the island, adventure sports, sky diving, flight sightseeing, island shows, comedy bars and Las Vegas-style shows, ocean activities from deep sea fishing to jet skiing and parasailing, banana boat rides, scuba diving, helmet diving, a tunnel aquarium, and more.
It’s a one big duty-free shopping paradise.
Save all your guiltless and luxury splendor for a two- or even three-day shopping spree in this tax-free haven. Guam goes big on its robust shopping and high-end retail scene where international fashion houses, world renowned brands, and exciting tax-free deals await, especially during holiday season at year’s end. Tumon is the center of Guam’s fashion and shopping universe, with a numerous collection of boutiques within several malls including The DFS Guam Galleria, The Plaza along The Pleasure Island strip, and the Tumon Sands Plaza. It’s also just brief walk or trolley ride along Pale San Vitores Road, where luxury, elegance, and fashion forward trends come together in air-conditioned harmony for hassle-free shopping experience.
It boasts off traditional culinary delights.
Our common denominator with this country spans from diving spots to cuisines. Locally made food is served throughout the year at fiestas, where tables groan under the weight of traditional dishes such as barbecued meats, fish and poultry, kadon pika (or a spicy stew), succulent vegetable dishes, and an island staple, its famous red rice, all eaten during cultural exhibitions of music and art. For a taste of some more tradition, The Guam Micronesia Island Fair is an annual event sponsored by the Guam Visitors Bureau to showcase the culture of Guam as well as the surrounding islands. At this event, there are many vendors selling traditional arts, crafts, and food while displaying entertainment over the course of three days in early October.
Getting Around: Most hotels provide courtesy vehicles for airport transfers or taxi service to and from your desired points of interest, but the easiest way to explore the island beyond resort Tumon and its Pleasure Island district is to rent a car or scooter.
Visit Guam: Guam is an unincorporated and organized United States territory, so the only way to travel here is to get a USVisa. The total flight duration from Philippines to Guam is three hours and 34 minutes. Airlines flying from Manila to Guam include Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and United Airlines.
For more information about Guam, visit guamvisitorsbureau.com