It is mind boggling to think how these ancient megaliths were excavated and transported to this latte site. When in the presence of such remarkable accomplishments of the ancient chamorro culture, I always ponder what the ancient chamorro society was like. Would I fit in? Where would my role be in regards to being a hunter, a gatherer, a craftsmen, a farmer, etc? As time continues to tick, there will always be a sense of curiosity and amazement when it comes to our ancient Chamorro roots.
I recently made a trip to the island of Tinian for the annual Pika Festival. This festival showcases the notorious donne’, or hot pepper, that is known for its intense spicy flavor. You can find Tinian Hot Pepper in stores. However, the best Tinian Donne’ you can find are from the local families who make the concoction by hand. I managed to take a stroll to the House of Taga. It is always a great feeling to be surrounded by megaliths made by Ancient Chamorros. Not only will you be in awe, you will appreciate the strength of the culture by creating your own hypothesis on how these megaliths were excavated and constructed. If your ever on the island of Tinian, be sure to take a few minutes and appreciate this Chamorro Heritage site.
Mt. Tapochau, Birds Eye View
The weather has been somewhat cloudy in the Mariana Islands. Its probably due to the passing storm, supposedly the strongest storm of 2014 (Typhoon Vongfont). Took a drive up to the highest point on the island, Mt. Tapochau. This drive MUST be done with a 4×4 capable vehicle. The past few months have been rainy, causing the roads to deteriorate.
This picture was taken looking south, looking towards Tinian. You can also see the island of Aguigan (Goat Island) in the distance. I took the picture around 12-1230PM. I was hoping for more blue and less clouds, but Mother Nature can be like that at times. This was a 30 second exposure done with a polarized filter + an ND filter.
Chopped up Lemai
Pre Cybuk Le’mai (Breadfruit) preparation on the island of Tinian. This type of tree was crucial for the existence of the Chamorro people because it was their “carbohydrate” to fuel and nourish their bodies every single day. There are different ways to prepare this specific stable crop. One way is to simply put it into a fire and let it cook on the outside. Once cooked, its almost like a baked potato but much more tasty. Another way to prepare Le’mai is by cutting off the exposed skin of the crop then chopping it into cubes (as shown in the picture). Boil it in water and coconut milk and then you’ll end up with cybuk. Stay tuned for the finished product!
I recently made a trip to the island of Tinian to hang out with some friends during the 2014 Tinian Fiesta. Immediately upon arriving at the dock (took my cousin’s boat which was an hour boat ride), we went straight up to the ranch to begin preparing for the evenings feast. This was the fire that was prepared to roast a small-medium sized pig. One of the “local” delicacies is roasted pig. Once the fire is prepared, it is spread around in a circle, surrounding the pig on a spick. The pig is then evenly roasted by turing the spic for several hours. Stay tuned for more pictures!
Banzai Cliff, Saipan. It puts me in awe how a specific landscape can have many different appearances. This was taken at night. I was hoping for some star action to light up the horizon, but was refused by the mercy of the weather.
Laulau Bay, Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands
Laulau Bay, Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. One of THE nicest places on Saipan, Laulau Bay is located on the South Eastern side of Saipan. Growing up, Laulau Bay was the place where my family would gather and hang out at the beach, bbq, and have fun in the sun. In my teenage years, this was the place where I learned how to spearfish. Now a days, it is a place where I go to relax and get away from “everything”. Sitting by the cliff side, one can hear the constant crashing of the waves upon the ancient coral reef. White noise, which changes the frequency of the mind to a channel that embraces peace, calm, and tranquility. Thoughts of “stress” vanish into the ocean mist phasing out, as the ocean tide recedes.
Mt. Tapochau Sunrise, Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands
A view of the Northern part of Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. I made the attempt to photograph the moon setting into the West. The photographs didn’t turn out very well due to clouds in the distance. As I packing up my gear, I noticed that the Sun was making its ascent. This picture was my favorite because of the colors. You have the silhouette of Saipan contrasting with the orange, red, and yellow hues.
Matson Mana, Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands
Matson Mana, Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands
Matson Mana, Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. This ship was recently chartered to transport Matson containers via Guam to Saipan. These man-made structures are amazing to gaze upon due to their size. I question my ability to embark on a long distanced voyage in such a vessel and what situations a crew member would experience (normal and rare occurrences). I imagine being on board while trying to rough out huge swells and how that experience would feel. 20-30 ft waves would make this boat look small out on the open ocean. In the end, Mother Nature always seems to get the best out of us.
A view of Banzai Cliff, Saipan. During WWII, Banzai Cliff was one of the last points of retreat for the Japanese. When the Americans took over the island, they started from the South working their way towards the Northern part of Saipan. Instead of choosing to surrender, a large portion of the Japanese military jumped off this specific cliff to meet their end. Fast forward 50 years, you can see where the ancient limestone cliffs meet the fluid ocean. During the Winter time, the ocean can be very treacherous with huge waves that pound against the cliff side. If your by the edge, you can literally feel the power of Mother Nature.