Three weeks in a third world country was draining. The lack of a/c and horrible plumbing wasn’t fun, but that didn’t scare me off. There were so many cultural clashes, it was unbearable. Instead of staying in the province for a whole month, I peaced out. Byeeee!
Being on the other side of the world, I had so many travel options. You can fly out of the Philippines and hit at least 7 different countries/cultures in less than 4 hours. That’s like going from Orlando to Miami. What?!
Locations I considered:
Hong Kong, China
I was actually Made in China. My dad had all these great stories and told me how awesome the shopping was. Of course, I wanted to try real Chinese food and hit up Hong Kong Disneyland.
If you’ve never heard of Phuket, what’s wrong with you? Google and fall in love. My brother was stationed in Asia in the 90s. He would bring me home some of the coolest pieces from Thailand. To this day, I still have the dresses he got me from the open air markets. My fave was a plain tee that just said: Phuket . A teacher made me put duct tape over it because she thought it was offensive. The Florida school system, y’all.
Once the capital of Japan, this city has numerous gardens and Buddhist temples. Visiting Kyoto gives you a glimpse of Japan traditions such as: tea ceremonies, geisha and kaiseki.
Guam, all of it because it’s so tiny, but amazing things come in small packages.
Almost two years ago, I attended the IPW ’15 convention in Orlando, FL. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a travel convention where you can meet the visitor bureaus of most cities and countries under one roof. The Guam Vistors Bureau booth actually waved me down to say hi. This woman was warm and full of life. She said I looked like the girls from her island. To make a long story short, the friendly face’s name is Regina. She introduced me to everyone that works at GVB. Each and every one of them were so nice, it was like hanging out with old friends. They all had pride about their island, urged me to visit and we left as friends. For almost two years now, we have all kept in contact 🙂
Obviously, the winner was Guam! I chose the largest island in Micronesia for a number of reasons:
1. Guam is a U.S territory. In fact, this island is the first American region touched by the sun. Guam is known as: Where America’s Day Begins. As much as I wanted to go to the other destinations, I was traveling solo. The locations I picked are very tourist friendly, but my family back in the states (myself included) felt that if anything should have happened to me, I was under U.S laws. It’s totally different for a female.
2. I was on some Eat Pray Love/ find yourself journey. Remember that Ancestry DNA test I took? It said I’m 20% Pacific Island/Polynesian. It didn’t give me the exact country but what a perfect opportunity to get to know my roots. It was always a dream of mine to go to the Pacific but certain islands I looked at were not affordable.
3. Hello, it’s Guam. It was the middle of November and I didn’t have any clothes that would keep me warm. The highest temp of the day in both Kyoto and Hong Kong were in the 50s. Even if I did have winter clothes, you best believe laying around an island in a bikini with a coconut in one hand would be my number one pick.
I’ve created a series of posts to show you all how awesome my trip was and why you all should visit Guam. The whole island blew me away.
My red eye flight to Guam was about 3 hours and 50 minutes, which had one 20 minute layover in Palau. You can just imagine how exhausted I was and there was also a two hour time change, which doesn’t seem like a lot but I felt it. Because I flew in from the Philippines, I had to go through customs and thankfully that was a total breeze. The cool thing about Guam is that you don’t need a passport to visit if you’re an American citizen.
As soon as I left Customs, I saw a sign for a Taxi terminal and flagged down the first driver I saw. This is going to sound so weird, but the island smells good. Fresh island air should be bottled up. Guam’s is SO delicious! The taxivan was clean, had WiFi and a very nice driver. This guy was an open book. I loved that he wanted to know what I was into. His quick replies with places I must check out were so on point. The locations he suggested were already on my to do list but he did say one thing that threw me off. His excitement for the new IHOP made me laugh out loud. It may sound a bit silly to us because there’s an IHOP on every corner in the mainland but he had every right to be enthusiastic over the breakfast chain.
IHOP in Guam has menu items that you can’t get anywhere else. It’s basically the regular spread with an island twist. One can enjoy Filipino and Guamanian dishes such as Portuguese sausages, “tapa”, marinated beef strips and “bangus” a fried milkfish. I’ve also heard that my faves: Tocino and the glorious Spam & eggs breakfast is served there. By the way, I had about five people besides my awesome taxi driver that IHOP IS LEGIT ON DA ISLAND.
My home for the week was at the Pacific Star Resort, which was only 9 minutes away from the Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport. Whenever I travel, I always pick convenient locations. This beachfront hotel is in walking distance from shops and restaurants. It’s also a 12 minute walk to Ypao Beach Park, such a great spot!
Remember when I said I was exhausted? This super cute lobby woke me up!
The Pacific Star’s General Manager, Roy Abraham and his staff sent me a warm welcome. It really made my day and I didn’t even see my balcony view yet.
Sooo, this was my view…
Not to mention, no filter. Seriously, you don’t need filters in Guam. Everything is gorgeous here, including your face because you’re glowing from all the happiness.
My soul was lit.
I enjoyed my cheese, fruit and wine and put my happy belly in a bikini.
Booking a hotel right on the beach has it’s perks. This was my view from my lounge chair. God bless.
The hotel had snorkel gear, lounge chairs and umbrellas for guests.
There was also a pool and bar.
It was time to freshen up and meet up with my GVB family. When I first spent time with them in Orlando, the girls raved about the food. Apparently, Filipinos and Chamorros share the same dishes.
Terry’s Local Comfort Food is where hugs, laughs and tons of catching up took place. This was the perfect spot to meet up with my friends. The vibe is very laid back, super casual, come as you are. I loved how so many people knew each other, too. I actually got to meet Regina’s dad there. 🙂
Guam is the leader in Pacific Rim cuisine. Chamorro food is rich, influenced by native and Spanish cultures, which is why they were telling me the Philippines share the same dishes as them. We enjoyed typical fiesta foods, I truly couldn’t get enough.
The red dish all the way to the left was a bowl of love. It was so comforting. When I asked about it, they said it’s their island’s version of arroz con pollo, something your mom or grandma would prepare when you’re sick. It’s also a fave on a rainy day. Chalakiles is made with chicken, coconut milk, toasted red rice and love, lots and lots of love.
This is a staple in every meal on the island. Seasoned with achote and bacon fat, it was love at first bite. Rice is rice, right? Not this. Their red rice is so good that I’ve made it at least four times since I’ve been home.
Meat that has been pickled in lime juice and coconut milk. It’s basically Guam’s ceviche and I love how there’s a variety instead of just seafood. From left to right, we savored chicken, beef and shrimp kelaguen. All of the meats are cooked in the citrus acid except for chicken. The chicken is cooked first and then placed in the marinade. Kisha said her favorite was octopus, which wasn’t on the menu but I love octopus, especially in my ceviche.
Cool factoid: escabeche is a Persian word that was brought to Spain, which ended up in Guam and the Philippines. The fish is seared and then marinated in a vinegar/ginger sauce. This was a staple food for both islands back in the way back because the vinegar preserved the fish. It could last up to a week if stored in a cool place.
It’s not the prettiest but it was my favorite dish at Terry’s. There’s two different ways to make it, some people use spinach because it’s easier to get a hold of or the traditional way, with taro leaves. The greens are stewed with coconut milk, hot pepper, tumeric, lemon juice and ginger, topped with your meat of choice. So many flavors yet they go so well together.
Terry’s Local Comfort Food was suggested by many locals that I spoke to on the island. When you’re in town, hit them up and let them know I sent you.
Last but not least, I need to brag about my traditional Japanese breakfast that Pacific Star prepared for me the next day. I actually have more Guam food posts coming up, so be ready!
I’m all about a presentation but trust me, the food was so yummy.
Hot green tea, miso soup, furikake seasoned jasmine rice, salad, fresh melon, omelet and fish. This breakfast to remember was consumed in my balcony. What an amazing start to my day.
I can’t wait to share the rest of this magical trip with you all.
627B Pale San Vitores Road, Tumon, 96913, Guam
Phone: 1 671-649-7827
901 Pale San Vitores Rd, Tamuning, 96913, Guam
Phone: 1 671-646-3663
Thank you Guam Visitors Bureau for collaborating and making this post possible. As always, my opinions are 100% honest.