Here's what people who love Saipan are saying:
I am very impressed. I never thought of early retiring
there until seeing this website. I am interested in finding out more.--
Jim W (from the early-retirement.org forum)
I started following your blog over a year ago when I was applying for the JET program. I found your Saipan Blog on BigDaikon.com. Your home is beautiful! You look like you are having a kick ass time! Thanks for sharing Saipan with all your readers. I would have never known how breathtaking it is. Your adventures make me want to go home to my native Vietnam and help out. Maybe, after Japan. I admire your passion for life."--Mary in Japan
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Where is Saipan?
Located in the western pacific, a short flight from Guam and 3 hours from Japan, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is a popular tourist destination rich in history, culture and natural resources. Saipan, just 5 miles wide by 12 miles long, is the largest and most populated of the 14 islands making up an archipelago that stretches 400 miles (north to south) along the edge of the Marianas Trench.
• Follow WeLoveSaipan™ on Facebook
(Some of the residents have moved
on, but their stories and affection for Saipan remain!)
FEATURED NEW MEMBER: Pete on Saipan! 1947!
I came across your Web site accidently today and it brought back many memories for me. I was stationed at the U.S. Coast Guard Loran Station on Saipan in 1947. I was there for a whole year. We were located at the southern end of the island, right on the beach, near the channel across from Tinian. Across from the then 27th Division U.S. Army cemetary.
It was a beautiful island, with a wonderful climate. There was a young fellow, a native Chamorro, who unofficially worked at the station Juaqien Cabrerra I believe was his name, might still be there, if so give him my regards, he was a hard working young fellow. No civilians were permitted on the island at that time, only Navy Civil Service employees. I remember it well, Marpi Point, Mount Tapochau, Susupe. Garapan was still in ruins from the war and Chalan Kanoa was our closest village. No one was permitted into the village. It was out of bounds to all military personnel, however there were some small shops along the Beach Road, one was a barber shop where I used to get my hair cut. I hold my Bank of Guam, Agana, Saipan Branch bank book in my hand as I write this missive, account # 1881. I closed it on February 25th, 1949.
Closing with many fond memories of Saipan, and definitely a fan of the Marianas, I remain:
FEATURED TOURIST!! Jon from New Zealand on Saipan!
I arrived in Saipan, from New Zealand, for a 7 day visit. What a wonderful place I found.
The locals treated me with respect and kindness. Helpfulness must have been invented on this island because everyone was happy to answer "dumb tourist" questions and give directions. The food is to die for; all the Asian cultures are catered for, and the 360 restaurant is a "must go to." The island is rich in history, culture, color and fun. I have applied for work so that I can go back there to live. This island is a hidden treasure in the Pacific Ocean. Keep it that way, unspoiled, unpolluted, uncrowded and unhurried. A gentle island full of fun and a typical pacific island welcome! Closing with many fond memories of Saipan, and definitely a fan of the Marianas, I remain:
Blessings Light and Peace
Jon from New Zealand
I finally convinced Jon to send a photo of himself! Thanks, Jon!--Walt
Why We Created This Site for Saipan
Saipan is the capital island of a 14-island chain in the Pacific Ocean known as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands ("the CNMI")-- a uniquely self-governed paradise which includes Tinian and Rota (all on the US dollar and postal system) about 150 miles from Guam. Like any land under a flag, Saipan has its share of challenges. However, it still remains one of the Pacific's best kept secrets as a place to vacation, retire or escape. Just ask our "We Love Saipan" network of bloggers--homemakers, professionals, educators, students, activists--average people from all over the world who call Saipan home and are about making a difference, effecting positive change and maintaining the paradise life here the way it could and should be. So, forget what you've heard....This is the NEW Saipan! Interested in the newly formed national marine monument that includes the oceans around three of the Mariana islands? Then click here. And you can click here to read how it all started, and enjoy our stories below.
Walt....Welcome to Saipan!
Those are the words on the poster next to me as I posed for my very first photo here on Saipan.
And after being here now for almost a year, I most definitely do feel welcome.
My name is Walt F.J. Goodridge. You may know me as the author of several books, workshop presenter
and the creator of a philosophy and formula designed to help
people turn their passions into profit. A good friend introduced me to Saipan just when I was
looking to re-invent myself as a "nomadpreneur." Within a few days of landing, I was
welcomed by Senator Maria T. Pangelinan and Congresswoman Cinta Kaipat, invited to speak
to the cabinet by the Governor, and I now write a weekly column for the Saipan Tribune.
Two years later I received a Senate Resolution
recognizing my contributions to CNMI Society!
There's so much that I love about Saipan. To start, visually it's just like my homeland of Jamaica. The weather is great! It retains a natural, unmanicured, native beauty that's appealing. The national and cultural diversity here is like no place else on earth! The people are warm and friendly, and after living in New York City for many years, it was quite refreshing to experience a more laid-back pace of life. In any event, I'm just one of many people on the island who enjoy living here.
I left Saipan when I was 3 years old. I visited a few times over the years, but I can't say that I ever lived here. That changed in April 2006 when, after 24 years in the US, England, and Japan, I returned to the island that I first called home.
First of all, I love this island for itself; more specifically, I love Saipan's unparalleled natural beauty. Whether I'm hiking up a mountain, lying on a beach, or looking at fish under 100 feet of water, I find this island breathtaking. There is no place else like it.
I love our rich and storied history. So much has happened here! Magellan stopped here when he circumnavigated the globe, one of World War II's most important battles was fought here, and we've been through four different colonial administrations. We're a lot more than just a tiny speck on a map!
I also love the diverse and beautiful people on Saipan. Take a walk through the Thursday Night Street Market and you are bound to overhear conversations in Chamorro, Carolinian, English, Tagalog, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Russian, and a dozen other languages. No other place this size has so much diversity.
More than anything else though, Saipan is and forever will be my home; I love it for that fact alone.
I grew up on Saipan until the age of 8, and then spent the rest of my childhood and most of my young adult years in the mainland. I moved my family -- my wife and kids -- to Saipan in 2006 to help care for my mom, who's ill.
I cherish the memories of when I was a child here on Saipan, but I cherish even more the memories I'm making now as a father and husband with my family. And it's not just because these memories are with my family, but for some reason the sky seems bluer, the clouds whiter and more vibrant, the flowers and lush greenery more colorful and vivid, the lagoon and ocean more electric, and the smiles on people more sincere. It's probably because it's all fresh in my mind, but all this detail in the beauty that is Saipan, in the land, the sea, and the people, is much more alive to me now. But the greatest part of all this for me is that my wife and kids are making their own memories of Saipan.
I see things with eyes much more wider and I see that I'm lucky to be living here. It's paradise. Being away for so long, it's made this native son realize how special Saipan is in this world.
I now chronicle the many reasons why I Luv Saipan, and I share them on my blog, www.iluvsaipan.com
Yep... I Luv Saipan!
I came to Saipan 9 years ago from Wu Xi, China. Saipan is very different from China. The first time I saw the ocean was here on Saipan! I like Saipan because of the ocean, and the different trees and flowers. In the night time, the moon and stars seem so close you can touch them. In China the stars are very far. The clouds here are like paintings..very beautiful. Also, there is more opportunity here for me in Saipan.
Chun Yu (with Walt's help) has written a book that chronicles her nine years on Saipan. It's called Chicken Feathers and Garlic Skin: Diary of a Chinese Garment Factory Girl
You can read more at www.saipanfactorygirl.com
and become a fan
For me, Saipan is not only paradise, but the fulfillment of a dream! In 2006, I came to Saipan as a government-hired nurse to work in one of the island's state-of-the-art facilities: the Hemodialysis unit at the Commonwealth Health Center. Though I'm a nurse, God endowed me with the gift of writing. Not everybody in my family knows that it's been a dream for me to be a published writer and that someday I would be able to publish a book.
Saipan has opened many doors in this aspect of my writing life. I joined different local writing contests through which I garnered different prizes and recognition. And the most important thing is that Saipan paved a way for me to meet people that would lead my passion for writing into the next level which is publication. I am a follower of Walt's Saipan Tribune article, "The Saipanpreneur Project," which encourages everyone with a passion and a talent to uplift life using them. One day he offered a workshop, more like a summary of his book Turn Your Passion into Profit
That workshop opened my eyes to the fact that I could actually offer something valuable to the world, different from the nursing services that I rendered - a book. (Check out and support Riza's children's book (also for any adult who has ever been a child!), The Boy Who Dreamed to be with his Parents on Saipan!
, available in paperback, on Amazon....and even in Spanish!
Saipan also fulfilled my dream to be together with my family. My husband came here before me and after almost ten years of long distance relationship, Saipan became our home with my son. In 2011, we we're gifted with another boy that completes us to be one happy family. Though life isn't always easy nowadays in Saipan because of the present economy, I could say that I still love Saipan for so many good reasons; her beautiful white sandy beaches, the fresh air, beautiful flowers and trees, streets free of traffic, breathtaking views and many more...
We are a coalition of business, government, private entities, as well as ordinary individuals committed to a single simple goal: Let's make the
CNMI a better place to live and visit.
Every week we organize volunteers to go out into their communities to beautify their neighborhood, restore a historical, natural, or tourist spot, promote recycling, and to instill island pride and civic values. We do this by planting trees, picking up litter, painting over graffiti, clearing weeds, scrubbing down neglected tourist sites, and talking to our children, our friends, and our neighbors.
Our website details the coalitions we have built, the projects we have accomplished, and the fun we have had doing it.
Visit the BeautifyCNMI
African American Cultural Preservation Committee on Saipan!
The CNMI African American Cultural Preservation Committee is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the experience and promoting the awareness of the African American community within the CNMI and the entire Pacific region. In addition to community support and scholarships, we offer educational programs, workshops and lectures on topics and issues including Indigenous Cultural issues, African American Culture and History, African Influence in the Pacific Region, and Mixed Parentage Challenges among other issues.
As a vibrant community within the CNMI, our members have traditionally offered our time, talents and passion to the growth, development and prosperity of the CNMI. Through programs, press-releases and our website, we shall continue to increase the overall community's awareness of our presence, history and contributions.
We shall ensure that communities within and visitors to these islands are aware of the unique African and African American contribution to world and regional history. We shall promote the cultural legacy of people and cultures of distinction. Our annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration March and keynote speech is an example of this promotion. Our community's support and persistence (along with local legislators) was instrumental in the passage of legislation to recognize MLK Day as a commonwealth-wide holiday.
The CNMI African American Cultural Preservation Committee is a cohesive community of and for people and families of African descent here on the Mariana Islands (Saipan, Tinian, Rota). Our welcoming committee offers information and a wealth of experience and perspectives to new arrivals to the CNMI to assist in any needed adjustments and transition. We shall promote fellowship and camaraderie among all who have chosen to live here in the CNMI. We shall meet regularly, organize events that allow members to interact, improve life and to get to know one another personally. We welcome all regardless of nationality, culture or background.
Friends of the Monument
We are a group of volunteers dedicated to the dedication and proper management of the proposed Mariana Trench Marine National Monument.
The idea was a quite simple one: preserve the waters, along with the richness and biodiversity within, for this and future generations. As we stated in our formal request to President George W. Bush, "Declaring the waters as a monument would expedite the process of bringing protection to the precious resources found in the waters there, while establishing specific federal responsibilities toward governance of the Monument, and enhancing our ocean legacy."
Visit the http://marianamonument.com
You've heard the saying, "You can't go home again," and I'm here to argue that it's untrue when talking about Saipan. Each visit home has filled the void that the mainland life created: the tropical weather, the island hospitality and the mouth-watering cuisine. There is no shortage of restaurants serving up world and local fare or barbeques where the host will not rest until your arms are full with tin-foiled plates of food to take home. It's hard to find the kind of friendly spirit that's heavily threaded into Saipan's culture.
My home is Saipan, no matter where I may live. On Saipan, there will always be dazzling sunsets, stunning views and beaches so beautiful that they invite you to come on in, the water's fine.
I have only been on Saipan since September of 2006, and I continue to be impressed not only by the beauty of the land, but the beauty of the people here. I have yet to meet an unkind person. I came to Saipan for a job, but it was also a way for me to slow down and appreciate life more, and experience new things and meet new people. I continue to be impressed with the beauty and people of this island. For a girl that was raised in the busy Southern city of Atlanta, Georgia, I am learning to take time to appreciate my surroundings and soak in all Saipan has to offer. I look forward to many wonderful years here.
p.s. I had never seen a complete rainbow until I moved here... I saw one yesterday. It started in the jungle by my apartment and completed its arch right in the bay. Miraculous. It's official... I DO love Saipan!
Assistant Attorney General, Division of Immigration
Office of the Attorney General
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
Where else can you find an average annual rainfall of 80 to 100 inches? OK, there are other places, but I love Saipan because....
Because of its always warm, clear-blue water. Because unlike my second home (California), it's always green.
Because I'm never more than 10 minutes from the beach.
Because coconuts, star apples, mangoes, papayas, sugar cane, ylang ylang, plumerias, avocados, guavas, noni,
sour sap, tangerines, birds of paradise, calamansi, and so many more 'exotic' fruits and flowers are always ripe for my picking.
Because fresh fish is always in season. Because I live in the middle of the jungle, but I'm only a minute from the main road.
Because during the day, the sun is always shining - even through the rain, and at night the moon is always bright and
I can see every star in the heavens.
There's no other place where you are welcomed into every home with, "How are you? Come and eat."
"... All my relatives - with two exceptions - live in New England, in snow country, and when I first moved here - back in December of 1980 - I swore that I'd never shovel snow again - never cope with all those layers of clothing, re-shovel out the driveway after the snow plow goes through, risk my neck on icy sidewalks. I haven't changed my mind yet.
Here I have a big two-story six-sided house right near the beach, with a view of the lagoon that's to die for from my balcony, cardinal honey eaters out my dining room window, a lady who comes every other week to clean house and do my laundry - she even does windows - (which I wouldn't be able to afford on the mainland), a handy man who also comes every other week to clean out my gutters, replace light bulbs, repaint the woodwork (which I wouldn't be able to afford either), a mechanic I trust, and for the moment, a doctor I trust as well. The neighborhood is safe, and quiet (I never lock my car) - why should I move?
Besides, this is the most fascinating place I've ever lived. Not that I've been in all that many places, but I was born in Germany - which I don't remember and to which I've never returned - grew up in New York state, got married and had five children in five different states. I've visited lots of other places - London, Paris, Egypt, Israel, Fiji, Tahiti, Indonesia, American Samoa, the Philippines, China, Japan, HongKong, the Cayman islands, Australia, each of what is now called the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, of course.... But there's nothing quite like the CNMI!" Ruth Tighe's On My Mind
Here is Ruth's 2012 update to why she loved Saipan, and my In Memory of Ruth Tighe
Tribute on NewSaipan.com!
Saipan, United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Saipan's beauty alone is reason enough to love it. Aside from the countless beaches, some of my favorite places are the tourist attractions, such as the Grotto (an underwater cavern and one of the best dive sites in the world), and Managaha Island (a little island off the coast of Saipan, where it is considered one of the best snorkeling sites in the world).
It took me quite some time to actually come around to appreciating the beauty that is the island on which I spent eighteen years of my life. I moved out here to Seattle last year, and before I did, I never thought I would be homesick for that tiny little island...but I was. When I returned to Saipan this summer, as soon as my plane touched down and I saw the big "Welcome to Saipan" sign, tears started to fill my eyes. I was home. I spent my summer vacation on Saipan doing nothing but going to a different beach every day (if not, then every weekend), soaking in all the beauty and glory that is my island, my home, for I knew that I would not see it again for a long time. That's one thing that I love about Saipan...it's very calming and relaxing. It's a great place to get away and kick back; worry about nothing.
I am currently attending Seattle University, and majoring in Environmental Studies. My choice for majoring in that specific field was for the sole purpose of broadening my knowledge about the environment in order to help Saipan maintain a standard of clean and healthy living. I want Saipan to remain as beautiful as it is today, for future generations to enjoy. All the work that I have been doing, I have been doing it for Saipan. For the past two summers, I worked as an intern for the Coastal Resources Management Office in Saipan, to try and get a jump start on my future career as an Environmentalist. I wouldn't be devoting all my time and energy for this cause if I didn't love Saipan as much as I do.
I could go on and on about how much I love Saipan, and how it means the world to me, but I don't want to push my luck. Until next time... P.S.I also love Saipan's marine biodiversity and coral reefs!
Many people from different walks of life come to Saipan in search of something. Whether it is in search of a better life, in search of stunning beauty, in search of peace and restoration; Saipan offers all this and more. I came to serve the community of Saipan using the skills and talents God has given me through dentistry and have been blessed immensely. Life is in its purest and simplest form here in Saipan. The people here are real, genuine, and hardworking. I love that I am not living the "office space" life. I love how Saipan has awakened my heart and passion for life, for God.
If you had asked me back in early 2003 where Saipan was, I couldn't even tell you. Growing up in Texas, the only "beach" I saw was the murky waters of Galveston Island. After graduating from grad school I started working in the mental health field, but quickly became disheartened by the mountains of paperwork instead of the emphasis on client/patient care. The more I saw it, the more I yearned for Adventure, Excitement, and Something Different.
It was these yearnings that brought me to Saipan. Today, 3 years after arriving here in January 2004, I can honestly say that Saipan is one of the BEST things that has EVER happened to me. Saipan gave me my career and ignited its passion, reminded me of my love for volleyball, brought me new and amazing co-workers and friends, and most importantly it introduced me to my beautiful wife. You see it was on this very island of Saipan that I met my wife two years ago.
In my job as a Behavior Specialist, I work with some of the best and most passionate professionals in the world. This group of dedicated professionals has inspired me to establish a website, www.beyondbehaviors.com, aimed specifically at the behavior/classroom management as well as the mental health and counseling/crisis needs of our school staff and students here in the Northern Mariana Islands.
BeyondBehaviors.Com is a collection of behavior/classroom management strategies and counseling & crisis intervention skills. The site offers uniquely-designed forms, such as daily/weekly behavior tracking, behavior plans/contracts, functional behavior assessment, setting limits, avoiding power struggles, and effective teacher commands. In addition, the site also addresses counseling topics and skills, e.g. bullying prevention and child sexual abuse.
What's different about BeyondBehaviors.Com is that it combines researched-based, best-practices articles with daily/weekly blog updates of things related to behaviors and/or counseling and crisis intervention in the local or international community - from educational and classroom management issues to coverage of counseling accountability and ethics, and much more. Come check it out!
Beyond websites and sports, Saipan will always hold a special place in my heart because of the warmth of its people.
There's a song made famous by Tony Bennett called, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco."
But not me. No siree.
If you ask me, "I Left My Heart in Saipan" is the song that will always play near and dear to my heart. Where else in the world can you wear sandals to work, meet and work with great people, and play beach volleyball with professional players like Phil Dalhausser?
Marianas Cup Beach Volleyball 2005, Pro Volleyball player 6' 9" Phil Dalhausser and me.
UPDATE: Steve met and married his lovely wife, Miwa, here on Saipan and has sailed off into the sunset to Texas, USA!
Steve Nguyen, MA, CASA
Behavior Specialist, PSS Special Education
Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Certified Instructor
Member, American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress
I love Saipan because I recognize the value of all learning experiences, in whatever form. I appreciate Saipan because the island is working on my character. In Philadelphia, I participated in activities that were usually singular: bookstore, lecture series, coffee shops... I attended most events alone; I even ran long distance in the park - alone. That was my comfort zone. But here I am forced to be much more social, and more involved with the community. This has been a struggle for me - trust me on that one! I have made friends outside of my usual social circle.
My students, like my students in Philadelphia, are always interesting and unpredictable. They are sweet, refreshing, innocent and so silly. They try hard and I am very proud of them! So there you have it. Back home in church, the old folks (and not so old folks) used to say "God may not come when you need him, but he's always right on time." The same goes for Saipan. I am meant to be on Saipan at this time. The beauty, joy and mystery of life is to accept the challenge and learn the lesson! www.lauralynnsweet.blogspot.com
Peace and Blessings.
Lauralynn Sweet, M.Ed
I've had the privilege of serving the CNMI as a physician since 1993. I came initially as a consultant, and stayed. I worked for five years at the Commonwealth Health Center, and then in 1998 I opened Marianas Eye Institute. As the island's only ophthalmologist/eye surgeon, I've had the bounty of getting to know people and families from every facet of our community very closely. I love the warm-heartedness of the people, the cohesion of the community, the emphasis on relationships, and the tremendous diversity. There is so much humor to be found when cultures and languages touch.
The turquoise blue waters, the adventure and travel, the warm tropical breeze, the ability to be anything you want to be on this island, and the love from the community, all combine to make Saipan home for our family. We consider it a gift to be here.
Your experience of Saipan will have more to do with who you are, than with what Saipan is.
You can read about Saipan through my eyes at my blog, Marianas Eye, or find out how I ended up here by visiting Marianas Eye Institute. There is also a great overview of Saipan, what to expect, and how to make the move here
(click on "Life on Saipan")
Gus and Cinta
Cinta and Gus Kaipat are a brother/sister team who make giving back to the community a part of their daily lives. Cinta and Gus were the driving force behind the inspiration and creation of Beautify CNMI! .... which provided the support and fertile ground for the growth of the We Love Saipan Network. They are also very involved in Library Friends, Marianas Islands Nature Alliance, Karidat, a local Catholic charitable organization, and the Flame Tree Festival, which is the largest art festival of its kind in Micronesia.
They are also documentary filmmakers. Their film, Lieweila: Children of the Navigators, is an award winning film about the struggle of the Carolinian people living in the CNMI during these times of drastic change. It chronicles the emigration of the Carolinian people from the Caroline Islands during the 1800's until the creation of the Commonwealth.
But ask Cinta, the first female Carolinian lawyer elected to public office, or Gus, a long time government employee, what they really do or what they really love about Saipan, and they'll answer in unison: Music!
Visit Gus' Voice of the Olomwaay
and Cinta's The CNMI Blog
to read about their stories of music, family, friends, food, and island life.
This is why I love Saipan. Not ten minutes from the worries of the day you can find peace. I think about all the people who have screen-savers of tropical island scenes and I'm suddenly grateful I have the real thing just outside my window.
The sun shines on life here, the wind can't carry away all cares, but it does a pretty good job at providing solace when you need it. When people say there are no opportunities here, I can only smile. I was born and raised on Saipan. I have had the great privilege of learning first hand how to care for others around you even when you have little yourself, give without seeking recognition in return and how to look for silver linings in the midst of typhoons of all sorts.
Boni Gomez sent us this photo of her daughter, Sommer, to accompany her 'Why I Love Saipan' testimonial. It's a spectacular shot. The ever-present ship in background, the sand on Sommer's hands, the cloud color, the coastline and that carefree look of her joy being in the moment. Boni shared the story behind it with me: "[Sommer] was so happy just playing with the sand and exploring the beach she started twirling. I snapped away, and when I saw the shot, it took my breath away. I'm happy she's on the banner, it really is a testament of how her home makes her feel. Shouldn't we all feel that way about home?"
Visit Because I Said So!
I love Saipan because...
I love to SCUBA dive and Saipan makes it easy! With distinctly different shore dives on all sides and not more than a twenty-minute drive North to South, this tiny island offers a variety of dive sites that are easily accessible year round. In fact on any given day I can pack up my gear, drive to the beach and submerge myself in the crystal clear water of the pacific in less time than it takes most people to go four blocks in bumper to bumper traffic. Oh - did I mention that after 4 1/2 years I've worn my wetsuit twice and have NEVER encountered a traffic jam!
It is true, I also love Saipan for the warm weather and because I don't have to wear socks! Shorts and T's will do fine all year round! Ok - I do wear socks but only when playing golf at one of the four world class courses available to residents for less than 40 bucks a round. Complete with cart and spectacular views you'll be hard pressed to find a better bargain anywhere else. Fortunately for this photographer and filmmaker the spectacular views are not limited to golf courses and the underwater world. In fact, they are at nearly every turn you make on this unique pacific isle making Saipan easy to Love.
Jeff and Cynthia
I came to Saipan four years ago on a scuba diving trip from Korea. I decided then to make Saipan my home. Since arriving as a single man, I have found my wife Cynthia, become a father to two boys, Alexander Clarence and Carl Robert, completed a Master's Degree, and have touched and been touched by the almost 1,000 high school seniors who passed through my doors. The things I love best about Saipan are the friendly people, the beautiful scenic locations, including the ocean view from my apartment, the clean air, the lack of traffic, the ability to scuba dive whenever the urge strikes and the unbelievable view of the stars at night. No place I've been has a sky like Saipan. Visit my blog at http://turbittj.blogspot.com
I came to Saipan 11 years ago from Michigan. I was tired of the cold Michigan winters, and a tropical island sounded very appealing to me. I fell in love with all the natural beauty the island had to offer immediately, from the year round flowering hibiscus flowers to the fragrant plumeria trees and flowers, to the thousands and thousands of coconut palms and the miles of magnificent coastline.
When we moved here, my children, Josh and Sarah were 11 and 9 years old, and it was a perfect age for them to embark on a new adventure. I believe that having them grow up here was one of the best things that could have ever happened to them. It taught them to look at the world from a global perspective, not just their small town in northern Michigan. It has given them opportunities they may not have had any other way, and exposed them to different people and cultures from all over the world. We were warned about the education system before we moved out here, but like so many other things, it seemed the information was tainted and not entirely true. If you oversee your kids education, they can get a great education on Saipan, and will do very well in college.
My real passion though lies under the water that surrounds this tropical oasis in the middle of nowhere. I was an avid scuba diver growing up, and had been longing for the opportunity to live somewhere that I could dive every day if I wanted to. Saipan is definitely it! I dive every weekend of the year and occasionally on weekdays when somebody twists my arm. I have recently gotten into digital underwater photography, and it has opened up a whole new world to me. Now all the sudden I'm seeing things I never saw before because I wasn't really looking for great photo opportunities. I have started posting the pictures on a website, and just recently had a highly acclaimed underwater photographer and writer ask if he could use some of my pictures in his new book, Nudibranchs of the World, by Rudie Kuiter. There are opportunities around almost every corner here if you're willing to look. You can see some of my underwater pictures at www.saipandiver.smugmug.com
and my personal blog at www.saipandiver.blogspot.com
I manage radio stations on island, and have been doing a commentary, "Food For Thought," for the past 6 years. Some people get the feeling that I don't like Saipan because of some of the things in my commentary, but nothing could be further from the truth. I truly love Saipan and care about it, which is why I'm fighting to try and help bring change and improvement to a tropical paradise. Saipan is going through some huge changes right now, and we need leaders who can help us move Saipan to the next step, and help it to be all it can be. You can read my commentary online at www.chamorro.com/fft
Let me know when you get here, and let's go for a dive!
I have lived in Saipan for 12 years. I love Saipan's simple life. There is no traffic, the beaches are clean, there are fewer distractions, and we live in a small close knit community where everyone knows each other.
Living in the Phillipines it is difficult to get to know people who aren't Filipino. In Saipan I have friends who are American, Chamorro, Carolinian, Japanese, Korean, Bangladeshi, and the list goes on. I also gain great satisfaction from my weekly volunteer activities helping to clean up Saipan's environment.
[Tagalog] Naniniraan ako dito sa Saipan mga labing dalawang taon na ang nakakalipas. Ang gusto ko ditto sa Saipan ay maganda ang lugar, maayos ang trapiko, malapit ang mga pamilihan, at malinis ang mga beaches. Masaya ang manirahan ditto sa Saipan hinde katulad sa Pilipinas na subrang napakahirap nang buhay, at mahirap magkaruon nang mga dayuhang banyaga. Dito sa Saipan marami akung kaibigan na iba't ibang lahi, masaya at mabuti silang kaibigan kung kaya mas feel kong @ home ako ditto.
Marites is the President and Chair of Friends of the Mariana Islands, a local non-profit dedicated to protecting the environment in the CNMI. Her organization is the recipient of a 2007 Beautify CNMI Governor's Award for Environmental Stewardship and a 2006 Earth Team National Group Award.
What is Saipan?
Saipan is color
Look around you
Jungle shimmering shades too many to name
Fantasy ablaze in evening and morning sky
Vibrant hues on often seen rainbow
Blushing painted flowers to caress the eye
Crystal tints if life in water surrounding
Pride in sparkling chocolate eyes
In tune with dancing creamed coffee skin and midnight velvet hair
To encourage the senses
Dimensions of color everywhere
What is Saipan?
Saipan is color
I moved here with one week's notice, two days before school started in 2005. My husband, Doug, is a guidance counselor at Hopwood, and I teach 8th grade science.
I love Saipan because it took us moving 6,000 miles to find our daughter, Litcelle, who's changed our lives in so many amazing ways.
I love Saipan because, I can go on the radio at 7:00 a.m. and talk about an environmental camp with some of the students and within 1 hour have over $100 in food donated for meals, emails from a dozen people offering certificates, volunteer time or just words of encouragement.
We lived in Spokane, Washington before moving here. Spokane's motto is "We Can". Spokane only has 100,000 people within the city limits and in 1976, again all the odds, won the bid to host the World's Fair. The people still talk about it and the physical and emotional changes it brought the community are still evident. Spokane, like Saipan,is a city suffering from economic decline, limited resources and geographic isolation, but the people there know how to overcome those obstacles to build a vibrant village, a safe place for children, and a spark of hope for a different future.
Saipan is like Spokane. Even as we stress out about whether we'll have "payless pay days" or what the fuel rate for CUC (The Commonwealth Utilities Corp) will be next month, we can set aside our worries to pitch in a few dollars here, a bag of charcoal there, some rice, a song on a uke (ukulele), many, many smiles, and at the end of the day, a huge sense of accomplishment.
The warmth and friendliness of the people grow on you like the mold growing on your un-used suit in the closet and as you contemplate where you'll go next, when you'll move back closer to your family, your heart aches a little. That ache grows every time one of my students shines. Every time one of my students shows what he or she is capable of and what he or she can do to change the future of these islands.
We love Saipan because the beach is only a bike ride away, people are friendly, cultural diversity, daylight when we get home from work, Whispering Palms School for our children, white sand, turquoise water, orange sunsets, excellent mountain bike trails through the jungle, and we get to wake up to summer everyday! What a perfect place to raise a family!
A job/gig was offered to us here on Saipan . I didn't even know where Saipan was located then. I first set foot on the island in November 2000.
At first, it seems like that I am not away from home because the island looks like a province in my own country, but to my surprise it does have a difference. I've met a lot people around, mingling with them, having fun with them without any pretensions at all.
The island' got no pollution. Fresh air. Life here is easy and simple. People are friendly. Just because Saipan is an island, almosts all the people around knew each other. I never had any experience about discrimination here.
Unfortunately I had to go back home in September 2005 to the Philippines and during that time I do really miss life here in Saipan, but I came back again in March 2007, I don't have to miss my daily walks and watching the sunset here and seeing and spending time with my friends here on the island once again!
Gregg, Dan and Scott
My sons and I had the pleasure of visiting your island paradise, Saipan. We traveled from Grand Rapids, Michigan in honor of my dad, Staff Sargeant Raymond Hagley of the 73rd Bombardment Wing. My dad had taken some remarkable color photographs during the war while stationed on Saipan. We presented them to your fine governor for display in Saipan's two island museums. Our 10 day stay was extra special. Saipan is breathtaking in its beauty and we can't say enough about the warm hospitatlity. We made friendships on the island that will last a lifetime. Thank you Saipan. We love you!!! Sincerely, Gregg, Dan and Scott Hagley. Please check our website: www.mysteryofsaipan.com
Why do I love Saipan? If I had to sum it up in a word, my word would be "beautiful." Saipan is truly a beautiful island with a lot to offer. I have lived here since 1996 and still never tire of the scenery. Great views are everywhere, whether it is the beaches, mountains, or jungle and all are close to home. Where in the states could I afford to live within a short walk to so many nice beaches and have the weather to match? Even after all these years I still find, and enjoy learning about, new places in Saipan. The history of Saipan is as rich as its beauty and never-ending. That is my hobby and I would like the world to also enjoy Saipan's beauty and history: Check out my collection of photos at http://saipanpictures.blogspot.com/
Thank you and keep Saipan beautiful!
I worked at CHC (Commonwealth Health Center) in ICU (Intensive Care Unit) for 2 + years during the mid 1990's . I was one of those Australian nurses who joined in on all those activities loved the beach adored being able to swim laps in the pool at the end of the island with no disturbances. Perfect paradise, I was never so fit. A busy ICU with the wonderful Dr Bernie Gallagher at the helm. Rarely got the recognition it deserved we were the only invasive ICU - between Hawaii and us. When I think back it really was great and always I find it enriching to view the websites. I have very fond memories of my coworkers and all the ancillary departments in the hospital. Living at sunset view it was a quick walk down the hill. I say Hafa adai to Maisy Guerrero, Rosa and Remy Tudela, Dr Hofschneider , Maureen RT and Tetchy, a Filipina nurse an surgical side, and Zenaida Rubrico, now in California who I am still in contact with. Since then I have continued to nurse and started my own Nurse recruitment company
on Australia. But I love the simplicity of Saipan life!
DF Recruiting and Nursing Service
From the shOres of SaipaN to the hot desert saNd (Arizona) Hafa Adai! I've come to realize that there is no place that could quite emulate the beauty of our island home SaipaN. Being away from home for years has truly made me appreciate the simple pleasures that our beautiful island has to offer. The warm island hospitality of the Chamorro & Carolinian people, the culture and heritage that makes our identity, the delicious local cuisine that fills our belly, and the breath taking island scenery that holds a story of its own are just some of our islands simple treasures that we are blessed with.
I love SAIPAN because your neighbors are your family, strangers are your friends, and gatherings are hosted 365 days a year regardless of the weather forecast which may consist of either sunshine or rain! Growing up in such a family and culturally oriented environment has played a role in keeping me humble as I strive to build a life of my own oceans away from home. Hence, prior to the infancy of my journey in regards to being away from home I must admit that this CHAMORRITA grew quite homesick. As eerie and silly as it may sound I often found myself pretending that I was listening to Chamorro Hour here in the mainland as I played some of my dad (Bokonggo) and brother's (Leif/Uniku') albums as well as music from other talented local musicians from back home as I sat back and reminisced on the island life.
Thus, this ritual did nothing more but ignite how I would yearn to be surrounded by the company of my familia and those I loved and left behind. Although I no longer reside on SaipaN in time I've learned to improvise with some of the amenities that the desert has to offer such as the lake in place of a beach, cactus for coconut trees, or trading in my zories for w*nTer boots. It is imperative that we preserve our islands natural beauty & tradition and not have it replicated by an outside source that does not meet the needs of our people. I know I'll return back home one day and when I do I can't wait to sink my feet into the water and witness a CNMI sunset that surrounds our sandy shores as I say to myself "it feels good to be home". Nevertheless, one thing is for sure and that is " I will never forget who I am and where I'm from" because my heart will always belong to beautiful SAIPAN...
(p.s) where else in the world will you find the cultural concept of E.B.G? (eat,baLutan,aNd Go) kiddiNg
I arrived in Saipan back in 2001 and how it seemed just like yesterday! Before coming here I researched on the web what to expect but being here is really much different than just looking at it on a computer screen. It is a fact that Saipan is as big as one fourth of Metro Manila where I grew up, but Manila compares little to what Saipan has to offer. First of all 5 golf courses! Nothing is more heaven sent that having 5 courses in such a small land mass!
I never thought that I would meet my wife here, being that both of us are from the Philippines, of all the places in the world, in Saipan would our fates cross. My son was born here and though he is Filipino by race, his only word would be SAIPAN as his home. Going to the Philippines for him is just "vacationing" at my mom's or my wife's family. I understand that most of us come from all walks of life and most of us are not even locals, but I for one consider myself now as "Saipanese" (pardon the jargon). I know that there is no such word but I feel that for all of us to be at home here in Saipan, we should all consider the fact that all of us here are to stay and though some may oppose it we have become part of what we now call "our home" too. We are no different than all the other places in the continental United States where it has become a melting pot of people, culture, religion and ideas. I feel that it is the need to improve the quality of life for the individual and that of his community that pushes a person to be part of a place he can be proud to be called a member of.
More power to all of you and let us all strive to keep Saipan beautiful for all the generations to come!
Julius Caesar Cino
Trade Marketing Manager
Micronesian Brokers, Inc.
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