Mountaintop sunrise

THERE is no other spot on Saipan that provides a spectacular view of the sun rising each morning and setting each night than the peak of Mt. Tapochao, situated at 1,535 feet above sea level.

Time and again, we see wonderful photos posted  online portraying sunsets and sunrises taken on Mt. Tapochao, but getting up there to capture these wonders requires a four-wheel drive or an all-terrain vehicle, stamina and endurance if you want to walk, guts for the not-so-daring and those who are afraid of heights, warm clothing to ward off the cold if you want to capture the sunset or explore the place at night, and effort and commitment to get up real early to see the sunrise.

This may sound too challenging, but when you get to the top, your efforts will be worth it. Mt. Tapochao is the only spot on Saipan that offers an exhilarating, spectacular 360-degree panoramic view of the whole island.

A few yards away from the cross are markers narrating how Mt. Tapochao used to be the spot where the Japanese troops fired at American forces during the war.

Today is not just another regular day on Tapochao as hundreds of Roman Catholic devotees make the annual trek to the top of Saipan’s highest spot in observance of Good Friday.

Not everybody who joins the annual trek is a devotee. Some are just curious observers, or friends and family members who tag along. Others go up there to represent different organizations and distribute food and drinks to the “pilgrims.”

Take time out of your daily routine to take a whiff of fresh and cool mountain air as you make the trek to Mt. Tapochao today for whatever reason. It could be for religious or just to enjoy nature. And oh, a spectacular sunrise — hopefully if it doesn’t rain.


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