Remains of a World War 11 jail

TINIAN—I have passed by this particular spot on Tinian so many times in the past years thinking that it was just an ordinary abandoned structure left by the owners from years ago. I had always been intrigued by the grills and bars and the small rectangular slits for windows but never got to ask anyone…

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‘Shooting’ a Japanese cannon

THE first time I saw this Japanese cannon at Naftan Point, Saipan’s southernmost tip, was in 2009 when I went for an early morning hike with my co-workers, and I vowed never to return to that place. For someone whose only form of exercise was going up and down the stairs at the office, another…

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Peace memorial on a mountaintop

At the island’s highest elevation stands a stone structure that few people visit: a World War II peace memorial. I made attempts to see Sabana Peace Memorial Park on my first visits but failed. On my first try, I and a companion drove the rocky and dusty road and stopped when we reached a rusty…

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The Shadow at the Bell Marker

IT started with a red arrow on a rusty sign beside the path that proclaimed: “The Bell of Peace and Love…anyone who rings this bell will return to this special place someday again.” It was the red arrow pointing to a wooded area some 80 meters ahead that kept me going despite the knot of…

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Exploring Tonga Cave

Right in the heart of Songsong Village on Rota is a huge cave which I tried to visit the first two times I was here but just didn’t get around to it. First, I ran out of time, and second, I was all alone and kind of scared to go in. – My chance to…

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A Japanese gun among the bushes

I HAVE been visiting Ladder Beach on the northern part of Saipan for the past five years, so I was familiar with how the parking area could become bushy and “jungle-like.” On a recent visit, however, something presented itself that had previously remained unnoticed. Just before you make the left turn toward the Ladder Beach…

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War Remnants on Tinian

TINIAN — Right across from the famous Taga House is an old structure that had often caught my attention, but I never got the chance to explore it when I visited this island previously. It is a bullet-riddled concrete structure that still stands as one of the many mute witnesses to the bloody battles of…

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Revisiting Star Sand Beach

TINIAN — An afternoon of aimless driving at North Field a couple of weeks a go took me and two companions to a fork in the road leading to Unai Chulu, or Star Sand, Beach, a popular destination known for its star-shaped grains of sand. We saw a family that included a teenage boy arranging…

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A trip back in time

ROTA — You cannot miss this green-painted structure perched on two huge latte stone posts overlooking the blue ocean across from the road when you drive to or from Songsong here on Rota. The CNMI is littered with relics and memorabilia from  World War II, and a huge collection is found at the Marianas Trench…

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