This is the second part of Ian's guest post about Saipan (read part 1 here). Ian moved to Saipan for a year to teach after graduating college.
Of all the places you could go in the Pacific why should you consider the Marianas? What separates it from the other Micronesian islands of Palau, Pohnpei, or Chuuk? Or better yet from Tahiti, Fiji, or Hawaii for that matter? It is not the tourist attractions, the food, or historical landmarks which separates Saipan from the rest of these islands. Although I may be bias in my opinion I truly believe it is the people you will meet and encounter. The collective community of people are genuine and welcoming. If you happen to befriend a local you will most likely be invited to join them in a fiesta. Where you will get the full feel of what it means to be islander. It is about recognizing the people most important to you while also inviting in new faces to share in cultural tradition. The Chamorro and Carolinian people you encounter want you to experience all the island has to offer and that it will leave an impression on you. People here live in moment always taking in opportunities when they present themselves. You will never eat alone, feel alone, or travel alone while you spend time on Saipan.
Locals are eager to direct you in where you could spend your time. Why Mount Tapochau, the highest point on island, is a must see on the island after you go up north to both banzai and suicide cliff. How early every Easter people take on the cross and carry it up the mountain side along a gravel and coral road. It is the devotion and faith of these people which separates them from the rest. The local people and those who call Saipan there home such as the Filipino and Korean populace believe in and love their island. Saipan is just not some small island to visit and tell stories about. It is an island which you remember in your heart and soul. It has personality and leaves you wanting more. If you choose to stay on the island as a resident you could not possibly go wrong. You will be a local in no-time and will find yourself thinking like an islander and talking like one. Some may be scared off by its immense heat and humidity, but it becomes part of your daily routine. The ocean becomes part of your daily life as you paddle board, swim, dive, and snorkel. It becomes the bounty from which you eat and enjoy fish you will not find anywhere else. The outdoors and constant temperature will win you over no matter how long you decide to stay.
I urge you to consider Saipan, a seemingly unknown Commonwealth and Paradise under the flag of the United States. Thank you for reading and as they say on island in the Chamorro tongue, "Si Yu’us Ma’ase."