Tag Archive: island life

We left Manila past 10pm for a four-hour flight to Guam. Quite a struggle standing around the carousel waiting for our bags at 4am Guam time. The 2-hour time difference ain’t much but without a wink, we behaved like cranky zombies this Sunday early morning. There was just enough time to hear mass, take a nap, bathe and then get ready to meet a friend for lunch. Our first taste of a Guam-azing (to borrow my friend’s description of her adventures) Sunday here made for a good introduction to this island territory of Uncle Sam.

Beach View from Hotel Nikko Guam
Hotel Nikko Lobby

It would have been ideal to visit a Museum first to brush up on a little bit of history but absent that and in my sleepless state, I relied on my first impressions during our first 24 hours — no, make that first 12 hours — here. That islander vibe welcomes you soon after landing. At 2am Manila time or 4am Guam time, it’s almost excusable to be testy and ill-tempered. Not so. The immigration and customs officers look and sound laid back, like they have all the time in this world. At the hotel where we lunched, everyone seemed to be so nice and locals enjoying Sunday meals were mostly families who seem to be “regulars” in Hotel Nikko’s Toh Lee Chinese Restaurant.

Lunch at Toh Lee Chinese Restaurant
A Typical Sunday in Guam

When we moved to the beach area fronting Hotel Nikko, Tsubaki Tower, Lotte Hotel and Guam Reef Hotel, we spotted that red Lifeguard Station watching over many locals enjoying a leisurely Sunday. That island life! The nearby kiosk had barbecue pits for locals to grill an assortment of meats and seafood while loud danceable music was blaring. We found the locals very friendly with one charming lady even offering to snap a photo of us.

Red Lifeguard Station
Large Kiosk Accommodated Many Locals

This island US territory may not be economically ranked at par with the states of Uncle Sam but its simplicity has its charm. I’m not sure how long that charm will hold since I suspect there aren’t many activities here outside of the beach scene and shopping. In my first 12 hours here, we’ve only lined up trips to the beach, malls and the cinema. My curiosity isn’t at its peak in my sleep-deprived state but then again, I didn’t come here for excitement. Let’s just say we’re happy to meet up with kin and kith.

The last 2 years were marked by non-activity and a much-limited social life. My last trip was just a few weeks before the lockdown and meet-ups with family and friends were restricted to zoom meetings and Viber chats. Finally, this.


Flying into this island south of Manila was a thrill by itself. After all, it’s been 2 years since my last flight. Travel today involved many health protocols, but seeing this slice of Shangrila is worth all the “trouble”. The hotel was fully booked and it’s good that people are spending their holidays and traveling again. Overcast skies and intermittent rain didn’t deflate our excitement. In the four days we were in the island, we had 2 days of sun. Not bad.

Sunset Watch

Unlike our previous trips, this one tops the list in the leisure and R&R department. Most activities centered around the beach and the hotel pool. We even managed to put to good use the excellent hotel facilities for kids such as the entertainment center, fish feeding ponds and playground. There were shuttles to take us to the more crowded and busier boat stations and Resto/shopping spots, but the hotel has been our little corner of paradise we truly enjoyed staying in. A perfect way to enjoy this break from our pandemic confinement.

Happy thoughts. Happy memories. May this pandemic finally blow over so we can spend more holidays under the sun with sand between our toes, sipping our piña coladas, mango daiquiris and margaritas or cold beers. As the wind slaps our salty faces and ruffles our sandy hair, we feel grateful to enjoy these slices of paradise. A real Shangrila.