Sadly, this would be the last of this year’s “Summer Escapes” series, as summer has officially ended in the Philippines, so says our local weather bureau, PAGASA. We were, however, able to squeeze in one last family trip to nearby Guam, which was hurricane-less a couple of weeks back, and perfect for some water activities and other things besides.
Here are some “good to know” tidbits for those who’d want to go visit this Pacific Island:
- This is US territory, so travel requirements are very much like those for when traveling to the United States. Pinoy passport holders need a US visa in order to visit. Currency used, of course, is the US dollar.
- Natives of the island are the Chamorro. Please do not call them Chamorrons.
- There is no mass public transport on the island. Though they do have those cute buses, these ply a few common routes that go through the usual tourist areas. Taxis are a bit expensive. Best to rent a car during your stay in Guam. If you’re like me, you would be interested to know that the speed limit is 25-35 miles per hour. 15, if in a school zone. This was good news for me.
- Half a day is all you need to go sight-seeing around the island.
- Half a day is how you say “good day” in Chamorro, only spelled “Hafa adai”.
- You have access to stateside stores like K-mart, Ross Dress-for-Less, and those in the Guam Premier Outlet. A plus for hard core shoppers: Guam is tax free! You can get good deals on premium luxury brands here, if that’s your cup of tea. We were, however, more inclined towards Game Stop, for daughter’s Pokemon and other Nintendo needs.
- Beaches are open to the public. It is illegal to charge for beach access in this part of the world, so you can choose any beach you want and set up camp for as long as you wish. As this is an island, you can just park your car on any road side curb and have access to water. There are lots of water activities you can dive into (get it?), from snorkling, aquariums, water sports and even a submarine ride. You choose whatever floats your boat (get it?).
- There is no Starbucks on the island, so you can forget about that tumbler your office colleague asked you to get for her.
- There are a lot of kababayan Pinoys here, so much so that it’s hard to identify who’s native to the island or Flip. This is a good thing, as there’s always someone around to give you a hand, just in case you need one.
- Tap water is not potable. Do. Not. Drink.
As we are mostly mild-adventure-level people, we were happy with driving around the island, soaking in history and the daily dips in the beach.
Just what my old, lazy bones had asked for.