In the race to complete that endless Christmas list, the challenges of long lines, limited stocks and gnarly traffic can make the season an unpleasant experience. So, what a pleasant surprise it was to discover Guam!
I recently visited this neighboring US territory in the west Pacific and was happy to discover a slice of the American pie just a short four-hour flight away. Since it’s a US territory, Guam, in shopping terms, means K-Mart and other American retail stores at Micronesia Mall, Guam Premiere Outlet, Tumon Sands Plaza and T Galleria DFS.
Better still, Guam has a number of beautiful golf courses where non-shopping family members, i.e., husbands, can while away their time. It really is a happy combination of shopping and golf that makes for a perfect family destination.
To celebrate my father Alex Prieto’s 80th birthday, we planned a golfing adventure instead of having a big party. It was timely that I had an invitation from the Guam Visitors Bureau, so we worked around the itinerary and added a family golf tournament in between the shopping.
Upon arrival via Philippine Airlines, we checked into the Dusit Thani Hotel in Tumon Bay, and enjoyed the beautiful beachfront resort. The golfers arranged to play one round at Leopalace Golf Resort, while the ladies prepared their game plan for the shopping, as we were there on a well-known American shopping event: Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.
Tumon Bay is a wonderful discovery for first-time visitors. The resorts are right next to the calm ocean waters. In the opposite direction is the Galleria DFS duty-free shop. Down the road is The Sand Castle hotel, where we were treated to the Sand Castle Show, a Las Vegas-type magic show.
Our group also played golf at Talofofo and Mangilao Resorts, the latter featuring holes along the Pacific that would rival Pebble Beach in Monterey County, California.
At night we had a hearty dinner at the Manhattan Steak House of the Pacific Star Resort and Spa, with its GM Roy Abraham. Martin and Liz Gerber also joined us that evening. Martin is a board member of the Guam International Airport.
Shop Guam e-Festival
Readers should note that the fifth annual Shop Guam e-Festival is back. Guam’s signature shopping event offers local and international shoppers the ultimate spree with exclusive deals, special offers and fabulous prizes to be won, including Guam travel packages valued at $1,000. The Shop Guam e-Festival began Dec. 1 and runs till Feb. 4, 2017.
This year’s Shop Guam e-Festival is fully mobile and puts over 230 offers from 178 vendors right in your hands with the official Shop Guam App. Download the free Shop Guam App for Android or iPhone and browse with ease an exciting, diverse array of deals on luxury and popular brands, fine and casual dining, optional tours, entertainment, beauty, spa, tourism services.
As a bonus, the Shop Guam e-Festival’s exclusive deals on Made in Guam products and Only on Guam activities will further enhance your experience.
The Shop Guam app was designed with the traveler in mind. It alerts shoppers of special offers whenever the guest is within 40-50 meters of a participating vendor. This year’s festival has exclusive offers from a selection of luxury brands and boutiques including Balenciaga, Chloé, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, LeSportSac, Lacoste, Rimowa.
Noel Bazaar at SMX
Here at home, complete your Christmas lists at the final leg of Noel Bazaar at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City. The event is for the benefit of the GMA Kapuso Foundation, Gifts & Graces Foundation, Philippine Daily Inquirer Newboys Foundation, Noel Gozon Memorial Clinic and other charities.
Meralco in photos
Every Christmas, the Meralco Center in Ortigas has an electrical spectacle that brings holiday cheer to all. Ace photographer Red Ognita recently mounted his latest photography exhibit, “A World Unto Itself,” featuring key Meralco locations.
Inspired by stories of the unsung heroes behind Meralco, the country’s largest utility company, Red went around Meralco locations, including the San Pablo, Laguna substation and the sprawling center in Ortigas, to take stunning black-and-white photographs that perfectly embody stories of extraordinary dedication.
Red is a former immigration coordinator for the Canadian Embassy in Beijing, who decided to take a leap of faith into the fine art of photography and printing. The risk he took was well worth it—over the years, he has made a name for himself in the international community through a distinct minimalist aesthetic.
In “A World Unto Itself,” Red’s photographs evoke a meditative quality uncommon in today’s bevy of snapshots and super-filtered digitalia. Red’s art is an austere yet skillful manipulation of light and shadow. It’s beautiful to see how Meralco’s core team of linemen and engineers are brought to life in the photos.
Seeing Red’s photographs, a tribute to the men and women of Meralco, one will be left in awe and thoroughly inspired.