Holiday highlights

News

Holiday highlights

by: Takahiro Takiguchi | .
Stripes Guam | .
published: December 10, 2013

Guam may not conjure up images of a typical winter holiday setting during this time of year, but Christmas spirit and traditions thrive on this tropical paradise.

Since illuminations began lighting up the streets of Tumon on Nov. 29, a series of exciting annual holiday events - ranging from the Holiday Lights and Snow Show in a shopping mall and reenactment of the Nativity scene in a cave, to a New Year’s Eve fireworks display - have or will bring holiday cheer.

“The holiday season here is very different,” said Sayumi Ishioka, who’s lived on Guam for 13 years and is part of the management at Micronesia Mall. “There are a lot of outdoor parties going on throughout the season.  Santa Claus forgoes his usual fuzzy ensemble for shorts and a T-shirt, and children spend Christmas on a white beach instead of a snow field.”

Like in the States, the holiday season on Guam is a time for shopping.

“It is the busiest time for us,” Ishioka said. “So many visitors and residents came over to the mall to shop for gifts and souvenirs. I feel the holiday season on Guam is for shopping and outdoor parties.”

To tap into that holiday shopping spirit, this year’s holiday illuminations were lit up as a part of its Shop Guam Festival campaign. “The illumination project spans from the Hilton all the way to the Weston,” said Antonio Muna of the Guam Visitors Bureau.

Approximately four miles of Pale San Vitores Road, also known as “Hotel Road” is decorated by beautiful Christmas decorations and special lighted displays featuring Santa Claus and cultural icons of Guam.  This illumination project includes “Christmas Village” at the Tumon Sands and will remain lit till Jan. 5.

The Shop Guam Festival, which was started last year may have helped this trend, as the global cooperative social media marketing campaign features an array of retail, dining and entertainment discounts packed into the holiday period on Guam.  

However, with 85 percent of Guam’s 160,000 residents being Catholic, the season also reflects Christian traditions.

“More than the lights, gifts and parties during Christmas season, it’s the reason for the season that we have to give emphasis to,” said Liza Francisco, a Filipina-American who has lived on Guam for 23 years. “It’s the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. On Guam, it’s not as elaborate as in the Philippines.  It really depends on the person. But family get-togethers and activities like midnight Masses makes Christmas a busy season.”

Here’s a look at some events you can check out this holiday season.

Holiday Lights and Snow Show at the Micronesia Mall in Dededo
Micronesia Mall runs the Holiday Lights and Snow Show in its center court throughout the holiday season. A 30-foot Christmas tree adorned with more than 40,000 LED lights flashes in the center. Moving holiday balls and blinking strobes surround the tree, while music blasts from a state-of-the-art sound system. As the music plays, the computerized 4-D lights flash to the beat. There is a  train encircling the tree that children can ride for $1. Jolly old St. Nick smiles from the center, as children line up to whisper their Christmas wishes. For more information, call Micronesia Mall at 632-8881.

Christmas in a Cave Nativity scene
The Lutheran Church will hold a reenactment of the Nativity inside the San Ramon Hills caves in Hagåtña from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve. All are welcome to take a tour through the cave. Afterward, Christmas songs will be song outside the cave.  For more information, call the Lutheran Church at 477-8595.

Rota Walk on Andersen Air Force Base
Rota Walk 2013 is scheduled for Dec. 14, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Andersen Air Force Base.

Rota Walk is an annual holiday pilgrimage down Rota Drive through Andersen housing. Roughly 50 houses are decorated for the holidays and refreshments will be served. The majority of the houses are occupied by base leadership and their families. This holiday tradition started in the early 1980s as festive competition to see which unit could come up with the best decorated house. Rota walk is open to those with access to Andersen Air Force Base, members of the Government of Guam and various organizations are invited to attend.

For more about Rota Walk, call the 36th Wing Public Affairs Office at (671)366-2228.

takiguchi.takahiro@stripes.com

Resort holiday happenings

OUTRIGGER GUAM RESORT (Tel: 649-9000)

Christmas Carol
Christmas carol event, with an appearance by Santa.
Location: Lobby
Date/Time: Dec. 13-23, 6-7 p.m.
Cost: Free

Christmas Eve Concert
Annual Christmas eve concert will be held in the lobby.
Location: Lobby
Date/Time: Dec. 24, 3-5 p.m.
Cost: Free

Visit by Santa Claus
Location: Lobby
Date/Time: Dec. 24-25, 6-7 p.m.

Christmas Eve Dinner Buffet
Location: Palm Café
Date/Time: Dec. 24, 6-10 p.m.
Cost: $45.95 (adults), $26.95 (children 6-12)
*All-you-can-drink draft beer and wine included.

Christmas Eve Lunch
Location: Palm Café
Date/Time: Dec. 25, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Cost: $43.95 (adults), $24.95 (children 6-12)
*All-you-can-drink wine and sparkling wine included.

Christmas Dinner Buffet
Location: Palm Café
Date/Time: Dec. 25, 6-10 p.m.
Cost: $45.95 (adults), $26.95 (children 6-12)
*All-you-can-drink draft beer and wine included.

HYATT REGENCY GUAM (Tel: 647-1234)

Santa Claus
Santa visits the lobby every Wednesday night. Photo sessions available.
Location: Lobby
Date/Time: Every Wednesday 5-8 p.m. until Christmas
Cost: Free

Cookie Decoration Class
Cookie decoration class for children. Chefs at the Hyatt will be waiting with their Christmas cookies. Limited participation. Sign up early.
Date/Time: Dec. 7, 14, 21, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: $25

Traditional Holiday Fiesta
Location: La Mirenda
Date/Time: Dec. 24, 6-10 p.m.
Cost: $65 (adults), $32.50 (children 6-12)
*All-you-can-drink wine and sparkling wine included.
*Santa Claus scheduled to visit between 6-9 p.m.

Special Italian 5-course Menu
Location: Al Dente Ristorante
Date/Time: Dec. 24, 6-10 p.m.
Cost: $79~(adults), $39.50 (children 6-12)
*One free glass of sparkling wine for adults, one free soft drink/juice for children.
*Santa Claus scheduled to visit between 6-9 p.m.

Holiday Special Menu
Location: Niji
Date/Time: Dec. 24, 6-10 p.m.
Cost: $90~(adults), $45 (children 6-12)
*One free glass of sparkling wine or sake for adults, one free soft drink/juice for children.
*Santa Claus scheduled to visit between 6-9 p.m.

Holiday Grand Buffet
Location: La Mirenda, Al Dente Ristorante
Date/Time: Dec. 25, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
Cost: $55 (adults), $27.50 (children 6-12)

Japanese Christmas Brunch
Location: Niji
Date/Time: Dec. 25, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 1-2:30 p.m.
Cost: $43 (adults), $21.50 (children 6-12)

Christmas Dinner Buffet
Location: La Mirenda
Date/Time: Dec. 25, 6-10 p.m.
Cost: $65 (adults), $32.50 (children 6-12)
*All-you-can-drink wine (red, white), sparkling wine, and beer included.
*Santa Claus scheduled to visit between 6-9 p.m.

Special Italian 5-Course Menu
Location: Al Dente Ristorante
Date/Time: Dec. 25, 6-10 p.m.
Cost: $79~(adults), $39.50 (children 6-12)
*One free glass of sparkling wine for adults, one free soft drink/juice for children.
*Santa Claus scheduled to visit between 6-9 p.m.

Holiday Special Set Menu
Location: Niji
Date/Time: Dec. 25, 6-10 p.m.
Cost: $90~(adults), $45 (children 6-12)
*One free glass of sparkling wine or sake for adults, one free soft drink/juice for children.
*Santa Claus scheduled to visit between 6-9 p.m.

GUAM MARIOTT RESORT & SPA (Tel: 649-7827)

Special Dinner
Location: Manhattan Steakhouse
Date/Time: Dec. 24, 6-10 p.m.
Cost: $75

HILTON GUAM RESORT & SPA (Tel: 646-1835)

Christmas Eve Special Dinner Buffet
Location: Islander Terrace
Date/Time: Dec. 24, 6-10 p.m.
Cost: $42 (adults), $21 (children 6-11), $10 (children 3-5)

Christmas Day Gala Champagne Brunch (reservation needed)
Location: Islander Terrace
Date/Time: Dec. 25, 11 a.m.~, 1 p.m.~
Cost: $45 (adults), $22 (children 6-11), $10 (children 3-5)
*All-you-can-drink champagne, wine, ice-tea included.

Christmas Special 4-Course Dinner (reservation needed)
Location: Roy’s
Date/Time: Dec. 24, 25, 6 p.m.~, 8 p.m.~, 9:30 p.m.~
Cost: $68, $85

Christmas Special 3-Course Dinner
Location: Fisherman’s Cove
Date/Time: Dec. 24, 25
Cost: $60
*Includes one free glass of champagne.
*You can also order from our a la carte menu.

SHERATON LAGUNA GUAM RESORT   (Tel: 646-2222)

Christmas Eve Dinner Buffet
Location: La Cascata
Date/Time: Dec. 24, 6-9 p.m.
Cost: $40 (adults), $18 (children 6-11)
*All-you-can-drink beer and wine included.

Christmas Day Brunch Buffet
Location: La Cascata
Date/Time: Dec. 25, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Cost: $38 (adults), $19 (children 6-11)
*All-you-can-drink beer and sparkling wine included.

Christmas Dinner Buffet
Location: La Cascata
Date/Time: Dec. 25, 6-9 p.m.
Cost: $40 (adults), $18 (children 6-11)
*All-you-can-drink house wine included.

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