Delegates To Pacific Festival Of The Arts Start Arriving In Guam

Opening ceremonies for 12th FestPac take place on Sunday

By Jerick Sablan

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, May 19, 2016) – Although the Festival of Pacific Arts doesn’t start until Sunday, several delegations from Pacific nations taking part in the event have arrived on island.

Many of the early arrivals weren’t anticipated, Festival Director Rose Ramsey said Wednesday.

The festival, a major regional event held every four years that showcases cultures around the Pacific, begins Sunday and continues to June 4.

Various organizations such as the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Pacific Islands University and the Dededo mayor’s office are housing delegates who’ve arrived early.

Many delegates plan to stay at Guam Department of Education schools, but the delegates weren’t scheduled to move into the schools until Friday. Because some arrived early, Ramsey said work was being done to open some of the schools early.

Mark Mendiola, head of the FestPac housing committee, said Thursday some of the schools were opened for delegates, including George Washington High School and L.P. Untalan Middle School.

Mendiola thanked the volunteers and the Guam Department of Education for their hard work in getting the schools prepared for housing.

In addition to George Washington and Untalan, other schools that will house FestPac delegates are Okkodo High, Tiyan High, Southern High, Jose Rios Middle, Astumbo Middle and Agueda Johnston Middle.

Dededo Mayor Melissa Savares said about 26 delegates from Kosrae arrived on Tuesday, but many of them were able to stay with family members who are living on island.

Five of the delegates chose to stay at the Astumbo gym. Futons, bedding and food were provided to the delegates before they could be moved to their designated housing.

Nena William, head of the Kosrae delegation, said he and his delegation are very happy to be in Guam and are thankful to the Dededo mayor for allowing them to sleep at the gym.

“We feel very welcomed,” he said.

William also added: “Being from the islands we can adapt to any environment.”

Agana Heights Seventh-Day Adventist Pastor Carlos Turcios said they were able to house 37 delegates from the Cook Islands at their fellowship hall.

The hall has bathroom and shower facilities for the delegates, he said.

His wife took some of the Cook Islanders shopping on Wednesday.

The group arrived Wednesday morning and are expected to move into their designated school on Friday, he said.

Taking in the delegates was like the biblical story of the “Good Samaritan” who took action when he saw someone in need, Turcios said.

“We’re enjoying the beautiful island of Guam and the beautiful people we’ve met over the last 12 hours,” Anthony Turua from the Cook Islands Ministry of Culture said Wednesday afternoon.

Juan Flores, vice president of academics/advancement at the Pacific Islands University said they were happy to welcome about 70 delegates from Yap.

“It’s a good show of hospitality,” he said.

PIU has its roots throughout Micronesia, he said, and it was important to do its part to help out.

The Yapese delegates were enjoying their time at the university playing basketball and hanging out in the university’s grounds.

“We gotta pitch in. It’s not going to work if we’re going to sit back,” Flores said.

Marie Laamar, from the Yapese delegation, thanked the university for its hospitality.

Their flight to Guam was very last minute and had to come early because there aren’t many flights out to Guam from Yap, she said. They wouldn’t have made it on time for the opening ceremony by Sunday.

“We’re very thankful to be here,” Laamar said.

She said it was good to arrive a little bit early so the delegation can prepare by getting materials for the festival. The local Yapese community in Guam have also been helping them.

The delegation will showcase traditional dances, including one just by men and a co-ed dance. They also will have a popular tattoo artist from Yap and handicrafts on display.

The island also has seafarers demonstrating traditional canoes, Laamar said.

Laamar said she was very impressed with Guam’s facilities for FestPac and is excited to share her culture to the island.

Pacific Daily News Photographer Mark Scott contributed to this report.

Pacific Daily News
Copyright © 2016 Guam Pacific Daily News. All Rights Reserved

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