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Guam Attractions and Things to See

Guam is an unincorporated territory of the United States in the western Pacific Ocean, one of the five US territories that have an established civilian government, and the biggest and southernmost of the Mariana Islands. Its indigenous people are called, Chamorros, that began to populate and settle on the island some 4000 years ago, and has a long history of European colonialism, first discovered by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521, and the first settlement created in 1668 by Spain, with settlers coming here that included Padre San Vitores, a Catholic missionary; and the island would be controlled by Spain until 1898, when it would be surrendered to the US as part of the Treaty of Paris after the end of the Spanish American War. It is the biggest island in Micronesia, it is the only US held island in the area, before WWII, when it was captured by the Japanese in 1941, on December 8th, hours after the horrific bombing of Pearl Harbor, and would be occupied by the Japanese for two and a half years. During that period, the islanders would be subjected to rape, beheadings and torture, as well as forced to adopt the Japanese culture. The island and its people would become included in the fierce fighting that occurred there in July, 1944, when the United States returned to recapture it, and it is a day that is still commemorated today, as Liberation Day.
The island is supported today with its main industry, tourism, that is ironically composed of visitors from Japan, mostly, and its second biggest employer is the United States military. It has an old and interesting history, that is seen in many of its historical structures today, with an exciting heritage from the Chamorro people. Their culture is steeped in dance, fishing, games, sea navigation and unique cuisine, fashion and songs that have been influenced by the many nations that visited here over the centuries. Although much of the Chamorro culture has been lost or adulterated by the influence of foreign countries, two parts of it still exist, while there is some resurgence of the old ways that many today wish to preserve. Chenchule is the intricate system of reciprocity that is the heart of the Chamorro culture, and rooted in the core value of inafa'maolek that means interdependence, or a spirit of cooperation and sharing; it facilitates the many aspects of the people heritage and culture today, that is passed down in their courtship, legends, chants and even someone today, asking permission from their spiritual ancestors if it is okay to enter the jungle or ancient battle grounds. Other outstanding practices include the art of canoe making or galaide, making the belembaotuyan that is a stringed instrument made out of a gourd, tool manufacture, preparation of herbal medicines by Suruhanu, Matan guma burial rituals and the fashioning of acho'atupat slings and slingstones. Their master craftsmen and women specialize in weavings, banana fiber skirts, plaited work, leaf baskets, hats, bags, mats and food containers, loom woven materials, belts and burial shrouds and body ornamentation that includes bead and shell necklaces, belts and combs created from tortoise shells and spondylus, earrings, and more.
The islands cuisine is similar to the Philippines, with many dishes having a Spanish flavor and some with Asian influences, with steamed rice as the main dish and starch, while red rice, cooked with onions and achiote is a common fiesta food. Chicken kelaguen is another common but very popular dish, with the chicken grilled the night before, then chopped up and mixed with bird chiles, onion and lemon, that many say is like a spicy grilled chicken ceviche. Other favorites include lumpia or Filipino fried egg rolls, pancit or fried noodles and shrimp fritters. The most used and favored condiment is finadene, that is enjoyed with salted fish, lime and peppers or soy, lemon, chile peppers and onions. It seems that almost every family has it own special blend, and uses it in various dishes. There are many restaurants that offer local or international cuisine, like Japanese, Chinese, Chamorro, Greek, Mexican, American, Vietnamese, Thai, Italian and American, with steakhouses, a Jamaican grill, Asian cuisine, a Hard Rock cafe, TGI Fridays and many other well known places to eat and enjoy the variations of local foods.