FOR the daring, one ideal spot on Saipan where you can hang out on a star-filled night to commune with nature and gaze at stars to your heart’s content is the Banzai Cliff in Marpi.
Although majority would immediately cross out such choice of location and opt instead to spread a mat on any of the beaches to stargaze, you will find the thrill of the experience more rewarding than what you expect.
Driving to the Banzai Cliffs at night requires a double dose of courage because for one, the place has no signal. If your car breaks down, good luck because you will have to wait until somebody drives over to help you. Two, visiting Banzai Cliff at night is a totally different thing when you go there at night. The figures look eerie especially with no lights.
The first time I went there at 11 in the evening I lost courage and immediately asked my companion to make a U-turn and drive back to the main road. It was so dark windy. My imagination played havoc during the few minutes we were there so that the howling winds resembled like agonized cries from individuals in pain. You could not stop your hair from rising up. I waited for another chance to go back and it came a couple of weeks ago.
This time, I was with three companions. It was just 10 p.m. and a zillion stars lit up the sky. Gone was the eerie feeling and the cries I heard on my first night visit to the place. The statues and cement structures look less ominous.
Every now and then, a car drives up filled with tourists who stay for a few minutes before leaving.
Reclining on the hood of the car, I spent a very relaxing hour or two swapping horror stories with my companions, recalling lessons from my Girl Scout days and trying to identify starts and constellations.
From the distance, the Suicide Cliffs loomed in the semi-darkness, the trees forming gruesome figures trying to extend their claws. The cool wind added mystique to the night but it was one experience where I left totally refreshed and relaxed.
Midnight struck and we had to leave the statues, the huge rolling waves below the cliffs, the cement structures and the whole place which had been the mute witness to the grim deaths of thousands of Japanese soldiers over six decades ago.
On a starlit night, try gazing at the stars from the Banzai Cliff. It’s one experience of a lifetime.
(Originally published HERE)