Friday, August 27, 2010

Exploring the Japanese airport bunkers

DRIVING all the way to the Saipan International Airport will give you a view of these dilapidated cement bunkers, some of the grim reminders of Saipan as one of the sites where the bloodiest World War 2 took place over 60 years ago.
I got the chance to explore the bunkers along the Airport Road a few months back with some friends and took the chance to crawl into one to see what the bunkers look like from inside.
I learned from historical accounts in the internet that these bunkers saw a lot of action as taking over the Japanese airport has been one of the first targets of the Americans during the battle of Saipan.
Standing inside the bunker, I tried to imagine how many men had taken shelter in its hard walls as the battle raged on and bullets flew outside. The walls of the bunker bore large holes as it was hit by American tanks.
The airport Japanese bunkers which stand beside the road near a soccer field are among the attractions in the island that draws thousands of tourists each year.
The sentiments however end when your sight lands on the floor of the bunkers where trash including soda cans and food wrappers and other proof of human invasion are scattered.
When you pass by the Airport Road from March to July, the traces of the bloody World War 2 seen through the bunkers are softened by the beauty of the brilliant flame trees in full bloom, a merging of history and nature that creates a scenic merging that would send any photographer’s fingers itching to snap photos. For more of the CNMI’s attractions, visit

Friday, August 20, 2010

Revisiting World War 2 relics

THE unmistakable sounds of canons exploding and machine guns firing, soldiers shouting and running is what one will hear from the lobby is more than enough to lure one to come in.
The virtual World War 2 museum located inside American Memorial Park Complete with flashing lights, booming sounds and narration of what transpired during the bloody battle on Saipan during the World War 2
The museum will give you a glimpse of what life in the islands was during the war.
Pick up a telephone receiver and press a button to hear accounts of the war from different individuals.
Leaf through the printed laminated pages of first person accounts of residents recalling the horrors they experienced as Saipan became one place where one of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific took place.
The museum is littered with cannon shells and casings, soldier’s helmets, armor-piercing artillery shells, grenades, boxes and crates used to house ammunitions, remains of dinner plates and water canteens some of them with shrapnel holes, sniper hats, rifle shells, caliber rifle cartridges, and everything else.
Name it and you have it there— all mute witnesses of the horrors of war and in memory of those who sacrificed their lives to save the nation.
The virtual World War 2 museum at American Memorial Park gets a fair share of visitors both locals and tourists everyday.
Seeing a tourist, especially those from Japan whose parents or grandparents were involved during the World War 2 here get sentimental and shed tears as they tour around the museum and look at the relics is a common sight.
The Visitors Center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. everyday. Admission is free for everybody. For more information, please call (670) 234-7207, fax 234-6698, or email