ROTA — The noonday sun beat mercilessly on my unprotected arms and back was nothing compared to the excitement I was feeling as I picked my way among the tall grasses toward one of the famous latte stones that had claimed a fair share of space on various websites for the past years.
I was standing at the site of Taga latte stone quarry — known to be Micronesia’s best preserved and largest stone quarry, and one of the most unique cultural attractions of Rota. Anyone who visits the place cannot help but take photos and post it online for the world to see.
I had just landed on island for the first time, and friend Ali drove me straight from the airport toward the northern end of the island which had been in my wish list for the past three years.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Rota’s latte stone quarry, also known as the As Nieves quarry, was a sight to behold, and capture through the lens.
The huge latte stone columns and capstones cut from solid coral limestone separated from each other by trenches was a real wonder. It was hard to imagine how the ancient Chamorros carved the gigantic latte stones but here was one real proof of their engineering skills.
The huge latte stones were believed to have been used as foundation pillars for ancient Chamorro houses. I could not stop going around the area and clicking on the shutter to capture these huge stone wonders from different angles.
Standing tall and proud on a pedestal surrounded with flowers and shrubs a few feet away from the latte stones was a huge statue of Chief Taga, who, according to legend, quarried the stones on Rota before abandoning it and building the House of Taga on Tinian.
Here is a must-visit cultural site on Rota that you should not miss. I would have wanted to stay longer, but we didn’t have the luxury of time. We still had to visit more attractions that the island had to offer.