THE minute you emerge from the arrival area and out into the open at the Rota International Airport., a collection of Japanese WW11 airplane engines and anti aircraft guns neatly arranged in a row will meet your eye.
I saw the collection right away at the left side of the airport but had to curb the itch to walk over for a closer look and start snapping photos of these artifacts that continue to attract tourists and history buffs from all over the world. It was my first time to set foot on Rota and I had no spare time because a friend was picking me up in a few minutes. I vowed to come back, which I did the following day when I finally rented a car to do some exploring on my own.
The rustic airplane engines were placed in constructed stone pedestals surrounded by neatly trimmed grass. Albeit rusty, the engines were obviously maintained and oiled because they don’t show the impression that they are ready to fall off into pieces at a moment’s notice.
At the end of the row of airplane engines is an equally rusty yet well-maintained anti aircraft gun still intact after all these years.
I took my own sweet time inspecting the relics and capturing them on the lens to share to the rest of the world who haven’t had a chance to visit the island.
The variety of World War 11 relics scattered all over the island is just one of the many bonuses you get in driving around the idyllic Paradise of this 13km long island in addition to the rich historical sites, the long stretches of white sandy beaches, rich evergreen forests, and the slow, leisurely lifestyle.
History records show that Rota was occupied by Japanese forces during World War II and became an important link for the Japanese to get their supplies from Japan.
In an island where stop-lights are unheard of and where motorists wave at each other on the road, where a remote-island atmosphere rules in comparison to the hustle and bustle of Guam or Saipan 30 minutes hopper ride away, these World War 11 relics feel more at home.
Rota is a jewel waiting for visitors to come and explore its treasures, and these treasures can be seen right from the airport and all over the island.