(Friday, October 7, 2011; Tumon, Guam) The Guam Island Fiesta Tour (GIFT) introduces visitors into the homes of local families for village fiesta celebrations. They are greeted with shell leis, invited to participate in cultural activities like coconut husking, talaya throwing, and tuba drinking, and are treated to tables laden with authentic Chamorro cuisine.
The latest GIFT was held in the village of Yona on September 25, 2011 and was a fun filled event with delicious local food. Visitors had a wonderful time weaving, carabao riding, and barbecuing (including chesa with finadene dinance’). The warm hospitality of host families, the Shimizus and Garcias, and the cultural talent of dance group Inetnon Gef Pa’go led to a unique experience for visitors. Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo was on-island for the event and joined in the festivities.
The GIFT program has been well received by visitors and local families. Communities have used it as an opportunity to share their culture with groups who likely would never get the opportunity to experience the hundreds of years local tradition passed down by families.
“The GIFT is a unique and intimate way to experience Chamorro culture,” said GVB General Manager Joann Camacho. “It not only shows local families that they have a stake in the visitor industry, but it displays our Chamorro culture in a way that people have not been able to experience it. We are not just telling our visitors about Guam — we’re showing them and inviting them to participate.”
To qualify for the Bureau’s support, families must have held an annual fiesta celebration for 3-5 years, have property that can accommodate the additional guests, arrange interactive cultural activities, and have the event on the Sunday of the village’s fiesta weekend.
For reservations, visitors may contact their tour agent or Kiyoko/Rex at Lam Lam Tours at (671) 649- 5314/5 or email [email protected] Lam Lam Tours will pick up visitors at several hotels in the morning, transport them to the host family, and return to hotels at 2 p.m.
Visitors, GVB representatives, host families, and Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo (in pink) enjoy a fiesta in Yona on September 25, 2011.