Category Archives: island life

Tropical Paradise, Floras & Frutas (vol 1)

It is truly amazing to have many tropical plants growing in our back yards and sometimes I realize how I dismiss the beauty growing around me. I now capture my tropical paradise more often than before as I am very lucky to live in paradise. I often complain that it’s too humid, too hot, too chilly when temperatures drop below 80 degrees, too rainy, ya dida blah blah. Sometimes I feel the weather can’t make up it’s mind or is bipolar and then I stop and see that all these changes are what makes our island unique and special… tropical. It is our distinctive weather that allows us to grow vibrant floras (flowers) and delicious frutas (fruits) that our island visitors from around the world come to treasure and appreciate.

Enjoy the first of a series of posts highlighting the beauty of our island’s floras and frutas.


Papaya grown by my-laws in their garden.

Because the tree is so fruitful, my in-laws give away their papaya to anyone who wants them. Bear eats it raw when fully ripe and sweet. My mother likes the young papaya that is just about to become ripe, slightly orange but mostly white flesh, for pickling. Mmmmm… candied papaya or Mrs. Tudela’s papaya turnover sounds good just about now. What would you do with it? The possibilities are endless.


Stage 1 – flowering of the mango. You can see small green buds that are the young pollinated fruits starting to grow. This preymantis is giving me that stare down to stay away from his territory.


Stage 2-3 – The survivors of many continue to grow and start off cashew shaped and then straightens out.


Yes, these mangoes are dunkolo (huge). We gave a mango seed to my father-in-law 4 years ago from a tree near our former residence. We had never seen mangoes so large with a lot of meat inside, extremely sweet, and juicy. He successfully grow the seed and it now produces so much since. He says we are only allowed to pick one mango per season as a thank you for the seed. Nice try dad! I’ve made smoothies, cut them up into bite size pieces and ate them as a frozen snack, baked mango cake and bread, and so much more.


Mom-in-law has these vivid flowers growing in the front of her house. They are so lovely to look at. Makes me happy whenever I see them. I believe they are called datei/Indian mallow. Do you know?


My father-in-law had these and I was so excited to see them. I remember eating these so much as a child. This is actually the first since moving home that I’ve come across these. He says that auntie down the street has a tree of these. Exciting!

Bear or his dad do not remember the name but say it from a lemai (breadfruit) type tree. So I asked around and also researched. “Mansåles…something like that,” my assistant says. A colleague thought it was a large åbas (guava). After searching mansales, I came up with nothing. After searching for about an hour, I “think” I found the name…  ambarella (aka ‘kedon, jew plum, June plum, and so on). Do you know of another name?


Ambarella has a very tough, sour, bitter skin. The inside contains a hard hairy pit. The fruit is crunchy and tastes like a combination of young guava, coconut, green apple. It is slightly tart but sweet and leaves a thin film on your tongue and grainy feel on the roof of your mouth. It is not one that I can eat often but the mere fact I’ve had the chance to eat it is satisfying enough.


Finally, my fave of all flowers. I bought stephanotis seeds during one of my daycations to Hawaii but never planted them… I don’t have the green thumb to grow from the seeds. I am more successful with starter plants, which I was lucky to find on another Hawaii daycation.

Since planting it by my driveway, I have had the pleasure of smelling them before I go to work and when I return. Sometimes the jasmine-like fragrance is so intense, especially when it rains, that I can smell it from afar.

I waited a whole year for 1 seed pod to open up so I could give it to my father-in-law. He fell in love with this flower after smelling them at my house but can never remember the name. Tonight he informed that he has successfully grown 4 seeds and is excited to plant them down to grow wild in his garden.

Stay tuned for more Tropical Paradise posts.

Passion: Island Life

Cruising Around the Island

Mom occasionally likes to drive around the island and even though we stop by the normal sites, it never gets old. Sunday’s cruise around the island didn’t seem so promising with the heavy rain falls but the sun made its presence as soon as we exited the central part of the island. With 2 cars, we took the Yona route and worked our way down south trying to catch Hotnu Bakery before they closed at 2pm… it was 1:00pm when we started.

Tucked in the middle of the small village of Inarajan, Hotnu Bakery offers freshly baked breads and pizza that are cooked up in a traditional Spanish style brick oven. Open only 3 days of the week, locals and visitors can order mouth-watering items and watch as they are cooked in the 600°F hutnu with flaming bamboo.

Located within the George Flores Old Store and History Center, visitors can view artifacts, learn a bit about Guam’s history, and purchase handmade items of Guam.


We luckily reached the bakery in time and was able to grab 1 tuba bread and 2 coconut breads that just came out of the hotnu.

I didn’t take good photos the items this visit but here are photos of items purchased from previous visits to the bakery.

Hotnu Bakery
138 San Jose Avenue, Inarajan
Thursday: 4pm-8pmWeekends: 8am-2pm

9″ breads are $8 – coconut, butter, tuba, and cinnamon roll
16″ pizzas are $13-$15 – pepperoni, chicken ranch, and supreme

We took our goodies and made our way to the Inarajan pools. Here are few historic homes we passed on our way to the pools. While you are in the village, be sure can stop by the Chief Gadao statue, Gef Pa’go Chamorro Cultural Village, and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.


The weather held up allowing many island residents & visitors to enjoy the pools. We were going to go up the stairs built across the pools but when we saw one guy fall in attempt to climb it we decided it wasn’t such a great idea since the rainfall may have left the steps slippery. Thankfully the guy was okay and escaped with no major injury to his spine.

We devoured our breads and moved onto Merizo pier. The pier was crowded with parties so we parked ourselves slightly past the piers which offered good shade to sit and relax while enjoying the view Cocos Island and jet skiers in the lagoon.


Last stop was Fort Soledad, Umatac.

Ayden even hooked up with a Harley gal.


However, with the recent passing of Fort Soledad’s carabao man, Big John Tedtaotao, the stop was just not the same. We are used to seeing him at the front pavilion with his beloved carabao Betsy. Here are the last photos we took with Big John & Betsy. May he rest in peace. We hope to see Betsy there again with a family member who will continue Big John’s loving tradition. (tear)

Passion: Island Life