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Vol. 1 Issue No. 2

your guide & access to everything


Marianas Resort & Spa


Newsletter Magazine Advertising Branding

your media & public relations specialist

Our company creates variety of designed, tailor-made brochures, pamphlets, posters, newsletter, flyers, reports/annual reports, leaflets as well as write its content suitable to the clients needs portraying accomplishments, accolades and information that is used to communicate with its stakeholders in the community. Opened in July 2009 and continue to strengthen its presence in the Commonwealth. The company is an affiliated business partner with printing companies on Saipan as well associate partners with Marianas Variety and Saipan Tribune. Related news, events, functions, photography, research and marketing are part of what we do for our clients. Going beyond the expectations and setting trends make BISON Relations a company you want by your side. To contact us, please send email to or simply call Wayne at 483-5587, Uly at 287-5506 or Donna at 285-3664.

Cover Story


Features: Tastemasters


Publisher’s Note


What’s Hot Now

Northern Escape Wayne Pangelinan Unlocking the Secret

Wayne Pangelinan

Eating in style for less Our love affair

Emelinda Cabrera Jose’ Take

In Rota, there is an emerging love affair—cinnamon rolls. When in Rota do as what Rotanese do: treat yourself with the heavenly cinnamon rolls. Our best pick

Jose Padilla


Spot On: Short Takes You can never go wrong when a good place is serving good food. You will never have to face that awkward choice again—be it for dinner, lunch or plain surf-and-turf. Tops + More will try to settle this dispute, so to speak: We have identified fun and easy-to-find places, and believe us, the food taste better than ever!


special section What is next for NMC? 22

Education Opens Opportunities 24


e-Learning 39

Wayne Pangelinan Publisher Ulysses Torres Sabuco Managing Editor Core Group Derwin C. Johnson James Lee Emelinda Cabrera Jose Padilla Contributors Glenna S.P. Reyes Donna Liwag Rivera Executive Marketing Manager

Editorial Office Chalan Piao, Saipan P.O. Box 503674 CK Saipan, MP 96950, CNMI, USA We are online and search us on:



Saipan Visual Treat

Looking for a charming treat? There are hideaways that define Saipan as a food Mecca. Tops+More spanned the island in search of getaways that fuse style, authenticity and affordability. Inside several amazing places when the dollar goes far.


Tops+ More is a reading/information resource published by Bison Relations. Our office is located in Chalan Piao with mailing address at P.O. Box 503674 CK. For customer service, advertising rates and other inquiries email at or call (670) 483.5587/285.3664. Articles, manuscripts, photographs and other information published herein are property of Tops + More Magazine and or with permission of the writer/author.

Publisher’s Message Free



The first issue of Tops+ More magazine

was published a few months ago and here we are now on our second issue— a feat for a new reading/information resource in the CNMI. On this issue, we are complementing our serving with what is essential and vital to all of us: Education and Technology, with how the latter complements classroom learning to reflect the 21st Century Learning Skills. Technology, in all of its might, has turned corners since us mortals have laid eyes. Aptly, the CNMI Public School System and the Northern Marianas College are gracing our special edition, as they have been in the forefront of bringing—and bridging our community through education and technology. PSS, to be specific, has invested significantly, if not the largest yet in the CNMI, on technology. One of these investments is the One Laptop Per-Child Initiative. We have culled students’ views and decided to use this issue as a platform to hear their stories directly.

Dr. Sharon Y. Heart has been steadfast and upfront with her plans with the Northern Marianas College in the two months that she has been on the post. In a sit-down interview with our Managing Editor, Ulysses Torres Sabuco, she was candid with her plans: She has the direction and vision to sustain the growth pace of the college. One of the islands’ key technology players is DOCOMO Pacific, and its General Manager James Nelson shared his insights and visions with how the company has positioned itself. There are meaningful and useful materials that we have put together on this issue. Take time to read them and share them to the person next to you. Share your thoughts about our publication and we also welcome suggestions for future features, topics and issues. Since the launching of our maiden issue last July, our partners have grown and I am personally grateful of your immense support. Here, try our second issue. We at Tops+More once again have worked to our very best to show and treat everyone that the Commonwealth is a food Mecca. Head north when in Saipan, and be treated to a great culinary experience—and how the food is treated like another “super being.” Enjoy the read!

Joining me and managing editor Ulysses Torres Sabuco in celebrating Tops+ More launching last July were Lt. Gov. Eloy S. Inos, Senate Floor Leader Pete P. Reyes, Hyatt Exec. Chef Colombo, Chef de Cuisine Zenn Tomokane, and executive marketing director Donna Liwag Rivera.

Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011


What’s Hot now

Eating in style for less

Beef Kelaguen

Oleai Beach Club Pastry Filled Buttercup $2.50 Specials Regular Buttercup $1.75 Lunch Specials


Aglaia Island Restaurant

ur ve


Cinnamon Rolls


Tianna’s Editor’s Pick

Shirley’s Susupe

In Rota, there is an emerging love affair—cinnamon rolls. When in Rota do as what Rotanese do: treat yourself with the heavenly cinnamon rolls. Our best pick

Beer Batter Special


Filipino Lunch


Gekka Bar

Marianas Resort & Spa

Lunch Specials

Lunch Specials

Hawaiian Five-O CK Beach Hotel $6.50



when you dine in during Lunch or Dinner upon presentation of the coupon.

For reservations, please call:

Tel:233-6086 • Fax 233-6087 Hours of Operation: PMB 559 Box 10000 Saipan, MP 96950-8900 Tel.: (670) 233-6086 Fax: 1-670-233-6087


Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011

Lunch: 11:30-2:00pm (Monday - Saturday) Dinner: 6:00pm-12midnight (Monday to Sunday)


SHORT TAKES You can never go wrong when a good place is serving good food. You will never have to face that awkward choice again—be it for dinner, lunch or plain surf-and-turf. Tops + More will try to settle this dispute, so to speak: We have identified fun and easy-to-find places, and believe us, the food taste better than ever!

The Grill Antipasti, the Italian appetizer for “before the meal” is widely known to make a perfect grilling fare. But at The Grill of LaoLao Bay Golf Resort, they have elevated this to a new dimension—as a lunch special. Their rendition of the Shrimp Chili is an amalgamation of Italian-Mexican cuisine, as we interpret it. Try this (six tiger shrimps in secret spices rub sitting with crispy nachos) and their daily lunch specials (that comes with a cup of rice, soup, salad and mini cake) and you will have yourself craving for more.

Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011


Aglaia Island Dining & Bar Aglaia’s CREPE makes a big hit. Its symphony of flavors and curtsy plating not only brings back the kid in you, but truly a sensational dessert. Fresh bananas, air-light pancake, ice cream, drizzled chocolate and whip cream, you can never go wrong with a culmination of flavors like that.


At Aglaia, the pork and kimchee dish is an item on the menu you cannot pass up. The heat meets the soothing palate making it just right to enjoy. Each bite gives a little bite back, but too spicy? No, not at all.Take your time with this one. Savor the taste and let its flavors do its job, you won’t regret it.

Pork with Kimchee


Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011

Fish Meuneite

Naked Fish Naked Fish, restaurant and bar is synonymous to taste. Enjoy an after work treat with relaxing music. Unwind in a comfortable and relaxing environment. Naked Fish is a hot spot on the island with a tamed attitude (ambiance). Service at Naked Fish is genuine. A personalized approach making you feel at home. Island favorites are served.

Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011


Joeten Superstore That’s Amore! If you haven’t explored the benefits of outdoor merienda (or, call it, paseando) try the penne pasta and pizza of Joeten Superstore. It’s a bang for your buck in a foil!


Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011


northern m a r i a n a s r e s o r t & s pa

When you set out for wanderlust to get a respite from your routine, drive north—and Marianas Resort & Spa is just about the perfect destination. Publisher Wayne Pangelifnan, and writers Emelinda Cabrera, Derwin Johnson and Jose Padilla—the group that are in-the-know for what’s hot and what’s new, captured their recent promenade—Editor


Article by Wayne Pangelinan Photos by Emelinda Cabrera

For many years now, Mariana Resort & Spa remains a stunning—and a special place for those eyeing for a getaway, or simply, a pursuit of pleasure (brief hiatus from our daily routines or musings). While we have been drawn with endless of activities offered by Marianas Resort & Spa – from spas to go-kart racing, golf to horseback riding, and trekking to frolicking in a beach hideaway – chock full of surprises greet food lovers, as well. Good food and restaurants have been opened in some of the most unlikely parts in the Commonwealth - be it because it is wrongly located or just too expensive - yet Marianas Resort & Spa has lifted the standards with a raft of its chic restaurant and great treats. After all, your 15 to 20 minute drive takes you to an oasis not too far away north of where you are. XII (Twelfth) Night is the hotel’s premier restaurant, and to this day it is still a popular choice for its good and easy-on-the pocket food, location and its avant garde design. (And from anywhere inside the restaurant you will have a perfect view of its wide pool and the vastness of the Pacific Ocean.) The restaurant sits a maximum of 120 and their service is impeccable. The place is also perfect for special occasions, gathering or anything that fascinates your interest, say for a social gettogether with family and friends, or that special someone.

Assorted Appetizer

Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011


Beef Carpaccio

Assorted Local Fish Grilled

ow it all began Following the invitation of General Manager Gloria Cavanagh, she introduced us to the Marianas Resort & Spa experience. It was just a perfect timing to cap our madding day with dinner. It was a perfect treat. As the sun slowly sets turning the skyline into crimson, the hotel lobby glowed and not far from where we were standing, XII Night Restaurant, in its elegance, opened its doors. What struck us first was its suspended water wall from floor-to-ceiling and a wine cellar underneath—a unique and modern combination. A luminous blue light peeked out of the glass panel beneath the water wall, giving us the impression that every evening is a fine dining experience.

azzling rendition Grilled Chicken with Mustard Sauce

The aroma of what was cooking dazzled our senses. Executive Chef William Retardo prepared a feast for us– myself, Derwin Johnson, Jose Padilla, Eme Cabrera and couple Donna and Charlie Rivera. Not one, not two, not three but four appetizers tamed our hunger. They were a perfect combination to any meal, I agree. The fusion of the seafood salad was impressive. The dressing was subtle, and did not overwhelm the flavor of the shrimps, scallops and calamari. And Derwin Johnson could not just hide his love for this delectable salad. “I must admit that this was beyond my expectations,” says Johnson. The appetizers and the seafood salad are available in the ala-carte menu of the restaurant, says Executive Chef William.

Seafood Salad


Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011

“These are my signature dishes… and it is the very best we are to offer utilizing local produce and integrating imported products including meat that are in excellent quality,” the executive chef noted.

For starter, we must say that we were in for the best fine dining taste-tour. I cleansed my palate with a nice wash of Mai Tai. With four appetizers, several selection of pasta dishes, meat dishes and delectable desserts – the $85 per-person course (I surmised based on my own mathematics) was just reasonable. (Inclusive of overflowing wine and beer.) “We are offering the best. However, we tailormake our fine dining menus for those who have a budget. They would call and ask for anywhere from $35-$55 or more, and we give them what is best for them,” Executive Chef William explained.

xceptional fusion & combination We were literally betrothed to our taste buds when we were served with, yet again, not one nor two but four pasta dishes. They have the best Pepperoncino, Basil Pesto Pasta, Linguini, and Vongolli pastas. We were blown away. “I had my own affair and delight over Basil Pesto Pasta; it’s perfect blend of cheese and spices is a perfect experience,” says Johnson.

Tenderloin Steak with Pink Pepper Sauce

Chicken Mustard experience.

ropping the veil Just when we thought that the $85 dinner course was more than enough, Executive Chef William came out with the main entrée. Surely enough, the main course was served: authentic Italian at that. Tender and juicy lamb chops and tenderloin Angus steaks grilled to the moment, and it taste with just the right amount of spice to it. Artistically crafted and plated, it was the penultimate presentation. The lamb chops came with sautéed local vegetable and the tenderloin steak was topped with imported pink pepper sauce. In general, the serving sizes were just perfect. Johnson could not hide his appreciation. “My favorite was the steak not only because I like my meat and can appreciate the love and care that is put into making such a masterpiece but for the simple fact that it was great stuff-- try it and I promise you will love it!”

Mille Feville with Apple and Strawberry Compote

Complementing the pasta dishes were a platter of assorted fish: tuna, mahi-mahi and Barramundi, and how they were cooked provided perfect fusion of texture and mouthwatering blend of flavors. For Johnson, the Barramundi was another first. With its bold flavor, it is best taken in as a whole. Grilled chicken dressed with mustard and roasted sea bass with sautéed local vegetables thrilled our senses. How the hotel maximizes the use of locally-grown produce is hats-off. A great way appreciating and making the best of what we have. “I recommend that others try it to embrace the distinct taste of the dish,” Johnson said with excitement with his Grilled

ar too tempting to let go The dessert offerings are far too tempting to overlook: White and Dark Chocolate mousse and Mille Feuillet with Apple and Strawberry compote gave an excellent closing to our evening. It was a sweet-tooth craving experience as the desserts looked like smaller versions of art masterpieces. Award-winning to say the least; after all, they are only available at XII Night. With such generally well-executed cuisine, fast and informed service, fine selections of wines and beverages and seating area that is relaxing and oozing with ambiance, Marianas Resort & Spa’s has one great fine dining experience. What a sublime escape.

Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011



Unlocking the

By Emelinda Cabrera


Jose Padilla’s Take

locking out. Finally feeling productive. Now I need to rush my way to the north end of the island to meet a dynamic group of new and old friends. It’s happy hour. It’s dinnertime and I’ve been starving. I got Jake Shimaburo’s ukulele jams playing as I make my way towards Marianas Resort and Spa. It’s just about close to six-thirty in the early evening and the sun will be setting soon. The drive gives me a chance to see the sky painted with a tint of red making the drive look beautiful as I pass the street lined with palm trees. A perfect harmony of tranquility. Too bad I didn’t have my camera out. It would have made a great photo opportunity. The north end of the island – there isn’t much up here yet but the drive to Marianas Resort and Spa makes you feel as if for a moment you were actually traversing elsewhere other than on Saipan. Enjoy and take in a bit of that breathtaking view of what is to be expected up ahead— the majestic cliff lines of Marpi. History awaits. History is hidden.

The number and variety of restaurants in Saipan has increased enormously this past couple of years but one has to look at XII Night of Marianas Resort and Spa to see and experience this. Writer Jose Padilla took a trip, not that far, to the north for a breakaway. Here is his light-hearted attempt to get our readers have a bit of fun and maybe persuade to try the Marianas Resort and Spa experience. – Editor

Appetizer: Snail tart, assorted appetizer (tuna, shrimp, cheese provolone, ratatouille, beef carpaccio) cold potato soup, seafood salad, bread basket The snail tart was a pleasant surprise. I had never eaten or tasted snail before and found this tart served on a crispy, light and flakey pastry bread to be very good! The snail had a mushroom like texture and blended well with the other ingredients and bread. The cold (or cool) potato soup was okay based on the first sip from my spoon, but as I made it to the middle the flavor was kicked up a notch. The soup contained a fried piece of Parmigiano cheese (almost cracker-like) that gave the soup a good punch and that accentuated the soup very well! The provolone cheese wrap from the assorted plate was full of flavor and a great taste-bud-teaser! The tuna from the assorted plate was powered by its mayo-based sauce. The roast duck was served cold with vegetables on a mini-skewer meant for one or two people, tops. The flavor of the duck was very tasty!

Yet, history can wait.

The seafood salad was served with parmigiano cheese, calamari and shrimp—one of my favorite appetizers with the salad providing great balance between.

Take that turn into and experience what Marianas Resort has to offer: a perfect escape to renew and get revived.

It truly provided me the opportunity to enjoy all of the amalgamation of flavors.

It might be quite a drive, yet have you seen how the resort gleams at night and be awed with the warmth and relaxing ambiance ensconced in the beauty and splendor of Marianas Resort & Spa?

Pasta: Pepperoncino, basil pasta, linguini, vongolli (clam)

This charming hotel has a dining place to behold (XII Night) and prepare to get settled for a feast through the fusion of Italian and Asian treats. The place is a faraway experience that every guest is allowed to unlock and unravel the culinary world’s secret. Executive Chef William Retrado is at hand to walk you through to your best culinary experience, yet again.

10 Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011

Continue on page 41

Ala carte : Buramonde - assorted fish platter, Grilled chicken w/ mustard, Roasted sea bass Assorted local fish grill The clam pasta was good. One of my favorite pasta dishes. The flavors danced on the tip of my tongue. Continue on page 41

A perfect place for your greatest escape

P.O. Box 500527, Saipan, MP 96950 USA (670) 322-0770 • 322-0776

master Y

ears of experience allowed Executive Chef William to master his craft.

But it was not always easy; he had to struggle. A young man in search for education, William had his calling at the age of 18. Young but filled with energy and vigor, he started to make a name of himself working as automotive mechanic while still in school, in Quezon Province, Philippines. He dropped out of school at the age of 19 following his father’s passing, leaving him the responsibility of helping to provide for his sister and mother. He put his sister through school by making both ends meet. From a painful tragedy, opportunities were born for William. His uncle, Lino Baldevia was the head host at the famous Guernica’s Restaurant, an authentic traditional Spanish restaurant located in the financial capital of the Philippines, in Makati. In search for a job, William worked on as a kitchen helper at the restaurant. It was when his journey to the culinary world began: while working in the kitchen, the restaurant’s executive chef noticed his eagerness. One day, the executive chef asked if he wanted to cook. “I said, Yes!”, recalls William. And the executive

12 Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011

chef asked again, “Do you want to be a chef?” He did not blink. He jumped on the opportunity. That moment, he knew his calling. He underwent rigorous training, and shortly after, he moved to become a junior cook under the direct supervision of his executive chef. Years on, in 1989, he transferred and worked for another famous restaurant, La Fayette, an-all French restaurant, and as a junior cook in-training. A few years later, he was hired again at the Patio Guernica’s. It was in 1991 when the job for Saipan’s Mariana Resort & Spa came. It was a right choice: he accepted the offer, and there he started to build his love and skill for culinary. During his twenty-year tenure with Mariana Resort & Spa, William embraced his position with motivation. And in 2001, he was given a break—a promotion he did not expect: executive chef overseeing the responsibility and joy of handling the kitchen, staff and culinary experience he is ready to share. Over the years, he has also become a mentor. Three of his protégés are now enjoying great kitchen jobs in Hawaii. Executive Chef William’s love and passion for food is a story to tell. He was a rising star in the making. Today, he is a gentle giant in the culinary world.

Under the master’s baton Raymond M. Palacios is Chef William prote’ge’. An upcoming and rising young chef from the CNMI, Palacios is ready to explore the world. Soon, he will pursue his formal culinary degree in the mainland. “One day, I will join my family in Texas and fulfill my dream of becoming a chef,” says Palacios. Son of Raymond Ulloa Palacios and Remedio Castro Mafnas, Palacios has his eyes on building his career in culinary arts. His experience in the food industry started at the age of 21 where he worked as a bus-boy in the famed Chili’s food conglomerate in Slidell, Louisiana. Five months into his job, the opportunity came knocking. He was offered the position as a cook. With great interest, ready to take on new responsibilities and willingness to challenge himself, Palacios viewed it as a sense of accomplishment. He did not stop there and continued on where he found a position at IHOP in Florida a year after. In 2009, he moved back to Saipan and worked for the Palms Resort Saipan as a cook. With the closure of the Palms, he was given another chance and worked for Mariana Resort & Spa. “I am grateful for the opportunity to be employed with the Mariana Resort & Spa. It is a challenging position, but I do Roasted Sea Bass with Tomato Sauce

enjoy the people I work with,” adds Palacios. Today, he is the aspiring young cook who dreams of being a chef in the very near future. He currently attends school at the Northern Marianas College and has completed the certificate program in culinary with the Northern Marianas Institute. And Palacios is most grateful to Chef William. “He never ceases to stop pushing me, I’ve learned a lot and I continue to learn. The opportunities here at Mariana Resort & Spa has opened up my mind to see more of myself and my family.” “I thank Ms. Gloria Cavanagh for proving an atmosphere where I can work alongside my colleagues as well enhance my growth in culinary. I am motivated by the things around me, but for sure it is the constant guidance of our general manager and our executive chef that allowed me to grow,” Palacios says.

Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011 13

S tyle affordable making

Handbags etc.

Local entrepreneurs Joe C. Guerrero and Eleanor T. Cabrera opened Handbags etc. in 2010 on Beach Road San Jose. It was a move to bring style to each and every woman with affordability. With their stylish selections, Handbags etc. has defined elegance and look, reflecting trend and style that makes up today’s women. “From stylish reusable shopping bags to fashion handbags and clutches to diaper bags, handbags etc. understands that a bag can, after all, be a statement about a woman. Whether she sees herself as a chic new mommy, a woman always on the go, a lady bound for a simple trip to the grocery store and wanting to look stylish, or all of the above”, says Eleanor. A passion for bags and bag-lover extraordinaire herself, Eleanor encountered limited selections and locations that provide these products on island. Since her return in 2001 from abroad her experiences on island prompted her to open Handbag etc. “It was common enough experience for a bag-lover like me to encounter limited locations and selections when in search of

14 Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011

- and in the mood for - that must-have bag for myself or as a gift”, added Eleanor. Eleanor’s passion and love for bags stems over 20 years. Her desire to supply the women of the Marianas choices and a better selections of hand bags, totes, mommy-bags and more that define the woman at affordable and reasonable pricing came to a reality. Women now have the venue to find that stylish bag that defines their persona, maybe not one bag, but two, three or more for the social and stylish lifestyle in the islands. “In hopes of sharing a passion for bags of all kinds and filling a fashion niche of its own on Saipan, handbags etc. opened its doors December 2010. In June 2011, handbags etc. launched an improved website, offering select products online at

Continue on page 41

Building Tourism

with our


benefits has been the basis of MTEC’s mission. It has spurred unprecedented collaboration and support to school activities and organizations such as the MY WAVE Clubs, Beautify CNMI, among others. “It’s a daunting task to placing tourism atop the minds of our youth, but it is imperative that we start somewhere. We reach out to schools in a way where children can understand how tourism affects their life,” Benavente added. Kagman High School Hospitality Class with MTEC leaders


he Northern Mariana Islands surviving economic driver – tourism – has seen its greatest days and is now experiencing one of its worst periods. The islands beacon with treasure for visitors and alike, and we, as a community, are mindful of protecting and encouraging growth, and saving what we value most: tourism. Looking at the islands on their natural form, they are our assets, intangible treasure, alongside our rich culutre. The Marianas Educational Tourism Council or MTEC, a non-profit organization, has been a vehicle for our youth, promoting awareness of the life-giving visitor industry, empowering them with the knowledge to understand the importance of tourism and how they play a pivotal role in today’s and the future of tourism.

Strengthen Tourism. Be a Member! MTEC continues its outreach programs on schools, but strengthening tourism must be the goal of more than just one segment of our community to make an effective change. Our economy is dependent on tourism. How can you help? How can you do your part to strengthening our industry? The MTEC is supported by the Marianas Visitors Authority (MVA), members of the visitors industry, schools, and concerned private citizens like you. As a non-profit organization, MTEC seeks new members to be a part of its initiatives to support tourism. For more information on becoming a member of MTEC, contact Martin Duenas, MVA Community Projects Manager at mduenas@ or 670.664.3210.

“We believe that the sooner kids learn about the contributions of the visitor industry, the better they will understand the importance of protecting our natural resources and environment,” said Vicky Benavente, MTEC chairwoman. Reaching kids at the school level to introduce tourism as an economy will generate the needed understanding and existence of knowledge for the CNMI’s future in tourism. Over the years, MTEC has strengthened the youths’ role in the community, actively promoting tourism and its

Volunteers from the WSR Elementary School MVA proudly showing their day’s harvest

Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011 15

Equipments: Refrigeration & Airconditioning Sales, Parts, Repair, Services and Installation

Be GREEN with Enviro Aire

A trusted brand for your airconditiong needs ENVIRO AIRE (TARO SUE) Gualo Rai, Middle Road Tel 234-5416 / 17 Fax 235-5415


Lumpia - $7.00 Sashimi - $9.00 Beef Kelaguen - $9.50 Chicken Kelaguen - $8.50 Calamari - $7.50 Steak Chaser - $8.50 Shrimp Chaser - $8.50 Chicken Wings - $8.50 Chicken Basket - $9.50 Ask your server about our Daily Drink Special. Happy Hour from 11:00am - 8:00pm All Bears & Alcoholic Drinks $.50 OFF During Happy Hour

Live Band playing Fridays and Saturdays. For inquiry visit: TARO SUE Gualo Rai, Middle Road Tel 234-5416 / 17 • Fax 235-5415

u Are yo next?

faces of

Also available: Daily Lunch Special, Weekly Lunch Special and Pinoy Lunch Special Operation Hours: 11am - 12midnight (Monday-Sunday)

Marriage Encounter “We joined Marriage Encounter and it strengthened, changed, and gave us tools to communicate with each other. We have grown much closer to God and each other since.” “We created a family here on Saipan that is just as close to us as our family back in North America. We care, love and support each other and together we work and improve our marriages, our faith, and relationships.”

Jake & Jackie Van Dam

Get Encountered Fall weekend Oct. 14-16, 2011 Aqua Resort Club

Married in May 2007, encountered October 2008.

Contact: Coordinators Tom & Erica Thornburg 287-9205/285-6372

special section

What’s next for NMC? ‘Accreditation is our number one priority’ Dr. Sharon Y. Hart, NMC President

Setting directions Opportunities in sight

Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011 17



he way students engaged in learning—and the perception on the effectiveness of classrooms they attend have slowly transformed, reflecting the intent of the 21st Century Learning. The One-Laptop Per-Student initiative of the Public School System (for 7th to 12 graders of public and private schools) is a large-scale technology immersion initiative of the school district that has been viewed as relevant, meaningful and geared to a personalized student learning experience. Essentially, it has led to self-directed learning among public and private schools students in the Northern Mariana Islands. In September of last year, over 5,000 laptops were distributed to both public and private schools’ 7th and 12th grade students. On September 22 this year, another batch of laptops - 1,100- will be distributed to 7th grade students of both public and private schools. Today, in any school campus, modern advancements facilitated the creation of a technology-immersed campus. Technology is now a partner in the act of teaching and learning.

led to



Roman Tudela, 16,

Junior Saipan Southern High School

Tommy Joe K. Cangco, 13

“I got my laptop when I was in my sophomore year. We have limited use of school computer because of the limited number and technology that we have at that time.” This is a great investment of PSS—they did the right thing to help me and my classmates. From the time I receive my laptop, I have been using it all the way: to do all my class projects and activities.

MaryAnn Waing, 15, Sophomore Marianas High School

I like what I am doing now. I can work fast and type fast, and it has improve my classroom learning. Waing said she got motivated. “I take the initiative to do my own research,” she said of her first laptop. “I like it because I got to do cool thing snow than before” One great use of the laptop is for putting together a power point. “Before, I used to do it slowly and right now I am a bit fast and I love doing it”

18 Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011

8th Grade Cha Cha Oceanview Junior High School This school year he transferred to Chacha OCeanview Junior High School from Hopwood Junior High School. And it was at HJHS when he received his laptop while on 7th grade. Even with the change of learning environment, Cangco drive to learn remains. He has great interests in the sciences. “I particularly want to know always about inventions and the scientists (behind their works),” Cangco said. “It also helps me taking important notes in class,” he said. Above all, he pointed out, “I am getting better with my own research.” One intangible result that he value is his motivation to go to school everyday. He lives in the As Matuis area but never gets tired going to school.

“I am truly happy for my laptop because anywhere I go, I always get information and new knowledge. I am grateful (to the school system) for giving me a laptop.”

Ricky Joe Riungel, 15,

8th Grade, Cha Cha Oceanview Junior High School. Riungel is proud of what he has become—and how technology, through the One Laptop PerStudent of PSS helped him.

“I now have good grades and I have been performing good in my class,” he said humbly. “I use it for research, taking notes and especially on power points,” he adds, grateful for his former seventh grade teacher for teaching him of power point preparation. And if there is any advice he has to his peers: “Do not break it and be responsible when using it.” For many more school years, he sees a great use of the laptop. “It will help me for a long time.”

Jenica Smithee, 16 Junior Grace Christian Academy

For Smithee, the laptop she received during her sophomore year last year was a result of the “great partnership” between the Public School System and the private schools. “I do think that the things that they do right now (PSS and private schools), the long partnership that they have are helping us students,” she said. “It is the right thing that they did it to provide laptops.” “All students are equal no matter what kind of education you are (receiving). Students are students, same as teachers are teachers,” she added. A year to date, she takes care of her laptop like her own investment. “I have been using it for my research paper and it makes it easier to organize with the use of this technology.” And, “I am very, very happy because that.” She is “a bit competitive” in class and she remains humbled with the opportunity. “But essentially it has everything that makes our class work a lot easier and handy.” Soon she will pursue a degree in medicine. “It will have a good benefit in me especially when I go to college.”

Nicole Sablan, 17, Senior Kagman High School

At the administration office of KHS, Sablan is juggling paper and online work on her volunter school work. And she loves to do both. “I save my hands now—no more hand writing for long (articles),” she chuckles. I improved my ability to write and communicate better and share my thought to my classmates,” she relates on the laptop she has. “To me I feel much better; it helped me with everything and in everything that I do for the past school year and this (school year). She got her laptop when she was junior. “Thank you to Mr. Kilili Sablan for distributing this to the public school. Some kids that do not have the advantage with having their own personal laptop, now enjoy (the same) Some kids do not have them tehn and have the advantage now.” “Thank you to our school system for everything that they do in making the lives of the students better…thank you.”

Atdao Rosario, 17, Senior Kagman High School

Every second period he volunteers as a library aide. And during breaks, he takes out his laptop and browse through online resources: published speeches and stories of general information. “For me it helped me to accomplish easy with my class activities and projects. Technology is best for class work,” Rosario said. “ I am proud of; I am able to work and write speeches and short stories.” When at home and during spare time, he continues on doing what he loves to do: reading online resources. “PSS did the right thing in helping us students improve our learning. It is a lot easier now.

Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011 19

NMC’s Way Forward By Ullysses Torres-Sabuco

“Accreditation is our number one priority,” is how Dr. Sharon Y. Hart, new NMC President, opens up her interview with Tops+More Magazine. “Every effort to address every issue from the last report, to move us from probation to accreditation reaffirmation, is being followed,” stressed Dr. Hart. Accreditation remains vital to the college’s integrity; its professional standards and sound pursuit to maintain its status as a higher learning institution in the Commonwealth set the tone of Dr. Sharon Y. Hart’s leadership. Hart, who was named to the presidency last June, is not leaving any single stone unturned. Barely two months into the job, her appointment brought energy and direction to an institution that faces many challenges. There is no doubt that the Board of Regent’s decision to have her on board was with confidence that she can deliver–and reverse the gauntlet of challenges that has continued to beset the college to this day. Setting Direction Inside her office on the afternoon of August 8 this year, Dr. Hart was open about everything, including her plans about the college and its current state. She is not new to the job (she previously held other presidential appointments prior to being hired at NMC), and when she spoke to Tops+More, she brought a fresh perspective and a new outlook. Dr. Hart brings with her an extensive educational leadership and management portfolio, as evidenced with what she had brought forth in the past two months of her current position. Her candor over the accreditation status of the college allowed her to draw out plans for NMC’s future. Her direction is clear. “I will say I am optimistic. In two-and-a-half months, we will be able to submit our report,” she said, referring to the October-15 deadline by WASC for NMC to provide its progress report. The WASC Team, in its June show-cause report, identified several areas that are critical to the college’s future accreditation. In the fall of 2012, NMC will undergo an accreditation self-evaluation required every six years by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).

The last self-evaluation took place in 2006. Reaffirming partnerships and collaborating with all stakeholders were Dr. Hart’s paramount goals in ensuring that NMC’s accreditation stood on solid ground. Meetings with lawmakers and executive branch officials were held. And they heard her. They opened their doors to the college, once again. And the determination brought forth by WASC was integral for Dr. Hart in that it allowed her to hit the ground running. It yielded unprecedented collaboration and partnership with the college’s stakeholders. “These are very strong reasons why we need to work together to ensure that the College’s accreditation remains on solid footing,” Dr. Hart said. “It is important that our stakeholders and partners should not only understand by talking but walking the talk,” she opined. Essentially, she has established, yet again, an open-door policy for NMC and its stakeholders. “NMC has started collaboration for mutual opportunities–and I am here to ensure that we will maintain that, by taking necessary steps alongside the Board of Regents, to ensure that it will result in stronger partnerships,” she added. Opportunities in Sight NMC’s meager resources reflect the Commonwealth’s sputtering economy. How the college manages to operate and deliver higher education learning has been a challenge in the past. Still with the lack of resources, Dr. Hart sees a goldmine waiting to be tapped, albeit utilizing the advantage NMC holds in the region. Describing these plans as “opportunities” that will “complement” the programs that are already in place, Dr. Hart is looking at expanding its current programs by investing in short-term certificate courses, online programs, and apprenticeship trades. “Our goal, as indicated by our Board of Regents, is to have a strong look at our current programs and to offer what is needed by our community,” she noted. Call it a revolution-of-sort, but with what is already tabled, Dr. Hart envisions NMC as a principal provider of online courses in the Pacific. Continue on page 23

22 Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011

Continued from page 22

From short-term health certificate programs to professional advancement, NMC sees itself playing an integral role in the professional development and enrichment of individuals that are already in the CNMI through distance education. “It is about community enrichment and what we at NMC can do to facilitate the continued learning and growth of our professionals,” explains Dr. Hart. While it is still in the early stage and pending accreditation review, the plan to expand and invest into a large-scale online program will involve outside providers.” Initially, “a great variety of up to 6,000 new courses and certificates” are already being explored. At least six companies/ institutions have already been identified as potential partners of NMC. “One of our goals for this program is to become the largest provider of online courses in the Pacific,” she said, citing that there is already a company that has been identified that offers about 200 online/certificate programs. “We have to be more aggressive with our online delivery program by working with external partners to help grow our distance education program.” Dr. Hart pointed out. An expanded online program forms part of NMC’s technology immersion program. “That is absolutely critical to the future of our Commonwealth. With ready and available online programs, it meets and engages our business community, which is the engine for economic development.”

Dr. Hart is also looking at growing the Northern Marianas College’s apprenticeship program by exploring different trades that students can pursue to obtain a successful and well paying career. Accountability Since its inception more than two decades ago, NMC’s completion rate remains high and its investment in human capital has yielded graduates who are now working professionals of their own. The college continues to sustain its high level of accountability. From few associate courses back then to today’s multifaceted educational programs, NMC has spurred a wave of innovation. It has engaged and facilitated economic growth through the education and training of the local workforce. “I look at accountability with flexibility. It is not only being accountable with public funds but also any institution of higher learning must be flexible to ensure that its existence is beneficial to the community it serves,” the lady educator opined. The influence of NMC in the community is reflected on a solid, strong and sound approach to responding to the needs of the community. It may have faltered once or twice in the past, but it has remained steadfast in its resolve to serve the educational needs of the community and has moved past its crisis, owing to the vision and the support of everyone. Yet again, it is a never-ending battle to win, as is the case with every institution of learning. But one thing is certain: NMC is at a turning point and Dr. Hart may just be the right person for the job.

Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011 23

Northern Marianas College

Adult Basic Education Program

Adult Basic Education’s Mission: The mission of the Adult Basic Education is to ensure that educationally disadvantaged adults of the community have the opportunities to acquire basic skills necessary to function more effectively and productively in order to gain upward mobility by providing opportunities that will enable them to pursue further education in support of the Norther Marianas College mission.


“ late to

Never too


get an

Elizabeth John Linan Grandmother

Maria Ana M. Cabrera Daughther

Raynalyn Cabrera John Granddaugther AFTER Completed: May 22, 2011

P.O. Box 501250 CK, Saipan, MP 96950 • Tel: (670) 234-3690 ext.1720, 21/23/24 • Fax: (670) 235-4940 Paid for by the U.S. Department of Education Office of the Vocational and Adult Education

and NMC have mutually reinforced each other in helping achieve every individual’s best and potential. A major issue that is distinct to the Commonwealth populace is how far one can develop better outreach and immersing more inclusive practices without missing anyone in the delivery of education. ABE does just that: allowing for individuals to finish basic education.



One direct end-user (or recipient) of what ABE provides is the workforce. With the change of the economic landscape, the workplace embraced change: hiring requirement has become more challenging and competitive. It is now a must that one should hold such experience in


Some of the most sought-after benefits from education are economic. Specialized knowledge and technical skills, for example, lead to higher returns, greater productivity and there is a generation of valuable ideas. This is in striking resemblance of Socrates’ view, succinctly put to context by one published article years back: that the more he learned, the more he became convinced of his own ignorance. Power, albeit wisdom gravitates from ignorance—or as we become learned individuals, the more we are convinced that the exploits of education lead to opportunities. In the Commonwealth, this is vital to the islands’ growth, and a familiar feeling for everyone who tries to make sense of the role of education in a small island like ours.

leadership, motivation, technology literacy, trade skills, and communication abilities. This concept has further empowered ABE in augmenting one of its missions, to cater to the growth and change of pace of our society. As a vehicle for individuals to finish and or complete their basic education, ABE remains integral to a revitalized economy like ours. Never Too Late Ian Carr’s story is worth sharing. An ABE-General Education Development graduate, he achieved highest GED honors in 2009. Continue on page 42

There are still vast opportunities that can be tapped if education is provided—or availed in the CNMI. After all, we never cease to give up that big dream of a better life, good-paying work, able to find time to relax and recreate without having to worry what comes next. Over the years the Northern Marianas College’s Adult Basic Education Program (ABE) has become a vehicle for outreach and serves as a means of empowerment. The ABE Program complements the college vision in providing the skills and confidence to individuals to get higher education. Today, ABE has transcended as an outreach arm of NMC, a community-oriented higher learning institution. ABE Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011 25



9:27:29 AM


30 years ago, the CNMI lagged behind in technology. Numerous investments have paved the way to respond to the growing demand of technology, and today it essentially puts the Commonwealth in tune with technological advancements.

Wireless technology has become an easier feat, with information at your fingertips at affordable rates.

Millions of dollars were spent on system upgrades by companies, and nothing was left at ensuring technological capabilities, through modernization, are offered to the household: today’s “roaming client”. A huge shift has taken place. Change has arrived. Technology and the way we use it is now designed to work for the people; a breakthrough that ensured we are in touch, even at a great distance. It revolutionized communication. The world today is much smaller than it used to be. TOPS + More spoke with DOCOMO Pacific about CNMI’s state of technology, and how the company - their services and challenges faced - have delivered the needs of the islands.

Pacific offers just that.

Mr. James Nelson, General Manager Docomo Pacific revealed that DOCOMO Pacific has been upfront with competition through cutting-edge offering and technological services in the Commonwealth. Today, as a major player in the Commonwealth, its services cater to the needs of businesses and personal lifestyle with the introduction of trendy and fashionable gizmos

and gadgets “We are at the leading edge of network technology modernization in the Mariana Islands. When you couple that with the strength, experience, and resources of our parent company, NTTDocomo, we will maintain as a leader in the wireless industry.  We’re proud to serve the CNMI.  Our  commitment to continually improve our network  and provide the best wireless products and services will never waiver,” explains Nelson. With the completion of their $1.9M investment towards GSM services, improving quality and reliability to its clientele has made a tremendous impact and change.

technology: change.has.arrived Operating a business in the CNMI, particularly as a technologycommunications provider, is a tough challenge but with its commitment to ensure quality, realability and satisfaction, DOCOMO Pacific’s capital infusion to up the ante in wireless technology reflects their no-nonsense business approach. Among the strategic investments they are currently working on includes upgrading system, key network equipments, and services. “There are several challenges related to technology upgrades in the CNMI. Cost is probably the biggest challenge.  Being in a remote location is an expensive proposition relative to technology upgrades”, adds Nelson. The wireless industry boomed in the last 10 years. As fiber optics were laid and connectivity through the technology information highway opened up, the change is unfathomable if compared to othe modem dial-up system two decades ago. Wireless technology has become an easier feat to have

information at your fingertips at affordable rates. DOCOMO Pacific offers just that. “Our selection of handsets is at the forefront of cellular technology and our rates and plans truly fit the needs of the community. Altogether combined - web surfing, keeping track of friends and loved ones on your favorite social network, sending and receiving email and text messages from anywhere in the world, technology change has become DOCOMO Pacific,” added Nelson. Even as a serious competitor in the islands, DOCOMO Pacific does not rest on its laurel. Advancement and modernization of its services remains constant. “It’s the drive and dedication of our employees and customers that make us a serious competitor in the wireless technology industry. We remain committed to ensuring we provide the best GSM service in the CNMI,” Nelson explained.

Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011 27

A Decade of



TO SURVIVE the waves of industry-damaging economic crises followed by the onslaught of cut-throat competition mushrooming all over, businesses need some enduring qualities. While the past decade was lean in activities and wanting in customers for most businesses, there is one that stood and weathered the economic storms. IDEAL SIGNS is not new to any of these. It had its fair share of strains caused by the Commonwealth’s sliding economic activities but only to be transformed into a formidable provider of quality advertising & promotional media, creative banner & signboard designs, premium large-format archival prints and vehicle exterior detailing & markings.

One of its enduring and most endearing qualities vital to its growth is their superb rapport with the clients. Everyone who steps into IDEAL SIGNS feels at home. There is a personal commitment from the staff. “We are here for you and your needs. We are your solution.” As their motto goes, “…SERVICE BEYOND THE SALE…”, IDEAL SIGNS has matured into a company committed to ensure that quality comes with its products and care with its services & after market support.

IDEAL SIGNS was the product of an expansion program that formed part of the multi-faceted strategic positioning of Saipan Computer Services. In 2001, just as the Commonwealth slid into another wave of economic difficulty, the purchase of IDEAL SIGNS by SCS completed a business strategy that combined Innovative Ideas, Creative Designs, Computer Technology and the latest in Printing & Cutting Equipment. Today—a decade later, IDEAL SIGNS has become a model of your ONE-STOP-SHOP for Custom Signs and Premium Quality Printing needs. Its merger with SCS was a turning point: IDEAL SIGNS pioneered and, onwards, led the Northern Marianas in the use of state-of-the-art Large-Format Printers, Digital Cutting Equipment and Alternative Signage Media for marketing, advertising and public information dissemination.

To date, IDEAL SIGNS continues to lead in catering to the needs of a wide spectrum of clients like the state (CNMI) government, federal offices, financial institutions, the travel-related industries, general & retail merchandising establishments, service-oriented businesses and educational & health-care institutions of the CNMI.

28 Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011

Their business model, their commitment, and most importantly, their use of cutting-edge technology make IDEAL SIGNS our hands-down choice, here at Tops+More.

Service Beyond The Sale

Stickered & Printed BANNERS Custom (In & Outdoor) SIGNS Advertising Media PRINTS Vehicle MARKings & DETAILing OPEN: Mondays thru Saturdays Across 13 Fishermen - Beach Rd, South Garapan Tel. (670) 234-9110 • Fax: (670) 234-9119 IDEAL SIGNS is a division of Saipan Computer Services

Are YOU of Legal Age?

This is a paid advertorial

Sixto Igisomar

Acting Secretary, Department of Commerce

It is simple to ask whether the buyer is of legal age: “are you of legal age?”

It is simple to ask whether the buyer is of legal age. So ask: “Are you of legal age?”

Are YOU Being responsible…

You will be surprised beyond reprise how these products are sold - and handed - easly by some establishments. There are still some establishments that are selling this regulated items to our minors. And the health and wellbeing of our children are at stake.

The Alcohol Beverage and Tobacco Control (ABTC) Division under the Department of Commerce is the agency responsible in enforcing the CNMI alcohol and tobacco laws and regulations. They also are providing appropriate certification processes for establishments that cater to the sale of these products.

Many occasions we as a community do not get enough grasp about alcohol and tobacco use of, and by witnessing vendors sell these controlled products to minors, we are already crossing the boundary. Serious violations are committed.

Vendors have a responsibility to ensure that the law governing the sale of these products is enforced as mandated.It is paramount that buyers’ responsibilities must and should include providing for valid identification card (e.g., passport or driver’s license) as proof that they are of legal age. Parents and the community should not ask nor encourage minors to handle or purchase these products as well. They should be made aware, yet again, that once caught there are appropriate penalties/fines, ranging from $500 to more if repeated offense takes place. Vendors are responsible as well and take it seriously. Be responsible and ask.

In an effort to ensure consistent responsibility and compliance, the ABTC Division offers training to the licensed establishments in responsibly selling and serving alcohol and tobacco products. For more information on this

The CNMI law says that tobacco can be purchased and consumed by an individual 18 years and above while alcohol is at 21 years and above. Even as simple as the age to remember, flagrant violations are still taking place.

David R. Maratita ABTC Director

ABTC Division is the agency responsible in enforcing the CNMI alcohol and tobacco laws.

training program, contact the ABTC Division at 664-3065. To report a violation, call the ABTC Hotline and 483-1821. “The sale of these products to under-age individuals is something we take seriously and violations are not tolerated. While there have been recent prosecutions for selling alcohol to minors as a result from concerted efforts of the Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws (EUDL) Task Force compliance checks, it is imperative that the establishments realize that abiding by the law makes it easier on everyone…Comply with the law and be responsible”, stated David R. Maratita, ABTC Director.

Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011 31

and guide you to overcome your troubles and achieve your goals. They are not only leaders for the battalion but your very counselor if you take them in consideration. C/LTC Nafaman Debra C. Buekis Kagman High School / Ayuyu Battalion Outgoing Battalion Commander C/LTC Nafaman Debra C. Buekis Kagman High School / Ayuyu Battalion Outgoing Battalion Commander Why do you think JROTC is a great thing in high school? In my opinion, JROTC stands out as one of the most disciplined programs. Students who join this program becomes highly motivated and dedicated to everything they do. JROTC has presented a unique combination of challenges and accomplishments which goes beyond normal school activities. JROTC provides the leadership skills and educates about citizenship. It is the single best program in the nation. Cadet Lieutenant Mark Nhoevert P. San Juan Saipan Southern High School SY: 10-11 / Battalion Commander Do you look at this as a career head start and how would you see this fit in your lifestyle? I encourage each cadet; no matter if they are new to the program or is already been part of the program, to enhance what is being taught to them because the program helps them become a better person, mentally or physically. Each aspect will improve their abilities and will learn a great deal of new skills that will help them throughout their lives. Also, when you are having trouble in any aspect of your life, the leaders of the battalion as well as the instructors will help

What do you recommend students to take into account when joining JROTC and why? JROTC has a mission, and our mission is to motivate young people to be better citizens. We are not here to recruit students into the military; we are here to guide them through life. It is by choice to enlist, not by force. I recommend students to join because it is not just any regular classes it includes more. We do drills, community service, school service, service learning and many more. We also have classroom curriculum which we learn about our past histories of war, unlocking your potential, financial aids, foundation for success and etc. Start leading from day one and start out on top. C/LTC Manglona, Keisha Kagman High School / Incoming Battalion Commander What future do you foresee with joining JROTC in schools? A thriving future. In the JROTC program, there are many different leadership positions that are essential. Every cadet is given an opportunity to experience being a leader and making good decisions.  By this, I had a better understanding about what it takes to be a good leader and the fulfillment of knowing I made the best possible choices I could make.    Have you benefited from the program and how?

C/LTC Nafaman Debra C. Buekis Kagman High School / Ayuyu Battalion Outgoing Battalion Commander Yes, without a doubt.   It has made me become a better role model. It has provided many opportunities that allowed me to exceed further than expected. I became physically fit, academically inclined, and integrated-curricular activities Cadet Lieutenant Mark Nhoevert P. San Juan Saipan Southern High School SY: 10-11 / Battalion Commander The program has benefitted me in so many ways. I gained confidence in me to be that great leader for the battalion. I have learned to lead and give tasks to my fellow cadets without hesitation. I learned to be self-disciplined and the ability to organize paperwork and major events such as military ball, inter-island drill competition, and encampments. I learned to command and march a drill team and be knowledgeable of basic military information such as the rank structure and responsibilities of certain personnel and be able to recognize the

C/LTC Buekis, Nafaman Debra C. Outgoing Battalion Commander Kagman High School

C/LTC Manglona, Keisha Incoming Battalion Commander Kagman High School

chain of command. I am able to improve my way of communicating not only to my fellow peers and teachers but to officials who stands before me. I gained the ability to speak in the public and through the JROTC program, I am who I am today. C/LTC Marie Joyce Seman Dolphin Battalion Outgoing Commander / Marianas High School What is your lasting impression to state to fellow peers about JROTC? One thing you need to know is that the course will leave its mark on you. Through my experiences I had fun, and enjoyed my time with JROTC. I got to make new friends every semester while taking the course. The program allowed me to open up with instructors and many of the cadets. I was able to do things I never thought I would ever do in high school like rope-tying or learning CPR, and navigating myself out of a jungle with nothing more than pace-counting and a compass. Taking the JROTC program was like joining the military in a smaller scale, but it did its job when they kept me motivated enough to be the better citizen that anyone can become if they just take the time.

C/LTC Seman, Marie Joyce Outgoing Battalion Commander Marianas High School

C/LTC San Juan, Mark Nhoevert P. Incoming Battalion Commander Saipan Southern High School

Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011 33

CERT responders

Savelives… can

When disaster strikes, time will elapse between the disaster itself and first responders coming to the scene. In those critical minutes, community members, through CERT will be able to come in, do their best to assist and stabilize the situation while waiting for responders.  It’s a wakeup call for the CNMI, and the more we are prepared and aware about disaster preparedness, the better off we, as a CNMI will be.


he Office of Homeland Security through the federally funded program, Community Emergency Response Team or CERT, prepares and trains individuals about emergency responses.

There is always the fear that anytime disaster(s) would strike; a clear and present danger for a location like ours. Emergency response remains vital and essential. Tops + More sat down with Joey DelaCruz, CNMI CERT Program Manager under the office of the CNMI Office of Homeland Security to get a better understanding of how to best prepare the community.

34 Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011

Timely response and care to a person is always paramount. Trained CERT responders may be the person who can save a life or treat injuries. Being a CERT-trained responder has benefits to the community and your family. Imagine finding yourself in a tragic situation and too far from any medical technician available to get there on time. A trained CERT responder may be the only person who is capable of providing assistance. Simply put, it helps to be trained and ready through CERT. What do you do with the CERT program and how does this benefit the people? What is learned and how extensive? Delacruz: CERT is geared for all people of the community. As we all know, disasters can happen anytime. Disaster preparedness is really the best tool for everyone.  It’s a two-day training consisting of eight different units and a hands-on simulation portion.  Units taught in CERT include light search and rescue, disaster psychology, terrorism, team organization, fire safety, disaster medical operations, and disaster preparedness.  Each block is an hour long, and the simulation is half day.  There is a team of CERT trainers, that come together to deliver the training as a whole. 


What is the goal for the CERT program and why? DelaCruz: The goal of the CERT program is really to reach out and train as many people of the community as possible. When disaster strikes, time will elapse between the disaster itself and first responders coming to the scene.  In those critical minutes, community members, through CERT will be able to come in, do their best to assist and stabilize the situation while waiting for responders.  It’s a wakeup call for the CNMI, and the more we are self-sufficient disaster preparedness wise, the better off we, as a CNMI will be. CERT Program Preparedness Learning With CERT, volunteers are taught about facts of what is expected following major disasters and how immediate services could be delivered. They are also given information about responsibilities pertaining to mitigation and preparedness. Critical areas such as decision-making skills as well thinking about their safety upon actions to assist other in need are timely and crucial is of great value to the community at large. Volunteers are also reminded about their efforts as good Samaritans offering help until emergency professional services arrive to charge of a scene. Be part of a saving community, Be CERT Ready!

Under these CERT classes, how many are run each quarter and how do we get involved? Is there a fee to participate? DelaCruz: There is an average of one training per month. For July, we had two because we brought CERT down to Rota.  There is no fee involved.  It’s completely voluntary.  If you are interested in registering, you may contact me at 664-2216 or email me at jdelacruz.ohs@gmail. com. We can cater agencies, individuals, organizations, and others. Just call us! How many have already been CERT certified? How do they feel about this? DelaCruz: To date, approximately 300 individuals in the CNMI have completed the CERT training.  Through evaluation forms, all participants enjoyed the course, and as a matter of fact, some want annual refresher courses to be

Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011 35

CNMI Department of public health immunization program

Bee Wise Immunize Do It. Get it Done.

Take your children to get their shots today, each little sting stops many bad things.

CNMI Recommended Immunization Schedule Birth.................................................................... Hepatitis B 2 months............................................................ DTaP, E-IPV, Hib, PCV13, Rotavirus, Hepatitis B 4 months............................................................ DTaP, E-IPV, PCV13, Rotavirus 6 months............................................................ DTaP, E-IPV, Hib, PCV13, Rotavirus, Hepatitis B, (Influenza yearly) 12 months.......................................................... MMR, Hepatitis A, Varicella (Chicken Pox) 15-18 months.................................................... DTaP, PCV-13, Hib 4-6 years............................................................ DTaP, E-IPV, MMR, Hepatitis A, Varicella (Chicken Pox) 11-18 years........................................................ Tdap, MCV, Hepatitis A, HPV (3 doses)

You can get your child immunized at: Commonwealth Health Center (CHC) Garapan Immunization Clinic Tel.: (670) 236-8745

If your child is past due for his/her shots, please call the CNMI Immunization Clinic at (670) 236-8780/8781/8783 for information on how to get your child up to date. Remember you can immunize your child against 14 vaccine preventable diseases by age 2.


Do It. Get it Done.

IMMUNIZATION Saves The unfamiliar notion of immunization is an issue that needs addressing. Department of Public Health Immunization Division encourages all people to consider getting vaccinated early on to prevent the spread of sickness and disease that could be potentially fatal. In many cases, people think they must pay for the immunizations their child needs in order to sustain a healthy lifestyle in the years ahead of them. Considering the programs offered in the Commonwealth, the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program saves parents a sum amount of $1,486.31 (not including administrative fees) per child. This amount is what you would pay for a child’s full vaccination needs if not for the VFC programs.

Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPDs)



First exposure to Disease

You don’t get sick

Diphtheria Tetanus Pertussis (whopping cough) Hepatitis A Hepatitis B Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib) Measles Parotitis (mumps) Rubella Pneumococcal disease Polio Rotavirus Varicella (chickenpox) Meningococcal disease

Why Vaccinate? The purpose of immunizations is to prevent disease. Today, children in the CNMI routinely get vaccines that protect them from 14 diseases. All of these diseases have, at one time or another, been a serious threat to children around the world. Most of them are now at their lowest levels in history, thanks to years of immunization. Because we don’t see these diseases every day they might not seem as scary as they used to. Some of them might not even be familiar to many parents. Fifty years ago, measles was one of the most common diseases in the country virtually every child got it.

how safe are vaccines? They are very safe. They, however, can cause reaction like any medicine. Clinic personnel will discuss the risks with you before your child gets each vaccine.

Adult Vaccinations Vaccines aren’t just for chidren. Many adults become ill, and diseases are easily preventable by immunization. From young adults to the elderly, everyone benefits from proper immunization.

It is imperative that even adults consider getting their vaccinations as recommended. Additional information are available online at: http://www.cdc. gov/vaccines


5 Great Facts to Get Immunized

FACT – Immunizing your child from 0-4

years old can greatly protect your child from vaccine preventable diseases FACT – Immunization protects from spreading disease and sickness FACT – Immunization cost is FREE under the Vaccines For Children (VFC) Program FACT – Immunization vaccines offered at Public Health cover 14 diseases, preventing any spread in the community FACT – Immunization helps your immune system develop antibodies to prevent sickness

But today, most parents will never know a child with measles; in fact, most doctors will never see a case. But measles still infects about 23 million people around the world every year and kills about 480,000 of them. An infected person can travel to the United States or anywhere else in the world. A single case of disease will remain a single case if everyone around the infected person is immune. If they are not, a single case can turn into an epidemic. By vaccinating we will make sure these 14 diseases will not become everyday events for our children ever again.

Why are vaccines given at such an early age? Vaccines are given at an early age because the diseases they prevent can strike at an early age. Some diseases are far more serious or common among infants or young children. For example, up to 60% of severe disease caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b occurs in children under 12 months of age. Of children under 6 months of age who get pertussis, 72% must be hospitalized, and 84% of all deaths from pertussis are among children less than 6 months of age. The ages at which vaccines are recommended are not arbitrary. They are chosen to give children the earliest and best protection against disease. What if my child misses a dose of vaccine? They can continue the series where they left off. Vaccinations do not have to be repeated when there is a longer-than-recommended interval between doses.

Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011 37

Freon man Air conditioning repair companies on island also have seen many different makes and models and we have seen units that have the Energy Star label and have a 13 SEER rating but with amperage numbers we were getting it seemed that it performed just like the old power guzzling units.

A Common Sense Approach To Purchasing New Systems Before you buy an air conditioner, consider the space you’re shopping for; do you need to cool your entire home or just a specific room? Do you have the proper electrical requirements? Remember that under sizing your unit will not necessarily save you on your power bill. Under sizing will over work the unit and result in a higher power consumption and it won’t do a good job cooling the room. An important thing a homeowner can do for the environment is to purchase a highly energy-efficient system. Energy-efficient systems result in cost savings for the homeowner. Today’s best air conditioners use much less energy to produce the same amount of cooling as air conditioners made in the mid1970s. Even if your air conditioner is only 10 years old, you may save significantly on your cooling energy costs by replacing it with a newer, more efficient model. Products with EPA’s Energy Star® label can save homeowners 10% to 40% on their heating and cooling bills every year. These products are made by most major manufacturers and have the same features as standard products but also incorporate energy saving technology. Both R-22 and R-410A systems may have the Energy Star® label. Equipment that displays the Energy Star® label must have a minimum seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). The higher the SEER specification the more efficient the equipment. In the past our highest SEER rating on island was 10.5 in the last 3 years we have seen the introduction of 13 to 17 SEER air conditioning units. We also have seen all different brands of air conditioning units and sometimes it’s difficult to choose which brand to buy. You should consider energy efficiency, along with performance, reliability, and cost, in making your decision. Air conditioning repair companies on island also have seen many different makes and models and we have seen units that have the Energy Star label and have a 13 SEER rating but with amperage numbers we were getting it seemed that it performed just like

38 Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011

the old power guzzling units. Air conditioning units have a specification label on either the evaporator (indoor unit) or the condensing unit (outdoor unit) or on both. The information that it will have on it will be model #, serial #, voltage, refrigerant type and pressures and others information but the most important would be amperage/amps ratings. When replacing an existing unit compare the amperage rating on your old unit with unit you are planning on purchasing. When the unit is installed ask the ac technician to hook up an amp meter and make sure that the amperage rating matches the actual amperage reading on the amp meter it should just be a little less than the rating on the specification label. The lower the amperage draw the lower the watt consumption the lower the CUC bill. With the cost of utilities on the rise choosing the right air conditioning unit to both keep you and your family cool and keep the power bill down.

Pacific Airconditioning & Refrigeration Installation Service Repair • Washer/Dryers/Waterheater • Home & Office Aircondition • Microwaves/Refrigerators • Freezer and Other Home Appliances • Automotive A/C • Parts & Supply

Tel.: (670) 234-9267 Fax: (670) 235-8410 Gualo Rai, Saipan see COUPON FOR GREAT DEAL.

Glenna P. Reyes LB Director/Online student


he electronic technology is available globally and language is becoming less of a barrier. But having it available does not mean that technology is useful to anyone if you do not take the initiative to learn how to make it work. The entire world opens up and there is virtually no limit as to the power it offers, information obtainable within your grasp, information within your fingertips, unlimited resources that technology offers brings us closer to achieving our goals in life. This includes furthering our education with institutions offering online degree programs – a growing trend that is becoming increasingly popular. So what does it take to succeed in an e-learning environment? The desire, commitment, discipline, and self-directing virtues are what it takes to succeed in a virtual learning setting. Ideal qualities proven to be effective tools for success in the digital world of e-learning. The desire to expand my knowledge is the motivating factor in pursuit of a higher education. And what better way

Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011 39

e-learning to access a graduate school offering degree programs of interest to me? Technology - virtual learning – the best option that I have at the moment. As an online student, I often find myself conversing with my laptop computer. I am isolated from the academic community where personal contacts between professors and classmates develop meaningful interactions that contribute to a favorable learning environment. I have professors and classmates from all over the world and only known by names. Building new friendship and social networks in this setting is not as meaningful and often times I find myself wishing to be in a traditional classroom setting. Although it gets pretty lonely, my purpose for pursuing higher education surpasses the loneliness that I endure as an online student. The benefits that I enjoy as an online learner definitely make the loneliness such a small matter. I am in pursuit of launching my own business some-

day.It is with this that motivates me to succeed in a very lonely learning atmosphere. Discipline is without a doubt a very critical aspect for e-learning. Cultivating self-discipline is key in order to succeed in an environment that encourages freedom. Online learning allows me to set my own hours and to work on assignments at my own pace. I have access to my class 24-hours a day and is accessible anywhere in the world where internet service is available. The technological era of e-leaning presents the convenience of flexibility to keep up with my classes. With such flexibility, it has potentially become risky as it encourages procrastination. As an online student, you must want it badly enough to succeed in order to remain motivated and focused. Online learning requires you to be independently resourceful. The online lectures made available to students are, for the most part, limited in nature. Time zone varies with those of other students and professors. A 24-hour waiting period is the least that can be expected for a

response from professors. It becomes frustrating at times when in need of immediate assistance. I have learned to work independently to overcome this challenge. Traditional classroom settings offers one-on-one interaction while virtual learing is, at most, independant learning. Digital textbooks, online library resources and internet research brings about personal creativity and discipline to be totally independent. Technology makes this possible by allowing online access to billions of scholarly and published articles and materials that are valuable assets to online learning. Having all the tools necessary to succeed leaves very little room for excuses. Before us, are all the tools we need to make things happen. A desire, commitment, discipline, self-directed attributes and exploiting the power of technology is what I endured to succeeding in a virtual learning environment.

...the era of e-leaning presents the convenience of flexibility...

The environment - fragile in its form - is deteriorating due to negligence of mankind. Various groups of concerned individuals who make up a coalition of one goal in common, that is saving our natural resources, our environment, our very livelihood in which we depend on. The air we breathe, the water we drink are all but taken for granted and one day, maybe not soon, we will leave our children left with nothing more than excessive pollution that they will need to clean up after us. It is ironic on the words we choose to define our islands.

responsible with our rubbish. NO Cans, Ifs or Butts, just a clean environment takes only a few minutes to ensure we do our part.

Many of us choose to say “This is home; we live in paradise�... True to the statement we all see the CNMI in its beauty, natural and undeniably a paradise when you find yourself sitting under a tree shade by the beach or simply driving along beach road where the sunset beams from the horizon. The islands natural beauty is breathtaking when compared to overpopulated countries. We are for sure fortunate.

Its a choice we make when it comes to the environment, recycling is an option, proper disposal of garbage is a responsibility. It has been noticed that many who use public sites abuse the privilege of the garbage receptacles found in the area. Reliant on the government to dispose of OUR waste means we simply do not care. Stray animals scavenge for food and this usually ends up with rubbish scattered, carried by the wind to other locations - a sore sight to see - and yet, we say our home is a paradise. Our pride must reflect our actions, are you ready to do your part?

But why is the place we call home usually found dirty in public sites? Why do we allow such things to happen to our home? Why do we not pick up after ourselves to retain the beauty of the islands by being more

Keep in mind, our home is what we make of it. Tourism is depended upon our cleanliness, our attributes as a destination - sand, sun and surf - keep our home beautiful!

NO ifs


40 Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011

... or butts

Continued from page 14

Handbags etc. Uniqueness Handbags etc. also defines customer service and a pleasing shopping experience in what a (ladies) boutique shop should be. Not the norm of bags and clothing combined, but that of a limited selection that considers ownership to the buyer. Bags are not ordered in bulk, therefore what is purchased is limited on island for its uniqueness to its owner.

“We also occasionally offer other accessories women commonly use or purchase to complement a bag, such as fashion jewelry, compact mirrors, bag organizers, minimanicure sets, business card holders, purse hangers, and key-finders”, adds Eleanor. Its product s of bags comes in many sorts. From clutches, wallets, wristlets, casual totes, curling/flat iron bags, backpacks, day packs, diaper bags, cosmetic bags, cooler/lunch bags, laptop bags/sleeves, reusable shopping bags, coin purses, Hanbags Etc. is sure to meet your desired needs. Pre-owned Bags for Price-Conscious Buyers “These pre-owned items are the ‘gently used’ bags that are carefully selected for resell offering affordable options for frugal fashionistas”, Eleanor explains.

Continued from page 10

If you are looking for a bit of Italy, (which I personally a fan off). Marianas Resort and Spa will bring a bit of what they have to offer with a great menu line of different pasta’s to choose from. May I suggest the ever so tasteful Basil Pasta and ask to see if you can add a side of a Grilled chicken with mustard. Yet, before even doing so please don’t forget to intrigue yourself by starting off with a plate of their Seafood Salad. Definitely worth the extra greens needed for your own personal intake. At the same time, don’t hesitate to take a look at the wide range of beverage choices. Try the Chichi, it’s a whirlwind! Marianas Resort offers not just a great Spa or Golf experience yet a dining adventure that will help entice your food palette. A variety of cuisines ranging from Asian to Italian are offered. Don’t let that confuse your awareness of what else is being offered. So take a drive, witness and indulge in a dining experience that can be catered to your unique inquiries. Either for a lovely romantic dinner for two or for ten. The staff at Marianas Resort along with Chef William are at your service to guide you in having the ultimate Marianas Resort and Spa experience. Continued from page 10

Fashion aficionados look for great deals and style defining there lifestyle. Handbags Etc. supplies up-to-date, trendy bags for every woman. Pre-owned items for sale have received great reviews. “This is still in excellent condition at a price worth buying”, says a shopper.

Usually I’m not a big fan of mustard, but it was not overpowering and gave the chicken and pasta a powerboost!

Environment Friendly

The sea bass with tomatoes was very warm and pleasing to the palate. Marianas Resort and Spa has done a great job in providing a wide array of pasta dishes that cover the spectrum of flavors and temperature!

Handbags Etc. is doing its part to enhance awareness through the Reduce-Reuse-Recycle maxim. Promoting and encouraging the triple ‘R’ to its buyers, Handbags Etc. believes it is doing its share to save the environment. Products in this line are environmental friendly and because of the need to be self-conscious about our environment, Handbags Etc. supplies a number of options where buyers can do their part as well. They offer a collection of eco-bamboo, vegan leather, post-industrial reclaimed canvas, recycled seatbelt, and other earth-friendly products. “We encourage customers to check out our reusable shopping bags and totes in an effort to reduce single-use plastic bags that have contributed to much environmental damage. Unfortunately, our islands and marine environments have not spared of this.  The land pollution and danger to marine life that plastic bags cause should be a concern for us all in the Marianas, individuals and businesses alike. Every little effort counts”, encourages Eleanor. Handbags etc. is the exclusive distributor in the Micronesia of Envirosax Reusable Bags. This is also part of their advocacy of eliminating plastic bags and caring for the environment.  

The basil pasta was very refreshing.

Meat: Grilled tenderloin with pink peppercorn sauce, Lamb chops The tenderloin steak was awesome! It was extremely tender and tasty!! The flavor of the sauce with which it was served complimented the steak. The lamb chops were slightly bitter and perfectly sweet. I’m not a big fan of lamb usually but in this case I would make an exception. The lamb was cooked well and was not overly chewy as I’ve found with lamb at other restaurants. Dessert Mille feuille with apple and strawberry compote, White/dark chocolate mouse Leave room for dessert . . . or don’t ; you’re gonna eat it anyway! The mille feuille was excellent and a great way to wind down the evening with friends and a cup of joe!!

Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011 41



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Continued from page 25

He was originally planning to enlist with the United States military but when he took the assessment test with ABE two years ago, change was in the offing. Carr made it big, placing high in the assessment. A father of five children, Carr decided to complete his basic education in lieu of serving the U.S. Armed Forces. He acknowledged that his opportunities were right before him if he finished his education— and to provide more for this family. “It was easy to motivate myself for school because my family and their future was my motivation. I will do almost anything to make this happen,” says Carr. The G.E.D. program provided by ABE allowed flexibility for Carr and he is now on the right path. He credits the ABE staff who stood by him. Today, Carr is enrolled at NMC and is on his fifth and final semester. When he graduates, he will have earned his Associate in Applied Sciences in Criminal Justice. In a few months time, he will reach a milestone. And thanks, to NMC’s ABE, completing his educational goals were not too late, after all. “I would definitely not be in the position I am right now had it not been for the help, assistance and encouragement I received from NMC’s ABE program staff ”, added Carr.

Avenue For individuals who are considering completing their high

42 Tops + MORE SEPtember 2011

school diploma equivalent, NMC ABE program is the avenue to consider. It is never too late to get back in school through an educational program, that will eventually open doors to opportunities. “You can achieve your goals and dreams through education. The staff at NMC’s ABE Program will be there to help guide you through to completion”, added Carr. Education is now the career highlight for Ian Carr, who at first, refuse to consider education as the way forward. “If anyone out there is considering getting their high school equivalency diploma, I would encourage them to take the first step and apply”, stated Carr.

You’re on your own! CNMI Office of Homeland Security Citizen Corps Program

Are you ready?

How quickly do you expect emergency first responders to reach you, loved ones or neighbors just after a typhoon, earthquake, tsunami, fire or terrorist attack? Maybe, not soon enough.

BE PREPARED! GET TRAINED! For your family. For your community. For CNMI!


Although the Department of Public Safety - Fire Division stands ready to respond to any emergency, first responders who provide fire and medical services may not be able to meet the demand for these services in the event of a major disaster. The number of victims, communications failures and road blocks will prevent people from accessing emergency services they have come to expect at a moment’s notice through 911. People will have to rely on each other for help in order to meet their immediate life saving and life sustaining needs. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a program that educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and train them in basic disaster response skills such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organizations and disaster medical operations. CERT is a FREE course delivered by emergency first responders in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency under the Department of Homeland Security. cnmi corps.pdf



8:37 PM

It benefits any citizen who takes it, allowing better preparation to respond to and cope with the aftermath of a disaster.

Be Cert ready! For more information or how to become part of the CERT program,

Contact: C








Joey C. Dela Cruz

Citizen Corps Program Manager Tel: 670.664.2216 Fax: 670.664.2218 Email:

Tops+More Issue#2  
Tops+More Issue#2  

The first issue of Tops+More magazine was published a few months ago and here we are now on our second issue - a feat for a new reading/inf...