We visited the Cook Islands, Palau, Tonga, and Marshall Islands.
Guam – Today marks the second day of FESTPAC and the hype from yesterday’s opening ceremonies lingers on.
Beyonce Merrill says, “I’m excited because I get to see the other islands and how they celebrate their culture and all their ethnicity.”
First, we visit the Cook Islands.
Cook Islands Drummer Mark Short shows us what pātēs are. He says, “These are what we call our pātēs. There’s a bongo down there. These are the instruments we used during our performances, it’s to showcase our culture.”
Short explains that making pātē is not as simple as it looks and takes craftsmanship. “The art of tuning these instruments is really hard because if you can imagine, if you cut one side, it must sound the same as the other side. If you don’t do it properly or if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ll have an instrument you can’t use. The art of making drums is very technical.”
We then headed to Palau where we learned about a bai.
Palau Education Specialist Jefferson Thomas says, “This is bai. Palauan main structure of its community. Each community should have a bai. Bai is a meeting house for the traditional leader or chiefs of each village.”
Thomas explains that each bai has its distinct traditional designs and colors. He says, “As you see there are different designs for this bai. This shark shows strength and bravery. If you see those kind of fish shows unity.”
Next we visited Tonga where Tapa Artist Tevita Polaapau tells us about his work. “This is what you would call a tapa painting because I use brush and dye from the mangrove plant being scraped and squeezed to get the juice out. That’s what’s being used for this painting. This is a new process in Tonga. It’s all made of Tapa ripped in small pieces, being cut, being rolled so the coconut here are pieces being rolled and glued,” he says.
Lastly, we stopped by the Marshall Islands. Marshall Islands Master Weaver Susan Jieta says, “I’m making mats. It’s our traditional clothes from our ancestors and now I’m making it.”
Jieta explains that Marshallese women weave baskets, fans, hats, mats and wall hangings made from pandanas leaves.
“We put it in the houses. There are mats special for sleeping, one for cooking, but this one is so special and we really care about it. We put it up,” she says.
From the Cook Islands, to Palau, to Tonga, to the Marshall Islands, these are just a few of the delegations you can learn from at the FESTPAC village in Hagatna.