The Gateway to the Sacred City

The sun rays broke through the top of the canopy, the rustling of old leaves, and the snapping of twigs on the forest floor as they were stepped on, those were the pieces of my adventure to the City of Nan Madol. I am one of the many young Micronesians that often wonder about the history of my people.

Armed with a book and a pen, I trekked among other ‘storytellers’ for a good 10- minutes toward our destination. The air smelled of weathered moss and moist earth—the occasional whiff of fallen breadfruit that had over ripened was also faintly present. Soon, one of the Nan Madol structures came into sight. We had not even broken to the coast, and history was already staring at me. We huddled into a loose group near that structure and our tour guide spoke out.

One thing that one must understand about meeting people here in Pohnpei is that modesty goes hand in hand with respect of our elders. Both of these elements are of paramount importance in our culture. I have been to other countries and I have seen the stark difference between their people and mine. In foreign countries that are heavily developed, everyone seems to be in competition on how much they know and have—here in Pohnpei, you can go months without knowing that the old lady with the betel nut-stained teeth and worn out skirt has traveled farther than you and graduated from a top university with a masters in neurobiology. It is only when you have sat there in the wee evening light enjoying a cup of sakau (or kava) with her that you will ever get a smidgen of her great stories and understand the level of modesty that has been sown into our cultural DNA.

The tour guide gave the same vibe, as he began by saying that he knew little when in fact the moment he had the group huddled at the entrance of Nan Madol, stories broke through that silent and stoic character. In his late 40s, he had on an aged brown t-shirt, jeans, boots, and a generic travel pamphlet. Most of us were in our early twenties and late teens with iPhones and borrowed cameras. Before he even began his stories, I had already crossed the water toward the beckoning scene of Nan Madol. The tide was low and my hopes were high about capturing the perfect shots and coming away from that historical site knowing more. I knelt at the entrance where the imprinted stones lay. Fading into view was the vision of my ancestors twisting the kava as another looked on from what looked like a seating area (figure 2) near the larger imprinted stone (figure 1).

Figure 1 Peitehl (Kava pounding stone)

Figure 2 the sitting stone

Some of the stacked basalt “log” structures towered over me, while others were about my height. The level of cleverness and ingenuity that came into the construction of these megalithic structures has boggled the minds of countless people who have witnessed them. I myself found it exciting to be amongst it all.

The doorways through the walls were about waist-high and required you to bend down before walking through. Other people would have said that that was either a major architectural failure or that place was built for dwarves. In truth, I had learned before in grade school that those doorways were built that way because, as I had said before, it is of great importance to have modesty and respect and even more to show it before all the titles and common folk by bowing upon entrance. “Ihieng,” as the we would call it.

As I stood in the ruins of the City of Nan Madol, I could not help but wallow on the brimming realization that I was standing where my ancestors had stood before. The feeling was nothing short of proud. I remembered the many times I had heard and read the words ‘island pride’ thrown around in Facebook posts and beaten-down books that everyone overlooked. That moment, however, was summed up in those words. To think that they knew things back then that we do not know now forced me to wonder: “What else have we lost in the creases of time?” I climbed, shimmied, and crossed my way through the ruins. By the end of the trip, the alien sensation of the moment was one to note for life.

“Where the heck is Micronesia?” I have heard that question more than once in my travels. Initially, I had no problem with explaining where I was from through the same dialogue over and over—but at this point I am driven to tell everyone where and who we are. I believe that we are a vital part of the world’s history and should be recognized. “Pohnpei met!” This is Pohnpei—where the land unites and identifies us. Nan Madol is part of the fiber in the twisted lines that tie us all together. Come and see the mystery, revel in the beauty of its enigmatic origins. Beauty does not need to be understood here—just admired. After all, this is Pohnpei, the land of beautiful mysteries.

Having been to Nan Madol before, I was certain that nothing would catch my attention this time around. However, I was completely wrong because I realized that I had grossly underestimated the scale of the city. My initial trip there was brief and admittedly, only for swimming and hanging out with my peers—this time around, I was there to see it in a different light.

The research we had done before the trip exposed us to just how many structures there were in the ancient city. At first, we were told that there were 92 miniature cities composing Nan Madol, and then there were 98, 127, and then back to 96. Then again, that must add to the beautiful mystery. I climbed one of the tall corners of the walls and looked out to see for myself the bits and pieces of a lost civilization.

From there, I had decided to further my exploration all the way out to the edge where I knew the rest of the expedition required a canoe—which I did not have unfortunately. I look forward to another trip, so that I may explore and experience Nan Madol fully.

Nan Madol is one of the sites that we can use to describe our home when asked about it. As we travel, the most important part of what we bring with us as Pohnpeians is our identity. I am not talking about passports and IDs—I am talking about US. Many people of different ethnic backgrounds are easily identifiable, whereas, we are often mistaken as Hispanics, Indians or just all around not Pohnpeian. We, as Pohnpeians are different and proudly so. Nan Madol is a symbol of that, and I genuinely believe that when given the chance—the voice of our tiny islands will roar through the world and match the scale of the once colossal and majestic City of Nan Madol.

Share Post:

adidas yeezy boost

02:30pm, 02/11/2019

I and my friends ended up checking the excellent tips and hints on your web page and then unexpectedly got a terrible suspicion I had not thanked the web site owner for those techniques. The women became for this reason joyful to see all of them and have now honestly been having fun with them. Thanks for simply being indeed thoughtful as well as for making a decision on varieties of outstanding guides millions of individuals are really wanting to be aware of. My honest apologies for not saying thanks to you sooner.
adidas yeezy boost adidas yeezy boost

michael kors outlet

02:59am, 02/12/2019

I definitely wanted to make a quick comment to be able to express gratitude to you for some of the pleasant advice you are sharing at this website. My time-consuming internet look up has now been honored with brilliant details to go over with my neighbours. I would claim that most of us visitors actually are definitely blessed to dwell in a perfect site with many perfect people with very beneficial secrets. I feel extremely fortunate to have seen the webpage and look forward to really more excellent times reading here. Thanks again for all the details.
michael kors outlet michael kors outlet

yeezy boost 350 v2

09:31am, 02/12/2019

I precisely desired to appreciate you once again. I do not know the things I might have accomplished without the actual suggestions discussed by you on such a question. Certainly was a very frustrating matter for me, but encountering a new well-written approach you processed it took me to cry with joy. Now i am happier for your service as well as have high hopes you find out what a great job you were doing teaching the mediocre ones by way of your webpage. Most likely you have never met any of us.
yeezy boost 350 v2 yeezy boost 350 v2

air jordan

10:03am, 02/13/2019

I simply needed to thank you so much once more. I’m not certain the things that I would’ve undertaken in the absence of the strategies shown by you about that area of interest. It truly was the distressing setting in my position, however , spending time with a new professional mode you managed it forced me to cry with gladness. Extremely thankful for this service and even wish you recognize what a powerful job you were doing instructing the rest thru a blog. I am sure you haven’t met any of us.
air jordan air jordan


10:16am, 02/14/2019

I together with my pals ended up checking out the great secrets and techniques found on your web blog while quickly I got an awful feeling I had not expressed respect to the blog owner for those techniques. These young men are actually as a result glad to read through them and have in effect extremely been taking advantage of them. Many thanks for being indeed kind as well as for having these kinds of terrific resources millions of individuals are really desirous to discover. My very own honest regret for not expressing gratitude to earlier.
longchamp longchamp

chrome hearts outlet

11:40am, 02/14/2019

My husband and i got very contented Ervin could conclude his research by way of the precious recommendations he made through the weblog. It’s not at all simplistic to simply possibly be giving for free ideas that many most people may have been trying to sell. And we know we have the blog owner to appreciate because of that. All of the explanations you have made, the easy blog navigation, the friendships your site help engender - it is mostly awesome, and it is leading our son and our family reckon that this topic is exciting, and that’s exceptionally vital. Thank you for the whole lot!
chrome hearts outlet chrome hearts outlet

fila online shop

09:00am, 02/15/2019

Thank you for all your valuable efforts on this site. My niece loves making time for internet research and it’s easy to understand why. My spouse and i learn all relating to the lively means you create sensible suggestions on the web site and as well as attract response from website visitors on that situation plus our own girl is certainly understanding so much. Take advantage of the rest of the new year. Your conducting a very good job.
fila online shop fila online shop

adidas yeezy

04:59pm, 02/15/2019

I happen to be writing to make you understand what a outstanding discovery my cousin’s girl encountered viewing your blog. She picked up several issues, including how it is like to possess an incredible teaching mood to get other individuals easily learn various complicated things. You actually did more than people’s expected results. Thank you for producing the insightful, trusted, edifying and even unique guidance on your topic to Lizeth.
adidas yeezy adidas yeezy

louboutin shoes

10:03am, 02/16/2019

Thanks for your own work on this website. Debby enjoys carrying out investigation and it is simple to grasp why. We all hear all about the compelling medium you render reliable tips via your website and even encourage contribution from other people on this point so our own child has always been starting to learn a whole lot. Have fun with the remaining portion of the year. You have been doing a brilliant job.
louboutin shoes louboutin shoes

nike air max 2017

06:20pm, 02/16/2019

I am also commenting to let you understand what a really good experience my wife’s princess found studying the blog. She discovered numerous things, which include how it is like to possess an incredible giving mindset to get other folks clearly grasp specified multifaceted subject areas. You undoubtedly surpassed our own expectations. I appreciate you for providing such effective, healthy, revealing and easy guidance on this topic to Kate.
nike air max 2017 nike air max 2017

air yeezy

02:30am, 02/17/2019

I simply had to appreciate you all over again. I do not know what I would have worked on in the absence of the entire hints shared by you on that field. It was a very intimidating situation in my opinion, nevertheless observing the skilled form you dealt with the issue forced me to weep with delight. I am grateful for your information and as well , wish you find out what an amazing job that you are undertaking training people today with the aid of a web site. I know that you’ve never encountered all of us.
air yeezy air yeezy

adidas outlet

11:15am, 02/17/2019

Thanks for all your valuable labor on this site. Ellie take interest in carrying out investigation and it’s easy to see why. Most of us notice all regarding the compelling mode you produce precious techniques via this website and as well as invigorate contribution from some other people on that subject matter and our favorite princess is really being taught a great deal. Take advantage of the remaining portion of the year. You’re carrying out a glorious job.
adidas outlet adidas outlet

Dashboard Menu