BOOST names recipients; holds expo 

Posted on Oct 31 2022

Saipan BOOST recipients, Travis Jones, owner of The Last Shot Bar, and Lawrence Pangelinan, owner of Sindalu Tactical & Surplus, pose for a photo with Gov. Ralph DLG Torres after receiving their awards at the first ever BOOST program grant gala last Friday at the Saipan World Resort. (LEIGH GASES)

The Building Optimism, Opportunities, and Stability Together, or BOOST, Program Grant under the Office of the Governor announced the first recipients of the grant program during its first gala and expo last Friday at the Taga Hall in the Saipan World Resort.

On Saipan, the program’s first grant recipients were Lawrence Pangelinan of the military surplus shop called Sindalu Tactical & Surplus on Beach Road, and Travis Jones of The Last Shot Bar in Chalan Kanoa.

One family from Rota, the Ben and Tina Atalig family—also known as the “Kalamansi Family”—who were also a beneficiary of the program, said they will now be able to afford machinery that will help enhance their kalamansi production. Kalamansi is a citrus fruit.

Another Rota BOOST Grant recipient was the Matias and Mercedes Taisacan family for Rota’s Historical Cave Museum and Jaqueline Manglona and her family’s pizzeria.

For Tinian, K-Town Coffee and Annie San Nicolas and Elvin Masga with their fishing boat, Le’Ana Vae, were awarded grants under the BOOST Fishermen, Farmer, and Rancher Program.

None of the recipients’ award amounts were disclosed.

The governor’s chief of staff, William Castro, said that so far no application has been denied. “None of the submissions have been rejected.” He said they are only in Round 1 and for this week, it will continue on to Round 2 and so on.

“It’s not easy to go through 600 applications and wrestle with the panel and other input from people, including your voices about where the money should be invested. …The point is, there is a quality control measure to ensure the funds are being used properly, because the last thing I want to do is give someone $100,000 and we never hear from them and we can’t account for that one. That’s not going to happen…”

For Sindalu, Pangelinan said his business started because of how hard it was to get anything on the island related to hunting gear and law enforcement gear. ​“What we wanted to do was to provide our community with the necessary equipment and gear, authentic, quality, yet price competitive because I know, for many years… I don’t know why you still don’t have just the little details that cater to our community. And so, it is with great pleasure to be that hub for the community.”

For Jones, his idea is to create a place that caters to the youth.

Prior to the gala was the expo, which was held during the day to educate the community on the BOOST program and for small businesses and nonprofits to avail of aid from outreach groups such as Marianas Alliance of Non-Governmental Organizations, the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Development Center Network, and Workforce Investment Agency. The event was also attended by Fit to Lead and the Office of Youth Affairs.

The BOOST Fisher, Farmer, and Rancher program is designed to promote food and nutritional security, protect and promote traditional cultural practices, as well to diversify and revitalize the economy for those engaged in commercial activity. Priority is extended to fishers, farmers and ranchers who produce for commercial gain. Applicants who fish, farm or ranch for sustenance and/or recreational purposes shall also be considered.

Finance Secretary David Atalig said that, among other things, Torres wants to make sure a minimum of $1 million is made available for fishermen, a minimum of $1 million for ranchers, and a minimum $1 million for farmers” under the BOOST Fishermen, Farmer, Rancher Program.

“This is a program that I feel is not going to be just a program that just starts and ends when the funds are done, but I think evolve,” Atalig said.

Torres said he is not the sole person who approves applications. “I’m not the one who approves your application. Please do not send me your application. We have a panel; the panel that looks into your application, looks at every page, makes sure it is viable. Make sure that what you’re requesting fits your plan. …Put in what your company needs. And I assure you, Bank of Saipan and everybody else will look into your application and will approach it the right way. When it comes to my office, I have never denied anyone and I don’t plan to…”

Then, to those who have been awarded, Torres said “take care of that and please provide better services for the community. And pay your taxes.”

“When each and everyone of you—when you succeed, we all succeed. We’re not going to talk about anything else but succeeding.”

The program has been extended until Nov. 18, 2022 and to apply or for more information, log onto

Leigh Gases
Leigh Gases is the youngest reporter of Saipan Tribune and primarily covers community related news, but she also handles the utilities, education, municipal, and veterans beats. Contact Leigh at
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