Sandy Beach Homes


I was #55 when I put my name on the list a year ago. The Sandy Beach Homes is a Triple J apartment complex in San Isidro, CK next to the company owner’s house by the beach. The homes are noted for the solar panels on its roof.

Triple J motors expanded from the motor vehicle franchise they had (I bought a Mazda pickup at the turn of the century); the current CEO is Dad to one of my former students at SVES, academically doing well in Nevada where he and his siblings currently go to school.

But history of credit and personal familiarity with key people was not sufficient to qualify for a unit at the homes. Until my yearlong teaching contract was signed, the Home’s front office had to have me execute an affidavit on my income capability as well as get a certified copy of my history with FHB. The much touted advertisement of the units being for “low-income” dwellers meant that the price of rental was commensurate to one’s low income and not charged the actual market value of the units.

FHB took a few weeks to produce a required document, and the contract I had with Human Resource at PSS was on a daily on-call basis, in spite of my substituting for a class everyday since late March. Being #55 was fine but came first of May, a unit opened up needing two weeks of repairs, projected to be available middle of the month. The dance of qualifying papers began.

PSS HR certified that I was employed at one of the elementary Sschools until June 6 on a daily on-call basis. That sent shivers down Sandy Beach Homes’ spine, the front office preferring the wording of my one-year substitute teacher contract. The PSS certification made me short on the “low-income” category. My scheduled move on Memorial Day was deferred.

I already informed my then current residence that I was moving out end of May but they were kind enough to extend my stay another two weeks, to allow for the transition time. I hastily booked a trip to China that I wrote about. For those who do not follow this column regularly, Narita would not allow me on the ANA plane without a current China visa. My residency visa expired in May; Chinese tourists coming to Saipan get their visas at the airport, so I just assumed the practice was reciprocal. It wasn’t. Cape Air as a UA associate issued me boarding passes all the way to Shenyang where I was headed so I paid no heed to the visa issue.

I headed back to Saipan and spent a quiet evening at a private beach front in San Isidro near Sandy Beach Home. The event that transpired that night I’ve already written about; quick hands took my bag and divested me of all the cash and electronics it contained, threw the rest of it in someone’s trash bin near WSR Elementary School so I could be called to retrieve my passport and cards.

This double whammy had the Sandy Beach Home front office sympathetic but it would not ripen the mango. I still needed a yearlong income paper and FHB Honolulu had difficulty faxing my account history, both required to qualify on the low-income category. I could not afford the commercial rate.

A word about the low-income category. This is low-income by mainland standards, not the island’s. Tasi Tours built themselves an apartment complex by Sugar Dock north of Sandy Beach Homes and they are absorbing waitlisted clientele, mostly non-locals. That’s how my number moved up.

The locals I talked to bewailed the “low-income” definition as many reportedly applied to stay, only to be denied because the qualification was by mainland rates and many could not qualify. Emphasis on the “low income” was on the “income” not the “low.” That included moi who was barely existing to survive on island means.

As a teacher at PSS, I was certified to teach middle and high school Social Studies at highly qualified rating, but no one was hiring. I previously taught 6th grade in the elementary level, and sub-taught 2nd and 5th grade classes at a private school, then, taking on Grade 1 that taxed endurance more than patience. I had no problem with the second but at my age, endurance waned easy.

The allure of the beachfront stayed strong, and though reasonably priced dwellings were available elsewhere, I noticed that the cost of Saipan’s residences were increasing. One rental on Beach Road advertised a room (a bed and a dresser) to cost $250 per week, changed it to $290 May, and in late June, painted over the sign as the cost rose with the demand.

Tinian Dynasty went belly-up while Alter City went through an earth-breaking rite on Tinian. Best Sunshine has engaged in community development efforts and gained the local population’s trust by letting them forget its business is primarily gambling.

My CK Saipan friend and I in June sipped iced tea together as the Philippine Sea sunset blazed the western horizon. Sandy Beach Homes was a hustle but it was worth it! Am definitely low income.

Jaime R. Vergara | Special to the Saipan Tribune
Jaime Vergara previously taught at SVES in the CNMI. A peripatetic pedagogue, he last taught in China but makes Honolulu, Shenyang, and Saipan home. He can be reached at

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