Marianas Variety

Last updateFri, 23 Feb 2018 12am







    Wednesday, February 21, 2018-5:50:23A.M.






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Some like it hot: Pika Fest contests

(MVA) — Some like it hot, and all those do are invited to join two eating contests at this month’s Tinian Hot Pepper Festival, also known to locals as Pika (spicy) Fest. The festival highlights Tinian’s famously potent “donni sali” pepper and will be held at Tachogna Beach in Tinian on Feb. 17 & 18, 2018, from 2 to 11 p.m.

A hot pepper eating contest will be held on Feb. 17 at 5:30 p.m. for women and on Feb. 18 at 6 p.m. for men. The JC Café Burger Eating Contest will be held on Feb. 18 at 5 p.m.

The hot pepper eating contest will have three stages. First, contestants must eat three pieces of mild “donni,” following by two pieces of hot “donni,” and topped by a bowl of soba with 2 tablespoons of ground “donni” mixed in.

“The first contestant to finish all three stages will be the winner, and we’re looking for the last man — or woman — standing,” said Marianas Visitors Authority community projects specialist Ray Villagomez. “We’re requiring a release of liability, and spitting during the round will be an automatic disqualification. We will provide a bottle of water or glass or milk for those who finish the competition or just plain give up.”

The JC Café Burger Eating Contest will challenge contestants to finish a one-pound hamburger pasted with ground “donni” and a side of fries sprinkled with “donni” powder.

“We’ll have that water or milk for that, too!” added Villagomez.

Ladies compete in the hot pepper eating contest during the 2015 Tinian Hot Pepper Festival.   The 2018 Tinian Hot Pepper Festival will be held on Feb. 17-18, 2018, at Tachogna Beach.  MVA photo

Cash prizes will be awarded for the hot pepper eating contests and other contests throughout the weekend. Winners of the hot pepper eating contest and the JC Café Burger Eating Contest will also win a cellphone from IT&E.   Individuals may contact Villagomez at or 664-3219 to register.

The Tinian Hot Pepper Festival is co-organized by MVA, Tinian Mayor’s Office and the 16th Tinian Municipal Council and sponsored by MVA members including Extreme Pika Sponsors IT&E and Bridge Investment Group LLC, which donated $3,500.

The road/off road 65K Pika Bike Race will be held on Feb. 17 at 6 a.m. Activities on Feb. 18 will also include. an “kadun pika” (spicy stew) cooking contest at 12 p.m., arm wrestling, a Cha-cha contest, children’s “umang” (hermit crab) race., tug of war at 3:30 p.m., sack race, and outrigger canoe race. Other activities include indigenous craft sales, live entertainment including cultural dances, and beach volleyball.

The available ferry slots aboard the Super Emerald ferry schedule are: Feb. 16, departing Tinian at 8:30 p.m.; Feb. 17, departing Saipan at 9 a.m. and departing Tinian at 5 p.m.; Feb. 18, departing Saipan at 9 a.m.; and Feb. 19, departing Saipan at 8 a.m. and departing Tinian at 12 p.m. Passengers will depart from the Commonwealth Ports Authority dock in Lower Base and must check in one hour before departure. Ferry round trip cost is $20 for ages 3-11, $35 for ages 12 and older, and free for children ages 0-2. For one way, the cost is $10 for ages 3-11, $18 for ages 12 and older, and free for children ages 0-2.   Advance ticket purchase is required and will be accommodated on a first come, first served basis. Passengers are allowed up to 70 lbs. of cargo, including bicycles. A $10 fee will be charged for additional cargo. Ticket purchases may be made at the MVA office in Tinian and Saipan. Cash payments only will be accepted.

Star Marianas Air, in cooperation with MVA and Tinian Mayor’s Office, will extend its normal hours of operation during the festival. On Feb. 17 and Feb. 18, scheduled flights will be extended, with the last flights leaving Tinian at 10:30 p.m.

In addition, MVA will provide free shuttle transportation between Tinian International Airport, Port of Tinian, and the festival grounds, only. Available hotels on island include Tinian Ocean View Hotel, Fleming’s Hotel, Lorilynn’s Hotel, Tinian Street Motel and Green Lion House Hotel, and some hotels offer airport shuttle as well.

For more information, contact the MVA Tinian office at 433-9365, email MVA field operations supervisor Vida Borja at or visit the Marianas Events Calendar at