GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT POHNPEI

Kaselehlie!!!

This host to the nation’s capital has much to offer the visiting nature lover, explorer and hiker. Pohnpei is the largest and tallest island in the FSM. Its peaks get plenty of rainfall annually and this creates more than 40 rivers that feed the lush upper rain forest. Pohnpei’s waterfalls range from pleasant to spectacular.
Surrounded largely by rich mangrove forests, Pohnpei’s jagged coastline is intersected by numerous channels that carry nutrients into the vast lagoon. These nutrients attract marine life and make Pohnpei one of the most varied marine environments in Micronesia. The island’s hard coral reefs and colorful drop-offs are enchanting. Sea anemones, soft corals and colorful gorgonian sea fans dot the walls. Sharks, sea turtles and manta rays are seen at many sites around Pohnpei.
A short boat trip can be made to two neighboring atolls, Ant and Pakin that exude the aura of paradise unspoiled. Here, the true meaning of pristine diving comes to the fore. Whether it be riding a raging current out to sea through an island pass or exploring a deep fan laden chasm, the atolls are a fantastic experience.

Much is still to be learned about the mysterious Nan Madol ruins. Called the Venice of the Pacific, this manmade city with ocean-filled channels once housed a thriving, royal civilization. Huge basalt pillars form the residences of kings and sorcerers. These remnants of an ancient Pohnpeian civilization are still being studied and explored. Pohnpei is famous for the relaxing drink sakau, a kava-like brew. Watching sakau being prepared is an experience unique to Pohnpei. The pepper plant is taken from the wild and presented at a special ceremony. When it comes to relaxing, try a drink of sakau, the numbing local drink used in ceremonies and also sold in bars.

History:

The FSM has a rich history dating back several thousand years. The islands were originally settled by ancient people sailing east from Asia and north from Polynesia. Later discoverers and settlers included the Spanish, Germans, and Japanese and evidence of their former presence is found throughout the islands. Following the trusteeship under U.S. administration after W.W. II, the FSM is now independent and self-governing.

Most linguistic and archaeological evidence indicates that the islands were first discovered and settled between two and three thousand years ago. The first settlers are often described as Austronesian speakers possessing horticultural skills and highly sophisticated maritime knowledge. These first settlers are thought to have migrated eastward from Southeast Asia to Yap. From there, some migrated south to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and New Caledonia, and later to Kiribati and the Marshall Islands.

The oral histories of the Micronesian people indicate close affiliations and interactions in the past among the members of the island societies comprising the present-day FSM. The Lelu ruins in Kosrae (1400 AD) and the Nan Madol ruins of Pohnpei (1000 AD) are impressive reminders of the accomplishments of these early people.

In 1525, Portuguese navigators in search of the Spice Islands (Indonesia) came upon Yap and Ulithi. Spanish expeditions later made the first European contact with the rest of the Caroline Islands. Spain established its colonial government on Yap and claimed sovereignty over the Caroline Islands until 1899. At that time, Spain withdrew from its Pacific insular areas and sold its interests to Germany, except for Guam which became a U.S. insular area.

German administration encouraged the development of trade and production of copra. In 1914 German administration ended when the Japanese navy took military possession of the Marshall, Caroline and Northern Mariana Islands.

Japan began its formal administration under a League of Nations mandated in 1920. During this period, extensive settlement resulted in a Japanese population of over 100,000 throughout Micronesia. The indigenous population was then about 40,000. Sugar cane, mining, fishing and tropical agriculture became the major industries.

World War II brought an abrupt end to the relative prosperity experienced during Japanese civil administration. By the War’s conclusion, most infrastructure had been laid waste by bombing and the islands and people had been exploited by the Japanese Military to the point of impoverishment.

The United Nations created the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) in 1947. Pohnpei (formerly Ponape), Kosrae (formerly Kusaie, and at the time a part of Pohnpei), Chuuk (formerly Truk), Yap, Palau, the Marshall Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands, together constituted the TTPI. The United States accepted the role of Trustee of this, the only United Nations Trusteeship to be designated as a “Security Trusteeship,” whose ultimate disposition was to be determined by the UN Security Council. As Trustee, the U.S. was to “promote the economic advancement and self-sufficiency of the inhabitants.”

The President of the U.S. appointed a High Commissioner of the TTPI, and he, in turn, appointed an administrator for each of the “Districts” mentioned above. The TTPI remained under the civil administration of the U.S. Navy Department until 1951, when authority passed to the Department of the Interior.

On July 12, 1978, following a Constitutional Convention, the people of four of the former Districts of the Trust Territory, Truk (now Chuuk), Yap, Ponape (now Pohnpei) and Kusaie (now Kosrae) voted in a referendum to form a Federation under the Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). United Nations observers certified this referendum as a legitimate act of self- determination. Thereby, the people reasserted their inherent sovereignty which had remained dormant but intact, throughout the years of stewardship by the League of Nations and the United Nations.

Upon implementation of the FSM Constitution on May 10, 1979, the former Districts became States of the Federation, and in due course adopted their own State constitutions. Nationwide democratic elections were held to elect officials of the National and four State governments. The Honorable Tosiwo Nakayama, the former President of the Congress of Micronesia, became the first President of the FSM and formed his Cabinet. The new Congress of the FSM convened, elected the Honorable Bethwel Henry as Speaker, and began to enact laws for the new Nation. A judicial system was established pursuant to the National and State constitutions. Thereupon, the United States entered upon a period (1979 86) of orderly transfer of governmental functions consistent with the terms and intent of the UN Trusteeship Agreement.

Upon implementation of the FSM Constitution, the U.S. recognized the establishment of the FSM national and state governments. The FSM, the republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau each negotiated a Compact of Free Association with the United States. The Compact was signed on October 1, 1982 and approved by voters in the FSM in 1983. After approval by the U.S. Congress, the Compact entered into force on November 3, 1986. On September 17, 1991, the FSM became a member of the United Nations.

Climate:

The FSM enjoys a tropical climate, with relatively even, warm temperatures throughout the year.
The climate in the FSM averages 80° F year round, with highs in the high 80s and lows in the high 70s. Rainfall is heaviest during the summer months. The rainfall on each island varies, however, so check with the local visitor authority for anticipated dry and wet seasons. Trade winds come mainly from the northeast from December through June. Light tropical clothing is the norm year ’round in the FSM.

Pohnpei reputedly is one of the wettest places on Earth, with some locations on the interior of the island receiving up to 330 inches of rain per year. The trade wind season generally occurs from December to March.

Language:

English is the official language of the government and of commerce.
Eight major indigenous languages spoken: Yapese, Ulithian, Woleaians, Chuukese, Pohnpeians, Kosraeans, Nukuoro, Kapingamarangi. Many elderly people are fluent in Japanese.

Some common phrases for each of the main languages are available below:

English Yapese Chuukese Pohnpeian Kosraean
Hello Mogethin Ran allim Kaselehlia Len wo
Goodbye Kefel Kone nomw Kaselehlia Kut fwa osun
Thank you Kammagar Kinisou Kalangen en Komwi/Menlau Nga kuna
Friend Fager Pwipwi Kompoakepai Kawuk
I like Gub Adag Ua sani Ih mwahuki Nga lungse
I don’t like Dabug Use sani Ih sohte pereniki Nga srunga
How much? In pulwon? Fite niwinin? Iah wen pweine? Mea ke?
Good Man gil Mei murino Mw ahu Wo
Please Weniig Kose mochen munas Menlau Nunak
Excuse me Sirow Omusalo tipis Mahkongie / Kupwur Mahk Sisla koluk

 Time zone:

Time zone in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (GMT+11)

Departure Tax :
$20 for YAP, $20 for POHNPEI,$20 for CHUUK, $15 for KOSRAE

Doctors and Health:
The FSM is a healthy place to visit. There are no tropical diseases and health care is readily available. Each of the FSM states has a modern major hospital.

 Duty Free Allowance :
One of the most important things to check up on when planning a visit to a country is its customs laws and banned items. Pohnpei has a reasonable limit for duty-free items if you are over the age of 18.

  • 600 cigarettes or 454g of cigars
  • Perfume for personal use only
  • 2L alcohol beverages

Airlines and Airports:
Travel to the FSM is available via Guam of Hawaii through United Airline.
For detail information, please access to www.united.com.

  • POHNPEI

GUAM ⇔ POHNPEI (transit Chuuk) : about 2h30m
(Island hopper line from Hawaii) KOSRAE ⇔ POHNPEI: about 1hour

United Airline service Between GUAM and POHNPEI (State: POHNPEI Island), and Between HAWAII and POHNPEI.

Alcohol
There is a wide variety of eating and drinking places to enjoy, many on the waterfront or beachfront, or in picturesque settings.

Bars & Nightclubs
http://www.visit-micronesia.fm/state/k_eat.html

Currency and Credit cards:

The U.S. dollar is the official currency. There are several U.S. FDIC insured banks operating in the FSM.
Most major credit cards are welcome at most visitor-oriented businesses.

Dress/Attire

Travel light. It never gets cold in FSM, so only lightweight clothing should be brought.
Attire is very casual and formal wear is considered unnecessary and impractical. Hats, sunglasses and sun screen are recommended when enjoying the sun.

Mobile Phones
Please check Website for more information ;

The FSM Telecommunications Corporation.

Internet – The FSM enjoys modern, reliable telecommunication links worldwide.
TV, FAX and Internet services are readily available throughout the FSM through the services of the FSM Telecommunications Corporation.

Post Office
U.S. Postal rates apply, and there are post offices on all the four states of the FSM.
Post offices are open daily during regular business hours and are closed on week-ends.

Electricity – Standard 110 volt and US type outlets are used.

Entry Requirements:

All visitors arriving in the FSM must have and present proof of citizenship or nationality by possessing a valid passport or other travel document issued by the government of the country of citizenship or nationality. The document must be valid for at least 120 days beyond the date of entry into the FSM. Citizens and nationals of the FSM, Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the United States may prove citizenship or nationality by possessing a passport, birth certificate or FSM entry permit.

Upon arrival, all non-citizens without a valid entry permit must present a completed “FSM Immigration Arrival and Departure Record.” This form is furnished by a carrier prior to arrival at the point of entry. Those wishing to visit the FSM for a period exceeding 30 days must also complete an entry permit. A permit is not required for a person visiting the FSM for 30 days or less.

Every visitor must demonstrate the ability to travel onward beyond the FSM and to leave the FSM at the end of the visit. This can be shown by possession of a return or onward ticket to a destination outside of the FSM to a place where his or her travel documents will allow entry. At the discretion of the Chief of Immigration & Labor, in lieu of a ticket, the visitor may present any other form of proof to show that the non-citizen will be able to leave the FSM upon expiration of the visit or otherwise.

Citizens and nationals of the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the United States may be issued an entry permit for the duration of the visit which shall not exceed one year.

All other non-citizens may be issued an entry permit for an additional period not to exceed 60 days.

All non-citizens, other than visitors must have their entry permits applied for prior to arrival in the FSM. The Entry Permit application can be downloaded here. Other restrictions apply for these categories. For more information, see the General Guide below or contact the FSM agencies (Government office) in the list provided.

Religion:
Religion is predominantly Christian, divided between Roman Catholic and Protestant -other churches include Latter-Day Saints, Seventh-Day Adventist, Assembly of God, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Baha’i Faith.

Churches of many denominations can be found throughout the islands.

50 percent is Roman Catholic
47 percent is Protestant
3 percent is others:
– Mormons
– Baptist
– Assembly of God
– Seven Day Adventist
– Apostolic Church
– Pentecostal Church
– Jehovah’s Witnesses
– Victory Chapel

For further information:

Please contact Ms. Reena Suliana, PPA Secretariat on Tel: (679) 3306 022 or send an email to: ppa@ppa.org.fj

Or refer to the Pohnpei Visitors Bureau Website;

http://www.visit-micronesia.fm/index.html