Celebrating Guam: Titiyas Flatbread Recipe

Two Lovers Point  panoramicHafa Adai, Friends!  Hafa Adai is the warm welcome greeting from my beloved island of Guam.  Si Yu’us Ma’ase/ Thank you to all my friends and family members who reached out to my mother and I during this past week.  It means so much to us. We are delighted that our beloved island has been spared.  As a thank you, I wanted to share with you a very special and easy recipe for Titiyas or Tiyas (TEE-jus) as my family calls it- a delicious flatbread.  You will find it printed here along with an excerpt from my book Dee’s Dishes.  Read on for more information about Guam and her people.

Where in the World is Guam, Anyway?  a blog post written by my dad!

Why Guam was targeted.

Keep Calm, Guam. An interview with Korean expert and BBC notable Robert E. Kelly.

I visited Guam During the Nuclear Standoff and Loved Every Minute of It

My Guam Journals – posts and pics from my family’s vacation in Guam two years ago.

MY GIFT TO YOU: An excerpt from my book Dee’s Dishes- Available on Amazon in print and on Kindle. Stories and Recipes including more about Guam, including the Chicken Kelaguen recipe mentioned in many of the above links.

Remembering Grandma Santos

I was so fortunate to have my grandma living with us when I was a young girl. I loved her then, and I have even greater respect and admiration for her now. She was with us for all of our special occasions. She let my beloved cat cuddle near her, even though she wasn’t particularly fond of cats. She was so warm, and genuinely loving, as my relatives from Guam are. She always made sure to snuggle and hug my sister and I when it was the other sister’s birthday. And she could fry Vienna sausage like no one else.

I cannot even imagine the hardships she endured, growing up on Guam in the early twentieth century. Her island was captured by Japan during World War II happened, and her family was forced to march between villages along with the other native islanders. Her young son became separated from her during the march, and wasn’t reunited with the family for a day. Can you even imagine?

She sure made me feel special and loved, and I know she did the same for her other twenty-six grandchildren. She walked us to the park at the top of the hill so we could play on the playground. She wore a lace shawl over her head, reminiscent of how Catholic women had to cover their hair in church in pre-Vatican II times. I still remember the shiny black patent leather Mary Jane’s with the big fat buckle that she gave me one year. (Maybe that’s why I have always loved Mary Janes!)

Sometimes when I find a food truck now I will ask them to prepare a meal that I remember my grandma cooking for us. It is basically eggs and rice, with fried Vienna sausage. Then I douse it with soy sauce. (You know you are an Asian Pacific Islander if you keep a bottle of soy sauce in your desk at work!) The likes and loves start pouring in when I post a picture of my meal on Facebook or Instagram!  Many of my family, friends, and followers remember this comfort meal.

I remember the Tejas that Grandma cooked for us. Tejas is short for Titiyas, the traditional flatbread. I remember watching her making this in our home, when I was growing up. She’d give me a little of the dough and I could make my own tiny tejas. If I concentrate on the memory, I can almost smell her presence — Rose Milk hand lotion and Cheerios. It’s wonderful to now watch my own children make tejas with my mom.

I miss you, Grandma.



Flatbread from Guam

(pronounced tih-TEE-jus or TEE-jus for short.)

My grandmother would make this from memory, without ever measuring. My mom studied her process and came up with these measurements.


1 cube butter

½ cup sugar

4 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 cup milk (or coconut milk, per my mom)


Cream butter and sugar.

In the same bowl, pour in the flower and baking powder.

Stir just the top dry ingredients, before mixing all together with the milk.

Mix until contents form a ball.

Separate into five balls.

Flatten each ball and roll between two sheets of waxed paper with rolling pin.

Cook on griddle one to two minutes each side.

There is no need to use oil/spray on the pan because of the butter.

Makes five large tejas.

Great with cheese and ham. (Even spam.)

I hope you enjoyed reading.  Let me know if you have tried Tiyas!

Biba Guam!






My Guam Journals, Part 5.2

Day 5, Afternoon

After the beauteous Two Lovers Point, we head to Hagatna/ Agana to pick up my Auntie Nit for lunch. She suggests that we go to the Fiesta for lunch. The Fiesta is a hotel with a buffet. The buffet is closing in thirty minutes when we arrive. So we hurry. (You should know that we often go to the buffet at the Paris hotel in Las Vegas, timing out arrival to be thirty minutes before “lunch time” so that we can enjoy both meal types.). Most of the fare is not to my family’s liking, however. The kids and my father happily find the Mexican station, and, of course, the desserts. My husband and I find the Korean Barbeque station, which is a nice treat. Auntie Nit is a hoot. On the way back to her house, we drive around randomly looking for mangoes. As you do.

Now we head to the statue of the three generations of Chamorritas. This statue stands near the beach off the coast of Hagatna. I was drawn to this statue as I started planning for our trip. I asked my sweet mother if she would pose with my daughter and I in the same way. I was delighted that she even offered to bring her mestiza, a sheer blouse worn over a regular top. The boys helped us get into the exact positions of the three. This was especially meaningful to me, as it has been such a special trip and I’m so proud of my mother and her culture, here was an opportunity for her to show the island to my daughter. And here was an opportunity for us to memorialize the moment. The photo is below. My dear father also entered the photo into the Monochrome Madness weekly challenge here.

Three Chamorritas

Dear Son noticed a storefront sign with the Daok Oil that I was looking for. We maneuvered back and knocked in vain. The store appeared abandoned, and the neighbors didn’t know anything about them. Alas. Sometimes the quest is not about the treasure, but the adventure.

After returning to the hotel to change, we head to Tu Re Cafe to meet Shana one last time. We enjoy some more special time together, and a rainbow appears. I catch both sides of the rainbow, but as I take the panoramic photo, the clouds move over the right side. Typing this today, I just realized it was a double rainbow. Amazing.

Dos Isas

Now we head to Cappriciosa again for dinner with my mother’s childhood friend, Senator Tom Ada. We are meeting early at a different location, in order to beat the tourists. We have a back room which is more like an enclosure, and it’s only semi-private. The Senator and his wife are delightful, as are his sister and her husband. We are enjoying the same entrees we selected on Monday. The restaurant is in a shopping mall, and everybody seems to know Senator Ada.

We make one last stop at the worlds’s largest K-Mart for snacks for the plane ride tomorrow. My parents are going to meet the others at The Outrigger hotel for some music and wine. We get the kids in bed, and my husband and I enjoy a rare date, we enjoy a nice walk to the Outrigger and some last minute souvenir shopping at the ABC stores. I snap a pic of a funny human-sized shark stuffed animal dressed in a floral print sarong at Underwater World. As you do.

The trip is over too soon, and yet it was also perfect. Just perfect.

Please check back for the conclusion of our journey: the Return Home.

Family with Shana

My Guam Journals, Part One

Saturday April 4th (California Time)

This morning I awoke the kids and we dressed in preplanned plane travel outfits (packing is another post in itself). We enjoyed a brief breakfast at home before piling in the car. We drove to my Aunt Betty’s house, as she lives five minutes from the airport. Aunt Betty joined the kids in the back seat, dropped us off, and drove the car back to her house. Isn’t she sweet?

We enjoyed checking our passports at security. Guam is a U.S. Territory but we would be traveling home via Japan, therefore passports were necessary. It was a five hour flight to Honolulu, Hawaii. The flight was pleasant and we enjoyed the entertainment app, streaming videos. In Hawaii, we enjoyed a quick pizza lunch and a hunt for available outlets to charge some devices.

The next flight would be direct to Guam: 7 hours and 45 minutes. It is long, but manageable. Meals and snacks were available for purchase, plus this mama had bunches of snacks for us. My hubby had requested that our girl be his seat buddy, as she is the smallest and that would give him more room. I smiled inside, wondering how long that would last. She’s also the most likely to require comforting. My son and I used a headphone splitter so we could both watch a movie together. He chose Night at the Museum 2. Delightful. Soon afterwards, Dear Hubby requested a kid switch. No worries. Dear Daughter enjoyed some activities I’d packed in her Wonder Woman backpack, and I started making a friendship bracelet. Years ago, my sister and I had endured the long flight to Guam by making friendship bracelets. So I started one, and soon she fell asleep. I can usually knot one up in about an hour, but I was starting to get Kitan (Chamorro for cross-eyed) so I struggled through it. I actually took a nap myself before I was done. With the bracelet in progress still pinned to the knee of my jeans. #NoShame

Sunday April 5th (Guam Time)
When we landed, it was 6pm local time, Easter Sunday. Happy Easter! We had crossed the International Date Line in flight. The sun had set and my parents and cousins came to greet us at the airport in two cars. They brought us to the Westin where my mother had already checked us in, so we went straight to the room, dropped bags and walked to Outback Steakhouse across the street for dinner.

Our hotel was in Tumon Bay, which is like little Waikiki. Hotel Row and Tourist Central. Many American chains are represented. Guam thrives on tourism, and Japan loves it. Guam is their wedding destination and their taste of Hawaii and Vegas, only a three hour flight from Tokyo. This part of the island is catered to tourists. It was lovely to see my parents and my cousins and enjoy our time together. And then we went back to the hotel and collapsed.

Monday April 6th
This day we would meet up with my childhood friend and penpal, Shana. Two of her children are my kids’ ages, so we wanted to get all of us together, while they still had one day off school. Shana had suggested a Chamorro Fusion restaurant for our breakfast, and we all loved Pika’s Cafe. It was loud and pumpin’, you could tell the locals love it. Hubby had a Chamorrican burrito with Chamorro sausage and I enjoyed Kahlua French toast with caramelized bananas and coconut syrup. Mom dropped us off at the Water Park and we met Shana and her two youngest kids.

The water park was so much fun. It was delightful to reconnect with Shana. For after writing faithfully for ten years in our youth, we’d lost touch in college. I found her on Facebook a few years ago, and we reconnected. She is a beautiful Chamorrita soul and the perfect island guide for us. Hubby took he boys on all the slides as the girls chilled in the pools. At times it would rain softly upon is, and we’d just stay there, as if it was normal. Shana said, This is normal!

After we had showered at the water park, we were showered down upon. The sky grayed and the rain blew sideways and my denim shorts stuck to my body. I hadn’t brought the umbrellas I’d packed, but Shana had a bunch of towels. She explained that in Guam, you don’t need an umbrella. You just towel off and go about your day.

We went to Zip Guam. Hubby and I ziplined along with Shana’s son. This was a really awesome experience: 6 zip lines, two over jungle and one oceanside. It was thrilling, and I was also more than a little scared. I knew I wasn’t supposed to hold on with my right hand behind my head, but somehow I couldn’t get myself to not hold on. I had to literally let go. I remembered to ask the ancient ones for permission to fly across their jungle, and thanked them. I felt that they were with me as I flew.

This night we enjoyed a family dinner at Cappriciosa, an Italian restaurant with menus in Japanese. The portions were family-size, and we enjoyed sharing. The pasta was cooked perfectly Al Dente, not mushy. I particularly enjoyed baked salmon over linguini in a light white sauce. Dear Daughter’s kiddie meal included strawberry ice cream with red glittery sprinkles atop. Perfect ending for the girl who would awake at 5:30 am for the next three days, conking out at 7pm.

Didn’t mind the light gray day, it was wonderful reconnecting and the clouds prevented any sunburn.

More on my trip, later!

Zip Guam

Spring Break on Guam

Rainbow on Guam
Dear Friends,
I’m back from an amazing vacation on Guam, my mother’s homeland.
It was thrilling, heartwarming, eye-opening, and exhausting.
We were awake 30 hours traveling home, and then I slept 14 hours straight. Of course, often I find myself wide awake at 3:33 am because it’s 8:33 pm tomorrow on Guam.
I can’t wait to tell you more about it.
But for now, I send you this rainbow.