Commonwealth Health Center in Saipan. Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Abasaa
Commonwealth Health Center in Saipan. Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Abasaa

Unlike in recent years, an indigenous Pacific Islander family has given birth to Saipan’s New Year baby. The baby boy, Dakota Villazon, was also the first arrival of 2018 in the Northern Mariana Islands, Saipan Tribune reported.

Dakota’s parents, Jesse and Alicia Villazon, belong to the Chamorro/Carolinian ethnic group.

At 3:30am on New Year’s Day, Alicia Villazon arrived at the Commonwealth Health Center (CHC) and gave birth just over an hour later, at 4:49am. Dakota is the couple’s second child, Saipan Tribune reported.

Dr Samuel Gordon said mother and son were doing well, adding that Dakota was the only baby delivered at CHC on New Year’s Day, Marianas Variety reported.

Shirly Ann Weilbacher, labor and delivery nurse at CHC, said waiting for the first baby to be born in 2018 was exciting. She said that in previous years, the New Year babies were Bangladeshi or Filipino, but this year the baby is from Chamorro/Carolinian parents.

Jesse Villazon said he hoped his new son would become a judge when he grows up. Alicia hopes he earns a master’s degree.

The population of Saipan, the largest of the Northern Mariana Islands, a US commonwealth in the Western Pacific, is about 48,000. One-third of them are Filipinos and another one-third are Pacific Islanders (including Chamorro and Carolinian). The rest include Chinese, Koreans, Japanese and Bangladeshis.

Last year, the first newborn was Yasin Bapariy from Bangladeshi parents Mokter and Sahinur Bapariy. In 2016, a Filipino baby boy named Alvin Estrada was the first newborn in Saipan.