Tuesday, October 17, 2017


All over the Hispanic world, there are different kinds of rosquete.

The root word is rosco.  A rosco can mean a bread roll, a biscuit, a cookie....and many other similar things.

In the Spanish city of Cádiz, in the south of that country, they make a rosquete that looks like our own Chamorro version, but it is made with some ingredients not found in our own.

A kind of Spanish rosquete

So when Spaniards or Latin Americans brought the basic idea for rosquete to the Marianas, our people had to use ingredients that were available to them.

The Chamorro roskete is made of : flour, corn starch (a lot of it), sugar, butter, eggs and salt. Modern recipes add baking powder and vanilla extract (some use lemon extract), which I am pretty sure were not available in the Marianas 200 years ago. Even butter may not have been quite readily available in our islands 100 years ago or more. Some other shortening must have been used.

The Chamorro roskete is dry and crumbly. That is due to the large amounts of corn starch in the recipe. Because they are so dry and crumbly, mailing roskete to your loved ones off-island is an exercise in hope or optimism. They often become pulverized in the mail. Your loved ones in the States will receive roskete powder by the time it gets to them.

The traditional form of the roskete is to form loops with the rolled out dough. Many people today simply make medallions of the dough. Less work.

Personally, I prefer the "figure eight" traditional form of roskete. Because they are so dry, it is better to eat in smaller doses.

When a roskete is excellent, it has flavor. Am not sure if it is the vanilla extract or the eggs that impart that flavor. I know a lady who makes excellent roskete and claims it's because of her "secret ingredient." I have a suspicion it's Crisco.

But then there is roskete that has little to no flavor. It can become a mouthful of dry, sweet cookie crumbles in the mouth, best dissolved by a gulp of hot coffee.

Here's a video (in two parts, actually) showing how to make roskete according to one person's recipe :

And a link to another recipe for roskete :


Monday, October 16, 2017



Hinckley Alley was only a small, narrow street in the heart of San Francisco, straddling the area in between North Beach, dominated by Italian immigrants, and Chinatown.

It was a rough neighborhood, where saloon fights and petty crime were not unusual. People lived poorly, often in unhealthy environments.

There were people from all over the world living on Hinckley Alley, but in the area around house Number 17, there was a high concentration of Mexican Americans. And one Chamorro. Bonifacio de los Reyes.

Bonifacio was born around 1857 in the Marianas. In 1881, at the age of 24 or so, he arrived in the U.S.  He probably served on a whaling ship or some other vessel. Several years after arriving in the U.S., he married a Mexican American woman named Dominga. Everyone in house Number 17 (besides Bonifacio) was either born in Mexico or had family origins in Mexico. Besides Bonifacio and Dominga, there were the Mexican de la Rosa and Lopez families in the same house.

Many Chamorros who moved to the U.S. or Hawaii (an independent kingdom before 1893) married Hispanic or Portuguese women. The Chamorro language and culture being heavily influenced by Spain, that should be no surprise. Many Chamorros of the time knew some Spanish.

Working Class neighborhood of old San Francisco

Mexican tamales making was a specialty of Hinckley Alley. They fed the Mexican residents of the neighborhood, and anyone else interested in them. Bonifacio, married to a Hispanic wife, and knowing the Chamorro version of tamales , learned to make Mexican tamales and that became his source of income.

In the 1900 Census, Bonifacio and a housemate are described as "talmale (tamale)" makers

Sad to say, a local newspaper considered Hinckley Alley's tamales to be unsanitary.  The whole neighborhood was considered a filthy ghetto. Who knows what the real deal with the tamales was? The neighborhood buyers didn't think so, or else the tamales business would have dried up. I'd venture to say that the tamales sold at Hinckley Alley would not meet today's kitchen standards, but for the most part people back then living in the neighborhood had no problem with it.

The unfavorable report of Hinckley Alley tamales in the San Francisco Chronicle of 1892

Hinckley Alley was renamed Fresno Street after the great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906. 

I don't know what became of Bonifacio. He and Dominga apparently never had children.

Friday, October 13, 2017


Peru was a great find for the Spanish colonizers. In Peru, the Spaniards found gold and silver, increasing the wealth of the Spanish Empire. Besides Mexico, Peru became an anchor of the Spanish Empire in the New World. From Peru, the arms of the Spanish realm spread out even to Guam. Peruvians were sent to the Marianas, including the famous Governor, Damián de Esplaña.

But things changed in the early 1800s. Starting in 1818, war to liberate Peru from Spanish rule broke out, ending in 1824 with the independence of the country. Political instability ensued, with one party fighting the others for political control. To raise money, the government in power at the time levied heavy taxes on the moneyed classes.


In order to protect their wealth, a group of rich Peruvians decided to gather their money, jewels and other valuables and hide them in a remote island of the Marianas. According to one account, $20 million in cash, jewels and artifacts was amassed. The rich Peruvians hired a schooner to take their fortune for hiding in the Marianas and had a banquet the night before the schooner was to sail.

One thing spoiled the plan. A British officer named Roberts discovered what was going on. He rounded up a group of cut throats and boarded the schooner while the dinner was going on elsewhere. It happened that the schooner's officers were also at the dinner, leaving behind a skeleton crew on board the schooner. Thus it was easier for Roberts and his brigands to seize control of the gold-laden vessel. Roberts stuck to the original Peruvian plan. He set sail for the Marianas.

Upon reaching the islands, he confided in two mates, Williams and George, and they buried the treasure in copper boxes under a volcanic rock on one of the Mariana islands. On top of the rock grew three coconut trees - a good landmark. Then they set sail for Hawaii, an independent kingdom at the time.

On the way to Hawaii, the crew members, who did not know what Roberts buried in the Marianas, found out and started to demand a share in the wealth. Roberts then set fire to the schooner and fled in one of the boats with his two associates, Williams and George, and a Peruvian cabin boy. Still on the way to Hawaii, George started to argue with Roberts, so the group used an oar to hit him on the head and throw him overboard. Roberts, Williams and the cabin boy made it to Hawaii, claiming that they had survived a ship wreck. Once in Honolulu, Roberts sent the cabin boy back to Peru. Now, only Roberts and Williams knew the location of the buried treasure.

Roberts then hired another schooner, the Swallow, to take him and Williams back to the Marianas to retrieve the buried treasure. On the way, the captain of the Swallow started to get suspicious of Roberts, especially when Williams disappeared. Roberts claimed that Williams fell overboard into the sea. The captain searched Williams' belongings and found a map of an island indicating buried treasure, but the name of the island was not identified. When the Marianas were in sight, the Swallow met up with another ship, whose captain was a friend of the Swallow's captain. The two captains discussed what to do about Roberts and the hidden treasure.

They offered Roberts two choices. Either help the two captains find the treasure, and be given a small share in it, or be turned over to the Spanish authorities in Guam. Roberts agreed to help find the treasure. But when Roberts was going down the ladder from the ship to the small boat below, which already carried the two captains, instead of getting into the boat, Roberts pushed it away with his foot and jumped into the ocean, from which he never came up. It was suspected that Roberts had filled his pockets and weighed himself down in order to commit suicide, rather than give up the details of the treasure's location.

The captains had their maps and notes left behind by Williams, but in spite of all their digging they never found the treasure. These maps and notes were then turned over to the Spanish government on Guam.

Enter another British captain, named Johnson. Being on Guam many years later, he learned about Roberts and the hidden treasure. He, too, got the bug to find it and hired a small ship and crew, relying on the treasure's location he learned from Williams' notes kept by the Spanish government on Guam. But, on the morning he was supposed to leave Guam and go north to search for the treasure, he discovered that the ship had gone. He suspected that the mate and the crew decided to go hunt for the treasure themselves and leave Johnson out of it.

This story, taken from a newspaper article in 1888 using Johnson as a source, differs in many details from Georg Fritz's account twenty years later of buried treasure in Pagan, which suggests that the two stories are of two separate events.

Unless Johnson's runaway crew found the treasure, there may just be millions of dollars' worth of buried treasure in one of the Mariana islands north of Guam. Which island is anybody's guess. Take your pick. And shovel. And go digging.

Where, oh where, is the buried treasure?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


In modern times, young people meet at the mall or the movie theater and many other places. In the old days, when there were no malls or movie theaters, you met your sweetheart outside her house, if her family allowed even that!

Grandma was sure to be peeking behind the window curtain while you and your sweetheart were talking.

In this song, the poor guy shows up but the girl is a no-show.

Sung by Sonny Flores and Joe Norita of Saipan.


Gi pupuengen Såbalo
(On Saturday evening)
sinireno yo'.
(I was in the coolness of dusk.)
Ya tåya' bali-ña
(And it was worthless)
kontratå-ta na dos.
(what the two of us agreed.)

Si Yu'us ma'åse' nene
(Thank you baby)
pot un dagi yo'.
(for lying to me.)
Na para ta asodda'
(That we would meet each other)
gi hiyong gimå'-mo.
(outside your house.)


Sereno. Borrowed from the Spanish language. In Chamorro (and Spanish) it means the night hours, either after sunset or right before sunrise and all hours in between.

The root word, sereno, means "serene, peaceful, quiet." In the old days, things quieted down at night. So sereno came to stand for the nighttime hours. Even a night watchman was called a sereno. Since dew forms in the night, even the dew was called sereno.

Chamorros traditionally have an aversion to the sereno. To be caught outside, especially without the head covered, in the sereno was to invite sickness.

Monday, October 9, 2017


Excerpts from a last will and testament (testamento) written in 1924 by a man from Inalåhan.

The man's orthography is heavily influenced by Spanish. There is no use of K, for example, and J is used for the H sound, as in Spanish, as in Sinajaña and Inarajan. I have taken the liberty to write it here in a more modern orthography. I am leaving out the last names, to respect the family's privacy.

Todos i lumi'e' este na påppet debe de u ma tungo'
(All who read this document should know)
na guåho Joaquin ____, taotao Inalåhan, Guam, 59 åños sakkån-ho,
(that I am Joaquin ___, from Inarajan, Guam, 59 years of age,)
kasao gi segundo asaguå-ho as María _____,
(married to my second wife María ____,)
ya kabåles todo i hinasso-ko ya guaha kapasidåt-ho
(and I am sane in mind and have the capacity)
para hu fa'tinas este på'go na påppet.
(to make this document now.)
Hu fa'tinas este na testamento ya pot ginagao-ho
(I make this testament and at my request)
hu na' tuge' si José ____ gi me'nå-ho yan i direksion-ho
(I have made José ____ write it before me and at my direction)
hu na' tuge' este siha mo'na na sinangån-ho :
(to write henceforth my statements :)

Fine'nana : Hu deklåra na i relihion-ho Katoliko Apostoliko Romåno
(First : I declare that my religion is Catholic, Apostolic, Roman)
desde i ninalå'-ho asta i finatai-ho.
(from my birth till my death.)

Segundo : Hu deklåra na i fine'nana asaguå-ho si Victorina ____
(Second : I declare that my first wife was Victorina _____)
ya guaha uno hagan-måme, na'ån-ña si Fabia _____ ya umassagua
(and we had one daughter named Fabia, married)
yan si Santiago _____ ya ayo na hagan-måme måtai
(to Santiago _____ and our daughter died)
ya guaha uno lahen-ñiha na'ån-ña si Jesús ____
(and they had one son named Jesús ____)
ya solo gue' na eredero.
(and he alone is an heir.)

Tetsero : Hu deklåra na på'go umassagua yo' gi segundo
(Third : I declare that I am now married a second time)
yan si María _____ ya tåya' ni uno påtgon-måme.
(with María _____ and we no child at all.)

He goes on in his testament to distribute different properties that he owns, all in the Inalåhan area, to his different heirs, and appoints one of them to execute his will.

Thursday, October 5, 2017


An old custom from Spanish times was to keep a light on all day and all night before the images of saints and our Lord.

Although there were more lights or candles lit before these images during prayers, those were blown out when the prayers were done. That one, special light that was never allowed to burn out without being immediately replaced was called the kåndet Yu'us, the light of God.

No matter what, the kåndet Yu'us was kept burning. If the oil was running low, it was refilled. If the wick (mecha) was about to born out, it was replaced. If the candle was near its end, a new candle was lit.

Here is how one lady explained it :


Gi gima'-måme nai, todo i tiempo guaha kåndet
(In our house, there is always a light)
pues an maleffa 'u, guaha na maleffa 'u nai, ni kandet,
(so if I forget, at times I forget about the light,)
man dåkdak gi petta ya ma ågang na'ån-ho.
(there is a knock on the door and my name is called.)
Pues ilek-ho gi as asaguå-ho, "Maleffa hao adei ti un po'lo i kandet."
(So I tell my husband, "You forgot to place the light.")
"Oh yeah."
Pues un biåhe lokkue' maleffa, kontodo guiya,
(So one time he forgot, even him,)
somebody knocked on the door,
ya ma ågang na'ån-ña.
(and they called his name.)
Pues på'go nai tåya' nu man maleffa ham ni kandet.
(So now we never forget about the light.)
Always. Uno para si San Antonio, uno para i ånimas,
(Always. There is one for Saint Anthony, one for the Poor Souls,)
an uno para si Santa Maria.
(and one for Blessed Mary.)
Ya i kostumbre-ta ni ngai'an para u måtai i kandet
(And out custom is never to let the light die)
ya ti ma songge ta'lo. Nuebo.
(and not light it again. A new one.)
Todo i tiempo ennaogue' mafanague-ko ni nanå-ho biha
(All the time, that's what my grandmother taught me)
sa' ma poksai biha 'u nai.
(because I was raised by a grandmother.)
Eyo na kalan biha diddide' i kostumbre-ko.
(That's why my customs are a bit like a grandmother's.)

Notice she said that there was knock on the door, and a voice calling out her name, if she (or her husband) forget to keep the flame burning. These are actions of the Poor Souls, or angels or the saints, reminding the people in the home to keep the flame alive.

There were some families who discontinued the custom due to one thing : fire.

One elderly lady told me that, before the war, they used an oil lamp for their kåndet Yu'us, and a rat came along and played with the wick and took it out of the lamp and it lit the cloth draping the altar and caused a fire in the house. After that, they no longer kept the kåndet Yu'us lit all the time. It was lit only for prayers when the family could keep an eye on the flame.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017


I came across a record of a farmer's sales to a local merchant on Guam in the year 1901.

What were some common items farmers sold to merchants to be sold in stores, and what prices did they fetch?

The farmer and his brother, first of all, were paid for their labor. One peso for the farmer and a little more, a peso and 50 céntimos, for the brother, perhaps for working longer hours.

Copra was a high-value commodity for most of that period. The farmer received 7 pesos and 20 céntimos for 240 pounds of copra (dried coconut meat). The Japanese bought plenty of copra, which was used mainly for the oil extracted from the dried meat. That oil was used in soap, shampoo, cosmetics and many other things.

The farmer also sold ten pounds of meat, two pesos worth. Three hundred pounds of actual coconuts brought in 9 pesos and 75 céntimos. Lastly, half a barrel of honey sold for 5 pesos. So here we have evidence that some farmers kept honey bees on Guam at the time.

This farmer made 26 pesos and 45 céntimos. That was not a bad sum in those days. You could buy a modest house of wood and thatched roofing for that amount.

Monday, October 2, 2017



Francisco Banig Ballesta was a carpenter in Hagåtña. Originally from Laguna in the Philippines, Ballesta was settled in Guam where he remained a bachelor.

One thing that kept carpenters in business was death. Funerals needed caskets, ataút in Chamorro. Since there were no morgues in those days, nor refrigeration, corpses decayed rapidly in our hot and humid conditions. Burial happened within 24 hours, usually. If someone died in the late afternoon or evening, the sound of the hammer knocking on wood could be heard in the night.

María's granddaughter passed away; the daughter of her son Vicente. She took it upon herself to find a carpenter to make a casket. She chose Ballesta. The agreement was for five pesos. The casket was made; the granddaughter was buried.

But three months later, Ballesta wasn't happy. He claimed that María had not paid one séntimo of the five peso debt. Tired of asking her, he filed a complaint in court for the five pesos.

María appeared in court and explained that, in the last three months since the funeral, she had given Ballesta suni (taro) worth 5 reåt (a Spanish coin, worth less than a peso); a chicken worth 1 reåt; and 12 reåt in coins, amounting to 2 pesos and 25 séntimos. Taking this into account, María stated that her debt to Ballesta now stood at 2 pesos and 75 séntimos, which she was willing to pay.

Ballesta said, "OK," and court was adjourned.

Ballesta, by the way, died in  Sumay in 1922 at the age of 106 years old! Well, that depends if there was solid documentation about his birth and people weren't going just by what he claimed.

On the left, a Spanish reåt coin

In those days, people paid debts with money, if they had it, or with chickens, eggs, vegetables....

Thursday, September 28, 2017


"Alcaide de la Cárcel"
"Prison Warden"
Guam Court Document in 1901

A branch of the Camacho family on Guam is known as the familian Atkaide.

What does Atkaide mean?

It's the Chamorro version of the Spanish word alcaide, seen in the Guam court document above. An alcaide was a prison warden; the man in charge of a jail or prison. Guam had a jail in Spanish times, located in Hagåtña. It was called the Cárcel Pública in Spanish, or kalaboso in Chamorro (borrowed from the Spanish word calabozo). By the late 1800s, the jail was located at the courthouse or tribunåt in Hagåtña.

How did a person named Camacho get the nickname Atkaide?

Benigno Camacho, married to Magdalena Palomo, was a member of the local militia. When he retired from that, he was made the alcaide of the local jail in Hagåtña. This information is taken from the Guam Recorder, a monthly news journal published on Guam before the war :

"(Benigno) was a sergeant in the local company of artillery, who upon retirement from military service, was appointed warden of the civil jail at Agana, which post he occupied for some years under the Spanish administration." (Guam Recorder, March 1937)

So, having the job of alcaide, it isn't any wonder that he was soon known himself as Benigno'n Atkaide, and the name passed down to his son, Vicente Palomo Camacho. Vicente was educated at the highest school available in the Marianas at the time, the Colegio de San Juan de Letrán in Hagåtña. There he learned Spanish, enabling him to work for the Spanish government as a clerk in the local court. Then he clerked for the Registrar of Lands, who, under the first American administration, was William E. Safford, who helped Vicente learn English.

Judge Vicente Palomo Camacho, "Atkaide"

Vicente then became a kind of attorney for clients living in the outlying villages, then Deputy Island Attorney then Judge. In 1935, he retired from government service and concentrated on farming, having two ranches, one in Barrigada and one in Mangilao by the old Price Road. His retirement was cut short when the Americans returned after World War II, as he was appointed back to the bench. He finally retired for good in 1947.

A street in Leyang, Barrigada named after the Atkaide family

Apartments named with a more exact spelling of the family nickname

Tuesday, September 26, 2017


Sen umaguaiya i un låhe yan i nobiå-ña ya umassagua i dos.
(A man and his girlfriend were so in love and they got married.)

Kada dia, ma umenta i minagof-ñiha pot i umagofli'e' i dos.
(Each day, their happiness increased because of their mutual love.)

Lao måtto i pininite annai gotpe ha' måtai i palao'an.
(But sorrow came when the woman suddenly died.)

Ti siña ma konsuela i lahe ni piniti-ña.
(You couldn't console the man of his pain.)

Duro gue' tumånges, ha'åne yan puenge.
(He cried and cried, day and night.)

En fin, ha konne' i matai na asaguå-ña
(In the end, he took his dead wife)

para u ma håfot gi tasi.
(to be buried in the sea.)

Mientras humahånao gi tasi gi halom boti-ña,
(While he went to the sea in his boat,)

måtto i taotaomo'na ya ha sangåne i lahe,
(the spirit of an ancestor came and told the man,)

"Siña hu na' lå'la' ta'lo i asaguå-mo,
("I can bring your wife back to life again,)

lao hu nesesita atfilet piao."
(but I need a bamboo pin.")

I lahe ha nå'e i taotaomo'na nu i atfilet piao
(The man gave the spirit a bamboo pin)

ya i taotaomo'na ha dulok i damagås-ña i lahe
(and the spirit pricked the thumb of the man)

ya ha na' tuhu i hagå'-ña gi labios-ña i palao'an
(and let his blood drip onto the lips of the lady)

ya magåhet na lumå'la' ta'lo i palao'an!
(and truly the lady came back to life again!)

Ma bira siha tåtte gi tano' ya todo maolek.
(They went back to land and all was well.)

Lao un dia, ha sodda' i lahe na guaha atungo'-ña otro na låhe i asaguå-na.
(But, one day, the man saw that his wife had another male friend.)

Gi lalalo'-ña, ha puno' ma se'se' i asaguå-ña annai eståba na umo'omak gi saddok,
(In his anger, he stabbed his wife to death while she bathed in the river,)

ya i haga' i palao'an ni ma chuda' gi saddok mama' chåda' ñåmo.
(and the blood that spread through the river became the eggs of mosquitoes.)

Ennao mina' man man å'aka' i ñamo siha.
(That is why mosquitoes bite.)

Ma espipia nahong na kantida håga' kosa ke u lå'la' ta'lo i palao'an.
(They are looking for a sufficient amount of blood to bring the lady back to life again.)


Monday, September 25, 2017


The man blocked the road with tree trunks

Poddong Lisong

Imagine your surprise when you are heading to your ranch, where you have been farming for years, and suddenly you find that the trail has been blocked by tree trunks that weren't there the day before.

Far from a storm felling these trees, your neighbor purposely cut the trees and blocked the road.

This is what happened in 1901 at a place called Poddong Lisong, in the central part of Guam in the low-lying, swampy area between Sinajaña and Toto .

All of central Guam had ranches, mainly owned by people living in Hagåtña. When they found that the trail leading to their ranches was blocked, they also discovered that a land owner in the area named José was responsible for it.

José had a field in the area and he wanted the road closed. He claimed that the original road through the area, with public access, was around 120 feet away. The road he closed, he claimed, was private and not open to the public.

Four land owners who needed that road open took the matter to court. They called five senior citizens who knew the area well. One of the witnesses, Catalino de Borja, was 71 years old and said that since he was a young man, he knew no other trail going through the area except the one closed by José. Other witnesses saying the same thing were Vicente Roberto Herrero, Lorenzo Torres Aguon, José Castro Mendiola and Salvador Díaz Luján, the grandfather of Monsignor Oscar Luján Calvo.

Well, the court believed these old gentlemen and José was ordered to reopen the trail.

The Name Poddong Lisong

According to the 1901 court documents, the place is called Poddong Lisong. Poddong means "to fall" or "fallen," and lusong is a "stone mortar." The name could thus mean "Fallen Mortar," or refer to a place that descends down to an area where there used to be a lusong. It really is all guess work. For the names of many places in our islands, neither oral tradition nor written documentation explain why a place is so named.

Food, herbs and medicine could be ground up in a lusong.

In Chamorro, initial vowels (like the U in lusong) can easily change (to an I as in lisong), depending on the usage or on who is saying the word. Thus, later maps call the place Peddong Lisong and Poddong Lusong.

"Peddong Lisong"

"Poddong Lusong" on the Sinajaña village sign

Thursday, September 21, 2017


Here it is, 118 years after the Spanish left Saipan in 1899, and this Chamorro family still prays this nobena to the Santa Cruz (Holy Cross) in Spanish. Even the singing is in Spanish.

While it is true that Spain left Saipan politically in 1899, and left Guam politically a year earlier in 1898, the clergy in both places remained Spanish for another 40 years or so.

In Guam, the last Spanish priest left in September of 1941, just three months before the war, and the bishop remained Spanish until 1945.

In Saipan, the last Spanish priest left in 1947. In addition to Spanish priests, Saipan had Spanish sisters, the Mercedarians, since 1928. These sisters had influence over the women of Saipan, and women generally have more of a role to play in keeping religious customs alive in the home. The people leading this Spanish nobena in this video in Saipan today are the women.

Spanish was used as an official language of government on Guam even in the early days of the American administration. It was in 1905 that Governor Dyer ordered the switch entirely to English. But, even in to the 1920s, performances staged by Chamorros included Spanish songs and dances. Chamorros clung to Spanish in prayers and hymns for many years after and, although in smaller numbers now, up to this day.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Gof chachathinasso un nåna sa' pot kada oga'an mumuta' i hagå-ña achok ha' ti kalentutura pat sinago. Ha konne' i hagå-ña para i mediko ya ma eksamina i me'me'-ña i sotterita. Sinangåne i nana nu i mediko, "Ma potge' i hagå-mo." Ilek-ña i nana, "Ti siña, Señot. Todo i tiempo humahame na dos ya tåya' na ha dingu i gima' guiguiya ha' na maisa, tåya' nobio måfåtto gi gima', tåya' na kumuentos gue' gi telefon yan låhe." An monhåyan ha sångan este i nana, tumohge i mediko gi me'nan i bentåna ya sige de tumalak hiyong. "Håfa, Señot, un a'atan guihe huyong?" mamaisen i nana. Ilek-ña i mediko, "Hu nanangga i Tres Reyes."


Mañugon i dos Etmåna para Inalåhan lao ti ma repåra na esta kumekehokkok i gasolina gi karetan-ñiha. Sen matai karetan-ñiha giya Yoña ya ma espia si Påle' Alvin para u ayuda siha. Ilek-ña si Påle', "Siña hamyo en fañopchop gasolina ginen i karetå-ho, lao tåya' båtde pat låta para u sinahguan i gasolina, solo guaha este na orinola." Pues magåhet na mañopchop gasolina i dos Etmåna pues ma chule' i orinola ni bula gasolina ya ma nå'ye gi kareta ni eståba gi kanton chålan. Guaha taotao maloloffan ya ha li'e' na ma nåna'ye gasolina ginen orinola ya ilek-ña i taotao ni dos Etmåna, "Magåhet, Sister, na todo klåsen milågro si Yu'us  siña ha cho'gue."

Tuesday, September 19, 2017



According to Candy Taman himself who told me, this was the first song Candy wrote in Chamorro. The tune he adopted from songs he heard from Chamorro singers who had lived in Yap and who had returned to the Marianas after World War II.

The song is full of sarcasm and humor. I'll explain in the notes below.

Uriyan tåno', hålom tåsi
(At land's end, in the ocean)
annai hu plånta i gigao-ho.
(where I set my fish net.)
Puro ha' sesyon yan satmonete
(It was all rabbitfish and goatfish)
ya sen dimålas sa' gai hiting.
(and what misfortune as there were bigeye scad.)

Aga' manila yan papåya
(Manila bananas and papaya)
ayo tengguång-ho gi mattingan.
(was my food at the reef.)
Ya låstima i dångkulon talåya
(What a waste was the large net)
sa' todo tinitek nu i guihan.
(because it was torn by the fish.)

I un lancheru mås gef saga
(The rancher is the richest of all)
sa' abundånsia tinanom-ña.
(because his planting is abundant.)
Ya i bulachero et mås dimålas
(And the drunkard is the most unfortunate)
sa' tåya' para kinano'-ña.
(for he has nothing to eat.)

Chinachak tuba na sen mames,
(Very sweet coconut toddy cuttings,)
kinemman kangkung ni bibisbis.
(Sizzling, pan-fried kangkung)
Tamåles chotda para agon-ña,
(Banana tamales as a staple,)
linemmok lemmai na mahange.
(fermented, pounded breadfruit.)

Macheten doffe', galon tuba.
(A dull machete, a gallon of coconut toddy.)
Båtden abono chinile'-ña.
(He brought a bucket of fertilizer.)
Tåya' produkto gi lanchon-ñiha,
(Their ranch had no produce,)
meggai tinanom marihuåna.
(it had a lot of marijuana plants.)

Verse 1 talks about a fisherman using a gigao, a fish trap made of netting. Sarcastically, he says that it turned out to be a bad catch because it included hiting, which was actually a prized fish among the people.

Verse 2 continues the fisherman theme and says that the fish net tore apart because of the abundance of fish caught, recalling a biblical image!

Verse 3 compares the life of a farmer who grows what he eats, and the drunkard who is so drunk that he cannot work and make money or grow food, and thus has nothing to eat.

Verse 4 talks about food, such as tuba, a mild liquor made from coconut sap by cutting certain branches, and kangkung which sizzles in the pan. Older dictionaries spell the word besbes but here they say bisbis. Candy Taman is part Chamorro (Babauta) and part Carolinian (Taman) so he then sings about a Chamorro food (tamåles chotda, banana cooked in a banana leaf wrapping) and then a Carolinian food (linemmok lemmai), which is breadfruit pounded and allowed to ferment.

Verse 5 pokes fun at marijuana growers, who could care less about running a farm for food. They could care less that the machete is not sharp. They make more money growing and selling marijuana, so no food is grown on their farm.