Friday, February 16, 2018


Paul Jacoulet

I guinaiya maila' ya ta manifiesta,
lao i linachi maila' ya ta dispensa.
Sa' todo man eskuela,
lao ti todo man malåte'.

Come let us show forth love,
but let us forgive mistakes.
Because all go to school,
but not all are intelligent.

~ Leila Camacho


Wednesday, February 14, 2018



From a sermon written in 1873

The Chamorro here reflects the language of that period, which differs slightly from ours today.

I ayunat, famagu'on-ho, i chinemma' i palo na nengkanno',
(Fasting, my children, is the prohibition of some food,)

yan uno' ha' na chinecho. (1)
(and only one meal.)

An ta tataitai i istorian i man mo'na na mangilisyåno,
(When we read the history of the first Christians,)

ta lili'e' na ayo siha, ni i mangefmanhongge na taotao,
(we see that those who really believed,)

man ayuyunat duroro, mañocho un biåhe ha' kada ha'åne,
(fasted severely, they are just once each day,)

ya i nengkanno'-ñiñiha håf na ågon yan hånom na maisa,
(and their food was whatever bread and water alone,)

ya asta guaha palo lokkue', na tåt nai man mañåggue håfa gi dos,
(and there were even some who never trembled at two,)

tres i asta un semåna entero (2), ya guaha palo na såntos,
(three and up to a whole week, and there are other saints,)

ni i ha kåkånno' i kumomotgan na maisa gi todo i tiempon Kuaresma,
(who ate only Holy Communion for the entire time of Lent,)

lao ti håf na nengkanno'.
(but no other food.)

I mañaina-ta gi hinengge ha na' fan mamåhlao hit, an ta kompåpåra (3)
(Our forefathers in faith make us ashamed, if we compare)

i ayunat-ñiha yan i ayunåt-ta på'go na tiempo.
(their fasting and our fasting nowadays.)

Hu tutungo' na hita mås man dafe' ke siha,
(I know that we are weaker than they,)

ya muna' ennao i Sånta Mådre Iglesia manånågo'
(and because of that Holy Mother Church orders)

ya ha enkåtga hit i sumen suåbe na ayunat.
(and obligates us with the gentlest of fasts.)


(1) Chinecho. This comes from the root word chocho, which means to eat. The -in infix makes the verb a noun, meaning "a meal." But today this is rarely heard.  The more usual word for "meal" nowadays is sentåda.

(2) I believe he means there were some who weren't afraid to fast two, three days up to a whole week.

(3) Kompåra. Nowadays, many say akompåra, which also means "to compare."


Tuesday, February 13, 2018


The mine is now a ghost town

It was the second busiest mercury mine in America. Mercury is very important in separating gold from whatever else from the earth mixed with the gold. When gold was discovered in California, mercury became a very important commodity.

The New Idria mercury mine was located near the small town of Panoche in San Benito County, California, southeast of Salinas.

In 1900, two, possibly three, Chamorros worked there.

One was a miner. Félix Castro, aged 33 years old, was described as being able to read, write and speak English. He had moved to the U.S. in 1890. He was single in 1900.

The second worked at the mine but as a furnace man. Manuel de León, aged 35. He, too, could read, write and speak English. The record says he immigrated to the U.S. in 1879, which would make him a mere 13 years old. Not impossible, but unusually young, unless the age and dates are just guesses, as they often were. The record days that Manuel was married, but his wife does not appear with him in the record, so we don't know who she was.

There was also a José Salas, aged 30. He was identified as coming from the Philippines, but the Marianas had been a province of the Philippines for a while under Spain, so some Chamorros were identified as being from the Philippines. Later prison records reveal that a Joe Salas, convicted for forgery, was from Guam and had been a miner in San Benito.

Location of the Mine

Monday, February 12, 2018


Home of a Manakkilo' in Hagåtña
Early 1900s

In almost every human community, there are always the haves and the have-nots.

Long before the arrival of the Spanish, our ancient society was divided into three classes, as well. The lowest class, the mangachang, had fewer rights and fewer material goods.

Under Spain, how could an ambitious Chamorro advance?

Since there were very few opportunities to make money in trade and commerce, the best way to an improved economic life was the government and the salaries it paid. Government jobs were few. Teachers made a little money, and there weren't many teaching positions available. Soldiers made a handful of money, often paid in goods rather than cash. The better salaries were in clerking for the court and other government offices. This required a very good knowledge of the Spanish language. It was from government positions that some families then ventured into commerce and trade, limited as they were at the time.

These elite families took on more of a Spanish flavor, as well, having a good grasp of Spanish language and manners. The people called them the manakkilo', the high ones, from the word takkilo' (high).

An American writer in 1902 who visited Guam that year describes visiting the home of one of these elite Chamorros.

"They live in houses built of coral stone, having the necessities and a few of the luxuries of life. A prosperous merchant of Agana is educating his son in Manila, and his home is very inviting; stone steps leading from the hot, dusty street into a large, cool hall, paved with colored tiles, in which stand a long, cane-seated sofa and several chairs. At the end and to the right of the hall, broad stairs lead to the rooms above which are spacious and airy. Lace curtains before the windows, easy chairs, a piano, many ornaments and pictures and the highly-polished floor betoken his comfortable circumstances."

"Houses built of coral stone" means mampostería, a mixture of stone and mortar. "Highly-polished floors" probably meant wooden floors made with ifit wood, which were polished using coconut husks.

Chamorro ladies of the elite class

Friday, February 9, 2018


With a population of less than 10,000 in the entire island most of the time in the 17 and 1800s, Guam had a lot of empty, unused land. Sometimes people just used idle land without knowing who was the owner. At times, after a long period of unchallenged and uninterrupted use, people formally claimed ownership of land based on prior usage alone - and got it! In the Spanish land documents, they said they acquired the land por mera ocupación - by merely occupying the land.

But one way many people marked out their land boundaries was by etching letters into the trunks of trees on the property.

A stone land marker was called a mohón, borrowed from the Spanish word mojón, meaning the same thing.

But many people found it easier to just take a chisel (so'so') and hammer (mattiyo), or whatever tools they had, and mark the trunks of trees with letters.

In this court document, someone seeking official recognition of his ownership uses ifil trees marked A and B to serve as mohón or land boundary markers.

They could then say that their land started at this tree marked A, then going east to tree marked B, then north to tree marked C, then going west to tree marked D and finally going south back to tree marked A.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


This song compares the love God has for us to an arrow that penetrates our hearts deeply.

Chorus :
I flechan Yu'us ha tokcha' hit;
(The arrow of God has pierced us;)
i korason-ña ha guaiya hit.
(His heart loves us.)

1. Håfa Jesus-ho i malago'-mo gi dinilok-mo nu i taotao?
(What, my Jesus, do you desire from your piercing of the people?)
Yanggen i sensen pat i anti-ña, Yu'us Lahi-ña chuli'e' hao!
(If it's the flesh or its soul, God the Son, take it for Yourself!)

2. Guåho magåhet lånsan Longinos, kalåktos, inos, flumecha hao.
(I am truly the lance of Longinus, sharp and easily inserted, which pierced You.)
Tåya' dumulok i korason-mo na i patgon-mo ni guåho ha'.
(Nothing pierced your heart but your child which I am.)

3. Sahguan guinaiya, figan na hotno, i korason-mo, mames Jesus.
(Vessel of love, fiery furnace, is your heart, sweet Jesus.)
Tåya' taiguennao na ginefli'e' ha na' ma li'e' na si Yu'us.
(None has shown that kind of love except God.)


In verse 1, we consider that the love that God has for us pierces our hearts and makes us love Him back. The love we have for God shows in our willingness to surrender to Him everything we have and are, both body (flesh) and soul.

In verse 2, we consider that we, too, have pierced God's heart but in a painful way by our sins which offend Him. We are like the spear of the Roman soldier Longinus who, in order to make sure Jesus was dead, pierced His side when He was hanging on the cross. The song uses the word flecha, which means "arrow," as a verb : to shoot an arrow at Jesus. And, to consider that we who pierce God are the children He created. Such ingratitude!

In verse 3, we consider that the love of God is mighty like a blazing furnace. No one can say he or she loves us as much as God because, being Almighty God, He lowers Himself to become a victim for our sins and thus save us by His sacrifice. Just as a fire destroys, God's love allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross in order to prove to us His immense love.

was the Roman soldier who pierced Jesus' side with a lance


When some of us first got to know the future Father Patrick Garcia, we learned that his middle names were Kenny and Quitonguico.

We had never heard the name Quitonguico before and wondered what it was and where it came from. In time, I learned that it was a Chamorro name and that it belonged to Fr. Pat's grandmother.

The surname disappeared, for various reasons. Fr. Pat was the last one to have it included in his full name.


The Quitonguico name goes back to the early 1800s, if not earlier.

In 1823, a Juan Quitonguico was born, but died in infancy.

A José Quitonguico of Inalåhan lived long enough to marry one Marta Chargualaf. They had two sons.

Marcos married Petra Quichocho and ended up living in Malesso'. His son Pedro died before getting married, and his only other son, Juan, married but had no children.

Pedro Quitonguico's signature in 1901

So that left it to José and Marta's only remaining son, Félix, to continue the family name. Félix, staying in Inalåhan, married Agustina Taimanglo. They had several children, including sons, but only one daughter, Amparo, seems to have had children.

Amparo was single at the time so those children would have carried the Quitonguico name, and they did, for a while at least. But, one by one, the children adopted other surnames, keeping Quitonguico as a middle name in some cases.

Amparo had a daughter Engracia, who eventually added Palomo as her surname. She then married a Garcia and her grandson, the future Father Patrick, was given the middle name Quitonguico to honor that heritage.


That, I'm afraid, is unknown for sure. We can theorize that the Qui in the name is Ke, meaning "to attempt to." It is found in other Chamorro surnames like Quitugua and Quichocho. But that is only an assumption.

But the -tonguico part of it is a mystery. People can speculate all they want, but there is no clear evidence as to what it means.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018


Humånao un maestron UOG para un låncho sa' ha hungok
(A UOG teacher went to a ranch because he heard) 

na guaha lanchero ni mamomoksai meggai na månnok ni tres påtas-ñiha. 
(that there was a rancher who was raising many three-legged chickens.)

Ha faisen i lanchero, "Håfa na tres påtas-ñiha i ga'-mo månnok siha?" 
(He asked the rancher, "Why do your chickens have three feet?")

Manoppe i lanchero, "Ke sa' ya-ho chumocho påtas månnok, i asaguå-ho ya-ña lokkue' 
(The rancher answered, "Well I like to eat chicken feet, my wife also likes)

chumocho påtas månnok yan kontodo i lahen-måme ya-ña chumocho påtas månnok. 
(to eat chicken feet and our son as well likes to eat chicken feet.)

Pues hu eyak håfa taimano siña ma tulaika i iyon-ñiha DNA 
(So I learned how to change their DNA)

kosa ke u guaha tres påtas-ñiha kada ma pulakis i chada'."
(so that they would have three feet each time the egg is hatched.")

"O," ilek-ña i maestro, "ya kao månnge' i tres patås-ña na månnok?" 
("Oh," the teacher said, "and is a three-legged chicken delicious?")

"Ti hu tungo', señot," ilek-ña i lanchero. "Mampos chaddek malågo ya ti siña hu gacha'."
("I don't know, sir," said the rancher. "It runs too fast and I can't catch it.")

Monday, February 5, 2018



In a number of places on Guam, you and I can drive right by and not realize that you just passed physical remains of our island's history.

Such is the case with a Spanish bridge in Humåtak that lies hidden underneath modern concrete and asphalt.


The yellow line from Hågat to Humåtak

During the 1700s, Humåtak was the place to be. That's where most of the ships anchored when they came to Guam. For that reason, the Spanish Governor moved down to Humåtak whenever the yearly Acapulco galleon pulled in, or if another ship happened to stop by. Granted, this wasn't very often. There were years that not even the Acapulco galleon made a stop. But, in the 1700s, if there was any maritime action, it was mainly to be seen in Humåtak. This meant the arrival of new people and new merchandise; supplies for the church and the government.

For this reason, a road from Hågat to Humåtak was laid out, following the rugged western coast of the island. In many places, bridges had to be built to cross streams and rivers. That's why we find bridges still in existence in places like Talaifak and Sella (Sehya). That's where the coastal road from Hågat to Humåtak went through.

Why is there a bridge in Sella, where nobody lives?
Getting to Humåtak was the point.


When the road finally got down to Humåtak, it had to cross a stream at the northern part of the village. So the Spaniards built a bridge. The bridge is still in existence, but you wouldn't know it unless someone told you, or if you happened to get down from your car and started snooping.

When a modern bridge was to be built, the planners probably thought they didn't have much of a choice but to build right over the old bridge. The stream isn't that wide, so they just poured concrete over the old bridge, then laid the asphalt and widened the road a bit. Between the coast and the hills, there isn't much land to maneuver with.

Modern concrete on top of old Spanish-period mampostería

During Spanish times, people frequently built using mampostería, a mixture of stone and mortar (for example, wet sand with lime). Coral rocks from the seashore were often used and you can see the identifying grooves of the coral.

Coral Rock

Cut Stone was also used

The stream isn't very wide; in the dry season there isn't even any water.

Thursday, February 1, 2018


Old Hagåtña

We all have our low moments and Joaquina's was one night in September of 1902. That's when she allowed herself to drink too much. That she remembered. What she didn't remember, so she claimed, was the ruckus she caused that night.

Around 830 one Sunday night, a woman screaming obscenities could be heard in the streets of Hagåtña.

"Puñetera! Karåho! Demonio!" Very dirty words in Chamorro.

Not only were these words echoed in the neighborhood, the shouting woman was doing it in front of the Protestant chapel, right when the Protestants were conducting Sunday night services!

Security officials were alerted. Pedro Mendiola Delgado and Mariano de los Reyes came on the scene and saw Joaquina in the middle of the street, shouting these profanities. The two officers moved her along and told her to be quiet. She acquiesced for the moment.

But Joaquina was just biding her time. She took her intoxicated noise down to Calle Numancia, a street right in the middle of San Ignacio barrio, the heart of the capital city. Today, it would be just west of the Agaña Post Office.

Location of Calle Numancia in San Ignacio, Hagåtña

In Calle Numancia, Joaquina walked up to Filomena's house and pounded on the door.

"Puñetera! Puta! Kochina!" More foul words.

"Huyong ya este ha' mågi na hu yamak hao ya un tungo' håye yo'!"

"Come out and right here I will break you and you'll know who I am!"

Filomena was in bed. It was around 9PM now. She had no idea who was making all the noise. She opened her window and saw that it was Joaquina. She could tell that Joaquina was drunk. Filomena closed the window and went back to bed, even though Joaquina started yelling all over again.

José Cruz Fejarang and José Castro Aflague were also awakened by the noise and went to see what was going on.

In time, Joaquina was taken to court. The officials called in various witnesses. This story is taken from those court records.

One witness was José Blas Pangelinan, a carpenter whose house faced the Protestant house chapel. When asked what he knew of the incident, he said all he knew was that Joaquina was shouting obscenities in the street, but he didn't know to whom Joaquina was directing her attacks because he was in the habit of closing up his house as soon as the Protestants started their services!

Joaquina told the court that all she could remember was that she got drunk. What she did in her inebriated state, she had no recollection of. If she did those things she was being accused of, she begged the mercy of the court, as she had no intention of doing them.

The court levied a fine on her, or prison days if she had no money.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018



Around 1904, James H. Underwood, an American resident of Guam, married to a Chamorro woman and eventually US Postmaster of Guam, came across an article in the Sunset Magazine about a vegetable that attracted his attention.

It was called chayote, a native of Mexico that spread elsewhere in time. In the Sunset article, a lady in Los Angeles was growing them in her backyard, and a photo of the vegetable was included.

Underwood wrote to the lady, asking if she'd mail him chayote seeds in exchange for seeds from Guam plants. She said yes. This episode was written up in the Guam Recorder in 1936.


There are numerous ways to eat it. Treat it like squash, or zucchini or cucumber. Sauté it, pan fry it, use it in soup. Whatever way suits you. Some eat in raw as long as it's pickled. It doesn't need even need to be peeled.


This is where it gets interesting.

Once the seeds got to Underwood, I assume he grew them or gave them to someone to grow and from there it spread among the people.


Lacking a Chamorro name for it, the people soon invented one. We have no idea who started it. But it became the accepted local name for chayote.

Since it includes a sensitive word, I will not spell it out completely. The lady in the video says it, so you'll know it from her.

Many Chamorros in those days found it easier to pronounce Underwood as Andaut. That is, AN - DA - UT (OOT).

Monday, January 29, 2018


An maloffan i likao, songge i danges ya un pega gi bentåna.

(When the procession passes, light the candle and put it on the window.)

I thought the custom had totally disappeared, but here it is 2018 and I saw one house in Mongmong continue it. We were passing this home in procession and I spied a lit candle on a table in the carport.

In the old days, people would light a stick candle, less frequently a jar candle since they were not as available back then, and put it on the window sill facing the road where the procession would pass. Back in the 1980s, I still saw it done here and there, especially in the south.

It was a way of the residents showing respect for the religious image that was passing the home, either on a karosa pulled by people or on an åndas carried on the shoulders. This way the home could ask for a blessing from that saint or the Lord.

Sometimes it was because an elderly or sick person in the home couldn't leave the home to attend the church function. At other times, even if the whole family was going to attend the Mass at church, they would leave a lit candle anyway at the window or wherever convenient and safe, as a way of inviting a blessing on the home. In modern times, some families turn on the outdoor lights, too, as a way of giving respect to the passing image.

If there were someone elderly or sick inside the home, they would try to situate themselves by the window or door so they could see the passing image, make the sign of the cross and say some prayers while the image was passing, unless of course they were unable to rise from bed, unconscious or in a very bad state. Then a caregiver in the family was the one who did that for him or herself, and on behalf of the sick or elderly family member.

Lighting candles by the window was a custom in other parts of the world, continued to this day in some places. There were different reasons for this, including the passing of processions.

Thursday, January 25, 2018


Joe Salas was born on Guam around 1871. He was probably named José at birth.

The 1900 census identifies a José Salas working at the Panoche mine in San Benito, born around 1870 or 71, from the Philippines. Since the Marianas had been a province of the Philippines under Spain, many people from Guam were identified as coming from the Philippines. This could very well be the Joe Salas seen in the photo above.

In 1911, he was sentenced to three years in prison for forgery and was sent to San Quentin State Prison. His prison documents state he was from Guam, but furnish no other details about his family background.

He must have been a good boy at San Quentin because he was discharged a year early, in 1913.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


kinanta as (sung by) Arnold Kaipat

Buenas korason-ho.
(Hello my heart.)
Bai hu nangga hao
(I will wait for you)
sa' hågo ha' guinaiya-ko
(because you alone are my love)
todo i tiempo.
(at all times.)

Buenas noches mañaina-ho. (1)
(Good evening my elders.)
Oppe yo' pot kilisyåno. (2)
(Answer me because I am a Christian.)
Måtto yo' bai fan nå'e notisia
(I have come to give notice)
na manguaiya 'u nu hagå-mo.
(that I love your daughter.)

Esta nene mås de dies åños
(It's been more than ten years baby)
de hu nanangga akseptå-mo.
(that I have waited for your acceptance.)
Håfa nene nai desision-mo?
(What is your decision, baby?)
Sa' guåho esta yo' prepåra.
(Because I am already prepared.)

I kattå-mo ni un hanågue yo'.
(Your letter which you sent me.)
I fitmå-mo i labios-mo.
(Your signature with your lips.)
Lao bai sångan nene gi taiguine.
(But I will say it baby like this.)
Hågo ha' gi korason-ho.
(You alone are in my heart.)


(1) Buenas noches mañaina-ho. In the old days, a young man could never deal with the girl one-on-one. He always had to gain her parents' approval. So a young man would act his best, come around the house a lot, rake the yard, pick up trash, help with whatever projects needed to be done, in order to win the parents' good graces.

(2) Oppe yo' pot kilisyåno. Religion was very much present in the minds of many people back then. They were aware of their Christian duties. The young man is saying, "Answer me, because I am a Christian," or he could mean, "Answer me, because you are Christians and it's the Christian thing to do, the charitable thing to do, to answer me."

Monday, January 22, 2018


(1923 ~ 2018)

Kabayero, at its basic, means someone honorable, respectable, noble.

It implies a man of virtue, fairness, wisdom.

It is borrowed from the Spanish word caballero, from caballo or "horse." A caballero is a horseman, a knight and all the virtues that were traditionally ascribed to knights.

A kabayero may not have wealth. He may not occupy powerful political office. He may not even speak much in public. But when he speaks, people listen. His wisdom and moral rectitude command respect and wield influence.

Kabayero is how I would describe Uncle Rey, whose formal name was Ignacio Mendiola Reyes. He was born in Malesso' in 1923, the son of a Malesso' father and a mother from Sumay. I guess the "Rey" came from his last name Reyes, which in English sounds like "RAY - JESS." Some people spell it "Uncle Ray" but his funeral announcement spells it "Rey."

He was called "Uncle" because he and his wife, the former Rosa T. Aguigui, didn't have children of their own. But they were like uncle and aunt, and even grandpa and grandma, to many people, starting with their nieces and nephews and their children, but also to many people who were not related by blood.

Uncle Rey and Rosa with Father Lee

Uncle Rey was a gentle, soft-spoken man who was always in a pleasant, calm mood. I would visit him from time to time and ask him sensitive questions about the war. He would listen (he was very good at that), and before he would respond, he would sit back and think for a moment. He thought before he spoke, weighing his words. His answers were always honest but also worded very carefully, so that he was never unfair in his description of events or people. He was what we call mehnalom in Chamorro. It means someone reflective, a thinker. That word comes from mi (meaning "abundant") and hinalom (meaning "interior"). He had an abundance of interior thinking and reflection.

He was elected Mayor of Malesso' from 1952 to 1956, was a school teacher and then a truant officer. He was married to the former Rosa Tyquiengco Aguigui (Auntie Chai), the first woman on Guam  elected to public office (the consultative Guam Congress) in 1946. Together they were a couple dedicated to all their nephews and nieces and their children.

On their wedding day

Fishing was Uncle Rey's great love and he did it often. He was also an active member of San Dimas parish in Malesso', serving on many church committees throughout the years and singing in the San Dimas Mens Choir.

An expert fisherman

One man from Malesso' described him as makalamya. Makalamya means someone active and industrious, but also in an effective way. Someone who knows how to get things done or find people who know how to get the job done.

If you ask me what makes me proud about our Chamorro people and culture, it's people like Uncle Rey and Auntie Chai that make me proud. Good people.

Deskånsa gi minahgong, Uncle Rey. Un merese i deskånson i man fiet. (Rest in peace, Uncle Rey. You deserve the rest of the faithful.)

Uncle Rey and Auntie Chai