Thursday, November 15, 2018

FÅBULAN I DOS METGOT


A common theme in many old Chamorro stories is extraordinary strength in exceptional people and even in children.






Sesso ha hungok i metgot kåttan na guaha metgot gi san lichan.
(A strong man from the north* often heard that there was a strong man in the southern* side.)

Humånao gi galaide-ña ya annai måtto Inalåhan ha sodda' gi halom liyang
(He went in his canoe and when he came to Inalåhan gi found inside a cave)

fotsudo na låhe.
(a muscular man.)

Mamaisen, "Kao gaige guine i ma sångan na guiya mås metgot gi san lichan?"
(He asked, "Is the one they say is strongest in the south here?"

Manoppe i taotao, "Hunggan lao mamaigo' esta."
(The man answered, "Yes, but he is already sleeping."

"Lao maila' ya bai na' lågo i na' amotsan talo'åne para hita na dos."
"But come and I'll make lunch for the two of us.")

Ya konfotme i metgot kåttan.
(The strong man from the north agreed.)

I taotao liyang ha goppe i mås lokka' na trongkon niyok ya måmfe' månha.
(The man in the cave jumped the tallest coconut tree and picked young coconuts.)

Gigon tumunok ha fugue gi kanai-ña ha' nu i chigo' månha ya ha na' gimen i metgot kåttan.
(As soon as he came down he squeezed in his own hands the juice of the young coconut and made the strong man from the north drink.)

Entre guiya ha' ilek-ña i metgot kåttan, "Seguro na guiya este i lahen i metgot luchan.
(The strong man from the north said to himself, "Surely this is the son of the strong man from the south.)

Yanggen taiguine minetgot-ña i lahe, kuånto mås i minetgot-ña i tata?
(If this is the son's strength, how much more the father's strength?)

Gigon makmåta si tatå-ña, siempre ha ñukot i agagå'-ho."
(As soon as his father wakes up, he will surely choke my neck.")

Pues chaddek ha dingo Inalåhan ya ha bira gue' tåtte para i tano'-ña.
(So he quickly left Inalåhan and returned to his own place.)

Ti ha tungo' na i taotao ni ha sodda' gi halom liyang era et mismo metgot luchan.
(He didn't know that the person he found in the cave was the very strong man of the south.)

Mandagi i metgot luchan ya ha fa' si lahi-ña gue'.
(The strong man of the south lied and made himself out to be his son.)


* Kåttan/Luchan. In Chamorro, there really is no north, south, east and west in the Western sense; what we call "cardinal points" or "cardinal directions." There is, in Chamorro, "towards the sea" (lågo), "away from the sea" (haya), to the left of the sea (luchan) and to the right of the sea (kåttan).

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

YOUR AMERICAN IS SHOWING : HU GUIYA HAO



Because of over a century of American influence, many Chamorros think of the English letter I when they hear the Chamorro sound AI. As in "island, ice, iron."

So they spell GUAIYA, the Chamorro word for "to love," as GUIYA.

This creates confusion because there already is a Chamorro word GUIYA, and it means "he, she or it."

Watch the video.





So, to spell "I love you" in Chamorro, it is : HU GUAIYA HAO.

Not GUIYA.

GUIYA means "he, she or it."

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

KÅNTA : MILALAK PÅPA'



A song recorded by Genaro Saralu many years ago.




Milalak påpa' i lago'-ho
(My tears flowed down)
esta* påpa' gi fasu-ho
(even down on my face)
lao hu kesungon pot mungnga yo' tumånges
(but I tried to endure it so I wouldn't cry)
lao duro milalak påpa' i lago'-ho.
(but my tears kept on flowing.)

Ilek-mo na pa'** un hånao hao agupa'
(You said you were going to leave tomorrow)
ya på'go uttimo umali'e'-ta.
(and today is our last time to see each other.)
Entre triste yan mahålang bai padese
(I will suffer between sadness and longing)
nene yanggen un dingo yo' esta.
(baby if you will leave me already.)

Humånao yo' tåtte para i gima'
(I went back to the house)
despues de esta hao humånao.
(after you had already gone.)
Humålom yo' gi halom guma'
(I went inside the house)
ai ya duro yo' kumasao.
(oh and I cried a lot.)

* Esta. The older word is asta and it is borrowed from the Spanish word hasta, meaning "until, till, up to, down to, as far up or as far down as" and other similar meanings. When modern speakers change asta to esta, we encounter the question whether asta is meant or the already-existing word esta, which means "already." Usually context will answer that question but many older people retain the original word asta and keep asta and esta separate words.

** Pa' is a shortening of para, meaning "to, for."

Thursday, November 1, 2018

FOR ALL SOULS : MA ASI'E'



As All Souls Day approaches, this is a good traditional song to learn, to pray for the souls in Purgatory.

The only reason why we pray for the dead is because many of them are still going through a painful but wholesome purification in Purgatory. The souls in heaven do not need prayers (instead, they pray for us), and the souls in hell cannot benefit from prayers. They are eternally condemned there, without hope of release nor of relief.

This song traditionally was always sung or said towards the end of the rosary prayed for the dead. If only one deceased person was prayed for, it was sung using the singular.

But since All Souls Day remembers all the dead, this version is sung using the plural.

The substance of the prayer is that it is through the innocent and unjust suffering and death of Jesus that atones for our sins and wins mercy for the repentant sinner. And so the suffering of Jesus is spelled out in the prayer in a more specific way. Our Lord suffered all these things in order to save our souls. This salvation is extended to us time and time again in the Mass ("Do this in memory of Me......For the forgiveness of sins.") and so the prayer reminds us to remember the dead at Mass. Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a special intercessor for the dead and so she is also mentioned.




1. Ma asi'e', ma asi'e', ma asi'e' siha, Yu'os-ho.
(Forgive, forgive, forgive them, my God.)

Refrain : Kristo Jesus-ho, ma asi'e' i anten-ñiha.
(Christ my Jesus, forgive their souls.)

2. Manaitai hao yan tumånges gi fangualuan Olibas.
(You prayed and wept in the Garden of Olives.)

3. Ma godde hao kalan sakke Såntos na Yu'us Lahi-ña.
(They bound you like a thief, O Holy Son of God.)

4. Ma saolak hao yan man annok todo i te'lang siha.
(They scourged you and all the bones were visible.)

5. Ma korona yan ma anña' i todo ha' ha na' siña.
(They crowned and assaulted the Almighty.)

6. Maså'pet hao yan ma la'la' gi me'nan Santa Maria.
(You suffered and were flayed in front of the Virgin Mary.)

7. Rai i taotao ni i ma puno' pot i tinailayen-ñiha.
(King of the people who was killed on account of their evil.)

8. Tumunok hao Putgatorio homhom na fansinapitan.
(You descended into Purgatory, a dark place of suffering.)

9. Mañe'lu-ho tayuyute, tayuyute siha gi Misa.
(My brethren pray, pray for them at Mass.)

10. Bithen del Karmen ma åsi'e', gai mina'åse' nu siha.
(Virgin of Carmel forgive, have mercy on them.)

Very often the techa (prayer leader) or the singers will begin again at Verse 1 and end with the refrain.

SINGULAR VERSION

When sung or recited for one deceased person, siha (them) is changed to gue' or guiya (him or her).

The possessive suffix -ñiha (their) is changed to -ña (his or her).

1. Ma asi'e', ma asi'e', ma asi'e' gue' Yu'os-ho.
(Forgive, forgive, forgive him/her, my God.)

Refrain : Kristo Jesus-ho, ma asi'e' i anti-ña.
(Christ my Jesus, forgive his/her soul.)

9. Mañe'lu-ho tayuyute, tayuyute gue' gi Misa.
(My brethren pray, pray for him/her at Mass.)

10. Bithen del Karmen ma åsi'e', gai mina'åse' nu guiya.
(Virgin of Carmel forgive, have mercy on him/her.)

The following video shows the change made in the first verse and refrain only. The change to the singular has to be made also in verses 9 and 10.



SPANISH ORIGINAL

The song is based on a Spanish original called the Mozarabic Miserere. "Mozarabic" refers to the Christian Spaniards living under the Muslim government of the Moors (the years 711 till 1492). The Christians in Spain used the Latin language in the liturgy, as all Christians did in the western side of Europe in those days.

"Miserere" is Latin for "have mercy." This song was also a prayer for the dead.

*** Thanks to Lawrence Borja for the accompaniment and for finding the Spanish original.



Wednesday, October 24, 2018

ANNAI MA PUNO' SI CORPUS



It was the first public execution on Guam under the Americans.

Pablo M. Corpus, just 20 years old, was a servant of an American Naval officer stationed on Guam. On December 13, 1915, Corpus fatally shot Dolores Cárdenas de la Cruz, the wife of a Japanese immigrant on Guam, Antonio Takichi Ooka. Corpus then turned the gun on himself, but he survived his self-inflicted wound. He was arrested, brought to court and sentenced to death. This death sentence was appealed, but the appeal was denied. Corpus was hanged on February 4, 1916 - the first execution of a criminal carried out on Guam by the American government.

THE CRIME

On December 13, 1915, Corpus entered the Ooka home in Sumay. It was night, so perhaps Corpus thought he could enter the home undetected, maybe when everyone was asleep. Ooka was a merchant, and Corpus was eventually charged with the crime of theft after this incident, so, conceivably, the impetus for all this tragedy was theft. Without the court records, I do not know if Corpus was after Ooka's merchandise, cash or both.

I can only surmise that Dolores, Ooka's wife, surprised Corpus in the act. Perhaps in a moment of desperation at being caught by surprise, Corpus fired a shot from his gun at Dolores. Realizing that he had shot, and possibly killed, a woman, and would more than likely suffer the worst punishment possible, Corpus turned the gun on himself and fired.

Someone found the two wounded people and called for help. Dolores lingered for a day but then died of her wounds on the 14th. Corpus survived and recuperated from his wounds.

He was arrested and charged with theft and murder.



Sumay

THE TRIAL

There was no trial, per se, since Corpus pleaded guilty. The court records covering the court proceedings would have been most helpful, but they are not included in the 1915 and 1916 court records available.

All we can say is that Corpus was arraigned on January 6, 1916 and plead guilty to both charges. The court sentenced him to death.

THE APPEAL

But an appeal was filed against this sentence on the following grounds :

1. It was claimed that Corpus did not have legal counsel when he entered his guilty plea on January 6. Lacking legal counsel, Corpus may not have known that a guilty plea could have cost him his life.

2. It was claimed that Corpus did not deserve the death penalty due to the circumstances surrounding the shooting of Dolores. No further details are given, but I assume that what is meant is that Corpus did not shoot Dolores with malice of intent. Corpus had entered Ooka's house to steal, not to murder, and that he shot Dolores in a moment of surprise.

3. It was claimed that the court erred in placing the site of execution at Sumay and not in Hagåtña. I am not sure why this was considered a judicial error. Perhaps there was some statute in place (or assumed to still be on the books at the time) mandating all executions be done in the capital city.

There seems to have also been some doubt as to Corpus' age. His defenders thought that he was only 17, and thus not subject to the death penalty.

The appeal was turned down by the court on January 31. I don't know how, but Corpus' age was determined to be 20. The day of execution was set for February 4 at Sumay.

A PETITION

Still, Corpus had his supporters. These were lead by Cándido Agbay Sánchez, a Filipino resident of Guam who occupied various government posts during his lifetime. On February 2, he wrote a petition to the Naval Governor, William Maxwell, asking for the cancellation of the death sentence and instead to sentence Corpus to life imprisonment. Around fifty island residents signed the petition.

The petition reminded Governor Maxwell that five persons, all Chamorro, had been sentenced to death by Guam's courts since the US Navy took control of the island. Not a single one of those five Chamorros were in fact executed. Almost all of the five were not even serving time in jail anymore! Was it fair, so the implied question seemed to ask, for the Filipino Corpus to die, when five Chamorros were similarly sentenced to die but were never in fact executed?

One has to wonder if the issue of race enters in, as the Filipino Sánchez fought to save the life of the Filipino Corpus, who, being young and apparently unmarried, had no familial connections to the local population that may have saved his life. Yet, among those fifty persons who signed the petition asking to save Corpus' life were undoubtedly a good number of Chamorros.

Maxwell turned down the petition. The execution of Pablo Corpus proceeded.



Guam's Governor William J. Maxwell, USN


THE EXECUTION

The night before the execution, on February 3, Corpus was taken to a tent set up for him at the execution site in Sumay. With him was his spiritual counselor, Påle' Román de Vera, a Spanish Capuchin missionary, who was fluent in Tagalog (among many other languages). Someone had cooked dinner for Corpus, and Påle' Román served it to Corpus. Then, Corpus slept soundly in his tent.

At six o'clock on the morning of February 4, almost the whole town of Sumay followed Påle' Román from the church to the execution site. Påle' Román was bringing with him the Blessed Sacrament to give Corpus his last holy communion. I am almost sure, then, that the people had gone to the church earlier that morning for Mass and then followed Påle' Román afterwards.

After receiving his last holy communion, Corpus and Påle' Román spent several hours in prayer. Corpus asked forgiveness of the Governor, from the family of Dolores, the woman he killed, and asked Påle' Román to write to his mother in the Philippines, assuring her that he died in the best spiritual state possible.

At nine o'clock, Corpus ascended the scaffold, accompanied by Påle' Román. He asked to be allowed to speak, and he began in attempted Chamorro but continued in Tagalog.

"Cha'-miyo pinite ako. Ito ang suwerte ng Diyos sa akin. Ipanalangin ninyo ako. Paalam na sa inyong lahat."

"Don't be sorry for me. This is God's will for me. Pray for me. Farewell to all of you."

Then his hands were bound and his head covered with a hood. The noose was fitted around his neck. All the while, he was praying along with Påle' Román. Moments before he died, Påle' Román told him, "Pablo, now you know that within a few moments you will be in heaven." Pablo replied, "Yes, Father." "Farewell," said Påle' Román. "Farewell," said Corpus, and the trap was opened and Corpus fell to his death.

His body hung for a little over ten minutes, but it was assumed he has dead, since there was no movement at all of his body, except for the natural swinging of the body as it hung suspended over the ground. At 9:22 AM, the medical officer pronounced him dead and at 9:27 AM the rope was cut and the lifeless body of Pablo Corpus was placed in the casket and turned over to his friends for burial.

AN ASIDE : PÅLE' ROMÁN'S REMARK


Påle' Román

Why did Påle' Román tell Corpus that he would be in heaven within a few moments?

Catholics believe that everyone who dies in the state of grace is assured of heaven. Purgatory is a state of final cleansing before one enters the perfect holiness of heaven. But by dying for his crime and sin, and doing so after having confessed his sin and accepting Christ's mercy, Corpus was making atonement for his crime and sin. The innocent life he unjustly took away was being paid for by his own death.

What Påle' Román said cannot be taken as a matter of fact. Only God knows what became of Corpus' soul once he died. But Corpus' repentance, his turning to Christ for mercy and his resignation towards his earthly punishment all point to a firm hope that he was on his way to heaven.


Source : Army and Navy Register, Washington, DC, May 6, 1916, 583-584

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

"MAN BARÅTO YAN MAN FRESKO"



Maria Manibusan Díaz-Igibara from Saipan was interviewed many years ago about life on the island before the war.




She says,

Guaha nu kompañían atkohot, kompañían ais.
(There was a liquor company, an ice company.)

Lao mangaige ha' nai guine Chalan Kanoa todo na mandadanña'.
(But they were just here in Chalan Kanoa where everything came together.)

I gellai i taotao tåno' ha' man manånånom.
(The natives of the land planted the vegetables.)

Man baråto yan man fresko kada dia man lililiko' gi chalan man manbebende.
(They were inexpensive and fresh, every day they would go around the streets selling.)

I Chamorro i man manånånom mai'es. Åntes man mamai'es, man kamumuti,
(The Chamorro were the ones planting corn. Before, people grew corn, sweet potatoes,)

man manånånom suni, todo klåsen tinanom man ma chocho'gue åntes.
(they planted taro, all kinds of plants they did before.)


Tan Maria starts by talking about there being a liquor company and ice company, then switches to  specifying the agricultural role of the Chamorros. She may be contrasting the activities of the Japanese, who focused on sugar plantations, and that of the Chamorros. The Japanese made use of all aspects of sugar and by-products of sugar are alcohol and molasses. Haruji Matsue, the "Sugar King" of Saipan, also built an ice plant.

The Chamorros, on the other hand, kept up their traditional dependence on corn, besides the variety of other crops that sustained them.


Thursday, October 18, 2018

FOREIGN CONVICTS 1821



Nations have often used far-off possessions as a place of exile for criminal and political prisoners. The Marianas were no exception under Spain.

Many times, the convicts sent here were given much freedom. They often lived among the people, finding girlfriends and sometimes wives. A few even ended up working for the very government tasked to detain them.

At other times, they lived under some restrictions and were made to work on public projects. Many times they found it easy to run away into the hills, but in time they'd be caught and they were often found hungry, thankful to be back under custody if at least for a steady meal, simple as they were.

In 1821 we find lists of these presidiarios or prisoners on Guam. The lists do not say they were Filipinos, but the lists do state the place of origin of these prisoners, and the vast majority are clearly from the Philippines. I put a question mark on the few whose home towns are unclear to me.

It is doubtful that the Filipino convicts sent here in 1821 were political prisoners. There were no revolts against the Spanish in the Philippines at that point in time. The last uprising was in 1807 and the next one would not be till 1823. Still, it's entirely possible some or many of these prisoners were indeed political exiles.

This list is interesting because we find some recognizable surnames among the prisoners : Sarmiento, Candaso, Matías. But we can be sure that the Matías on this list has nothing to do with the Leonardo Matías who came to Guam much later than 1821 and married a Tanaka. As for Candaso and Sarmiento, we cannot say one way or the other, for now, if they have any connection with today's families by those names.

The Santiagos of Malesso' and Humåtak do indeed come from a Filipino by the last name Santiago, but his first name was José, not the Mateo in this list.

There is clearly one Mexican prisoner by the name of Esparza. Chamorros would have pronounced that name ESPÅTSA and indeed there is a branch of the Camachos known as the familian Espåtsa. I wonder if there is any connection between them and this Mexican Esparza.

A Mexican prisoner sent to Guam isn't surprising since Mexico was indeed fighting for independence from Spain in 1821, but Guam seems an awfully far place to send a Mexican political exile, especially since the Acapulco galleon ships had stopped coming to Guam by 1815 due to the Mexican war of independence. Maybe Esparza was a Mexican who just happened to be living in the Philippines and was arrested there for something other than rebelling against Spain.


NAME
PLACE OF ORIGIN

LORCAS, José Antonio

Guadalajara (Cebu or Mexico?)


ESTEBAN, José

Guadalajara (Cebu or Mexico?)


URRUTIA, Vicente

Ermita (Manila)


BRIONES, Antonio


Tanlag (?)

GUERRERO, Alejandro


Quiapo (Manila)

DURÁN, Francisco

Malabon (Manila)


DURÁN, Pedro

Calumpit (Bulacan)


VIDAL, Juan

Aklan (Panay)


EVANGELISTA, Tomás


Calarcar (?)

BELTRÁN, Luís

Aparri (Cagayan)


CANDASO, Teodoro


San Mateo (Rizal)


MALDONADO, Alejandro


Calumpit (Bulacan)

ESPARZA, Juan de Dios

San Luís Potosí (Mexico)


DÍAZ, Pedro


San Luís (Pampanga)

RAFAEL, Lorenzo

Morong (Bataan)


SANTIAGO, Mateo

Malolos (Bulacan)


SARMIENTO, Fulgencio

Tagui (Zambales?)
*or is this really Taguig (Manila)?

MATÍAS , Felipe

Malate (Manila)


NAGUIO, Francisco


Macabebe (Pampanga)

CRUZ, Salvador

Masicog (?)


EGUILUZ, Ángel Domingo

Sampaloc (Manila)




Monday, October 15, 2018

HINENGGEN I MAN ÅMKO'



In old Chamorro tradition, the photo above would be unthinkable. The belief of the older people was that pregnant woman had to avoid the beach and the ocean.

An mapotge' i palao'an, debe de u suhåye i tasi yan i taotao ni mafåtto ginen i tasi.

If the woman is pregnant, she must avoid the sea and someone coming from the sea.

The issue was not so much the ocean or the sand or the salt water. The issue was the taotaomo'na, the spirits of our ancestors, who were believed by many to venture out to the sea or spend time at beaches, besides dwell in the jungle.

Older people believed, in fact, that these spirits had their own trails from the upper or inland places down to the sea. Since one could never be totally sure all the time when or if a taotaomo'na was in the area, it was best for a pregnant woman to avoid the beach altogether. If she went to the beach, a taotaomo'na might see that she is carrying a child and some harm might come to the baby.

It was also believed that some fishermen were assisted by a taotaomo'na when they fished. Whether the fisherman knew it or not, a taotaomo'na might actually be the reason why he had a good catch. When the fisherman called it a day and headed back inland from the beach, the taotaomo'na could follow him. If the fisherman met a pregnant woman as he returned inland, the pregnant woman and the invisible taotaomo'na might meet up, and harm come to the baby. So, the teaching of the elders was for the pregnant woman to run inside her house and stay there if she saw someone coming inland from the beach or sea.

One of the most tempting times for a pregnant woman to go to the beach was when the whole village or neighborhood would stand on shore as the communal fishing party came back from the day's fishing. Everyone joined in bringing in the catch and the nets, as the fish was also distributed among fishermen, boat owners, the sick and elderly and then the community at large. It was a fun and exciting event, so the pregnant woman was tempted to join the fun, but was warned not to.

This old belief didn't last long among most people. By the 1970s, I was seeing pregnant woman at the beach all the time. Labor Day Picnics at Ipao; birthday and christening barbeques at the beach; oceanside political events; I have seen pregnant Chamorro women at many such occasions for a long time now.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

A TAOTAOMO'NA STORY FROM 1919


ASAN POINT


In 1922,  Asan Point became the location of a Marine Corps camp. Included was a small arms range, which probably was a continuation of a rifle range that apparently was already there in the 1910s.

According to a 1919 news article, an American man was working by himself one day at this rifle range in Asan. No one else was around.

As he worked away, he looked up and saw some 600 yards away a man wearing a cape. The American looked down to resume his work but when he looked up just a few seconds later, the man with a cape had come closer 300 yards in record time!

Looking back down again, he was startled to find, when he looked up again, that the caped man had come right up to him in a matter of seconds. Then, the caped man extended his cape in the form of wings and turned into a bat, flying over the promontory at the end of Asan Point and ventured out of sight.


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

"HIHOT YAN TOLOS SÅNTOS...."


"AROUND THE FEAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI"
In Spanish


Most people in the old days weren't aware of the date that day. If asked, many people wouldn't be able to answer what day of what month it was. Sometimes not even the year.

They'd have to ask those who had more reason to know the exact time of the year it was.

As farmers and fishermen, there was no practical reason for them to know the day of the month. They did know the day of the week, as Sundays were church days and days of no manual labor. Sundays were also days for the gayera, or cock fight. So, there were reasons to know the day of the week. 

But, for most people, May 10 meant as much or as little as June 5. Many people didn't even know their birthday, and didn't celebrate it either. When asked their age, people were notoriously inexact, since many did not know their actual date of birth. They'd have to run and ask the priest to look it up in the baptismal register. Otherwise, most people guessed it. Year to year, they would give census takers or court officials a different age, because they'd even forget what they said the last time they were asked. It makes sense. Why would a farmer or fishermen care how old he was? It made little to no difference in his practical life. There were no forms to fill out; no elections to register for; no retirement plans to qualify for.

People who were more engaged in government, teaching and business, and those with advanced education, were aware of the day, month and year.

For the rest, if they had to recall an event, they had one means to help them remember the time frame. The church calendar.

Everyone being Catholic, most people were aware of the church calendar and its major feasts. These major feasts were events with a palpable celebration. Christmas meant kissing the niño (infant Jesus). Corpus Christi meant processing from låncho to låncho (outdoor altar).  Palm Sunday meant we got our palm branches blessed and we brought them back home after Mass. The feast of Santa Rosa meant going down to Hågat, a journey of a day and usually an overnight stay at some friend or relative's house in Hågat. Those things we remember.

So, now and then, in Guam's old court records, when Chamorro witnesses were asked when something occurred, sometimes they would answer something like this :

Hihot yan Tolos Såntos. Close to All Saints Day. Or, close to November 1st.

Dos dias despues de Patrosinio. Two days after March 19 (feast of Saint Joseph).

Diddide' åntes de Damenggon Ramos. A little before Palm Sunday.

Gi gipot Tres Reyes. On the feast of Three Kings. Or, January 6th.

What helped in this was that most church feasts never moved on the calendar. Christmas was always December 25 and Asunción (the Assumption of Mary, Piti's patroness) was always August 15, for example. A few feasts (like Corpus Christi or Ash Wednesday) fell at different times on the calendar., but generally in the same month or neighboring months each year.

Monday, October 8, 2018

KÅNTA : MUNGNGA YO' MA GUAIYA


Not an old, traditional song but something more recent, written and sung by Candy Taman in the 1980s.




Mungnga yo' ma guaiya pot i guaha iyo-ko Chevy
(Don't love me because I have a Chevy)
sa' un dia u mayulang ya un fañoñotsot siempre nai nene.
(because one day it will break down and you'll surely regret it baby.)
Ti bai ofrese hao oro, diamånte nene
(I won't offer you gold or diamonds baby)
ya ti bai ofrese hao kosas ni ti man kombiene.
(and I won't offer you improper things.)

Annai hu tutuge' i katta hu hahasso hao.
(When I was writing my letter I was thinking of you.)
Dalai yan ti un tungo' na hågo ha' guinaiya-ko.
(My goodness if you don't know that you alone are my love.)
Ti bai ofrese hao oro, diamånte nene
(I won't offer you gold or diamonds baby)
ya ti bai ofrese hao kosas ni ti man kombiene.
(and I won't offer you improper things.)

Nåna atiende, nåna i taotao.
(Mother attend to, mother, the person.)
Nåna, nåna konsidera
(Mother, mother consider)
sa' sumen chago' tano'-ña.
(because his home* is very far away.)

Whatsamata you last night?
You no come see papa.
I think so you no like'a me no more.
You too much like another guy.
Another gal like me too.
She's number one, a good lookin'.
Too much ado ai, ah...away.

Ti bai ofrese hao oro, diamånte nene
(I won't offer you gold or diamonds baby)
ya ti bai ofrese hao kosas ni ti man kombiene.
(and I won't offer you improper things.)

* Literally tåno' means land but here it means his home, the place where he comes from

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

SINANGAN I MAN ÅMKO'




Ha tungo' mamide si Yu'us.

God knows how to measure.


In English we say, "God never gives you more than you can handle."

Our Chamorro grandmothers phrased it, "God knows how to measure."

If everyone has a cross to carry and, if no cross is ever too heavy for the person to carry, those crosses have to be measured to fit the shoulder of the person carrying it.

The elders believed that if we carried our crosses with God at our side, those crosses somehow managed to turn out for the best. What seemed to be too heavy for us turned out to be just right. God knows how to measure.

One elderly lady shared her story.

Annai på'go umassagua ham yan i asaguå-ho, sumåga ham gi gima' tatå-ho
(When my husband and I first got married, we lived in my dad's house)

sa' ha erensia yo' ni gimå'-ña ya esta måtai.
(because I inherited it from him and he was already dead.)

Biho na guma'; guma' håyo yan sin.
(It was an old house; a wood and tin house.)

Gi primet åño na sumåga ham guihe, in sedda' na bula chå'ka gi papa' såtge.
(In the first year we lived there, we found a lot of rats under the house.)

Problema sa' ma ngångas i kosas-måme ni in pe'lo guihe,
(It was a problem because they chewed on our things which we put there,)

ma ngångas i alåmlen elektrisidåt....bula peligro yan dåño!
(they gnawed on the electrical wiring....lots of dangers and damage!)

Pues humånao påpa' i asaguå-ho para u dulalak siha
(So my husband went down to chase them away)

yan para u na' gåsgas i papa' såtge ni håfa muna' fanmåfåtto siha guihe.
(and to clean out the under house from what was bringing them there.)

Ya un tungo' håfa? Ha sodda' i asaguå-ho un kaohao lulok
(And you know what? My husband found a metal crate)

ya annai in baba in sedda' na guaha kantidan "silver dollars"
(and when we opened it we found a bunch of silver dollars)

ni man ginen åntes gera. Fana'an iyon bihu-ho siha.
(from before the war. Probably they were my grandfather's.)

Humuyong na bålen tres sientos pesos annai in deposita gi bangko.
(It turned out to be worth $300 when we deposited in the bank.)

Ha tungo' mamide si Yu'us. Pine'lon-måme na problema i cha'ka
(God knows how to measure. We thought the rats were a problem)

lao i cha'ka muna' in sedda' i salåppe'.
(but the rats made us find the money.)

Monday, October 1, 2018

A CHAMORRO NUN IN THE PHILIPPINES


SISTER MARÍA (MARGARITA) FRÁNQUEZ AND BISHOP BAUMGARTNER
1967


The first Catholic sisters on Guam arrived in 1905 from Baltimore, Maryland. But they left Guam in 1908.

It wasn't until 38 years later that another community of Catholic sisters, the Sisters of Mercy, came to Guam, in 1946. Finally, young Chamorro women aspiring to become Catholic sisters could join a community right here on Guam. But before that, they would have to join a convent somewhere else, hundreds and even thousands of miles away, and some did just that.

One of these young Chamorro women, feeling a call to the Catholic sisterhood, was María Pérez Fránquez from Hagåtña. She was born in 1910, the daughter of Vicente Iglesias Fránquez and Rosa Martínez Pérez.



SISTER WITH HER FRÁNQUEZ RELATIVES


Several women her age expressed a desire to the Capuchin priests and bishop on Guam to enter the convent. At the time, in the 1920s and early 1930s, the Spanish Capuchins on Guam were trying hard to get the Navy's permission for the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, a community of sisters, to come to Guam. Time and again, the US Navy denied permission.

But the Capuchins did send these young women from Guam to the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary convent in the Philippines to join there. Maybe, just maybe, the US Navy would allow these sisters to come to Guam one day and there would be Chamorro sisters ready to come back home and help build the Church.

So, María Fránquez went off to the Philippines in 1933 and became Sister Margarita, FMM. Unfortunately, the US Navy never allowed the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary to come to Guam, and Sister Margarita remained in the Philippines till death.

In 1967, the strict rules of the community were relaxed a little and Sister was able to fly back to Guam for the first time since 1933 and visit her family. What a different Guam it must have been to her in 1967. She made several more visits to Guam after that.




Later, when the rules of the Sisters allowed them to return to their baptismal names, Sister became Sister María.

She lived to the ripe old age of 91, spending 67 years in the convent. She passed away in 2001, just six days after her birthday, and is buried in the convent cemetery in Tagaytay in the Philippines. Rest in peace, Sister!


Thursday, September 27, 2018

FINO' I MAN ÅMKO' : GAI PILAN



GAI PILAN


When the moon underwent an eclipse and turned blood red last January 31, a man from Luta told me that the old people have a saying : gai pilan.

The prefix gai means "to have" and when joined to another word it modifies the first vowel in that word if the first vowel is an A, O or U. So when gai is joined to pulan, pulan becomes pilan. Gai pilan.

There are at least three meanings of the word pulan.

The first is the moon. That leads to the next meaning. A month is basically from new moon to new moon, so "month" is pulan. Even in English, the word "month" is connected to the word "moon."

Finally, pulan can also mean "to watch over," as when someone watches over a baby, or guarding a house, or to watch over a sick person. We can only speculate why our ancestors used the word for "moon" for "watch over." Maybe it's because, in the darkness of night, the moon guides our path in the darkness when the moon's light is full.

So, gai pilan can mean....

A woman's menstrual period. Even the English word menstrual is connected to the Latin word for "month" which is mensis.  So when a woman is going through that time of the month (pulan), people can say of her gai pilan.

When someone is mentally "off." All over the world, all across different time periods, people have associated mental illness with the moon. Many people believed in the moon's effect on people's moods, mental states, fertility and so on. The English words lunacy and lunatic come from the Latin word for "moon" or luna. Many mentally ill people were pictured staring or even howling at the moon.

So, when someone is mentally "off," as perceived by others, people can say that the "off" person is gai pilan. Somehow the moon has affected that person's mental state.


PULAN

Pulan is found, in many variations, in dozens of other Austonesian languages, meaning "moon."




ENGLISH

MOON


CHAMORRO

PULAN


INDONESIAN (BAHASA)

BULAN


CEBUANO


BULAN

ILOKANO


BULAN


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

SUMAY SELLS LAND TO NAVY


MAP OF OROTE PENINSULA IN 1914


In 1903, a good number of Sumay landowners sold land to the US Navy.

Sumay had been revived as a village sometime in the 1840s, perhaps even earlier, when whalers decided to anchor in Apra Harbor rather than at the old galleon trade port of Humåtak, which had ceased to be active when the galleons stopped coming to Guam because of Mexican independence from Spain in the 1810s. Even before the end of the galleon trade, Apra Harbor, more than Humåtak, was becoming the favored anchorage.

The Spaniards were well-aware of Apra Harbor's military significance. Forts were built on Orote Peninsula in the 1700s and the most prominent one, Fort Santa Cruz, was built around 1801 right in the harbor itself, on an islet in the shallow part of the harbor.

But the US Navy had bigger and more ambitious plans for Apra Harbor and the land surrounding it. Since Spanish times, the harbor was known as "San Luís de Apra" and even that was often misspelled by the Americans.



NAVY PLANS FOR SUMAY IN 1903

These plans for military expansion in and around Apra Harbor meant the acquisition of land on the Orote Peninsula outside the village of Sumay. Federal money was allocated for the project, as seen in the 1903 newspaper clipping above.

In 1903, the US Navy began buying land just south of Sumay village. The landowners were residents of Sumay and typically sold one to three hectares of land to the Navy. That's a good amount of land, considering that a typical modern house in the urbanized villages of Guam sit on less than an acre of land. One hectare is roughly equal to two and a half acres.

On Orote Peninsula, there were many specific areas with their own names, now long forgotten except for the older, former residents of Sumay who used to own land there and farm there.

The sellers, arranged by place names, were the following :

IN HALOMÑA (also spelled Jalomña)

Nicolás Cruz Díaz
Gregorio Blas Mendiola
Mariano Dueñas Ulloa

IN BOTADERO

Sebastián Baleto
Guillermo Fejaran Lizama
Martín Taitano Dueñas
Ignacio Mendiola Cruz
José Cruz Quintanilla
Tomás Sablan Camacho

IN LAGOS

Ramón Tello Dueñas
Francisco Guzmán Sablan
Vicente Ulloa Sablan

IN LADERA

José Camacho
Heirs of Félix Díaz Sablan

IN ATOTDAN (also spelled Atordan)

José Camacho
José Lizama Santos
Antonio Santos Dueñas
Carmelo Guzmán Guerrero
Martín Taitano Dueñas
Ignacio Mendiola Cruz
Heirs of José Quintanilla Dueñas
Heirs of Félix Díaz Sablan