Sunday, April 17, 2011

FAMILIA : AGUON

Basically, if you're an Aguon, your roots are either Hagåtña or Humåtak.  In the 1897 Census of Guam, almost all Aguons come from both places, with a trinkle of Aguons in other places, most likely coming from either of the two main Aguon homelands.

Although spelled "Aguon," it is pronounced "ågun" or "ågon," meaning "food staple" or "starchy food."  Rice, suni, dågo, lemmai, kamuti, mendioka and bread are all ågon.  In the Spanish records, Aguon is thus sometimes spelled Agon or Agun.

But the Spanish records also present this puzzle.  Although absent from the 1727 Census, there are three adult males named Aguon in the 1758 Census, all three listed as soldiers in the Pampanga regiment.  The fact that there are three Aguons, when thirty years prior there were none, seems funny to me.  Connect this with the fact that children of Pampanga-Chamorro couples were often, if not always, classified at the time as Pampangos.  Although there are Filipinos families with the Agon surname, it isn't widespread and it doesn't seem particularly connected to Pampanga.  Could it be that these three Aguons who suddenly appear on the Census in 1758 are brothers, sons of a Chamorro named Aguon who had married a mestiza Chamorro-Pampanga who gave the three sons their Pampanga classification?

Then there is the Humåtak factor.  Not only is Aguon present in Humåtak, it is there as one of the top two surnames of that village; a village that retained much indigenous blood.  This may weigh heavily in favor of Aguon being an indigenous surname, and that the Hagåtña Aguons descended from a Chamorro named Aguon who had married a Chamorro-Pampanga mestiza.

The three Aguons in the Pampanga regiment married (individually) one Angela Demapan (a name included in the Pampanga list), one Manuela Ramirez (from the Spanish list) and one Francisca Javiera de Leon Guerrero (also from the Spanish list).  We can see how by the mid-1700's there was a lot of ethnic mixing; Spaniards (which included Mexicans, Peruvians, etc.), Pampangan Filipinos and indigenous Chamorros.  In time the labels "Spaniard" and "Pampango" didn't matter as the descendants of these intermarriages all spoke Chamorro (now heavily influenced by the Spanish language) with various strains of blood running through them.  This mix became the new Chamorro.

Fast-forward to 1897, near the end of the Spanish administration.  The Hagåtña Aguons were so widespread and varied that it is nearly impossible to identify their connections with each other.  What we can say is that, while Hagåtña abounded in Spanish last names, Aguon was a (probable) indigenous surname which many in Hagåtña bore.

Some married into prestigious families.  One Juliana Aguon, born around the beginning of the 1800s, gave birth to the son of a Spanish governor named Jose Ganga Herrero.  The Herreros today can count Juliana as an ancestor.  Another of Juliana's children, a daughter, married a Flores, of the Kabesa clan.

The Aguons in Humåtak were there from at least as early as the year 1800 and became, with the Quinatas, one of the two most numerous families.

A few Aguons from Guam moved to Saipan and the smaller islands north of it, and from there to Palau when Germany and Japan possessed both the Northern Marianas and the Caroline Islands.

My Aguon Relatives

One of the Hagåtña Aguons married a Torres, the aunt of my great-great grandfather, Pedro Rodriguez Torres.  These Torres-Aguons are my relatives.  One of them, Ignacio Torres Aguon, my great-great grandfather's cousin, sold him the land in Hagåtña where my family lived before the war (on the street in between the Agaña GPD precinct and Pedro's Plaza).

Ignacio's son Juan married an Unpingco.  Juan's daughter Josefa (Pai Sauro) and her descendants are my relatives.

Juan's son Juan was the father of Edward LG Aguon, the late husband of Dr. Katherine B. Aguon.


SOME WELL-KNOWN AGUONS

Former Senator Frank B. Aguon, Jr


Julian Aguon
Attorney, Chamorro activist and author

1 comment:

  1. My Grand-parents are the late Juan Castro Aguon and Beatrice San Nicolas Aguon (Original Sumay), my grand-father was well known for his Chalan Pago location of the Aguon Store that my Father the late John B. Aguon and his 17 other Siblings attended to. The stores actual site originally belonged to my great-aunt Josephine Aguon Manley. From what I've been told by my aunts and uncles, my grand-father was raised by family in Umatac, but his family originated from Agana

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