Friday, July 1, 2011


Students at the Escuela Normal de Manila

Spain started to give more importance to education in the Philippines in 1863 with the establishment of a teachers' college, the Escuela Normal de Manila.  "Normal" meant a school for the training of teachers.  The following year, in 1864, the Governor General of the Philippines mandated that a student from the Marianas, which was at the time a Province of the Philippines, be sent to the Escuela Normal de Manila.  Luis Diaz Torres from Guam was selected.

Luis was around 22 years old at the time; the son of Jose Torres and Vicenta Diaz, and the grandson of the famous Sargento Mayor Luis de Torres who had assisted various scientific expeditions that came to the Marianas, and who had good knowledge of the Carolinian islanders who often visited Guam.

It is not known for certain that Luis did in fact go to school in Manila, but he did serve as a teacher, and most often head teacher, in Hagåtña for most of the rest of his life.  This high position in Hagåtña's schools for many years almost certainly points to an earlier education abroad, especially since it is clear that he was offered that opportunity.  Luis was not only a teacher; he was a member of the Chamorro Junta or Council, a group of five prominent Chamorros appointed in 1899 by American Commander Taussig to assist interim Governor Joaquin Perez, a Chamorro.  The Council was short-lived.  Luis later went on to serve as a judge in the American courts of Guam.

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