Saturday, June 16, 2012



The Umatac Church (San Dionisio) around 1830.  The boys in the bottom right-hand corner march in procession, all dressed in identical white shirts, under the watchful eye of probably the village maestro or teacher.  Teachers taught religion and the boys would have learned how to serve and sing at Mass.


The Same Spot Today

When the old church was ruined beyond repair in an earthquake in the 1800s, the priests stopped re-building the church and instead built a new one at its present location further inside the village.

Counter to one's expectations, the Spanish missionaries tended to build the churches at the extreme end of the village, not right smack in the middle of the village.  Even in Hagåtña, in Spanish times there was hardly anything east of the present-day Cathedral, where the PDN building is now.  That was all jungle.  In Inalåhan, we see the same thing.  That church was built at the far end of the village.  The same with Humåtak.

The idea may have been to avoid homes and the noise and business of everyday domestic affairs happening right around the church.

The ruins of the old church lie next to what used to be F.Q. Sanchez Elementary School.

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