Wednesday, April 10, 2013
CHAMORRO CANCER CURE?
I was visiting a family the other day and I noticed a tree on their property that was full of soursop. I had never seen so many soursop fruits hanging on one tree, and this size. They were huge.
This fruit is native to Central America and the Caribbean. It's almost a guarantee that it was brought to the Marianas from Mexico when the galleons stopped on Guam on their way from Acapulco to Manila.
The Filipinos call this guyabano, but we call it laguaná. The name for it in Mexico and other places in that region is guanábana. I can easily see how Chamorros modified the pronunciation of guanábana into laguaná. Just as Chamorros heard people say, in Spanish, "la mesa," "the table" and made it one word "lamasa," they probably heard people say, in Spanish, "la guanábana" and turned it into "laguaná," a shortcut of "laguaná - bana." This leads me to believe even more that the fruit came to the Marianas directly from Mexico and not from the Philippines (who got it from Mexico as well) since we did not adopt the Filipino name for the fruit. I can also see how guyabano may be a variation of guanábana, but laguaná is more clearly derived from guanábana rather than from guyabano.
There has been a lot of enthusiasm for soursop lately because of its purported medicinal benefits, including claims that it fights cancer. The medical establishment is not as excited about it, and consuming large amounts of soursop can pose health risks, too.
I don't go crazy over soursop but I do like it when it comes across the table, especially on very hot days.